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Updated: 6 hours 22 min ago

New York-breds complete outstanding run at Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga select yearling sale

Wed, 2017-08-09 12:19

By Sarah Mace

New York-breds at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale hit a high water mark in Monday’s opening session when a Curlin filly went to Juddmonte Farm for $750,000 as the top filly of the day and fourth top seller of the session. In the concluding session of the sale on Tuesday evening, though, there was still more than enough buyer interest in Empire State-breds left to go around.

The top female and male New York-breds on Tuesday were both sired by the late City Zip, who was euthanized at Lane’s End on July 25 due to chronic foot issues. The prominent stallion has been a perennial favorite with New York breeders, after enjoying a stellar racing career in New York with trainer Linda Rice and embarking on stallion duties in the state at Gus Schoenborn’s Contemporary Stallions before he moved on to Lane’s End at the end of 2004.

Tuesday’s City Zip filly (Hip 187), a chestnut foaled on April 16, 2016, went to Solis/Litt for $325,000. Like Monday’s filly topper, the yearling was bred by Newtown Anner Stud in Millbrook and consigned by Blake-Albana Thoroughbred Services LLC.

The City Zip filly is the fourth foal out of Force of Humor, a winning Virginia-bred mare by Distorted Humor who is a half sister to Summer Colony, a $1.4 million-earner bred by Edward P. Evans whose graded stakes victories are led by Saratoga’s Grade 1 Personal Ensign in 2002 for trainer Mark Hennig. Summer Colony and another half sister are stakes producers, and the sale filly’s third dam Withallprobability is a multiple graded stakes winner. Force of Humor was a $300,000 yearling purchase by Mike Ryan for Newtown Anner Stud at Keeneland in 2009.

The City Zip colt, also the top New York-bred colt to change hands in the two days of trading, sold as Hip 133 and is currently named Big Zipper. Bred by a partnership group consisting of Danzel Brendenmuel, Clocker Z Racing Stable, Gary Marsh and Sandra Powers, Big Zipper is a graduate of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall mixed sale last year, when he was purchased by Jim R Wells for $150,000. Offered in Saratoga by Taylor Made, Big Zipper’s new owner is Grand Oaks, who went to $300,000 to secure the January colt.

Big Zipper is out of Auspicious, a Kentucky-bred Indian Charlie mare who is a multiple stakes performer and producer of one winner to date. The headline on Big Zipper’s catalogue page is his third dam Powder Doll, a multiple stakes winner in her own right and the dam of graded winner Scott’s Scoundrel and stakes winner Gobedie. Clocker Z Stable bought the mare in foal at the 2015 Keeneland November sale for $65,000.

Two more New York-breds from Tuesday brought outstanding final bids. China Horse Club/Maverick Racing went to $250,000 for Hip 185 for a bay Speightstown colt out of Final Escrow bred by Waterville Lake Stables Ltd. He is the second foal for Final Escrow, a multiple winner and half sister to ten winners, topped by Grade 1 Florida Derby winner Vicar. The colt was consigned by Winter Quarter Farm.

Spendthrift Farm had to go to $235,000 to acquire Hip 116, a Super Saver colt bred by Oak Bluff Stables. The chestnut, foaled on May 5,2016, is out of Oak Bluff’s multiple stakes winner and graded stakes-placed homebred Akilina (Langfuhr). Her first foal is stakes winner Governor Malibu (Malibu Moon) who is currently on the grounds at Saratoga and slated to make a start at the meet for trainer Christophe Clement. Akilina’s second foal Rieno Tesoro, a filly by Speightstown, is a stakes winner and Group 1 placed in Japan. The mare currently has an Uncle Mo weanling and was bred back to Malibu Moon in 2017.

In all, eight of ten New York-breds offered sold at Fasig-Tipton’s boutique Saratoga sale bringing a total of $2,430,000 million. The average price for this group was $303,750 and the median came in at $242,500. The average and median for the entire population of the sale were $339,712 and $300,000, respectively.

The main event for most New York breeders, the Fasig-Tipton preferred New York-bred yearling sale, will be conducted next Saturday and Sunday, August 12 and 13, at the Humphrey S Finney Sales Pavilion.

New York-bred Curlin filly is female topper in Saratoga select opener

Tue, 2017-08-08 09:30

Fasig-Tipton photo

By Sarah Mace

Juddmonte went to $750,000 for a New York-bred Curlin filly who emerged as the top-selling female in Monday evening’s opening session of the elite Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale in Saratoga Springs. In the same session two other New York-bred fillies brought robust prices: a bay by Will Take Charge, who went to Three Chimneys for $225,000, and a Shanghai Bobby yearling, who was purchased by Bradley Thoroughbreds, Agent, for $175,000.

The Curlin filly topper (Hip 34) is a beautifully put-together dark bay individual bred by Newtown Anner Stud and consigned by Blake-Albana Thoroughbred Services LLC. She is out of Purple Cat, a winning 9-year-old Kentucky-bred Bluegrass Cat mare with plenty of pedigree. A $550,000 yearling herself at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale, Purple Cat was trained by John Terranova and won two of five career starts going a mile on dirt before moving on to broodmare duties for Newtown Anner Stud.

Fasig-Tipton photo

Purple Cat is a half sister both to Sky Diva (Sky Mesa), winner of the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes and third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and to Quick Little Miss by Freud, a multiple stakes winner as a juvenile. The sale filly’s third dam, Irish-bred Gather the Clan, is the producer of a pair of graded winners, led by $1.9 million-earner and multiple Grade 1 winner Pure Clan. This is also the family of multiple graded stakes winning filly Finley’sluckycharm. Purple Cat has had two foals to start, currently has a 2-year-old colt by Tiznow and foaled a full brother this year.  She was bred to Dialed in in 2017.

“She’s a real classic filly, a real athlete,” Juddmonte Farms’ Garrett O’Rourke told the TDN. “Looks like something that could be a real [Grade 1 Kentucky] Oaks filly and, thinking long term, a mate for Arrogate.”

O’Rourke continued, “I was pushed to my very, very limit [on price]. I thought I’d get her for a little less, but you know when they are that nice, you have to be prepared to go for a little bit extra. I thought she was that nice. She is a very special filly.”

Consignor Hanzly Albina said, “[The price was] definitely in the wheelhouse [of what we expected]. When you get up in these big numbers, it is really hard to pin down an exact number. We have had a lot of vetting action on this horse. A lot of the big players as you would expect at this level. I knew she was a very good filly.”

The second top-selling New York-bred of the session was a Will Take Charge filly (Hip 102), who sold to Three Chimneys Farm LLC for $225,000 from the consignment of Sequel Bloodstock. Bred by Chester and Mary Broman, she is out of Whichwaydidshego (Storm Cat), a productive member of the Bromans’ broodmare band who was purchased by Chester Broman for $425,000 at the 2009 Keeneland November sale. A daughter of a stakes winner and a winning half-sister to the multiple Grade 2 winner Fed Biz, she issues from the family of Minardi, Tale of the Cat and Johannesburg.

Whichwaydidshego has produced multiple stakes winners Mark My Way (Noonmark), Hard to Stay Notgo (More than Ready) and Haul Anchor. She foaled a colt by Malibu Moon on April 16 and has been bred to Will Take Charge.

The last of the trio of New York-bred filly sellers on Monday was Hip 53, a dark by by Shanghai Bobby bred by Kingsport Farm LLC in partnership with Hidden Lake Farm LLC and David Campbell. Consigned by Hunter Valley Farm, Agent, she was hammered down to Bradley Thoroughbreds for $175,000.

Hidden Lake Farm and Kingsport Farm bought the filly’s dam, Saravati (Giant’s Causeway) in foal at the 2015 Keeneland November sale for $40,000. Saravati is a placed half sister to multiple Grade 1 winner and $2.1-million earner You, who is herself a graded stakes producer. Saravati’s first foal Mask Zorro by Roman Ruler went on to become a group winner in Japan. She was bred to Runhappy this spring. The filly sold to Hunter Valley earlier in the year for $280,000 as the topper of the opening book of Keeneland’s January sale.

The sale resumes Tuesday evening with Hips 113-227 on the docket. The following New York-breds will be offered (listed by Hip # and dam):

116 – Akilina
133 – Auspicious
145 – Bourbonstreetgirl
152 – Carmandia
164 – Cocoanut Row
171 – Dade Babe
185 – Final Escrow
187 – Force of Humor
197 – Graciously Soft

Mo Maverick decisive winner of Monmouth’s Lamplighter Stakes

Sat, 2017-07-29 20:45

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo

By Sarah  Mace

Three-times stakes placed already, Mo Maverick (Uncle Mo) got his breakthrough black type victory on Saturday afternoon with a decisive score over five rivals in the 1 1/16-mile, $60,000 Lamplighter Stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park.

Bet down to even money, Mo Maverick stalked a length behind longshot pacesetter Hot and Heavy for the opening half mile. Asked for more approaching the far turn, the colt caught up with Hot and Heavy and, in the bend, made a decisive move between the pacesetter and Holiday Bonus, who had ranged up on his outside, and poked his head in front.

Opening up daylight in the stretch, Mo Maverick roared home a 1 1/2-length winner, with never an anxious moment. Dover Cliffs, Harlan Strong and Holiday Bonus finished next in order a neck and a nose apart, followed by Muggsamatic. The final time for the race was 1:42.80 over a “good” turf course.

“He sat just off the early pace and was comfortable,” said winning rider Eddie Castro, who had the assignment aboard ‘Mo’ for the first time on Saturday. “I felt the horse [Holiday Bonus] come pressure me on the outside and I asked [Mo Maverick] to run and he took off. He’s a really good horse.”

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo

Trained by George Weaver for RA Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables, Mo Maverick compiled a strong juvenile record last year after transitioning from dirt to turf and stretching out to a route of ground. Breaking his maiden by seven lengths at third asking at Aqueduct on November 13, he came right back to win a state-bred allowance on November 26. The colt wrapped up his 2-year-old campaign on the Aqueduct inner, where he finished second in the Damon Runyon Stakes on December 29.

Following a 10-week winter break, the colt came roaring back off the bench to win an allowance turf sprint at Gulfstream Park by more than three lengths on March 11. He then posted a pair of solid performances in stakes company. A game third in a blanket photo for place behind Yoshida in the James W. Murphy Stakes at Pimlico on May 20, Mo Maverick finished a fourth to Frostmourne in the Grade 2 Penn Mile on June 3. The Lamplighter provided some welcome class relief.

Bred by Gentry Stable and foaled at Blue Chip Farms in Wallkill, Mo Maverick is the first foal out of Lemon Splendor (Lemon Drop Kid). Bred by Gallagher’s Stud, campaigned by Jim and Susan Hill and trained by George Weaver, Lemon Splendor won the 2011 Swirlaway Stakes for New York-breds as a juvenile. In 2013 the mare sold to Arch Bloodstock in foal at the 2013 Keeneland January sale for a bargain price of $10,000. In addition to Mo Maverick, she now has a placed juvenile by Tapizar named Raging Fire and a weanling filly by Carpe Diem.

Mike Ryan purchased Mo Maverick at the Keeneland September yearling sale for $200,000. From four wins, two seconds and a third from nine starts, the colt has earned $204,700.

Nielsen & Malloy Winkler NYTB scholarships awarded on Spa College & Alumni Day

Fri, 2017-07-28 17:57

From left: Jeff Cannizzo, Joanne Nielson, Vivien Malloy, Rachel Hilliard, Ella Pitman [NYTB]; on right Tracy Egan, Adam Lawrence also present Fund scholarships] (Photo: Adam Coglianese)

By Sarah Mace

The New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) presented its two annual scholarships in the winner’s circle after the fifth race on July 28 at Saratoga Race Course as part of NYRA’s Annual College & Alumni Day at the Spa.

Generously established by Mrs. Joanne Nielsen to honor her late husband Gerald A. Nielsen, Sr. and by Mrs. Vivien Malloy to honor her late daughter Debby Malloy Winkler, these $5,000 scholarships recognize a full-time student enrolled in an equine-related course of study at an accredited college or university in New York State. The awards are intended to foster the education and development of individuals who promise to make a positive contribution to the Thoroughbred industry in New York and beyond.

Receiving the 2017 Gerald A. Nielsen, Sr. Scholarship was Rachel L. Hilliard, who is a second-year student at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and expects to receive her degree in May 2019. Making the presentation were Joanne Nielsen and Jeffrey Cannizzo, the Executive Director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.

Hilliard decided to pursue a career as a veterinarian after observing the interdependent lives of animals and people first-hand in the small farming town in Pennsylvania where she grew up. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with honors after majoring in biology with a double minor in biochemistry and English in 2015. After she graduates from Cornell, Hilliard plans to pursue a residency in sport-horse medicine.

Hilliard already has a variety of work experience, working at Cornell as a large animal surgery emergency technician, assistant at the Cornell Wildlife Heath Center and a student milker at the Cornell teaching dairy. Praised as highly a motivated team player, Hilliard also works as a veterinary peer mentor and Cornell tour guide.

“I am incredibly grateful to be awarded the Gerald A. Nielsen, Sr. New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc Scholarship,” said Hilliard. “This scholarship will allow me to take a break from working the multiple jobs that help pay for my veterinary education, giving me time to pursue the externships and internships I’ll need to specialize in equine medicine.”

“It has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders,” Hilliard continued. “I could not be happier to have earned this honor. Now I have the freedom to finally achieve the dream I’ve been working toward for so long.”

Ella Mariah Pittman received the Debby Malloy Winkler Scholarship. Pittman attends Cornell University, where she is expected to receive her doctorate in veterinary medicine in May 2018. Mrs. Vivien Malloy made the presentation.

A marathoner and half-marathoner herself, Pittman has focused her studies on equine sports medicine. In her future practice, she wants act as a teammate with her clients to ensure the well-being of horses as they engage in a demanding training regime in preparation for peak performances on the racetrack and in the show ring.

Raised in Medfield, MA, Pittman graduated magna cum laude with highest honors in biology from Mount Holyoke College in May 2014, where she pursued a double major in biology and history. President of Cornell’s student chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, she has engaged actively in research and co-authored several published studies.

Pittman has completed three marathons, including the 2013 Boston Marathon as a charity runner for the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation for which she raised over $6,000. Having finished 90 seconds before the tragic terrorist attack, she was determined to return the following year and did so, again raising over $6,000 for the same charity.

“I’m so grateful to the Debby Malloy Winkler family and New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.,” said Pittman. “It means a lot to that together they are supporting students who are actively pursuing a career with horses in New York and recognize the importance of helping build the next generation of equine caretakers, trainers, and veterinarians.”

“I have wanted to be an equine sports medicine veterinarian since I was 14 years old,” she continued. “I’m now less than a year from achieving that dream. This scholarship will alleviate some of the stress associated with tuition costs and allow me to focus on learning the best patient care and treatment options for our equine athletes.”

Previous recipients of the Gerald A. Nielsen, Sr. New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. Scholarship:

2012 Jacqueline Pino (read more)
2013 Allison Tuchrello (read more)
2014 Kaitlyn Douglas (read more)
2015 Tate Morris (read more)
2016 Cassandra Cromer (read more)

Previous recipients of the Debby Malloy Winkler. New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. Scholarship:

2014 Nicolina Foti (read more)
2015 Courtney O’Connell (read more)
2016 Natasha Tarnawa (read more)



Celtic Chaos wins loaded edition of John Morrissey with thrilling late charge

Thu, 2017-07-27 20:37

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Zilla Racing Stables’ Celtic Chaos (Dublin) can do little wrong these days. That includes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga, when the 4-year-old colt charged down the center of the course to cut down a gritty Ostrolenka and win a loaded edition of the $100,000 John Morrissey Stakes for older New York-breds.

The victory was Celtic Chaos’ third straight win, second consecutive stakes score and the sixth win of the 2017 Saratoga meet for the white-hot barn of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

A one-run closer who depends on some pace to run into, Celtic Chaos was drawn in the outside post of nine under Eric Cancel for the 6 1/2-furlong tilt over a muddy (sealed) racetrack. Going in, his conditioner was a little concerned about the way the race was going to set up. “We were worried about the track. He likes it wet, but so do others,” said McLaughlin. “We wanted a fast pace when we saw [speedster] Bustin It as well as a couple others [Candid Desire and Weekend Hideaway] scratch.”

Sent off as the 5-1 fourth choice in this competitive group, Celtic Chaos settled next-to-last shortly after the break, while freewheeling longshot Brimstone clocked the first quarter in 21.74 on the front end.

Celtic Chaos passed one rival along the backstretch then advanced toward the vanguard in the approach to the far turn, with early trailer Papa Shot hot on his heels. Four wide in the turn the colt fanned out in the seven path at the head of the stretch as the half went in 44.96.

While Celtic Chaos unleashed his charge in the center of the track, Ostrolenka split horses to take over control in midstretch from third. Celtic Chaos quickly caught up with the new leader, and despite a stubborn foe and some brushing in the final strides, got up to win by a game neck. After six furlongs in 1:10.81, Celtic Chaos stopped the clock at 1:17.65.

Papa Shot, well back early with the winner, got up for third another 2 1/2 lengths back. T Loves a Fight and 7-2 favorite Gypsum Johnny followed a neck apart in fourth and fifth. Completing the order of finish were pacesetter Brimstone, Eye Luv Lulu, Fish Trappe Road and Breakin the Fever. [REPLAY].

“Every single time I ride this horse he gives me 100 percent,” enthused jockey Eric Cancel. “Today, we had a wonderful trip. He felt really comfortable where he was along the inside and he was relaxed. He was running so I had to take swing him out. Like always, he was there for me and finished strong.” McLaughlin added, “Eric [Cancel] gets along great with this horse and everything worked out today.”

McLaughlin said, “I was a little worried in the stretch. I thought he was lugging in a little bit and I didn’t want to see any bumping but it all worked out and it was a fun day to win with these owners. It’s great for the Zilla [Racing Stables] group so many of them are from Saratoga and they have a lot of passion for the game.”

At three Celtic Chaos had a strong campaign, winning two races and finishing six times in the money, but has really blossomed at four. Never out of the exacta in six 2017 starts, the colt won through his state-bred conditions in Aqueduct in early April. Next out in his stakes debut in the Affirmed Success Stakes on April 28, he made a terrific last-to-first run to get the money. In 19 starts, the Celtic Chaos has six wins, four seconds and three thirds and has earned $380,780.

Bred by Spendthrift Farm LLC and foaled at Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains, Celtic Chaos is from the first crop of Dublin, who stands at Keane Stud in Amenia. His dam Let Joy Reign, has produced five winners from five to race, including Louisiana-bred stakes-winner Osi Posse and Kentucky-bred multiple stakes performer Get a Notion. Zilla purchased Celtic Chaos for $55,000 at the 2015 OBS spring sale.

Twisted Tom scores determined victory in New York Derby

Sat, 2017-07-22 23:53

SV Photography

By Sarah Mace

Twisted Tom, last seen when he was sent off as a well-respected 9-1 shot in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, where, with an assist from some traffic trouble, he finished midpack, proved just too good for six rivals in Saturday’s salty renewal of the $150,000 New York Derby at Finger Lakes where he scored a determined half-length victory.

Carrying the colors of Cobra Farm Inc., who owns the Creative Cause gelding along with with RR Partners and Head of Plains Partners, Twisted Tom has been based at Saratoga with trainer Chad Brown, and, since late June, has posted three works, including a four-furlong bullet move on June 29. By post time for his Finger Lakes debut, he was bet down to 3-4 favoritism. Regular Maryland-based jockey Feargal Lynch who had the riding assignment was also appearing at Finger Lakes for the first time.

Gold for the King was sent to the front after bell, only to be joined to his inside by Pat On the Back, while from post three Twisted Tom embarked on his trip around the clubhouse turn between horses in the second flight. Exiting the turn four wide, “Tom” caught up with the leaders in company with Broken Engagement.

Gold for the King extended his lead somewhat on the backstretch, but Twisted Tom followed suit and attached himself firmly to the pacesetter’s flank, while Pat on the Back settled in third.

As the field rounded the far turn, the top three were stacked up across the track, but Broken Engagement and Twisted Tom emerged as the main contenders at the head of the stretch, setting up a pitched battle to the wire.

Twisted Tom found himself in tight at the rail in midstretch, but poked his head in front and, from that point on, refused to give up any ground. The gelding simply dug in and propelled himself to a determined half-length victory.

Runner up Broken Engagement finished 2 1/4 lengths clear of Pat on the Back in third. Completing the order of finish were Can You Diggit, Gold for the King, Six Sided Bling and Dynamax Prime. The final time for 1 1/16 miles over the fast going was 1:44.62. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Bred by Dr. William B. Wilmot and Dr. Joan M. Taylor and foaled at Gallagher’s Stud in Ghent, Twisted Tom now has five wins from eight starts and has earned $350,131. The New York Derby marks stakes win number three for the gelding. Earlier in the year he followed a thrilling victory in Laurel’s Private Terms on March 18, when he nailed O Dionysus at the wire in his stakes debut, with a more decisive 2 1/4-length score over the same rival and three others 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio also at Laurel.

Twisted Tom is one of six winners from six foals to start out of Wilmot-Taylor homebred Tiffany Twisted. The mare is a half sister to multiple graded stakes winner Incurable Optimist and two stakes-performers. Grade 1 winner Class Play appears further down the family tree. Tiffany Twisted currently has a yearling filly by Fed Biz.

Bonita Bianca last to first in New York Oaks

Sat, 2017-07-22 20:35

SV Photography

By Sarah Mace

Following an extended last-to-first drive, last year’s New York-bred champion juvenile filly Bonita Bianca (Curlin) got up in time to win the $75,000 New York Oaks at Finger Lakes on Saturday afternoon in the second start of her sophomore campaign.

After six-plus months on the sidelines, Bonita Bianca returned this year at the allowance level at Monmouth on June 24. Bumped at the start, and eager early, she also arguably needed the race and finished a well-beaten fourth as the even-money favorite. She donned blinkers on Saturday afternoon for her Finger Lakes debut.

Sent off as the 6-5 favorite, Bonita Bianca started poorly, ducking in at the break and wandering a little as she got into stride, settling in to trail the field by six or more lengths behind a soft pace set by 41-1 longshot Butch’s Mango (24.25, 49.11).

Bonita Bianca revved up in the approach to the far turn under vigorous urging by jockey Dylan Davis, gained a spot, then swept past her rivals into second by the head of the lane.

With only new leader Playinwiththeboys standing between Bonita Bianca and her third career stakes victory, the filly closed inexorably in the stretch, made the lead in the final hundred yards and drove past to get the victory in a final time of 1:46.72. Playinwiththeboys in second finished 6 3/4 lengths clear of Tiznow’s Smile. Somekindasexy, Bluegrass Hip Hop and Butch’s Mango completed the order of finish. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez was snagged on the fly as he was rushing to saddle a horse for Saratoga’s final race. Asked what he thought of Bonita Bianca’s victory, the conditioner replied with a big smile, and without missing a beat, “She was bonita [beautiful] today!”

Owned by Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables LLC and Michael Imperio, Bonita Bianca won at first asking at Belmont Park last September, before scoring a next-out victory in the one-mile one-turn Maid of the Mist in the slop on Empire Showcase Day. In her third start on November 26, she tested much deeper waters in the Grade 2 Demoiselle, and managed to finish an extremely creditable closing third. She closed out the year with a last-to-first rally to win the East View Stakes. From four wins and a third in six starts, Bonita Bianca has earned $323,000.

Bred by Dormellito Stud and foaled at Mill Creek Farm in Stillwater, Bonita Bianca was purchased by Michael Dubb for $97,000 at the 2016 OBS March juvenile sale.

She is a daughter of Friendly Michelle (Artax), winner of the Grade 1 Prioress in 2004. In 2006 the mare sold to Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings for $1.15 million at the Keeneland November sale in 2006. In 2013 Steven Rowan picked up Friendly Michelle for $42,000 with Bonita Bianca in utero at the same venue. Friendly Michelle has produced six winners in all, and currently has a juvenile filly by Simmard, foaled a colt by Paynter on February 24 and has been bred back to Nyquist.

Retired trainer and former NYTB Executive Director Corbellini passes at 84

Wed, 2017-07-19 18:10


Bill Corbellini, who piled up wins in New York and Florida as a successful claiming trainer from the late 1960s through the early 1980s, died July 12 at the age of 84 in Dallas.

Corbellini registered the biggest win of his career in 1973 when he won a division of the Diana Handicap (then G2T) at Saratoga Race Course with Mereworth Farm’s Cathy Baby, who conceded three to 10 pounds to rivals. (The other division of the Diana that year was won by Lightning Lucy). The 90th edition of the Diana (G1T) will be contested Saturday at Saratoga.

Corbellini ranked third in New York wins in 1967 with 55 victories. Future Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel worked as a hot walker for Corbellini. After his training career, Corbellini served as executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.

Corbellini relocated to Dallas in recent years to be closer to family members.

“He enjoyed all aspects of the industry,” said son Bill Corbellini. “He liked physically working with the horses and the business side.”

Pure Silver a perfect two-for-two with Lynbrook score

Sun, 2017-07-16 17:20

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

On April 28, Belmont Park’s spring/summer meet Opening Day, Celtic Chaos won the featured Affirmed Success Stakes for older New York-breds. This Sunday, the meet came to a fitting end with another featured New York-bred stakes race, this time starring the youngsters: the $125,000 Lynbrook for juvenile fillies.

When the dust settled, the meet’s final trophy went to Pure Silver and owner/breeder Twin Creeks Racing Stables. Like Celtic Chaos (Dublin), Pure Silver, who is a daughter of Mission Impazible, is a New York-sired New York-bred. With the victory, filly ran her career record to a perfect two-for two and increased her earnings bankroll to $97,200.

Tabbed at 2-1 second choice behind undefeated open Astoria Stakes winner I Still Miss You (1-5), Pure Silver bobbled slightly at the start, but still got a jump on her rivals from her rail post and quickly opened up a length on I Still Miss You. One Last Cast raced in third at the fence and Northernstreetgal was last.

Parked out the two path by jockey John Velazquez, Pure Silver ticked off opening fractions of 23.01 and 46.82 while maintaining the lead. In the turn, however, I Still Miss You began to loom and the pair straightened away at the top of the stretch for a fair fight to the wire.

Pure Silver dug in, maintained her lead and, ultimately, got the win by 1 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:11.40. One Last Case and Northernstreetgal finished well back in third and fourth. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“We just broke good and got to the lead. I tried to save something for the end and she put in a good fight in the lane,” reported John Velazquez. “She broke so fast, it was kind of weird. She was so fast, she was on the ground and in the next step, she’s up and running. She got pressed and when she had to put in a fight, she did it all the way.”

Todd Pletcher’s assistant Byron Hughes followed up, “After the last start [her winning debut on June 22] we knew she had the speed out of the gate and she showed it again today and she was able to hang on.”

Hughes also tipped his hat to the filly’s well-backed rival. “[I Still Miss You] is a nice filly. It seemed like our filly dug in a little bit and it seemed like the other filly had the advantage but we were able to hold her off.” The connections plan to bring Pure Silver back at Saratoga.

Pure Silver is the lone starter from her dam Jehan, by Forest Wildcat. A Kentucky-bred stakes winner and $302,683-earner, Jehan was purchased by Twin Creeks at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale for $150,000.

In 2016 Jehan produced a yearling full-brother to Pure Silver and foaled a filly by Graydar on April 6 this year. Mission Impazible (Unbridled’s Song), stands at Sequel Stallions New York.

One-mile Forbidden Apple Stakes? No problem for turf sprint record holder Disco Partner

Sat, 2017-07-15 19:54

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

It’s official: Frank and Patricia Generazio’s homebred Disco Partner, the record-setter for six furlongs on turf in the Grade 3 Jaipur Invitational at Belmont Park on June 10 (1:05.67), now has new worlds to conquer after a commanding victory in the one-mile $150,000 Forbidden Apple Stakes.

Disco Partner’s connections regarded stretching Disco Partner out as something of an experiment. When the race was drawn, trainer Christophe Clement said, “I’ve always wanted to try [Disco Partner] at a mile. He came out of the Jaipur great and he’s been training well, so we want to see how he’ll be able fare at this distance.” Disco Partner fared very well indeed.

Following a sharp clean start, Disco Partner, who was the 7-5 post time favorite, spent the first part of the race in the second flight at the rail, with Grade 1 stakeswinner Grand Arch just to his outside. Meanwhile, fellow New York-bred King Kreesa led the way, ultimately to be drawn into a duel with aggressively-ridden 21-1 longshot Cerise’s Prince. The top pair opened up three lengths on their pursuers through opening splits of 23.91 and 46.84.

Regular pilot Irad Ortiz, Jr., stock-still on Disco Partner for three-quarters of a mile, maneuvered into the three path at the head of the stretch and asked the grey for run.

Shaken up, Disco Partner swept past King Kreesa, who had wrested the lead back from Cerise’s Prince, and with the powerful closing kick familiar from his sprint victories, drew off to win by 3 1/4 lengths. To quote race caller Larry Collmus, “Oh yeah, he can stretch out!”

After a closing quarter in 23.39, Disco Partner’s final time for the mile over the firm going was a flashy 1:33.49. New York-bred Get Jets won a close photo with Bondurant for second, both of whom edged King Kreesa in the final strides, forcing him to settle for fourth. Completing the order of finish were New York-bred Offering Plan, Cherise’s Prince and Grand Arch. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“[Disco Partner]’s a nice horse and he has a good mind,” said Irad Ortiz, who knows his mount well. “He broke good and he’s there when you ask him. He waits until you need him at the end, that’s his style. He can do anything; he can go a mile, he can sprint. I’m happy with him.”

Clement said “I think he’s a very nice horse. He trained great; he gets on very well with Irad and I just think six [furlongs], seven-eighths to a mile, he can do whatever he wants. He ran well.”

The conditioner and his owners now have some enviable options to mull over. “We’ll have to think about putting together a nice summer campaign,” said Clement. “I think he’s top class. He’s not Breeders’ Cup eligible, so I’ll have to speak with Mr. and Mrs. Generazio and we’ll try to map out the next two to three starts for him between now and the end of the year and try to do the best we can.”

As Clement sees it, “The choices are: do we run him right back in the Troy [$250,000, August 6, 5 1/2 furlongs]? Do we go for the Fourstardave (Grade 1, $500,000, August 12, one mile]? Do we keep him at a one-turn mile at the Woodbine Mile [Grade 1, $800,000, September 16]? I’m not sure. I’ll just have to think about it.”

Another consideration is that it may now be possible to separate Disco Partner from stablemate Pure Sensation, another Generazio homebred and star turf sprinter.

Disco Partner, now an earner of $708,810 from eight wins, four seconds and two thirds in 18 career starts, is a third-generation Generazio homebred and was foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia,

His dam Lulu’s Number (Numerous) is a New Jersey-bred multiple winner of over $200,000 trained by Ben Perkins, Jr. As a broodmare, she has produced five winners from six starters, including Don Six’s Number (Don Six), a stakes performer and earner of $212,686. She has a 2-year-old filly by Posse named Lulu’s Partner, and delivered a colt by First Samurai on February 14, 2017.

Patricia Generazio bred Disco Partner’s second dam Mary Lou’s Magic (Concord Dream) in Florida, and the winning mare was trained by Frank.

What a Catch wires Rockville Centre

Sat, 2017-07-15 17:15

NYRA/Viola Jasko

By Sarah Mace

Gary Barber’s What a Catch was first-crop sire Justin Philip’s first winner when he aced his debut by 5 1/2 lengths at Belmont on June 2 as the 7-5 favorite. The chestnut colt has now also become the stallion’s first stakes winner after scoring a wire-to-wire victory in the $125,000 Rockville Centre Stakes for New York-bred juveniles at Belmont Park on Saturday.

Second choice in the Rockville Centre at odds of 9-5 behind odds-on favorite Morning Breez, What a Catch went straight to the front under jockey John Velazquez, shadowed by Morning Breez, who raced a half-length back in second right at his flank. Analyze the Odds (9-2) set up a length back in third, Morrison (4-1) raced another length back in fourth, while longshot Over Salty was outrun from the bell and brought up the caboose of the five-horse field.

As What a Catch raced along the backstretch through an opening quarter in 23.12, Morning Breez pressed the issue, turning the affair into a full-fledged duel. The pair opened up more than 2 lengths on Analyze the Odds and Morrison and passed the quarter pole on even terms as the half clicked off in 46.48. The stage was set for a battle to the wire.

By midstretch What a Catch began to win that battle. Morning Breez never threw in the towel, and even came back gamely to tighten the finish in the final strides, but What a Catch secured a clear victory by one length. Six lengths back Analyze the Odds got third, while Morrison and Over Salty completed the order of finish. The final time for six furlongs over the fast main track was 1:11.21. [VIDEO REPLAY]

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

“We came out running,” said victorious Hall of Famer John Velazquez. “I thought the horse to the outside of me [Morning Breez] might make the lead so I came out running to see what he is going to do. And then he sat off of me and that was perfect and I stayed in front of him.”

Added Velazquez, “My horse seemed a little bit green, so it kind of helped him to have company. After that, I tried to get away from the horse at the quarter pole, tried to discourage the horse a little bit and I think it worked out.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher’s assistant Byron Hughes added his appraisal. “I thought [What a Catch] was very professional. He acted good in the paddock, post parade, broke sharp and fought off the second-place horse, who’s a nice horse himself. I thought it was a good race overall.”

Both jockey and assistant trainer also offered broader observations on the youngster’s prospects. Velazquez said, “The farther he goes the better he gets, so he seems pretty nice.” Hughes, for his part, commented, “He’s always been pretty classy, a bit precocious 2-year-old. He’s been benefiting from that and stepping up every time we’ve asked him.”

Bred by Castleton Lyons and Kilboy and foaled at Berkshire Stud, What a Catch, now a $97,000 earner from two victories, is one of five winners and the first stakes winner out of Catch My Fancy, a Florida-bred multiple stakes winner by Yes It’s True.

A graduate of the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale in Saratoga where he was purchased by Steve Venosa’s SGV Thoroughbreds for $90,000, his value skyrocketed the following year when Justin Casse had to go to $265,000 to get him after a well-timed headline-worthy catalogue update.

Catch My Fancy’s first foal Catch the Moon (Malibu Moon) is the dam of Girvin, who the weekend prior to the sale leapfrogged to the top of the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard when he won the Grade 2 Risen Star. Catch the Moon, who foaled a full sister to What a Catch on February 13, 2017, is also the dam of graded winner Cocked and Loaded.

Racing historian Allan Carter releases new book on the early history of New York-breds

Thu, 2017-07-13 09:48

(National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Press release)

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Allan Carter, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame’s official historian, has released a new book titled “From American Eclipse to Silent Screen: An Early History of New York-breds” through Shires Press, the publishing division of Northshire Bookstore.

The book is available for purchase at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Northshire’s location on Broadway in Saratoga Springs and various other Saratoga Springs outlets, including Impressions, Lyrical Ballad and Five Points. Books may also be ordered directly through Carter. Retail cost of the book is $21.95 (members of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. receive a 10 percent discount by showing their 2017 pin or membership card). To order directly from Carter, please send check for $27 ($25 for NYTB members) to: Allan Carter, 3 Pinewood Ave., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Underwritten by the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund and backed by promotional assistance from the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB), Carter’s book examines the rich history of thoroughbred breeding in New York State. It features legendary breeders such as August Belmont, Pierre Lorillard, Francis Morris and Sanford Stud Farm, among others, and tells the stories of numerous great racehorses, including Hall of Fame members American Eclipse and Ruthless. For more information about the book, please visit:

“It is hard to overstate what Allan Carter has accomplished in this book. He has thoroughly explored the world of New York State breeding before the advent of the New York State thoroughbred breeding program in 1973,” said Albany Law School’s Bennett Liebman in the book’s introduction. “Despite the fact that thoroughbred racing in the United States originated in New York State in the 1660s, scant attention has been paid to the early history of thoroughbred breeding in the state. It is a field that has largely gone unexplored by historians and racing enthusiasts.

“Allan Carter has changed all this. His research into New York breeding is both exhaustive and groundbreaking. There is a traditional adage in racing that “a good horse can come from anywhere.” Allan has demonstrated that a good horse can come from anywhere in New York State. Whether it’s from Nassau County, Suffolk County, Staten Island, the Bronx, or Delaware County, Alan has shown where the good New York horses have come from.

“It’s not just the quality of the research that is impressive. Allan has blended the history of New York breeding into the story of the overall fabric of American racing in a most compelling manner. It is not merely a reference or an educational read; it is an intriguing read.”

Carter, who previously released “150 Years of Racing in Saratoga: Little Known Stories & Facts from America’s Most Historic Racing City” with co-author Mike Kane, was a longtime reference librarian at the New York State Library. He also authored two editions of “New York State Constitution: Sources of Legislative Intent,” arguably the most authoritative look at the full history of the New York State Constitution.

Carter will be signing copies of his book at the NYTB cocktail party in the upstairs Buyers Lounge and balcony on both nights of the Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Preferred Yearling Sale on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13 and at the NYTB luncheon event in the Paddock Tent on New York Showcase Day at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 25.

“Alan Carter’s new book is an engrossing history of New York-breds before there was any such thing as a ‘New York-bred,’” said Jeff Cannizzo, executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. “It is absolutely a must-read for everyone interested in the evolution of thoroughbred breeding in the U.S.”

Mind Your Biscuits scores confident victory in G2 Belmont Sprint Championship

Sat, 2017-07-08 19:23

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Mind Your Biscuits is back – back from Dubai, back to the races and back to the winner’s circle.

On Saturday afternoon, the 4-year-old New York-bred, New York-sired son of Posse scored a confident victory from just off the pace in the Grade 2, $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship, a “Win and You’re In” qualifying race for the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The performance adds strength to case that the colt deserves to be ranked as the top sprinter in the country.

Mind Your Biscuits’ much-anticipated return to the races followed a dazzling win in Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen at Meydan Racecourse on March 25. As it happened, that win was also the first training victory for 32-year-old Chad Summers, a veteran horseman and part-owner of the colt, who took over training duties in 2017 from Robert Falcone Jr. Mind Your Biscuits broke his maiden on April 5, 2016 for Falcone, won the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes at the Spa on July 30 and scored his first Grade 1 victory in the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on December 26, after which which he was crowned 2016 New York-bred Horse of the Year.

After his Dubai triumph and a well-deserved freshening at Taylor Made Farm, Mind Your Biscuits returned to the work tab May 28 and progressed quickly to race-readiness, firing four- and five-furlong bullets and completing his preparations with a relaxed half-mile on June 30.

Lined up in post two for the Sprint Championship under regular rider Joel Rosario, Mind Your Biscuits faced six formidable rivals from the likeable and talented East Coast sprint division: Stallwalkin’ Dude at the rail, Fellowship in post three, Tommy Macho, Awesome Slew, Green Gratto and, in the outside stall, Unified. Mind Your Biscuits went off as the 7-5 favorite, but Unified, who finished a neck ahead of Mind Your Biscuits last spring in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint, enjoyed a good deal of support at odds of 2-1.

Mind Your Biscuits spent the early part of the race just off the rail in fourth position, five lengths behind pacesetter Green Gratto, who led the duo of Unified and Stallwalkin’ Dude by three lengths through early fractions of 22.67 and 45.64.

Beginning his bid in the far turn, Mind Your Biscuits got on even terms with Stallwalkin’ Dude and moved into third, edged out a path, then took a narrow lead at the head of the lane.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Awesome Slew initiated a challenge from fifth position in upper stretch, but was simply outmatched as Mind Your Biscuits began to open up daylight. In the final furlong Mind Your Biscuits strode out under encouragement and crossed the finish line a 3 1/2-length winner in a final time of 1:21.84 over the fast Belmont main track. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“We were going seven furlongs, so I thought maybe he should be a little bit closer,” explained Rosario. “He broke very well and we settled behind some horses and then [Unified] came a little bit over me so I just had to be there and follow. I was in the perfect spot.”

Added Rosario, “He does everything on his own, easy. Everything he does is just right. He’s great. He went to Dubai and won there and he comes back and wins again.”

“We know how good he was training going into this,” Summers commented. “There were still some doubters who said it was a subpar Dubai. We didn’t think so. We know what he’s capable of and we’re ready for the rest of the year.”

The trainer continued, “It makes me think a mile won’t be a problem for him, maybe a little bit further. He kept going and going and kicked away. We’ll go to the [Grade 1] Forego [August 26 at Saratoga] right now and then look at all options. But the Forego is our next goal and hopefully [win] an Eclipse Award as well.”

Despite his confidence in Mind Your Biscuits, Summers confessed to suffering a few nerves about this first race back after the Dubai trip. “You always have that doubt. I didn’t sleep at all last night. But the American horses have come back great. Stallwalkin’ Dude won a stakes; Gun Runner. It’s just one of those things where you cross your fingers and do everything you possibly can and you hope they come back OK. It showed today that he did.”

Bred by Jumping Jack Racing LLC and foaled at Sue and Gary Lundy’s Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains, Mind Your Biscuits is one of three winners from three foals to start out of Jazzmane, an unraced Kentucky-bred daughter of Toccet and a half-sister to Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Kimchi (Langfuhr).  The mare has two more reported foals who have not yet started: a 3-year-old full sister to Mind Your Biscuits and juvenile colt by Officer.

Mind Your Biscuits was purchased as a short yearling by Carrie Brogden of Machmer Hall at the 2014 Keeneland January sale. After he RNA’d for $47,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale, point Summers and Susan Montanye purchased the colt privately as a pinhooking prospect A buyback once again at last year’s OBS Spring 2-year-old sale, Summers bought out the colt and, over time, lined up J Stables LLC, Head of Plains Partners and Michael E. Kisber to complete Mind Your Biscuits’ ownership group.

The colt, who has racked up a pair of Grade 1 and a pair of Grade 2 victories, as well as multiple stakes placings, has banked $2,207,166 from six wins, six seconds and two thirds.


Buster and Teri Brown to manage Sequel New York

Sat, 2017-07-08 06:25

(Edited press release)

Becky Thomas announced on July 7, 2017 that Buster and Teri Brown will take over the helm at Sequel New York ( as farm managers.

“As sad as I was that departing farm manager Brittany Belbeck and her new husband Ryan Bardin chose to begin their lives in Kentucky, I am pleased to announce that Teri and Buster are joining our team. Brittany is an outstanding horseman and all of us at Sequel will miss her sorely,” said Thomas.

“Buster and Teri bring knowledge and experience that is second to none, not to mention that they are loved by everyone, not only in New York but in the whole Thoroughbred industry,” Thomas continued. “I can’t imagine finding more capable stewards for the beautiful land, first rate facilities and the top-quality horses that comprise Sequel New York.”

From a cattle ranch in New Mexico, to show horses, to the foaling barn, to the breeding shed, there is very little that this dynamic duo has not seen. Working together for the last 35 years, they managed Waldorf Farm in North Chatham for the last eight.  Revered by thoroughbred breeders particularly in New York and Kentucky, they will play a key role in promoting Sequel New York as the go-to farm in New York for top quality stock.

“We have been very lucky to be involved with great clients, breeders and friends over the years and are very happy for this opportunity to continue to share a first-class experience,” added Teri Brown. “Buster and I are especially excited about the stallion roster and the expanding sales opportunities that this move allows.”

Fourstar Crook wins eighth straight in G3 James Penny Memorial

Tue, 2017-07-04 18:26

Photo by Barbara Weidl/EQUI-PHOTO

By Sarah Mace

Fourstar Crook took her winning ways on the road this Tuesday, July Fourth, when she contested the Grade 3, $200,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Parx. Sent off from her outside post as 7-2 third choice, by the time all was said and done, the 5-year-old mare had posted her eighth straight victory, extending a streak she began in October 2015, and added her first graded black type to an already-accomplished resume.

Trained by Chad Brown for Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stable, Fourstar Crook was last seen winning the Mount Vernon Stakes from off the pace on the Big Apple Showcase Memorial Day card at Belmont. The victory completed her sweep of the three major turf stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares, beginning with the Yaddo last summer at Saratoga and John Hettinger stakes at Belmont in the fall.

On Independence Day, however, the 5-year-old Freud mare faced the sternest test of her career. This was her first journey across state lines, only her second time facing open company, and her graded stakes debut. The field was 8-strong, and chock-full of talent, including two other well-regarded rivals from her home barn.

Out of the gate alertly and crossing over into the two path from post eight, Fourstar Crook settled in sixth under Joe Bravo about six lengths off the pace set by Thundering Sky, who was pressed by Cambodia through a first quarter in :24 flat and a half-mile in 48.64.

After cruising comfortably up the backstretch, even content to lose a spot, Fourstar Crook began to quicken midway around the far turn as Bravo shook her up.

Photo by Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO

Fanning out into mid-track at the head of the stretch, with six horses still left to pass, Fourstar Crook hit her best stride after just a pair of reminders from Bravo.

She proceeded to cruise on by the field with apparent ease on her way to a 2 1/4-length victory. After a mile in 1:36.98, her final time over the firm turf was 1:42.78. My Impression in second outfinished Cambodia in third by a neck.

With the Penny win, Fourstar Crook’s earnings passed the half million-dollar mark ($544,050), and she improved her record to eight wins and a second in 11 starts.

Bred by Kathleen M. Feron and foaled at Akindale Farm in Pawling, Fourstar Crook is out of an unplaced John Hettinger-bred mare named Avril a Portugal by D’Accord. The producer of six winners, Avril a Portugal is also the dam of Coaltown Legend (Jump Start), who earned over $325,000. The mare currently has a yearling filly by Freud and delivered a Freud colt on April 19, 2017.

Purchased by Allied Bloodstock at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale for $55,000. Fourstar Crook was picked up by Michael Dubb the following year at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Spring sale of 2-year-olds for $110,000.

Favorite Diversify collects first stakes win in Saginaw

Sun, 2017-07-02 20:04

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Pounded down to 4-5 odds at the betting windows, Diversify gratified his many backers with a confident stalking victory in Sunday’s $100,000 Saginaw Stakes for older New York-breds, run at 1 1/16 miles around one turn at Belmont Park. The Saginaw score was the talented Bellamy Road gelding’s first stakes win for trainer Rick Violette and owners Lauren Evans and Ralph M. Evans.

Restive before the break, Diversify got right down to business after the bell, grabbing a spot at the rail in second behind pacesetter Fox Rules, who had crossed over from his outside post to assume the lead.

Midway along the backstretch Diversify switched out to the two path, to stalk Fox Rules at his off-side flank, and edged closer as the field entered the turn.

Asked for a little more around the three-eighths marker, Diversify answered by drawing even with Fox Rules and taking over at the head of the stretch. He proceeded to draw off steadily and crossed the wire a 2 3/4-length winner.

Papa Shot and, another half-length back, Gypsum Johnny on the grandstand side outfinished Fox Rules who had to settle for fourth. Hit It Once More, never involved, finished fifth. Samraat, returning to the races following a 10-month layoff, broke through the gate before the race and was difficult to load before his sixth-place finish. Inside Straight refused to leave the starting gate.

Following solid early splits of 23.12, 45.83 and 1:10.08, Diversify completed a mile in 1:36.80, and stopped the clock after 1 1/16 miles on the fast track at 1:43.76. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Winning rider Irad Ortiz, Jr., said, “[Diversify]’s a nice New York bred and against this company, he can do it. It worked out good. The trainer [Rick Violette] had him ready and he was there for me. I tried to relax him and he was going comfortably. Once he was in the clear, I let him do his thing. He kept going. He’s the type of horse where it doesn’t look like he’s running, but he is. He’s a fighter.”

“I thought it was a pretty cool race,” said Violette. “Once again, [Diversify] allowed the rider to ride him. [Irad] took a hold of him and let the speed show in front of him. He tipped him outside and then settled. Irad thought he might’ve moved a little early, but he didn’t want to give everyone behind him a break, either.”

Continued Violette, addressing strategy, given the amount of speed signed on for the race, “We needed to try [rating]. It helps so much even when there’s nuisance speed in the race, if you don’t have to be on the lead and have that pressure. It makes him a really, really nice horse We might even experiment on the grass.”

Violette, who also trains multiple graded stakes winner Samraat, commented on his charge’s return to the races. “I honestly hoped they’d scratch him. When they were all messing around, it looked like the horse on the outside of him crossed over and actually stepped on him [from] behind. There’s a cut in the middle of his foot that you wouldn’t get any other way, and that’s when he bolted through the doors.

“Then he was so bad getting in, and that’s never a problem. He’s always been perfect at the gate. As long as he’s all right, we were going to need the race anyway. If he cools out all right, then we’ll be fine.”

Bred by Fred W. Hertrich III and John D. Fielding, Diversify first graduated from the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred preferred yearling sale, where he fetched $150,000 from Maverick racing. Unraced at two, he opened his account last year with four straight victories all in routes for Violette.

Following a July 14 debut victory and September 22 allowance win for WinStar Farm LLC, for which he was tabbed a TDN “Rising Star,” Diversify was purchased by Lauren and Ralph Evans as a racing prospect at the Keeneland November for $210,000, but the new connections stayed with Violette.

Diversify won two more races for the Evanses in December and January and in his race prior to the Saginaw, finished second by a nose to Weekend Hideaway in the Commentator Stakes on May 29.

With five wins and two seconds from eight starts, Diversify has bankrolled $265,425.