NEWS: breeding

Leading NY sire Bluegrass Cat to Ballena Vista Farm in CA

Friday, October 10th, 2014
(Edited press release)

Bluegrass Cat, New York’s leading sire by winners and earnings since moving New York in 2012, will relocate from Rockridge Stud to Donald L. and Karen Cohn’s Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, CA for the 2015 breeding season. Ballena Vista Farm acquired the Grade 1 winner in conjunction with WinStar Farm.

As a racehorse, Bluegrass Cat earned over $1.7 million for his owner-breeder WinStar Farm. He was a multiple Grade 2 stakes winner at two and the winner of the Grade 1 Haskell at three and placed second in the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes before retiring to stud at WinStar Farm in 2007.

With first-crop earnings of $1.4 million in 2010, Bluegrass Cat ranked second among North America’s freshman sires ahead of Bernardini and War Front, and was the number two second-crop sire of 2011 with over $3.4 million in earnings. His progeny earnings topped $4.7 million in 2012 and surpassed $5.4 million in 2013.

Currently Bluegrass Cat has progeny earnings of $4.4 million with five stakes winners in 2014 including this summer’s W. L. Proctor Memorial winner Story to Tell ($118,850) and additional stakes-winning juveniles in Canada and Maryland. His five crops to race have produced six graded winners, 22 stakes winners and 55 stakes horses. On the horizon Bluegrass Cat has 100 plus current two-year-olds, and well over 200 foals from his next three crops.

A foal of 2003, Bluegrass Cat is by Storm Cat out of A. P. Indy’s multiple graded stakes producer She’s a Winner, a full sister to the dam of WinStar’s Kentucky Derby winner and freshman sire Super Saver, the leading first-year sire in the nation.

Bluegrass Cat will complete his southern hemisphere season at Norman Fox’s Haras Lacala in Uruguay before moving to Ballena Vista Farm. His 2015 fee will be initially set at $6,500.

Don’t Tell Sophia last to first in Spinster to give NY’s Congaree latest progeny G1 winner

Monday, October 6th, 2014
By Sarah Mace

Don’t Tell Sophia took down the Grade 1, $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland on Sunday with a dramatic last-to-first rally, giving her New York-based sire Congaree a third career Grade 1 progeny winner. By earning an automatic berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, the 6-year-old mare also gave her sire a chance for added glory on October 31 at Santa Anita Park.

Ridden by Joe Rocco Jr., 5-1 Don’t Tell Sophia dropped to the back of the six-horse field after the break, while 1-5 favorite Close Hatches, tracked loosely by Ria Antonia, led the way under Joel Rosario through fractions of 24.19 and 47.47.

Don’t Tell Sophia began to close as the vanguard entered the far turn and, once Ria Antonia shook clear of Close Hatches in upper stretch, Don’t Tell Sophia mounted her bid. The bay mare passed all five rivals and drew off to a 2 1/2 length victory, completing the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:49.80.

Winning jockey Joe Rocco Jr. said, “It worked out more or less like we thought. She kind of gallops behind them and does her thing back there. When it comes time for her to put in her run, it sure is explosive.” Rocco continued, “That’s how she likes to do it. We knew that Close Hatches on paper looked like the lone speed but we can’t take [Don’t Tell Sophia] out of her comfort zone. It all worked out. She’s an amazing mare.”

Rocco also addressed a claim of foul by Paco Lopez, the rider of Ria Antonia, against the winner for interference at the sixteenth pole, which was disallowed by the stewards: “We went by [Ria Antonia] so fast and it felt like it was very marginal. I didn’t think we came in very much, so I was pretty confident it would stand. But you still cross your fingers until they put the official up there.”

Trainer Phil Sims, who co-owns Don’t Tell Sophia in partnership with Jerry Namy, said, “We knew she’d make a run at the three-eighths [pole] and just hoped she’d have enough to run them down. She did.” Simms added, “She’s tough as nails. She shows up every time. We’re so delighted with her.”

Bred by in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable, who also campaigned multiple graded stakes winner Congaree, Don’t Tell Sophia is out of the graded stakes-placed mare Lost Expectations, by Valid Expectations, whose first foal was Summer Song, a multiple stakes winner and graded stakes placed earner of $336,981.

Sims purchased Don’t Tell Sophia for a mere $1,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2009. Explained Sims, “[She was] just a nice, big, strong filly. She had a lot of confidence when she walked into the sales ring – the kind of horse I look for. I was in the right place at the right time.”

A winner now of seven stakes races in all, Don’t Tell Sophia annexed the Grade 2 Chilukki Stakes last year at Churchill Downs. With eleven wins, four seconds and a third from 22 starts, she has earned $979,295 and joins the ranks of Congaree’s multiple Grade 1 winner Jeranimo, earner of more than $1.5 million, and Killer Graces who triumphed in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet in 2011.

Currently eighth in the New York stallion rankings with 15 career stakes winners and nearly $1.6 million in 2014 Northern Hemisphere progeny earnings, Congaree stands at Saratoga Stud, LLC. His stud fee in 2014 was $7,500.

Darley retires MG1SW Alpha to stand at Sequel Stallions NY

Friday, October 3rd, 2014
alpha_466px_x391px(Edited press release)

Alpha, son of leading sire and fellow Darley stallion Bernardini, and the first horse to win both the Travers and the Woodward in nearly fifteen years, will stand at Becky Thomas’s Sequel Stallions New York in 2015. Alpha will be available for viewing by appointment at Darley USA’s Greentree Training Center on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Campaigned in the royal blue silks of Godolphin, Alpha won his first start at two by six lengths and next appeared in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont where he finished second.

Alpha returned at three with consecutive stakes wins.  He won the Count Fleet by two-and-a-half lengths then bounced to victory by an even wider margin in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes, a win that would prove to be the first of a hat-trick last achieved by his own sire Bernardini nearly ten years ago. At Saratoga that summer, Alpha again emulated his father when winning the Grade 2 Jim Dandy en route to victory in the time-honored Grade 1 Travers, a race won by fellow Darley stallions Medaglia d’Oro and Street Sense, and a rare double won by legends of the breed including Easy Goer and Buckpasser generations ago.

Alpha added a second victory at the highest level in the G1 Woodward last year – posting a 109 Beyer Speed Figure in doing so.  His career earned him almost $2m in prize money and saw him defeat 13 G1 winners including the winners of the Kentucky Derby, the Haskell, the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Stephen Foster.

As well as being a son of Eclipse Champion Bernardini, now the sire of nine G1 winners including recent Chandelier heroine Angela Renee, Alpha comes from a quality female family.

Charlie Boden, Head of Sales at Darley in America said, “No other stallion son of Bernardini has won more Grade Ones and with a physical and pedigree to match, we have no doubt he will thrive in New York.  He has a better race record than Tapit, and we certainly hope he will be as good.”

On standing Alpha in New York, Boden commented, “We are committed to New York and they have the best regional breeding program in the US.  Our stallions have received great support there and Alpha has the record to suit.” Alpha’s stud fee will be $8,500 live foal, stands and nurses.

Becky Thomas reported that Alpha has shipped to Darley USA’s Greentree Training Center and will be available for viewing by appointment this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Interested parties should contact Becky, Wally or Molly, or stop by the Sequel consignment at Fasig-Tipton.

For more information, please contact Charlie Boden at (859) 255-8537 or Becky Thomas at (352) 266-4294.

Ohio-bred gives New York sire Justenuffhumor first winner

Friday, August 22nd, 2014
by Sarah Mace

Multiple Grade 2 winner Justenuffhumor, was represented by his first winner when Janet Reeder’s homebred Humoresque won the third race at Belterra Park on Thursday. Also trained by Reeder, the Ohio-bred 2-year-old filly led all the way to win the maiden special weight by 1 1/2 lengths in her second career start.

In 2009 at age four, Justenuffhumor reeled off six straight victories in turf routes at Gulfstream, Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga, culminating with back-to-back Grade 2 victories in the Fourstardave H. and Bernard Baruch H. In three seasons he won six of his 12 career starts and earned $533,900. Out of multiple stakes-winner Justenuffheart, by Broad Brush, Justenuffhumor is a half brother to champion Dreaming of Anna and multiple Grade 2 winner Lewis Michael.

The 9-year-old son of Distorted Humor stands at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, where his 2014 fee was $3,000.

Willcox Inn, MGSW and millionaire by Harlan’s Holiday, to stand at Saratoga Stud

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

(Edited press release)

Roy and Gretchen Jackson and All Inn Stable announced on Tuesday the retirement of millionaire and multiple graded stake winner Willcox Inn to stand at Saratoga Stud in Stillwater. Gretchen Jackson said “we have had many exciting moments in racing, a lot of them were with Willcox Inn. We want to give him the best chance to succeed at stud and feel New York is the right place to be.”

A graded stakes winner or graded-placed each year over four seasons from age two to five, Willcox Inn was trained by Michael Stidham for the Jackson’s Lael Stable and All In Stable. The connections plan to give strong support to Willcox Inn and his progeny.

As a racehorse Willcox Inn was a top class 2-year old.  He won his debut at two over eventual Kentucky Derby winner and champion 3-year-old Animal Kingdom. In his second start he finished third in the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and in his third and final start he was a closing third the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs. Subsequently weighted at 115 on the 2010 Experimental Handicap, Willcox Inn received the same assignment as Mucho Macho Man.

Racing exclusively in stakes company as a sophomore, Willcox Inn won the first two legs of the Mid-America Triple Crown – the Arlington Classic Stakes at 1 1/16 and the Grade 2 American Derby at 1 3/16 miles on turf. In his attempt to become only the fourth horse in history to win the third leg and join the likes of Buckpasser, he finished a brave fourth in a rain-soaked running of the Grade 1 Secretariat. He came back with a commanding 4 1/2-length victory in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby at 1 1/8 miles.

Willcox Inn won his first start at 4, and ran in three Grade 1 stakes that year, taking second in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile to eventual two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan.

As a five-year-old Willcox Inn finished on the board in six of eight starts, all graded, winning the historic Grade 3 Washington Park Handicap, just 1/5 off the track record. He was second in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes and Grade 3 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Handicap and finished third in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile S. and Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes.

Willcox Inn retired with a record of six wins, four seconds and four thirds in 22 starts and earnings of $1,015,543. He is currently the second-leading money earner by Harlan’s Holiday behind Shanghai Bobby. He was bred by Dr. John Chandler and raised and sold by Mill Ridge Farm. He comes from one of the key blue hen families in the stud book, nurtured by Chandler for many generations and includes the likes of multiple Grade 1 stakes winners Dynaforce and Cetewayo.

Suzie O’Cain said, “We are thrilled the New York Breeders will get a chance to send their best mares to this talented son of the late Harlan’s Holiday. Willcox Inn was a quality, consistent Graded stakes winner, winning Graded stakes on two surfaces, while starting at ten different tracks nationwide, competing against the very best.”

Standing for $7,500, Willcox Inn will arrive in Saratoga in mid-August and will be available for inspection during the Saratoga race meeting.

For further information, contact Suzie O’Cain (518) 573-2304 or Marette Farrell (859) 312 0364.

Naughty Natisha’s Unavenged wins stakes at Fukushima to drive earnings over $800,000

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
by Sarah Mace

Unavenged (Empire Maker), a 5-year-old daughter of venerable broodmare Naughty Natisha, and U. Taiki Farm’s star New York-bred, added a fifth tally to the win column on July 19, taking the Adatara Stakes at Fukushima Race Course in Japan over a sloppy racetrack. With the victory, the half-sister to 2007 New York-bred Horse of the Year and millionaire Naughty New Yorker (Quiet American) drove her earnings past the $800,000 threshold.

Drawn in post two for the 1700-meter Adatara (approximately 8 1/2 furlongs), and fourth choice in the betting in the field of thirteen older horses of both sexes at 5.90-1, Unavenged stalked pacesetter Seika Fortuna (JPN) from fourth, moved up into third by the last point of call and drew off to a three-quarter length victory under jockey Hiroshi Kitamura.

The Adatara score improves Unavenged’s record to five wins and three seconds from 15 starts and boosts her earnings to $861,747. She also took the Koremasa Tokubetsu at 2100 meters (10.5 furlongs) in Tokyo in June 2013. Unavenged was purchased for $110,000 by SF Bloodstock at the 2011 Keeneland April 2-year-old sale.

Bred by Dr. William B. Wilmot and Dr. Joan M. Taylor, Unavenged is a daughter of the champion broodmare Naughty Natisha (Known Fact), who has produced no fewer than eight winners for Wilmot and Taylor since being purchased for $150,000 at the 1998 Keeneland November sale.

Naughty Natisha’s first foal was stakes winner and multiple graded stakes-placed Pupil by Unbridled, a $204,280-earner, but her most famous offspring is millionaire Naughty New Yorker. The iron horse hit the board 32 times in 67 starts, won 11 stakes races, including the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap, and complied four additional graded stakes placings, including third in the 2007 Grade 1 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile, the same year he won New York-bred Horse of the Year honors. Naughty Natisha is also the dam of multiple stakes-placed sophomore Deceived (Broken Vow).

Naughty Natisha currently has a bay yearling colt by Quiet American foaled on February 11, 2013 who is catalogued for next month’s Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale as Hip 389. This year she had a colt by Tapizar and was bred to Bodemeister.

Bluegrass Cat to Shuttle to Haras Lacala in Uruguay

Friday, June 13th, 2014
Edited Press Release

Bluegrass Cat, New York’s leading sire by winners and earnings since moving New York in 2012, will shuttle from Rockridge Stud to Norman Fox’s Haras Lacala in Uruguay for the upcoming Southern Hemisphere breeding season in a deal negotiated by TBS Agency of Brazil and Wynrose Equine, it was announced Thursday.

“Bluegrass Cat has an exceptional pedigree, and has proven his ability to sire precocious stock, and we couldn’t be happier to be bringing him to Uruguay this season,” said Norman Fox. “His recent notable performers include the very impressive Santa Anita juvenile debut winner Story To Tell along with stakes winner E B Ryder at Gulfstream Park, and we are particularly excited about his ability to sire good juveniles and horses that train on”.

An 11-year-old by Storm Cat, Bluegrass Cat has enjoyed success at stud with the likes of Graded Stakes horses Kathmanblu, Sabercat, Laurie’s Rocket, Percussion and Teeth of the Dog among his 46 Stakes performers.

Out of a full sister to the dams of 2010 Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and 2014 Grade 1 Man o’ War S. winner Imagining, Bluegrass Cat was a record-breaking Grade 1 winner and millionaire during his racing career. His biggest triumph came in the 2007 Grade 1 Haskell Invitational where he won by a record margin of seven lengths. He also captured the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes and Grade 3 Nashua Stakes as a 2-year-old.

Utopia to relocate to Turkey

Monday, June 9th, 2014

New York-based sire Utopia (JPN) has been purchased by Turkish bloodstock agent Tarik Tekce on behalf of Serdar Kemal Ozcolak, who will stand him in Turkey.

A 14-year-old son of Forty Niner out of Dream Vision, by Northern Taste, Utopia is scheduled to ship from the United States in mid-September to stand at the Jockey Club of Turkey’s Karacabey National Stud in Bursa. He began his stud career in 2008 at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds and stood the 2014 season for a $5,000 fee.

From 272 foals in four crops of racing age, Utopia has 85 winners, 13 stakes performers, and five stakes winners among 153 starters that have amassed progeny earnings of $5,596,469 through June 8. His top runner is three-time stakes winner and $206,217-earner Matchmadeinheaven.

A multiple stakes winner in his native Japan, Utopia won graded/group stakes in the U.S. and Dubai. He posted a career line of 9-5-3 from 34 starts while earning $4,913,585. His record includes victories in the 2006 Grade 2 Godolphin Mile and 2007 Grade 3 Westchester Handicap.

Utopia will spend 30 days in quarantine at trainer Murat Sancal’s Sancal Racing at Elmendorf Farm in Lexington before shipping to Turkey.

Noble Causeway, sire of Belmont contender Samraat, succumbs to laminitis

Friday, May 30th, 2014
(Edited press release)

My Meadowview Farm lost the cornerstone of its breeding operation on Tuesday with the death of Noble Causeway. The 12-year-old chestnut had been suffering from laminitis in recent weeks and was withdrawn from service in early May. His condition deteriorated and he was euthanized Tuesday evening.

Wally Burleson, farm manager at Sequel Stallions New York noted, “He was a brave and determined patient, but his condition deteriorated markedly in the last 12 hours. We decided to spare him further pain.

“With heavy hearts, we send our condolences to Mr. Riggio and the rest of the My Meadowview connections. Noble Causeway has always been a special favorite of the Sequel team. We are definitely going to miss him. Hopefully, Samraat will carry the torch so we’ll be able to enjoy his influence for many years to come.”

Bred in Kentucky by Reiko & Michael Baum, Mr. Len Riggio bought him at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. From the first crop of Giant’s Causeway out of Seeking The Gold mare Mimi’s Golden Girl, Noble Causeway earned $360,010 for trainer Nick Zito and owners My Meadowview Farm. With 3 wins at 3 & 4, he was 2nd in the G1 Florida Derby and 3rd in the G3 Ben Ali Stakes.

Noble Causeway, who stood the 2014 season for $5,000 at Sequel Stallions in Hudson, New York currently ranks 4th on the NY general sire list, with 2014 earnings of $1,133,180. For his career with 4 crops of racing age, he has sired 79 winners, 12 stakes horses with lifetime earnings of $3,932,485.

Among his leading progeny is My Meadowview Farm’s homebred Samraat, undefeated in his first five starts, winner of the Grade 3 Gotham and Withers Stakes, second in Grade 1 Wood memorial, he ran a game fifth in the Kentucky Derby. Samraat’s next start is the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. Other top performers include Noble Killer and Eccole Qua, multiple stakes winner Private Cause and stakes-placed New York-breds Noble Cornerstone and Canal Six.

The Riggio family issued the following statement: “Noble Causeway provided our family with more joy than we could ever imagine. His passing occurred on the eve of his becoming the outstanding sire we always believed him to be. He taught us to dream and, now, we can only dream of what that future might have been. He was loved and will be greatly missed, but his memory remains with us forever.”

More information is available at


Trinniberg to Haras Ponta Pora for Southern Hemisphere breeding season

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
(Edited press release)

Rockridge Stud announced that New York-based stallion Trinniberg will travel to Haras Ponta Pora in Brazil for Southern Hemisphere stud duties beginning in 2014. The Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup winner and Eclipse Award winning Sprinter began his stallion career at Rockridge Stud this season.

“A horse of this caliber absolutely warrants interest from South American stud farms,” says Rockridge’s Lere Visagie. “We want to give the horse the best chance possible to succeed, and dual-hemisphere breeding will certainly give him that added chance.”

“Haras Ponta Pora has been one of the major producers of speed in Brazil. Mr. Camil and Mr. Charlie, owners of the farm, are excited with the speed and class of Trinniberg,” says Ricardo Colombo, the agent who brokered the deal.