Becky Thomas and Joe McMahon announced Wednesday, December 18 that multiple graded stakes winner Forty Tales will stand at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson for the 2014 Season. Forty Tales will be the first joint venture between Dennis Narlinger and Becky Thomas of Sequel New York, and Joe McMahon of McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds.
The bay colt by champion juvenile sire Tale of the Cat retires with 5 wins, $666,789 in earnings and a trio of triple-digit Beyers (106, 102, 100). He won his only start at 2 by 2 3/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at Aqueduct for conditioner Todd Pletcher and owners Perretti Racing Stables. A graded stakes winner at three from 6 1/2 furlongs to a mile, Forty Tales won the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga and the Grade 2 Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont. Outside of the Big Apple, he won the Grace 3 Derby Trial at Churchill Downs and was second in the Grade 2 Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park. He is out of stakes-placed Forty Niner mare, Forty Love and will stand his first season for $6,500 S&N.
“We are so excited to be able to offer our clients this exciting prospect and hometown hero and to add to our stellar roster,” said Becky Thomas. “We are particularly excited to partner with McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds as well as Chester and Mary Broman to stand the first stallion venture, offering a limited number of shares to our breeders in New York as well as out of state clients. The expansion of the NY breeding program has allowed many more opportunities as New York-breds have increased substantially in value on the racing front as well as in the sales ring.”
Forty Tales will join Freud, Desert Party, Emcee, Mission Impazible, Noble Causeway and Noonmark on the Sequel roster.
The New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) concluded its annual Board of Directors election on Thursday, December 12, 2013. This year NYTB members voted to fill six seats on the 11-person Board for candidates who will serve a two-year term from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2015.
The winning candidates are:
All six of the winning candidates are currently serving on the NYTB Board of Directors.
Five current members of the NYTB Board will serve the second year of their two-year terms in 2014:
Whittemore, Dowen & Ricciardelli, LLP, an accounting firm from Queensbury, NY, collected the ballots, tabulated and certified the election results and reported them to NYTB on December 13, 2013.
Click here to read the letter from Whittemore, Dowen & Ricciardelli, LLP certifying the results of the election.
A colt by red-hot sire Kitten’s Joy, who currently leads North American sires in earnings, Grade 1 Stakes winners and stakes winners, sold as the top weanling at Monday’s single-session Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale when purchased by Highclere Inc. for $92,000.
Bred and consigned by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, LLC, the January colt (Hip 206) is out of Right On It, a winning daughter of E Dubai who sold from the Ramsey Farm consignment at the 2012 Keeneland November sale for $17,000. Right On It’s first foal, a placed 3-year-old gelding, is by Catienus. Her three subsequent offspring, two fillies and the sale colt, are all by Kitten’s Joy. She was bred this year to McMahon stallion Here Comes Ben, who entered stud in 2012.
The colt’s second dam, Shoot the Moon (Seattle Slew), did not place in her single start, but belongs to a productive family. Out of Grade 1 Beldame winner Weber City Miss, Shoot the Moon is a full sister to multiple Grade 1 winner and millionaire Slew City Slew and to City Dance, a stakes winner, multiple graded stakes-placed runner and multiple stakes producer. Another sibling Dream Touch (Riverman) is a stakes winner. Shoot the Moon’s daughter Moonsong is a stakes producer.
Despite a catalogue that was eleven percent smaller than last year, Fasig-Tipton’s December sale showed an increase in all the major indicators, including total sales, with 133 horses bringing $1,516,700 compared to $1,150,200 for 140 lots last year. The average price this year of $11,404 was 38.8 percent higher than 2012 ($8,216) and the median price increased 25 percent from $3,000 to $4,000.
Last year’s sale topper was a New York-bred weanling half-sister to Grade 1 winner Unbridled Command by Read the Footnotes, who sold to Edition Farm for $100,000.
Willet’s fourth-place effort in the Grade 2 Go For Wand at Aqueduct on Black Friday clearly fell short of her connections’ hopes, but when trainer and co-owner Jimmy Iselin confidently wheeled her back just seven days later to contest the Touch of Love overnight stakes for state-bred fillies and mares at Aqueduct, he knew she had plenty left to offer. The 1-2 favorite did not disappoint.
The muddy (sealed) racing conditions of the main track led to five early scratches for the 7 1/2-furlong Touch of Love: Floating alone, Kelli Got Frosty, La Verdad, Mischief Maker and What the Frost. A relatively robust field of six fillies and mares remained, however, led by multiple stakes winners Willet, Miss Valentine and Frosty Bay and stakes winner Harbor Mist.
After bringing up the rear of the four-horse vanguard for the first half mile (48.13), Willet moved out into the four-path entering the far turn and began her bid. She passed horses in the turn until she had picked off all but Harbor Mist by the time she began to straighten away for the drive two-wide.
Willet assumed the lead under Angel Arroyo with less than three-sixteenths to go, then kicked home to a no-doubt-about-it 5 1/4-length victory. Miss Valentine rallied to take second, one length clear of Harbor Mist. Completing the order of finish were Tahoe Tigress, Frosty Bay and Erin Enchanted. Willet’s final time for 7 1/2 panels was 1:32.12. [VIDEO]
Iselin attributed Willet’s sub-par effort in the Go For Wand to her having both worked and run on Lasix in close proximity and he cut back on the medication Friday.
Willet’s victory in the Touch of Love is her third stakes tally this year and fourth for her career for Iselin and co-owners Charlotte Assoulin and Eli Gindi. She romped in last year’s Iroquois Stakes by nearly ten lengths and this year won the Union Avenue and Princess Dixie. Only twice out of the money in 15 starts, her record stands at 7-5-1 with nearly a half-million dollars in earnings ($494,900). She is a perfect three-for-three over off-going.
The Touch of Love is possibly the last race for both Willet and 5-year-old Miss Valentine, an eight-time stakes winner for Waterville Lake Stable (26-9-7-3; $602,500).
Willet was bred by the late Michael T. Martin and foaled at Highcliff Farm in Delanson (now Saratoga Stud LLC). Her dam Katina K is a winning daughter of Distinctive Pro out of New York-bred Grade 3 winner Darlin Momma (Night Invader). Katina K has produced four winners from four starters, including 10-time winner Dr. Quirk (Tomorrows Cat) who earned $159,305. She was bred to Majestic Warrior in 2013.
All systems are go for King Kreesa to compete in the Hong Kong Mile at the Longines Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday. At 2:50 a.m. EST the 4-year-old gelding by King Cugat will break from post eleven (of fourteen) under Mike Smith and, like the majority of the field, will carry 126 pounds.
Getting to this point, however, has not been straightforward, to say the least. When King Kreesa won his most recent start, the Mohawk Stakes on Empire Showcase Day October 19, he had already been nominated to the Hong Kong Mile by trainer Jeremiah Englehart and owners / breeders Gerald and Susan Kresa. Both horse and trainer were having a banner year. King Kreesa had won three races, including the G3 Poker Stakes, and run a competitive second to reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Grade 2 Fourstardave at Saratoga. Englehart, who traces his roots to Finger Lakes racetrack, won the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with longshot Ria Antonia.
When King Kreesa received the hoped-for invitation to compete, Englehart was initially delighted, but soon after (Saturday November, 23) announced that the trip was off. He tweeted, “We had some concerns with rules and regulations.” A few days later, however, Englehart reversed course again, using twitter to make the surprise announcement that the trip was back on. He reported that he “received different information that made the owners happy.”
The next day King Kreesa posted a final work at his Belmont home base, firing a four-furlong 48.44 bullet on the training track, and on Tuesday the 26th boarded his flight for Hong Kong.
After King Kreesa arrived on the 27th, almost immediately his Mile bid seemed to be in jeopardy once again. The, gelding displayed “a bit of an elevated temperature” along with other symptoms of travel sickness, leaving his connections uncertain as to whether he could start.
Observed for several days by Hong Kong Jockey Club veterinarians, King Kreesa responded well to treatment with antibiotics, while following a regime of jogging and light exercise.
King Kreesa was well enough to breeze on Monday, December 2 and by the day of the barrier draw no longer needed any blood tests. After the work Englehart reported, “King Kreesa was 26.3 opening 400 meters finished last 400 meters in 23 flat. Overall pretty good.” The race was on.
The barrier post draw took place on Wednesday, December 4 with some drama of its own. It come down to the final two slots: the outside post (fourteen) and eleven. Said Englehart after having dodged the bullet of the outside post, “Knowing that 14 was still out there made that 11 look pretty good.”
Perhaps needless to say, King Kreesa will be facing the highest caliber of competition in the Mile, which is a one-turn race run from a chute on the backstretch over the right-handed turf course. The purse for the Group 1 race is US$2,579,673. In addition to several strong local contenders (Glorious Days, second in the mile last year and Gold Fun), the Mile attracted Cartier Horse of the Year finalist Moonlight Cloud (GB), second by a head to Black Caviar two starts back, and 3-year-old filly contender Sky Lantern (Ire). No horse based in the United States has won at the Hong Kong International races since Val’s Prince won the Cup in 1997. Click here for free past performances from the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Win, lose or draw, it is safe to say that Jeremiah Englehart is having the experience of a lifetime in Hong Kong. “This is amazing,” Englehart quipped. “It’s a lot different from Finger Lakes.”
The US media coverage of King Kreesa and Little Mike (the only other representative from the United States entered in the Hong Kong International Races), has been excellent, thanks mainly to daily TDN reports and on-site YouTube Blogs by Lucas Marquardt. Marquardt has also been joined in Hong Kong by the Paulick Report’s Scott Jagow. For their reports, which capture the international flavor of the event and Englehart’s infectious enthusiasm, click on the links below.
Marquardt YouTube video blogs:
Scott Jagow (text, video) in the Paulick Report
When two grey noses hit the wire at the conclusion of the Grade 1, $250,000 Matriarch at Betfair Hollywood Park Sunday, it took a photo to determine that pacesetter Egg Drop had just barely wrested back the lead from Patricia Generazio’s homebred Discreet Marq to get the victory by a short nose. Dayatthespa, who tracked in third throughout, ended up finishing fourth behind Better Lucky.
Breaking from posts one and two, respectively, Egg Drop (10-1) immediately struck the front, while Discreet Marq (8-1) pursued two lengths back in second under Rafael Bejarano. Dayatthespa (7-2), ridden by Javier Castellano, stalked a close-up third from post six.
The relative positions of the leading trio remained unchanged through a strong half in 47.26 and six furlongs in 1:10.52. Late in the far turn Discreet Marq began her bid, accompanied by Dayatthespa, and took over the lead just past the furlong marker.
Egg Drop kept gamely in the fight at the rail and clawed her way back into contention, until the two greys crossed the finish line on virtually even terms. The photo showed that Egg Drop had won by nostril.
A half-length behind the greys, Better Lucky outfinished Dayatthespa for third money by a half-length, while Dayatthespa nosed out favorite Tiz Flirtatious for fourth. The final time for the mile over the firm turf was 1:34.03. The Matriarch was 3-year-old Discreet Marq’s first start against older fillies and mares.
Discreet Marq came to trainer Christophe Clement this year already an open stakes winner for James Ryerson, having won the Lie Low Stakes at Aqueduct in November 2012. Twice stakes-placed in two starts for Jane Cibelli at Gulfstream at the beginning of 2013, in six subsequent starts for Clement the daughter of Discreet Cat has yet to finish worse than second.
After taking the Grade 2 Sands Point in May and Eventail Stakes for state-bred fillies in July gate-to-wire, the frontrunner showed a new dimension when she captured the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in August from off the pace. Following a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Garden City in September, Discreet Marq captured the Pebbles stakes on October 14. In 2013 has compiled a record of 4-3-1 from eight starts and earned $657,500. Her total earnings now stand at $755,900.
Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Discreet Marq is out of the multiple stakes-winning and graded-placed Marquetry mare To Marquet ($198,236), a Kentucky-bred Generazio homebred. Frank Generazio Jr. bred To Marquet’s dam, Florida-bred Pretty Momma.
Discreet Marq is her dam’s first stakes winner, but To Marquet has also produced two successful stakes performers on turf. Marquet Cat (Cat Thief) earned $386,881 from 60 starts and Marquet Madness (Pico Central) earned $226,994. To Marquet currently has a weanling full-brother to Discreet Marq and was bred back to Discreet Cat in 2013.
Antonino Miuccio’s Palace, claimed by trainer Linda Rice out of his fourth start for just $20,000 in October 2012, won his third stakes race in as many tries and became a graded winner when he captured the 100th running of Aqueduct’s traditional Thanksgiving feature, the Grade 3, $300,000 Fall Highweight Handicap.
Palace, who was 5-2 second choice, traveled at the rail in sixth in the early stages of the six-furlong dash about five lengths behind longshot Jake N Elwood, who set a brisk pace pressed by Strapping Groom and The Lumber Guy (22.35, 45.51).
Coming off the rail in the turn and angling out five-wide for the stretch run, 4-year-old son of City Zip closed rapidly down the middle of the track in upper stretch. Catching up with his rivals in the final furlong, Palace cruised past with less than a sixteenth of a mile to go, drawing off to win by a length and a half.
Strapping Groom, who had taken over the lead midstretch, held for second, finishing a half-length ahead of The Lumber Guy, who completed the trifecta. Next across the finish line were last year’s Fall Highweight winner Caixa Eletronica, Sage Valley, Saturday’s Charm, B Shanny and Jake N Elwood. The final time for the six furlongs over the “good” going was 1:09.82.
Regular rider Cornelio Velasquez said, “Perfect trip. My horse broke good, good position.” Added Velasquez, “I think he’s getting much better all the time. Before, he wanted to run on the lead; now he’s better coming from behind. He ran good the last part of the race – fast. I followed the Jacobson horse [Strapping Groom]. At the top of the lane, I had a lot of horse.”
Linda Rice concurred about the tactics. “I really think he likes sitting off the pace as a come-from-behind sprinter. He seems to relish that, and, now that we have figured that out, he’s doing great.”
The victory also had a special significance for Rice. “I was really excited about today’s race, because it is quite gratifying. The fact he’s a son of City Zip – I trained [Palace's] father, who was such a tremendous racehorse – makes it really cool.” City Zip won six graded stakes while under Rice’s care.
Since being claimed from Bill Mott and WinStar farm out of an 11 3/4-length maiden-breaking romp at Belmont on October 6, 2012, Palace has done little wrong, finishing only once out of the exacta in ten starts. Palace stepped up into stakes company for the first time at Saratoga, winning the Chowder’s First Stakes at Saratoga on August 23 by three lengths in his stakes debut. After a brief freshening, the bay returned to win the Hudson Handicap by 1 1/4-lengths on Empire Showcase Day.
Palace’s third stakes victory boosts his earnings over the half-million dollar mark to $532,050 and runs up his record to a superlative 8-2-2 from 14 starts.
Bred by The Peter J. Callahan Revocable Trust Dated 2/28/02 and foaled at Stone Bridge Farm in Gansevoort, Palace changed hands only once at auction, purchased by Doug Cauthen, agent for $160,000 at the 2011 OBS select sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Palace is one of three winners out of Receivership, a seven-time winner by End Sweep ($198,300) who brought $85,000 at the 2005 OBS Winter mixed sale. Receivership’s second foal Retriever (Gold Missile) is stakes placed ($157,790). She has a yearling by Badge of Silver named Wincoma, a weanling colt by Posse and was bred in 2013 to Pomeroy.
FARMINGTON, N.Y. – Frisky Warrior was named 2013 Finger Lakes Horse of the Year at the annual Finger Lakes Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association awards dinner on Saturday. The chestnut gelding owned and trained by Ralph D’Alessandro won five of his eight Finger Lakes starts this year.
Frisky Warrior achieved all five of his 2013 victories under the guidance of leading jockey Jaime Rodriguez. He surpassed the $200,000 mark in lifetime earnings after winning his most recent start on October 24.
The 4-year-old New York-bred by Desert Warrior [bred by Ted Taylor Thoroughbreds] is the only active foal out of Let’s Roll Lady. He has earned nine of his eleven career triumphs at Finger Lakes.
Frisky Warrior received a total of two awards for his achievements this season. He also took the honor for Best Older Male.
Also on Saturday, Dr. Ramon Umana was officially inducted into the Finger Lakes Hall of Fame. He received the honor for his 36 years of professional service. Umana held the position of track veterinarian at Finger Lakes from 1964 through 2000.
Ten horses received awards in eleven different categories at the annual dinner. Below is a complete listing of the 2013 winners:
2013 Finger Lakes H.B.P.A. Awards
Best $4,000-$5,000 Claimer (Colt, Horse or Gelding) – Winners Laugh
Best $4,000-$5,000 Claimer (Filly or Mare) – Aracnaphobia
Best $6,000 and up Claimer (Colt, Horse or Gelding) – Two and Twenty
Best $6,000 and up Claimer (Filly or Mare) – Circular Street
Best Condition Allowance (Colt, Horse or Gelding) – Dan’s Gold
Best Condition Allowance (Filly or Mare) – Capella Dancer
Best Older Colt, Horse or Gelding – Frisky Warrior
Best Older Filly or Mare – Ecoach
Best 3-Year-Old Colt or Gelding – Peter’s Project
Best 3-Year-Old Filly – Shades of Sugar
Horse of the Year – Frisky Warrior
Piloted by a confident Javier Castellano, Three Diamonds Farm’s 3-year-old Comandante (Frost Giant) made his stakes debut a winning one when he captured the seven-furlong $125,000 Thunder Rumble for 3-year-olds-and-up, run as the last of the four divisions of the New York Stallion Stakes series featured at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday.
First to grab the lead after the break, Comandante – third choice at post time at odds of 7-2 – took back into third in the three-path as 2-1 favorite Chapman struck the front, carving out early splits of 23.20 and 46.25 with Readthebyline in pursuit.
Mounting a controlled bid and drawing even with the leaders in the three-path on the turn, the sophomore took over the lead from Chapman in upper stretch.
Looming as Comandante’s most serious challenger was West Hills Giant (Frost Giant), who advanced with intent from fifth into second in the four-path, but after a minor reminder from Castellano, Comandante kicked away to comfortable 1 1/2-length victory in a final time of 1:22.66.
Crossing the finish line 4 1/4 lengths behind West Hills Giant in fairly short order were Anaphylaxis, Chapman and Sportswriter, followed further back by veteran Uncle T Seven, Jack’s R Wild, Readthebyline and Orino.
Castellano said, “I’ve ridden this horse three times now and he keeps getting better. The first time, he got beat; the second time, I learned a little more about him, and today he gave me a more powerful kick. Today, I just showed him the whip, and he took off.”
Comandante broke his maiden for Michael Trombetta last December 15 over the Aqueduct inner oval following with three straight runner-up finishes. After hitting the board once in five subsequent starts, he moved to the Todd Pletcher barn for a fall campaign. Comandante improved in each of three starts prior to the Thunder Rumble, culminating in an allowance victory last out on November 3 going one mile for which he earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 88.
Pletcher said “When you have these kinds of opportunities [like the Stallion Stakes], you have to give them a try. I thought he ran well. Cutting back probably was a good thing for him, and he had a perfect outside stalking trip. It worked out really well.”
Comandante was bred by Andrew Cohen and IEAH Stables & Partners and foaled at Empire Stud in Hudson. Cohen, as Sunset Stables, owns the gelding’s sire Frost Giant. Comandante’s dam, Slew Motion (Slew Gin Fizz) was an accomplished New York-bred stakes winner and Grade 2 runner-up with multiple black type placings ($224,064). She has produced one other winner.
by Bill Heller
In a wild finish, Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and Gary Aisquith’s four-year-old filly Vicki’s Dancer nipped Familyofroses by a neck to win the seven-furlong $125,000 Staten Island Division of the New York Stallion Series for fillies and mares Saturday at Aqueduct in 1:24.71. Eddie Castro rode the winner for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
Both Vicki’s Dancer and Familyofroses went off at higher odds than their uncoupled stable-mates. Vicki’s Dancer went off at 4-1; Rodriguez’s other filly, Kelli Got Frosty, was the 2-1 favorite in the field of nine. She finished fourth. Familyofroses, a gorgeous gray, went off at 11-1 for trainer Dominick Schettino, who also saddled front-running My Jopia, who went off at 6-1 and finished out of the money.
In mid-stretch, there were eight horses with a chance to win.
Rajiv Maragh got My Jopia to the lead from the eight post as 16-1 Jitney took second. Haldane, the longest shot in the field at 40-1, got away third, then moved into second after My Jopia covered the opening quarter in :23.89 and the half in :47.83. Vicki’s Dancer, who had broken next-to-last, was still seventh on the rail.
Around the far turn, Familyofroses moved up on the outside. Castro took Vicki’s Dancer off the rail to go past tiring Jitney, and then had to wait for room. Castro found daylight just outside of Familyofroses as horses were stacked across the track. “Wild finish here,” announcer Tom Durkin called.
Familyofroses emerged with the lead as Vicki’s Dancer closed in on her outside. Vicki’s Dancer continued her rally and edged past Familyofroses to win by a neck in 1:24.71. P.J.’s Superego finished third, a length behind Familyofroses.
“Turning for home, it got a little tight, and the horses were all squished a bit,” Castro said. “But after that, she split horses and fought and gave me a really good finish.”
Castro was zero-for-18 at Aqueduct heading into Saturday. Before winning the Staten Island Division, he guided 26-1 first-time starter Bass River Road to a victory in a $60,000 New York-bred maiden race.
Bred by Robert Jarras and foaled at Keane Stud in Ameni, Vicki’s Dancer is a four-year-old daughter of Disco Rico out of Love That Glitter by Glitterman. Her current connections claimed Vicki’s Dancer for $50,000 when she finished third in a turf race at Belmont Park Sept. 19. Exactly one month later, Vicki’s Dancer finished fourth by 14 lengths in the seven-furlong $150,000 Iroquois Stakes for New York-breds.
“Mr. Dubb picked her out to claim,” Rodriguez said. “We liked her for the Inner Track, but we also liked the way this race was coming up.”
Rodriguez gave his new filly three works for the Stallion Series. The first two were decent. Her final work, however, was a bullet: four furlongs in :48.4 breezing at Aqueduct Wednesday morning, the fastest of 17 horses at that distance.
Vicki’s Dancer improved her dirt record to four-for-14 with three seconds and three thirds and earnings of nearly $240,000. She also has one win and a pair of thirds in three grass starts with $56,000 in earnings.
Miss Narcissist (Freud) got up in the final strides to score a narrow victory over tenacious rival Hey Kiddo (Stonesider) in the $125,000 Fifth Avenue, the six-furlong 2-year-old fillies division of the four New York Stallion Stakes Series races run Saturday at Aqueduct.
Looking for her third straight victory and second stakes tally after winning the Joseph A. Gimma on Empire Showcase Day at Belmont Park, odds-on favorite Miss Narcissist was first out of the gate from post five (of seven).
Barreling along the backstretch in the two-path, Miss Narcissist was soon joined by Hey Kiddo up on the pace to her inside, who grabbed a narrow advantage and began a pitched battle that lasted all the way to the wire.
Miss Narcissist refused to let her rival gain much ground, but, reluctant to change leads, made up very little ground of her own. Steadily closing the gap on Hey Kiddo, Miss Narcissist lunged ahead in the final strides to get the victory by a head. Hey Kiddo finished 1 1/2 lengths clear of Champagne Ruby (Utopia) in third, followed across the line by Skye Saratoga, Sheriffa, Selenite and Missy Bay. After a half-mile run in a solid 47.03, the final time for six furlongs over the fast Aqueduct main track was 1:11.60.
Junior Alvarado, who piloted Miss Narcissist to victory said, “Turning for home, I tried a couple of times to make her switch leads, and she did not want to have anything to with that. So, I just kept going with her and I would say she won because she was pretty much the class of the race. I’m sure if she would have switched leads, she would have given me a better kick at the end.”
Trainer Linda, Rice, who owns Miss Narcissist in partnership with Acqua Nova Stable and Winter Park Partners, elaborated. “She has had a little bit of an issue that she wouldn’t switch leads. She finds another gear once she switches. I’ve had Junior breeze her in the morning and we’ve discussed how to get her to switch, and she has to be in hand. In some ways, we think she might actually be better off going further.”
A bay daughter of Freud, the talented Miss Narcissist has been something of a challenge to bring along a two. Unusually fractious in her off-the board debut at Saratoga on August 8, she has raced greenly at times in her three subsequent starts, but won all three, breaking her maiden later on at the Saratoga meet with blinkers added and taking the Gimma by over five lengths on Showcase Day. Rice said that Miss Narcissist will probably start next in the East View Stakes for state-breds, which will be run at one mile and 70 yards on December 15 at Aqueduct.
Miss Narcissist, who has now earned $224,100, was bred by Tony Grey and foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia. After failing to meet her reserve at the 2012 Saratoga New York-bred preferred yearling sale when bid up to $47,000, Miss Narcissist brought $97,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale this past May when purchased by Stephen Di Mauro.
Miss Narcissist is one of two winners out of Mighty Good, a four-time winner by Good and Tough ($86,863) bred in New York Thomas/Lakin. Her 4-year-old brother half-brother Ludo Bagman (Closing Argument) has banked nearly $100,000.
by Sarah Mace
West Point Thoroughbreds’ Empire Dreams (Patriot Act), drawn on the inside in a short but salty field of 2-year-olds, found a way off the rail in in upper stretch and ran down the competition to score a decisive victory the six-furlong $150,000 Great White Way division of the New York Stallion Stakes run at Aqueduct on Saturday.
After the break, Empire Dreams, who was favored at odds of 4-5, settled in fourth position at the fence, as Lady’s Smart Alec led way, tracked intently a length back by Sol the Freud and chased by Free Mugatu in third.
Saving ground through the far turn, but pinned down at the rail by Free Mugatu, Empire Dreams found room to switch to the outside at the three-sixteenths marker and charged home, passing his three rivals in the final sixteenth to claim the victory by 1 3/4 lengths.
Sol the Freud (Freud) won a tight three-way photo for second, edging out Lady’s Smart Alec (Congaree) by a head, who finished a nose in front of Free Mugatu (Utopia) in fourth. Social Rebellion (Patriot Act) completed the order of finish. After a half-mile run in 47.33, Empire Dreams stopped the clock at 1:11.16 after six furlongs over the good main track.
Victorious jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., said, “When I put him on the outside, I just had to hit him one time. He was much the best in the race.”
Tom Albertrani, who trains the colt for West Point, said, “He broke a little flat-footed. I don’t think he cared to be in there like that. He does get a little claustrophobic, even in the paddock. When he’s in tight quarters, he just doesn’t like it. Once he got clear, you knew [Irad] had a lot of horse to make up the difference turning for home.”
Empire Dreams won the Great White Way in his fifth career start. After two solid outings at Saratoga to begin his career, the dark bay / brown colt broke his maiden by 1 3/4 lengths in a six-furlong maiden race on September 29 at Belmont. Making his stakes debut in Belmont Park’s seven-furlong Bertram F. Bongard on Empire Showcase Day October 19, Empire Dreams ran a good second by three lengths to Grade 2 Sanford winner Wired Bryan.
Albertrani is planning to keep the son of Patriot Act, who has now earned $173,500, in New York for the winter. “There’s going to be some nice New York-bred races for him later on here. He definitely wants to go longer.”
Bred by Pegasus Dream Stable and foaled at Donna Sammons’ Farm Elizaville, Empire Dreams was purchased by West Point for $35,000 this year at the OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. Out of Ascended Dreams, an unraced daughter of Thunder Gulch, he has three winning siblings from three two start, including stakes-placed Court of Dreams by Powerscourt (GB).
On a day when the racing world reverberated from end to end with the news of the retirement of two-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta, word also came across the wires that star sprinter Cluster of Stars, an undefeated multiple graded stakes winner, had also raced for the last time.
David Grening, New York correspondent for the Daily Racing Form, first tweeted the news on Thursday morning, writing that Cluster of Stars’ connections were “not pleased with how she returned from most recent workout in prep for Go for Wand.”
Cluster of Stars’ connections comprise Harvey Weinstein’s Turtle Bird Stable, along with trainer Steve Asmussen and his New York assistant Toby Sheets – the same team that brought us two-time New York-bred Horse of the Year Haynesfield, currently beginning a promising career as a stallion at Airdrie Stud. The last published work for the four-year-old daughter of Greeley’s Galaxy was a best-of-eight five-furlong move in 1:01.47 over the Belmont training track on November 11. The Grade 2, $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap will be run at one mile the day after Thanksgiving (November 29) at Aqueduct. Sheets later told the DRF, “She retires as a sound broodmare and we didn’t feel she had to prove anything else.”
Bred by Michael McPoland and Sean Finn and foaled at Rockmount in Saugerties, Cluster of Stars retires with $549,600 in earnings after winning all seven of her career starts, including the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap and Grade 2 Gallant Bloom. The bay filly is the top earner for her sire Greeley’s Galaxy, who stood at Susan and Howard Kaskel’s Sugar Maple Farm from 2007 to 2010 before relocating to Louisiana.
The first two races of Cluster of Stars’ career came just over eleven months apart, but differed little in the outcome. Unveiled on February 12, 2012 at Aqueduct, where she would make her next four starts, Cluster of Stars bested eleven New York-bred maidens by 5 1/2 lengths at six furlongs. On January 13, 2013 she gave ten New York-bred winners a drubbing in the mud, winning unasked by 6 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:10.65.
Cluster of Stars’ next effort on February 2 stamped her as a force to be reckoned with in filly and mare sprint division. After a stretch-long duel in the Correction Handicap, she upset multiple graded stakes winner and odds-on favorite Nicole H by a hard-fought head.
Following a celebration of some class relief in March with a 9 1/4-length romp in an open allowance / optional claiming race for which she earned the first of three triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures, Cluster of Stars put together back-to-back Grade 2 victories.
Justifying 1-5 favoritism in the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap in April 13, Cluster of Stars recaptured the lead after being headed in upper stretch to win by nearly three lengths. Following the summer off, she returned as sharp as ever in September, running off with the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom by five lengths in her Belmont Park debut on Super Saturday while matching her career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 106.
Cluster of Stars’ final career start came when she stretched out to seven furlongs in the Iroquois Stakes for fillies and mares on Empire Showcase Day October 19. Returning fifteen cents on the dollar, she scored an effortless victory, completing seven furlongs in 1:21.87 and earning another triple-digit Beyer.
Ridden by retired jockey Ramon Dominguez for her first two starts, Cluster of Stars’ pilot in all but one of her remaining races was Javier Castellano. After the Iroquois victory Castellano said, “When you get on her, you don’t worry about anything. You just focus and do your own thing.” He added, “She’s very competitive, very intelligent; I’m just the pilot. I like to enjoy the ride.”
The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) announced on Tuesday November 19, 2013 that the case filed in May 2012 by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman against the TRF has been dismissed.
The complaint, which alleged herd neglect and abuse, was dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning that the allegations of the complaint can never be asserted against the TRF again. The TRF has agreed to the appointment of three independent directors and to a mechanism for the selection of a paid Executive Director who will report to the Chairman of the TRF and the TRF Board.
TRF’s Chairman and CEO, John Moore, stated: “Our herd – just under 1,000 horses – remains in fine condition as we head into winter, just as it has been throughout this entire ordeal. We are relieved to have behind us this nuisance suit that the NYAG should be embarrassed to have initiated. It has been costly, a serious distraction, and a waste of both the taxpayers’ money and the scarce time and attention of our small and dedicated staff.”
Moore concluded with a compliment to TRF counsel, Barry R. Ostrager, who currently serves as NYTB Board President: “We are fortunate and grateful that TRF was represented on a largely pro-bono basis by Barry R. Ostrager of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Ostrager added: “The lack of merit to the case is reflected by the terms of the settlement agreement.”
Founded in 1983, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) is the largest equine rescue organization of its kind, devoted to the rescue, retirement, rehabilitation and retraining of Thoroughbred racehorses no longer able to compete on the racetrack.
Pine Plains, New York, November 19, 2013—Heavy Breathing, the full brother to record-breaking New York sire Frost Giant, will stand his initial season in 2014 for an introductory fee of $2,500 at Dutchess Views Farm in Pine Plains, New York.
The partnership that owns Heavy Breathing is assembling a strong book for the four-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway and the Gone West mare Takesmybreathaway, including mares by leading sires and runners that earned black type. The partners decided to set his fee at an enticing level to best serve breeders who might not be able to gain access to Frost Giant, as he will stand for $10,000 next season, or who are seeking a highly promising and economically appealing option for their mares.
“We are very excited about the future with Heavy Breathing,” said Eric Bishop, who manages Frost Giant’s career for Andrew Cohen’s Sunset Stables and will manage Heavy Breathing for the partnership of Sunset Stables, Gary Tolchin’s Golden Goose Enterprises and Well Found Management. “We want to provide New York breeders with a great chance to access this bloodline, which clearly has worked so well in New York, at a very attractive level.”
Frost Giant set a New York record for progeny earnings with his initial small crop last year and currently ranks as leading second-crop sire in the state by a wide margin. Heavy Breathing, a graded stakes-placed multiple winner, shares not only Frost Giant’s pedigree but also his physical attributes; he is a handsome chestnut standing 16.2 who displayed talent and versatility for trainer Todd Pletcher.
“Heavy Breathing showed great promise with his ability over a variety of distances and track surfaces,” Pletcher said.
From one of the most prolific female families in North America, Heavy Breathing and Frost Giant are out of a three-quarter sister to Mutakddim, sire of over 100 stakes winners. Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Super Saver, champion Rhythm, influential sires Private Account and Not For Love, and Grade 1 winners Bluegrass Cat and Girolamo all belong to this family.
For more information, contact Sunset Stables manager Eric Bishop at 516-606-9768
Vinery New York announced that six of its stallions standing at Sugar Maple Farm in 2013 will be moving to Lere Visagie’s Rockridge Stud in Hudson beginning with the 2014 season. Also, Rockridge announced the addition of Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup winner and Eclipse Award winning Sprinter Trinniberg (Teuflesberg) to the roster.
Vinery’s Tom Ludt said of the move, “With Dr. Simon winding down all of his North American operations, and following the sale of the Kentucky farm, it made sense to move the stallions in New York. We appreciate the care and great effort that Dan Hayden and all of the staff at Sugar Maple have given the stallions over the past few years very much and we know that will continue with Lere. Dr. Simon retains an interest in many of these horses and has every reason to see them succeed.”
Rockridge Stud owner and operator Lere Visagie added, “[Trinniberg] is a great horse for New York. We are happy to offer breeders the opportunity to purchase a limited number of shares in the horse as well.” In addition to the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Trinniberg won the Grade 2 Woody Stephens, Grade 3 Swale and Grade 3 Bay Shore. The 4-year-old retires with $1,553,086 in earnings.
Rockridge Stud 2014 roster & fees (all LFSN):
Bluegrass Cat $7,500
D’ Funnybone $2,500
Giant Surprise $2,500
Soaring Empire $3,500
For more information on Rockridge stallions, visit www.rockridgestud.com, call Lere Visagie at (518) 821-7086 or Erin Robinson at (859) 421-7531.
Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred Bigger Is Bettor (Grand Reward), currently in the best form of his career and looking to improve on his runner-up finish in the Empire Classic last out, won the $100,000 Slew o’ Gold overnight stakes at Aqueduct on Sunday by a neck after rallying down the middle of the track in the stretch.
Breaking well under Angel Arroyo from post seven (of eight) to go nine furlongs, Bigger Is Bettor (8-1) managed to tuck in neatly at the rail in fifth position as the field entered the clubhouse turn, while longshot Romancing the Gold led the way through early splits of 24.44 and 49.57.
Travelling comfortably two and three wide along the backstretch run, the grey began his rally in the far turn, angling out five wide in upper stretch and advancing on the leaders.
Bigger Is Bettor tipped out another path for running room in midstretch and, closing with mighty strides, surged to the front just before the wire, getting a neck in front of Don Dulce, who had grabbed the lead briefly at the rail. Favorite Percussion, up near the pace throughout, finished another neck back in third. Atigun, a half-length further back, was fourth. After a mile in 1:38.11, Bigger Is Bettor stopped the clock after 1 1/8 miles at 1:50.47.
Five-year-old Bigger Is Bettor has finished first or second in five of his last six starts, and failed to hit the board only once in eleven outings dating back to December 2012. Winner of the Albany Stakes at Saratoga in 2011, Bigger Is Bettor captured the Evan Shipman at Saratoga this July and finished second in the Spite The Devil and Empire Classic at Belmont this fall. Trained for the Bromans by Rodrigo Ubillo, Bigger Is Bettor’s career record now stands at 5-9-6 from 30 starts with $441,881 in earnings.
Bigger Is Bettor is one of two winners produced by Regal Angela, an Ontario-bred stakes winner by Regal Intention purchased by Chestertown Farm for $335,000 at the 2001 Keeneland January sale. Regal Angela is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner and Grade 1 placed le Danseur, graded winner Bejilla and stakes producers Blue Angel’s Image and Retina. Bigger Is Bettor’s half-brother, New York-bred Stately Pegasus, by Fusaichi Pegasus, is a multiple winner ($116,831).
Making her first start outside of New York and first try in graded company as a sophomore, Patsy Symons’ talented and fiercely competitive Effie Trinket (Freud) very nearly took home all the marbles in the Grade 2, $175,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday’s “Downs After Dark” program, grabbing a decisive lead inside the furlong marker and just nailed by Emotional Kitten in the shadow of the wire.
Left in the capable hands of Shaun Bridgmohan to go 1 1/16 miles over the good turf course, Rick Violette-trainee Effie Trinket went to the post as 12-1 sixth choice in the quality field of fourteen 3-year-old fillies.
After breaking with the field from post five, Effie Trinket settled into a comfortable rhythm at the fence in sixth for the first three-quarters of a mile, well within striking range, but avoiding traffic as the five fillies ahead of her ran in an increasingly tighter bunch progressing down the backstretch run and approaching the far turn.
At the head of the stretch Effie Trinket angled out three-wide, rallied to the front, and assumed a clear lead around the furlong marker. She was nearly home free when Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Emotional Kitten, outrun early, came flying. Caught just before the wire, Effie Trinket missed the victory by a half-length while finishing 1 1/2 lengths clear of the show horse, longshot Dance Again. The winner’s final time over the good turf course was 1:44.53.
Pilot Shaun Bridgmohan, who won the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes earlier on the card, said, “I was trying for the sweep. She ran big and she tried hard – she tried all the way. I could feel the other horse [Emotional Kitten] coming, but she just ran me down.”
Violette, who scratched the filly from the Grade 1 Garden City in favor of the John Hettinger in September, has been eying spots for Effie Trinket in graded stakes for some time.
A stakes winner sprinting on dirt at two, Effie Trinket has waged a stellar sophomore campaign on turf, winning three Belmont stakes – the open Diamondrella in July and, in back-to-back starts, the John Hettinger in September and Ticonderoga on Showcase Day. She also finished second in the restricted Auntie Mame to the talented George Weaver-trained Summer of Fun at Saratoga. Overall the dark bay has won six of 11 starts and earned $469,478.
Bred by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, where she was foaled, Effie Trinket is the fourth, and most successful winner from four foals to start out of Maya’s Note, a winning Kentucky-bred daughter of Editor’s Note, whose dam, Miss Bid Flash (Horse Flash), is a multiple stakes winner and stakes producer ($242,185). Currently Maya’s Note has a 2-year-old filly by Catienus, named Flashy Note, who has started once. Effie Trinket’s sire Freud, who leads New York sires in stakes wins with thirteen, stands Sequel Stallions New York.
Effie Trinket sold to Antigo Farms for $4,000 as a weanling at the 2011 OBS December Winter Mixed sale before Violette picked her out for Symons at the 2012 OBS Spring 2-year-old sale, where she brought $130,000 after working a co-bullet quarter-mile.
After a pair of tough Belmont outings – an unsuccessful turf try in the Ashley T. Cole in September and a wide-trip sixth in the Empire Classic on Showcase Day – Awesome Vision returned to winning form in Aqueduct’s $100,000 Move It Now overnight stakes for New York-breds on Saturday, advancing from last position to cross the finish line first by a head.
Third choice in the betting at odds of 6-1 to go the one-turn mile, Awesome Vision broke from the outside post of nine under Irad Ortiz, Jr. and settled in last while favorite Bond Vigilante set the pace for the first three-quarters of a mile, carving out strong splits of 23.33, 46.02 and 1:09.93. Brigand pressed the pace, joined later by Spa City Fever and Zetterholm.
Awesome Vision began to pick things up in a big way on the far turn and accelerated in upper stretch. With a furlong to go he had passed all but Bond Vigilante, Spa City Fever and Zetterholm. As the four lined up across the track, Zivo, also well back early on, dove into a gap in the two-path closing strongly.
In the final hundred yards Awesome Vision and Zivo separated themselves from the rest, but Awesome Vision dug in to finish a head to the good. Runner-up Zivo crossed the wire 3 3/4 lengths clear of Zetterholm, who finished a nose in front of fourth-place finisher Spa City Fever. The final time for the mile over a fast main track was 1:35.30.
The Move It Now win is the third stakes victory for 4-year-old Awesome Vision (Awesome Again), who is trained by Tom Albertrani for West Point Thoroughbreds. Finishing in a dead head with the late Saginaw in the Compelling Word Stakes at Aqueduct in March, he also took the Saratoga Sunrise at the Spa in August. This year Awesome Vision also added to his resume a second in the Evan Shipman at Saratoga and third in the Commentator Stakes at Belmont. His record now stands at 7-1-1 from 14 starts with $337,389 in earnings.
Bred by Kaz Hill Farm and Adena Springs and foaled a Kaz Hill Farm in Middletown, Awesome Vision was purchased by West Point Thoroughbreds for $65,000 at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Preferred New York-bred Yearling sale in Saratoga.
He is the first foal and only winner to date out of Blind Canyon ($225,960), a multiple stakes-placed Maryland-bred daughter of Valley Crossing purchased by Peter Kazamias at the 2009 Keeneland November sale for $25,000. Currently Blind Canyon has a 3-year-old filly by Ghostzapper named Screaming Phantasm, a 2-year-old colt by Here’s Zealous named Heretodaygonetmrow and a yearling filly by the same sire. She was bred to Bank Heist in 2013.
Dismissed by bettors at odds of 23-1 in the large, imposing field of Aqueduct’s Grade 3, $250,000 Red Smith Handicap, Steve Taglienti’s Four Tags Stable homebred Hangover Kid barreled past eight rivals in the stretch to secure a runner-up finish behind Imagining.
Hangover Kid had already served several notices that he has a dangerous late kick, mounting a strong late rally in Monmouth’s Grade 1 United Nations Stakes last July to finish third for trainer Jason Servis at odds of 47-1, and making a last-to-first move in the stretch to win the West Point Stakes at Saratoga in August. Still, it was understandable that he was overshadowed in a 12-horse field that included the likes of multiple stakes winners Hyper, Tannery and Imagining.
Hangover Kid spent the first eight furlongs of the 1 3/8-mile turf contest in a familiar position, traveling comfortably near the back of the pack in tenth.
Revving up in the turn under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. and swinging out six-wide at the head of the stretch for the drive, Hangover Kid absolutely mowed down the competition, lengthening his stride and moving powerfully down the middle of the track. He overtook all but Imagining, who gained the lead from third in the final furlong and dug in to win by a half-length, and just got a nose in front of the filly Tannery to secure second the place. The final time for eleven furlongs on the firm turf was 2:18.43.
With a stakes victory and two graded placings on his resume, Hangover Kid sports a record of 6-5-3 from 20 starts and has earned $455,678.
A 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid foaled at Cascade Farm in Nassau, Hangover Kid is the most successful of four winners produced by Absolute Patience, an unraced Maryland-bred daughter of Rakeen. Absolute Patience currently has a yearling filly by Munnings named Hold the Nutmeg and a weanling colt by Looking at Lucky named Revive and Resurge. She was bred back to Lemon Drop Kid in 2013.