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Tamayuz’s Mustashry Dominates the Lockinge

Sat, 2019-05-18 11:15

Sir Michael Stoute’s renowned prowess with older horses had already been championed on Newbury’s Saturday card by Crystal Ocean (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) in the G3 Aston Park S., but the 6-year-old Mustashry (GB) (Tamayuz {GB}) readily trumped that by becoming the first of his age to win the G1 Al Shaqab Lockinge S. since 2006. Tightened by a comeback third in the nine-furlong G3 Earl of Sefton S. at Newmarket Apr. 18, Shadwell’s homebred was always happy tracking the pace in a perfect stalking position under cover. Ridden before the 5-1 joint-favourite Laurens (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) was dead ahead with over two furlongs remaining, the 9-1 shot nevertheless picked up better and swamped her a furlong from home before his staying power kicked in to make a decisive difference. At the line, last year’s G2 Park S. and G2 Joel S. winner had 2 1/2 lengths to spare over the filly, with the G1 Queen Anne S. hero Accidental Agent (GB) (Delegator {GB}) putting in an ideal warm-up for his return to Royal Ascot, a half length away in third. “This horse has improved every season and we thought he’d run a big race today,” jockey Jim Crowley said. “I got a nice tow into it from Laurens and he now feels like a proper horse, having won over seven, a mile and a mile and a quarter. He’s so consistent and very amenable in a race, is never keen and a pleasure to be around.”

Related to the stable’s dual G2 Hardwicke S.-winning stalwart Maraahel (Ire) (Alzao), Mustashry was reportedly plagued with splint issues as a youngster and stayed mainly in handicap company until winning York’s G3 Strensall S. over nearly nine furlongs in August 2017. A year later, he had been seen in public on just two subsequent occasions and ran second to Lord Glitters (Fr) (Whipper) in the same race before dropping to seven furlongs to win Doncaster’s Park S. and following up in Newmarket’s Joel over this trip. Audaciously taken to Churchill Downs for the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile, the dark bay was only four lengths away from stablemate Expert Eye (GB) (Acclamation {GB}) when denied an uninterrupted trip in 11th there and performed with credit when returning ring-rusty under a five-pound penalty in the Earl of Sefton.

This was the latest feather in the cap of Stoute, who was registering an eighth success in a race in which he already held the record and first won with Scottish Reel (Ire) 33 years before. “We knew he was in very good shape and we’ve never had him better than he is this spring,” he said. “I would think the [June 18] Queen Anne would be the right move, but he’s a versatile horse who has won over a mile and a quarter.”

Laurens is one of several in this line-up that will be re-opposing at Royal Ascot and trainer Karl Burke said of her, “I was delighted with her run, she lost her lead but then in the last 50 yards got her second wind and stayed on again, so I’m sure there’s some improvement in her. She will go for the Queen Anne next and it will be fillies’ only after that.” Eve Johnson Houghton said of Accidental Agent, “We’re thrilled. He’s come back to what we know he is and proven himself again. He lost a shoe and took a big blow one and a half out, so we’re looking forward to taking on the winner again in the Queen Anne.”

Mustashry’s half-brother Munaaser (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) was initially trained by Stoute and proved a smart handicapper at around this trip, finishing runner-up in the Silver Cambridgeshire H. at Newmarket before posting a second in the G3 Abu Dhabi Championship. The dam is a half-sister to the aforementioned Maraahel, who was placed on six occasions at this level including when losing out by pixels in the 2006 G1 Juddmonte International, and also the G3 Prestige S. third Huja (Ire) (Alzao). The third dam Mathaayl (Shadeed) is a half to the G3 Princess Margaret S. winner Muhbubh (Blushing Groom {Fr}) and a close relative of the Australian champion sire Twig Moss (Fr). Her descendants include the 2015 G2 Prix Robert Papin scorer Gutaifan (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) and the G1 Premio Jockey Club winner and G1 St Leger runner-up Ventura Storm (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}). Safwa also has an as-yet unraced 2-year-old filly by Shamardal named Rabaahbah (Ire).

Saturday, Newbury, Britain
AL SHAQAB LOCKINGE S.-G1, £350,000, Newbury, 5-18, 4yo/up, 8fT, 1:35.80, gd.
1–MUSTASHRY (GB), 126, g, 6, by Tamayuz (GB)
1st Dam: Safwa (Ire), by Green Desert
2nd Dam: Nasanice (Ire), by Nashwan
3rd Dam: Mathaayl, by Shadeed
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. O-Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum; B-Shadwell Estate Company Ltd (GB); T-Sir Michael Stoute; J-Jim Crowley. £198,485. Lifetime Record: 18-8-3-1, $647,210. *1/2 to Munaaser (GB) (New Approach {Ire}), GSP-UAE, $207,580. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Laurens (Fr), 123, f, 4, Siyouni (Fr)–Recambe (Ire), by Cape Cross (Ire). (£220,000 Ylg ’16 GOUKPR). O-John Dance; B-Bloodstock Agency Ltd (FR); T-Karl Burke. £75,250.
3–Accidental Agent (GB), 126, h, 5, Delegator (GB)–Roodle (GB), by Xaar (GB). (8,000gns RNA Ylg ’15 TAOCT). O/B-Mrs R F Johnson Houghton (GB); T-Eve Johnson Houghton. £37,660.
Margins: 2HF, HF, 3/4. Odds: 9.00, 5.00, 33.00.
Also Ran: Romanised (Ire), Le Brivido (Fr), I Can Fly (GB), Sir Dancealot (Ire), Ostilio (GB), Billesdon Brook (GB), Sharja Bridge (GB), Beat The Bank (GB), Mythical Magic (Ire), Lord Glitters (Fr), Without Parole (GB). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

The post Tamayuz’s Mustashry Dominates the Lockinge appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Curlin’s Point of Honor Surges Late to Take the Black-Eyed Susan

Fri, 2019-05-17 17:08

BALTIMORE, M.D.–The lightly-raced Point of Honor (Curlin), who debuted with a victory in an off-the-turf spot on a sleepy Sunday at Gulfstream in the winter, announced herself in the

3-year-old filly division by overcoming a wide trip to score a game victory in the GII Black-Eyed Susan S. on a sun-splashed Friday at Pimlico.

Romping by six lengths against a short field in the finale Dec. 16 in Hallandale for John Connelly’s Stetson Racing, the chestnut was then bought into by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and proved her mettle against much tougher competition next out, notching a convincing success in the Suncoast S. Feb. 9 at Tampa. She suffered her first defeat when an even fourth in the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks Mar. 30, keeping her from qualifying for the GI Kentucky Oaks, but was backed into narrow favoritism in this traditional day-before-Preakness feature.

Off a half-beat slowly, Point of Honor went three wide into the clubhouse turn while second-last behind a :23.36 quarter set by Cookie Dough (Brethren). Five deep by the time heads pointed onto the backstretch, she continued to lope along last but one past a :47.02 half. Drawing into contention bending into the far turn, the chestnut lost even more ground from there, floating four and even five wide by the top of the lane. Nevertheless producing a strong punch once straightening, she overtook the pacesetter a furlong out, but longshot Ulele (Candy Ride {Arg}) had slipped through at the rail by that point and it briefly appeared like the ground loss would do Point of Honor in. The favorite was emboldened by the challenge once Javier Castellano pulled her inside to eyeball Ulele, however, and she found more to narrowly deny that foe on the wire. The victory capped off a banner day for Castellano, who racked up five wins, including four stakes scores.

“She’s three for four now and we’ve always liked her,” said winning trainer George Weaver. “The Gulfstream Park [Oaks] race was a little odd to us. She just didn’t seem quite as handy or responsible that day. We drew a little outside today and you lose ground being wide, but I think she likes that kind of trip and Javier rode her as such. And she went back to where we were in the first place of wanting to go to the Kentucky Oaks and participate in some of these big races. She’s just very professional, very classy.”

“She’s a filly that likes to be in a high cruising speed, be in a rhythm and we were okay with her being outside today,” said Eclipse Thoroughbreds’ Aron Wellman. “She’s a big filly with a long stride and we didn’t want to disrupt her rhythm. So when I saw 23 [seconds] and change and saw 47 and Javier had a good hold on her on the outside in the clear, I was pretty confident. Down the lane, I thought she would put them away with more ease, but Brad Cox’s filly [Ulele] put up a heck of a fight. She really made our filly run to the wire.”

Pedigree Notes:

Point of Honor was an $825,000 RNA at Keeneland September in 2017, but was later privately purchased by bloodstock agent Donato Lanni for Connelly and Eclipse bought in after her career bow. The winner is out of the unplaced Siena Farms homebred Zayanna, a half-sister to GSWs Mr Freeze (To Honor and Serve), Dilemma (Grand Slam) and Heavenly Ransom (Red Ransom) and MSW/MGSP Capitano (Belong to Me). Zayanna’s other two foals to race are black-type performers as well in SW Velvet Mood and SP Admiral Jimmy. She is responsible for a juvenile Liam’s Map filly who sold for $500,000 to Alex and JoAnn Lieblong at KEESEP, as well as a yearling filly by Union Rags and a full-brother to the winner foaled Apr. 26. Third dam In Excelsis Deo is a MSP daughter of MGISW Sabin (Lyphard).

Friday, Pimlico
BLACK-EYED SUSAN S.-GII, $250,000, Pimlico, 5-17, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m, 1:47.88, ft.
1–POINT OF HONOR, 120, f, 3, by Curlin
1st Dam: Zayanna, by Bernardini
2nd Dam: Heavenly Cat, by Tabasco Cat
3rd Dam: In Excelcis Deo, by Forty Niner
O-Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Stetson Racing, LLC;
B-Siena Farms LLC (KY); T-George Weaver; J-Javier Castellano.
$150,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-0, $246,375. *1/2 to Velvet
Mood (Lonhro {Aus}), SW. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple
Plus* Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Ulele, 120, f, 3, Candy Ride (Arg)–Princess Arabella, by Any
Given Saturday. ($300,000 Ylg ’17 FTSAUG). O-Cheyenne
Stables LLC; B-Summer Wind Equine LLC (KY); T-Brad H. Cox.
3–Cookie Dough, 124, f, 3, Brethren–Brooke’s Valentine, by
Fusaichi Pegasus. O-Arindel; B-Arindel (FL); T-Stanley I. Gold.
Margins: HF, 2 1/4, 4 1/4. Odds: 2.90, 7.30, 4.00.
Also Ran: Brill, Off Topic, Always Shopping, Las Setas, Our Super Freak. Scratched: Sweet Diane. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

The post Curlin’s Point of Honor Surges Late to Take the Black-Eyed Susan appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Into Mischief’s Covfefe Sizzles in Miss Preakness Romp

Fri, 2019-05-17 15:28

Covfefe ran the GIII Miss Preakness S. field off their feet, quite literally, at Pimlico Friday, rocketing home in a new track record time. Quickest away from the stalls, the 9-5 chalk zipped through an opening quarter in :22.24 with Congrats Gal (Congrats) and Fighting Mad (New Year’s Day) stacked alongside her. Please Flatter Me (Munnings) joined the fun as Fighting Mad called it quits through a half in :44.43, but she was no match for Covfefe, who powered clear of her foes like they were standing still to win for fun. The flashy bay completed the six-panel event in a posted time of 1:07.70, which is new track record. Congrats Gal collapsed on the track after fading to last and died of a heart attack.

“Javier [Castellano] did a great job,” said winning trainer Brad Cox, who indicated her would look at Saratoga’s GI Test S. for Covfefe. “She did break the track record? It doesn’t matter, but she’s fast. We weren’t hell-bent on getting to the lead today. We were going to let the speed go if there was a lot of it. Javier did a great job of letting her fall into the race. I’m super pleased with her. This filly, we’ve thought she was a superstar from the start. To ship her to a Grade I [Frizette S.] off breaking her maiden should tell you we like her. She put it together today.”

“She did it very easy. I didn’t expect her to be on the lead. She has speed but the way I handicapped the race, in the back of my mind I didn’t want to take the pace because I knew it was going to be really fast and I was looking to save something for the end. But it didn’t work that way. She broke out of the gate and I had the best horse in the race. Let’s put in a great performance today and that’s exactly what she did today.

“I know she’s a good filly and she’s just a super -fast horse,” said Castellano, who was scoring his third straight win on the card in the Miss Preakness. “It didn’t surprise me the way she performed today. I felt we were going fast but [going in 1:07.70] didn’t go through my mind once.”

Graduating by 9 1/4 lengths on debut at Churchill Downs Sept. 16, Covfefe could only manage fourth as the favorite behind future champion Jaywalk (Cross Traffic) in Belmont’s GI Frizette S. Oct. 7. The $250,000 KEESEP buy returned to winning ways last time in an Apr. 6 optional claimer at Keeneland Apr. 6.

Pedigree Notes:

Covfefe is the 22nd graded stakes winner and 50th black-type victress for her red hot sire Into Mischief. Her stakes-winning second dam Aurora produced Grade I-winning millionaire Acoma (Empire Maker), GISW and sire Arch (Kris S.) and UAE Horse of the Year Festival of Light (A.P. Indy). Covfefe is the second graded winner for her dam Antics, who is also responsible for Japanese MGSW and G1SP Albiano (Harlan’s Holiday). The 21-year-old mare’s recent produce includes a yearling filly by Nyquist and a Violence colt born Apr. 20 of this year.

Friday, Pimlico
ADENA SPRINGS MISS PREAKNESS S.-GIII, $150,000, Pimlico, 5-17, 3yo, f, 6f, 1:07.70 (NTR), ft.
1–COVFEFE, 120, f, 3, by Into Mischief
1st Dam: Antics, by Unbridled
2nd Dam: Aurora, by Danzig
3rd Dam: Althea, by Alydar
Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-LNJ Foxwoods; B-Alexander-Groves
Thoroughbreds (KY); T-Brad H. Cox; J-Javier Castellano.
$90,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-0, $196,200. *1/2 to Albiano
(Harlan’s Holiday), MGSW & MG1SP, $1,567,617. Werk Nick
Rating: A+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Please Flatter Me, 120, f, 3, Munnings–She’s Flattering, by
Flatter. ($12,000 Ylg ’17 EASJAN). O-Heider Family Stables LLC,
Madaket Stables LLC & Doheny Racing Stable; B-Mary
Katherine Haire (PA); T-Mark J. Reid. $30,000.
3–Tomlin, 120, f, 3, Distorted Humor–Belle of Perintown, by
Dehere. ($200,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Fairview, LLC;
B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Michael
Stidham. $15,000.
Margins: 8HF, 3HF, 1HF. Odds: 1.80, 5.00, 9.70.
Also Ran: Midnight Fantasy, Never Enough Time, Bye Bye J, Fighting Mad, Brunette Princess, Congrats Gal. Scratched: Iva, Miss Imperial, Best Kept Secret, Sue’s Fortune. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

The post Into Mischief’s Covfefe Sizzles in Miss Preakness Romp appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

West Issues Challenge to Connections of Horses Involved in Derby Incident

Fri, 2019-05-17 14:15

Gary West is offering up $20 million of his own money to the owners of Country House (Lookin at Lucky), War of Will (War Front), Long Range Toddy (Take Charge Indy) and Bodexpress (Bodemeister), all of whom were involved in the incident that resulted in the DQ in the GI Kentucky Derby, if any of those horses finish ahead of Maximum Security (New Year’s Day) the next time any of them race against him through Dec. 31, 2019.

West said he believes his offer of $5 million apiece to each of those four horses would result in record viewership and would generate worldwide interest. If all five horses meet in the same race it would potentially create the most lucrative race in the world.

West said his offer and the results of this “match race within a race” have no bearing and nothing to do with his horse’s disqualification in the Kentucky Derby. West’s intention with this opportunity and challenge is simply to generate additional interest in the sport.

There are no restrictions as to the type of race, what racetrack it is held at or the distance or track surface. The offer is valid only for the next time Maximum Security meets any of the aforementioned horses in a race, whether it is in the same race or in four separate races.

No horse has to win the race; the offer is simply based on the head-to-head result with Maximum Security.

“I am doing this because I think it would be good for racing and a unique opportunity to bring more people into racing because of the elevated interest this would bring to the sport,” West said.

In return, West is asking the owners of the other four horses to give him $5 million apiece if Maximum Security finishes ahead of their horse in the official chart. The owners of any or all of the other four horses wishing to participate would be required to put their $5 million in an escrow account, as West will do immediately for up to $20 million.

West said if any of the other owners are not as confident in their horses as he is in Maximum Security, he would extend the same terms and conditions for the connections to put up $1.86 million instead. That figure is the exact winner’s share of the Kentucky Derby.

West will donate 100% Maximum Security’s winnings from this challenge (if any, and up to $20 million) to the Permanently Disabled Jockey’s Fund. If no owners accept the challenge, West pledges to donate 10% of Maximum Security’s future lifetime racing earnings to the Permanently Disabled Jockey’s Fund.

“Most experts agree that Maximum Security was the best horse in the Kentucky Derby,” West said. “I don’t care to discuss the controversy surrounding the events of the race and the disqualification of my horse at this time, but I firmly believe I have the best 3-year-old in the country and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.”


The post West Issues Challenge to Connections of Horses Involved in Derby Incident appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

TDN Top Preakess Contenders, Presented by WinStar Farm

Thu, 2019-05-16 17:43

This week’s TDN Triple Crown feature examines the GI Preakness S. entrants listed in “likeliest winner” order.

1) WAR OF WILL (c, War FrontVisions of Clarity {Ire}, by Sadler’s Wells)
O-Gary Barber. B-Flaxman Holdings Limited (KY). T-Mark Casse. Sales history: $175,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP; €250,000 2yo ’18 ARQMAY. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 9-3-1-1, $501,569.
Last Start: 7th, GI Kentucky Derby, May 4
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on War of Will.
War of Will’s trip woes on the far turn of the GI Kentucky Derby have been well chronicled, but this €250,000 ARQMAY War Front colt will be a resilient enough of an equine athlete to bounce back strongly after the near-clipping incident that stopped his momentum cold while making a solid bid for the lead. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione had to throttle back the torqued-up War of Will’s tactical speed for much of the Derby run, but post one should be no problem again in the Preakness because War of Will has clearly demonstrated through his nine-race career arc that he can consistently break sharply and assert himself at the fore of large fields. His stalking trip in the Derby underscored that he can withstand a covered-up trip under pressure, and his visually impressive stakes wins earlier in the season are evidence that War of Will relishes the pursuit of prey and is capable of unleashing bold bids when most of the competition has wilted.

2) SIGNALMAN (c, General Quarters-Trip South, by Trippi)
O-Tommie M. Lewis, Steve Crabtree, Dean Demaree, David Bernsen, Jim Chambers & Magdalena Racing. B-Monticule (KY). T-Kenneth G McPeek. Sales history: $32,000 Ylg ’17 FTKOCT. Lifetime Record: GSW & MGISP, 7-2-2-2, $552,990.
Last Start: 3rd, GII Blue Grass S., KEE, Apr. 6
Equineline PPs.
Signalman’s 30-1 morning line odds shine like a beacon of value in the Preakness because they vastly overlay his true chances of winning. This $32,000 FTKOCT General Quarters colt failed to make the points cutoff to qualify for the Derby, but he had legitimate excuses for both his 2019 defeats: He lost a shoe and reportedly “didn’t scope perfectly clean” after running seventh in the GII Fountain of Youth S., then in the GII Blue Grass S. he was trying hard but couldn’t make up ground when third behind a frontrunning winner on a speed-favoring surface. As a 2-year-old, Signalman both kept good company (third in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at 67-1) and uncorked a visually impressive stakes win (pinned on the rail in the mud in the 14-horse GII Kentucky Jockey Club S.). At the post position draw, trainer Ken McPeek said a mid-pack stalking trip was the likely Preakness strategy for his colt.

3) IMPROBABLE (c, City ZipRare Event, by A.P. Indy)
‘TDN Rising Star’. O-WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International Ltd. & Starlight Racing. B-St. George Farm LLC &
G. Watts Humphrey Jr. (KY). T-Bob Baffert. Sales history: $110,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $200,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP.
Lifetime Record: GISW, 6-3-2-0, $769,520.
Last Start: 4th, GI Kentucky Derby, May 4
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on Improbable.
‘TDN Rising Star’ Improbable will carry Preakness morning-line favoritism on his sturdy chestnut shoulders as trainer Bob Baffert aims for his eighth win in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. But even Baffert admitted earlier this week that he’s never sent a starter into the Preakness off of three straight defeats, although this athletic, long-striding chestnut does have a theoretical advantage as the lone Grade I victor in the field. Improbable never truly looked comfortable in his Derby fourth (via disqualification), both footing-wise and position-wise. But he has been improving subtly in terms of focus, and a clean trip in the Preakness puts him in the hunt to win it. “He just needs to get away [from the gate] better,” Baffert said. “For a horse with as much natural speed as he has, he has trouble getting going. For some reason, the first hundred yards, he scrambles a little bit.”

4) ALWAYSMINING (g, Stay Thirsty–What Will Be, by Anees)
O-Runnymede Racing LLC. B-Avla Pitts (MD). T-Kelly Rubley.
Sales history: $32,000 Ylg ’17 KEEJAN; $130,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP.
Lifetime Record: 12-7-0-1, $386,192.
Last Start: 1st, Federico Tesio S., LRL, Apr. 20
Equineline PPs.
The local hopeful in this year’s Preakness doesn’t have to prove he belongs, having earned a shot to step up to graded stakes competition for the first time after pummeling Laurel-based foes by open lengths in six consecutive races. The running style of this $130,000 KEESEP Stay Thirsty gelding suggests he’ll be forwardly placed per usual, but Alwaysmining has yet to endure several stout waves of competition that are likely to engage the pacemakers late in the Preakness. This gelding will attempt to become the first horse since Deputed Testamony in 1983 to pull off the difficult Federico Tesio S.-Preakness double. But since the Tesio has been moved from Pimlico to Laurel, it no longer carries the win-over-the-track advantage it once did.

5) WIN WIN WIN (c, Hat Trick {Jpn}-Miss Smarty Pants, by Smarty Jones)
O-Live Oak Plantation. B-Live Oak Stud (FL). T-Michael Trombetta. Lifetime Record: SW & MGSP, 7-3-2-1, $367,300.
Last Start: 9th, GI Kentucky Derby, May 4
Equineline PPs.
Win Win Win is the horse on this year’s Triple Crown trail who always seems one race away from blossoming fully. Will the Preakness be his opportunity at juicy 15-1 odds, or is it time to consider some class relief? This Hat Trick-sired homebred so far this season has racked up a seven-furlong track-record stakes win at Tampa, a five-wide third in the GII Tampa Bay Derby, and an against-the-grain second when closing into a potent speed bias in the Blue Grass S. Win Win Win was parked third-last for most of his Derby journey and only launched a mild, belated bid between the quarter and eighth poles. He reportedly didn’t handle the Churchill slop, and will be newly equipped with blinkers while trying to overcome the outermost 13 post.

6) BOURBON WAR (c, TapitMy Conquestadory, by Artie Schiller)
O-Bourbon Lane Stable & Lake Star Stable. B-Conquest Stables (KY). T-Mark Hennig. Sales History: $410,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $525,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSP, 4-2-1-0, $155,100. Last Start: 4th, GI Florida Derby, GP, Mar. 2
Equineline PPs.
Bourbon War’s last two stakes attempts stamp him as a pace-dependent closer. This $525,000 KEESEP Tapit colt was barreling down the Gulfstream homestretch behind a too-fast meltdown in the GII Fountain of Youth S., and although he was second in that attempt, Bourbon War did surge past the winner a jump after the wire. He never truly uncoiled when fourth behind the moderate tempo of the GI Florida Derby, although the class factor in that race is evident because the first and third finishers came back to cross the wire first and third in the Kentucky Derby. Blinkers go on for the Preakness.

7) LAUGHING FOX (c, Union RagsSaskawea, by Stormy Atlantic)
O-Alex & JoAnn Lieblong. B-Chester & Anne Prince (KY). T-Steve Asmussen. Sales history: $120,000 yrl ’17 KEESEP; $375,000 2yo ’18 OBSMAR. Lifetime Record: SW, 7-3-0-0, $338,518.
Last Start: 1st, Oaklawn Park Invitational, May 4
Equineline PPs.
Laughing Fox has built an intriguing enough progression of races to consider him as a longshot Preakness inclusion. This $375,000 OBSMAR Union Rags chestnut broke his maiden and won an allowance (both around two turns) at Oaklawn before finishing seventh, then fourth, in stakes behind the ultra- impressive Omaha Beach (War Front). He rebounded with a nine-furlong score in the new closing-weekend stakes feature for sophomores at Oaklawn, and he enters the Preakness for a trainer who has won this race twice and ran third (beaten less than a length) at 26-1 odds last year.

8) ANOTHERTWISTAFATE (c, Scat DaddyImprecation, by First Defence)
O-Peter Redekop B. C., Ltd. B-Pursuit of Success LLC (KY). T-Blaine Wright. Sales history: $360,000 2yo ’18 OBSJUN.
Lifetime Record: SW & GSP, $303,505.
Last Start: 2nd, GIII Lexington S., KEE, Apr. 13
Equineline PPs.
This $360,000 OBSOPN Scat Daddy colt was the top Northern California sophomore this season, progressing with three straight maiden-allowance-stakes scores at Golden Gate Fields before running decent seconds in stakes at Sunland and Keeneland. But the Preakness is a tough spot looking for a first dirt win. Jose Ortiz picks up the mount.

9) OWENDALE (c, Into MischiefAspen Light, by Bernardini)
O-Rupp Racing. B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY).
T-Brad Cox. Sales history: $200,000 Yrl ’17 KEESEP.
Lifetime Record: GSW, $187,225.
Last Start: 1st, GIII Lexington S., KEE, Apr. 13.
Equineline PPs.
A big, looping run off the far turn of the GIII Lexington S. earned this $200,000 KEESEP Into Mischief colt both his first graded stakes win and a competitive 98 Beyer Speed Figure. But that visually impressive move was aided by a pace cave-in that set the race up perfectly for Owendale, and he will need to step up his game once again if he is to capture the Preakness 13 years after his dam-sire, Bernardini, won it in 2006.

10) WARRIOR’S CHARGE (c, MunningsBattling Brook, by Broken Vow)
O-Ten Strike Racing & Madaket Stables LLC. B-Al Shaquab Racing (FL). T-Brad Cox. Lifetime Record: 5-2-0-3, $138,110.
Last Start: 1st, Allowance/Optional Claimer, OP, Apr. 12
Equineline PPs.
He’s fast, but can he last? The lead straight from the gate from post three likely belongs to this Munnings colt if he wants it, and considering he’s riding a two-race, frontrunning win streak into a huge step up in class, there’s nothing to lose by trying to slug it out for as long and as hard as he can on the top end. Jockey Javier Castellano, a two-time Preakness winner, gets the call for the first time aboard Warrior’s Charge, whose top-half pedigree decidedly slants toward sprinting.

11) MARKET KING (c, Into MischiefDivine Presence, by A.P. Indy)
O-Robert C. Baker & William L. Mack. B-Flaxman Holdings Limited (KY). T-D. Wayne Lukas.
Sales history: $550,000 yrl ’17 KEESEP.
Lifetime Record: GSP, 8-1-1-2, $148,007.
Last Start: 11th, GII Blue Grass S., KEE, Apr. 6
Equineline PPs.
Market King’s two early-season, up-the-track juvenile races last summer at Churchill and Saratoga likely weren’t indicative of his true capabilities, but he’s stretched out decently, and no handicapper wants to overlook the D. Wayne Lukas factor in a Triple Crown race at long odds (remember Oxbow at 15-1 in the 2013 Preakness?). This $550,000 KEESEP Into Mischief colt was a distant third behind Omaha Beach in the faster division of the GII Rebel S., and was in the chase early in the Blue Grass S., where a speed-favoring surface should have assisted his pace-pressing running style (he faded to 11th).

12) BODEXPRESS (c, BodemeisterPied a Terre, by City Zip)
O-Top Racing LLC, Global Thoroughbred & GDS Racing Stable.
B-Martha Jane Mulholland (KY). T-Gustavo Delgado.
Sales history: $45,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $37,000 RNA 2yo ’18 FTMMAY. Lifetime Record: GISP, 6-0-3-0, $208,700.
Last Start: 13th, GI Kentucky Derby, May 4
Equineline PPs.
Maidens trying to force Triple Crown relevance don’t usually equate to a winning strategy, but this Bodemeister colt showed some grit in the Derby by pressing the pace and holding a good close-up position against far more seasoned horses. Although Bodexpress will remain fresh in the minds of bettors for how dramatically he seemed to check out of the action in the far-turn scrum that resulted in the DQ of the race winner (You’ve seen the replay hundreds of times, right?), the reality is that this colt was already backpedaling out of contention before that incident occurred. His sire was second in the 2012 version of this race.

13) EVERFAST (c, Take Charge Indy–Awesome Surprise, by Awesome Again)
O-Calumet Farm. B-Extern Developments (KY). T-Dale Romans. Lifetime Record: GSP, 10-1-1-1, $134,805.
Last Start: 5th, GIII Pat Day Mile, CD, May 4
Equineline PPs.
This $47,000 KEEJAN Take Charge Indy colt has his work cut out for him based on what we see on paper. He broke his maiden at first asking last August at Ellis Park and has lost nine straight races since. His career highlight was a 128-1 second in the fall-apart GII Holy Bull S. at Gulfstream, but he’s been beaten double-digit lengths in three stakes since then. He does have a solid body of two-turn racing under his belt, and owner Calumet Farm does have a reputation for sending out solidly-built stayers who don’t shy away from racing. But demand a huge price before bankrolling this colt, even as insurance in exotics.

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Bevy of Tens as Midlantic Preview Concludes

Thu, 2019-05-16 16:51

TIMONIUM, MD – The three-day under-tack preview of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training sale concluded Thursday in Timonium with four juveniles tying the preview’s fastest furlong mark of :10 flat and an additional two tying the bullet quarter-mile work of :21 3/5.

“The track was consistent, for the most part, each day from start to finish,” Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, Jr. said at the conclusion of the breeze show Thursday. “Obviously, the weather conditions on Wednesday and Thursday were more favorable than they were on Tuesday, but all in all, it was a very good display of quality horses. It was a well-attended breeze show, so we’re optimistic for the sale Monday and Tuesday.”

Early in the day’s first session, a filly by Violence (hip 467) became the second horse of the preview to work a furlong in :10 flat. Consigned by Crupi’s New Castle Farm, the dark bay filly is out of Significant Other (Not for Love) and is a half to stakes winner Marriedtothemusic (Disco Rico). J.J. Crupi, who purchased the youngster for $210,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearling sale, thought the filly could have gone even faster, but for a hop midway down the stretch.

“She kind of ducked from the rail,” Crupi said, adding the filly galloped out in :21 and :33 3/5. “She’s always been fast. I had her in Miami [at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale] and she got sick on me and I had to scratch her.”

Crupi, who has been dealing with health issues of his own, watched the work trackside from a golf cart. “Everything is good,” the consignor said of his condition. “All my tests are textbook and I’m feeling better.”

A filly from the first crop of Grade I winner The Big Beast (Yes It’s True) (hip 535) was the second to work the furlong in :10 flat Thursday. The gray filly is out of Therese (Exchange Rate), a half-sister to Grade I winner Proud Accolade (Yes It’s True). She is consigned by Wavertree Stables.

“She’s just quick,” Wavertree’s Ciaran Dunne said of the filly. “We had pretty high expectations for her all the time coming up here and she’s had a good week here, so we weren’t surprised she went that quick.”

The filly was purchased by Dunne’s Owls Bloodstock for $45,000 at last year’s OBS October sale.

“She is a beautiful filly,” Dunne said. “She’s got a bit of stretch and length about her and a huge hip and she is a great-minded little filly, too. Nothing bothers her. She is automatic, push button. She does whatever you want her to do. She is an easy one to be around.”

Becky Thomas’s Sequel Bloodstock sent out a colt by Flatter (hip 574) to work the co-bullet furlong in :10 flat. Out of stakes placed Veronica’s Lake (Salt Lake), the chestnut colt was purchased by Thomas and Lewis Lakin for $70,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

“He’s by Flatter out of a Salt Lake mare and he looks fast,” Thomas said of the colt’s appeal last fall. “I had him at OBS [March], but some horses don’t really like that synthetic. He worked there, but I wasn’t particularly enamored with the work, so we took him out. We wanted to try him on dirt. And I guess he liked it.”

Bobby Dodd sent out the first horse of the preview to hit the :10 flat mark during Wednesday’s second session and the consignor sent out the final one, as well. Hip 590 is a filly from the first crop of Grade I winner Wicked Strong (Hard Spun). She is out of With Wonder (Flatter), a half-sister to graded placed Mazella (Mazel Trick).

“She’s just a fast filly,” Dodd said after the bay’s :10 flat work.

Dodd purchased the youngster for $17,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

“I liked her body and she was correct,” Dodd explained. “She’s really pretty.”

A filly by Cairo Prince (hip 424) tied the fastest quarter-mile breeze time of the preview when covering the distance in :21 3/5 during Thursday’s first set. The dark bay filly is the first foal out of multiple stakes placed Rico’s Posse (Posse). She is consigned to the Midlantic sale by De Meric Sales and was purchased by the De Merics for $145,000 as a weanling at the 2017 Keeneland November sale.

A colt from the first crop of Grade I winner Daredevil (More Than Ready) (hip 445) also worked the quarter in :21 3/5. The bay, the first foal out of Seattle Charlie (Indian Charlie), is consigned by Lane Richardson’s Richardson Bloodstock and was purchased by Richardson’s father, trainer Mike Neatherlin, for $100,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

“I told my son this was the best baby I’ve had in a long time,” Neatherlin said. “I knew he was a runner–he’ll run all day. And he’s a beautiful mover.”

The preview was marred by the fatal breakdown of a colt by Tale of the Cat, who fell to the track entering the backstretch while galloping out after his furlong work during the day’s fourth set.

“We had a horse who suffered an injury who was unable to be saved and was put down on the racetrack,” Browning said. “He will be sent to New Bolton for a complete necropsy.”

The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale will be held next Monday and Tuesday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, with bidding beginning each day at 11 a.m.

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Covfefe Looks to Make the Grade in Miss Preakness

Thu, 2019-05-16 11:35

LNJ Foxwoods’ Covfefe (Into Mischief) gets a second chance at black-type as the morning-line favorite in the GIII Miss Preakness S. at Pimlico Friday. A dazzling debut winner at Churchill in September, the bay checked in fourth to champion Jaywalk (Cross Traffic) in the GI Frizette S. at Belmont in October and was subsequently shelved. She returned to winning ways in a Keeneland optional claimer last time Apr. 6.

Bob Baffert can never be overlooked and he ships in a live one in undefeated Fighting Mad (New Year’s Day). A first out winner at Del Mar in December, the Gary and Mary West homebred returned from an eight-month layoff to capture a Churchill allowance last time Apr. 30.

There are a trio of local runners with a strong chance in this test, including the unbeaten Never Enough Time (Munnings), who won her two starts at Laurel Mar. 3 and Apr. 14 by a combined 11 lengths. Congrats Gal (Congrats) also enters off a pair of strong wins at Laurel, demolishing a Sept. 14 optional claimer by 14 lengths and romping by 6 3/4 lengths in the Nov. 10 Smart Halo S. The Pimlico-based Please Flatter Me (Flatter) finished fourth last time when visiting the Big Apple for the Busher S. Mar. 9, but opened her account with three dominant scores, including the Gin Talking S. Dec. 29.


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Point of Honor Seeks Redemption in Black-Eyed Susan

Thu, 2019-05-16 11:32

Point of Honor (Curlin) suffered the first loss of her young career last out at Gulfstream and looks to return to winning ways in Pimlico’s GII Black-Eyed Susan S. Friday. Graduating by six lengths in her Gulfstream unveiling Dec. 16, the George Weaver pupil followed suit with a win the Suncoast S. at Tampa Feb. 9, but could only manage fourth last time in the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks Mar. 30.

Also exiting the Gulfstream Park Oaks is third-place finisher Cookie Dough (Brethren). The dark bay captured a pair of Florida-bred stakes by 14 lengths in September and missed by just a head in the GII Davona Dale S. Mar. 2.

Repole Stable’s Always Shopping (Awesome Again) enters off a pair of black-type wins. Earning her diploma in the Busanda S. Feb. 3, the Todd Pletcher trainee captured the nine-panel GII Gazelle S. at Aqueduct last time Apr. 6. Pletcher also enters Gazelle third-place finisher Off Topic (Street Sense).

‘TDN Rising Star’ Brill (Medaglia d’Oro) has been knocking at the door of a graded stakes win in her last few starts and looks to break through here. Third in the GI Chandelier S. last term, the $1 million FTKJUL topper finished second to fellow ‘Rising Star’ Lyrical Lady (More Than Ready) in her seasonal bow at Oaklawn Mar. 22 and she completed the trifecta in that oval’s GIII Fantasy S. last time Apr. 12.

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New Approach’s Telecaster Too Hot In the Dante

Thu, 2019-05-16 10:50

As is generally the case where York’s G2 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante S. is concerned, there was some serious Derby reckoning on Thursday as Too Darn Hot (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) surrendered his unbeaten record to Telecaster (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) and any thoughts of a tilt at the blue riband in the process. While John Gosden was talking of Royal Ascot and the G1 St James’s Palace S. in the aftermath for the Lloyd-Webbers’ juvenile champion, Hughie Morrison was trying his best to be sensible as he pondered a supplementary entry for the June 1 Classic for the Meon Valley Stud homebred winner. Telegraphing his raw ability with a nine-length success in a 10-furlong Windsor maiden Apr. 15, Telecaster who races for the Castle Down Racing syndicate tracked Too Darn Hot’s stablemate Turgenev (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) way ahead of the remainder from the outset under Oisin Murphy. Earning the lead passing the two-furlong pole, he was threatened by the even-money favourite inside the last furlong but stayed on best to prevail by a length, with four lengths back to Surfman (GB) (Kingman {GB}) in a renewal every bit as strong as looked likely beforehand.

Taken out of the Derby in March, Telecaster would need to be added back in “Kris Kin” style and therefore Morrison was not jumping in to an instant commitment. “He’s obviously a very good horse, but the Derby is only 16 days away and so we’ll have to see how he is,” he said of the 7-1 shot, who if allowed to run in the blue riband will join the stud’s Oaks-bound Anapurna (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in the trip to Epsom. “We always thought that he had an incredible cruising speed and it was his strength that kept him going. I thought he’d gone too quick and wouldn’t get home–he had to beat Turgenev first and was being stalked by the favourite–but it looked as if we outstayed him.”

Gosden was categoric about Too Darn Hot’s next destination, leaving the Derby almost a Hughie Morrison vs Ballydoyle affair. “They set an even pace and Frankie was settling him, but he was strong and pulling being fresh on his first run of the year,” he said. “He had those two weeks walking and the lack of a race beforehand, but stamina told in the end. We came for a trial and an answer and that is very clearly that we’ll freshen him up and go for the [June 18] St James’s Palace at Royal Ascot.”

Telecaster, who was second on debut to the subsequent G3 Sandown Classic Trial winner Bangkok (Ire) (Australia {GB}) in a Doncaster maiden also at this trip, is the second foal out the stable’s G1 Epsom and Irish Oaks runner-up Shirocco Star (GB) (Shirocco {Ger}) who was also third in the G1 Pretty Polly S. and runner-up in the G2 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares S. and G2 Prix de Royallieu. Buyers had an opportunity to snap him up at the 2017 Tattersalls October Book 1 Sale, but none were willing to stretch beyond 180,000gns so the famous Hampshire establishment took him back into their fold. Ironically, Shirocco Star’s first foal is the 4-year-old gelding Starcaster (GB) (Dansili {GB}) who won easily for the Jedd O’Keefe yard in the meeting’s closing 12-furlong handicap on Wednesday and it is safe to say that staying ability where the Derby trip is concerned is a cast-iron certainty.

Stamina was the stumbling block for Oisin Murphy when Roaring Lion (Kitten’s Joy) faded to be third at Epsom last year, but he was on a different type of animal here and was keen to exploit it. “I was able to use the pacemaker to my advantage and being by a Derby winner out of an Oaks second if he was in his comfort zone he was going to stay,” he said after dominating the likes of a GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner in Line of Duty (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), a G2 Beresford S. winner in Japan (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) and a TDN Rising Star in Turgenev. “After I rode him at Windsor I thought he was very special.” Jockey reaction was also key for the placed horses. “Too much pace,” Frankie quipped of the beaten favourite. “It was too far for him, bless him. He pulled very hard for the first four furlongs, I got him to relax and he made up some ground but the last furlong was a long way. Back to a mile.” Andrea Atzeni said of Surfman, “He ran a good race, travelled well and stayed on well.”

Shirocco Star, whose 2-year-old colt by Dubawi (Ire) was bought for 1.1million gns by Stroud Coleman Bloodstock at last year’s Tattersalls October Sale, is out of a half-sister to the G3 Tetrarch S. winner and G1 Irish 2000 Guineas runner-up France (GB) (Desert Prince {Ire}) and the listed scorer Hippy Hippy Shake (GB) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}). Her upwardly-mobile daughter Twist ‘n’ Shake (GB) (Kingman {GB}) was an impressive recent maiden winner herself and runs in the stud’s Helena Springfield silks in Friday’s Listed Michael Seeley Memorial Fillies’ S. over a mile here. They descend from one of the operation’s foundation mares Reprocolor (GB) (Jimmy Reppin {GB}), who has had a runner in the Derby in Alessandro Volta (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}), Ballydoyle’s G3 Lingfield Derby Trial winner who was sixth behind Telecaster’s sire in 2008.

Thursday, York, Britain
AL BASTI EQUIWORLD DUBAI DANTE S.-G2, £165,000, York, 5-16, 3yo, 10f 56yT, 2:10.24, g/f.
1–TELECASTER (GB), 126, c, 3, by New Approach (Ire)
1st Dam: Shirocco Star (GB) (MG1SP-Ire, G1SP-Eng & GSP-Fr, $485,970), by Shirocco (Ger)
2nd Dam: Spectral Star (GB), by Unfuwain
3rd Dam: Hyperspectra (GB), by Rainbow Quest
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN; 1ST GROUP WIN. (180,000gns RNA Ylg ’17 TATOCT). O-Castle Down Racing; B-Meon Valley Stud (GB); T-Hugh Morrison; J-Oisin Murphy. £93,572. Lifetime Record: 3-2-1-0, $126,573. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Too Darn Hot (GB), 126, c, 3, Dubawi (Ire)–Dar Re Mi (GB), by Singspiel (Ire). O-Lord Lloyd-Webber; B-Watership Down stud (GB); T-John Gosden. £35,475.
3–Surfman (GB), 126, c, 3, Kingman (GB)–Shimmering Surf (Ire), by Danehill Dancer (Ire). (140,000gns RNA Ylg ’17 TATOCT). O/B-Peter Winkworth (GB); T-Roger Varian. £17,754.
Margins: 1, 4, 3/4. Odds: 7.00, 1.00, 5.00.
Also Ran: Japan (GB), Turgenev (GB), Nayef Road (Ire), Line of Duty (Ire), Almania (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Improbable Draws Four Slot Among Preakness Baker’s Dozen

Wed, 2019-05-15 17:29

TDN Rising Star‘ Improbable (City Zip), promoted from fifth to fourth in the GI Kentucky Derby, drew post four and was installed the morning-line favorite at 5-2 among the 13 sophomores signed on for Saturday’s GI Preakness S. at Pimlico. The Bob Baffert trainee, who romped in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity S. late last year before settling for second in both a division of the GII Rebel S. and the GI Arkansas Derby this term, will be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith.

Gary Barber’s War of Will (War Front), among those most impacted by Maximum Security (New Year’s Day) shifting out at the top of the lane in the Derby, will break from the rail, just as he did two weeks ago. Given a 4-1 morning-line quote, he will again be ridden by regular pilot Tyler Gaffalione. The Derby seventh-place finisher annexed the GIII Lecomte S. and GII Louisiana Derby earlier this term.

Alwaysmining (Stay Thirsty), drawn in the six slot and 8-1 on the morning line, is one of the more intriguing fresh faces in the Preakness. The Maryland-bred and Fair Hill-based gelding has won each of his last six starts, most recently Laurel’s Federico Tesio S. by 11 1/2 lengths Apr. 29.

Calumet Farm’s Everfast (Take Charge Indy) was the latest addition to the Preakness field, with the news coming out earlier in the day Wednesday that he’d head to Baltimore from trainer Dale Romans’s Churchill Downs base.

Second at 128-1 in Gulfstream’s GII Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull S. in February, the bay has been off the board in three subsequent tries, most recently checking in fifth in the GIII Pat Day Mile S. on the Derby undercard. He’ll be ridden for the first time Saturday by Joel Rosario.

“He jumped up and ran big in the Holy Bull,” Romans said. “When he runs big, he runs big. We’re hoping he throws in one of those big races. Some of the top contenders are missing, so we’ll take a chance. He’s training like he did before the Holy Bull. We’re going to try to wheel him back off the [one-turn mile] and see if we can get a piece of it. You’ve got a future Hall of Fame rider, so we might as well take a shot.”

Romans took the 2011 Preakness with Shackleford (Forestry), while Calumet has the most wins of any owner with seven.

The complete Preakness field is as follows:

1. War of Will (War Front), Casse, Gaffalione, 4-1

2. Bourbon War (Tapit), Hennig, I. Ortiz, Jr., 12-1

3. Warrior’s Charge (Munnings), Cox, Castellano, 12-1

4. Improbable (City Zip), Baffert, Smith, 5-2

5. Owendale (Into Mischief), Cox, Geroux, 10-1

6. Market King (Into Mischief), Lukas, Court, 30-1

7. Alwaysmining (Stay Thirsty), Rubley, Centeno, 8-1

8. Signalman (General Quarters), McPeek, B. Hernandez, 30-1

9. Bodexpress (Bodemeister), A. Delgado, J. Velazquez, 20-1

10. Everfast (Take Charge Indy), Romans, Rosario, 50-1

11. Laughing Fox (Union Rags), Asmussen, Santana, 20-1

12. Anothertwistafate (Scat Daddy), Wright, J. Ortiz, 6-1

13. Win Win Win (Hat Trick {Jpn}), Trombetta, Pimentel, 15-1


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Into Mischief Filly Sets New Furlong Mark in Timonium

Wed, 2019-05-15 16:50

TIMONIUM, MD – The sun finally came out in Maryland and times picked up during the second session of the three-day under-tack preview of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in Timonium Wednesday. A filly by Into Mischief (hip 360) turned in the fastest furlong work of the preview so far when she covered the distance in :10 flat. Consigned by Bobby Dodd, the bay juvenile is out of stakes placed Peggy Jane (Kafwain) and she was a $220,000 Keeneland September purchase by Brad Grady’s Grand Oaks.

‘She’s a big, nice filly and she’s fast,” said Dodd. “She has been showing me she could run the whole time and she showed up today. You never know what is going to happen up here, but I was hoping she would get a :10 flat. I knew she could go :10.”

Dodd’s consignment sent out the only juvenile to work the furlong bullet in :10 flat during last year’s Midlantic under-tack preview and that Union Rags colt, Tale of the Union, sold for $925,000 and was tabbed a ‘TDN Rising Star’ off a debut win at Del Mar last August.

Asked if Wednesday’s bullet worker might match his colt from last year, Dodd said, “You never know what’s going to happen, but she’s a fast filly and she’s by Into Mischief who is a hot sire. I am expecting something good.”

Six horses shared Wednesday’s bullet quarter-mile breeze time. Top Line Sales, which sent out the fastest worker at the distance during Tuesday’s first session of the preview, was first to hit the :21 3/5 mark with a colt by Into Mischief (hip 322). The juvenile is out of Nihilist (Latent Heat) and is a half to stakes winner Green Suede Shoes (Meadow Monster) and from the family of Grade I winner Ermine. He was purchased by Carlo Vaccarezza for $265,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale and RNA’d for $575,000 after working in :10 1/5 at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale in March.

Four of the six bullet quarter-mile works came during Wednesday’s first of five sets. Consignor Nick De Meric sent out a colt from the first crop of GI Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern (Offlee Wild) (hip 355) to work in :21 3/5. De Meric Sales purchased the youngster, out of stakes placed Pardonmecomingthru (Chatain), for $100,000 at the 2018 Keeneland January sale.

“We were really happy with that work,” De Meric said. “We bought this fellow as a foal in Kentucky, so we know him really well, we raised him. He couldn’t be a more straightforward, honest colt. He’s been working really well at home, so I was very happy with his work today, but not surprised.”

Later in the day, De Meric Sales sent out another son of Bayern, himself a graduate of the 2013 Midlantic May Sale, with hip 272 going a furlong in :10 4/5.

“I’ve liked both of the two that I’ve had,” de Meric said of his limited experience with offspring of the multiple Grade I winner. “The colt that just breezed is not quite as fast as the first one, but he is a lovely mover. He’s a little immature, he’s a May foal, and the best is still ahead of him. And the one that breezed this morning, I just love.”

Tuesday’s first session of the preview came after two days of heavy rain and the track seemed livelier under sunny skies and warmer temperatures Wednesday.

“It definitely has a little more life to it today,” De Meric agreed. “We had peanut-butter syndrome Tuesday, but nobody can help that. It’s a product of the weather. They did a great job bringing the track back to a safe condition, but it wasn’t flattering for a lot of the horses.”

Asked about the advantages of working horses the quarter-mile versus the furlong in Timonium, De Meric explained, “It’s a little tricky from a logistical standpoint because that quarter pole comes at you very quickly and you’ve got to have your horse well-prepared mentally to be ready to break sharply pretty quickly after he gets on the racetrack. It is May and I think a lot of people are looking to see a little bit more from these young horses. For those that do need a little more time to mature and develop, it’s a lovely date for us because it gives us that extra bit of time. I think for those that can, it’s definitely an advantage to work a quarter, but I don’t think the ones that work an eighth are penalized.”

All Dreams Equine sent out hip 334, a filly by Street Sense, to work the quarter in :21 3/5 during Wednesday’s first set. The gray, a $15,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase, is out of graded stakes winner Now I Know (Pure Prize). She RNA’d for $95,000 after working a furlong in :10 flat at the OBS March sale.

Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables sent out a colt by Union Rags (hip 213) to share the :21 3/5 quarter-mile bullet time Wednesday.

“He’s a pretty fast horse,” Elser said of the son of stakes placed Isabelle’s Thunder (Mineshaft).

Of the track conditions, Elser added, “We’ve had good weather the last day and a half, but they have done a great job in the last two weeks keeping the track safe. It was safe yesterday and it’s fast and safe today.”

Pick View LLC sent out hip 396, a son of Awesome Again, to work the quarter in :21 3/5. Out of Queen Buxley (Super Saver), the dark bay was a $250,000 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearling purchase and RNA’d for $145,000 after working a furlong in :10 2/5 at the Fasig Gulfstream sale.

Susan Montanye’s SBM Training and Sales had the final quarter-mile bullet worker of the day, with Montanye in the irons for the :21 3/5 work of hip 364, a filly from the first crop of GI Belmont S. winner Palace Malice. Out of Perfectly Natural (Forestry), the youngster was a $130,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase.

“I bought her at Keeneland and I actually took her to the [OBS] March sale,” Montanye said of the filly. “She worked in :10 flat and vetted 100% clean, but we just didn’t have the action on her. I wasn’t going to give her away, she’s too nice of a filly, and she can flat run. So I brought her up here and we’ve had no issues. We decided to work her a quarter to prove that there was no setback. We’ve just kicked on with her and she just rolled around this racetrack.”

Asked if the filly had changed much since the March sale, Montanye said, “The only thing I can say is that maybe she’s gotten a little bigger and a little stronger. She was always a big and strong filly anyway, but she may be even bigger than she was in March.”

Montanye was happy with the track condition Wednesday.

“The track actually feels a little better today, it’s not as loose,” she said.

The final session of the under-tack preview begins Thursday at 8 a.m. The Midlantic sale will be held next Monday and Tuesday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds with bidding beginning each day at 11 a.m.

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Newspaperofrecord Ruled Out of Ascot Trip

Wed, 2019-05-15 16:15

TDN Rising Star‘ Newspaperofrecord (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) has been ruled out of a trip to Royal Ascot for next month’s G1 Coronation S. The Klaravich Stables colorbearer could not have been more impressive in three attempts over yielding sod last year, capped by a 6 3/4-length romp in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Nov. 2. She settled for a well-beaten second at 1-5 last time, however, in Churchill’s GIII Edgewood S. May 3. “It was good of Chad Brown to show so much enthusiasm and commitment to the project from her win in the Breeders’ Cup and to see that backed up with an entry in the Coronation S.,” Nick Smith, Ascot’s director of racing and communications, told At the Races. “It’s very disappointing for all that the prep race didn’t give them the confidence to carry on.”

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Thursday’s Racing Insights: Pricey War Front Filly Debuts for Best & Brown

Wed, 2019-05-15 14:48

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency

2nd-BEL, $80K, Msw, 3yo/up, f, 1mT, 3:36p.m.
The extremely well-bred Balon Rose (War Front) makes her initial appearance for Larry Best’s OXO Equine and trainer Chad Brown. The bay cost $1.6 million at the 2017 Keeneland September sale, making her the fifth-priciest filly at that marathon auction–one spot ahead of $1.25-million Cambier Parc (Medaglia d’Oro), winner of the GIII Herecomesthebride S. for these same connections in March. Balon Rose is out of Irish Group 3 winner Aloof (Galileo {Ire}), who was purchased by Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm for $3.9 million at the 2014 Keeneland November sale carrying a year-older full-sister to Balon Rose who would later bring $900,000 at KEESEP and win in England. Aloof’s dam is champion Airwave (GB) (Air Express {Ire}), who has also produced the likes of the SW/GSP dam of highest-level winners Churchill (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Clemmie (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

Stone Farm’s Estill (Bernardini) also makes her first start here. The Bill Mott-trained homebred is out of Owsley (Harlan), a four-time graded winner on the grass and the dam of SW/GSP Senada (Pulpit) and GISP Arthur’s Tale (Bernardini). TJCIS PPs

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Wests File Lawsuit Seeking Derby Overturn

Wed, 2019-05-15 13:52

In an attempt to get a federal judge to overturn the controversial May 4 disqualification of the GI Kentucky Derby winner, the owners of Maximum Security (New Year’s Day) filed a civil lawsuit on Tuesday against the three stewards assigned to Churchill Downs, plus the 14 board members and the executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC).

The lawsuit, filed by Gary and Mary West in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky (Frankfort Division), does not specifically demand any financial compensation or damages from the defendants.

“The remedy requested,” the suit states, “is a reversal of the decision disqualifying Maximum Security and reinstatement of the original order of finish confirming that Maximum Security is the official winner of the Derby who remains undefeated.”

The 126-page suit cites seven counts as the basis for overturning the DQ, which was the first takedown of a Derby winner for an in-race rules violation in 145 runnings of America’s most famous horse race.

Chief among those counts are that “the final order is not supported by substantial evidence on the whole record” and that the DQ “violates plaintiffs’ Fourteenth Amendment rights to procedural due process.”

The stewards’ post-Derby adjudication process lasted 22 minutes and played out on national TV as they debated whether Maximum Security’s shifting out while leading on the far turn caused crowding that affected rivals in close pursuit and almost triggered a clipping-of-heels accident.

In the aftermath of two jockeys’ objections—but no posted stewards’ inquiry—Maximum Security was judged to have fouled Long Range Toddy (Take Charge Indy) and thus placed behind that rival in 17th  place. Country House (Lookin At Lucky), who crossed the wire second, was elevated to first place and recognized as the official Derby winner.

“As a result of the disqualification, Plaintiffs, the trainer, and the jockey of Maximum Security were denied any part of the $1,860,000 share of the Derby purse as well as a professional accomplishment that any horseman would cherish for life, plus the very substantial value that a Kentucky Derby winner has as a stallion,” the suit states.

“The betting public was adversely affected by the disqualification,” the suit contends. “It is estimated that those who had wagered on Maximum Security…would have, but for the disqualification…collected winnings estimated to be more than $100 million.”

Chief state steward Barbara Borden, state steward Brooks “Butch” Becraft, and Churchill Downs steward Tyler Picklesimer are listed as defendants, with a notation that each is being sued in both “individual and official capacities.”

That same notation applies to the KHRC defendants: Executive director Marc Guilfoil, chairman Franklin King, vice chair Mark Simendinger, and board members Gatewood Bell, Jr., Larry Bisig, Stuart Brown II, DVM, Kerry Cauthen, Kiki Courtelis, Pat. Day, Douglas Hendrickson, Lesley Ann May Howard, Kenneth Jackson, Bret Jones, Foster Northrop, DVM, and J. David Richardson.

Attempts to reach some of the defendants via phone for comment were unsuccessful prior to deadline for this story.

The plaintiffs’ version of events outlined in the suit keys on “the absence of any inquiry” by the stewards and the fact that only the “meritless” objection by Flavien Prat, who rode Country House, was announced to the public while a second objection by Jon Court, the rider of Long Range Toddy, was neither posted nor announced.

“In two conversations with the Stewards that were initiated by the trainer of Maximum Security (Jason Servis), he was told of the Prat Objection, but he was not told of the Court Objection, though he was told that he had no right to appeal the Stewards’ decision,” the suit asserts.

The suit also alleges that “the original official chart of the Derby prepared by Equibase following the Derby did not report the Court Objection based on information received from the Stewards,” and that “approximately four days after Equibase posted the official Derby chart, the Stewards directed Equibase to change the chart to disclose the Court Objection.”

The suit further alleges that stewards were “not truthful” when they issued a post-DQ press statement that said they “interviewed affected riders,” because two rival jockeys whose horses appeared to lose momentum and position (Tyler Gaffalione and Chris Landeros) later told the media they never spoke to the stewards.

After reading their “false and misleading” press statement, the suit alleges, the stewards “refused to answer any questions that might theoretically shed light on the evidence on which they relied, the reasoning behind their disqualification, how their decision to disqualify satisfied the rules governing fouls, and the deliberative process by which they unanimously came to the conclusion to disqualify Maximum Security.”

By refusing to answer media questions and subsequent queries from the plaintiffs, the suit contends that the stewards are depriving the “betting and general public” of the “right to know” about potential officiating conflicts like “any prior business or social relationships [the stewards] may have had with any of the owners, trainers, or jockeys of any of the impacted horses, and any communications with third parties during their deliberations, such as legal counsel [and/or] Kentucky Commissioners.”

The due-process Constitutional angle that the Wests will attempt to leverage centers on the Fourteenth Amendment prohibiting “any State” from depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

The suit argues that “As a result of Maximum Security crossing the finish line first in the Derby, Plaintiffs had a property interest based on their reasonable expectation and legitimate claim of entitlement to any and all of the financial and other benefits that they would otherwise have received as the result of Maximum Security winning the Derby.”

And those expectations, the suit continues, “could only be denied if Defendants first complied with (which they did not) all applicable statutes and regulations…to conclude that there was substantial evidence both that a foul had been committed by Maximum Security and that the foul proximately altered the outcome of the race…”.

To further underscore that point about a “reasonable expectation and legitimate claim of entitlement,” the plaintiffs are arguing that history is on their side.

“In the 144 prior runnings of the Derby no horse that had crossed the finish line first had ever been disqualified by the Commission, the Stewards, or their predecessors as the result of a foul during the running of the race,” the suit points out, despite there being “more egregious circumstances” throughout the history of the Derby.

The remaining five counts that the suit claims are the basis for the DQ reversal are:

1)      The “final order” that DQ’d Maximum Security “exceeds the statutory authority delegated to the commission.”

2)      “The stewards abused their discretion by ordering the DQ.”

3)      “The final order of the stewards DQ’ing Maximum Security is deficient under law.”

4)      The meaning of the word “clear” is “unconstitutionally vague” in the context of describing if a horse moved safely or is “entitled to” any part of the track.

5)      The defendants violated section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, “which puts them liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress…”

The plaintiffs are also seeking reimbursement for legal costs and “such other and further relief as the Court deems fair, just, and proper.”

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Street Sense Colt Quickest at Fasig Midlantic Tuesday

Tue, 2019-05-14 17:38

TIMONIUM, MD – The three-session under tack show ahead of next week’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale began on a chilly, overcast Tuesday in Timonium with a colt by Street Sense setting the quarter-mile bullet time of :21 4/5 and four horses sharing the fastest furlong time of :10 1/5. After two days of heavy rain, the session started two hours later than originally scheduled to allow for extra time for track maintenance.

“Based on what Mother Nature had done to us the last three days, the track crew did an amazing job to get it to what we have today,” Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sales director Paget Bennett said between sets Tuesday. “We have a good, safe track. The track crew needed that extra time to make sure the track was the way it needed to be before the first horse breezed over it.”

Grassroots Training and Sales sent out two of the four furlong bullet workers Tuesday and consignor David McKathan agreed with Bennett’s assessment of the track.

“I thought they did the best they could with all the weather they had,” McKathan said. “It was safe and that’s the most important thing.  All my horses came back good and that’s very important. I wouldn’t care if it stayed slow the rest of the week, as long as it stayed safe.”

Grassroots sent the very first horse to work over the track Tuesday morning. A filly from the first crop of Grade I winner Competitive Edge (Super Saver), hip 106 promptly set the furlong mark of :10 1/5. A $13,000 OBS October yearling, the dark bay filly is the first foal out of Daddy’s Lil Saint (Scat Daddy). Grassroots’ second horse of the day was hip 118, a daughter of Weigelia, who also worked in :10 1/5. Out of the unraced Dixiewood (Dixie Union), the filly was purchased for $23,000 by Three Diamonds Farm at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic October sale last year.

“That’s why we sent her out first and then we also had our second horse out who also went :10 1/5,” McKathan said. “We were thinking they would both go fast–:10 1/5 is about as fast as you can go here, very rarely do you get a :10 flat here.”

Also in the first set Tuesday, a colt from the first crop of Race Day, hip 152, worked the furlong in :10 1/5. Consigned by Kings Equine, as agent for breeder Spendthrift Farm, the gray is out of graded stakes winner Flashy Lassie (Flashy Bull). He RNA’d for $27,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

In the day’s fourth of five sets, a colt by Itsmyluckyday (hip 167) was the final of the session to breeze in :10 1/5. The dark bay is out of Golden Gal Al (Monarchos) and is consigned by SBM Training and Sales, which purchased him for $25,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

Late in the day, a colt by Street Sense (hip 156) recorded the fastest quarter-mile drill of :21 4/5. Consigned by Top Line Sales, he is out of Forest Fashion (Forest Wildcat) and was purchased by Carlo Vaccarezza for $280,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

As temperatures are predicted to warm up in the coming days and the track further dries out, McKathan is expecting a faster surface for the under-tack shows final two sessions.

“I thought the track was a tad off of what it’s going to be the next two days simply because of the bad weather,” McKathan explained. “They did everything they could with the track and it was safe, but maybe not quite as fast as it will be the next two days.”

Asked if buyers will take Tuesday’s track conditions into account when evaluating the session’s workout times, he said bluntly, “No.” Before adding with a laugh, “And you can quote me on that.”

“Every day is a different day and that should be taken into consideration,” McKathan continued. “The buyers have a tendency to say, ‘Well, they weren’t fast today because they can’t.’ But that’s got nothing to do with it. Track conditions should be taken into consideration and they [buyers] don’t.”

The under-tack preview continues Wednesday and Thursday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds with sessions beginning at 8 a.m. The sale will be held next Monday and Tuesday with bidding beginning each day at 11 a.m.

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Actor, Racehorse Owner Tim Conway Dies

Tue, 2019-05-14 14:18

Tim Conway, the actor, comedian and racehorse owner, has died at the age of 85, according to CNN. Wikipedia listed the cause of death as normal-pressure hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the brain. The family has asked that instead of gifts, donations be made to The Lou Ruvo Brain Center at the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada, CNN reports.

Conway was one of the stars of the Carol Burnett show, and won four Emmy Awards for his work on the program, one for writing and three for acting.

A longtime fan of thoroughbred racing, Conway was a regular at the track, and owned horses as well. Along with Chris and Judy McCarron, he was the co-founder of the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, named for the rider who died of cancer at the age of 37, and which provided funds for injured riders. He served as vice president of the board of directors of the Fund.

Conway was born in Willoughby, Ohio and grew up in nearby Chagrin Falls.

He wrote and starred in the 1986 comedy The Longshot about four friends who enjoy betting on horse racing and who get involved in a scheme to cash a big bet.

His most famous racing skit was playing his long-running character Lyle Dorf as a jockey on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

“He was a man of pure class,” said former jockey Chris McCarron, who knew Conway for close to 40 years. “He absolutely loved the racing game and I think he loved jockeys even more. He had the utmost respect for riders and both he and his wife Charlene were huge jockey fans and that’s the biggest reason why Tim and Judy decided to start the Don MacBeth Fund back in 1987. He used to joke that when he was on tour, he would make sure his tour manager scheduled him in cities that had a racetrack. And that’s the truth. Whenever he went to a city where there was a racetrack, he would go to the races. He was a horse owner for a short period of time, and he couldn’t help but be comical there because the colors he had made had two words on the back: No Passing. He used to joke that the colors didn’t work very well, because his horses were always in last, so no one could read the back.

“He was a kind and generous and sweet man. He really was. What you saw on television was his complete personality. He always wanted to make people laugh. Even if you were just sitting around having a simple dinner or lunch, he’d always come up with something that made you laugh so hard. He put smiles on millions of faces over the years, and he will be sorely missed.”

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Q and A With Del Mar’s Josh Rubinstein

Tue, 2019-05-14 13:35

Though Del Mar’s annual summer meet is still two months away, preparations for it are in full-swing–preparations that are being driven in part by unfolding industry-wide changes, precipitated by events at Santa Anita this winter and spring.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the announcement that Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC) CEO Joe Harper made recently concerning a series of safety and welfare protocols the track will be instituting this summer. This includes the adoption of International Federation of Horseracing Authorities medication standards, the addition of more veterinarians to oversee morning workouts, increased out-of-competition testing, bolstered stable security, and the formation of a stakeholder advisory committee.

These measures, said Harper, will be instituted alongside the other safety measures that Del Mar has adopted in recent years to successfully reduce fatality rates. TDN recently sat down with Josh Rubinstein, DMTC president, to discuss these proposed changes, as well as his thoughts concerning the meet in general.

The following is a lightly edited version of the conversation.

TDN: Obviously, events at Santa Anita this winter are still very much front and center within the industry here in California. How have they impacted preparations for your summer meet?

JR: The safety of our equine and human athletes continues to be our top priority. We’re very proud that the last few years have been some of the safest in Del Mar’s history. You’ve probably seen The Jockey Club’s recent injury database report. Ours is one of the safest tracks in the country, but we’re always striving to do better.

TDN: Can you tell me more about which International Federation of Horseracing Authorities medication standards you’ll be adopting?

JR: We’ll be instituting many of the IFHA’s medication standards, which are the strictest in the world, and these are the same protocols that are currently in place at Santa Anita. We’re working with the [Thoroughbred Owners of California] on the things we need to implement as house rules. The feedback we’re getting from the horsemen and the backside community is that it’s taking a bit of time, but they’re getting more comfortable with the new procedures. I think everybody involved feels like this will make California racing truly safer.

TDN: By how much will you be increasing out-of-competition testing?

JR: We’re going to be increasing it a lot. While some of the details are confidential in order to protect the integrity of the testing process, I can tell you it will be significantly expanded this summer, and we will include morning training. We will take a percentage of horses working each morning as part of the out-of- competition testing.

TDN: Joe Harper also announced that you’re developing a stakeholder advisory committee. Who will be on that committee, and what will the committee do?

JR: One of our corporate goals at Del Mar is to be inclusionary and transparent with industry stakeholders, and the advisory committee is really just an extension of that. We’re still working on representatives, but we’ll definitely have somebody from the trainers and jockeys. They’ll meet regularly with us to discuss items such as racing surfaces and our race-day operations.

Like I’ve said, we’ll be doing some new things this summer. We talked about the IFHA reforms, but we’ll also have enhanced security on the backside, increased veterinary presence in the morning to observe the works. It’s not going to be perfect, so we want to get feedback from our stakeholders. If there are things, maybe a couple weeks into the meet, that are suggested to us by the committee that makes sense, we’re all about adopting it.

TDN: Del Mar recently joined with other major North American tracks calling for a partial ban of race-day administration of Lasix. That ban would start with 2-year-olds of 2020 and extend to stakes races in 2021. The Lasix debate is hardly a new one, but can you explain a little more about this decision? For example, a number of horsemen have made the observation that horses are more prone to bleed at Del Mar than certain other tracks.

JR: We acknowledge that there are strong feelings and not complete consensus on this issue. This is our third-rail issue within the industry. But we believe the recently announced national policy, which has more consensus than prior plans, is an important step. To be perfectly candid, we hope the national plan will be a catalyst for the national adoption of California’s stricter rules regarding cortico-steroids, anti-inflammatories. Lasix gets all the headlines, but we believe those are the reforms that will truly ensure a safer environment for racing and training.

TDN: Who did you speak with prior to making the decision on Lasix?

JR: We had a really positive meeting with the vets at Santa Anita. About seven or eight of the top vets were represented, as well as the [California Thoroughbred Trainers]. We’re in constant conversation with the CHRB, including the California equine medical director, Rick Arthur. Lasix is a hot-button issue, and it gets all the headlines, but the things that are being put in place in California, we’re hopeful that on the national side, the Lasix reform is just the first step. I’ll be in some industry meetings next week in Baltimore with stakeholders to talk about that.

TDN: Field sizes have been an issue at Santa Anita recently–they’re racing only three-days at the moment, for example. You’ve promised to race five days a week this summer. How confident are you that you’ll be able to maintain the large field sizes you enjoyed last year (on average 8.7 per race)?

JR: Our racing product has been outstanding, especially the last couple of years. But, we are keenly aware of what’s happening in the state. Our racing team has been actively recruiting out-of-state horsemen, and, we’re in touch with local trainers, especially the guys that have shipped horses to Kentucky. The good news is, based on the feedback that we’ve received from the local trainers, we feel relatively confident that most of the California horses that went out of state will be returning for Del Mar this summer. As it stands now, we’re planning on running five days a week.

TDN: Which out-of-state trainers have bitten?

JR: I don’t want to jinx it. [Executive vice president for racing and industry relations] Tom Robbins and [racing secretary] David Jerkens have been working very hard to get some out-of-state stables here. Since 2017, when we had the Breeders’ Cup, there has definitely been more interest. We’ve seen that more in the fall, with the Kentucky guys sending a string out here, and certainly for the stakes in the fall. Chad Brown tends to send a string out here for the final week of stakes races. We think we’re making good inroads for the summer, too.

TDN: You’ve announced further modifications to your “ship & win” program. For example, the initial ready check for imports has been increased to $2,500, and the first-race purse bonus has been boosted to 40 percent. Why these additions?

JR: Our ship-and-win program has yielded tremendous results. In 2018, we had 158 ship-and-win starters at Del Mar. A lot of people don’t realize, those horses stay in the circuit. Those 156 ship-and-win starters at Del Mar combined for another 286 starts in California last year. The immediate impact is felt at Del Mar, but the California circuit benefits throughout the year.

It’s interesting, while our racing guys definitely use ship and win as a tool to recruit out-of-state horsemen, we actually created ship-and-win as an incentive for local stables to purchase non-California horses, and it’s really worked. Seventy percent of our ship-and-win starts have been from California trainers.

TDN: The CHRB is currently looking to revise the current whip rules, and perhaps ban the use of the whip for anything other than safety purposes. What’s Del Mar’s position on the issue?

JR: We believe this is one where we need to look at the outside industry optics, and recognize that, while this may be a perception issue, it needs to be addressed nonetheless. We feel it’s very difficult for the industry to say, ‘horses love to run,’ and then defend the use of the riding crop to encourage them to do that. We’re hopeful common ground can be reached on riding crop reform. I think it needs to be, and I can tell you that recent stakeholder conversations on the topic have been very positive.

TDN: Del Mar has for many years had an open line of communication with animal welfare organizations like PETA. Some within the industry have criticized that policy. What do you say to that criticism?

JR: I think you need to have communication with the outside world. You can’t bury your head and say we’re only going to look at this through the lens of horseracing. We do have a line of communication with PETA, and the same with the Humane Society. It’s a fine line–I think it’s important to get outside the industry perspective. It’s also helpful to us to explain to those folks there’s a lot of misinformation out there, and when you’re able to sit down and look somebody in the eye and explain, from our standpoint, all of the reforms and safety and welfare protocols that we have in place, you get a lot of nods of approval. You’re not going to agree on everything, but I think, again, it helps both sides to keep a line of communication open.

TDN: Last year’s average daily handle during the summer was up. What precipitated that, and how do you propose to maintain that trend given events this year?

JR: Giving customers a good product to wager on is the single biggest factor, and that is mostly about field size and competitive racing. We’ve got the best in the business in Tom Robbins and David Jerkens filling our races, and the same goes for handling the racing surfaces, in Dennis Moore and Leif Dickinson. By the same token though, we recognize the narrative surrounding Santa Anita, and that may have an affect on our business. But, we’re hopeful, and we’re going to work hard to provide a quality racing product that in turn will continue to attract bettors.

TDN: How much of this will be down to marketing?

JR: It’s interesting on the marketing side; we do quite a bit in the local community, but what people don’t realize is that we are constantly in front of our core customers talking about field size, and pool liquidity, and average payouts, and that is extremely important. From Del Mar’s perspective, we had a solid fall meet in 2018, which wrapped up early December, and so, we’ve been out-of-sight, out-of-mind for a while. It’s really important that we’ve reinforced with our core customers field size and pay-offs and pool liquidity. Really important.

TDN: Attendances have been trending downwards in recent years, but you’ve mentioned before that you’re more focused on revenue per-patron. Is that still a primary focus?

JR: We did make a conscious decision a few years ago to focus less on attendance for its own sake. For example, on those days where attendance might have been inflated through a giveaway, throwing a big attendance number when you don’t see those folks coming back, or wagering too much…at the end of the day, it’s short-term gratification.

We’re focusing on creating the best on-site experience for our customers. Our revenue per patrons continues to grow and we’re still offering promotions to attract people to visit and enjoy the venue and atmosphere. This summer, we’re really excited about some new lifestyle events focused around gourmet food festivals. And look, Del Mar is part of the fabric of the San Diego community. People are starting to get excited, and talk about us. Pre-season ticket sales have been solid, and we’re ready to go for the summer.

TDN: With the meet just around the corner, how would you characterize your expectations?

JR: We’re cautiously optimistic. You can’t ignore what’s gone on 100 miles north of here, but we’re constantly in communication with horsemen and other industry stakeholders, and understand the challenges. This is like no other time we’ve seen. But I think people are anxious from the horseman’s perspective to get down here and reshuffle the deck a little bit, and we’re excited to have them.

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Flying Start Q and A with Dan Blacker

Tue, 2019-05-14 13:20

by Liza Hendriks

This interview is one of a continuing series in the TDN in which current Godolphin Flying Start students interview former ones who have gone on to work in the racing industry. U.K. native Dan Blacker runs a stable based in Southern California. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, he graduated from the Godolphin Flying Start program in 2007.

LH: How has the Godolphin Flying Start helped you in your career as a trainer?

DB: For me, getting to know American racing and moving around the country was extremely beneficial. I got to spend time in California working with Richard Mandella and I really felt at home here. I never would have had the chance to experience all of that had I not been on the Flying Start. When you start training, it’s a huge leap of faith going from assistant trainer to trainer. It’s such a massive step and no one really knows it until you do it for yourself. Looking back on it now, I think spending those two years on the Flying Start really gave me the confidence to make that leap of faith to train in America.

LH: Given the current situation in racing in California, have you had to make any adjustments in your business strategy?

DB: Yes, I am feeling the pinch along with other trainers. I’m down on numbers right now and I think certain owners back East are just a little bit wary of sending two-year-olds out this way right now. I think we really need to do our own bit of promotion for California and get behind our industry. I, for one, want to be really positive that we have a strong future here and this is just a period of change that is pretty rough, but I think when we come out on the other side it may be better in the long run. California is setting an example that safer racing is possible and we can take pride in those advances as long as the horse population thrives.

LH: How do you think the industry as a whole can try to change the public’s perception of racing, especially being in California surrounded by celebrity influencers. How do we get them involved?

DB: That’s a good question, and when I first came out here it’s something that I always noticed. We have such a huge entertainment business and there’s so much money here in southern California. Why can’t we get more people interested in the sport? I think it is just so foreign for a lot of people and it is difficult to educate people to a level where they want to spend money on the sport. The main thing is to promote horseracing and educate people in a really positive way, but education is going to be an uphill battle that is going to need a lot of positive aspects. There are a lot of organizations really pushing that now like the I Am Horse Racing movement. These sorts of things are going to help in the long run, but it is a lot of work ahead of us. In my opinion, the most important thing to do right now is to reduce the number of breakdowns. I think we seem to be doing that, unfortunately, at some point, it is going to happen again, but right now we are doing great. The industry as a whole, the racetrack, trainers, and vets are working together, and it seems like it is making a difference and that is the most important thing moving forward in terms of improving the public perception.

LH: In a slightly unrelated matter, having taken the Racing Official Accreditation Program while on the Flying Start, do you agree with the decision in the Derby and do you think America should shift to category 1 rules in the future?

DB: The stewarding course helped us understand the job that the stewards have to do. It’s a very thankless job and a really tough position to be in to make those sorts of calls. It’s super subjective as we found out in the Derby. I think American racing is different–we seem to race a little tighter. I think there are lots of things we can do within the industry as a whole to make unilateral rules around the world in a positive way. I think you need to be flexible for certain things and there are things that might not work in America that work in Europe and Australia and vice versa. I think you need to be open to changes within that. The most important thing is safety and public perception and if you have to make the rules a little stricter in order for the rules to be more effective, then I’m for that.

Liza Hendricks is from Unionville, Pa., and holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the College of Charleston. Before starting the Flying Start program, she worked in t.v. and simulcasting at the NYRA.

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Fasig Midlantic Under-Tack Show Start Time Delayed

Mon, 2019-05-13 16:18

The three-day under-tack show for next week’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale begins Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. in Timonium. The session was originally scheduled to begin at 8 a.m., but sales company officials delayed the start of the breeze show to allow for additional track maintenance owing to the rain over the weekend and into Monday.

The show continues with sessions Wednesday and Thursday–those sessions will retain an 8 a.m. start time. The auction, with 600 juveniles catalogued, will be held next Monday and Tuesday with each session beginning at 11 a.m.

For additional information, including the full catalogue, visit, where next week’s sale will be broadcast live.

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Mack Foundation to Sponsor Sir Barton on Preakness Day

Mon, 2019-05-13 15:22

The Earle I. Mack Foundation will be the lead sponsor for the $100,000 Sir Barton S., held during the 2019 Preakness weekend at Pimlico Race Course. Scheduled for May 18, the Sir Barton Stakes will benefit the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Man O’War Project.

The Man O’ War Project is a joint venture of the Earle I. Mack Foundation and Columbia University Irving Medical Center that is exploring the benefits of equine-assisted therapy in the treatment of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The organization was launched by former U.S. Ambassador to Finland Earle I. Mack, philanthropist, military veteran, and an avid horse enthusiast.

“Thoroughbred aftercare is one of my life’s passions, and the collaboration with a group like TAA is a natural fit for the Man O’ War Project, which depends on retired Thoroughbreds,” explained Mack. “Together, our groups will show that life after racing is one full of promise and positivity, and can assist one of our most important communities, our veterans.”

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that accredits, inspects, and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations that retrain, rehome, and retire Thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding.

“The TAA is grateful for the support from Ambassador Mack and is pleased to be presenting the race alongside the Man O’ War Project, which is doing much-needed research to help both our horses and veterans,” TAA operations consultant Stacie Clark Rogers said.

Now in its 26th year, the Sir Barton Stakes to Benefit the TAA and the Man O’ War Project is named after U.S. Thoroughbred racing’s first Triple Crown winner, who completed the feat 100 years ago.

Led by researchers at Columbia University, the Man O’ War Project is the first university-led clinical research study to determine the effectiveness of equine-assisted therapy and establish guidelines for the treatment of military veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress.

The Man O’ War Project takes veterans diagnosed with PTSD through an eight-week treatment program that uses equine-assisted therapy to help them relearn the skills they need to live healthier and more productive lives. Working side by side with licensed mental health therapists and equine specialists, the veterans are guided through a series of non-riding interactions with the horses, which help them gain a better understanding and awareness of their own emotions and behavior.

Through this process, veterans increase emotional awareness and the ability to recognize and regulate emotion, and learn to more effectively interact with the horse and, by extension, the people in their lives.

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