By Sarah Mace
Trainer Rick Violette had Upstart just where he hoped he would be for his 2016 debut Saturday in the Grade 3, $350,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park after six months on the bench. The talented New York-bred relaxed early, launched a sustained bid from midway on the far turn and drove relentlessly toward a one-length victory over nine rivals in the 1 1/16-mile dirt contest.
Violette commented last week on the ridgling’s lay-off and development from three to four. “He had a long, hard season as a 3-year-old, and we thought it best to give him some time off,” said Violette. “He is bigger, stronger. He’s filled out – what you would hope for.” Violette originally targeted the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 5 for Upstart’s 2016 debut, but deemed his charge needed a couple more weeks before his first race and opted for the Razorback.
Conceding two to eight pounds to his rivals as the 120-pound highweight on Saturday, and bet down to 5-2 favoritism in the field of ten under jockey Joe Bravo, Upstart bided his time in the early stages of the race after breaking from post eight. He traveled in seventh about a half-dozen lengths off the pace while negotiating the clubhouse turn three wide. Up front, pacesetter Shotgun Kowboy clocked the first quarter mile at a good clip in :23.15 and moderated the pace for a quarter in :47.50.
After cruising down the backstretch, Upstart began to come under some extra encouragement as he rounded the far turn five wide. Showing no hint of leg-weariness in the stretch, the blaze-faced dark bay kept driving relentlessly to the lead . . . and the wire, gaining the top spot with a furlong to go and driving home for a one-length victory. After a mile run in 1:37.77, he stopped the clock at 1:44.12.
Said jockey Joe Bravo, “I’m going to give full credit to the whole Rick Violette team for bringing this horse together. When you’re off that long, it’s tough to get a horse ready to run. He left there really nicely, relaxed really good the first turn. Probably a little farther back than Rick wanted. But, he was so comfortable and relaxed. I was really happy the way he was going.”
Bravo continued, “You saw the move he made around the turn. He’s back. He’s a pretty nice horse. He proved it to everybody. I’m just glad he’s a big, happy horse for the rest of the season.”
Said Violette, “I couldn’t be happier. He gave up ground on both turns but he was resolute up the lane. He ran right through. He’s back to where we hoped he would be and I’m thrilled.”
Bred by Mrs. Gerald A. Nielsen and foaled at her Sunnyfield Farm in Bedford, Upstart was purchased by owner Ralph Evans on Violette’s advice at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale from the Summerfield consignment for $130,000. WinStar Farm acquired a minority interest in the horse last April.
A real looker from the start, Upstart waged two strong back-to-back campaigns at two and three. Winner of his 5 1/2-furlong Saratoga debut from off the pace by open lengths, he followed up just nine days later with a victory as a supplemental entry to the state-bred Funny Cide Stakes. Upstart wrapped up the year with a wide-trip second to Daredevil in the slop in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont before shipping out west to run a strong third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
In 2015 Upstart emerged as a top contender for the Kentucky Derby in three starts at Gulfstream Park. Dominant winner of the Grade 2 Holy Bull in his sophomore debut, Upstart was controversially disqualified from a clear victory in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. He then ran second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Unplaced in the Kentucky Derby, Upstart ran three more times in 2015, finishing third in the Grade 1 Haskell to American Pharoah, fourth in the Travers and fifth in the Pennsylvania Derby. To date he has earned $1,460,280 in 12 starts from four wins, three seconds and two thirds.
The New York-bred offerings at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2016 March sale of 2-year-olds in training topped out in the second and concluding session with Hip 558, a filly by Twirling Candy who was purchased by Alex Solis II and Jason Litt on behalf of the Roth family’s LNJ Foxwoods for $825,000. The filly was the top-selling female of the sale.
The second best New York-bred seller, a filly by Uncle Mo, went to Dennis O’Neill in Wednesday’s opening session for $350,000, but the second day of selling also saw two more New York-bred standouts besides the filly topper: the top-selling Empire-bred colt and top New York-sired juvenile, a speedy filly by Frost Giant. Overall the New York-bred 2-year-olds outperformed the general population of the sale in both average and median.
The dark bay or brown Twirling Candy filly was a brilliant pinhook, originally purchased by Carrie Brogden’s Machmer Hall as a weanling at the Fasig-Tipton New York fall mixed sale for $50,000. On the third day of the OBS breeze show the filly showed how fast she had become, firing a co-bullet quarter mile when she covered the distance in :22 2/5.
Consignor Nick de Meric said after the breeze, “She’s been in my son Tristan’s division, and has been just wicked fast every time she ever breezed. She’s an outstanding mover, very athletic and, as fast as she is, looks like she’ll stretch out and go two turns when the time comes.”
“That was a great filly,” Litt told the TDN after the purchase. “She did everything right, and we are elated to have her.”
Bred by Mares Rule II, the filly topper is out of Felicitee, a winning daughter of Menifee and a half sister to graded stakes placed Mazella and stakes-placed Veuve. The mare has already produced two winners from two foals to race.
The top New York-bred colt, a chestnut from the second crop of Trappe Shot who sold as Hip 320, went to Steven W. Young, Agent from the consignment of Steven Venosa’s SGV Thoroughbreds for $280,000. A graduate of the the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale, the colt was another clever pinhook, purchased by IBA for $55,000 last summer.
Bred by Eaton & Thorne, Inc, Hip 320 is out of That’s OK, an unplaced daughter of Not For Love. A former $700,000 Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old purchase, That’s OK was bought by Jonathan Thorne as a 3-year-old at the Keeneland November sale for $12,000. The mare, who has produced one winner, is a full sister to Grade 1-placed Forever Partners and half-sister to stakes winner Pal’s Partner. The sale filly’s third dam is stakes winner and multiple stakes producer Thanks Pal.
The Frost Giant filly who emerged as top-selling New York-sired New York-bred sold as Hip 532 to Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc. for $200,000 on the nose. Bred by Dormellito Stud and consigned by Dormellito Stud Sales, the dark bay/brown juvenile breezed the same co-bullet quarter of :22 2/5 as the top-selling Twirling Candy filly.
The filly’s dam Easy Erin, a winning New York-bred daughter of Johannesburg, has already produced two winners from two starters and issues from a well-known and productive New York family. Easy Erin’s dam is 1997 New York-bred Horse of the Year Dancin Renee. The seven-time stakes winner went on to produce five winners, including multiple stakes winner Risky Rachel. Dancin Renee is also the half sister of two-time New York-bred horse of the Year Say Florida Sandy, an earner of over $2 million. Frost Giant stands for Keane Stud for a 2016 fee of $7,500.
Of 32 New York-breds offered at the OBS March sale, 18 sold (including two private sales) for a high buyback percentage of 43.8. Eleven of those horses, however, commanded six figures and the New York-breds outperformed the general population with an average price of $170,333 and a median of $112,500. The average price for the sale at large was $158,923 (down 7%) while the median was $100,000 (down 5%).
A New York-bred filly from the second crop of Uncle Mo was the top New York-bred juvenile to change hands during the first session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2016 March sale of 2-year-olds in training on Tuesday. Three other New York-breds, all fillies, fetched six-figures during the session.
Dennis O’Neill went to $350,000 to secure the bay topper (Hip 40) from the Mayberry Farm consignment after she posted a :10 1/5 breeze in the under tack show. Bred by Joe DiRico, the sale filly is out of Jessica’s Halo and a half-sister to seven winners, led by Jessica is Back (Put It Back), winner of the Grade 1 Princess Rooney H. in 2010 and earner of over $836,000. Hip 40 sold first last summer at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale to Chace Stable for $130,000.
Hip 178, who turned heads with a co-bullet :9 4/5 breeze on the first day of the under tack show, was purchased from the Woodford Thoroughbreds consignment by Westrock Stables LLC for $185,000 via private sale. From the first crop of Mclean’s Music out of Placerita (Gilded Time), she is a half-sister to stakes winner Saturday Nite Ride and issues from the family of Grade 1 winners The Big Beast and Slew the Dragon. Bred by Canyon Lake Thoroughbreds, she went for $50,000 as a short yearling at last year’s Keeneland January mixed sale before being purchased by Woodford Sales for $117,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale.
A pair of chestnuts consigned by Sequel Bloodstock also met the six-figure threshold. Hip 55 from the first crop of New York sire Mission Impazible brought $150,000. Bred in partnership by Sequel Thoroughbreds & Twin Creeks Farm, she breezed a :10 flat eighth under tack. Out of Kettle’s Sister, a Maryland-bred daughter of More Than Ready, she is a half-sister to Vinceremos (Pioneerof the Nile), winner of the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes, and one other winner. The filly’s second dam is stakes-placed Safe at the Plate, who is a half-sister to champion sprinter and $2.1-million-dollar earner Safely Kept. Hip 55’s half-sister by Majestic Warrior, now a placed runner, sold for $300,000 on the first day of last year’s OBS March sale.
Finally, an Awesome Again filly bred by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, LLC (Hip 133) was hammered down to Kenwood Racing LLC for $100,000 after posting a :10.2 breeze. Out of stakes-placed runner Money My Honey (Red Bullet), the filly’s second dam is Grade 1 winner Collect the Cash, producer of Grade 1 winner Stately Victor. She too is a graduate of the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale, purchased by $50,000 by Global Thoroughbreds.
Of the 14 New York-bred 2-year-olds on offer Tuesday, eight sold (including the private sale) for an average of $125,875 and $97,500 median.
Overall in the opening session of the OBS sale the average price was $160,741, down 11.5% from last year. The overall median dipped 4.2% to $115,000.
By Sarah Mace
Masie Stable homebred Miss Matzoball (Smoke Glacken) made her stakes debut on Saturday a winning one when she got up in the final strides to land a victory in Gulfstream Park’s $75,000 Captiva Island, a 5-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares.
A three-time winner going into the Captiva Island, 4-year-old Miss Matzoball was coming off a career-best performance for trainer Roy Lerman, a 1 1/2-length victory in a second-level allowance race at Gulfstream on February 14 under Javier Castellano at the same trip as the Captiva Island. Partnered with Edgar Zayas on Saturday she was drawn in post five of eight and sent off at generous odds of 9-1.
Though bumped at the break, Miss Matzoball managed to settle nicely into stride behind the pacesetters, while an eager Maggiesfreuddnslip pulled her way to the front in the three path and led the field by 1 1/2 lengths through a first quarter in 21.19 and a half in 43.02.
Clear of traffic, Miss Matzoball worked her way up into fourth approaching the quarter pole while the top two betting choices caught up with Maggiesfreuddnslip, favorite Jewel of a Cat on the outside and second-choice Katie’s Kiss on the inside.
Maggiesfreuddnslip bore out in the turn, carrying Jewel of a Cat with her. Katie’s Kiss then scooted into the lead on the inside. Miss Matzoball came through in-between the new leader and a recovered Jewel of a Cat, with a determined final bid.
Surging in the final sixteenth, Miss Matzoball outsprinted Jewel of a Cat for second and overhauled Katie’s Kiss in the final strides to get up to win by a half-length, stopping the clock at 54.92 for a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 98.
“She’s a nice filly,” winning trainer Roy Lerman said. “She’s only run one poor race, her first start when she bled at Saratoga as a 2-year-old. She’s always right there and very honest, very calm. She’s easy to be around. She’s more like a pony really.”
Lerman continued, “I knew Maggie had extreme speed, quicker than any of these other horses. I thought if she made the lead she’d be very tough to get by. It didn’t work out that way, but it set up for Miss Matzoball because she’s very handy. She’s quick, but not with extreme speed. You can put her wherever you want.”
Now a four-time winner with two seconds and a third from 10 starts, Miss Matzoball has earned $181,527.
Foaled at Stone Bridge Farm in Gansevoort, Miss Matzoball is the first foal out of Miss Matzo, a Maryland-bred daughter of Royal Academy who was unplaced in her single career start. Miss Matzo has produced three other fillies, a 3-year-old by Girolamo named Moonshine Cate, a two-year-old by Girolamo named Kinky Sox and a Proud Citizen yearling named Citizen Matzo. She was bred to Gio Ponti last year.
This week we will be speaking with Peter Penny, one of the foremost yearling inspectors for the Fasig-Tipton Sales company and Fasig’s Florida and New York representative.
Peter thank you for taking some time out of what must be your busiest time of year. I’m sure you are logging many miles getting to each and every farm to inspect yearlings for the upcoming Summer sales. I’d like to speak with you about some of the ways people can facilitate the inspection of their prized yearlings when you arrive to look them over. Your work has certainly paid off over the years because the averages in the summer select sales most notably the NY Bred Preferred sale has gone up on a yearly basis and continues to be one of the best places to purchase a nice yearling. It’s NYTB’s Flagship sale and we appreciate the work you and Fasig-Tipton have put into making it what it is today; a strong market in our home marketplace.
We know how special we feel when one of our horses is accepted to one of the Summer select sales. But as we both know the process starts in January with the free nomination provided by Fasig-Tipton on the website and through direct mail.
Is it too late to still get a nomination in to Fasig-Tipton for those who may have overlooked the due date?
No it is not too late to get a horse nominated to our sales. We are fairly flexible with our nomination deadlines, because we realize they do come up fast, and people can overlook them. We do ask you please get them in as soon as possible, because we are in certain areas only once, with a tight schedule, and have to set up times and dates accordingly.
What is the process that takes place in house from when Fasig-Tipton receives the nomination and when you are given a list of yearlings to inspect?
When the nomination is received, it is put into our database. Then it will be sorted by location, state, city, farm, etc. Once that is done the various locations are plotted on a map, by way of mapping software. Then the various trips are lined up, people are called with the exact time and date we will be coming to inspect. Once all stops are confirmed, all the information is downloaded onto the individual inspectors IPAD. We have developed software that really makes it a lot easier than in the past when we used to just use inspection cards. It provides us with information that helps us to decide on which sale that particular horse fits best, it includes, foaling date, pedigrees, sire yearling averages, and pinhook prices. All this is coordinated by Vicki Cooper, and her staff in our Ky. office. They really do a great job, and make our jobs a whole lot easier.
Why does Fasig-Tipton select the horses by pedigree first rather than have you inspect everyone that is nominated?
Unfortunately we have a limited number of stalls at the sales grounds in Saratoga, and as you can imagine our nominations go up every year because of the increased foal crop in N.Y. This sale has really improved over the last few years, and its average has steadily increased each year. This process helps us bring down the numbers to a manageable level.
Once you get the list of yearlings to inspect what is the general schedule you will follow timeline wise from state to state? (very generally what month what state?)
We inspect in March and April. We usually start with the south eastern states, due to weather considerations. We start with the Carolina’s, Ga., Ca., TX, La., and Fl., in early March, and then move north in late March, and April. This will include Md., Pa., VA., and De. , Ky., N.Y., and Can.
When the owner is contacted by Fasig-Tipton that you will be stopping by to inspect yearlings, what is the average lead time?
When a horse is nominated, we send out a letter with our tentative inspection schedule for that year. We then try very hard to give the owner at least a week notice before we are due to inspect.
Once a farm is contacted what can they do to get their yearling ready for your visit? Blacksmith? Previously handled, schooling to walk properly? In the barn ready to show rather than out in the field? Separate colts from fillies?
It is really not for me to tell an individual owner what to do with their horse. The horsemanship level in N.Y. has improved quite a bit over the last several years, and most people know what we are looking for. The one thing I would like to get across though is, in most cases, we only get one chance to look at your horse, so I think anything that can be done to make it easier for us to get a good look at the horse, and show that horse in the best light on that day, helps with our inspections. I don’t want people to take that as us being prima donna’s, that’s not the case at all. We try very hard to accommodate everyone the best we can, and we can look through a lot of things and don’t have a problem with that, but whatever you can do to give us the best opportunity to really get a good look at your horse helps tremendously.
What will you ask the handler to do with the yearling during the inspection?
It’s really a pretty simple process. We basically ask them to stand the horse up squarely, so we can get a good look at the overall conformation, and then walk them in a straight line, away from us and then back toward us, so we can see any deviations with the front and hind end. Sometimes we will ask them to walk several times to get a better look at the overall stride.
Once the inspection is over if a person wants to get an idea where they stand will you provide that information?
We are very lucky Fasig-Tipton has the confidence in us to be able to give the owner our decision right there on the spot. We find that is the best way to do it. We look at hundreds of horses over a period of two months, and we have found it is best to decide when it is fresh in your mind, not three or four weeks later, after you have inspected many more horses. In some cases we can’t give them a decision on that day, for a variety of reason, but we will definitely let everyone know before the first of May. We don’t want anyone to have to pay an entry fee for another sales company due to us.
Do some horses demand a second inspection and if so why?
Due to the time constraints, most of the time, we really can’t get a second look. That is why, as I mentioned earlier, it’s best to have your horse looking as good as possible. There are cases when a second look is necessary. Most of the time it is due to an injury and the owner asks us to come back. Depending on location, we do try to accommodate them.
In your experience what basic characteristics makes for a better sale horse from a physical standpoint?
To me the most important characteristic is overall balance. A horse that has some stretch, and leg. A good length to the neck and shoulder are really important. A nice square hip, with a hind leg that doesn’t have too much bend or not too far behind the point of the hip. Unfortunately as inspectors we have to pick apart the overall conformation of the legs, because that’s what the market place demands, but if you see a horse that has real good balance, and looks like an athlete, you usually don’t go wrong accepting them.
Are you looking for certain sire lines our do all physical stand outs generally make the grade?
Of course pedigree matters but, within reason, the physical is the most important thing we look for. We have prided ourselves in selecting the best physical horses over the years, and it has served us very well. That’s why you see a very high percentage of Fasig-Tipton graduates, from all our sales; do so well at the races.
I’ve heard for years how people think if their horse is accepted into a “saratoga” sale it will automatically make the price go up and if it is not accepted then it’s a big disappointment; name calling, blame game, road rage, etc, etc. Does the sale make the horse or does the horse make the sale?
That’s an easy question to answer. The horse makes the sale. I don’t care where you have a sale, if you don’t have the horses it just doesn’t work. Believe me, we don’t like to turn down horses, but we try and do the best we can to get the best possible horses that fit our various sales. The market today is very tough, and placing your horse in the right spot can make all the difference. In many cases Saratoga is not the right spot for a horse. It might be a very late foal, immature, and need more time. Horses change so much in a very short time, and the extra couple months can often determine your sales success.
Since you are looking at the outside of the horse and you like what you see that is not always “the end of the story” is it? Unfortunately these days the owners of the horses have to be prepared with what is on the inside of the horse having to provide repository x-rays and scope within 10 days of the sale date. When would you recommend a set of forecast X-rays taken so the owner has time to clean things up if need be for the upcoming sale?
Unfortunately you are right about not being “The End of the Story”. Vetting has become a big issue nowadays. It is a major factor in determining whether you get your horse sold, and I do recommend people check beforehand to see if anything needs cleaning up. I think you will find most people start doing the “forecast” X-rays and scope within the next couple of months. I would recommend talking to your individual veterinarians about when to do them. They have the experience, and know what the recuperation periods are for various procedures.
Again thanks for your time and I am sure the information you have provided will be helpful to many breeders and owners out there. Thanks for all the work you do to provide us with a great marketplace for our home grown product!
Watch for more helpful interviews and save the date for our next LIVE Educational Seminar on April 30 at the Fasig-Tipton pavilion! If you have any questions for Mr. Penny or comments, questions, feedback or suggestions for future dialogue, feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sarah Mace
Burning Sands Stable homebred Awesome Gent (Awesome Again) racked up his third straight victory over the Aqueduct inner oval and first stakes win when he came from just off the pace under Manny Franco to score a professional and decisive score in Sunday’s the six-furlong, $125,000 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes for 3-year-olds.
Unplaced as the favorite when unveiled by Todd Pletcher at Saratoga last summer, Awesome Gent returned to the races at Aqueduct on December 19, again as the bettors’ choice, to romp by eighth-plus lengths. Meeting winners for the first time a month later was not a problem. The bay gelding bested a short field with a frontrunning 6 1/4-length victory on January 15.
Sent off as 7-2 third choice on Sunday, Awesome Gent broke well from the three hole, but chose to wait in the wings in third position while longshot Moon Over a Beauty and 2-1 favorite and fellow Pletcher-trainee Sudden Surprise, who charged out of the gate to his inside, dueled up front, clocking a sizzling quarter mile in 22.17 and half in 45.64.
Coming under a drive midway into the far turn, Awesome Gent advanced onto even terms with the leaders and angled out four wide for the drive.
The gelding took over with three-sixteenths left to go and cruised to the wire unopposed. He won by four lengths over Quijote, who split horses in the stretch, and stopped the timer in a sharp final time of 1:10.60. King Kranz checked in third, followed across the line by Condo King, Moon Over a Beauty and Sudden Surprise. [VIDEO].
Jockey Manny Franco reported, “When I saw the two horses [Moon Over a Beauty and Sudden Surprise] fighting on the lead, I decided to sit [behind] and wait until the quarter-pole to make my move. He responded really good. He’s a nice horse and he has speed too, but he does whatever you want him to.”
Pletcher assistant Byron Hughes added, “I thought Manny did a great job, broke sharp and sat outside the pace and took over the top of the stretch and drew off it was very impressive. He’s been here all winter long and it’s been great to have him in the barn. Hopefully his success over the inner continues to the outer track.”
Franco also observed, “I think [he could go longer], Todd [Pletcher] has done such a good job with him. He’s a really nice one.”
Awesome Gent, who has earned $142,492 from his three wins, is one of seven winners out of Pawnee Patti, an Arkansas-bred stakes-placed six figure earner by Sir Richard Lewis. She is the dam of Arkansas-bred Comedero by Posse, who won ten stakes races, headed by the Grade 3 Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico, and earned $675,814. The mare currently has a 2-year-old filly by Pomeroy, who is a registered New York-bred, and was bred to San Pablo last year.
This week in From the Horse’s Mouth, we will be hearing from Alan Porter who has been professionally involved with Thoroughbreds for over 40 years. He has authored racing and breeding analyses for almost four decades, and has been planning matings for over 30 years.
After several years working on a stallion farm in England, Alan turned to journalism, joining Stud & Stable (later Pacemaker), a journal on which Alan worked as Deputy Editor. He then served an eight-year term as advisor for Mr. & Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone’s Catoctin Farm and Gilltown Studs before becoming a freelance pedigree adviser and journalist initially working from Long Island, N.Y., but now from Florence, Oregon.
Over the years, Alan has written regular columns for Daily Racing Form, Thoroughbred Daily News, Pacemaker, Kieba Book, The Australian Bloodhorse Review, Bluebloods, The Blood-Horse, The International Racehhorse, as well as contributing to numerous other publications in Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and North America.
Alan has also authored three books on racing including Patterns of Greatness and Patterns of Greatness II – The Americans (co-written with Anne Peters) and is now publisher of Owner-Breeder International. A speaker at numerous seminars and conferences around the world, Alan has also provided pedigree commentary on camera for Fox Sports Network and for New York Times Television.
Alan Porter has consulted on breedings that have resulted in more than 300 stakes winners to date. They include at least four Eclipse Award winners, the winners of at least seven Breeders’ Cup events, as well as races like the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Melbourne Cup (twice), Golden Slipper, French Derby, etc., as well as New York-breds that won in top-class company like Friends Lake, Artemis Agotera and Samraat, They include other champions and classic winners in Canada, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates, and group and grade I winners in at least 14 different countries. Matings planned for current runners include Mohaymen, Gun Runner and Zulu, who are all on the Triple Crown trail this year, and recent grade one winner Luke’s Alley.
He currently advises leading breeders and owners in the U.S., Europe, and Australia as owner of Pedigree Consultants LLC. He is also a partner in TrueNicks and Performance Genetics LLC.
Alan has been an owner and breeder in both England the U.S., and also owns an off-track Thoroughbred riding horse.
How important is it to do pedigree research when choosing a stallion for your mare?
After 40+ years of studying pedigrees, and 30 years of planning matings, I’m obviously going to be biased, but simple logic dictates that the choice of the stallion dictates the range of possibilities. It doesn’t take very long looking at pedigrees to see that historically there have been some combinations that have considerably outperformed opportunity, and some have done far worse.
These days A++ knicks are all the rage, seems simplistic to me, is it that easy? Choose a stallion, plug in your mare and out comes the magic combo? Genetics is a bit more involved no?
The information available from nicking programs is useful data. I was involved in the creation of the TrueNicks program (and am still a partner in the company), which is unique as it looks at sire/broodmare or sireline/broodmare sireline crosses taking into opportunity, both numerically and in terms of the class of the horses.
As far as mating plans are concerned, I run a TrueNicks Broodmare Analysis Plus Report or True Nicks Key Ancestor Report, which considers the whole pedigree. Both give a five cross pedigree of the mare, and a lot more data, including the top horses bred on the cross, their sires and dams, and the standard of their best win, information on colts and fillies on cross, and distance and surface information.
You do generally want to avoid a cross that has been tried a lot with representative sires and mares, and produced very little. There is, however, a lot else to consider from the pedigree/aptitude standpoint. I look inbreeding and linebreeding patterns created, taking into account whether the sire or the dam themselves are inbred or outcrossed. We have to consider what you are trying to breed: for example if you are breeding in the New York-bred program, and at maybe the mid-level, you have to think about what opportunities are going to be available if you end up with perhaps a middle-distance turf horse who isn’t top-class. On the other hand, if you had a graded stakes winning turf mare, you might be quite happy to go to a Kitten’s Joy type stallion. For the commercial breeder there are other considerations, often concerned with timing, and the kind of mares a stallion might have been covering for the crops of that are going to be racing when you have a sales horse.
Now, we’ve moved a little away from the genetics aspect of the mating. As a general rule, however, the sire lines offer an import guide as that is where the highest quality tends to reside – a stallion usually doesn’t get to go to stud unless his performance level (and therefore his genetics) are high-quality.
That said there are cases where we would look past the nick. A horse like More Than Ready, tends to be more of his “own man” than being a “Halo line stallion” and we recently recommend a “D” nick mating for him, where Halo in general had been bad, but More Than Ready, for reasons we could see, had worked. You also get cases where a male-line changes course. Super Saver is by Maria’s Mon, but his dam is a Seattle Slew/Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer cross, and where Maria’s Mon was disappointing with Mr. Prospector, Super Saver’s done well with Mr. Prospector, particularly combined with Seattle Slew or Northern Dancer. I’m expecting Super Saver’s son, Competitive Edge, to work well with Storm Cat, who wasn’t a huge nick for Super Saver.
We shouldn’t overlook too, that the female line is a unique genetic factor in the mating. The mitochondrial DNA, which are vital to the energy systems used in exercise, are inherited through the direct female line from mother to daughter. For optimal impact, however, the mitochondrial DNA has to combine with the right nuclear DNA, which is why we see certain female lines work well with certain stallions or sire lines, so it is worth paying careful attention to the strains that are present in the sires of the best runners from the family.
To give a couple of practical examples where “thinking outside the nick” has paid off for me: we recommended Storm Cat mares for Quality Road, even though it wasn’t a good nick, and we came up with grade one winner Hootenanny and graded winner Blofeld on the cross, both from out matings. Similarly, we recommend the mating for Mohaymen, who by Tapit out of a Dixie Union mare, and is currently on of the Kentucky Derby favorites. He wasn’t a mega-nick (A.P. Indy/Dixieland Band), but Dixie Union had done well over A.P. Indy mares, and we loved the linebreeding and inbreeding.
I’d argue that picking a mare for a stallion is a complex business, and when you consider that even if you if you had the mare and the season for free, it’s still going to cost maybe $15,000 to get to a yearling sale, or twice that to get to the track, that it’s well worth paying $400-$500 to get that initial choice right!
How important is it to actually go look at the Stallions and watch them move and walk?
You definitely need to know what the stallion is like, particularly in terms of avoiding faults that are in the mare. It also helps to see as many of the offspring of the stallion as possible to see whether he is passing on certain traits or not.
It helps to also know what your mare’s history and what she has thrown being bred to other stallions?
Yes, as sometimes a mare will dominate her mates for certain characteristics. If you know that she has consistently thrown a foal that is, say, correct in front, then you might be prepared to risk her with a stallion who is not perfect in that regard.
Sometimes the older guys just don’t look the part anymore will that affect their ability to continue to sire high class runners?
We have done some studies, and there is no doubt that a stallion’s performance declines with age, even when they are super-elite stallions, and covering top books of mares. Even Storm Cat and Sadler’s Wells were not immune.
I used to think that whatever the age the DNA the genes that are transmitted were the same, so there was no logical reason for performance to decline with age. I’m involved with a company called Performance Genetics, and I’ve learned quiet a lot since we’ve been studying equine DNA. There is a process called “methylation” that impact gene expression, so the same genes are present but those that are expressed might change. It’s been suggested as a factor in the increased incidence in autism with increased age of the father. It explains why you can get a perfectly viable horse – it’s got a head, four-legs and a tail – but it’s not as good an athlete, as the expression of certain genes is altered. There are some older high-level stallions out there now, that are still getting stakes winners, and graded winners, but the supply of grade one winners has dried up. You’ll also see the really good horses that make it from a low stud fee, have to be very good to continue to match their early crops even with better mares.
I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule, and the general health and vitality of the stallion is probably a useful indicator, but age does catch up with all of them eventually, even if they remain commercially viable enough to attract good mares.
I always hear people say that they want to put size into their foal so because they have a small mare to breed it to a large stallion, that’s not always the case is it?
You certainly don’t want to radical a contrast, and you wouldn’t want to breed a small mare to a large stallion for her first foal! What’s surprising is that tall stallions often work with mares by taller broodmare sires: I’m thinking of things like Unbridled’s Song with Nijinsky II; Pleasant Colony with Nijinsky II; Dynaformer with Unbridled’s Song, which you wouldn’t expect. I do think you want somewhat similar proportions. Overall, I’d say, if you are trying to change something, size, type, distance, aim to slightly modify, rather than go for the opposite, even if takes more than a generation to get where you want to go.
You and I have known each other for many years and many times you’ve suggested matings that were not an A or A+++ but sometimes an interesting combination of blood that came out a B so why should I do that when everybody wants the perfect mating?
It depends how you define the perfect mating! I’d say that we are aiming – generally – for the mating that gives us the best chance of a desirable outcome given the resources available. There are a number of criteria that should be considered, the success of the sireline/broodmare sire line cross is only one. It’s an important one to be sure, but has probably received disproportion weight, since it is one that appears easily quantifiable. The best possible mating will usually – but not always – have a positive nick rating, but when all factors are considered that mating could easily be one that is a TrueNicks “B” rather than “A”
Holy Crap there is an increased number of stallion prospects being retired lately. What with all the incentive programs and free nominations along with the stallion season auctions. Realistically what percentage of colts sent to the shed each year really do end up as established commercial and Gr 1 producing stallions?
Would you say you’d have to weed through a lot more chaf before you get to the fruit these days in looking for a legitimate Stallion Prospect?
Well, there aren’t as many stallions being retired from the track as in “the old days,” but there are more than any time since the crash in 2008.
Stallion selection is certainly not easy. As we’ve said there tends to be a decline with age. On the other hand, I think it’s very nearly impossible to predict stallion performance from race-record and pedigree. Once a stallion is good enough to be a mainstream commercial stallion – say a good grade two winner in Kentucky – then there isn’t a lot of correlation between performance and success. We can look at four sons of Pulpi – Tapit, Sky Mesa, Corinthian and Purge – all grade one winners with successful stallions close up in their families (although we think the concept of stallion family is another myth). Tapit, admittedly with a career cut short by illness, ran the lowest Beyer Speedfigure of the three. Corinthian, who retired to the same farm at a higher stud fee, and was from the family of Sadler’s Wells and Nureyev, was a complete bust. Then you have a horse like the prematurely deceased Lawyer Ron, who is by a solid blue-collar sire – Langfuhr – from a very weak female line, who did a tremendous job from the two crops he had. Horses like Indian Charlie, Tiznow and Midnight Lute, didn’t have fashionable pedigrees, but have made it.
So, you have unproven stallions that really are a shot in the dark (are they Tapit or Corinthian?) and older sires that are likely to fade as they age. In between that we have the proven sires. That’s fine if you can go to a Tapit, for example, who is not only proven as a top-class sire, but has several very well-bred crops to run, but many more worthwhile stallions tend to be somewhat up and down, simply because of the inconsistent quality of their books. The pattern is often that a stallion goes to stud, has a big first book, and then the quality of his mares declines steadily over the next few years – unless has a major impact with his first weanlings or yearlings – his books won’t really improve again unless his runners hit. So a horse that retired in 2010, had foals of 2011, but didn’t break out until his runners were three, in 2014, might then get a big book of mares in 2015, for foals of 2016, and three-year-olds of 2019. In between those those crops, however, he might go very quiet, as he wasn’t covering great books of mares. In those situations, stud fees, yearling prices and racetrack activity can get quite a way out of sync. So a stallion can have his best bred crops at the sales during a period where his runners are from his weakest books of mares. There is a lot to keep straight when judging these horses, and whether they are value at a specific point!
In the old days when we both started in the business Lasix was not allowed on racetracks on the NYRA circuit. At that time I was a stallion seasons broker and many of my clients would not breed to stallions that ran out side of NY because of a belief that a horse running on Lasix had a weakness that would be passed on genetically. In the previous answer you indicated that stallions in England and Ireland are medication free. Have the effects of medication have any affect on the performance level of the offspring of a stallion who ran on medication, and more directly queried from a bio-medical standpoint, have you seen evidence that the proliferation of medication has weakened the breed in the US?
Interesting question! Funnily enough about 95% of the breed goes back in male-line to an English horse called Bartlett’s Childers, whose nickname was “Bleeding Childers.” He was a foal of 1716, and another very influential stallion, Hermit, the winner of the 1867 Epsom Derby was also a bleeder, so it’s not a new problem.
You do tend to hear much less about horses bleeding in Europe, although it does happen. We never heard anything in Europe about American horses bleeding more often back in the days that there were a lot of U.S. breds imported.
That said, since there is a genetic element involved, you would think that if anti-bleeding remedies are not available, really bad bleeders at least, would be less likely to go to stud, and reproduce.
I’m going to hazard a guess that to some degree, however, if there really is a higher degree of bleeding in the U.S., it’s influenced by a couple of factors. One is dust, which is very prevalent in the shedrow system. The other is dirt racing which sees horses go out quickly and “die” rather than run in the “cruise and kick” style of European racing. If you’ve ever been running in a track race and gone out too fast, you’ll know that doing so places a lot more stress on the system. Of course, there is an incentive to observe any level of bleeding in the U.S., as that gives permission to run on Lasix, which is generally accepted to be performance enhancer.
In general medication might be a contributory factor in horses running less often, as they run harder and take more out of themselves, and there is also a dehydration factor with Lasix. At the higher end, I think you also have to look to the compression of the breed. I’d suggest that the best horses aren’t any better than 40-50 years ago, whereas the best horses from the 1970s where almost certainly faster than in the 1930s. In the meantime, the average horse has improved, so the best horses are in general not so removed from the next level. So where a Citation could run in a smaller race the week before the Derby, and have nothing more than a exercise gallop, you would find much stiffer competition if you tried that now. If you look at distance running in athletics, you see that the weekend warriors or club runners might run a race almost every weekend, but you don’t see Olympic or World Championship hopefuls doing that: they race sparingly and careful prep to be right on the big day. So, unlike the era of the great handicap horse, when runners like Stymie, Assault, Armed and Gallorette, modern elite horses are prepped like elite athletes, raced sparingly, with two, or at most three starts in the spring going into the Derby. By the way, while we tend to think of the horses of yesteryear being sounder, that wasn’t always the case. Native Dancer had ankle problems most of his career; Bold Ruler battled unsoundness throughout his time in training; and Citation missed a whole season at four!
Perhaps the biggest problem with medication, is perception. It definitely negatively impacts the export value of the U.S. thoroughbred, and it gives the casual sports fan the impression that horses are “drugged” to make them run better. Perhaps a pragmatic solution is that medication is not allowed at the higher level, say graded stakes, while it is available for horses running at the bread-and-butter level?
Are they stricter overseas with retiring horses then we are stateside?
There isn’t really much need for restrictions in England and Ireland, as the domestic product runs medication free, and the quality of the European thoroughbred is at a level where England and Ireland don’t look to import stallion prospects. In Germany, stallions that have raced on medication are not recognized by the Breeding Commission, and they have to be evaluated on performance, and physical aspects. In fact a few years back, a German Derby winner nearly didn’t make it on conformation.
In England and Ireland there are a few big outfits that really dominate the landscape. France is interesting as it went through a quiet spell, but has had some breakout stallions that weren’t commercially obvious, but got great support from their owners like Le Havre and Kendargent. They also have a very hot young stallion – Siyouni, by the Nureyev line horse Pivotal – owned by the Aga Khan.
Thank you Alan for your time and knowledge. Watch for more helpful interviews and save the date for our next LIVE Educational Seminar on April 30 at the Fasig-Tipton pavilion! If you have any questions for Mr. Porter or comments, questions, feedback or suggestions for future dialogue, feel free to email them to email@example.com. — Tom Gallo
A pair of fillies, one by Harlan’s Holiday and the other from the first crop of New York sire Mission Impazible, topped the New York-bred offerings at the 2016 edition of the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale, which kicked off the juvenile auction season at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday.
The topper arrived early in the session, when John McCormack went to $300,000 to buy Hip 16, a dark bay or brown February filly by Harlan’s Holiday offered by Eddie Woods Agent XXI who posted a 10.2 quarter in the under tack show.
Bred by a partnership of John P Hicks, William D Hart, Dr. Jerry Bilinski and John Murdza, the sale filly is the first foal out of the unplaced, but well-connected Hard Hat (Hard Spun), a half sister to Grade 1-winner, millionaire and sire Albert the Great, and to stakes winners Watch the Bird and Sheer Bliss. The filly sold last year to MJ Stable for $130,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky summer yearling sale.
Nearly matching the New York-bred topper when hammered down for $290,000 later in the session was Hip 77, a grey/roan filly from the first crop of Mission Impazible named Miss Haily. The filly, who shared a 10 flat bullet work with nine others in the under tack show, was purchased by Justin Casse, agent, from the consignment of Crane Thoroughbreds, agent.
Bred by Tracy Egan, the Mission Impazible filly is out of Rodeo’sbeenspotted, a winning daughter of Rodeo and half sister to stakes winner Message Red who has produced two winners so far. The dam is from the family of graded stakes winner Le Mi Geaux and graded stakes performer Lady Samuri. A pinhooking coup, the filly was purchased by Harry Weisleder at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale for $40,000 last summer.
In all, four of the five New York-breds offered in the Florida sale sold for an average of $222,500. The single horse that did not sell (Hip 104 Malibu Moon/Tulipmania) RNA’d for a whopping $485,000
By Sarah Mace
Converge took a huge step forward in his first start of 2016 with the assist of a nifty ride by Javier Castellano when he won the Grade 3, $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile turf contest for 3-year-olds on the Fountain of Youth undercard at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
A 3-year-old son of Sidney’s Candy owned by Paul Pompa Jr., and destined to become his sire’s first stakes winner, Converge came into the Palm Beach off a four-month vacation following a two-race freshman campaign for trainer Chad Brown. Winner of his career bow in state-bred company at Belmont in September, the colt ran a strong late-closing second in the Awad Stakes on October 30 for which he earned a Beyer of 77.
Many contenders in the robust 13-horse field of the Palm Beach had posted numbers in the mid-80s, and most had a seasoning and recency edge over the lightly-raced Converge. Clearly he was going to have to take a big step forward to make a serious impact in the outcome of the race.
With little gate speed and an unenviable outside draw in post 11 of 13, Converge tucked in after the break and was guided over to the rail. Meanwhile American Phantom led the group clocking strong fractions of 23.11 and 47.27 at staggering odds of 168-1.
Converge had only one horse beaten through the first turn, saved ground just off the rail along the backstretch, and advanced closer into contention entering far turn, coming out one path as he prepared to launch his bid.
Between and among horses in upper- and mid-stretch with four rivals still to pass, Converge angled back in under Castellano in the final furlong to take advantage of a late-opening seam. The colt split horses and surged forward to win by three-quarters of a length.
His final time for 8 1/2 furlongs was a sharp 1:40.64 for which he earned a career-high Beyer Speed figure of 88.
Bet down to narrow favoritism from his 8-1 morning line, Converge paid $7.80 for a $2 win bet. Giant Run (9-1) raced evenly throughout and led briefly in the stretch to finish second, nosing out Ousby (11-1) for third.
Chad Brown said, “We knew this horse doesn’t have any early speed and he [Javier Castellano] would have to tuck him in off the break. We just said, ‘Take your chances and try to find someone live to follow on the inside.’ On this turf course, if you can work your way up and get within striking distance turning for home, it’s ideal. Javier just rode a masterful race and he had the horse beneath him to do it. He’s a real quality horse.”
Castellano added, “I had a beautiful trip. I have to give Mr. Brown credit. I rode the horse the way he wanted to do it. It was the first time I rode the horse I never was on the horse before. The horse ran a beautiful race.”
Brown indicated that he is aiming mostly for a summer turf campaign with Converge following this single Gulfstream start and will pick his next race in due course.
The Empire-bred topper of the second book of Keeneland’s 2014 yearling sale when hammered down to Xavier International Bloodstock, Agent for $240,000, Converge was bred by SF Racing and foaled at Vinery New York at Sugar Maple in Poughquag.
A May foal, he is out of Atlantic Ocean, a multiple graded stakes-winning Florida-bred daughter of Stormy Atlantic who won the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes at two and the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes at three. She enjoyed stakes success on both turf and dirt over three seasons of racing and earned $678,210.
Atlantic Ocean, who was purchased by Gavin Murphy and Neil Bowden’s SF Bloodstock at the 2010 Keeneland November sale for $230,000, has produced four winners from four foals to start including stakes placed Golden Galleon by Medaglia d’Oro.
By Evan Hammonds courtesy Bloodhorse.com
Drs. Bill Wilmot and Joan Taylor of Stepwise Farm near Saratoga Springs reported the death of Naughty Natisha Feb. 24.
The 22-year-old mare is the dam of 2007 New York-bred Horse of the Year Naughty New Yorker and the stakes-winning Pupil, and was herself voted Champion New York Broodmare in 2007. The mare was found Wednesday morning in her paddock.
“She was my favorite broodmare,” Taylor said. “She’s 22 and since her first foal, she’s done everything right.”
“She had been a great broodmare for us,” Wilmot said. “She was such a cool horse. She was demure and self-contained. Nothing excited her. She set the tone for our broodmare band. She had all those little things.”
Naughty New Yorker won 11 stakes and earned $1,089,884. He won the Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) in 2006 and placed in four other graded stakes, including the 2007 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I).
Naughty Natisha, by Known Fact—Noble Natisha, by Noble Commander, was bred in Kentucky by John A. Chandler and Garrett O’Rourke. She was winless in seven starts on the racetrack. Stepwise Farm purchased her for $150,000, carrying Pupil (by Unbridled), at the 1998 Keeneland November sale.
Wilmot and Taylor are eagerly awaiting the debut of Naughty Natisha’s 2014 Tapizar colt (named Carthon), for whom they have high hopes.
By Ron Mitchell, courtesy BloodHorse.com
Breeding/Auction Notes below by Sarah Mace
Moanin, a New York-bred son of Henny Hughes, unleashed a quick turn of foot at the top of the stretch and continued his momentum for a 1 1/4-length victory in the February Stakes (Jpn-I) at Tokyo Racecourse Feb. 21.
Sent off as the second choice from post position 14 in the 16-horse field, Moanin was ridden by Mirco Demuro in track-record time of 1:34 for the mile on a muddy main track. Moanin tracked the early pace from fourth and fifth until the final turn and was briefly checked at the top of the stretch before unleashing a powerful kick to defeat favored Nokono Yume, who also closed in the lane.
Trained by Sei Ishizaka, Moanin has won six of seven starts, with one third in the Negeshi Stakes (Jpn-III) at Tokyo Racecourse Jan. 31.
“I was aware of his strength and had every confidence in him so I`m truly happy we were able to win,” Demuro said. “The trainer warned me of his bad breaks, but he actually made a good spurt and after we were positioned well, I knew the title was ours. I’m glad that he stretched well in spite of losing concentration a bit after taking the lead rather early in the straight.”
Four-year-old Moanin is owned by Yukio Baba.
The winner was the only non-Japanese-bred runner in the February Stakes, one of 15 graded races on dirt this year in Japan.
The top New York-bred juvenile offering at the OBS March Selected Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training sale, Moanin was purchased by Narvick International, Agent, from the consignment of Eddie Woods, Agent IX, after working a sharp eighth of a mile in :10 flat.
A pinhooking success story, the April colt was purchased as a yearling by Pete Bradley’s Bradley Thoroughbreds for $90,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Preferred New York-bred sale in Saratoga last summer. Woods reported before the sale, “He’s a lovely colt. He’s been popular.”
Bred by Empire Equines, LLC and foaled at Vinery New York at Sugar Maple in Poughquag, the colt is out of Giggly, an unraced Kentucky-bred daughter of Distorted Humor whose first registered foal, and only foal to start to date, is placed in Japan. His second dam is graded stakes placed, and fourth dam is 1981 Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan winner Dame Mysterieuse (Bold Forbes).
By Sarah Mace
Owner Michael Dubb, trainer Rudy Rodriguez and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. were having a good day at Aqueduct on Sunday by any measure when they sent out Court Dancer to victory the Broadway Stakes in the fifth race.
Three races later the day became twice as nice when the trio’s 4-year-old Good Luck Gus (Lookin At Lucky) got up just in time to win the inaugural running of the co-featured $100,000 Haynesfield Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. As icing on the cake, Royal Posse, also going out for Dubb and Rodriguez, ran second in the race under Junior Alvarado.
Good Luck Gus came into the Haynesfield no stranger to black type victories. Fed on a steady diet of stakes races ever since he broke his maiden at Saratoga in the slop second out on July 28, 2014, the colt won the New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes and Damon Runyon Stakes as a juvenile, and the Albany Stakes at Saratoga as a sophomore.
After breaking cleanly from the outside post of six, Good Luck Gus settled in at the rail and saved ground through the first turn at the rear of the field, while Fox Rules set the pace, clocking the first half mile in 47.88. Eye Luv Lulu pressed in second.
Coming under encouragement entering the far turn and coming off the rail, Good Luck Gus advanced into fourth rounding the bend and launched his bid on the grandstand side.
In upper stretch the early frontrunners began to throw in the towel and Royal Posse, who had traveled in fourth, then third along the backstretch, advanced to poke a head in front of Fox Rules with three-sixteenths to go. Meanwhile Good Luck Gus continued his four wide charge and Ostrolenka launched a strong bid at the rail.
Still with a neck to make up on Royal Posse in the final sixteenth, Good Luck Gus lengthened his stride and overhauled his stablemate to garner the victory by a neck.
Ostrolenka finished third 1 1/4 lengths behind Royal Posse. They were followed across the line by Full of Mine, Fox Rules and Eye Luv Lulu. After a mile in 1:37.24, the final time for race was 1:43.76. Second choice in the betting, Good Luck Gus paid $7.90 to win. [VIDEO]
Ortiz said, “Both Royal Posse and [Good Luck Gus] were doing really well. In these kinds of races, anyone can win. My horse showed up at the end. Both of them ran a good race. They fought, and thank God, my horse won the race.”
Rudy Rodriguez said, “I told Irad after the last time he ran to warm him [Good Luck Gus] up good and hopefully we can be closer to the pace. The last time he ran we were a little bit more far back, but both of our horses ran big races so we’re very proud of both of them.”
The conditioner added, “Today’s win is extra special because Good Luck Gus is named after my brother and assistant [Gustavo]. We told Mr. Dubb we liked him when he first came to us and he picked out the name so I guess it’s worked and it’s a good name for him.
Michael Dubb who is the sole owner of Court Dancer, owns Good Luck Gus in partnership with Bethlehem Stables LLC and The Elkstone Group LLC. Dubb purchased the colt for $97,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton preferred yearling sale from the Taylor Made consignment.
Bred by Fred W. Hertrich III and foaled at Majestic View Farms in Gardiner, Good Luck Gus is one of two winners out of Tacticmove, a daughter of Deputy Minister out of multiple Grade 1 winner Strategic Maneuver. The mare, who also is a half-sister to Group 3 turf winner Ishiguru (Ireland) and Grade 2 dirt route winner Cat Fighter, was purchased by Hertrich at the 2011 Keeneland November sale for $35,000 and has since been resold.
By Sarah Mace
Sprinter Court Dancer (War Chant), a Saratoga debut maiden breaker in 2013 for trainer George Weaver, and claimed last October 25 for $40,000 by trainer Rudy Rodriguez for Michael Dubb when dead-heating for victory, became a stakes winner on Sunday at Aqueduct when she led every step of the way to win the $100,000 Broadway Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares.
Sharp out the gate from her rail post under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., Court Dancer assumed a comfortable one-length lead over Blithely in the early stages, carving out the first quarter mile in 24.06 and, quickening the pace in the next panel, clocking a half in 47.30.
Court Dancer was still in control at the top of the stretch, but the formidable veteran Willet was waiting in the wings, angling out four wide into the stretch to launch her bid.
Court Dancer kept to business. Even though Willet eroded her lead with every stride in the final furlong, Court Dancer dug in and reached the wire with a neck to spare in a final time of 1:10.79. Blithely stayed in the game to finish third, 2 1/2 lengths behind Willet. Completing the order of finish were Myfourchix, who made a middle move then faded, Make the Moment and Tricky Zippy. Favored in the wagering, Court Dancer paid $4.90 to win. [VIDEO]
Court Dancer who finished a close-up second in her first two starts for her new connections in conditioned state-bred allowance company, has now won six of 21 starts with four seconds and two thirds and earned $324,868. As a juvenile she finished second to Miss Narcissist in the Joseph A. Gimma.
Rodriguez said, “I have to give all the credit to [jockey] Irad [Ortiz]. The first quarter we looked pretty good and she finished strong. She seems to be peaking right about now and running well for us.”
Ortiz followed up, “She broke good and my filly went right along. I just tried to relax her and we were able to go a little slow so we could save something for the end. Looking at the race on paper, the fillies we faced today would run at the end and she was ready when I asked her. Rudy brought her into the race ready and when I hit her left [handed] she came back in the stretch.”
Sole owner Michael Dubb gave some insight into the reasons for claiming the 5-year-old mare. Said Dubb, “I drew a line through her performances [during the summer] when we claimed her. She had great inner-dirt track form and was a speed horse. It was the first time she dropping in a claimer and with the winter coming, it was an opportune time.”
Bred by Akindale Farm in Pawling where she was foaled, Court Dancer is one of five winners, and the first stakes winner out of Gosh All Get Out. A placed daughter of D’Accord bred by John Hettinger, Gosh All Get Out is a full sister to stakes winner Jay’s Crown and her winning dam Emiress (Damascus) is a full sister to multiple graded stakes winners Honorable Miss and Bail Jumper.
Court Dancer was originally purchased by Daniel Collins at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Preferred New York-bred yearling sale for $35,000.
By Sarah Mace
Haveyougoneaway (Congrats) posed for her second straight stakes win photo at the Oaklawn meet on Saturday after coming from off the pace to best odds-on favorite Thirteen Arrows by 2 3/4 lengths in the featured ’s $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes.
Cutting down marginally from six furlongs (the distance at which she won last month’s American Beauty by a neck win over Grade 2 winner Sarah Sis) to 5 1/2 panels, Haveyougoneaway allowed others to contest the top spot in the early stages, cruising comfortably in midpack among eight filly-and-mare rivals, all led by Thirteen Arrows.
Angling out five wide exiting the far turn, the 5-year-old mare found her best gear in the stretch and advanced into second. She overhauled the favorite in the final furlong with gusto and went on to win going away in a final time of 1:04.28.
Haveyougoneaway is trained by Allen Milligan for Champion Racing Stable and ridden regularly by Jareth Loveberry, who believes the mare is really coming into her own at age five.
Said Loveberry, “She’s getting a lot more confidence in herself. “Before, she was trying to make her move too early. Now, she’s just really confident with herself.”
Haveyougoneaway has won two stakes in her last three starts, with her lone loss during that time coming when fifth to Thirteen Arrows when she shipped in to contest the Zia Park Distaff in late November in New Mexico.
“Turns out she’s just not a shipper,” Milligan said earlier in the week. “You just can’t ship and run her. She kind of needs to be settled in and training where she’s running. She’s getting a hold of this racetrack [at Oaklawn] very good, and she’s getting a lot of confidence about what she’s doing.”
Haveyougoneaway’s career record stands at eight wins, two seconds and six thirds from 21 career starts with three stakes wins and four stakes placings. Her bankroll has climbed to a robust $372,425.
Bred by Andy and Susan Beadnell and foaled at Bead Land & Cattle Company in Pottersville, Haveyougoneaway is the most accomplished of two winners out of One Wise Cowgirl, an unraced New York-bred daughter of Wiseman’s Ferry also bred by the Beadnells.
A $50,000 weanling at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Mixed sale in 2011, the mare was brought $105,000 as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale. Champion Racing Stable, Inc. purchased Haveyougoneaway as a 2-year-old for a mere $1,200 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale.
By Sarah Mace
Untested in her first two races, which she won by a combined 9 3/4 lengths, Repole Stable homebred Clipthecouponannie (Uncle Mo) displayed a fierce will to win in her stakes debut on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack when she dug deep to outduel a game Frosty Margarita in deep stretch to take the $125,000 Franklin Square for 3-year-old New York-bred fillies.
Unveiled on the inner track by trainer Todd Pletcher on December 20 at 5 1/2 furlongs, the bay filly stalked and pounced to beat 11 rivals by 4 3/4 lengths. Scratched out of the Ruthless Stakes on January 17 and meeting winners for the first time on January 28 in a state-bred allowance / optional claiming race at six furlongs, she led from gate-to-wire to win by six lengths geared down in a final time of 1:12.19.
Reunited on Saturday with regular pilot Irad Ortiz, Jr. and slated to break from post one as the 1-2 favorite, Clipthecouponannie only faced three rivals after the scratches of Stones of Navarone and Absatootly, but a win would not be a walkover. Drawn just to her outside was the talented Wonderment, who was returning to the races undefeated after winning the Lynbrook Stakes at Belmont Park last July, and, in the outside slot, the formidable Frosty Margarita, looking for her fourth straight stakes victory.
Breaking in tandem with Wonderment, Clipthecouponannie soon gained control to lead by a half length after a first quarter mile in 22.94 and continued to lead through a half in 46 seconds flat. Meanwhile Frosty Margarita advanced on the outside from third to second.
Joined by a Frosty Margarita for the stretch drive, Clipthecouponannie had a serious challenge on her hands from the three-sixteenths marker to the wire.
The two battled hammer and tongs just heads apart until the shadow of the wire, when Clipthecouponannie lunged in the final strides to gain the victory by a half length in a final time of 1:11.15.
Wonderment tired to finish five more lengths back in third, followed across the line by outsider Red Atlantic. [VIDEO]
A happy Mike Repole said, “It’s the first time she was in a fight. [It’s different than] when you win by three, four, or five lengths, and you do it easy in a maiden and [allowance]. This Frosty Margarita is a really, really good horse; I think she’s got eight starts now, with five wins and three seconds. At the eighth pole, the best horse was going to win. Irad [Ortiz Jr.] said he had plenty of horse and thought he had it measured out and she went pretty impressively.”
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. added “[Clipthecouponannie] broke good and thank God she got a good trip. I left the No. 4 horse [Wonderment] by the turn, and after that I didn’t want to move too early.”
Ortiz, very familiar with both contenders, continued, “I waited for Frosty Margarita because I rode her and I know her well. I met her at the top of the stretch and knowing that filly and that she hangs a little bit and it’s a little hard to make her finish compared to Clipthecouponannie who I know can finish strong so I waited for her and made my run at the end. You can hit her [Frosty Margarita] and it’s hard to get her to respond. She doesn’t like it you have to do it little by little, so that’s why I took the chance to wait for her in the stretch and I knew when I asked Clipthecouponannie she would respond and finish strong.”
Pletcher assistant Byron Hughes said, “I thought she handled everything well. She’s a very easygoing filly and she outran a very nice filly. So all around, it was a really nice effort.”
Repole said he was interested in seeing Clipthecouponannie stretch out in her next start, which he projects will be the Grade 3 Gazelle at 1 1/8 miles over the Aqueduct main racing surface on April 9.
Foaled at Vinery Sugar Maple in Poughquag Clipthecouponannie is the first foal out of Mike Repole’s multiple stakes-winning New York-bred mare Lights Off Annie, who was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Powers and earned over $200,000.
Both Lights Off Annie and Clipthecouponannie are named for Repole’s mother, by way of a teasing reference to her frugal habits.
The mare has a 2-year-old colt by Stay Thirsty, a yearling colt by Overanalyze and was bred back to Uncle Mo last year.
This week in “Straight from the Horse’s Mouth,” we will be hearing from Mallory Mort, Farm Manager of Gallagher’s Stud in Ghent, NY. Mr. Mort came to Gallagher’s Stud in 1979, a year after graduating from Penn State with a BS in Animal Production. He is kind enough to give us his time and expertise regarding the best ways to keep your horses comfortable, happy and hydrated during the cold winter months.
“Mal as you know it’s been a bit of a wild winter, especially when you compare it to last year but we have had some pretty cold days and some frozen ground.”
Q. Impaction due to colic is always looming in the cold winter months and we know that colic is the number one non-infectious health risk in horses. What can we do to prevent colic in the winter?
A. Water and forage fiber (hay in the winter) are the two most important factors in equine digestive health. Most winter colics are caused by impaction (constipation) and the VAST majority of impaction colics in the winter are from dehydration – inadequate water intake. To highlight the importance of water intake, it is estimated that a horse could live for 20-25 days with adequate water and no feed but could only survive 3-6 days with no water and adequate feed. That is because of the high volume of water needed to keep feed (and later manure) moving through the horse’s nearly 100-foot long digestive tract. Even in winter, horses at rest need 7-12 gallons of water per day and, since they are naturally continuous grazers, they should have good quality hay available at all times. Alfalfa hay can act as a mild laxative and should be considered as part of a horse’s winter diet.
Q. Hydration for your horses is always tricky in the frigid temperatures. What are some tips to keeping our horses well hydrated in the winter?
A. It’s easy to say “make sure your horses have access to clean water at all times” but it can be more complicated than that with sub-freezing and even sub-zero temperatures in the winter. The most convenient way to assure continuous access to water is to install automatic waterers, but that is not always feasible. If you are watering with buckets or a stock tank, you should be using heated buckets or heaters designed for that use to ensure access to water at all times. As a safety note, be sure to shield all heaters and cords from your horses so as not to cause electrical shock or fire.
The Penn vet school did some studies in the mid-90’s that are still referenced by the AAEP and many publications. One of the findings was that horses whose water was heated to around 65 degrees drank 40% more water than horses given water at 32-38 degrees. That is a HUGE difference and more than enough reason to make sure your horses have heated water and don’t have to wait hours for someone to come break ice from their buckets.
Remember, ‘heated’ in this case does not mean ‘warm’. 65-degree water is not warm but it is considerably warmer than ice-water. Another interesting finding of their studies was that horses did most of their drinking within an hour of eating their grain or fresh hay and did 82% of their drinking within 3 hours of feeding. So if you are unable to assure full time access to water, you can maximize your horses’ intake by providing clean heated water shortly after feeding.
Horses should also have unlimited access to salt to help maximize their water intake. It is inexpensive and easily provided as a large or small block of plain salt (white) or trace mineralized salt (red).
Providing your horses with an unlimited supply of water (preferably heated), good quality hay (preferably with some alfalfa content), and salt should keep them hydrated and help avoid winter colic.
Q. What about mares’ water needs after foaling?
A. It is very important that postpartum mares drink some significant amount of water within an hour or so after foaling due to fluid loss from sweating, foaling, and probably not drinking for a period prior to foaling. Most mares, particularly older more experienced ones, after they’ve attended to their foal a bit will begin picking at some hay and have a drink of water. However, sometimes first-timers and mares who are completely consumed by caring for their foals, have no interest in drinking. You can try moving the foal near the mare’s water source to see if that might prompt her to drink. Otherwise you might consider giving your mare some electrolyte paste or some electrolyte powder mixed with feed. Observe your mare for urination as that could be an indication of her hydration level. Also observe her and her stall for the passing of manure. Most mares will pass a lot of manure prior to foaling so you may not see any for a while but you should see some by 8-12 hours post foaling and if not, you may want to consult your veterinarian.
It is debatable whether a hot bran mash is of any benefit as a laxative post foaling. Some research has shown it is not and in cases where wheat bran is not part of the horse’s normal diet it may cause a mild diarrhea by disrupting the microbial population of the gut. You may want to consult with your veterinarian about it.
Q. Should I add oil to my horses’ feed in the winter to keep things moving?
A. Vegetable oils are readily absorbed by horses and don’t pass far through the tract so they really don’t serve as a good digestive lubricant. Mineral oil is a good lubricant (which is why veterinarians use it to oil horses for transport, etc.) but most horses will not readily eat a significant amount in their feed. If you want to try feeding it, you should consult with your veterinarian about whether it is a viable or necessary option.
Q. Sometimes I see red or bright orange spots in the snow or shavings where my horse has urinated. Does this have anything to do with my horse being dehydrated or maybe another problem?
A. This is nothing to get alarmed about. Certain plant metabolites in a horse’s urine, after being exposed to the air for a while, mix with oxygen and turn a red, orange, or rust color. It is still a bit of a mystery why urine from some horses turns color and from others it does not. However, if you see red urine as it comes out of your horse, you should contact your veterinarian about it.
Thank you Mallory, Manager of one of the foremost thoroughbred operations in the country, Gallagher’s Stud. Watch for more helpful interviews and save the date for our next LIVE Educational Seminar on April 30 at the Fasig-Tipton pavilion! If you have any questions for Mr. Mort or comments, questions, feedback or suggestions for future dialogue, feel free to email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org — TG
By Sarah Mace
Cutting back in distance from a route to six furlongs, four-year-old Drama King kicked past five of seven rivals in the stretch to win his first career stakes victory in a contentious renewal of the $100,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes for older New York-breds, Aqueduct’s feature on a snowy President’s Day afternoon.
Trained by Rudy Rodriguez for Michael Dubb and partners Bethlehem Stables LLC, Michael Imperio and David Simon, the Nobiz Like Shobiz colt came into the Hollie Hughes looking to drive his 2016 record on the Aqueduct inner oval to a perfect two-for-two, and poised to win three straight going back to November 29. Bettors, confident that Drama King was sitting on a big race, hammered him down to 2-1 favoritism from his 10-1 morning line.
On or near the lead in his last two winning efforts, but “squeezed a little at the break,” according to jockey Junior Alvarado, Drama King sat off the pace in the early stages of the race, while the speedy Bond Vigilante, pressed by Marriedtothemusic, covered the first quarter mile in 22.70 and a half in 46.03.
Edging out into the two path midway on the turn, Drama King angled wide in upper stretch and came barreling down the center of the track, still in sixth.
The colt blew past four rivals in midstretch and collared new leader Eye Luv Lulu in the final stages, kicking clear to a 1 1/2-length victory in a final time of 1:10.89.
Eye Luv Lulu (10-1) finished second, while Between the Lines (9-2) edged Possessed for the show spot. Completing the order of finish were Bond Vigilante, West Hills Giant, Escape to the Moon and Marriedtothemusic. Ostrolenka, Towering Moon, and Crafty Dreamer were scratched. [VIDEO]
Alvarado described his tactics. “I knew the speed was probably going to go away from me [early],” said the pilot. “He broke good, I got squeezed a little at the break, and I just tried to settle a little bit. The only thing, actually, they told me was, ‘make sure when you’re turning for home that he’s in the clear on the outside. He won’t run much if he’s inside of horses.’ He was pretty much helping me the whole way. When I asked him at the three-eighths pole to get room and then move out, he was there for me. After that, turning for home, I knew he was going to get there.”
Part-owner Michael Imperio offered, “It was the perfect trip. The only instructions to Junior were to keep him outside turning for home because he doesn’t like to pass horses on the inside. I think coming out of the route race back to sprint they went a pretty fast :22 [seconds] and change, but he rode her perfect. He got him out in time and flying down the stretch.”
Drama King adds his sixth career win and first stakes victory to three seconds and two thirds, including a placing in last year’s Rego Park Stakes. He has earned $285,020 from 16 starts.
Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, the colt is one of two winners from two starters out of Winters Bell, a winning Iowa-bred daughter of Winter Glitter. Her first foal Mighty Zealous has earned over $170,000.
Drama King changed hands once at public auction, purchased by Lady Luck Stable for $13,000 in the 2014 OBS Open sale of Horses of Racing Age.
By Tom Gallo
Hello fellow New York Breeders. We have something new for you this week: A new section of our popular NYTB e-newsletter entitled “Straight from the Horse’s Mouth.” This series, also to be published on the NYTB website, will be short question and answer articles on subjects relevant and time-sensitive to all aspects of breeding and raising Thoroughbreds. We hope you will enjoy this new section and we plan to continue this series throughout the year.
Here’s to a productive and successful breeding season!
As always; have a Winning Day!!
This week we will be hearing from one of our NYTB Board members Mr. Wally Burleson General Manager of Sequel Stallions in Hudson NY.
Mr. Burleson is a third generation horseman and native Texan, with a long history of ranching and raising Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred Bloodstock. He and his brother literally grew up on the back of a horse either working the ranch or in an arena. This desire led him to study Equine Science at Tarleton State University and ultimately led him to Central Kentucky. He is kind enough to give us his time and expertise regarding the comings and goings of one of the premier breeding sheds in the state of New York, Sequel Stallions.
Of course to start off with we need a signed breeding contract for your mare, signed, sealed and delivered. Also, we will need a Mare Information Form, as well as the Breeding Shed Form provided with your contract on file or accompanying your mare. Your mare must have the proper identification for her visit to our breeding shed. A negative uterine culture for maiden, barren and second-trip foaling mares is required. Don’t forget, an up to date coggins (2016) is a must!
All this information and proper forms are on our website or available from our booking secretary. We can, and are happy to, assist with any and all of this other than your veterinarian’s certificate for a negative uterine culture which only they can provide. Be sure to check with the specific breeding shed you are visiting as these requirements may vary.
Without a doubt, we do treat maiden mares differently. This is a completely new experience for them. We always look out for the best interest of our crew, stallions, mares, and everyone involved in the breeding process. Maidens are required to have the proper paperwork and identification, as well as a negative uterine culture. They must also be jumped prior to their visit to the breeding shed. We are obviously going to jump them ourselves to see how receptive the mare is for the safety of our stallions and all involved. Some farms may not have a teaser and aren’t able to jump them prior to their visit and that’s okay, however communication is crucial. Please let the stallion manager know one way or the other.
So long as she is presented with proper identification (name plate on halter, name plate on neck strap), it’s not a problem. When they show up without proper identification for whatever reason we need a current Coggins to confirm markings and a tattoo if applicable. We also get confirmation from owners or agents. If this information is not available, then unfortunately, we can not breed the mare.
To each is own, here everyone has their own theory. Personally I would not; mares are quieter when they are away from their foals and it’s safer for all. Every circumstance is different and many breeders travel a long way; therefore, we will accommodate however necessary. However, if they show up with their foal, we unload the mare and send the van driver down the road for coffee with the foal. This will allow the mare to settle and focus on what’s ahead. We then give the driver a call when the mare has been covered to return and pick the mare up.
Early is always better in order for us to accommodate everyone the best we can. Getting your mare on the stallion’s book early in her cycle (heat period) makes it easier to accommodate everyone. It’s in everyone’s best interest to get the mares covered when they need to be bred so they have the best opportunity to get in foal and not have to return. Obviously, Mother Nature plays a role in this and the mares themselves don’t always read the book so to speak in terms of their cycles etc.! So if you can’t book early, do the best you can and we will do our best to accommodate you.
It’s important because these stallions have scheduled breedings multiple times a day. If one mare arrives late it pushes everything back for that stallion for the rest of the day. Stallions need a few hours rest between breedings. Everyone does the best they can and uncontrollable circumstances do happen. That’s all well and fine as long as there is communication; then we can all adjust accordingly.
That is debatable and depends on your veterinarian. The way we check and set up our mares on the farm, I’m good for whatever time slot I get on the preferred day. Of course as stated earlier, there are circumstances where a mare may dictate differently and we adjust accordingly.
We love to know when their mare is pronounced in foal; those are the best calls versus calling for a return visit, which in this business happens to all of us. They don’t have to call every time they ultrasound their mare, just when they can give us the mare’s status.
Do your homework when making decisions with boarding farms and veterinarians. It’s a team effort between all. Everyone’s goal should be to get live healthy foals on the ground, raise them to be healthy and athletic, and get mares bred back and in foal to top New York sires in a timely fashion.
Personally, I really don’t have any major peeves. I guess one is when new owners are not well-informed and may not know the drill. They should speak with those that are more seasoned and experienced, and have been doing this for a while. So long as there is good communication, honesty, and integrity it generally works out.
To hear their appreciation and gratitude for any assistance provided that helped them achieve their goals whether on the farm, racetrack, or in the sales arena.
Thank you, Wally for this helpful information. I am sure people will use these tips to be better prepared and have a positive all-around breeding experience thanks to your insight and candor.
Watch for more helpful interviews and save the date for our next LIVE Educational Seminar on April 30 at the Fasig-Tipton pavilion!
If you have any questions for Mr. Burleson or comments, questions, feedback or suggestions for future dialogue, feel free to email them to: email@example.com — TG