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Raynham Site Out, But Stronach Group Still Wants Track in Massachusetts

Tue, 2017-10-24 17:01

The Stronach Group has shelved plans to open a Thoroughbred racetrack on the location of the defunct greyhound track in Raynham, Massachusetts. Stronach Group Chief Operating Officer Tim Ritvo made that announcement while taking part in the latest Thoroughbred Daily News podcast, but also said the company remains very much behind the idea of opening a track in the Bay State.

Suffolk Downs is the only remaining Thoroughbred track in not only Massachusetts, but all of New England, and currently races only a handful of days each year. Suffolk, which was unable to obtain a casino license, is scheduled to cease operating completely following its short season in 2018. Hoping to fill that void, Stronach Group officials had said earlier this year that they were attempting to convert the former dog track into a Thoroughbred facility. Raynham is about 50 miles south of Boston.

On the podcast, Ritvo said that the Stronach team had come to the conclusion that re-opening Raynham for Thoroughbred racing was not a practical idea.

“With the Raynham site, we did some surveys and studies and discovered it just couldn’t get us what we were looking for,” Ritvo said. “Initially, we were looking to try to create a smaller racetrack, something along the lines of a three-quarters-of-a-mile track, and keep the existing grandstand. That way we could get into the marketplace quickly to get racing back up and running in Massachusetts. Since then, I have talked to Frank [Stronach] and Belinda [Stronach] and they thought a better idea would be to find some property where we could build a proper racetrack, a one-mile racetrack.”

Ritvo said that efforts are now underway to find a location for a new track.

“Boston is a top-five priority within our company and it might even be in the top two or three when it comes to things we want to accomplish,” said Ritvo, who began his racing career as a jockey at the New England tracks. “It is a great market and we don’t want to see the simulcast market there disappear. We believe Massachusetts has a vibrant economy and is a place where people love their sports. A racetrack run properly there would be able to survive. For us, it’s much easier to make that happen with all the synergies we have involving our other tracks.”

Ritvo said the new Massachusetts track would run a short boutique-style meet and would be built in ways that would benefit whatever town it would be located in. He said possibilities would be to build soccer fields in the infield and finding other ways to let the community utilize the facility when it was not racing.

Ritvo said The Stronach Group did not apply for any racing dates in Massachusetts for 2018, but did not rule out opening a track in 2019.

“If you ask me to bet one way or another, I would bet yes, yes that we will be operating a racetrack in Massachusetts within the next few years,” he said.

Ritvo touched on a number of important issues in the podcast, including what The Stronach Group is trying to do to improve field size and handle at its two California racetracks, Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields. While making it clear that nothing is imminent, he said the Stronach team is mulling a merger of racing dates at Santa Anita and Golden Gate.

“We are 100% looking at that,” he said. “Consolidation makes sense. It made a lot of sense in Florida with the two tracks [Gulfstream and Calder] eight miles apart. The industry in Florida did very well with consolidation and I think it would do just as well, if not better, in California.”

Ritvo also gave updates on the efforts to keep the Preakness at Pimlico and the companies plans to bring back the Washington DC International to Laurel. When asked about the Pegasus World Cup, Ritvo confirmed that it will once again be run at a mile-and-an-eighth in 2018 and not at 10 furlongs.

Japanese-Based Into Mischief Colt Could Try Derby Trail

Tue, 2017-10-24 16:28

Delta Barows (Into Mischief), who opened his account at first asking with an impressive four-length success over a rain-affected Tokyo turf course Oct. 21, may make his next start on the dirt, according to a report on Yahoo Japan.

A $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling and $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Florida juvenile bred by John Oxley, Delta Barows was hammered at the windows for the 1600-meter test last Saturday and was off as the 3-2 favorite in the full field of 18 newcomers. Away smartly, the bay colt settled in second down the back of the course, was roused to the front in upper stretch and increased his margin to the wire (video).

Though he excelled on the grass, Delta Barows is bred to be even better on the dirt. His dam, Sweet Seventeen (Hard Spun), raced for Oxley’s wife Debby and was trained by Graham Motion to a popular victory in the 2012 Busher S. at Aqueduct. Delta Barows is her first produce. Sweet Seventeen is the best foal out of John Oxley’s Play Ballado (Saint Ballado), a restricted stakes winner and twice Grade II-placed on the dirt.

Delta Barows could potentially try the main track for the first time in the Nov. 25 Cattleya Sho (1600m) at Tokyo, the first of three Japanese races that offer points along the “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby.” The series continues with the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun at Kawasaki Dec. 13 and concludes with the Hyacinth S. in February, a race won in 2017 by subsequent G2 UAE Derby runner-up Epicharis (Jpn) (Gold Allure {Jpn}). Delta Barows’s owner Hirotsugu Ikonuma also campaigned 2015 Hyacinth S. hero Golden Barows (Tapit).

The Cattleya Sho and Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun offer points on a 10-4-2-1 scale while the Hyacinth S. will carry point values of 30-12-6-3. The horse that accumulates the most points in the three races will be guaranteed a berth in the 2018 GI Kentucky Derby.

Only two Japanese horses have participated in the ‘Run for the Roses’: Ski Captain (Storm Bird), 14th in 1995; and Lani (Tapit), ninth in 2016.

Wuheida Works Towards Filly & Mare Turf

Tue, 2017-10-24 15:36

Godolphin’s Wuheida (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), scratched from an intended appearance in Keeneland’s GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Oct. 14 due to a bruised hoof, breezed five furlongs Tuesday in 1:04.80 over a yielding Keeneland turf course and remains on track for an appearance in the GI Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Nov. 4. Exercise rider Kirsty Milczarek was in the irons for the move.

“She has missed a bit of work so we wanted to get her back on the turf and have a stretch,” said Tim Denniff, Wuheida’s traveling lad. “We weren’t doing anything too hard today. We are happy. We got exactly what we wanted today.”

Trained by Charlie Appleby, Wuheida won the 2016 G1 Prix Marcel Boussac and gave a good account herself when fourth, beaten a half-length, by Rhododendron (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in a soft-turf renewal of the G1 Prix de l’Opera at Chantilly Oct. 1. The homebred daughter of Hibaayeb (GB) (Singspiel {Ire}) is booked on a California-bound flight Wednesday.

“I will speak to Charlie tonight and see what he wants (for training in California),” Denniff said. “She will have a couple of easy days after the flight, and then probably a couple pieces of work and a breeze.


Berry Nominated for HWPA Award

Tue, 2017-10-24 14:18

Emma Berry, the TDN‘s European Editor, has been nominated for Racing Writer of the Year at the 2017 Horserace Writer & Photographer Association annual Derby Awards. Voting has opened for the awards, with the shortlist for Racing Writer of the Year, as well as Racing Reporter of the Year, drawn up by three independent judges. Berry is up against Chris McGrath, Tom Kerr and Peter Thomas from the Racing Post, while the quartet nominated for Racing Reporter of the Year are: Marcus Armytage, Bill Barber, David Carr and Chris Cook. The Broadcaster of the Year award remains an open vote. Portfolios from the shortlisted Reporter and Writer of the Year contenders will be posted on the HWPA website. Members are asked to cast their votes by Thursday, Nov. 2.

Ribchester To Kildangan In 2018

Tue, 2017-10-24 07:43

Four-time Group 1-winning miler Ribchester (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}-Mujarah {Ire}, by Marju {Ire}) will enter stud at Darley’s Kildangan Stud in 2018 for a fee of €30,000. A limited number of breeding rights are available.

Ribchester, the highest-rated horse descended from Fall Aspen after Dubai Millennium, won the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois last year at three before adding this year’s G1 Lockinge S., G1 Queen Anne S. and G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. He has finished off the board just once in 15 starts, with a further six placings in Group 1s for Godolphin and trainer Richard Fahey.

Also new to Kildangan next year will be the G1 King’s Stand S. winner Profitable (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), who will stand for €12,000. They join the likes of Shamardal, who remains private, and Teofilo (Ire) and Exceed and Excel (Aus), who head Kildangan’s advertised fees at €40,000 and €50,000, respectively.

Darley’s flagship sire Dubawi (Ire) once again heads the Dalham Hall Stud roster at £250,000. He will stand alongside three of his sons, including the four-time Group 1 winner Postponed (Ire), who stands his first season at £20,000. The G1 2000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder (Ire) moves to Newmarket after previously standing at Kildangan.

See page 2 for the full Darley Europe 2018 stallion roster.

Ghostzapper Filly Tops F-T October Opener

Mon, 2017-10-23 19:40

LEXINGTON, Ky – Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable paid a session-topping $275,000 to secure a filly by Ghostzapper as the four-day Fasig-Tipton October Fall Yearlings Sale kicked off with a solid day of selling on a rainy day in Lexington Monday.

“We saw pretty solid trade with a diverse group of buyers in play,” Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning, Jr. said at the close of business Monday.

Of the 363 yearlings catalogued for Monday’s session, 322 went through the ring and 230 sold for a total of $6,479,500. The average was $28,172 and the median was $10,000. The buy-back rate was 28.6%

During the first session of the three-day 2016 October sale, 246 of 416 yearlings catalogued yearlings sold for $8,306,400. The session average was $33,766 and the median was $12,750. The 2016 three-day average was $33,065 and the median was $10,000.

Twenty two yearlings sold for $100,000 or more Monday. That figure was 21 during last year’s opening session.

“I think it’s too early to tell much,” Browning said of the comparison figures. “The average is down a little bit, the median is down a little bit from the overall total sale numbers last year. But I would be hesitant to make any dramatic statements about the marketplace, other than to say, if you talk to the consignors and the buyers, it’s the same song we’ve heard over and over. The buyers are saying it was really tough to buy the quality horses and the consignors are saying it was pretty tough to sell the horses who weren’t perceived as quality offerings. I think we saw the same kind of balanced marketplace that we’ve seen throughout 2017 and for the most part 2016 as well.”

Ocala horseman David Scanlon was busy scouring the sales grounds for pinhooking prospects Monday and agreed competition was stiff for the prized offerings.

“There are a lot of horses to go through, but there are some good horses,” Scanlon said. “It’s typical of the market we’ve seen, the good ones are bringing good money and the other side of the market struggles. But there are good horses here, you just have to pick through them and hang in there until you get one.”

The October sale continues through Thursday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Ghostzapper for Siegel

Samantha Siegel was forced to miss last month’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale, so she was trying to make up for lost time when she purchased a filly by Ghostzapper for $275,000 during Monday’s opening session of the October sale.

“Unfortunately, I had to miss the Keeneland September sale–I was a vet scratch–but I would like to have a few more horses to fill out my group, so I came here,” Siegel said after signing the ticket on hip 96 in the name of her Jay Em Ess Stable.

The yearling is out of Princesa de Papi (Birdstone), a half-sister to stakes winners Silent Bird (Summer Bird) and A Brilliant Idea (Afleet Alex).

“She’s a pretty, well-balanced filly and a New York-bred,” Siegel said. “We know Ghostzapper can get a good filly so, as they say, she ticked off all the boxes.”

Siegel expects to continue shopping at the four-day October sale.

“I have no set number in mind,” she said. “I just would like to get nice horses and we’ll see how things fall and see what we get. But, unfortunately, good taste is expensive. It’s a tough market for a good horse. Nowadays, you have to pay a decent amount of money for a good horse. You just have to steel yourself to that, pick your number and be prepared to go a little bit above it and be flexible.”

Hip 96 was consigned to the October sale by Tommy Eastham’s Legacy Bloodstock on behalf of her breeder, Dr. Jon Davis’s Milfer Farm. Davis purchased Princesa de Papi, with this foal in utero, for $70,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale.

“[Milfer Farm] raise a nice horse and they’ve been kind enough to be with me for a long, long time,” Eastham said. “It’s nice to do well for people that have gone through good sales and bad sales and have been your biggest cheerleader through good times and bad. It was a really satisfying sale.”

The yearling had originally been targeted at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred sale, according to Eastham.

“We were actually going to go to Saratoga, but we saw her developing and most of her developing came after June,” he said. “She was kind of plain, but then she kept on developing. So we thought she wasn’t ready to sell and we would have a better horse to sell in a few months.”

Of the dark bay filly, Eastham continued, “She’s a big-walking horse. She handled this process very well. She had a big nostril and was a typical Ghostzapper with a great mind.”

The consignor admitted the market continues to be competitive and at times unforgiving.

“I’ve got a barn of 25 and I think half of them are going to do real well,” the consignor said. “Penalties are severe. If you have a little chip that in previous markets was a 20% chip, those chips are now 80, 90 maybe 95% of your total value. The horse business is good, though. There is a lot of interest, a lot of phone calls and lots of volume at the barns. A lot of people that weren’t as good didn’t survive [the recession of] 2008. Everybody who is in the business now, from consignors to buyers and farms, is pretty good. They know what they’re looking at.”

Mathis Restocks on Tapit

While Mathis Stables’ stakes-winning filly My Miss Tapit (Tapit) is catalogued in next month’s Keeneland November sale, the family operation added another daughter of Gainesway’s leading sire to its roster when bloodstock agent Liz Crow purchased hip 131 for $250,000 Monday at the Fasig-Tipton October sale.

“She had one of the better pedigrees in the sale and I thought she had one of the better physicals,” Crow said after signing the ticket on the chestnut filly. “She looked like one of the more athletic fillies I saw on the sales grounds and we’re thrilled to have the pedigree page to back it up.”

Out of Raffishing Look (Kingmambo), the chestnut filly is a half-sister to Winning Cause (Giant’s Causeway), who was trained by the Mathis’s primary trainer Todd Pletcher.

The yearling was bred and consigned to the October sale by Gainesway, which purchased the mare for $400,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale. The filly had been entered, but scratched from the Keeneland September sale.

Crow admitted she was pleasantly surprised by the filly’s final price tag Monday.

“I was thrilled to get her at that price point,” Crow said. “The market is so strong right now. It just seems like anything that has a pedigree page and a physical is bringing about 20-30% more than I’ve been willing to pay for it all year. So I thought I was happy to finally get something bought at a price that I was comfortable with.”

A Fein Ghostzapper

Superfine Farms owner Ron Fein purchased a colt by Ghostzapper for $180,000 to top early returns during Monday’s first session of the Fasig-Tipton October sale. The dark bay colt (hip 63) is destined for a return trip through the sales ring next spring, according to Fein, who did his bidding out back while standing alongside pinhooker Ciaran Dunne.

“I liked everything about him. First of all he was a Ghostzapper, second of all he had beautiful movement and good size. And Ciaran Dunne liked him, that was important,” Fein explained. “He’ll probably go to either Miami [Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale] or [OBS] March.”

The yearling, bred by champion Songbird’s breeder John Antonelli in California, was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency. Antonelli purchased the colt’s dam Piedras Negras (Unbridled) for $95,000 as a 4-year-old in foal to Johannesburg at the 2003 Keeneland November sale. That in utero foal became graded stakes winner La Traviata, who is the dam of Group 1 winners Crusade (Mr. Greeley) and Seventh Heaven (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

Cairo Prince Colt Quick Starter for Brewster

A dark bay colt by hot first-crop sire Cairo Prince was the first horse through the ring during Monday’s first session of the October sale, but being first was nothing new to the yearling. His dam Ocarson (Olmodavor) was covered Feb. 18 by Cairo Prince, one of the first mares bred to the Airdrie stallion, and he was his first foal when born Jan. 24, 2016.

“I hope they have an appropriate name for him because he really is used to being first,” laughed breeder Clark Brewster after the New York-bred yearling (hip 1) sold for $100,000 to Harold Lerner/AWC Stables, Webb Carroll Training Center, agent.

The sale was a very successful result for Brewster. The Oklahoma-based attorney purchased Ocarson, with this yearling in utero, for just $1,500 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale.

“I wasn’t at the [November] sale, but [bloodstock agent] Patrick Morell was there and I had given him some instructions on buying a half-dozen mares or so for our New York breeding program,” Brewster explained by phone Monday afternoon. “He was shooting me texts and reporting back on the mares that he got bought. She had walked in and he saw that it was an early cover and he bought her for little to nothing. He said, ‘I know she wasn’t on your list, but I bought her for you.’ So I said, ‘Fine. I’m happy with that.’ So we sent her to foal in New York with a bunch of others and she just had a lovely foal.”

Of the colt’s six-figure final price tag, Brewster said, “I really felt that around that price, he would be a racing candidate for me. Obviously, in this game, when you can see a profit, you want to take it. But on the other hand, I would have been fine with keeping him.”

Cairo Prince, who had a colt sell for $900,000 at last month’s Keeneland September sale, has had 58 yearlings sell for an average of $166,862.

“We all knew that he was a great racehorse and a really good physical specimen,” Brewster said of the young stallion. “He has every right to be a really good sire.”

Brewster has a broodmare band of 27 head spread from New York, Oklahoma and Kentucky and participates in all facets of the racing game.

“I think my wife and I have had about 280 starts as owners this year,” Brewster said. “We’re very active in the racing part of it. We participate in the breeding side and we’ll buy a few yearlings, as well, and a few 2-year-olds. So we’re active at several different levels of the game and have been for more than 25 years.”

Brewster still has three yearlings to sell through the Hidden Brook consignment this week in Lexington. Hip 386 is a colt by Fed Biz who Brewster purchased in utero for $11,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. At that same sale, he acquired a filly by Afleet Alex (hip 441) in utero and a colt by Awesome Again (hip 1405) in utero, both for $25,000.

Brewster won’t be on hand to watch the group sell.

“I don’t think I’ve made a single sale this year,” he admitted. “I’m a trial lawyer, so a lot of my time to go to a sale is dictated by my schedule. We’re locked down in hearings and depositions here in Tulsa, Oklahoma today.”

Catalyst Shakes Things Up

Chris Knehr wasn’t really expecting to shop for himself at the 2015 Keeneland November Sale, but he struck when the opportunity presented itself to purchase the mare Rupert’s Promise (Capote), in foal to Shakin It Up, for $2,500 from the Allied Bloodstock consignment. The investment paid dividends at Fasig-Tipton Monday when Knehr’s Catalyst Bloodstock sold the mare’s Shakin It Up yearling (hip 195) for $120,000 to Moss Group.

“Honestly, it has a lot to do with Bert [Welker] and Clark [Shepherd] at Allied,” Knehr said of purchasing the mare. “I’ve known them for a while and they are such good guys. I was in the back ring talking to Clark and trying to buy mares for other clients. I was out of money and I needed a mare and he said, ‘I really like this mare and the Old Fashioned out of her is really nice–they are keeping her to race. I think she’s a good buy.’ So that’s why I bought her.”

Knehr ran the purchase past his wife Erin and admitted he wasn’t planning on paying too much for the then 11-year-old mare, who is a half-sister to Chilean group-placed Nada Mas Queda (Scat Daddy).

“I called my wife, because we weren’t going to buy anything until January, but we were looking for a mare for Sky Kingdom,” Knehr recalled. “She asked me how high I was going to go and I said $2,000. The final bid was $2,500 and when I called her back she said, ‘You had better have been the $2,500.’ We weren’t planning on giving too much for her at the time, but I liked the mare a lot. I liked the way she moved and she’s big and pretty and a good-looking mare who I thought had some upside to her.”

Knehr’s original plan was to sell the dark bay filly from the first crop of GI Malibu S. winner Shakin It Up at this year’s Keeneland January sale.

“I had her in the January sale and had no action on her whatsoever,” Knehr said. “I really liked her a lot, so we scratched her from the sale and held on to her because we thought she was a better filly than what the reception was for her in January.”

He continued, “The market has shifted pretty dramatically in the last six months, but I wasn’t expecting what she sold for. I thought she would do well and I had pretty solid reserve on her for my wife and I. She exceeded that.”

Rupert’s Promise produced a colt by graded stakes winner Sky Kingdom in 2017 and was bred back to Dialed In.

Of his broodmare band, Knehr said, “I have a small farm–it’s only 12 acres–so we only have four right now. I’ve raced two in partnership, but usually we breed to sell. It’s handy, especially because I have the consignment. And we have the farm, so I can prep them and raise them as well.”

“Originally we had a no-mare rule on the farm,” he laughed. “But that since has changed because it’s hard to buy weanlings. And mares kind of work for me.”

The Beverly Lewis You Didn’t Know

Mon, 2017-10-23 16:50

Beverly Lewis passed away Friday at the age of 90 after a lengthy illness. To everyone in the sport, her passing is a sad occasion as, along with her late husband, Bob, she was a part of one of the top racing stables of an era. The Lewises were all about class. They raced the very best horses and were as gracious and as enthusiastic as any owners who ever played this game.

But the reputation that the Lewis stable enjoyed was, really, all about Bob, who passed away in 2006. He was the gregarious one, the one who did all the talking. At least publicly, Beverly rarely said a word, and her willingness to blend into the background made her somewhat of a mystery. Both were born in an era where many still believed that the man was in charge and that the wife was just along for the ride. Because of the way she came across and comported herself, Beverly Lewis sometimes gave you the impression that she was nothing more than a silent partner who had little say in how the stable was run and may not even have been that enthusiastic about the sport.

The TDN spoke Monday with the two trainers, Bob Baffert and Wayne Lukas, who were most closely associated with the Lewises’ success and both said few knew the real Beverly Lewis. They described her as someone who was very passionate about the sport, was very much involved in the day-to-day operation of the stable and, when it came to business decisions, wasn’t a stand-by-your-man kind of woman.

“She had a feisty side to her that few saw,” Lukas said. “And she loved the game. Bob was always the one who was out front, but she loved the game every bit as much as he did.”

And she knew how and when to put her foot down.

Lukas said that there came a time when Bob Lewis had decided to sell Serena’s Song, who, while a good broodmare, was not a superb one.

“This was when Serena’s Song was about 14,” Lukas recalled, “and Bob said to me, ‘Wayne, maybe we should hedge our bets and send Serena’s Song down the road.’ I’ll always remember him saying that because ‘send her down the road’ was not an expression you hear every day. We were at dinner and there was a long silence and then Beverly said, ‘Bob, if you send Serena’s Song down the road, you’re going with her.'”

Craig Bandoroff, who served as an advisor to the Lewises, was also involved in the Serena’s Song decision. He flew to California to try to talk Bob Lewis out of selling her, but never had to give his pitch.

“I got off the plane, he picked me up and said not to worry about a thing,” Bandoroff recalled. “He said, ‘I can’t sell Serena’s Song. Beverly would kill me. Let’s go get a Whataburger.'”

Baffert trained Silver Charm, the first of two Kentucky Derby winners to carry the Lewis colors. Like Lukas, he said the Beverly Lewis he knew was on top of everything when it came to the horse business.

“Absolutely, she was involved,” he said. “She knew everything that was going on and it was never like she first found about it by reading it in the paper the next morning. They were partners in the stable and Bob always told me he thought Beverly was the best partner anyone could ever have.”

She also had a frugal side that Bob Lewis may have lacked. It appears she kept him from overspending on a yearling many a time. One at least one occasion, however, she wasn’t there to tell her husband to stop raising his hand.

“We were sitting in the boxes at Santa Anita and Bob says to me, ‘Wayne, let’s you and I go to the sale tomorrow at Pomona,'” Lukas said. “She said, ‘Bob, we don’t need any more horses and you can’t go there with Wayne.’ He said that was OK and that he just wanted to go to socialize. She looks at me and says, ‘Wayne, promise me you won’t let him buy a horse.’ The next thing I know, he bought a horse for $750,000. I said, ‘Bob, how are we going to handle Beverly?’ He said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll handle Beverly.’ I asked him the next day how it went and he said, ‘Wayne, I could tell you exactly what she said, how fast or slow she said it, but why bother? I think you already know the answer.'”

While Beverly Lewis shied away from the spotlight, it was always easy to tell that she was much like her husband: a kind person who saw the best in everyone.

“They may have been the only owners in racing who no one ever minded losing to,” Baffert said. “They were both so well liked and such nice people. Beverly was a sweetheart.”

The Lewis stable campaigned four Classic winners and raced six Eclipse Award champions. Lukas and Baffert agreed that Beverly Lewis’s favorite horse was Serena’s Song. She won 11 Grade I stakes, including a vicotry over males in the GI Haskell, and is in the Hall of Fame.

When Bob Lewis died in 2006, the stable went in another direction. Bandoroff believes that Beverly Lewis knew she could never match her husband’s drive and was reluctant to fully take over or spend the type of money she knew it would take to keep churning out Grade I winners. She brought in her son, Jeff, and the two of them would make the decisions going forward. The racing part of the stable was de-emphasized and more attention was paid toward breeding.

“There were a couple of problems,” Jeff Lewis explained. “The formula that Bob and Wayne used in the ’90s and the early part of the 2000s, which was to spend a lot of money on good-looking yearlings, started to catch on with a lot of other people. That made it harder to find the right horses for the right prices. For the first 13 years my parents were in the business, they made money. After my father died, there were two straight losing years and those were with horses he had bought before he passed away. Honestly, I also think he took his magic pixie dust with him.”

So Beverly and Jeff Lewis decided to downsize the stable, but one thing was off limits. Not only would Serena’s Song never be sold, but neither would any of her daughters. It was very important to the family to keep her legacy in tact. Though she has been pensioned as a broodmare, there are daughters and granddaughters of Serena’s Song still owned by the Lewises and they represent the cornerstone of what’s left of their operation. Jeff Lewis said his family still owns 12 horses, four broodmares, four racehorses and four yearlings or weanlings. All, in some way, are connected to Serena’s Song.

One of those horses is the filly Miner’s Cat (Mineshaft). Her dam is Pure Symmetry, who is by Storm Cat out of Serena’s Song. Saturday, the day after Beverly Lewis died, Miner’s Cat won an allowance race at Keeneland.

“That happened one day after my mother went to heaven,” Jeff Lewis said. “I can see my parents up there cheering her on and my dad using his magic pixie dust. I like to think he made it happen.”

While some have described the passing of Beverly Lewis as the end of an era, her son disagrees. He says he has no plans to increase the size of the stable, but is not about to let it go out of business. He said he would like to maintain the sort of numbers they already have and keep the focus on preserving Serena’s Song’s bloodlines.

You can bet that’s a plan that was made with Beverly Lewis’s input and blessing before her death. Now that we know what we know, it seems obvious that she would not just stand on the sidelines and quietly acquiesce without having a say. Not her.

Q & A With Cormac Breathnach

Mon, 2017-10-23 15:14

On August 1, after a longtime stint at Adena Springs, Cormac Breathnach took up a role in stallion nominations at Airdrie Stud. Breathnac’s arrival is not the only change at the dynamic farm, which has acquired at least one new stallion to stand at stud in each of the past four years, recently adding American Freedom (who covers his first mares in 2018), Upstart (2017), Summer Front (2016), Cairo Prince and Mark Valeski (2015) to their existing roster of Include, Majesticperfection and Creative Cause. When they announced stud fees last week, Cairo Prince, the #2 first-crop yearling sire in 2017, saw his fee rise to $25,000, and the farm is waiting until after the Breeders’ Cup to announce Creative Cause’s fee. The second-crop sire, who has eight black type winners to tie Union Rags atop the list, has three Breeders’ Cup hopefuls, Significant Form (Juvenile Fillies Turf), Pavel (Classic) and My Boy Jack (Juvenile Turf). The TDN’s Sue Finley caught up with the 42-year-old Irish native and University of Kentucky Gluck Research PhD. graduate last week to talk about how the new job was going, Airdrie’s young roster, and the upcoming sales.

TDN: You spent eight years at Adena Springs. What’s different about this job?

CB: It has been a privilege to be involved with two of North America’s perennial leading breeders. There are differences in the way they’ve gone about achieving their success. Frank (Stronach) typically bred and sold a lot of mares to get the product out to different clients and has been very successful getting business that way. The focus here has been more on commercial sales and building female families.

TDN: Has your commute gotten better or worse?

CB: Better! It’s about 15 minutes shorter, and coming to work in the morning, I drive on one of the most beautiful roads I’ve ever been on, Old Frankfort Pike. I couldn’t complain about that.

TDN: When Cairo Prince retired to Airdrie, Sid Fernando wrote, “For as long as it’s been around since the early 1970s, Governor and Mrs. Brereton C. Jones’s Airdrie, in Midway, Ky., has made a name for itself with moderately priced stallions, but common threads were race records and physiques first. It’s a formula that’s worked for Airdrie.” As a new member of the marketing team, I’d like you to comment on that.

CB: I think the focus is on giving breeders the opportunity to be successful, not just in the marketplace, but also in breeding horses to race. That’s the goal with the stallions we’ve recruited: to get horses who are attractive and well-bred and well-performing enough to be appealing to the commercial breeders as well as end users. The other thing that they’ve done so well over such a long time is that they’ve supported the stallions with large numbers of quality homebred mares, so Governor Jones is about female families as much as any breeder around. By building those families, you get to know what those families need, what they do and what they produce and you can use them then strategically to enhance the chance of a young stallion.

TDN: How many mares do the Joneses own, and how many are on the farm?

CB: They have a little over 150 mares. It’s a big broodmare band, and what I’ve enjoyed so much in coming here is to see that there are several generations here. Some of the mares we have now are third, fourth generation or more, tracing back to the mares that he started with. I think when you look at the really top breeders in the world, that’s a common thread, and developing families helps you control a lot of the variables that exist in the breeding game. We don’t board but for a few close associates, so there aren’t really a lot of outside mares. There might be 170 mares on the entire farm.

TDN: Who are some of those families you’ve come across that have struck you?

CB: Governor Jones bred Lucy Sims, named after his and Libby’s daughter. She has produced Don’t Trick Her, who produced GI winners Include Me Out and Check the Label, and Listed winner On The Menu, and Kittery Point, the dam of GI winner Sam’s Sister and the $900,000 Cairo Prince yearling we sold at Keeneland September, as well as Another Vegetarian, the dam of Grade I winner Sweet Talker.

He claimed Pacific Spell and her second foal was Grade I Kentucky Oaks winner Proud Spell. Pacific Spell is also the dam of the Graded stakes-placed Proud Pearl and the stakes-winning No Distortion. In turn, Proud Spell is the dam of Indian Spell, whose first foal is the undefeated 2-year-old stakes winner Dak Attack, and just had a nice Creative Cause winner last weekend in Japan for her new connections.

He also bought Witness Post and bred the Graded stakes winner Hello Liberty and the stakes-winning Pious Ashley out of her. He still owns her other daughters Churchbythesea, the dam of Significant Form, who won the Grade III Miss Grillo and who has a big shot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, as well as the Graded stakes-winning Hay Dakota, and Incarnate Memories, whose Cairo Prince yearling sold for $400,000 in September.

So when something good happens in a pedigree, you see the effect in a lot of other daughters and sisters and nieces, and that really helps.

TDN: Is there more of a focus on end users at Airdrie, as opposed to commercial breeders?

CB: I wouldn’t say there’s more of a focus, per se. We really try to balance both aspects. Governor Jones himself is a big-time end user. Winning races is what it’s all about here. The industry depends on a lot of small or medium-sized breeders who need commercial returns to stay in the game. We really try to strike that balance. It’s a difficult thing to do but it’s important to try.

TDN: Has the farm been more aggressive acquiring new stallions recently?

CB: There has been one new horse a year for the last few years. Airdrie stood and developed really good established stallions like Indian Charlie and Harlan’s Holiday that were longtime, very successful racehorse sires that we lost too soon. At the same time, there has always been a focus on bringing something in that is commercially viable and has the race record and the ability that we look for. So there has been a push and the way the chips have fallen, we currently happen to have a young roster.

Creative Cause is doing so well, and looks like he could be our next big horse. He has four 2-year-old stakes winners this year, which is tied with Into Mischief among active U.S. stallions, so hopefully he’s going to carry us forward as a young rising stallion. Creative Cause’s fee is still to be determined for next year. He just keeps coming up with these really nice horses, and has three live chances in the Breeders’ Cup. And with horses like Cairo Prince, Summer Front, Upstart and American Freedom following year-on-year after him, we are very optimistic about the future. They all fit the mold of what the focus is here. They are very attractive, had real genuine talent and have been very well supported internally and externally so far. They all started at the $10,000 price point and have represented real value. Hopefully they’ll be around a long time.

TDN: How does Cairo Prince fit into that Airdrie mold?

CB: He is what you hope and dream for. I know that the team of the Governor, Bret, Tim and Ben worked really hard to get him here and it was a very exciting day when they entered into the partnership with Darley. And now we can all see why. He’s an extremely classy horse with size, scope and a beautiful walk, and he passes on those attributes. His progeny have his free-moving, athletic walk and they have such good minds. They take to the sales environment very well. They don’t turn a hair, they’re very classy, and as a result they’ve been extremely well received. He was an excellent two-year-old, and it’s fair to expect some precocity in his progeny, but to me he still looks like a Classic two-turn three-year-old type. A lot of his yearlings have that scope and stretch and will hopefully be fast early and train on.

TDN: In what figures to be a very competitive first-foals year, with the first foals of American Pharoah, Constitution, Honor Code, Liam’s Map and Tonalist coming to market, among others, Airdrie offers the first foals of Summer Front.

CB: I’m optimistic he can take the commercial torch from Cairo Prince. We have quite a few on the farm and we’ll have a nice group at the November sales. They’re very attractive, with leg and scope, good-moving foals-just what the market should want.

TDN: He’s the farm’s first son of War Front, and was a turf horse. Is it a different sell?

CB: It’s always a different sell for a turf horse, but the industry is getting more responsive to them. You’ve got new turf courses going in at Aqueduct and Woodbine, turf racing generates a lot of handle, the public likes it, and they often generate competitive full fields which are appealing to watch. Summer Front was very talented and had a blistering turn of foot. He was an undefeated dual stakes winner at 2, and won Graded races as a 3, 4 and 5 year old, and was just touched off in a Grade I at 6. Mike Ryan bred him, and he’s out of an El Prado mare who also produced (G1 winner) Laragh, and his deeper family is predominantly dirt. We think there is every chance that he will throw some quality dirt horses. Physically he’s all of 16.1 and very attractive. He’s a bigger, scopier type of War Front and he has right at 100 registered foals in his first crop. I’m hopefully not jumping the gun, and there are a lot of prestigious first-crop stallions in this class, but I think his foals are going to make people take notice.

TDN: You have a PhD from UK’s Gluck Equine Research Center. Do you use it in your work?

CB: I primarily studied the EHV-1 virus (equine herpesvirus) and vaccine development during my PhD. It provided me a strong background in genetics which I think is something that really comes into play in the breeding industry. Beyond that, PhD degrees help develop critical thinking skills which might be the most valuable thing, in my opinion.


Taylor Made Announces 2018 Stud Fees

Mon, 2017-10-23 14:54

The stallion roster and fees for Taylor Made Stallions, led by California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit), who will stand his second season for $40,000 S&N, are now available, the farm announced Monday.

California Chrome, the two-time Horse of the Year, will be joined in 2018 by multiple Grade I winner Mshawish (Medaglia d’Oro) and graded stakes winner Not This Time (Giant’s Causeway). Both will stand for $15,000 S&N.

Taylor Made welcomes seven-time graded stakes winner Midnight Storm (Pioneerof the Nile) as a new addition to its roster in 2018. The dual-surface millionaire is pointing for a start in the GI Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Nov. 3 at Del Mar before retiring to stud at the end of the year. His introductory fee will be $12,500 S&N.

The farm is offering discounts on multiple mares bred to one or more stallions in 2017. For more information, contact Travis White or Brooks Taylor at 859-885-3345 or visit

Champion Alinghi Dies

Mon, 2017-10-23 11:32

Four-time Group 1 winner and champion 2- and 3-year-old filly Alinghi (Aus) (Encosta de Lago {Aus}-Oceanfast {Aus}, by Monde Bleu {GB}) died during foaling at Arrowfield Stud on Monday. The 16-year-old mare’s Not A Single Doubt (Aus) foal also died.

“It’s a sad day for all of us, losing Alinghi and her foal,” said Arrowfield Chairman John Messara. “She was a magnificent racehorse and after more than 11 years with us at Arrowfield, very much part of all our lives. We’re immensely grateful for the joy she gave us, co-owners John Leaver and Alan Jones, her breeders, trainers, original owners and many others, and for her contribution as a broodmare. She has also left us five daughters, four of them already breeding for us, and a gorgeous yearling filly by Deep Impact we’ll now keep.”

Trained by Lee Freedman, Alinghi was named Australia’s champion 2-year-old filly of 2003/04 off wins in the G1 Blue Diamond S., G3 Blue Diamond Prelude and G2 Reisling S., and was third in the fastest-ever G1 Golden Slipper. She added the G1 Thousand Guineas, G1 Robert Sangster S. and G1 Newmarket H. at three before being purchased privately by Arrowfield, Leaver and Jones and sent to the U.S. to join trainer Bobby Frankel. Alinghi won her American debut, the GIII Ballston Spa Breeders’ Cup H. at Saratoga, but suffered a tendon injury after finishing eighth in the G1 Keeneland Turf Mile.

Returning to the paddocks at Arrowfield, Alinghi has produced two winners, including the dual stakes producer Line Honours (Aus) (Hussonet). Her lone colt, America (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}), sold for A$1.8-million at Inglis Easter in 2015. Alinghi will be buried in the Arrowfield cemetery.

Munnings Filly Stays Undefeated in Anoakia

Sun, 2017-10-22 16:42

ANOAKIA S., $71,500, SA, 10-22, 2yo, f, 6f, 1:10.84, ft.
1–ARTISTIC DIVA, 118, f, 2, Munnings–Diva N Disguise, by
 Mizzen Mast. ($67,000 Ylg ’16 FTKOCT; $425,000 2yo ’17 OBSAPR).
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O-Hronis Racing LLC; B-Asiel Stable LLC
(IL); T-John W. Sadler; J-Victor Espinoza. $42,900. Lifetime
Record: 2-2-0-0, $78,900.2–Steph Being Steph, 118, f, 2, Majestic Warrior–More Than
Proud, by More Than Ready. ($72,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP;
$240,000 2yo ’17 OBSAPR). O-Blinkers On Racing Stable,
Bennett, Cahee, Georgetti, Harris, Lyons et al.; B-D. J. Stable
(KY); T-Brian J Koriner. $14,300.3–Just a Smidge, 118, f, 2, Into Mischief–Pooh Corner, by Tapit.
($39,000 RNA Wlg ’15 KEENOV; $425,000 2yo ’17 EASMAY).
O-Debbie Lanni; B-Carolyn R Vogel (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $8,580.Margins: 2 1/4, 1HF, 1 3/4. Odds: 5.90, 10.20, 1.50.
Also Ran: Secret Spice, Chatty.
Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Well supported in her career bow going five furlongs on the Del Mar turf Aug. 24, Artistic Diva overcame a tardy start to come home a 1 1/2-length winner. Let go at almost 6-1 while stepping up in class and trying the main track for the first time, the Illinois bred wasted no time getting to the front of the field and doled out opening splits of :21.72 and :44.98. Confidently handled by Victor Espinoza turning for home, the filly proved best late and she maintained a comfortable advantage all the way home. Steph Being Steph was second, while 3-2 favorite rounded out the trifecta.

“Going into this race, I knew I would probably be on the lead but I wanted to go a bit slower,” said Espinoza, who also rode her first time out. “She has natural speed, she’s pretty fast. We train her in the mornings to relax but it doesn’t really work out…Over time, I think she’ll settle and the good thing about her is that we know she can run on turf and the dirt.”

“She had worked in nine and four [fifths of a second, for one eighth of a mile] at a 2-year-old in training sale, so we knew she was fast,” explained Sadler. “She struggles a little in the morning with the dirt, but we knew she could handle it. We ran her on grass first time out at Del Mar because I had so many 2-year-old fillies, I had to separate them.”

Holy Roman Emperor’s Rock My Love Is the Winterkonigin

Sun, 2017-10-22 11:07

Building on her first black-type success in the Listed Preis des Medienhauses DuMont Rheinland over 7 1/2 furlongs at Cologne Sept. 23, Gunter Merkel’s Rock My Love (Ger) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}) made all to maintain her unbeaten record in Sunday’s G3 Ittlingen Preis der Winterkonigin at Baden-Baden. Always happy on the front end with Adrie de Vries keen to stretch his rivals, the 9-10 favourite led the field over to the stands and kept finding as Suada (Ger) (Maxios {GB}) proved a tenacious foe to record a 3/4-of-a-length success, with Angelita (Ger) (Areion {Ger}) 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Rock My Love, who had scored over seven furlongs on debut at Dusseldorf Aug. 6, is a half-sister to the listed winners Rock My Soul (Ire) (Clodovil {Ire}) and Rock My Heart (Ger) (Sholokhov {Ire}) and the G2 Union-Rennen runner-up Rapido (Ger) (Rock of Gibraltar {Ire}). Rondinay (Fr) (Cadeaux Genereux {GB}), whose yearling colt is by Jukebox Jury (Ire), is a half-sister to the G3 Hamburger Stutenpreis winner Touch My Soul (Fr) (Tiger Hill {Ire}), while the third dam is the excellent producer Thekla (Ger) (Prince Ippi {Ger}) whose leading performers are the G1 Bayerisches Zuchtrennen hero Turfkonig (Ger) and the G2 German 1000 Guineas heroine and G1 Prix de Diane third Tryphosa (Ire) (Be My Guest). This is also the family of the G1 Preis der Diana (German Oaks) heroine Turfdonna (Ger) (Doyen {Ire}), the G1 Premio Lydia Tesio winner Turfrose (Ger) (Big Shuffle) and the classy Rosa Gigantea (Jpn) (Fuji Kiseki {Jpn}) and Touch of Land (Fr) (Lando {Ger}).

Sunday, Baden-Baden, Germany
ITTLINGEN – PREIS DER WINTERKONIGIN-G3, €105,000, BDB, 10-22, 2yo, f, 8fT, 1:51.88, sf.
1–ROCK MY LOVE (GER), 128, f, 2, by Holy Roman Emperor (Ire)
1st Dam: Rondinay (Fr), by Cadeaux Genereux (GB)
2nd Dam: Topline (Ger), by Acatenango (Ger)
3rd Dam: Thekla (Ger), by Prince Ippi (Ger)
O-Gunter Merkel; B-Ralf Kredel (GER); T-Markus Klug; J-Adrie de Vries. €60,000. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, €77,500. *1/2 to Rock My Soul (Ire) (Clodovil {Ire}), MSW-Ger & GSP-Fr, $144,166; Rock My Heart (Ger) (Sholokhov {Ire}), SW-Ger; and Rapido (Ger) (Rock of Gibraltar {Ire}), GSP-Ger. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Suada (Ger), 128, f, 2, Maxios (GB)–Shiramiyna (Ire), by Invincible Spirit (Ire). (€38,000 RNA Ylg ’16 BBAGO). O-Art 4 Horseracing; B-Gotz Meyer zu Reckendorf (GER); T-Markus Klug. €23,000.
3–Angelita (Ger), 128, f, 2, Areion (Ger)–Angel Dragon (Ger), by Royal Dragon. O/B-Gestut Brummerhof (GER); T-Peter Schiergen. €11,000.
Margins: 3/4, 1 1/4, 3 3/4. Odds: 0.90, 6.20, 16.10.
Also Ran: Dina (Ger), Cabarita (Ger), Butzje (Ger), Barista (Ger), Sword Peinture (Ger), I Am What I Am (Ger). Scratched: Indian Dream (Ger). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree.

Galileo’s Kenya To the Fore In the Killavullan

Sun, 2017-10-22 11:03

Having turned heads eight days earlier when successful by eight lengths over this seven-furlong trip at Cork, Susan Magnier’s Kenya (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) maintained that momentum to land a first black-type success and provide Aidan O’Brien with an 11th renewal of Sunday’s G3 Killavullan S. at Leopardstown. Sent to the front soon after the start by Donnacha O’Brien, the powerful-striding bay who had debuted with a third to stablemate Flag of Honour (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) over this trip at Naas Oct. 4 kicked at the top of the straight and had all else in trouble. Keeping on despite tiring late, he secured a length success from Mcmunigal (Ire) (Epaulette {Aus}), with the winner’s yard companion Bye Bye Baby (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) a half length back in third.

“Seven is sharp enough for him, but he tries hard and is improving,” his jockey commented. “He got a grand lead and kept galloping and he’ll definitely get further.” Aidan O’Brien added, “He’s a big powerful horse and was babyish and learnt a lot from his first to his second start and has progressed again. Donnacha said he’s a big genuine horse who handled the ease in the ground well. Whether he starts in a Guineas trial or not I don’t know, but if you listened to Donnacha you’d probably go a mile and a quarter next year. Seamus was very happy with Bye Bye Baby and he said he wouldn’t mind letting her roll along next time.”

Kenya becomes the second group scorer for the Listed Prix de la Vallee d’Auge runner-up Tender Morn (Dayjur) alongside the G3 Prix d’Aumale winner and former TDN Rising Star Zantenda (GB) (Zamindar) who was also third in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac. The dam of a total of four black-type performers, Tender Morn who also has a foal full-sister to Kenya is a half-sister to the Listed Prix Cor de Chasse scorer and G2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte runner-up Diableneyev (Nureyev) who descends from Queen Empress (Bold Ruler). The US champion 2-year-old filly in 1964, the prolific winner went on to produce the Native Dancer H. scorer Hail Emperor (Graustark) as well as the smart broodmares Royal Dilemma (Buckpasser) and Call the Queen (Hail To Reason) whose descendants include the G1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp heroine Silver Fling (The Minstrel) and the four-times group 1-winning champion Jewel Princess (Key To the Mint).

Sunday, Leopardstown, Ireland
KILLAVULLAN S.-G3, €60,000, LEO, 10-22, 2yo, 7fT, 1:35.28, sf.
1–KENYA (IRE), 129, c, 2, by Galileo (Ire)
1st Dam: Tender Morn (SP-Fr), by Dayjur
2nd Dam: La Pitie, by Devil’s Bag
3rd Dam: Empiracle, by Forli (Arg)
O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith; B-Lynch-Bages & Rhinestone Bloodstock (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien; J-Donnacha O’Brien. €35,400. Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-1, $52,931. *1/2 to Zantenda (GB) (Zamindar), GSW & G1SP-Fr, $119,522; Single (Fr) (Singspiel {Ire}), GSP-Fr; and Elusif (Fr) (Elusive Quality), MSP-Fr. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–McMunigal (Ire), 129, g, 2, Epaulette (Aus)–Picture of Lily (GB), by Medicean (GB). (€33,000 Wlg ’15 GOFNOV; €45,000 RNA Ylg ’16 GOFORB; 50,000gns 2yo ’17 TATBRE). O-David Spratt; B-Michael O’Mahony (IRE); T-Ger Lyons. €12,000.
3–Bye Bye Baby (Ire), 126, f, 2, Galileo (Ire)–Remember When (Ire), by Danehill Dancer (Ire). O-Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Susan Magnier; B-Remember When Syndicate (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. €6,000.
Margins: 1, HF, 1HF. Odds: 1.75, 4.00, 2.00.
Also Ran: Guessthebill (Ire), Dramatically, Quizical (Ire), Gasta (Ire). Scratched: Landshark (GB). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Nayef’s Ice Breeze Denies Vazirabad In Royal-Oak Thriller

Sun, 2017-10-22 10:59

As Vazirabad (Fr) (Manduro {Ger}) loomed with his usual perfectly-timed late thrust in Sunday’s G1 Prix Royal-Oak at Saint-Cloud, his history bid looked briefly achieved but he had reckoned without the tough 3-year-old Ice Breeze (GB) (Nayef) and it was that Juddmonte homebred who came out on top to deny a third victory for His Highness The Aga Khan’s premier stayer. Always happy sitting in fourth off the generous tempo, the 4-1 shot who had booked his ticket here with a success in the G2 Prix Chaudenay at Chantilly Sept. 30 was sent past Holdthasigreen (Fr) (Hold That Tiger) and into a narrow lead 500 metres out by Vincent Cheminaud. Digging deep to first ward off that challenge and then again to repel the 4-5 favourite in the final 100, Ice Breeze went away late to ultimately score with authority by 1 1/4 lengths from Vazirabad who had no excuses, with Holdthasigreen the only other rival to have a say two lengths behind as they pulled clear of the remainder.

Ice Breeze first came to prominence when beating Shakeel (Fr) (Dalakhani {Ire}) in the G2 Prix Hocquart over a mile and a half at Chantilly June 18, but was given too much to do when a closing fourth behind that rival in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris here on Bastille Day. Unsurprisingly no match for Cracksman (GB) (Frankel {GB}) when nearly nine-lengths fourth in the G2 Prix Niel back at Chantilly Sept. 10, he was upped three furlongs next time and ridden more positively and that combination proved the key as he outbattled the smart British raider Call To Mind (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) and classy compatriot Darbuzan (Fr) (Zamindar) in a solid renewal of the Chaudenay. “This horse has not missed a beat since his debut and has been so consistent and brave,” trainer Pascal Bary said. “The rhythm of the race suited him perfectly and is exactly what he needs, but hasn’t had on all occasions so far this season. I have to admit that halfway down the straight when the favourite made his move it looked like he would beat us, but my horse was very brave and showed a lot of heart like he had last time. He is now through for the season and we hope we’ll see him again next year.”

Providing Khalid Abdullah with another group 1 winner in another season to recall with relish, Ice Breeze is a full-brother to the former Sir Michael Stoute-trained Snow Sky (GB) who was third in the G1 St Leger before taking the G2 Yorkshire Cup and G2 Hardwicke S. The dam is the Listed Prix des Tourelles third Winter Silence (GB) (Dansili {GB}), a daughter of Hunt The Sun (GB) (Rainbow Quest) who has six black-type performers to her credit headed by the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic winner Polish Summer (GB) (Polish Precedent) and the GI Manhattan S. hero Meteor Storm (GB) (Bigstone {Ire}). Her daughter Winter Solstice (GB) (Unfuwain) was runner-up in the G3 Prix d’Aumale before producing the G2 Prix Greffulhe scorer Ice Blue (GB) (Dansili {GB}) and is also the second dam of the G1 Nassau S. heroine Winsili (GB), also by Dansili. The third dam Suntrap (Roberto) was responsible for the Group 1-winning stayers Raintrap (GB) and Sunshack (GB) and the G3 Prix des Reservoirs third Summer Breeze (GB) (Rainbow Quest), who in turn is the dam of the four-times pattern-race scorer Doctor Fremantle (GB) (Sadler’s Wells). Winter Silence’s as-yet unraced 2-year-old colt is named Air Frost (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}), while she also has a yearling filly by Kingman (GB) and a foal full-brother to Ice Breeze.

Sunday, Saint-Cloud, France
PRIX ROYAL-OAK-G1, €350,000, SCD, 10-22, 3yo/up, 15 1/2fT, 3:25.40, g/s.
1–ICE BREEZE (GB), 122, c, 3, by Nayef
1st Dam: Winter Silence (GB) (SP-Fr), by Dansili (GB)
2nd Dam: Hunt the Sun (GB), by Rainbow Quest
3rd Dam: Suntrap, by Roberto
O-Khalid Abdullah; B-Juddmonte Farms Ltd (GB); T-Pascal Bary; J-Vincent Cheminaud. €199,990. Lifetime Record: 8-4-2-0, €466,150. *Full to Snow Sky (GB), MGSW & G1SP-Eng, $783,269. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Vazirabad (Fr), 130, g, 5, Manduro (Ger)–Visorama (Ire), by Linamix (Fr). O-H H The Aga Khan; B-H H The Aga Khan’s Studs SC (FR); T-Alain de Royer-Dupre. €80,010.
3–Holdthasigreen (Fr), 130, g, 5, Hold That Tiger–Greentathir (Fr), by Muhtathir (GB). O/T-Claude Le Lay; B-Jean Gilbert & Claude Le Lay (FR). €40,005.
Margins: 1 1/4, 2, 8. Odds: 5.10, 0.80, 4.50.
Also Ran: Renneti (Fr), Kitesurf (GB), Oriental Eagle (Ger), Montaly (GB), Mille et Mille (GB), Brandon Castle (GB). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Frankel’s Contingent Earns TDN Rising Stardom in Leopardstown Debut

Sun, 2017-10-22 09:32

1st-LEO, €17,500, Mdn, 10-22, 2yo, f, 8f 15yT, 1:49.67, sf.
CONTINGENT (GB), f, 2, by Frankel (GB)
1st Dam: Proportional (GB) (Hwt. 2yo Filly-Fr & G1SW-Fr, $357,727), by Beat Hollow (GB)
2nd Dam: Minority (GB), by Generous (Ire)
3rd Dam: Minskip, by The Minstrel
Contingent was shuffled back to race under cover towards the rear after an alert break from the outside gate in this contest annexed by subsequent G2 Ribblesdale S. winner Even Song (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) in 2015. Easing ever closer once passing halfway, the well-backed 9-4 favourite made continued headway off the home turn to seize control approaching the final furlong and ran on well thereafter to easily account for Alghabrah (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}) by an impressive 1 3/4 lengths. “She just could be very good and it takes a good filly to win from stall 18,” enthused trainer Dermot Weld. “She is a lovely, big staying filly, she has a lot of class and also has plenty of pace. Obviously, that’s it for the year and we’ll review everything in the spring. She is a beautiful filly to look forward to and wouldn’t have any problem on any ground.” The homebred bay is the third scorer produced by G1 Prix Marcel Boussac heroine Proportional (GB) (Beat Hollow {GB}) and she is kin to Listed Finale S. victress Variable (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}), a yearling filly by Kingman (GB) and a colt foal by Frankel. Proportional, who was bred to War Front this year, is a full-sister to G3 Park Express S. winner and G1 Irish 1000 Guineas third Vote Often (GB), and is out of G3 Prix Minerve and G3 Prix Cleopatre placegetter Minority (GB) (Generous {Ire}), who in turn is a half-sister to the dam of GI E.P. Taylor S. victress Folk Opera (Ire) (Singspiel {Ire}). Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, €10,780. Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Khalid Abdullah; B-Juddmonte Farms Ltd (GB); T-Dermot Weld.

Soldier Hollow Half-Brother to German Derby Hero Windstoss Annexes Bremen Unveiling

Sun, 2017-10-22 07:54

1st-BRE, €5,100, Mdn, 10-22, 2yo, 8fT, 1:47.27, sf.
WELTSTAR (GER) (c, 2, Soldier Hollow {GB}–Wellenspiel {Ger}, by Sternkonig {Ire}) shadowed the pace in a close-up second from the outset of this first go. Coming under pressure soon after passing the three-furlong marker, the 13-10 second choice was ridden to the fore approaching the final eighth and stayed on strongly for one flick of the persuader in the closing stages to hit the line 5 1/2 lengths in advance of long-time leader Queens Harbour (GB) (Harbour Watch {Ire}). The €40,000 BBAGS yearling becomes the second scorer produced by Wellenspiel (Ger) (Sternkonig {Ire}), herself a winning daughter of MSW G2 German 1000 Guineas runner-up Well Known (Ger) (Konigsstuhl {Ger}), and he is a half-brother to this term’s G1 Deutsches Derby and G1 Preis von Europa hero Windstoss (Ger) (Shirocco {Ger}), and the yearling colt Walerian (Ger) (Reliable Man {GB}). Well Known is the dam of five black-type performers headed by G1 Preis von Europa victor Well Made (Ger) (Mondrian {Ger}) and the stakes-winning Weichsel (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}). His third dam Well Proved (Ger) (Prince Ippi {Ger}) annexed the G3 German 1000 Guineas and produced G1 Oaks d’Italia third Well Minded (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}) and G3 Prix de Psyche victress Welluna (Ger) (Lagunas {GB}), who in turn is the granddam of last year’s G3 Preis der Winterkonigin heroine Well Spoken (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}). Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, €3,000.
O/B-Gestut Rottgen (GER); T-Markus Klug.

Into Mischief Filly Leads 1-2 for Cali in Raven Run

Sat, 2017-10-21 17:53

California invaders MISS SUNSET (f, 3, Into Mischief–Tuscan Sunset, by Trippi) and Chalon (Dialed In) dueled from start to finish in Keeneland’s GII Lexus Raven Run S. Saturday, with the former eventually wearing down her stubborn foe to get the job done by a half-length as the 3-1 chalk. Torrent (Blame) kicked on for third at 50-1. The final time was 1:22.21. Miss Sunset aired by 5 1/2 lengths in Delmar’s Fleet Treet S. for Cal-breds July 30, and added the restricted C.E.R.F. S. there Sept. 4. Lifetime Record: 11-7-1-1.
O-Alan Klein & Philip Lebherz. B-Premier Thoroughbreds LLC & Alan Klein (CA). T-Jeff Bonde.


Cracksman Destroys Champion Rivals For Frankel’s Breakthrough

Sat, 2017-10-21 11:17

Fittingly staged against the backdrop of “Storm Brian”, Saturday’s G1 Qipco Champion S. at Ascot witnessed its own equine tempest as Anthony Oppenheimer’s Cracksman (GB) (Frankel {GB}) lorded it over some class rivals to make his much-loved sire’s first European group 1 a special affair. In the race that not only capped the golden campaign of Frankel but which also played host to the greatest moment in the career of his brother Noble Mission (GB), the family momentum well and truly carried over to the homebred from Hascombe and Valiant Studs. Backed into 13-8 favouritism despite lacking a top-level success, the bay was always comfortable just off the pace and when sent forward into the lead by Frankie Dettori turning for home responded in his sire’s formidable and generous-galloping style to open up. Alone and exposed in the gusts up the middle of Ascot’s expanse, Cracksman was as professional as he was remorseless and by the time he pounded past the line he had stretched his advantage over the Irish Champion runner-up Poet’s Word (Ire) (Poet’s Voice {GB}) to a commanding seven lengths, with Highland Reel (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) upholding the standard in third. “He’s a very talented horse and Frankie rode him positively and beautifully in the straight,” John Gosden said of the colt who at last showed the brilliance that had long had connections dreaming of 2018. “Enable and him will be fun. You can now see why I didn’t want him to run in the Arc, as there’s not much between them. This is great for Frankel, it’s his first group 1 winner in Europe in the race he won himself.”

Introduced in the same Newmarket mile maiden as his stablemate Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) almost exactly a year before this crowning moment, Cracksman served instant notice that he was one to be kept in mind for the following year’s Derby and his road to the blue riband aptly began at Epsom six months later. Getting up late despite a slow start and trouble in running to deny the high-class and ill-fated Permian (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) by a short head in the 10-furlong Investec Derby Trial Apr. 26, he faced a crucial crossroads as York’s G2 Dante S. neared but was taken out of the rain-hit trial which ultimately franked his quality after Permian ran out a ready winner. While the easy conditions were the key factor in that decision, his owner-breeder was keen to stress that the dam had relished testing ground and it was more a matter of timing with Gosden keen to avoid a slog just over two weeks before the main event.

As a result, Cracksman went to the June 3 G1 Epsom Derby possessing all the qualities required but lacking essential conditioning and that told as he came off the bridle early in the straight before staying on to be a length behind the more streetwise Wings of Eagles (Fr) (Pour Moi {Ire}) and Cliffs of Moher (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). It was the same story again at The Curragh four weeks later as the bay came under the pump from Pat Smullen before the straight and galloped on resolutely to be narrowly denied by Capri (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). Following a seven-week chrysalis period, Cracksman re-emerged on good-to-soft ground in York’s G2 Great Voltigeur Aug. 23 and it was as though the real Frankel element had begun to come through as he put up an unforgettable display. It is well-documented that Oppenheimer and Gosden had planned to stop at that point and craft a real 4-year-old program for him, but leaving him alone was becoming increasingly difficult as he continued to grow in stature.

After his easy success in the G2 Prix Niel at Chantilly Sept. 10, he would undoubtedly have gone back there for the big French autumn test had Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) not had first dibs on that prize and so Ascot became the main focus. While Oppenheimer continued to pour cold water on suggestions he might after all be engaged in a major race before the season’s end, Gosden was plotting the route to the Champion S. and every day that Cracksman stepped out on to the Newmarket gallops he further enhanced his prospects of being here. In confident mood and well aware of what he had in store, Gosden had committed to running as early as the Tattersalls October Part 1 Sale, when the going was still an unknown quantity and his foresight was rewarded by more British downpours which would compromise the fast-ground contingent.

Breaking alertly, Cracksman raced in the slipstream of stablemate Maverick Wave (Elusive Quality) as they raced third and fourth with Highland Reel taken wide by Ryan Moore in search of better ground before halfway. Habitual front-runner Success Days (Ire) (Jeremy) took no prisoners and it was clear by the end of the back straight as Highland Reel crossed back over to re-join the pack that only slow-ground specialists need apply. Sent between Maverick Wave and Success Days and into the front with three furlongs remaining, he lowered his head in his sire’s inimitable style and drew away to settle the result fairly quickly, with the French challenger and surprise package Recoletos (Fr) (Whipper) looking for a while likely to come off second best. As Cracksman ground out his wide-margin success in the kind of glorious isolation Frankel made his trademark, it was left to Poet’s Word and Highland Reel to provide ballast to the form at a respectable distance.

Frankie Dettori, who will face one of the greatest dilemmas of a jockey in the modern era when the Gosden stable goliaths eventually clash, was remarkably registering a belated first Champion success and he said, “That was amazing. He put a good field to bed in the manner of a champion. It was a fantastic feeling and I’ve not got words to describe it. We’ve given him time to develop and that’s what you’ve got now. He’s been working so sweetly and he got the success that he deserved. If I had to choose between him and Enable, I wouldn’t know who to ride, they are two champions and we go into the winter to dream. He’s learning and there’s so much more to come from him.”

Gosden added, “If he was a middleweight earlier in the season, he is a light heavyweight now. He’s really progressed and to do this against older horses, he’s a fast-improving horse. We hope the horses have a good winter and go through to next year, but I’ve been around long enough not to count too many chickens. I thought he’d win the race extremely well if things went right for him, but a mile and a quarter here and you have to handle the ground–I’ll be absolutely honest, I didn’t think he’d win as big as that.”

Sir Michael Stoute was probably relieved he opted to take out Ulysses (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) with the storm bringing more rain, but was satisfied that Poet’s Word had earned another second in a Champion S. “He’s run well. He’s pretty versatile ground-wise and trip-wise, but I don’t think he wants the ground as bad as this,” he said. “I’m very pleased with him and he’s been beaten by a very good one today.” Highland Reel ran a creditable race after taking the long way round and may ultimately have put up an ideal prep for his Breeders’ Cup Turf defence. “I’m very happy and he ran a great race,” Aidan O’Brien commented. “He’d like the ground quicker and he’ll probably go to America next if everything is well.”

Cracksman is now without doubt the best of his sire’s first crop and like his dam Rhadegunda (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) is getting better with each racecourse experience. Responsible for the G3 Solario S. scorer Fantastic Moon (GB) (Dalakhani {Ire}), who was her first foal, she was also a lover of testing conditions as she proved when registering her sole black-type success in the Listed Prix Solitude on her final start. The third dam is the 1000 Guineas and Sussex S. heroine On the House, whose descendants include the G2 Royal Lodge S. winner Leo (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) and who is related to the recently-deceased 1997 G1 Coronation S. winner Rebecca Sharp (GB) (Machiavellian), as well as the G1 Epsom Derby, G1 Eclipse S. and G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero Golden Horn (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}). The latter and Cracksman have now firmly re-established Hascombe and Valiant Studs in the big time, justifying Oppenheimer’s decision to breathe new life into his broodmare band. Rhadegunda’s 2-year-old colt by New Approach (Ire) named Military Band (GB) was purchased for just 80,000gns by John Ferguson Bloodstock at the 2016 Tattersalls December sale.

Saturday, Ascot, Britain
QIPCO CHAMPION S.-G1, £1,300,000, ASC, 10-21, 3yo/up, 9f 212yT, 2:11.75, sf.
1–CRACKSMAN (GB), 127, c, 3, by Frankel (GB)
1st Dam: Rhadegunda (GB) (SW-Fr), by Pivotal (GB)
2nd Dam: St Radegund (GB), by Green Desert
3rd Dam: On the House, by Be My Guest
O-Anthony Oppenheimer; B-Hascombe & Valiant Studs (GB); T-John Gosden; J-Lanfranco Dettori. £737,230. Lifetime Record: GSW-Fr & G1SP-Ire, 7-5-1-1, $1,784,069. *1/2 to Fantastic Moon (GB) (Dalakhani {Ire}), GSW-Eng. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Poet’s Word (Ire), 131, c, 4, Poet’s Voice (GB)–Whirly Bird (GB), by Nashwan. (300,000gns Ylg ’14 TAOCT). O-Saeed Suhail; B-Woodcote Stud Ltd (IRE); T-Sir Michael Stoute. £279,500.
3–Highland Reel (Ire), 131, h, 5, Galileo (Ire)–Hveger (Aus), by Danehill. (460,000gns Ylg ’13 TAOCT). O-Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Michael Tabor; B-Hveger Syndicate (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. £139,880.Margins: 7, NK, 1. Odds: 1.60, 7.00, 8.50.
Also Ran: Recoletos (Fr), Desert Encounter (Ire), Brametot (Ire), Cliffs of Moher (Ire), Maverick Wave, Barney Roy (GB), Success Days (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Dark Angel’s Persuasive Swoops In the QEII

Sat, 2017-10-21 10:45

At the end of a year in which Europe’s fillies and mares marched onward towards world domination, Cheveley Park Stud’s Persuasive (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) beat up some notable colts to provide her esteemed owners David and Patricia Thompson with another red-letter day in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. at Ascot on Saturday. Well-supported into 8-1 coming off a second to Roly Poly (War Front) in what was thought to be her swansong in Newmarket’s G1 Sun Chariot S. a fortnight previously, the grey raced off the pace under Frankie Dettori and was delivered with a rattle to brush aside the 2-1 favourite Ribchester (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}) and win by a length, with a half length back to Churchill (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in third. “She travelled so good I couldn’t believe it, but this ground is so key for her,” commented the rider who was gaining a sixth success in the race that first launched him in 1990. “I thought the race was going to be very tough, but she showed an explosive turn of foot and she put it to bed very quickly.”

Like Librisa Breeze (GB) (Mount Nelson {GB}), Persuasive has been seen to be a touch unlucky on occasion since her dominant display when breaking her black-type maiden in the Listed Sandringham H. over this track and trip at the Royal meeting last June. Following up with a three-length defeat of the classy Blond Me (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}) in Sandown’s G3 Atalanta Fillies’ S. in August, she was runner-up to Alice Springs (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in Leopardstown’s G1 Matron S. in September and was racing for the first time subsequently when a staying-on fifth in the G1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville July 30. Finishing with relish again when third to Hydrangea (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in a Matron that was to have special resonance at this meeting back at Leopardstown Sept. 9, she was supposed to be signing off when second in the Sun Chariot but her demeanour and work in the interim had prompted connections to have another go.

Restrained in the main far-side group early led along by the Ballydoyle pace-setters Lancaster Bomber (War Front) and Sir John Lavery (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), Persuasive kept Churchill for company and she tracked him closely as the smooth-travelling Ribchester was committed on the front end by William Buick passing three out. As Churchill went up the rail under Ryan Moore, the gap was closed ahead of her and she had to switch out with a quarter mile remaining. Rather than disturbing her momentum, that move seemed to fire her up and she was soon threatening a line of four rivals in Churchill, Ribchester, stablemate Nathra (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB})–who had been third in the Sun Chariot–and Lightning Spear (GB) (Pivotal {GB}). Proving fastest of that combination from the furlong pole, she surged into the clear to add to Dettori’s QEII tally as he closes in on Willie Carson’s record of eight.

Trainer John Gosden “He was saving her and holding her together and she’d have been an unlucky loser,” he said. “Nathra also ran a blinder and they are both off to the breeding shed now.” Expanding on his decision to tackle this ambitious target, he explained, “I think [Cheveley Park Stud’s managing director] Chris [Richardson] said ‘she is in the QEII and if it rains, should we run?’ and I said ‘it is a very good idea’. It was as simple as that. She is a phenomenally good filly. We’ve waited for this ground, she loves this ground. I don’t think she has had any luck in group ones. Things have gone wrong for her, but it has come right today. We are thrilled and she deserved it. It never worries me late in a year with a filly, because I think they go through hell in the spring and summer coming in and out of season. They come to the late summer and autumn and everything is settled and they can focus on racing.”

As he was at Glorious Goodwood, trainer Richard Fahey was again cursing the weather as he reflected on Ribchester’s effort. “It’s deja vu, the ground has beaten him again,” he commented. “He’s a horse that’s won on soft ground, but he’s such a good-moving horse. William [Buick] felt he came there to win and win well and he just gets blunted in the dead ground. He just doesn’t put it to bed and the winner coped with the conditions better. That’s twice he’s been beaten in desperate conditions, but we’re happy enough–I’m not really, but I’ll have to say that.” Ribchester, who had been second to another filly in Minding (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) 12 months previously, was being touted as a Breeders’ Cup Mile candidate beforehand, but Fahey was non-committal in this race’s immediate aftermath. “I can’t even think about that at the moment,” he added. “I’ll get him home and see how he is and speak to the team. I’m proud of him, but disappointed really. For me his best run of the season was Royal Ascot when the ground was quick and he broke the track record. If he hadn’t have won the Mill Reef on slow ground I’d have always been worried about the ground with him, because he’s such a good-moving horse. He hasn’t lost anything in defeat and he hasn’t devalued himself in any way. He’s come back bright as a button.”

One of Cheveley Park Stud’s public auction purchases, Persuasive is out of the Listed Fairy Bridge S. winner and G3 Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies’ S. runner-up Choose Me (Ire) (Choisir {Aus}), who is also the dam of the Listed Coral Distaff S. winner and multiple group-placed Tisbutadream (Ire) (Dream Ahead). Among Choose Me’s half-siblings is the listed-winning sprinter Shanghai Glory (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}), while the third dam Ajuga (The Minstrel) produced three black-type scorers including the G2 Europa-Championat hero Bad Bertrich Again (Ire) (Dowsing) and the Listed Cheshire Oaks scorer Alumni (GB) (Selkirk). The latter produced the Listed Steventon S.-winning Czech champion and G2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein and G2 Darley Oettingen-Rennen runner-up Dux Scholar (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}). The fourth dam Cairn Rouge (Ire) (Pitcairn {Ire}) collected the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas and G1 Champion S. when it was formerly staged at Newmarket and her descendants include the formidable Juddmonte flag-bearer Ventura (Chester House) whose four victories in this grade are headed by the Matriarch S. and Santa Monica H. Choose Me’s as-yet unraced 2-year-old filly by Iffraaj (GB) is named Improve (Ire), while she also has a yearling colt by Slade Power (Ire) who was bought by SackvilleDonald for €100,000 at the recent Goffs Orby sale.

Saturday, Ascot, Britain
QUEEN ELIZABETH II S.-G1, £1,100,000, ASC, 10-21, 3yo/up, 8fT, 1:46.13, sf.
1–PERSUASIVE (IRE), 127, f, 4, by Dark Angel (Ire)
1st Dam: Choose Me (Ire) (SW & MGSP-Ire, $388,395), by Choisir (Aus)
2nd Dam: Hecuba (GB), by Hector Protector
3rd Dam: Ajuga, by The Minstrel
(€180,000 Ylg ’14 GOFORB). O-Cheveley Park Stud; B-J F Tuthill (IRE); T-John Gosden; J-Lanfranco Dettori. £623,810. Lifetime Record: MG1SP-Ire, 10-6-2-1, $1,161,785. *1/2 to Tisbutadream (Ire) (Dream Ahead), SW & MGSP-Eng, GSP-Fr, $132,326. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Ribchester (Ire), 130, c, 4, Iffraaj (GB)–Mujarah (Ire), by Marju (Ire). (€78,000 Wlg ’13 GOFNOV; €105,000 Ylg ’14 GOFORB). O-Godolphin; B-A Thompson & M O’Brien (IRE); T-Richard Fahey. £236,500.
3–Churchill (Ire), 127, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Meow (Ire), by Storm Cat. O-Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Susan Magnier; B-Liberty Bloodstock (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. £118,360.
Margins: 1, HF, NK. Odds: 8.00, 2.00, 4.50.
Also Ran: Nathra (Ire), Sea of Grace (Ire), Lightning Spear (GB), Al Wukair (Ire), Zonderland (GB), Here Comes When (Ire), Beat The Bank (GB), Sir John Lavery (Ire), Breton Rock (Ire), Toscanini (Ire), Lancaster Bomber, Thunder Snow (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Galileo’s Hydrangea Registers Landmark Win for Ballydoyle in the Fillies & Mares

Sat, 2017-10-21 10:07

   Hydrangea (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) was rewarded for her consistency with a career high in last month’s G1 Matron S. at Leopardstown before just failing to usurp stablemate Rhododendron (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in Chantilly’s G1 Prix de l’Opera on Arc day at the beginning of this month, but bounced back in game fashion to provide Aidan O’Brien with a record-equalling 25th Group 1 win of the year in Saturday’s G1 British Champions Fillies & Mares S. at Ascot. Settling into a smooth rhythm without cover for most of the contest, the 4-1 chance made rapid headway rounding the home turn to seize control at the quarter-mile marker and, despite the ominous attention of 7-4 favourite Bateel (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) approaching the final furlong, readily withstood that rival’s vain bid to hit the line with a decisive two lengths to spare. TDN Rising Star Coronet (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), as ever, rallied late to finish a further 1 3/4 lengths adrift in third. “Everyone puts in a lot of hard work, day in day out, and it’s incredible,” said a typically modest O’Brien after matching the late Bobby Frankel’s 2003 landmark feat of 25 top-level wins in a calendar year. “We’re a small link in a long chain and we are so grateful and delighted for everybody involved. Galileos just do not stop, they go any distance from short to long and the will to win is just incredible.” Winning rider Ryan Moore added, “What Aidan has achieved this year is simply remarkable and it’s a massive team effort. This filly has been on the go all year and just gets better and better. She has stepped up in trip in her last two runs and I was hoping the ground would have been better than it was, but she has a lovely attitude.”
   Hydrangea, who graduated in a seven-furlong Curragh maiden in her third start last year, embarked on a run of three runner-up finishes–in the G2 Debutante S., G1 Moyglare Stud S. and G1 Fillies’ Mile–before closing a busy juvenile campaign with a last-of-14 effort in Santa Anita’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. She opened this term with a win in Leopardstown’s G3 Ballylinch Stud 1000 Guineas Trial, was off colour in the G1 1000 Guineas and was in the money in the Irish equivalent, Royal Ascot’s G1 Coronation S. and the G1 Nassau S. at Goodwood. On song in the Sept. 9 G1 Matron S. on her return to Leopardstown, she was back up in trip for Chantilly’s G1 Prix de l’Opera and climbed the ladder once more for her first start beyond 10 furlongs here. “These Group 1s are so hard to win and you never expect anything,” insisted Aidan O’Brien, who was crowned Britain’s champion trainer in the aftermath of another day’s prize collecting. “It was Ryan’s idea to run her as he thought there was a chance she could get this trip. We weren’t sure, but she obviously did and it is brilliant. We do our best every single day and that’s all we can do. It’s great to be here and I am so grateful to everybody. There are so many variables and so many things which can go wrong. When you miss at it you never know whether you are ever going to get back there or not. That’s the way it is and the way things stack up. Sometimes all your ducks come in a row and sometimes they don’t, but you just have to accept it and move on.”
   Runner-up Bateel (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire})–who had previously registered incremental scores in the June 10 G3 Pinnacle S., Aug. 6 G2 Prix de Pomone and Sept. 10 G1 Prix Vermeille–looked a viable threat inside the final quarter mile, but was unable to follow through once Hydrangea engaged turbo in the closing stages. Trainer Francis-Henri Graffard was nonetheless delighted with his charge and said, “Bateel has run a fantastic race. She had the ground she likes, she had a perfect run and there are no excuses. She came upsides Hydrangea, but when Ryan [Moore] asked his filly she ran away from us. She was on top of her game for the Vermeille and was at her best today. There wouldn’t be much more improvement in her, but she is a genuine Group 1 filly. She has done a fantastic job this season and deserves a place at stud. She will go for a break now and we will chat with the owners regarding her future. I’d be happy to have her back and also happy for her to go stud. Every eventuality is a good outcome.” Jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot added, “Bateel has run a great race, but when she came upsides Hydrangea went away and was not for catching. She has run really well, but came up against a good one.” James Wigan, racing manager for owner Prince Faisal’s Denford Stud, confirmed TDN Rising Star Coronet (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) is to remain in training as a 4-year-old and said, “We are thrilled with her performance and she stays in training for next season.”
   Hydrangea is the second Group 1 winner for G2 Prix du Gros-Chene and G3 Prix d’Arenberg victress Beauty Is Truth (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}), who is also the dam of G1 Ranvet S. victor The United States (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and GSW G1 Moyglare Stud S. and G1 Prix Marcel Boussac runner-up Fire Lily (Ire) (Dansili {GB}). Her second dam Zelding (Ire) (Warning {GB}) annexed the G3 Prix du Bois and also produced the stakes-winning G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and G1 Prix de Diane placegetter Glorious Sight (Ire) (Singspiel {Ire}). Hydrangea’s third dam Zelda (Ire) (Caerleon), a half-sister to five black-type winners headed by the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile-winning sire Last Tycoon (Ire) (Try My Best), threw two more Group winners in G2 Prix Robert Papin hero Zipping (Ire) (Zafonic) and G3 Prix du Petit-Couvert scorer Nipping (Ire) (Night Shift). Zelda is also kin to Listed Prix La Camargo winner Side of Paradise (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells), herself the dam of G1 Coronation S. and G1 Prix Jacques le Marois heroine Immortal Verse (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}). Beauty Is Truth also has an as yet unraced 2-year-old full-brother to Hydrangea, named Adelphi (Ire), a yearling filly by Galileo (Ire) and a filly foal by Galileo (Ire).

Saturday, Ascot, Britain
QIPCO BRITISH CHAMPIONS FILLIES & MARES S.-G1, £627,500, ASC, 10-21, 3yo/up, f, 11f 211yT, 2:40.82, sf.
1–HYDRANGEA (IRE), 125, f, 3, by Galileo (Ire)
1st Dam: Beauty Is Truth (Ire) (MGSW-Fr, $226,426), by Pivotal (GB)
2nd Dam: Zelding (Ire), by Warning (GB)
3rd Dam: Zelda (Ire), by Caerleon
O-Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Michael Tabor; B-Beauty Is Truth Syndicate (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien; J-Ryan Moore. £355,855. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Ire & G1SP-Fr, 15-4-5-2, $1,266,027. *Full to The United States (Ire), G1SW-Aus & GSW-Ire, $1,684,244; and 1/2 to Fire Lily (Ire) (Dansili {GB}), Hwt. 3yo-Ire at 5-7f, MGSW & G1SP-Ire, G1SP-Fr & GSP-Eng, $412,541. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Bateel (Ire), 131, m, 5, Dubawi (Ire)–Attractive Crown, by Chief’s Crown. O-Al Asayl Bloodstock Ltd; B-Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nayhan (IRE); T-Francis-Henri Graffard. £134,913.3–Coronet (GB), 125, f, 3, Dubawi (Ire)–Approach (GB), by Darshaan (GB). O/B-Denford Stud Ltd (GB); T-John Gosden. £67,519.
Margins: 2, 1 3/4, 5. Odds: 4.00, 1.75, 5.50.
Also Ran: The Juliet Rose (Fr), The Black Princess (Fr), Journey (GB), Alyssa (GB), Horseplay (GB), Left Hand (GB), Wild Irish Rose (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.