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Updated: 11 hours 34 min ago

Quezon stays perfect in state-bred company with Bouwerie score

Mon, 2015-05-25 19:39

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Making only her fourth career start as well as her sophomore bow on Monday, Marc Keller’s Quezon (Tiz Wonderful) emerged as a much-the-best winner of the $125,000 Bouwerie Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, chalking up a third victory in as many starts in New York-bred company at Belmont Park.

Last seen on November 29, when she finished fourth behind runaway winner Condo Commander in the Grade 2 Demoiselle, Quezon brought a sharp work tab into her first start of 2015, culminating in a three-furlong blowout on May 21 in :36 seconds flat.

Breaking from mid-pack in the competitive nine-horse field, Quezon settled off the pace in seventh position in the three path as The Lewis Dinner and Lakeside Sunset knocked heads up front through a challenging early splits in 22.58 and 45.73.

Quezon launched a big three-wide move in the far turn as the top two continued to vie on the lead, striking the head of the stretch on nearly even terms. At this point Quezon angled out yet wider for the drive.

Charging down the middle of the track, albeit on the wrong lead, Quezon swept past runner-up Lakeside Sunset in the final furlong and drew off to a decisive 3 1/4-length win. Temper Mint Patty closed into the third spot from midpack, followed across the line by Hot City Girl. The final time for the seven furlongs was 1:23.17. [VIDEO]

A six-length winner of her career debut on September 17, 2014, an off-the-turf six-furlong maiden special weight over a muddy sealed track, Quezon ratified that victory by winning the Maid of the Mist Stakes on Empire Showcase Day by the same impressive margin. From her three Belmont victories she has earned $322,292.

Winning trainer Bobby Ribaudo focused on room for improvement in this talented filly’s performances. “If you watch (Quezon’s) replays, she hasn’t changed [leads] yet,” said Ribaudo. “That’s what she did in the Demoiselle, too. We work on it [in the mornings], but in the heat of battle, it takes a little bit of concentration and she loses that little bit of concentration. We’re still working on it. I’d rather see her switch than not, but it hasn’t hurt her so far.”

Winning jockey Manuel Franco said, “I just followed the instructions Bobby told me, ‘Just try to relax her the first part, take her back and give her one move.’ She didn’t switch leads, but she always runs like that and I didn’t want her to lose her momentum, so I just let her run like that.”

Bred by Apache Farm LLC and foaled at Apache Farm North in Mt. Morris, she is the only reported foal out of Kalookan Dancer, a multiple stakes-winning California-bred daughter of Olympio, who last changed hands at the 2009 Keeneland November sale, going to Jane Moriarty for $20,000. Quezon was a $90,000 purchase by Riverside Stable at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale in 2013.

Ostrolenka pours it on in Mike Lee

Mon, 2015-05-25 19:18

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Evidently Eric Fein’s homebred Ostrolenka (Musket Man) can do nothing wrong at Belmont Park, or at least hasn’t to date. In Monday’s Memorial Day edition of Big Apple Showcase Day, the bay colt ran up his record to a perfect four for four at the Elmont racetrack with a commanding victory in the $125,000 Mike Lee Stakes for state-bred 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.

A homebred for Eric Fein and co-owned with Fein by Christopher McKenna, 7-5 favorite Ostrolenka got out of post two sharply and set up in a stalking position behind narrow second choice Wincoma, who shot to the front after breaking from post seven and proceeded to carve out testing fractions of 22.09 and 44.86.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Switching from the rail out to the two path along the backstretch, and biding his time through the far turn, Ostrolenka drew even with Wincoma at the quarter pole, threw down the gauntlet and took command in upper stretch.

The swift pace ultimately took its toll on Wincoma, who began to fade, but Ostrolenka only picked up steam. He opened up his advantage to a final, emphatic 2-length margin of victory in 1:23.65. Good Luck Gus (9-1) rallied to get second in his sophomore debut, while Battle of Evermore (6-1) got up for third. Completing the order of finish were Gypsum Johnny, Wincoma, Possessed, Regal Minister, Fleeting and Papa Shot. [VIDEO]

Winning jockey John Velazquez reported, “I had a perfect trip; it worked out the way I thought it would with [Wincoma] going to the lead. I pressed him a little bit to make sure he didn’t go too easy on me, and after that my horse did it easily.”

A maiden-breaker in his second career start by more than 14 lengths at Belmont Park on September 28, Ostrolenka won the Sleepy Hollow on Empire Showcase Day next out. After faltering in a pair of graded stakes efforts in the Grade 2 Remsen and Grade 3 Jerome at Aqueduct, he got back on track in April and May with two strong state-bred allowance performances, finishing second at a mile two starts back and winning by four lengths at 1 1/16 miles on May 2.

Byron Hughes, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, added, “[Cutting back to seven furlongs] helped him and it was also very impressive in how he did it. Not too many horses can keep that kind of speed up and run like he did when he came back like that.”

Hugh’s also thought the race tactics were key. “We knew [Wincoma] had sprinter speed and it worked out kind of ideal the way Javier [Castellano, on Wincoma] came down on the rail and we got the outside position on him. It kind of worked out better for us.”

A two-time stakes winner, Ostrolenka now sports a record of four wins and a second from eight starts and has earned $322,292. Foaled at Waldorf Farm in North Chatham, he is one of five winners from five foals to start out of Pumpkin’s Pride, a winning sprinter by Louis Quatorze and half-sister to multiple stakes-winner Gesture (Italy). Pumpkin’s Pride is also the dam of multiple stakes-placed Great Gracie Dane, earner of over $344,000. The mare currently as a yearling filly by Malibu Moon and was bred to Flatter last year, with no foal yet reported.

Empire Dreams rallies from last to capture Commentator

Mon, 2015-05-25 19:08

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Bill Heller

Rallying from dead last in the field of six under Javier Castellano, West Point Thoroughbreds’ four-year-old gelding Empire Dreams wore down front-running Readthebyline to take the third running of the one-mile $200,000 Commentator Stakes by three-quarters of a length. Sent off at 4-1, Empire Dreams won in 1:35.42.

Readthebyline, who went off at 7-2 under Jose Ortiz, saved second by a nose over Saratoga Snacks, the 8-5 favorite ridden by Joel Rosario. Readtheprospectus, the 2-1 second choice with John Velazquez riding, finished fourth, five lengths behind Saratoga Snacks. Readtheprospectus won the initial running of the Commentator Stakes, named for trainer Nick Zito’s two-time New York-bred Whitney Handicap winner, by a length and a half in 2013, but finished seventh in last year’s edition to his stable-mate in trainer Chad Brown’s barn, Zivo.

Empire Dreams, a son of Patriot Act out of Ascended Dreams by Thunder Gulch who was bred by Pegasus Dream Stable and sold for $35,000 as a two-year-old in April, 2013, at Ocala, is trained by Tom Albertrani.

As a three-year-old, Empire Dreams captured the mile-and-a-sixteenth $161,000 New York Derby at Finger Lakes by 2 ¼ lengths as the 1-2 favorite. He made two more starts last year, finishing seventh in the $250,000 Albany Stakes at Saratoga and ninth in the $300,000 Empire Classic at Belmont Park. Both those stakes were at a mile and an eighth.

Albertrani stopped with Empire Dreams and targeted the Commentator Stakes. Empire Dreams prepped for that assignment with a strong-finishing second by a length and three-quarters at 25-1 in the six-furlong $100,000 Affirmed Success Stakes on May 3rd in his four-year-old debut under Irad Ortiz Jr.

“We just decided to give him some time off at the end of last year and gelded him,” Albertrani said. “He came out of his last race really well, and he was pretty sharp coming into this race.”

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Empire Dreams got away last Monday as Readthebyline set a pressured pace under Jose Ortiz. Summer Place to Be, who went off at 10-1 under Manuel Franco, took a stalking position on Empire Dreams’ flank, three-quarters of a length behind in an opening quarter-mile in :23.44 and a half-mile in :46.15. Readthebyline led by a length after three-quarters in 1:10.26 before Summer Place to Be weakened and both Saratoga Snacks and Empire Dreams roared into contention, two-wide and three-wide, respectively.

Readthebyline dug in and gamely battled both of the closers through the lane before weakening in deep stretch. Empire Dreams proved stronger than Saratoga Snacks and got the hard-earned victory. “I believe it was a good set-up today,” Castellano said. “There was a lot of speed in the race, and I think he had the perfect trip today. He’s an off-the-pace horse and they went pretty quick with a decent pace, so I took advantage. He gave me a good run in the last part of the race. I was looking forward to the late kick and he gave it to me.”

Albertrani gave credit to Castellano: “I think Javier had them measured.”

Empire Dreams now has four wins, five seconds and one third from 13 starts with more than $450,000 in earnings.

Invading Humor sizzles in Mount Vernon

Mon, 2015-05-25 19:01

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Bill Heller

Benefitting from a blistering pace in front of her and a brilliant ride by Rajiv Maragh, Bloodlines Racing Partnership’s five-year-old mare Invading Humor won the 37th running of the one-mile $125,000 Mount Vernon Stakes on grass at Belmont Park on all-New York-bred Showcase Day, Memorial Day Monday, by two lengths.

Sent off at 7-2 in the field of seven in an extremely even betting race, Invading Humor won in a sizzling 1:32.87, not that far off the Widener Course track record for one mile, 1:31.63, set by Elusive Quality on July 4th, 1998. Three hours after Invading Humor’s victory, millionaire Lubash won the Kingston Stakes at the same distance in 1:33.07, and he’s one of the best New York-bred turf horses of the last decade.

Bruce Levine trains Invading Humor, a daughter of Invasor out of Very Funny by Distorted Humor who was bred by Dr. James Mcglinn.

Invading Humor was making her first start since Nov. 8th when she set the pace and tired badly to ninth in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct. She showed five workouts for her return, including a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 at Aqueduct May 2nd.

“She was pretty fit,” Levine said. “I knew she was running a mile and we had this planned for a while. I don’t think she needed one, but a race will help. She’s easy to train. Rajiv gave her a great ride, saved ground and they (the others) went after her (Laura Can Disco) and did the dirty work. I thought we would have to do that.”

Bettors respected Invading Humor, but also her rivals with all seven starters going off at single-digit odds. Old Harbor, who hadn’t raced since Oct. 18th, went off the 5-2 favorite on the rail under Manual Franco. Invading Humor was the second choice at 7-2, followed by Laura Can Disco at 9-2 and both Unbelievable Dream and Mah Jong Maddnes, who won this stakes last year, at 5-1. Both Chrysolite and Lady Kreesa were 8-1.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Laura Can Disco, who had won both of her previous turf tries, broke sharply out of the outside post under Cornelio Velasquez and went right for the lead. But Old Harbor protected her rail position and made Laura Can Disco work to take a half-length lead on the outside in a first quarter in :22.43. Lady Kreesa was a three-wide close third under Javier Castellano and Invading Humor raced in fourth.

Laura Can Disco inched her lead out to three-quarters of a length over Old Harbor in a testing :45.22 half-mile. Lady Kreesa was a clear third. Invading Humor was fourth on the rail and Mah Jong Maddnes fifth on the outside.

Laura Can Disco finally cleared Old Harbor for the lead but had nothing left and was quickly passed by Old Harbor two-wide and Mah Jong Maddnes three-wide around the far turn.

Maragh kept Invading Humor on the rail and when Laura Can Disco tired, he shot Invading Humor to the lead while Mah Jong Maddnes advanced into second on the far outside. Invading Humor spurted clear and won comfortably. Mah Jong Maddnes was second, a half-length ahead of Old Harbor. Lady Kreesa finished fourth, a length behind Old Harbor.

“She settled in nice and she showed a big strong finish at the end,” Maragh said of the winner. “Originally, I was planning to track the leader, but when I got out of the gate and saw that they were going a little fast, I adjusted a little bit. We sat off and she was comfortable where she was, so I was pretty happy with that. And then it set us up really good for the late run.”

Invading Humor now has six wins, one second and one third from 12 turf starts. She also has one win from three dirt starts with combined earnings of just under $380,000.

First sustaining payment for 2015 Finger Lakes Futurity Series due May 31

Thu, 2015-05-21 10:49

by Sarah Mace

The deadline for the first of two sustaining payments for juveniles nominated to the 2015 Futurity Series at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack (Foals of 2013) is May 31. The Finger Lakes Futurity Series consists of three stakes races for New York-bred 2-year-olds: the $100,000 (estimated) Aspirant Stakes for colts and geldings (September 18), the $100,000 (estimated) Lady Finger Stakes for fillies (September 18) and the $225,000 (estimated) New York Breeders’ Futurity for all horses (October 17). All three races are run at six furlongs.

Foals are normally nominated to the series as weanlings through the New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund for a $25 fee. Otherwise the foal is nominated by December 31 of its yearling year for $25 or through April 1 of its 2-year-old year for $150. Once a horse is nominated, in order for that individual to remain eligible for these races, there must be two supplemental “sustaining” payments during the horse’s 2-year-old year.

The first supplemental payment of $425 is due on or before May 31. The second supplemental payment of $650 is due on or before July 31. Horses may also be supplemented to individual races (see fees below). Late payments are not accepted.

Finger Lakes will mail a reminder letter to the owner/breeder on file. If a foal has changed hands since being nominated, and for other questions, please contact the Finger Lakes Racing Secretary’s office at 585-924-3232 ext. 388 or email

Payment Schedule for the 2015 Futurity Series:

May 31, 2014:
$425 to maintain eligibility for both races
$250 for New York Breeders’ Futurity
$175 Aspirant (colts/geldings) or $175 Lady Finger (fillies)

July 31, 2014:
$650 to maintain eligibility for both races
$400 New York Breeders’ Futurity
$250 Aspirant (colts/geldings) or $250 Lady Finger (fillies)

Checks should be made payable to Finger Lakes Racing Association and mailed to:

Finger Lakes Racing Association
ATTN: Michele Fish
PO Box 25250
Farmington, NY 14425

Click here for Payment Form.

NY-bred juveniles outstanding at record-setting F-T Midlantic

Wed, 2015-05-20 10:20

by Sarah Mace

Once the dust settled after the second and final day of trading at Fasig-Tipton’s 2015 Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale, New York-bred juveniles had produced two more top-of-the-line sales and generated an average price that approached the record-setting sale average.

Overall the benchmark renewal of the sale generated an $88,859 average, which was up a whopping 49.1% from a year ago ($59,578). The New York-bred average was $80,081. The $45,000 sale median was up nearly as much, 45.2% to $45,000 (from $31,000). The New York-bred median was $37,000.

In addition to providing the second top selling individual in the sale, a Pioneerof the Nile colt who sold in the first session for $850,000, the population of New York-breds at the auction produced 12 six-figure horses, six selling for $200,000 and above.


The co-second top seller of Tuesday’s second session, and co-sixth top seller overall was Hip 400, a colt by Bluegrass Cat out of Unbridled Melody, who went to Jacob L. West, agent from the consignment of Raul Reyes’ Kings Equine, agent for $450,000 after breezing a co-bullet :10 flat breeze in the under tack show.

Bred by WinStar Farm, LLC and foaled at Vinery NY at Sugar Maple in Poughquag, the sale colt is a full brother to stakes winner and graded stakes placed Michael With Us, and a half-brother to stakes winner and Grade 1 placed Tourist (Tiznow). Bluegrass Cat, a former leading New York sire, stood at Vinery New York at Sugar Maple in 2012 and 2013 and Rockridge Stud in 2014 before relocating to California in 2015.

Purchased by Reyes for $90,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale, the colt RNA’d in March for $160,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale. Before the Midlantic auction Reyes said, “He has changed quite a bit since the Florida sale. He looks a lot better now. He looked dull in Miami. I think he didn’t like the heat. He breezed good down there, but he didn’t look the best.”

West, who signed the ticket for an undisclosed client, commented, “I work for Taylor Made, and it’s well documented in our system that we loved him as a yearling. We just had to give a little more for him now, but he’s a nice horse. Down there (in the Florida sale) he was a victim of being around a lot of horses that were stallion prospects. Everybody was looking for the athlete and the pedigree, but here you have to get the athlete at this point and time, and that’s what we did. He’s a special horse.” The colt will go to trainer Todd Pletcher.



The other New York-bred headliner on Tuesday was Hip 296, a bay filly by Super Saver out of graded stakes winner Richiegirlgonewild. She was purchased by Matthew Schera for $230,000 from De Meric Sales, who bought the filly at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale for $190,000 from the Hidden Brook consignment.

Bred by Doug and Felicia Branham and foaled on March 20, 2013 at Todd and Michele Graves’ Hickory Hill Farm in Fort Edward, the filly worked a furlong last week in the under tack show in :10 2/5. Said Nick de Meric, “She has plenty of speed to burn, but I think the Super Saver on the top will give her the stamina to stretch out. She is a good-moving, attractive filly who has taken all this in stride.”

The Super Saver filly is her dam’s second offspring. The mare’s first foal Broadway Show (Unbridled’s Song) was a debut winner at Gulfstream in January.

NY-bred juveniles outperform record-setting average at F-T Midlantic

Wed, 2015-05-20 09:02

by Sarah Mace

Once the dust settled after the second and final day of trading at Fasig-Tipton’s 2015 Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale, New York-bred juveniles had produced two more top-of-the-line sales and generated an average price that outperformed the record-setting sale average.

Overall the benchmark renewal of the sale generated an $88,859 average, which was up a whopping 49.1% from a year ago ($59,578). The New York-bred average was yet higher: $96,721. The $45,000 sale median was up nearly as much, 45.2% to $45,000 (from $31,000). The New York-bred median did not quite keep pace at $37,000.

In addition to providing the second top selling individual in the sale, a Pioneerof the Nile colt who sold in the first session for $850,000, the population of New York-breds at the auction produced 12 six-figure horses, six selling for $200,000 and above.


The second-highest seller of Tuesday’s second session, and co-sixth top seller overall was Hip 400, a colt by Bluegrass Cat out of Unbridled Melody, who went to Jacob L. West, agent from the consignment of Raul Reyes’ Kings Equine, agent, for $450,000 after breezing a co-bullet :10 flat breeze in the under tack show.

Bred by WinStar Farm, LLC and foaled at Vinery NY at Sugar Maple in Poughquag, the sale colt is a full brother to stakes winner and graded stakes placed Michael With Us, and a half-brother to stakes winner and Grade 1 placed Tourist (Tiznow). Bluegrass Cat, a former leading New York sire, stood at Vinery New York at Sugar Maple in 2012 and 2013 and Rockridge Stud in 2014 before relocating to California in 2015.

Purchased by Reyes for $90,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale, the colt RNA’d in March for $160,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale. Before the Midlantic auction Reyes said, “He has changed quite a bit since the Florida sale. He looks a lot better now. He looked dull in Miami. I think he didn’t like the heat. He breezed good down there, but he didn’t look the best.”

West, who signed the ticket for an undisclosed client, commented, “I work for Taylor Made, and it’s well documented in our system that we loved him as a yearling. We just had to give a little more for him now, but he’s a nice horse. Down there (in the Florida sale) he was a victim of being around a lot of horses that were stallion prospects. Everybody was looking for the athlete and the pedigree, but here you have to get the athlete at this point and time, and that’s what we did. He’s a special horse.” The colt will go to trainer Todd Pletcher.


The other New York-bred headliner on Tuesday was Hip 296, a bay filly by Super Saver out of graded stakes winner Richiegirlgonewild. She was purchased by Matthew Schera for $230,000 from De Meric Sales, who bought the filly at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale for $190,000 from the Hidden Brook consignment.

Bred by Doug and Felicia Branham and foaled on March 20, 2013 at Todd and Michele Graves’ Hickory Hill Farm in Fort Edward, the filly worked a furlong last week in the under tack show in :10 2/5. Said Nick de Meric, “She has plenty of speed to burn, but I think the Super Saver on the top will give her the stamina to stretch out. She is a good-moving, attractive filly who has taken all this in stride.”

The Super Saver filly is her dam’s second offspring. The mare’s first foal Broadway Show (Unbridled’s Song) was a debut winner at Gulfstream in January.

Rice / Rosenblum go to $840K for NY topper in F-T Midlantic opener, Dublin colt brings $350K

Tue, 2015-05-19 08:51

by Sarah Mace

Monday’s opening session of Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale produced some heady results for the New York-bred contingent, led by a Pioneerof the Nile colt purchased by trainer Linda Rice on behalf of Sheila Rosenblum’s Lady Sheila Stable Two syndicate for $840,000, the second-top price of the day. New York-based sire Dublin also enjoyed a notable progeny sale when a colt from his first crop realized $350,000.

Bred by All Gold Racing LLC and foaled at Four Seasons Farm in Bullville, Hip 165 certainly benefitted from the timing of the Triple Crown bid by Pioneerof the Nile’s most famous offspring American Pharoah, but is a standout individual in his own right. The colt generated considerable pre-sale buzz after working an eye-catching quarter in :21 2/5 in last week’s under tack show and is flattered by his pedigree page.

Out of Lantern Glow, an unraced daughter of Mineshaft, he is a half-brother to last year’s Grade 2 Remsen S. winner Leave the Light On (Horse Greeley) and to stakes winner Harlan’s Pure (Harlan’s Holiday). Appearing under the third dam are Group 1 Epsom Oaks winner and European champion Balanchine and an array of other graded and group winners.

Prior to the sale consignor Nick de Meric said, “It’s a great time to have a Pioneerof the Nile. Especially one with a pedigree like his that worked like he did.” De Meric purchased the colt for $150,000 at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale; as a weanling the youngster brought $135,000 at Keeneland’s November sale.

It turns out that Rosenblum, whose partnership also includes Rice and Iris Smith, was the driving force behind landing the colt. Said Rice, “Sheila really wanted this one. Every time I went to stop, Sheila said to keep going. When I shook my head no, she said one more bid.”

“Let’s pray that little bit more pays off one day, hopefully,” Rosenblum said. Rice added, “Pioneerof the Nile has been a great stallion so far. The mare has thrown some nice horses as well. He had a brilliant breeze on the racetrack; he’s got great conformation at the barn.”

After the sale Tristan de Meric said, “He’s a beautiful horse. He has been straightforward all year long. We couldn’t be happier with the result, and it looks like he has a great new home. We wish them the best of luck with him. The timing couldn’t have been better with Pioneerof the Nile. Timing is everything in this business.”


The connections of first crop sire Dublin also had reason to celebrate Monday after Charles Cella paid $350,000 for Hip 223, a bay colt by the Grade 1 Hopeful winner out of Muffy (Tomorrow’s Cat), who was foaled at Rockridge Stud in Hudson on April 26 2015.

Bred by Margaret N. Carrothers, the colt has had his fair share of auction experience, originally purchased by Jumping Jack Racing as a weanling for $56,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton New York fall mixed and horses of racing age sale. An $110,000 buyback at the Fasig-Tipton preferred New York-bred yearling sale last summer, he went to W.D. North Thoroughbreds for $70,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale. Eddie Woods was his consignor in Timonium.

The colt’s dam Muffy, also bred in New York-bred by Carrothers, is a winner of nearly $100,000 and comes from the female family of New York-bred stakes winner Baxter. Dublin stands for Spendthrift at Keane Stud in Amenia for a 2015 fee of $6,500.


In all 32 of the 44 New York-bred juveniles offered sold in the first session of this year’s Midlantic sale for a 22% buyback rate. The New York-bred average was $95,671 and median was $38,500. For the general population of the sale the buyback was comparable (23%). The $102,732 average for the session overall was up dramatically from last year (49%), as was the median of $45,000 (30%).

Eight New York-breds realized six figures during the session, including two more individuals who hit the $200,000 mark: Hip 17 and Hip 90.

Hip 17, a Sydney’s Candy filly out of stakes placed Charleston Springs, was bred by Robert Hahn and purchased by D.M.I. Hip 90, also purchased by Rice, is a Dunkirk filly bred by Cheryl Prudhomme and Dr. Michael Gallivan out of the winning Mazel Trick mare Exclusive Print.

The second and concluding session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile sale will take place Tuesday, at the auction company’s Midlantic sales pavilion in Timonium, Md., beginning at 10 a.m.


Be Bullish claimed by Repole, retired to Old Friends Cabin Creek a winner

Mon, 2015-05-18 08:27

10-year-old Be Bullish wins fourth straight in final start (NYRA/Adam Coglianese)

By David Grening, Courtesy Daily Racing Form (with additional notes)

ELMONT, N.Y. – Be Bullish, the popular 10-year-old stakes-winning New York-bred gelding won a $16,000 claiming race Sunday at Belmont Park by three lengths, his fourth consecutive victory and 19th overall from 87 starts.

He was claimed from David Jacobson and Drawing Away Stable by owner Mike Repole, who said he will retire Be Bullish to Old Friends Cabin Creek in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

“All great athletes have to retire some time, and not too many great athletes get to retire at the top of their game,” Repole said. “That he won four in a row makes for a cooler story, but he’s got close to 90 starts, 50 percent first or second, churned out over a million bucks.”

Be Bullish, a gelding by Pure Prize, had 19 wins, 26 seconds, and 14 thirds from 87 starts. He won six stakes, including two runnings of the Hollie Hughes, and earned $1,106,288.

“I won the race with him that put him over a million dollars, and if he didn’t get claimed that day, I probably would have done it then,” said Repole, referring to a $20,000 claiming race last December at Aqueduct, from which he was claimed by Jacobson and Drawing Away.

Repole only raced Be Bullish six times, having claimed him once for $75,000 in June 2011 and for $16,000 last September.

Though Be Bullish has won four straight races, Repole said he only had to hearken back to Jan. 4, 2014, when Caixa Eletronica, a multiple graded stakes winner he owned who was 9-years-old, died in a freak training accident at Belmont Park.

“These mostly are freak circumstances – they can happen,” Repole said. “[Be Bullish] has put in his time. He’s going out on top. He’s going out in the winner’s circle. If every horse could have an ending like this, the sport would be in a much better place.”

David Jacobson, who had trained Be Bullish for 23 of his career starts – the gelding winning seven times – including 13 of the last 14 for Drawing Away Stable, said he was surprised to hear Repole would retire him.

“If Mike Repole claimed this horse to retire him, I don’t see it,” Jacobson said. “I think it’s foolish. He shouldn’t be taking this horse away from the public. This horse is a real professional. He knows how to win. I guess that’s one less good horse I have to run against.”

Repole believes Be Bullish should be in New York, which is one reason why he selected Old Friends in Saratoga. However, Repole said he could move the horse somewhere else if Be Bullish doesn’t settle into farm life well.

“I want to get him there through the Saratoga meet; hopefully, he’ll get a bunch of visitors, and after that if he’s not settling well and he still wants to do things, we’ll either go to New Vocations or Rerun, a program that’s authorized by Thoroughbred aftercare, and get him a great home where he’ll either be a jumping horse or something that he would want to do,” Repole said.

“He may not be as fast as American Pharoah, but there are a lot more Be Bullish’s in the world than American Pharoahs,” Repole added. “This is a really special horse, so he deserved this.”

[Additional notes: Be Bullish, who broke his maiden on September 22, 2007 in his 2-year-old debut at Belmont Park for trainer Scott Schwartz, numbers the following stakes wins among his 19 victories: the Hollie Hughes twice, the Appealing Guy, Sir Keys, Leon Reed Memorial, and open Mr. Nasty Stakes. The resume of the stalwart grey gelding also features an additional eight seconds and eight thirds in stakes company.

Bred by Carol and Herbert Schwartz and foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, Be Bullish’s dam is Smart Holly (Smarten), a seven-time New York-bred winner bred by Milfer Farm who earned $187,229. Smart Holly is also the dam of Tom’s Thunder (Thunder Puddles), a multiple stakes-winning New York-bred who earned $463,485. STM]


La Verdad stays perfect at five with determined Vagrancy victory

Sat, 2015-05-16 18:57

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Lady Sheila Stable’s La Verdad (Yes It’s True), last seen successfully defending her title in the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack on April 18, ran her 2015 record up to a perfect two-for-two at Belmont Park on Saturday with a determined victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap for older fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs.

As the 121-pound highweight, five-plus pounds more than her rivals once overweights were in, La Verdad was bet down to 3-5 favoritism and slated to break from the rail post. Waiting in the wings (and in post two) was 7-5 second choice and recent Videogenic winner Room For Me, whose form has been extremely sharp since being claimed by the Jacobson barn two starts back for $12,500.

Out of the gate sharply, La Verdad met an unexpected early challenge from 16-1 Frivolity, Room For Me’s stablemate, who rushed up after a poor break and came up on even terms with her at the half-mile pole.

After turning back Frivolity, La Verdad opened up two lengths on the field through the turn and straightened away for the drive. Her next test came from Room For Me, who took over second and loomed in the stretch.

Digging in as Room For Me eroded her lead, and drifting out slightly under a left-handed whip, the bay mare held off her challenger with determination, winning by the margin of a half-length in a final time of 1:16.17. It was seven lengths back to Mamdooha in third. [VIDEO]

Jockey Jose Ortiz said, “I wasn’t expecting [Frivolity] to come after me early, but [La Verdad] handled it well. When [Room for Me] came up to me in the stretch, she was coming at the same pace, but my filly was never going to let her by.”

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Trainer Linda Rice focused on the other rival in her post-race comments. “The four horse [Room For Me] had been running some real crazy numbers the last two races, so I knew she was a formidable foe, but [La Verdad] managed to get through it again,” said Rice. “She’s pretty tough herself.”

Sheila Rosenblum, La Verdad’s owner (and biggest fan), added, “My horse is fantastic, what can I say? She’s proven herself over and over. We gave her a big break, a well-deserved break. She came back and it was tough. We had some fabulous horses against us, and we were very, very worried about the speed horse (Room for Me). She proved herself once again.”

A winner of seven stakes races, and owner of a 12-2-0 record in 18 starts, La Verdad’s earnings have now soared to a lofty $990,700. Last year at four she won four New York-bred stakes in addition to her victory in the Distaff Handicap, and finished second in both the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie and Grade 2 Gallant Bloom.

Rice said that we may see La Verdad competing at the highest level at some point this year. “With a filly like her – she’ll be going to the breeding shed next fall – if we could get her a Grade 1 win this year, that’d be the ultimate goal,” said Rice.

Bred by Eklektikos Stable LLC and foaled at Chester and Mary Broman’s Chestertown farm in Chestertown. La Verdad was sold privately to Rosenblum following a second allowance victory in November 2013.

She is one of three winners and two stakes performers out of Noble Fire (Hook and Ladder), a stakes-placed runner bred by Chester and Mary Broman also trained by Rice. Rice bought Noble Fire for Eklektikos for $115,000 at the 2007 OBS Spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. Noble Fire’s two other winners, are N. F’s Destiny (Cuvee), an eight-time winner of over $335,000 and Lady Sheila Stable’s stakes-placed six-figure earner Hot City Girl (City Zip). The mare currently has a yearling filly by Freud and was not bred in 2014.

Galiana bests favorite with two-pronged attack in Pimlico’s Skipat Stakes

Fri, 2015-05-15 23:29

Jim McCue / Maryland Jockey Club

by Sarah Mace

Pointed to the $100,000 Skipat Stakes immediately following a victorious Pimlico debut in the Primonetta Stakes on April 18, Triple R Stables’ Delaware-based Galiana (Stonesider) scored a sixth career stakes tally in the 6-furlong dash on Black-Eyed Susan Day after a successful two-pronged attack on odds-on favorite Lady Sabelia.

Galiana, third choice at odds of 5-1, broke sharply under Primonetta pilot Abel Lezcano and took her game immediately to Lady Sabelia, who devoted the first quarter mile, run in :23 seconds flat, to shaking off her early challenger. As Galiana dropped two lengths off the pacesetter, Lady Sabelia even accelerated slightly, covering the second quarter-mile in 22.30.

In the far turn Galiana angled out and gained momentum for a second assault the leader. Advancing inexorably, the chestnut mare overhauled Lady Sabelia inside the furlong marker, then opened up to a decisive 2 3/4-length victory in a final time of 1:11.08. She’s Ordained finished two lengths back in third, a head in front of Aix En Provence.

Jockey Abel Lezcano said the key to the 5-year-old mare’s victory was her ability to rate. “At the start she wanted to go early,” said Lezcano. “She relaxed on the backstretch. At the three-eighths she moved out and started going. She really ran well.”

Trainer Rodolfo Romero expressed as much relief as pleasure in the performance. “I was really nervous. I was worried about the favorite (Lady Sabelia), because she was really good. I was surprised my horse was so close to the lead. But sometimes, you don’t know what to expect from her. She’s very tough and she’s getting very good.”

A six-time stakes winner, Galiana has emerged as the top earner for her sire Stonesider, who stands at Saratoga Stud, LLC for a 2015 fee of $3,500. She has won 13 of 25 career races, including nine tries at six furlongs, and earned over a half-million dollars ($519,121). In addition to the Skipat and Primonetta Stakes at Pimlico she has won four black type contests at Delaware Park: the Tax Free Shopping Distaff Stakes, twice, the Dashing Beauty Stakes and the Sweet and Sassy Stakes.

Bred by John T. Behrendt and Charles Marquis and foaled at Anne Morgan and Tim Little’s Mill Creek Farm in Stillwater, Galiana is out of Baby Jess, an unraced Argentinian-bred daughter of Interprete (ARG). A full sister to Galiana has won in Argentina.

Sharp as ever, Discreet Marq dominates Grade 3 Beaugay in 5-year-old debut

Sat, 2015-05-09 22:58

NYRA/Adam Mooshian

by Sarah Mace

Discreet Marq, Moyglare Stud Farm Ltd.’s blockbuster $2.4 million purchase at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November sale, added to her graded stakes resume Saturday when she captured the Grade 3, $150,000 Beaugay at Belmont Park in her 5-year-old debut.

After purchasing the nearly-white grey daughter of Discreet Cat, Moyglare Stud opted to race her for another year before sending the Grade 1 winner to Ireland to be bred. They retained the services of trainer Christophe Clement, who campaigned the mare for owner/breeder Patricia Generazio, and in her first start for her new connections in the Grade 1 Matriarch at Del Mar on November 30, Discreet Marq was just edged for second.

Back to the races after 160 days with jockey John Velazquez aboard for the first time, Discreet Marq received a Hall of Fame ride from the Hall of Famer, as Velazquez used both race dynamics and his mount’s abilities to best advantage.

After the seven fillies and mares broke from the gate, 9-5 favorite Discreet Marq darted to the front from the outside stall and proceeded to dictate a dawdling early pace, completing the first quarter-mile of the 1 1/16-mile turf contest in 26.13 and the first half in 50.85.

Continuing on an uncontested lead through the far turn and increasing her advantage to three lengths, Discreet Marq picked up the pace in upper stretch. Asked for kick inside the furlong marker as the closers loomed, the mare delivered, absolutely flying home to win by 1 3/4 lengths. She completed the last five-sixteenths of a mile in 28.28 and stopped the clock at 1:42.15. Next across the line was Photo Call, followed a half-length back by Recepta and J Wonder, who finished noses apart. Testa Rossi, Radiator and Caroline Thomas completed the order of finish. [VIDEO]

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Velazquez reported, “I had a perfect trip; [Discreet Marq] broke well and we weren’t expecting much speed, so she ended up on the lead. I wanted to make sure to let her run from the gate since there wasn’t any speed on paper. Nobody went, so we went [a half-mile] in :50 and change all by herself. After that, I just let her do what she wanted to do. She had plenty left in the stretch.”

Christophe Clement, who had won the Beaugay three times before, was thrilled by his fourth victory. “Everything is good,” said Clement. “It’s nice when they come back. That’s what good horses do – they win.”

The trainer continued, “Great trip, great ride. She’s a good filly. Life is good. I’m delighted because Moyglare stepped up to buy her in the November sale and she came back to win a [graded] race right away for them, so that’s wonderful. This is a good start. Moyglare has been supporting the barn for many years so it’s nice to do well for them.”

Discreet Marq’s first victory in the colors of Moyglare Stud was her eighth overall, her seventh stakes tally and third graded win in 21 starts. Owner also of five seconds and a third, the mare increased her earnings to $1,193,900.

A juvenile maiden-breaker at second asking in a turf sprint at Saratoga, Discreet Marq has spent the rest of her career facing stakes company and her first stakes victory came later that year in the Lie Low Stakes at Aqueduct. At three she won the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont, the Eventail for state-breds, the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and Pebbles Stakes. She also won last year’s renewal of the Ticonderoga on Empire Showcase Day.

Seldom out of the money, she has been consistently in the hunt at the Grade 1 level since 2013. In addition to her Del Mar Oaks score, she finished second that year in the Garden City Stakes and Matriarch Stakes, and, last year, was second in the Jenny Wiley and third in the TVG Diana and Matriarch stakes.

Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Discreet Marq is out of the multiple stakes-winning and graded stakes placed Marquetry mare To Marquet ($198,236), a Kentucky-bred Generazio homebred. Frank Generazio Jr. also bred To Marquet’s dam, Florida-bred Pretty Momma, a multiple stakes winner.

To Marquet has produced two more successful turf stakes performers. Marquet Cat (Cat Thief) has earned nearly $400,000 from 61 starts and Marquet Madness (Pico Central) earned over $200,000. To Marquet currently has a 2-year-old colt named Too Discreet and a yearling colt, named Discretionary Marq, both full siblings to Discreet Marq. She delivered a filly by Ghostzapper on March 15 this year.

Loki’s Vengeance wins Affirmed Success with nifty rail move

Sun, 2015-05-03 23:23

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

by Sarah Mace

Blue Bison Stable’s Loki’s Vengeance, a 4-year-old son of New York sire Frost Giant (Keane Stud), slipped up the rail and collared the early pacesetters to collect a second career stakes victory in Sunday’s six-furlong $100,000 Affirmed Success for New York-breds at Belmont Park.

Out of the gate sharply from post three, Loki’s Vengeance, a relative longshot at 11-1, immediately took back into fifth position, content to let the heavy hitting take place four lengths ahead. Up front, Broman homebred I’m Stoked led through testing early fractions of 22.29 and 45.16, prompted by odds-on favorite Captain Serious and Weekend Hideaway in the three-path.

After a rail trip through the far turn, Loki’s Vengeance angled out slightly in upper stretch to begin his bid, but moved right back inside at the three-sixteenths marker to take advantage of a gap at the fence. With an energetic closing kick, the dark bay colt passed the duelers just inside the eighth pole and drew off to win by 1 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:09.80.

Multiple stakes winner Empire Dreams, who got off slowly and chased in sixth, came flying late to finish second, three-quarters of a length ahead of early trailer John’s Island, who got up for the show. Curious Cal, I’m Stoked and Weekend Hideaway completed the order of finish. Between the Lines was scratched. [VIDEO]

Winning rider Angel Cruz said, “He broke fast, but I took a hold of him and sat behind the horses. I had the best trip in the race and went through on the rail. He did it by himself. The trainer brought him ready; he did it by himself and kept going. My horse has speed, but the instruction was to wait and see [how the pace unfolded]. I sat back, and when I asked him, I had horse.”

Lorena Andersen, assistant to recuperating trainer Mike Hushion, felt the race dynamics really played into the colt’s hands. “He’s been training really well up to the race, but the whole race up front really helped him out. They kind of put pressure on each other up front and he was there to pick up the pieces.” She added, “I didn’t know if going up along the rail was going to be a good idea, but he handled it great. I’m very proud of him.”

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Winner of the Times Square division of the New York Stallion Stakes as a sophomore, Loki’s Vengeance boosted his career record to 4-4-0 from 12 lifetime starts with the victory and increased his earnings to $253,709.

Bred by Andrew Cohen, whose Sunrise Stables stands Frost Giant, and foaled at Vinery New York in Hudson (now Rockridge Stud), Loki’s Vengeance is the first foal out of Subtle Sweetness (During) who was bred in New York by Thomas-Narlinger, LLC and Dennis Repp and won two of three lifetime starts.

All four of Subtle Sweetness’ foals are by Frost Giant: a 3-year-old colt named How Frosty It Is, who was unplaced in his debut this year, a 2-year-old colt, a yearling filly and filly foaled on April 24, 2015. Blue Bison Stable purchased Loki’s Vengeance for $35,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale in 2012.

FLGR earns NYRA reaccreditation, commended for FLTAP aftercare program

Sat, 2015-05-02 07:15
(Edited press release)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Friday that Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack has earned reaccreditation from the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance. Finger Lakes has been continuously accredited by the Alliance since 2011 and, once again, the Alliance accreditation inspection team gave the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program (FLTAP) a “Best Practice” grading in the area of aftercare and transition of retired racehorses, noting that the FLTAP is one of the best Thoroughbred aftercare programs in the nation.

“Assuring safe retirements and second careers for horses racing at accredited racetracks has always been a critical component of the Alliance code of standards,” said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the NTRA. “Finger Lakes’ adoption program stands out as a racing operation that understands the important role that aftercare and transition of retired racehorses plays in the overall safety of their racing operation.”

Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program

When Kim Delong, administration manager at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack in Farmington, N.Y., describes the structure of the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program, she laments the fact that they have “only” two full-time staff members. And she isn’t the least bit comforted or satisfied when reminded that two is two more than most racetracks employ.

The FLTAP was ahead of its time when it was founded in 2005. In the ensuing 10 years, the rest of the industry has made great strides addressing the need for aftercare of its retired racehorses. A number of track, many of which were motivated by the Alliance accreditation process, have developed and funded their own retirement programs, while the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) has established a high standard of care and is providing sustainable funding to retirement programs that comply with these standards. Still, FLTAP remains an excellent example of how tracks and horsemen can work together to safely transition retired Thoroughbreds.

“We all work together,” says Delong, the FLTAP President. “For every horse that starts at Finger Lakes the horsemen contribute $2 to our program and the association matches that with $2. The board for the adoption center is made up of horsemen and track management.”

Delong, a Farmington native who has worked on the Finger Lakes property for more than 27 years, has been involved with the FLTAP program since its inception.

“Before that one of our association vets would try to adopt out horses on her own from the backside,” Delong remembers. “We saw that there was a need for a more formal program.”

FLTAP obtained nonprofit 501(c)(3) certification in May 2006, paving the way for tax deductible donations which include not only the donated Thoroughbreds, but supplies, equipment, services and cash. Delaware North, the track’s parent company, donated two acres of land for a barn and paddocks. Ground breaking for The Purple Haze Center, named for major donor Wanda Polisenni’s Purple Haze Stables, took place in June 2007, and the center officially opened that November when the first FLTAP horses took up residence.

Since then, more than 400 Thoroughbreds have found new homes and careers through FLTAP. While many become pleasure horses, others have been retrained and found success as jumpers. Three FLTAP horses have been accepted by the Retired Racehorse Project for this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover, with $100,000 in prizes for transitioned racehorses in 10 equestrian disciplines, to be held at the Kentucky Horse Park Oct. 23-25, the weekend prior to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland.

More on Finger Lakes Reaccreditation

In the final accreditation report, Finger Lakes was commended not only for a best practice in aftercare and transition of retired racehorses but also for exceeding the Alliance code of standards in the following areas: (i) reporting of injuries and fatalities; (ii) pre-race veterinary examination protocols; (iii) post-race veterinary examination protocols; (iv) veterinarians’ list protocols; (v) safety vests and helmets; (vi) racing surfaces testing and data collection protocols; (vii) jockeys’ insurance; (viii) race cancellation policy; and (ix) wagering pool due diligence.

“Finger Lakes has displayed diligence and a keen desire to do things right,” said Steve Koch, executive director of the Safety & Integrity Alliance. “Finger Lakes management clearly has maximized their available track resources to achieve success in the areas of safety and integrity.”

The reaccreditation of Finger Lakes was the culmination of a lengthy process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Finger Lakes hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. An on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility. Interviews were also conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Dr. Ron Jensen, DVM, former equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board; Mike Kilpack, security and integrity consultant and past chairman of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators; Richard Lewis, former trainer and Northern California racing executive; and Mike Ziegler, former executive director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.

Finger Lakes 2015 meet off and running

Sat, 2015-05-02 06:44

Lo Gin and Tonic under Gabriel Suarez (Stephanie Van Minos Photography)

by Dave Mattice 

FARMINGTON, N.Y. – The 2015 live racing season at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack (FLGR) got underway on Friday with a longshot winner in the first race. Lo Gin and Tonic scored the upset at odds of 28-1.

The 4-year-old filly was guided to the three and three quarter length triumph by jockey Gabriel Suarez. She achieved the gate-to-wire victory in a final time of :56.17 for the four and one-half furlong distance.

The first race exacta was swept by trainer Pablo Torres. Cassie’s Harbor finished second behind her stablemate to complete the sweep for Torres. The same barn exacta returned $313.00 for a $2.00 wager.

Trainer Chris Englehart and jockey Jaime Rodriguez were both honored for their respective 2014 titles after the running of the sixth race.

Englehart saddled 97 winning horses to earn his 14th career trainer title. He was the top conditioner for the twelfth consecutive season. Rodriguez won his second consecutive FLGR jockey title last year with 160 victories.

Rodriguez had two victories on the 2015 opening day card for trainer Jeremiah Englehart. He won the fourth aboard Saratoga Shock before taking the fifth with Barbara Maria.

For the third consecutive year, trainer James Acquilano and jockey Michael Davila recorded doubles on the opening day card. Oscar Gomez also got off to a good start with a pair of victories.

Live racing continues on Saturday with an 8-race card as well as simulcast wagering of the 141st Run for the Roses.

NY-bred Derby doings: the draw

Thu, 2015-04-30 14:49
by Sarah Mace  

[Update Thursday 4:00 p.m: The announced defection of Stonestreet Stables, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Stanford (post 11) allows Frammento to secure the No. 20 spot. This also causes the nine horses who drew outside of Stanford to move one post position closer to the inside. For the New York-breds, Tencendur (post four) is unaffected. International Star, who originally drew post 12, moves in one spot to post 11; Upstart moves in one spot to post 18. Two Derby starters have won from post 11: Winning Colors (1988) and Brokers Tip (1933). One individual, Gato Del Sol (1982), has won from post 18.]

Two days from now, at approximately 6:34 p.m., a field of 20 horses, including the New York-bred trio of International Star, Tencendur and Upstart, will line up at Churchill Downs for the highly-anticipated 141st running of the Grade 1, $2,203,800 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands.

Entries were drawn Wednesday at Churchill in the always-dramatic annual pill pull ritual, while the connections held their respective breaths, hoping they would not end up in the dreaded one-hole, or some other place that might compromise their horse’s particular talents and strengths. Accompanying the assignment of post positions Wednesday was also the traditional announcement of Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds.

When the dust settled Bob Baffert-trained Zayat Stables runner American Pharoah drew post 18 and was made the 5-2 morning line favorite. The three New York-breds, for their part, will be spread out along the starting lineup. Grade 1 Wood Memorial runner-up Tencendur will break near the inside from post position four (30-1 ML), Ken and Sarah Ramsey color-bearer International Star goes from mid-pack from post 12 (20-1 ML) and Ralph Evans and WinStar Farm Lessee Upstart will be situated in the auxiliary gate in post 19 (15-1 ML).


When Tencendur (Warrior’s Reward) drew post four, trainer George Weaver’s reaction to the assignment of his first Derby starter was measured. “I would have preferred to be outside further,” said Weaver. “The further you are inside the more subject you may be to some bottlenecking going into the first turn. It’s very hard to predict everything that’s going to happen after that gate opens.” Weaver concluded philosophically, “It’s an OK post. We’ll deal with it.”

Since the starting gate was first used in 1930, five horses have won the Derby from post four: Super Saver (2010), Seattle Slew (1977), Decidedly (1962), Pensive (1944) and Whirlaway (1941). In last year’s Run for the Roses Danza finished third from gate four.

Jockey Manny Franco, making his Derby debut like Weaver, was in the irons for the colt’s maiden victory this past January at one mile and seventy yards and the pair did well with an inside draw. Breaking from post two, the colt was covered up for the majority of the race, traveled easily in fairly close quarters and managed to split horses after getting boxed in the final stages. Tencendur does not, however, appear to need to be inside, should he be able to work his way out to make a bid in the stretch. In his runner-up finish to Godolphin’s Frosted in the nine-furlong Wood Memorial, his most successful performance to date, he made a strong closing run from an outside post.

Tencendur, named for King Charlemagne’s warhorse from the epic French poem “La Chanson de Roland” (c. 1100), is owned and bred by Phil Birsh and was foaled at Birsh Family Farm in Galway.


International Star, the millionaire son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus who swept the trio of Fair Grounds Kentucky Derby preps this spring, looks for a fourth straight victory in the biggest test of them all. One of the more experienced horses in the field, he will be making his tenth career start in the Derby.

On the subject of drawing post 12, trainer Mike Maker expressed little or no concern. Said Maker, “It was pretty straightforward. I’m glad we didn’t have the one but that’s about all. I don’t think we’ll be forwardly placed so [the horses around us] are really not an issue.”

Since 1930 three horses have won the Kentucky Derby from post position 12: Canonero II (1971), Kauai King (1966) and Hoop Jr. (1945).

A strong closer, who does his best running inside, International Star managed to work out rail trips in all three Fair Grounds races under jockey Miguel Mena, with whom he seems to have a tremendous rapport. In that series he broke both from extreme inside and extreme outside posts.

Despite similar trips in the three races, International Star has put a variety of talents on display: athleticism, when switching out late in the LeComte, courage in close quarters, when slipping through a narrow seam at the rail in the Risen Star and determination, when running down a tenacious Stanford in the Louisiana Derby.

Bred by longtime Maryland breeders and owners Katharine M. Voss and Robert T. Manfuso, International Star was foaled at Doug Koch’s Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains.


After Upstart (Flatter) drew post 19, trainer Rick Violette had a characteristically wry response: “The way I look at it is: my job the next three days is to convince Jose Ortiz it’s the best spot in the gate. My job the next three days is to convince Jose Ortiz that it’s the exact post position we wanted.” Ortiz, Upstart’s regular jockey, piloted Violette-trained New York-bred Samraat to a strong fifth-place finish in his Derby debut last year.

I’ll Have Another (2012) is the sole Derby winner from post 19 since 1930, but 11 horses have won from the auxiliary gate (posts 15-23) and last year Wicked Strong ran third from post 19. Moreover, the wide draw would appear to play more to Upstart’s running style and strengths than if he were potentially mired down on the inside. In his last four races he drew posts on or near the outside and stalked the pace before unleashing an outside bid.

In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Upstart, who was bred by Mrs. Gerald A. Nielsen and foaled at her Sunnyfield Farm in Bedford, was marooned in the outside post of 11 and finished third; he dominated the Grade 2 Holy Bull from post of eight of nine; he crossed the finish line first before a controversial DQ in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth from post seven of eight and broke from the outside post of nine in his Florida Derby runner-up effort to Materiality.


The Derby is carded as the 11th of 13 races Saturday and will be carried by NBC Sports with a 3 1/2-hour telecast from 4-7:30 p.m. Temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-70s under sunny skies.

The complete field with jockey assignments and morning-line odds: Ocho Ocho Ocho (Elvis Trujillo, 50-1), Carpe Diem (Velazquez, 8-1), Materiality (Castellano, 12-1), Tencendur (Manny Franco, 30-1), Danzig Moon (Julien Leparoux, 30-1), Mubtaahij (IRE) (Soumillon, 20-1), El Kabeir (Borel, 30-1), Dortmund (Garcia, 3-1), Bolo (Rafael Bejarano, 30-1), Firing Line (Stevens, 12-1), Stanford (Geroux, 30-1), International Star (Miguel Mena, 20-1), Itsaknockout (Luis Saez, 30-1), Keen Ice (Kent Desormeaux, 50-1), Frosted (Rosario, 15-1), War Story (Joe Talamo, 50-1), Mr. Z (Vazquez, 50-1), American Pharoah (Espinoza, 5-2), Upstart (Jose Ortiz, 15-1), Far Right (Smith, 30-1).  Also-eligibles: Frammento (Corey Nakatani, 50-1), Tale of Verve (Brian Hernandez Jr., 50-1). All starters carry 126 pounds.

The winner of the 1 1/4-mile first leg of the Triple Crown with 20 starters will receive $1,443,800.

Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack kicks off 2015 season Oaks Day

Wed, 2015-04-29 14:39
(Edited press release)

FARMINGTON, N.Y. – Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack (FLGR) will kick off the 2015 live thoroughbred racing meet on Friday afternoon. The historic Western New York track’s 53rd season will begin with the nine-race Opening Day card. Post time for the first race is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. Racing gates open at 10:00 a.m.

Jockey Jaime Rodriguez will be vying for his third consecutive jockey title in 2015. Rodriguez is listed to ride in five races on Friday after finishing the 2014 meet with 160 wins. In three seasons at FLGR, the 24-year-old from Carolina Puerto Rico has recorded a total of 434 victories. He won six stake races since joining the local jockey colony in 2012. Rodriguez will be honored after Friday’s sixth race for being the top FLGR jockey last year.

Chris Englehart will also be presented an award on Friday for his achievements in 2014. He was the top FLGR conditioner for the 12th consecutive year. Englehart saddled 97 winning horses to register his 14th career trainer title. Horses under the care of Englehart have notched a total of 3,642 victories in 16,502 lifetime starts.

New Faces

A total of eight new trainers have acquired stalls in the FLGR stable area. The majority of the fresh faces reallocated their outfits to FLGR after competing at Suffolk Downs in Boston, Massachusetts.

Tito Rivera is one of the new conditioners that will be saddling horses in the FLGR paddock. The 56 year-old grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and spent the majority of his career at the New England tracks. He is a second generation trainer that started at Rockingham Park before moving his stable to Suffolk Downs. Rivera has amassed a total of 124 wins during his 14 year career.

Robert Raymond is expected to have the largest quantity of new competitors. Horses from the barn of Raymond have won 1,181 of their 9,623 starts.

Jacqueline Falk will both train and ride horses at FLGR this year. Falk has 29 victories as a trainer and 85 as a jockey.

Jose M. Rivera is a new jockey that has eight years experience in the saddle. The 26-year-old from San Juan, Puerto Rico spent most of his career at Hipodromo Camarero but also rode at Calder and Suffolk Downs. Rivera has 570 lifetime wins and already achieved 14 victories this year. He will make his FLGR debut aboard No Flaws in Friday’s seventh race.

Jockey Joel Cruz will return to action on Friday after being sidelined for over seven months. Cruz injured his leg in an incident that occurred on September 19, 2014, but is set to return after a full recovery. His first mount of 2015 will be in the third race aboard She’s Off the Hook. “I appreciate everyone’s concern during my absence,” said Cruz. “I feel really good and am happy to be back”. Cruz could reach a milestone in 2015. He is currently 17 away from victory number 1,000.


Opening Weekend and the Derby

The start of the 2015 season coincides with Kentucky Derby weekend when FLGR will participate in a fundraising campaign by a group of racing organizations. A silent auction will take place on Friday with framed photos of famous horses signed by their respective jockey or owner. Pictures included in the event will be of California Chrome, Secretariat, Wise Dan and Zenyatta.

Proceeds from the collective effort will be donated to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). The money collected by the charity will provide individuals with health care and living expenses.

New York-bred Derby doings: final works and final week

Mon, 2015-04-27 14:01
by Sarah Mace

Only six days stand between racing fans around the world and the 141st running of the Grade 1, $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, featuring, by consensus, one of the most exciting Kentucky Derby line-ups in recent years. Three New York-breds, International Star, Tencendur and Upstart, are playing an integral part in the drama.

This past weekend the New York-bred trio posted final works, and their connections have formulated plans for the week leading up to the Run for the Roses. New York breeders have an additional reason to be excited about the Derby this year. Big Brown, who stands his first year in New York at Dutchess Views Farm in Pine Plains, is the sire of Kaleem Shah’s Dortmund, who, in tandem with the champion 2-year-old of 2014 American Pharoah, is part of trainer Bob Baffert’s formidable-looking one-two Derby punch.

International Star

International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus), along with the other two New York-bred Derby runners and seven others, posted a final serious work early Saturday morning, a week in advance of next Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

The winner of all three Fair Grounds Derby preps and the Road to the Kentucky Derby points leader (171), Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s International Star breezed an easy four furlongs Saturday in 50:80 at trainer Mike Maker’s local base, Churchill Downs’ six-furlong Trackside Training Center in Louisville. International Star’s workmate, Nominative, a quality 4-year-old allowance filly also owned by Ramsey, recorded an identical time. Regular jockey Miguel Mena was aboard.

All trainers of Derby hopefuls in Kentucky, including Mike Maker, kept an eye on the sky this weekend. “We were out trying to beat the rain,” Maker said of the 6 a.m. move. “It was a simple maintenance work and everything went well. He was well within himself. He’s fit by now. We’re not going to do anything in the last seven days that might put him ‘over the top.’ We’re ready to go.”

Trackside clockers recorded splits of :13, :25.20 and :37.60 with a five-furlong gallop-out time of 1:06.20. Ken Ramsey reported that the work was intended as a five-furlong move, with an additional eighth past the wire and around the first turn.

Ramsey, not present for the work but in regular contact with Maker throughout the morning, said, “The time doesn’t sound spectacular but Mike was pleased and if he’s pleased then I’m pleased,” Ramsey said. “I leave the training up to him.”

After the breeze International Star, who was bred by Katharine M. Voss and Robert T. Manfuso, enjoyed some time in a hydrotherapy spa that Ramsey installed at Trackside just for the colt. The water is kept between 33 and 35 degrees and includes a salt solution that helps to minimize heat and inflammation.

“He had it in Florida and loved it,” Ramsey said. “When he first got to Trackside, after a few days Mike said he was doing fine but he was missing his cold water spa. So I said, ‘Well, good grief, we have to get one up there!’ It took a week to get permission to put one in but we got his spa and last I heard this morning he was in it and enjoying it. I’m doing all I can to win that Derby!”

International Star, who walked the shedrow at his home base on Sunday, with Maker reporting “All’s well,” took the short 6-mile van ride to Churchill Downs late on Monday morning and arrived at around noon.

The last Louisiana Derby winner to take the Kentucky Derby was Grindstone in 1996. The only other horse to pull off the Louisiana Derby-Kentucky Derby double was Black Gold in 1924.

Miguel Mena, aboard for all three of International Star’s wins in the Fair Grounds series of Kentucky Derby preps, will make his second appearance in the Kentucky Derby, after finishing 20th aboard longshot Backtalk in 2010.


Philip Birsh’s talented homebred Grade 1 Wood Memorial runner-up Tencendur (Warrior’s Reward) worked a best-of-38 five furlongs in one minute flat shortly after the main track at Churchill Downs opened for training Saturday morning, in company with the 4-year-old allowance winner Wake Up in Malibu. Tencendur posted fractions of :11.60, :23.40, :35.20, :47.40 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.40. The move was the best of 67 at the distance.

“I wanted them to go in a minute and they did,” trainer George Weaver said. “He galloped out well and cooled out quick and he was dragging me around the barn wanting to play.”

Manny Franco, who will be making his first appearance in the Kentucky Derby and rode Tencendur to a maiden win the only time he has ridden him, was aboard for the work. Said the 20-year-old Franco, “My first time here. He worked well. The first time I rode him in thought he was talented, very talented.”

Weaver, a native of Louisville for whom this is a first Derby starter, said initially was going to work at 8:30 but pulled an audible, opting to go when the track opened. “It might be OK at 8:30, but why take a chance. According to Weaver, Tencendur will have some paddock and gate schooling prior to the Derby: “He has not had any issues, but with Derby Day, it can affect even the calmest horses.”

Early Sunday morning Tencendur jogged a mile rather than walking. Said Weaver, “Especially when they are coming up to a race we take them out to the track and make sure they are moving well with a rider on their back. Obviously, you can look at their legs in the barn, but I want to have a rider have a feel for how they come out of their work.

He added that that colt was fine and happy and, “It would be customary to probably give him a walk day tomorrow.”


Ralph Evans’ Upstart (Flatter), bred by Mrs. Gerald A. Nielsen and now co-owned with WinStar Farm who purchased a minority interest in the ridgling last week, logged his final Derby work on Saturday at his Florida home base at the Palm Meadows Training Center, going five furlongs in a best-of-five in 59:95.

An impressive winner of the Grade 2 Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes, controversially DQ’d winner of the Grade 2 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes, and runner up in the Grade 1 Besilu Stables Florida Derby, Upstart breezed with exercise rider Vicki King aboard.

“He felt great,” King said. “He felt really good. He’s done everything right. He went the right time – everything, the fractions were perfect.” She added, “He’s push-button. He’s really a nice ride. If he messes up, it’s the rider’s fault, because he does anything you ask him to do!”

King also reported a characteristic difficultly pulling him up. “He’s always like that – before and after the breeze,” she said. “He’s just wants to go around again. He’s happy to keep going.”

Trainer Rick Violette said, “It was a typical Upstart work. It looked like he was going :50 and change and it was :47 or :48. He galloped out great; didn’t want to pull up. He could have gone faster or slower. He’s pretty much push-button. We had the walkie-talkie on Vicki and I told her not to let him gallop out, that he had done enough. We didn’t have to do much, but he does run well off a quick last breeze. He’s shown that the runs well off a snappy breeze and that’s what we gave him.”

Violette added, “All [Vicki King] has to do is move her hands a little bit and he accelerates. He likes to work fast going into his races. His best races have come off fast workouts. When I toyed with that and toned it down a little bit, he didn’t run his A-race, which is kind of my program, but it was also something we’ve learned [about him] as a 2-year-old and 3-year-old. He wants to zip a little bit, and we try to keep our horses happy.”

The plan is for Upstart to ship from Florida to Louisville on Tuesday. In the Derby he will be ridden by regular jockey Jose Ortiz, who piloted Violette-trained New York-bred Samraat to a strong fifth-place finish in the race last year.

Following the Saturday work, Upstart cooled out on the shed row, then took a routine roll and threw a playful buck in the turnout ring. There seem to be no ill effects after a missed workout two weeks ago due to a spiked fever.

“He looked like he just walked out of his stall,” Violette said. “It’s pretty cool. We’ve had one little bullet that we dodged, and it doesn’t seem to have had any after effect, that’s for sure. He’s had two good breezes and a two-minute lick, and now we’ll just let him feel like King Kong for a week and head him over there (to Louisville) and see what happens.”

Upstart had a light gallop at Palm Meadows Sunday. “I just wanted to get him a little exercise to see how he came out of the work and he was full of himself this morning,” Violette said. “He will train Tuesday morning [a walk day] before leaving for Louisville,” adding, “Then we’ll recharge for a big day on Saturday. He’ll just gallop [leading up to the Derby]. He’ll school in the gate and school in the paddock and that’s it – just a couple one-on-one stuff.”

The next big event, the post-position draw for the 141st running of the Grade 1, $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands will take place on Wednesday, April 29 at 5:30 p.m. ET at Churchill Downs and will be televised by NBC Sports Network. Tune in!!

Sophomore offspring of Posse, Sir Whimsey take down divisions of NYSS at Aqueduct

Mon, 2015-04-27 09:59

Possessed (NYRA/Adam Coglianese)

by Sarah Mace

Offspring of Posse and Sir Whimsey earned respective bragging rights in a pair of 6 1/2-furlong, $100,000 New York Stallion Series (NYSS) stakes contested Sunday on Aqueduct Racetrack’s closing day. Odds-on favorite Possessed by Posse kicked off the card with a victory in the Times Square division, while later in the card Take Issue by Sir Whimsey won the Park Avenue division for fillies at odds of 14-1. The races were restricted to eligible New York-sired sophomores.

Possessed, sired by perennial top-two New York sire Posse (Rockridge Stud) and trained by Charlton Baker, who co-owns of the colt in partnership with Dan Hayden, defeated four rivals as the 6-5 favorite in the earlier heat of the NYSS.

After breaking outwards under jockey Jose Ortiz from post three, Possessed pressed the pace outside Clockwork through fractions of 23.63 and 46.16. The dark bay / brown colt intensified the pressure in the turn and dispatched his rival in upper stretch, leaving enough in the tank to hold off a strong late challenge by Organic Gemini. A one-length winner. Possessed stopped the clock after 6 1/2 furlongs at 1:17.32. Organic Gemini was second, while Disco Partner, B. B.’s Remington and Clockwork completed the order of finish. [VIDEO]

Possessed has collected two wins, three seconds and a third in seven career starts and earned $134,950. A maiden-breaker in his fourth try after three solid efforts, two starts back he finished third in a muddy running of the open Jimmy Winkfield.

Bred by Grapestock, LLC and foaled at Vinery New York at Empire Stud in Hudson, the colt is the second black type winner out of Ibetyouwishyouknew (Mr. Greeley). Possessed’s half-sister by Sunriver also won a division of the NYSS. Ibetyouwishyouknew currently has a yearling by Soaring Empire and was bred last year to Graydar.


Take Issue (NYRA/Adam Coglianese)

In the Park Avenue for fillies, Take Issue, a daughter of Sir Whimsey, sprang a 14-1 surprise on multiple stakes winner and odds-on favorite The Lewis Dinner, who seemed tough to handle from beginning to end.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Take Issue was making only her fourth career start in the Park Avenue, but came into the race riding a two-race win streak, having broken her maiden second out at the $25,000 claiming level on January 30 at Aqueduct and winning a state-bred allowance on February 26. Returning eight weeks later with a quartet of works under her belt, Take Issue was reunited with jockey Junior Alvarado, aboard for both prior wins.

After a good break, Take Issue settled back in fifth in the two-path for the first half mile, as much as six lengths off the lead.

Closing ground through the turn and fanning wide at the top of the stretch, she launched a strong rally, passed three rivals in the final seventy yards and continued with good momentum on her way to a 1 1/4-length victory.

The Lewis Dinner, who raced very wide down the backstretch and tried to get out in the far turn, finished second, followed across the line by Dreamboat Annie, Freudie Anne, Majestic Jessica, Fenwick Hall and Gethot Stayhot. Scratched were Kathy’s Humor, Midnight Champagne, Saluda, and Omagoddonna. After the opening half mile was completed in 45.98, Take Issue’s final time for the 6 1/2 furlongs was 1:18.15. [VIDEO]

Take Issue, who has earned $114,850 from three victories, was bred by Harvey Weinstein’s Turtle Bird Stable, of Haynesfield and Cluster of Stars fame, in partnership with Asmussen assistant Toby Sheets. She is the first foal out of Control Issue, a winning Officer mare bred in Kentucky by Sequel 2003 LLC. Control Issue also has a juvenile full sister to Take Issue, a yearling filly by Mission Impazible and a new foal in 2015 by Emcee.

The Park Avenue winner was foaled at Ann Morgan and Tim Little’s Mill Creek Farm near Stillwater, which is also the home of Take Issue’s sire Sir Whimsey. A Grade 2-winning son of Jump Start, Sir Whimsey entered stud in 2011 and stands for a 2015 fee of $2,500.

Unlucky Imperial Way DQ’d from Maryland Hunt Cup victory due to slipped weight

Sun, 2015-04-26 06:48
by Don Clippinger, courtesy National Steeplechase Association

In an unprecedented disqualification, Raven’s Choice was declared the winner of the 119th Maryland Hunt Cup on Saturday when Imperial Way finished first by a half-length but was disqualified because a 20-pound weight slipped from his saddle pad during the course of the challenging four-mile race.

Owned by Mrs. Cary W. Jackson and trained by Todd Wyatt, Raven’s Choice finished six lengths clear of Stewart Strawbridge’s Guts For Garters, who was bidding for his second straight Hunt Cup victory, after finishing a nose ahead of hard-luck Imperial Way last year. Under the rules of racing, the jockey must weigh in following the race with the same weight as when going to the saddling area.

Spencer Road was placed third. Mark Beecher continued his leading position in the timber jockey ranks and rode his second Hunt Cup winner in three years. The race over 22 fences was run in 9:25 on turf raced as good.

Bred in Maryland by the late Cary W. Jackson, the eight-year-old Dance With Ravens gelding began the season with a third-place finish in the Grand National on April 18. Last year, he won the Willowdale Steeplechase.

[Addendum: Imperial Way, by Point Given out of the Rahy mare Lasha, is a 10-year-old maiden gelding bred by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds LLC, Craig Beam, Cathy Beam et al and owned by Merriefield Farm. With a second and three thirds in 12 tries over jumps coming into the Maryland Hunt Cup, his DQ on Saturday was a second unlucky miss in the annual contest. Last year he was nipped at the wire to miss the victory by a nose.] STM