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Updated: 8 hours 7 min ago

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

Effinex upsets Grade 3 Excelsior for first graded tally

Sat, 2015-04-25 19:52

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Tri-Bone Stables’ homebred Effinex (Mineshaft), winner of last year’s Empire Classic, spoiled the Aqueduct return of his more celebrated stablemate Wicked Strong, winner of the 2014 Grade 1 Wood Memorial, with a determined victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, 4-year-old Effinex was unplaced in two prior graded stakes tries against older horses last year, finishing eighth the Grade 1 Wood Memorial and fourth in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap. The colt came into the 1 1/4-mile Excelsior in sharp form, however, having won his seasonal debut at Aqueduct on March 27, an open optional-claimer over a muddy (sealed) track, by 3 1/2 lengths for which he earned a career high Beyer Speed Figure of 100. He breezed twice in the interim, including a seven-furlong move on April 16.

Breaking from post two of six at odds of 6-1 under Angel Arroyo, Effinex set up in fifth, saving ground around the first turn and settling in for a comfortable trip down the backstretch behind pacesetter Red Rifle, who carved out opening fractions of 24.55 and 49.23, pursued by 3-5 favorite Wicked Strong.

Beginning his winning bid around the three-eighths marker, Effinex swung four-wide into the stretch, pulled even with Red Rifle with a furlong to go and dug in gamely. Wearing down his rival and gaining the advantage in the final sixteenth of a mile, Effinex edged away gamely to garner the win by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 2:02.16. Red Rifle finished second followed by Wicked Strong, Micromanage, Turco Bravo, and Stormin Monarcho. North Slope and Cousin Stephen were scratched. [VIDEO]

Arroyo said, “I had the best trip. I was able to break good and relax behind the speed. I waited for the stretch, and my horse responded when I asked. He’s a nice horse.”

Jerkens explained how he has structured the beginning of the New York-bred’s 4-year-old year. “[Effinex] had a long campaign last year, going against older horses” said Jerkens. “After he ran lackluster on New Year’s Eve [fourth-place finish in the Alex M. Robb Stakes], we decided there was no sense in knocking him out. We thought that if we gave him a late spring campaign, we could give him his best shot to become a better horse because he had run pretty hard last year.”

Jerkens said there are no definite plans in the works for a next start for Effinex. As to heavy favorite Wicked Strong, Jerkens added that he felt it was a “good effort,” considering the distance. “He’ll be back.”

Effinex, a late nomination to 2014 Triple Crown Series, has a history of confounding the betting public. Having broken his maiden in his second start via a disqualification on March 1 last year, he romped in a state-bred allowance three weeks later at odds of 28-1. A well-supported runner up to So Lonesome in last year’s Albany at Saratoga, he was dismissed two starts later at odds of 17-1 in the Empire Classic Handicap, the marquis race of Empire Showcase Day last October and his best performance prior to the Excelsior.

Bred by Dr. Russell Cohen, whose mother is the principal of Tri-Bone Stables, Effinex is the only foal produced by multiple stakes winning Tri-Bone homebred What a Pear by E Dubai. Tri-Bone purchased What a Pear’s dam Perfect Pair as a juvenile at OBS in 1999 for $28,000.

Following his fifth victory, along with a second and two thirds, Effinex has earned $507,250 from 14 career starts.

Past New York-bred winners of the Excelsior in its 103-year history include Funny Cide (2004), Giant Moon (2009) and Inherit the Gold (2011).


It’s a wrap: NY-breds gain ground at OBS Spring, top-end sales expand

Sat, 2015-04-25 09:28
by Sarah Mace

New York-breds made a strong showing during a robust renewal of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, matching the overall sale median and gaining ground in average price over last year. The New York-bred market at the very top end also expanded significantly. The standout in the final session of the four-day auction, who fetched $265,000, brought the total of New York-breds selling for six figures up to 15, and the number selling for $200,000 and up to six.

In all 79 New York-breds changed hands at OBS of 103 offered, which includes 10 private sales, for a buyback percentage of 23.3. Although this number is up from last year’s New York-bred 16.7 percent buyback rate at the same sale, the sale overall saw the same year-to-year trend. In 2014 the full sale buyback percentage was 18.2. This year it rose to 22 percent.

The average price for a New York-bred juvenile of $66,759 at OBS rose 4.8 percent over last year’s $63,714 average. The cumulative overall sale average was a sale record $79,455, up 7.4 percent over last year’s record. The New York-bred median of $45,000 was down a tick or two from last year’s $47,000, but equal to the overall sale median, which held steady from last year.

The most marked trend this year for Empire-breds at OBS, which reflects a broader market trend for New York-bred 2-year-olds over the last two years, came at the very top of the spectrum. In 2014, 17 horses brought six figures, with four individuals commanding $200,000 and up, and a single juvenile selling for over $300,000. This year, despite a smaller population of New York-bred participants in the sale (103 offered in 2015, down from 126 offered in 2014), 15 horses cracked six figures, six brought $200,000 and up and three sold for $300,000 and up. The New York-bred sale topper, who fetched $310,000, was a sales coup for New York-based freshman sire Here Comes Ben (McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds). Read more.

The New York-bred standout in the sale’s final session was Hip 1148, a chestnut Summer Bird colt bred by Fred W. Hertrich III and John D. Fielding who posted a furlong work in :10.2 at the under tack show. The colt sold to Steven Venosa’s SGV Thoroughbreds at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale for $55,000. At OBS Narvick International secured him from SGV Thoroughbreds for $265,000. Summer Bird’s first crop are 3-year-olds of 2015.

Foaled on February 17, 2013, the sale colt is the second foal of a young unraced daughter of Vindication named Homecoming Dance, who is a half-sister to graded stakes performer Milam and issues from the family of Trumpet’s Blare and Albert the Great. Homecoming Dance has a registered New York-bred yearling by Archarcharch and was bred in 2014 to Morning Line.

OBS sees Empire-bred Unbridled’s Song filly bring $300K in session three

Fri, 2015-04-24 11:49
by Sarah Mace

Thursday’s third session of the 2015 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s spring sale of 2-year-olds in training saw a third New York-bred hit the $300,000 mark when Hip 876, a grey/roan juvenile by Unbridled’s Song, became the sale’s new top-selling New York-bred filly. Trainer John C. Kimmel signed the ticket on behalf for Tobey L. Morton.

Bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds LTD and foaled on April 14, 2013 at Edition Farm in Hyde Park, Hip 876 posted a :10 2/5 eighth work last Friday for consignor SGV Thoroughbreds (Steven Venosa), Agent. As a yearling she was purchased by Douglas A. Arnold at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred sale in Saratoga for $135,000.

The new filly topper is the first foal out of Church Camp, a young stakes-winning Kentucky-bred mare by Forest Camp. Purchased in foal by Gainesway at the 2012 Keeneland November sale for $200,000, Church Camp comes from the family of multiple graded stakes winner Middlesex Drive and is a half-sister to stakes performer Jodys Deelight.

Another standout New York-bred filly by a young mare on Wednesday at OBS was Hip 605, a chestnut daughter of Curlin, who was purchased by Stonestreet Stables for $260,000 after working an eighth in :10 1/5.

Bred in partnership by Pucker Ridge Farm LLC and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC and foaled on April 10, 2013 at Pucker Ridge Farm in Warrensburg, the Curlin filly is the first registered New York-bred, and second foal out of Trust N Intuition, a winning daughter of Trust N Luck bred in New York by Jan Sherrard and Leigh Bartlett. The dam of Trust N Intuition, Mandy’s Miss, is a sister to multiple stakes winner Monk’s Falcon and to stakes winner and producer Darlene’s Friend.

Through the first three days of the Ocala juvenile auction, 57 New York-breds have sold of 79 offered, including 9 private sales, which translates to a 28 percent buyback rate, more or less on par with the general sales buyback percentage of 26.8.

Six New York-breds have brought six figures so far and have averaged $69,895 per lot with a median price of $50,000. In the general population of the sale, the cumulative average is $77,587, up 4.3 percent from $74,359 in 2013, and the median stands at $48,000, up 3.2 percent from $47,000.

The fourth and final session at OBS begins on Friday at 10:30 a.m.

Click here to view New York-bred auction hips.

Colts by Here Comes Ben and Scat Daddy fetch $300K and up Wednesday at OBS

Thu, 2015-04-23 11:30
by Sarah Mace

A pair of colts highlighted New York-bred sales at Wednesday’s second session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, led by Hip 581 from the first crop of New York-based sire Here Comes Ben (McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds), who fetched $310,000. The Here Comes Ben colt and a colt by Scat Daddy who brought $300,000 were the fifth and sixth top lots of the day.

Bred by Patricia L. Moseley and foaled on March 23, 2013 at Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains, the dark bay / brown Here Comes Ben colt was purchased Japanese buyer K. K. Eishindo, who campaigned A Shin Forward, the second highest all-time New York-bred earner ($3,421,360). The sale was an enormous pin-hooking coup for consignor Rick Lopez, who purchased Hip 581 privately as a weanling for a scant $3,000 at the second renewal of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed and horses of racing age sale in 2013.

The colt, who worked a co-fastest eighth in :10 flat in the under tack show last Wednesday, is the fourth foal out of Thundersnow, an unraced Kentucky-bred daughter of Storm Boot, who has produced one winner from two foals to start. Thundersnow’s second dam Santiago Suzie is a stakes winner and third dam Mocita Mia (CHI) is a Group 1 winner in Chile. Here Comes Ben, by Street Cry (IRE), who won the Grade 1 Forego Stakes at Saratoga and banked over $400,000, stands at the McMahons’ Saratoga farm for $7,500. According to The Jockey Club 47 live foals were reported from his first crop.

Slightly earlier in the second session Team D went to $300,000 to acquire Hip 536, a chestnut colt by Scat Daddy who breezed an eighth in :11 flat. Bred by Pat Pavlish and foaled on April 13, 2013 at Akindale Farm in Pawling, the colt was purchased previously by his OBS consigner Cary Frommer for $162,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred sale in Saratoga.

Frommer told the TDN, “Don’t think we weren’t worried when he worked in :11 flat. The key was he got going midway through the breeze and people could see that on the tape and then he just kept going. He galloped out as good as any horse at the sale that day and a lot of the other days, too. He had a beautiful video and he kept going and he wouldn’t have blown out a match when he was done. He just walked home flat footed, nice and not even breathing heavy.” [ThoroStride gallop out video]

Added Frommer, “When I saw him as a yearling, I just felt like he was the real deal. He just caught my imagination and I just loved him and I told the people that were with me as a group and they all agreed and they bought him.”

The colt’s dam Sunny, a winning daughter of Dixieland Band, is a half-sister to multiple stakes Winner Wake Up Kiss and two other stakes performers. Wake Up Kiss is dam of $3.4 million dollar New York-bred earner and Grade 1 winner in Japan A Shin Forward (see also above). Also appearing in female family are Grade 1-winning millionaires Dare and Go and Go Deputy, and sire Quiet American.

With the first half of the OBS spring sale in the books, 34 new York-breds have changed hands of 48 offered (including five private sales) for an average price of $69,721 and $50,000 median.

The second day of trading at OBS, which featured a record-setting $1.9 million Tapit filly, was robust overall. The cumulative average for the sale was $87,281, up 13.5% from $76,891 in 2013, and the median price was $50,000, up 11.1% from $45,000 last year.

The sale continues Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

Click here to view New York-bred auction hips.

Kantharos filly goes for $225K in opening session of OBS Spring

Wed, 2015-04-22 08:47
by Sarah Mace

A chestnut filly by Kantharos named Ancient Secret (Hip 277), who posted a sharp quarter-mile work in 21 1/5 last Tuesday, emerged as the top New York-bred seller in the opening session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. Steven W. Young, Agent made the winning bid of $225,000, which also made Ancient Secret the fifth top seller of the session overall, and second best-selling filly.

Bred by Lambholm, foaled at Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains and consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, Ancient Secret is the first registered New York-bred out of Privacy, a winning Florida-bred mare by Notebook also bred by Lambholm. Privacy is a half-sister to stakes winner Admonition and the filly’s third dam is Funistrada, winner of the Grade 2 Fall Highweight Handicap in 1986. Florida-based sire Kantharos, whose first foals are 3-year-olds of 2015, has one stakes winner and seven stakes performers.

Two more Empire-bred fillies brought six figures, one via a private sale. Hip 202 a grey/roan daughter of Jump Start bred by Burning Sands Stable, LLC, foaled at Rockridge Stud in Hudson and consigned by King’s Equine, Agent, went to conditioner Linda Rice, Agent for $180,000. The filly turned heads last Tuesday when she turned a 10 flat co-bullet breeze for Raul Reyes’ Kings Equine, who purchased her at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall sale for just $32,000 from the consignment of Four Star Sales. Out of multiple stakes winner Office Miss, by Silver Ghost, who was bred in New York by Howard Nolan, the filly is from the female family of Grade 1 winners Artie Schiller, Hidden Light and 1987 Horse of the Year Ferdinand. The filly has four winning siblings.

Hip 56, a chestnut daughter of Scat Daddy, who clocked an eighth of a mile in 10 1/5 seconds, changed hands for $160,000 by private sale, going from Cary Frommer, Agent, to Narvick International. Bred by RFHF Mares Rule, foaled at Rhapsody Farm in Plymouth and purchased by Frommer last summer for $85,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred sale, the filly issues from the family of graded winner Soldat. Her dam, Ontario-bred multiple winner and multiple stakes performer Lightning Pace by Regal Classic, has produced three winners including the multiple stakes placed earner of $236,128 Fighting Hussar (Rockport Harbor).

The top New York-bred colt in Tuesday’s opening session sold for $100,000: Hip 220 by Curlin out of Our Perfect Ten (Medaglia d’Oro). Bred by Twin Creeks Farm, foaled at Sequel Stallions NY in Hudson and consigned by Mayberry Farm, Agent, he sold previously as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling for $97,000. His young dam, none of whose foals are racing age, is out of a sister to multiple Grade 2 winner Elaborate.

Overall 15 New York-breds sold in the sale’s first session out of 22 offered, and brought an average price of $66,933 and a median price of $55,000, both numbers outperforming the overall session average of $59,158 and median of $42,000.

The sale resumes Wednesday 10:30 a.m., with the second of four days of trading.

Click here to view New York-bred auction hips.

WinStar acquires minority interest in Upstart

Tue, 2015-04-21 07:12

G2 Holy Bull (Coglianese Photos/Leslie Martin)

(Press release)

WinStar Farm has acquired a minority interest in Kentucky Derby (G1) contender Upstart, winner of the Holy Bull S. (G2) and runner-up in the Florida Derby (G1) and Fountain of Youth S. (G2) this winter at Gulfstream.

“Upstart has been on our radar since the Breeders’ Cup,” said Elliott Walden, WinStar President & CEO. “Jerry Brown of Thoro-Graph approached me because he really believes this colt has a big future. We are honored to be partners with such a nice man as Ralph Evans on such an exciting young horse as Upstart.”

Trainer Rick Violette, Jr. will remain as the conditioner of Upstart, who breezed a bullet half mile in 47.40 seconds last Friday at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida. The striking son of Flatter is slated to have one final breeze this coming weekend at Palm Meadows before shipping to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby.

“When Elliott called, I became excited about what we could do together with WinStar in a partnership on Upstart,” said Ralph Evans, owner of Upstart. “We look forward to sharing in Upstart’s promising future.”

As a 2-year-old, Upstart began his career with an impressive 5 ¼-length debut win last August at Saratoga, and the talented colt returned just nine days later to also capture Saratoga’s $200,000 Funny Cide S. with a 95 Beyer. Upstart turned in a good runner-up performance behind Daredevil in the prestigious Champagne S. at Belmont in his next start, earning a 102 Beyer and a trip to the Breeders’ Cup as one of the favorites for the $2 million Juvenile (G1).

The dark bay overcame some trouble before finishing third behind Texas Red and Carpe Diem in the Breeders’ Cup, closing out a 2-year-old campaign with a record of 2-1-1 from four starts and earnings of $463,800. Wintering in Florida, Upstart began a promising 3-year-old campaign in January in Gulfstream’s Holy Bull S. (G2), drawing off in the stretch to a 5 ½-length victory over Frosted and earning a 105 Beyer in the 1 1/16-mile event. The win stamped him as one of the leading 3-year-olds in the country.

Upstart crossed the line first in his next start in Gulfstream’s Fountain of Youth S. (G2) in February, but was disqualified after a controversial inquiry and placed second. He returned as the favorite in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) last month and finished a valiant second to Materiality in his final prep for the Kentucky Derby, earning a career-high 108 Beyer – the second fastest Beyer earned to date by a horse from his crop.

Stonesider’s Galiana aces Primonetta at Pimlico for fifth stakes score

Sat, 2015-04-18 22:58

Jim McCue / Maryland Jockey Club

by Sarah Mace

Delaware shipper Galiana, a 5-year-old daughter of Stonesider (Saratoga Stud, LLC), posted a convincing fifth stakes victory at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday afternoon, coming from off the pace to win the $100,000 Primonetta Stakes going away under jockey Abel Lezcano. The Primonetta was the chestnut mare’s main track debut in Baltimore, following an unplaced finish in a sprint stakes over the Pimlico turf last May.

Winner of starter’s allowance at Tampa Bay Downs in January, Galiana had not visited the winner’s circle in three subsequent stakes tries and was let go at generous odds of 8-1, fifth choice in the field of eight. Her backers, however, did not ignore a third place finish in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream Park on February 14 and two sharp four-furlong moves at Delaware Park on April 1 and April 15.

Breaking from post seven, Galiana settled in with the second flight, traveling comfortably on the backstretch in the three path, four lengths behind 10-1 Tarnished and 5-2 Wherethere’sfire who wrangled up front, shortly to be joined by post time favorite She’s Ordained.

When the three early leaders lined up evenly at the quarter pole, Galiana switched out to the four path and started to roll in earnest. She gained the lead with a furlong to go, then opened up to a convincing 2 3/4-length victory. She’s Ordained, who led briefly in upper stretch, finished second, a neck in front of a game Tarnished. After opening splits of 23.23 and 46.54, Galiana stopped the clock at 1:11.27 [Pimlico YouTube VIDEO]

“We didn’t have much speed today, so we saved ground,” Abel Lezcano said. “At the three-eighths pole I knew my horse was strong. I let [her] out in the stretch and then, poof, [she] went.”

Rodolfo Romero, who trains the mare for Triple R Stables, said, “Our only concern coming into this race today was that she may not like the track. She’s never run here before, and she can be picky. Happily, she took to the track today and [jockey Abel] Lezcano rode her well.”

Galiana will be pointed next to the $100,000 Skipat on Black-Eyed Susan Day, May 15, at Pimlico.

Galiana has now won 12 of 24 career starts with eight wins coming at six furlongs. She adds her Primonetta score to four stakes wins at Delaware Park: back-to-back victories in the Tax Free Shopping Distaff Stakes, the Dashing Beauty Stakes and Sweet and Sassy Stakes. Her earnings have mounted to $459,121

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.

La Verdad makes short work of short field to repeat in Grade 2 Distaff Handicap

Sat, 2015-04-18 16:44

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Returning to the races at five following an off-the-board finish against the boys in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap late last November, Lady Sheila Stable’s star sprinter La Verdad successfully defended her Grade 2, $200,000 Distaff Handicap title at Aqueduct on Saturday after making short work of three rivals.

When the race was drawn, La Verdad’s conditioner Linda Rice cautioned that after only four published works “[La Verdad] could end up short,” but Rice also believed her charge was “ready enough to give it a try.” The proof was in the (graded stakes) pudding after La Verdad, bet down to 30 cents on the dollar, won the stakes with decision.

Darting to the front from her outside post under regular rider Jose Ortiz, La Verdad was faced with a single challenge on the backstretch, when Aireofdistinction pulled up even and poked a head in front.

Giving a decisive answer to that challenge, La Verdad stepped up her game and opened up daylight on her pursuer in the far turn. After a first quarter-mile in 22.25, and half in 44.87, La Verdad then drew off to a no-doubt-about-it 5 1/4-length win, stopping the clock after six furlongs in a very sharp 1:10 flat. Frivolity (7-1), last early, closed to finish second, followed across the line by second choice Mamdooha and Aireofdistinction.

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Jockey Jose Ortiz reported, “[La Verdad] had a clean break, I went to the rail and [Aireofdistinction] came out to challenge her, but really wasn’t a factor at the turn. I cruised by her at the three-eighths pole, at the quarter-pole I looked back for [second choice Mamdooha].”

Continued Ortiz, “I let [La Verdad] pick up at the three-sixteenths pole, and I only hit her couple of times and she went easy. I just let her do her thing. I have to give credit to Linda and her staff because they work very hard every morning to get her ready and they really deserve this.”

Rice was convinced that La Verdad’s native talent was able overcame any shortness in conditioning, saying, “I wasn’t happy when I saw [Aireofdistinction] coming after her early, and they were going pretty fast. I was a little concerned that was going to make it a real test on her fitness, but her ability is the key. She’s got a lot of talent and is able to overcome that.”

Rice added, “I can only hope that [La Verdad] comes back and races as well as she has the last year and a half for us. I had her in training for quite a long time without a vacation, and after the Fall Highweight I decided to turn her out for a couple months; she deserved it.”

La Verdad has compiled two stellar campaigns for Rice at three and four, putting together two separate four-race win streaks in 2013-2014, broken only by a runner-up finish in the 2014 Barbara Fritchie Handicap in February 2014.

In 2014 La Verdad won six races, led by the Grade 2 Distaff, in addition to victories in four state-bred stakes: the Broadway, Critical Eye, Dancin Renee (for which she earned her first a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure), and Iroquois. In 2013 La Verdad won four of five starts while going through her state-bred conditions and annexing an open allowance victory. The bay mare’s career record stands at 11 wins and two seconds from 17 career starts (with five wins from six starts on the Aqueduct main track) and, having earned $900,700 she poised to join the “millionaires’ club” this season.

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Bred by Eklektikos Stable LLC and foaled at Chester and Mary Broman’s Chestertown farm in Chestertown. La Verdad was sold privately to Sheila Rosenblum of Lady Sheila Stable following her second allowance victory last November 7.

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 $115,000 at the 2007 OBS Spring sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Noble Fire’s two other winners, also Rice trainees bred by Eklektikos, are also accomplished. Speedy six-year-old gelding N. F’s Destiny (Cuvee) is an eight-time winner of over $335,000 for Dubb et al. Lady Sheila Stable’s six-figure earner Hot City Girl, by City Zip, is stakes-placed.

Noble Fire currently has a yearling May filly by Freud and was not bred in 2014.

New York-breds off to a flying start this year in graded stakes

Thu, 2015-04-16 15:43

Princess Violet gives NY-breds a G1 head start with victory in Keeneland’s Madison (Keeneland Photo)

by Sarah Mace

It is no secret that the New York-bred population has been going from strength to strength since 2012, when the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund instituted an across-the-board 50% increase in incentive awards and the New York Racing Association gave purses a dramatic hike. Witness Dayatthespa, crowned earlier this month as the 2014 New York-bred Horse of the Year, who was also the overwhelming choice for female turf Eclipse champion. In the context of the “new normal” for the program, however, there is every indication that 2015 could set new racetrack benchmarks.

As of mid-April 2015, New York-breds are off their fastest start in graded stakes in recent memory, with five graded stakes wins far this year. New York-breds also collected five graded victories by mid-April of 2012, but with a preponderance of Grade 3s over Grade 2s. In 2015 it is the other way around, with a Grade 1 score thrown in for good measure.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s International Star, who sits atop the Kentucky Derby points’ leaderboard, accounts for three graded wins: the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes (1/17), Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes (2/21) and Grade 2 Louisiana Derby (3/28).

Upstart, another of New York’s three top-achieving Kentucky Derby-minded sophomores, delivered a tour de force performance to win the Grade 2 Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (1/24). But for a controversial disqualification for interference, Upstart would have also carried away the prize in the Grade 2 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes after crossing the finish line first by a decisive 2 3/4 lengths (2/21).

Finally, Princess Violet gave the New York-bred population its first Grade 1 victory well ahead of schedule this year with a determined half-length score in the Grade 1 Madison Stakes for fillies and mares at Keeneland On April 4.

While has become a matter of course for Empire-breds to collect four or five Grade 1 wins in the course of the year, we usually have to get much deeper into the racing calendar before the first, which usually comes at Saratoga or Del Mar.

New York-bred graded win tallies through mid-April (2010-2015):

  Grade 3 Grade 2 Grade 1 Total Earliest G1 win by a NY-Bred 2015 1 3 1 5 April 4 2014 4 0 0 4 August 21 2013 2 1 0 3 August 172 2012 3 2 0 5 August 253 2011 3 0 0 3 June 114 2010 2 1 0 3 July 45


1 Palace, Alfred G. Vanderbilt H, Saratoga.
2 Discreet Marq, Del Mar Oaks, Del Mar
3 Willy Beamin, Foxwoods King’s Bishop Stakes, Saratoga
4 Mission Approved, Woodford Reserve Manhattan H., Belmont Park, Belmont Day
5 Franny Freud, Prioress, Belmont Park

In short, New York-breds are off to a roaring start in graded stakes competition this year. Moreover, the pattern of the last three years says that even before the meat of the racing season begins, i.e. from the Kentucky Derby forward, Empire-breds will be able to pad their graded winnings.

For the last three years New York-breds have picked up either two or three graded victories in late April / early May. In fact, there are two opportunities coming up just this weekend. On Saturday graded stakes winner La Verdad will defend her title in the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct in her 5-year-old debut, and multiple stakes placed Warrioroftheroses throws his hat into the (bull-) ring for the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic.

Dayatthespa 2014 New York-bred Horse of the Year, Chester and Mary Broman top breeders

Mon, 2015-04-06 22:39

Dayatthespa BC Fillies & Mares Turf (AP Photo/Benoit Photo)

by Sarah Mace

Eclipse Champion Turf Female Dayatthespa, the first New York-bred to win a Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup race, was voted 2014 New York-bred Horse of the Year. The honor for top breeder in New York in 2014 went to Chester and Mary Broman.

The announcements were made at the Annual Awards Banquet of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) held on April 6, 2015 at the Saratoga National Golf Club in Saratoga Springs, New York. The event, which was sponsored by the New York Breeding and Development Fund, was emceed by Richard Migliore, former leading New York jockey and currently a broadcast analyst for the New York Racing Association, Inc. and the Jockey Club Tour on Fox. The 2014 New York-bred divisional champions and horse of the year were chosen by a ballot of New York turf writers, handicappers, chart callers and racing analysts conducted by NYTB.

Horse of the Year Dayatthespa, owned in partnership by Jerry Frankel, Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon and Bradley Thoroughbreds, was expertly guided through her 5-year-old campaign by trainer Chad Brown. Following a runner-up finish in the De La Rose stakes in August, she reeled off three straight victories in the Yaddo at Saratoga, the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland and the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in Santa Anita. A daughter of City Zip bred by Castellare DiCracchiolo Stable, Cracchiolo & Goldsher, Dayatthespa was also voted 2014 Champion New York-bred Turf Female and Champion New York-bred Older Female. Her late dam, M’Lady Doc was named New York-bred Broodmare of the Year.

Chester and Mary Broman

Chester and Mary Broman, New York’s top breeders also in 2004 and 2011, had a banner year in 2014 even by their standards. Broman-bred horses, most competing in the couple’s familiar green and white silks, won sixty-two races and earned $2.4 million last year. At the conclusion of the 2014 Saratoga meet, the Bromans finished fourth in the owner standings with 11 wins.

Dayatthespa was not the only multiple honoree on Monday night. Three-year-old Artemis Agrotera, a Grade 1 winner and Eclipse finalist for Female Sprinter owned and bred by the Bromans was voted Champion New York-Bred Female Sprinter and Champion New York-Bred Three-Year-Old Filly. Antonino Miuccio’s Palace, who won back-to-back Grade 1 races at Saratoga, was honored as Champion New York-bred Male Sprinter and Older Male.

A complete list of New York’s 2014 equine and human honorees follows:

Horse of the Year, Turf Female, Older Female: Dayatthespa
CH, M (City Zip – M’Lady Doc, by Doc’s Leader)
Breeder: Castellare DiCracchiolo Stable, Cracchiolo & Goldsher
Owner: Jerry Frankel, Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon and Bradley Thoroughbreds
Trainer: Chad C. Brown

Male Sprinter, Older Male: Palace
B, H (City Zip – Receivership, by End Sweep)
Breeder: The Peter J. Callahan Revocable Trust Dated 2/28/02
Owner: Antonino Miuccio
Trainer: Linda Rice

Female Sprinter, Three-Year-Old Filly: Artemis Agrotera
B, F (Roman Ruler – Indy Glory, by A.P. Indy)
Breeder/Owner: Chester and Mary Broman, Sr.
Trainer: Michael E. Hushion

Two-Year-Old Filly: Wonder Gal
DK B/, F (Tiz Wonderful – Passe, by Dixie Union)
Breeder: Apache Farm LLC
Owner: Treadway Racing Stable
Trainer: Leah Gyarmati

Two-Year-Old Male: Upstart
DK B/, R (Flatter – Party Silks, by Touch Gold)
Breeder: Mrs. Gerald A. Nielsen
Owner: Ralph M. Evans
Trainer: Richard A. Violette, Jr.

Three-Year-Old Male: Samraat
DK B/, C (Noble Causeway – Little Indian Girl, by Indian Charlie)
Breeder/Owner: My Meadowview Farm LLC
Trainer: Richard A. Violette, Jr.

Turf Male: Lubash
B, H (Freud – Nasty Cure, by Cure the Blues)
Breeder/Owner: Aliyu Ben J Stables
Trainer: Christophe Clement

Steeplechase Horse: Cat Feathers
DK B/, M (Catienus – Mistress Hemming, by Quiet American)
Breeder: Happy Hill Farm
Owner/Trainer: Kate Dalton

Broodmare of the Year: M’Lady Doc, by Doc’s Leader, dam of Dayatthespa

Breeder of the Year: Chester and Mary Broman
Trainer of the Year: Linda Rice
Jockey of the Year: Jose Ortiz

Princess Violet scores Grade 1 victory in Keeneland’s Madison

Sun, 2015-04-05 08:30

Keeneland photo

by Sarah Mace

Princess Violet gave owner-breeder Barry K. Schwartz a Grade 1 victory at Keeneland on Saturday afternoon with a determined half-length score in the Grade 1, $350,000 Madison Stakes for fillies and mares. She also became the first New York-bred to win the seven-furlong contest in its 14-year history.

Drawn in the outside post, Princess Violet took a back seat in the betting as fifth choice in a deep and talented field of six. She could already boast three second place finishes in graded stakes company, but was still looking for that elusive first graded win. The bay 4-year-old daughter of Officer earned it in style in her Keeneland debut when saddled by Linda Rice’s team, standing in for hospitalized conditioner Mike Hushion.

In the early stages of the race Princess Violet was content to settle as much as seven lengths behind frontrunners Lady Sabelia and Sam’s Sister, who ran one-two through a speedy first quarter in 22.42 and half in 44.73. Saving ground through the far turn, Princess Violet then shifted out into the two path to make her stretch bid.

Keeneland photo

Dispatching the frontrunners and taking charge just inside the furlong marker, “Princess” then dug in bravely to hold off a late-running Stopchargingmaria, a five-time graded stakes winner and the second betting choice. Her margin of victory was one-half length.

Longshot Clearly Confused finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Stopchargingmaria in third, followed across the line by Wedding Toast. Frontrunners Sam’s Sister and Lady Sabelia completed the order of finish. After six panels in 1:09.89, Princess Violet stopped the clock after seven furlongs over Keeneland’s fast main track at 1:22.73. [VIDEO from America’s Best Racing]

Junior Alvarado, who piloted the filly for the first time in the Madison, reported, “She broke pretty good. In the first part [of the race], the horses ran away from her a little bit. I knew I was in a good spot still and I tried to save ground. When I turned for home, I slipped her out and she was there for me as soon as I asked her. She gave me all she had.”

Linda Rice’s assistant Samantha Randazzo said that given Princess Violet’s versatility, she left the details up to her rider. “I saw some pretty serious speed – and she does stalk – so I told Junior (the strategy) was up to him. If she went to the lead, it was fine, or if she found herself in a stalking position, that was OK too. Junior rode a wonderful race. Best race of her career so far.”

Princess Violet escorted to the winner’s circle (Keeneland photo)

Unraced at two, Princess Violet has finished first or second in nine of 10 career starts and has earned $662,810. Her record includes a crushing 5 1/2-length victory in last fall’s Empire Distaff at Belmont Park, a runner-up finish to champion Untapable in the Grade 1 Mother Goose, second by just a nose to Classic Point in the Grade 3 Go For Wand and runner up by 1 1/2-lengths to Madison rival Lady Sabelia in the Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel in her seasonal debut on February 14. She is undefeated in three starts against New York-breds.

Princess Violet is one of two winners from two starters out of Lady Rapper, an unplaced Kentucky-bred daughter of Grand Slam, who was purchased by Barry Schwartz for $275,000 at the 2006 Keeneland September yearling sale. Lady Rapper’s first foal Baime (Star Dabbler) is a seven-time winner of nearly $125,000. Lady Rapper’s dam is multiple graded stakes placed New York-bred She’s Got the Beat (Sultry Song), who, like Princess Violet, was a Go For Wand runner-up.

Swale winner Sharp Humor dies in Korea

Tue, 2015-03-31 08:48

Sharp Humor, 2003-2015 (Photo courtesy Horseracing in Korea)

by Sarah Mace

Let’s Run Stud Farm on Jeju Island has reported that New York-bred sire Sharp Humor, who relocated to Korea from WinStar Farm in February 2011, died at age 12 as the result of an accident on March 18.

Bred in New York by Patricia S. Purdy, Sharp Humor was a son of Distorted Humor and one of two winners out of the unraced Kentucky-bred Hansel mare Bellona (Hansel). Trained by Dale Romans, Sharp Humor raced for a partnership of Purdedel Stable and WinStar Farm, who acquired an interest in the horse when he was a classic contender in late April 2006.

Sharp Humor won four of ten career starts, including three stakes. At two he followed up 2005 victories in the Bertram F. Bongard and Sleepy Hollow with a third in the New York Breeders’ Futurity. The following year he won the Grade 2 Swale at Gulfstream Park and ran second to Barbaro in the 2006 Florida Derby. After fracturing a knee in the Kentucky Derby a month later, he ran twice more later in the year, when he finished second in the Hudson Handicap facing older horses.

Sharp Humor’s final start came in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. Having aggravated his knee injury, he was retired at the end of his three-year old season with earnings of $490,410 and entered stud for $12,500 in 2007 at WinStar Farm as a Taylor Made/WinStar Venture stallion.

At 12-years-old, Sharp Humor was in his third breeding season in Korea, having been purchased by the Korea Racing Authority in November 2011. He covered 97 mares in 2013 and 85 in 2014, with another full book in progress this year. His first Korean 2-year-olds are set to debut this year.

Credited with 17 black type progeny winners, Sharp Humor’s top-earning offspring include graded stakes winner Hero of Order ($747,822) and multiple graded stakes placed Angelica Zapata.

International Star completes sparkling hat trick in Louisiana Derby

Sat, 2015-03-28 22:00

Miguel Mena celebrates aboard International Star in the G2 Louisiana Derby (Photo: Alexander Barkoff / Hodges Photography)

by Sarah Mace

These days Kentucky-based Ken and Sarah Ramsey certainly have a New York-bred on their hands to write home about. On Saturday afternoon International Star, son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, completed his sweep of the three Fair Grounds preps for the Run for the Roses with another sparkling victory in the Louisiana Derby. By the end of the day he stood in first place on the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard with 171 and had pushed his purse earnings into seven-figure territory.

Breaking from the outside of the nine-horse field, International Star, who has a penchant for doing his best running down inside, made his way over into the two path by the time the field entered the clubhouse turn, and before the field entered the backstretch, settled comfortably at the rail in mid-pack about five lengths off pacesetter Stanford, a sharp Pletcher-trainee who broke from the inside gate.

Moving up closer to the pace midway along the backstretch, the bay colt advanced further at the rail in the far turn, scooted to the inside of his rivals when a hole opened up just before the quarter pole, then angled out in upper stretch to set his sights on the frontrunner.

Latching on to Stanford in the final furlong, the bay colt had enough determination and enough left in the tank to get in front by a neck in the final sixteenth for the victory. After an opening half-mile that went in 48.59 and a mile in 1:37.27, International Star stopped the clock after nine furlongs at 1:50.67. [VIDEO from Equibase America’s Best Racing]

Ken Ramsey reacted with characteristic ebullience: “That’s back-to-back wins for us here in the Louisiana Derby and we swept all three this year. Last year [with Vicar’s in Trouble] we missed out on the Risen Star. Next stop: Kentucky!”

Miguel Mena, International Star’s pilot for all three Fair Grounds victories, said, “We got another good trip, had a clean run. He was the best horse in the race again today and I thank the connections for giving me the chance to ride him.”

Mike Maker, who trains the colt for the Ramseys, believes International Star is one of his best chances at a Kentucky Derby: “Definitely. He’s a special horse.” As to the colt’s affinity for Fair Grounds, Maker quipped, “I don’t know [why he is so good at this racetrack], but I think I might take some of the dirt from Fair Grounds up to Kentucky with us.”

In the immediate future, Maker said, “We will see how he comes out of the race and decide if we’ll train him like we did before this.  I haven’t worked him until three weeks after his races.”

From five firsts and two seconds in nine starts, International Star has earned $1,010,979 to become the latest New York-bred millionaire. His points total of 171, which sets him atop the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard, derive from four victories and a third: 100 points the Louisiana Derby, 50 points for the Grade 2 Risen Star, 10 for the Grade 3 LeComte, 10 points for the Grey Stakes at Woodbine last October and one point for his show finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs.

Bred by longtime Maryland breeders and owners Katharine M. Voss and Robert T. Manfuso and foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, International Star was purchased by the Ramseys as a yearling for $85,000 out of the Fasig Tipton select yearling sale in September in Timonium.

International Star’s dam Parlez is a multiple winner by French Deputy Parlez and a granddaughter of Halory (Halo), the dam of five graded stakes winners, including Blue Grass Stakes winner Halory Hunter.

Parlez has produced five winners in all, including stakes winners Fools in Love by Not For Love, who earned $240,746 and D C Dancer by the same sire, a $228,065-earner. She has a yearling colt by Not for Love, was barren in 2015 and bred back to Fusaichi Pegasus this year.

New York breeders continue to up the ante with 2015 foals from top-flight first crop sires

Wed, 2015-03-25 10:15

Orb / Black Escort (Photo: Kelly McCombs)

by Sarah Mace

As the snow recedes from the landscape in upstate New York, this year’s crop of foals is taking its place. Even on the heels of a benchmark year for the New York State breeding and racing program in 2014, it is clear that New York breeders are continuing to up the ante with each cohort of foals, and the 2015 crop is no exception. A review of The Jockey Club’s “Report of Mares Bred” for 2014, which flags the home state of mares when that information is available, shows scores of matings by state-based breeders between high-quality mares and top-flight first crop sires.

New York breeders of course jumped at the chance to take advantage of multiple opportunities to breed to accomplished first crop sires with deep pedigrees close to home. They account for the vast majority of mares bred to the state’s five first crop stallions: Darley’s Grade 1 Forego winner Emcee (Sequel Stallions New York), multiple Grade 2 winning sprinter Forty Tales (Sequel Stallions New York), Heavy Breathing (Dutchess Views Farm), who is the graded placed full brother to smashing young New York sire Frost Giant, multiple graded stakes winner and 2012 New York-bred Horse of the Year The Lumber Guy (Keane Stud) and champion sprinter Trinniberg (Rockridge Stud).

The Jockey Club “Mares Bred” reports also show that New York breeders did not hesitate to go further afield to explore racetrack achievers who retired to stud in 2014 elsewhere. To single out a few headliners, last year mares reported to be New York-owned were bred to: Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom (5), Grade 1 winner Graydar (4), triple Grade 1 winner Flat Out (8), triple Grade 1 winner Fort Larned (4), Grade 1 Wood Memorial winner and morning line favorite for the 2009 Kentucky Derby I Want Revenge (1), Kentucky Derby winner Orb (2) and five-time grade winner and turf star Point Of Entry (4). Especially popular with New Yorkers were juvenile phenom Shanghai Bobby (16) and Take Charge Indy, a Grade 1 winning millionaire and son of three-time Grade 1 winner and 2013 broodmare of the year Take Charge Lady (17).

Obviously not all of these matings of New York-owned mares will necessarily produce New York-bred foals on the ground. By the same token, other mares not flagged in these reports as New York-owned may have bred to top-flight first crop sires and be preparing to drop New York-bred eligible foals. Taken as a whole, however, the reports paint a broad picture of New York breeders looking for fresh blood and quality both at home and out-of-state.

Two prime examples can be seen from a visit to Questroyal North near Stillwater, which already has foals on the ground by Kentucky Derby heroes Orb and Animal Kingdom, both out of well-bred mares owned by Questroyal’s majority owner Barry R. Ostrager. Orb, a $2.6 million dollar earner and winner of the 2013 Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, Grade 1 Florida Derby and Grade 2 Fountain of Youth bred 122 mares last year according to The Jockey Club. Champion Animal Kingdom, an extraordinarily versatile son of Leroidesanimaux out of a Grade 3 winning German mare, won the Kentucky Derby his dirt debut and came back from injury to capture second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and win the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup on synthetic. He earned over $8.3 million before retiring to stud and in 2014 he bred 148 mares.

Orb / Black Escort (Photo: Kelly McCombs)

The Questroyal Orb foal is a bay colt with a small star born March 16 out of Black Escort, a daughter of Southern Halo out of a Nureyev mare. Black Escort was a juvenile stakes winner and Grade 2 placed on turf in France. The pedigree of the new foal runs deep. The colt’s third dam Sigy (FR) was a champion 2-year-old filly and champion sprinter in France as well as a graded stakes producer. Black Escort has produced three winners, including Black Snowflake, a multiple stakes placed runner by Elusive Quality. Her Orb foal, who is bred on the same cross as Kauai Katie, is given an A+ rating by TrueNicks.

Questroyal Stud was not alone in selecting the 2013 Kentucky Derby winner for a mating. SF Bloodstock’s Charlie’s Legacy, an unraced Virginia-bred by Indian Charlie from the family of multiple champion Indian Blessing, whom they purchased for $245,000 at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton winter mixed sale, was also bred to Orb last year. No foal is reported to date.

Animal Kingdom / Dynamite Cocktail (Photo: Kelly McCombs)

Another well-bred foal on the ground at Questroyal is a filly by Animal Kingdom born March 11 with distinctive facial markings and a white half stocking on her left hind. Her color has yet to be determined. The filly’s dam is Dynamite Cocktail, a Kentucky-bred multiple winner of over $100,000 by Dynaformer who has produced three winners. Her top foal is Hollinger by Black Minnaloushe, multiple stakes winner, champion 2-year-old colt in Canada (2009) and earner of over $700,000. The filly’s third dam is stakes placed Luck’s Fancy, who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes placed stakes winner Fancy ‘N Fabulous and two other stakes winners. The new filly, an outcross, receives an A++ TrueNicks rating.

In the many decades of the New York breeding program, 2014 saw unprecedented racetrack achievements by products of that program: Derby contenders, Grade 1 winners, a record number of Breeders’ Cup participants and an Eclipse champion. The year before set its own milestones. Breeders seem determined, however, not to rest on their laurels. As they push the ceiling higher for the program year by year, it would seem to be only be a matter of time before the foal crop of 2015 manages to set new benchmarks of its own, perhaps only to be superseded by the crop of the following year.

N. F.’s Destiny romps in inaugural Kelly Kip

Sat, 2015-03-21 22:16

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

N. F.’s Destiny, got to the front first and never looked back on his way to an open-length victory in the inaugural running of the $50,000 Kelly Kip, a six-furlong dash for 4-year-olds and up that have started for a claiming price of $12,500 or less.

The Kelly Kip, one of 10 stakes races worth a total of $710,000 on Aqueduct’s first New York Claiming Championships card Saturday, was named for a multiple stakes winning Florida-bred trained by the late H. Allen Jerkens, whose passing last week has left a void in the life and hearts of horsemen across the country.

N. F.’s Destiny never had an anxious moment from the bell forward. Scooting to the front of the competitive 11-horse field from post two, the 6-year-old Cuvee gelding carved out fractions of 23.20, 46.32 and 58.54 on an uncontested lead under Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Leading by more than four lengths with a furlong to go, the 5-2 favorite carried on with good momentum to the wire, where he stopped the clock at 1:11.75 with a 3 1/2-length margin of victory. Dan’s Gold got up from mid-pack for second to complete a New York-bred exacta. Cho Time chased the leader throughout and remained on the scene to get the show. [VIDEO]

NYRA/Joe Labozzette

Trained by Gustavo Rodriguez for Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables LLC and Gary Aisquith, who claimed the horse last December for $20,000, N. F.’s Destiny has now won five of 10 races over Aqueduct’s inner oval and eight of 23 lifetime. He became eligible for the Kelly Kip when he ran for $10,000 in a conditioned claimer at Finger Lakes last August. His career earnings now total $335,670.

Bred by Eklektikos Stable, the winner is one of three winners from three foals to start out of Noble Fire (Hook and Ladder), a stakes-placed runner bred by Chester and Mary Broman. Noble Fire, whose progeny have earned over $1.2 million, is most familiar as the dam of graded stakes winner and star New York-bred sprinter La Verdad, by Yes It’s True ($780,700). Another foal, sophomore Hot City Girl (City Zip), has placed in two stakes.

Last New York-bred through the ring at OBS March brings $560,000

Thu, 2015-03-19 10:28
by Sarah Mace

The very last New York-bred to pass through the OBS March auction ring during the sale’s two-day run this Tuesday and Wednesday turned out to be the most successful, when Hip 610, a colt by Sidney’s Candy, who leads freshman sires by 2-year-old in training sales average, sold to L. E. B. for $560,000. Empire-breds fared well at the sale overall, with four of the 22 who changed hands bringing at least $270,000 and 16 individuals commanding six-figures.

Hip 610, who turned in an eighth of a mile breeze in :10 1/5 in the under tack show, was consigned by Hartley / DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, LLC, agent, who purchased him for $160,000 at last summer’s Fasig-Tipton preferred New York-bred sale in Saratoga. He sold previously as a weanling to Gino Antonio for $140,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November Sale.

Bred by SF Racing, LLC, and foaled on March 10 2013 at Vinery NY at Sugar Maple in Poughquag, the chestnut colt is the second foal out of Broadway Hennessey (Hennessy), a Kentucky-bred juvenile stakes winner of nearly $100,000 and new track record setter for 4 1/2 furlongs at Golden Gate Fields (51.70). Purchased by SF Bloodstock for $70,000 at the 2010 Keeneland November sale, the mare is also a half sister to graded stakes placed stakes winner Courageous Act. Broadway Hennessey’s first foal is a registered New York-bred 3-year-old gelding by Super Saver, named Super Show, who has not started.

Also well received on Wednesday was Hip 496, a gray or roan colt by Bellamy Road purchased by Little Red Feather Racing for $415,000 after working an eighth in :10 1/5 for Becky Thomas and Justin Casse’s consignment. The colt RNA’d for Sequel Stallions for $95,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton sale of selected yearlings in Saratoga.

Bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds / JMJ Racing and foaled at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson, the Bellamy Road colt is out of Throbbin’ Heart, a stakes winner by Smoke Glacken who has produced three winners from three foals to start, including multiple stakes placed juvenile Roaming by Quality Road. Throbbin’ Heart was purchased with the sale colt in utero by Wrangler Stable for $82,000 at the 2012 Keeneland November sale.

The top filly in sale, and top New York-bred in Tuesday’s first session was a juvenile by Majestic Warrior bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds / Twin Creeks Racing (Hip 225) who drew a winning bid of $300,000. Read more.

A pair of successful New York-bred OBS sellers sired by current or former New York stallions are also worth noting. Hip 509, a bay March 20, 2013 colt by former New York sire Noonmark (now relocated to the Philippines) went to J C Company Ltd for $270,000 after having garnered considerable pre-sale attention by turning in a bullet quarter-mile breeze in :20 2/5.

Bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds, Hidden Lake Farm, and Elena Ahlschwede, foaled at River Valley Farm in Germantown and consigned by Eddie Woods, the Noonmark colt, who is named Bernie’s Prize, is the first foal out of the unraced Friends Lake mare Truss. His dam is a half sister to New York-bred graded winner Khancord Kid and he issues from the family of champion Shared Belief, Grade 2 winner and sire Half Ours and stakes-placed sire Yankee Gentleman. Previously the colt brought $60,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale.

The top-selling OBS New York-bred by a current New York sire was Hip 607. The bay filly from the first crop of Courageous Cat turned in a sharp furlong breeze for consignor Jimmy Miranda in :9 4/5 and ended up going to Michael Dubb for $150,000. The filly sold previously for $30,000 as a weanling to Very Unstable at the Fasig-Tipton New York fall mixed sale last October.

Bred by W.S. Farish, Inwood Stable & BCWT, LTD., the January 29, 2013 filly is the second foal out of Bridesmaid, a Texas-bred juvenile stakes winner and half sister to Grade 2 Peter Pan winner Postponed. The sale filly’s second dam is multiple graded winner Chapel of Dreams. Her sire Courageous Cat stands at Questroyal North near Stillwater, where she was foaled, and will have his first runners in 2015.

The cumulative numbers for New York-breds at the sale were very good. Of 31 juveniles offered, 22 sold for an average of $161,682, not far off the cumulative average for the general population of the sale, which was  $170,804. The New York-bred median price of $132,500 well outperformed the sale median of $105,000.