NEWS: racing

Palace sensational in Forego, collects second straight Spa G1

Saturday, August 30th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Not content with carrying off just one Grade 1 prize from the current Saratoga meet with his victory in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap on August 2, Antonio Miuccio’s former claimer Palace doubled the glory on the final Saturday of racing, sitting off a hot pace in the $500,000 Forego Stakes before drawing off to a powerful open-length victory for trainer Linda Rice. The victory in one of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races guarantees the 5-year-old son of City Zip a place in the starting gate for Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Partnered again with regular rider Cornelio Velasquez and stretching out from the six-furlong Vanderbilt to seven panels, 4-1 second choice Palace sat off a the pace in third for the first half-mile, while longshot Zee Bros set taxing fractions of 22.48 and 45.23.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

When Zee Bros came off the rail at the head of the stretch, Palace dove inside, rallied powerfully and took over with a furlong to go. He drew off to a dominant 3 1/2-length victory. Fellow New York-bred Big Business completed the exacta under Junior Alvarado for trainer David Jacobson and owner Gary Barber at odds of 20-1. Vyjack finished third. The final time for seven furlongs was an eye-catching 1:21.95. [VIDEO]

Jockey Cornelio Velasquez said, “I wanted to break good and stay in good position behind the speed. I had a lot of horse. When the opening came, I was in good position. I think my horse is the best sprinting horse now.”

Linda Rice addressed her decision to run Palace in the Forego at seven furlongs, possibly not his preferred distance, after considering waiting for the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont Park on September 27.

“[Palace] is a really talented horse, and when he is good I need to use him,” Rice said. “On several occasions I’ve needed to stop on him, turn him out, and give him a break. When a horse is doing as well as he is, I don’t know how long I can keep him that good.”

Added Rice, “He’s such a special horse, and [owner Antonino] Miuccio has allowed me to stop on him, turn him out, and give him a break whenever he needs it, and it’s obviously paid off.”

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Rice claimed Palace from Bill Mott and WinStar Farm for $20,000 out of a maiden-breaking 11 3/4-length romp on October 6, 2012. Since then Palace has won nine races including six stakes. He followed up a win in the Chowder’s First Stakes for New York-bred sprinters in his stakes debut last August at Saratoga with a victory in the Hudson Handicap on Showcase day in the fall. Palace has also won the Grade 3 Fall Highweight, Grade 2 True North and G1 Vanderbilt, after which he became a millionaire.

Palace’s victory in the Grade 1 Forego runs up his record to 11 wins, five seconds and two thirds from 20 starts and boosts his earnings to $1,309,550.

Bred by The Peter J. Callahan Revocable Trust Dated 2/28/02 and foaled at Jeffrey Tucker’s Stone Bridge Farm in Gansevoort, Palace was purchased by Doug Cauthen, agent for $160,000 at the 2011 OBS select sale of 2-year-olds in training.

He is one of three winning foals and two stakes performers from Receivership, a seven-time winner by End Sweep ($198,300) who brought $85,000 at the 2005 OBS Winter mixed sale and also produced stakes-placed Retriever (Golden Missile). A half-sister to Grade 2 winner French Park, Receivership currently has a 2-year-old by Badge of Silver named Wincoma, a yearling colt by Posse and weanling filly by Pomeroy. She has been bred to City Zip.

Startup Nation dominant winner of Grade 2 With Anticipation

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

On the heels of an eye-catching debut just three weeks ago, when he came from off the pace to win New York-bred maiden special weight at 1 1/16-mile on grass, Startup Nation absolutely dominated Thursday’s Grade 2, $200,000 With Anticipation at the same trip making a last-to-first move to win by open lengths.

A 2-year-old from the first crop of Temple City (Dynaformer), Startup Nation is trained by Chad Brown for Klaravich Stable and William H. Lawrence. He was reunited with his debut rider Joel Rosario for his Grade 2 bid and the pair went off, exiting post one, as the narrow second choice at 2.25-1.

For the first half-mile, Startup Nation was positioned last in the field of eight, seven lengths off the pace. The colt geared up rounding the far turn and, in upper stretch, simply blew past his rivals on his way to a 4 1/2-length victory. He followed across the line by fellow New York-bred International Star, runner up in the Rockville Center at Belmont on July 13, who closed from midpack to get the place.  The final time for 1 1/16 miles over the firm turf course was 1:41.63.

The race came under stewards’ scrutiny after Rosie Napravnik, rider of International Star, claimed interference against Rosario, but there was no change in the final order of finish. [VIDEO]

Summing up the ride and the grounds of the claim, Rosario said, “I thought I had a lot of horse; I ran by [International Star] and tried to give him some room on the inside. I thought [International Star] came out a little bit, too. [Startup Nation] is the kind of horse, when he gets started, he keeps on going. After I made the move, he took off and improved position from there.”

Chad Brown focused on the end result. “I’m very impressed. The horse had run similarly in his debut, very impressive, with a big, wide move running away. But running back in just three weeks and now against open company, nevertheless a stakes race, you need to move forward. For this horse to run back in three weeks and run the way he did, in 1:41 and change, he’s a real runner.”

When asked whether he had the Breeders’ Cup in his sights for the talented colt, Brown said, “I haven’t been following the entire country to see what’s out there for juveniles on the turf; I’m sure some haven’t even run yet. But from what’s run already, I’d say these two horses that ran the last two days here are as good as I’ve seen out there. Time will tell, but I wouldn’t trade with anybody.”

Bred by Spendthrift Farm, who stands Temple City, Startup Nation is the second winner from two starters from his dam Pennyrile, a black type-placed Kentucky-bred daughter of Wagon Limit who is a half-sister to 2-year-old stakes-winning dirt router Dirty Rotten Shame. Startup Nation was purchased by Nick de Meric at Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale for $95,000. For his two victories he has earned $163,800.

Pennyrile currently has a yearling filly and weanling colt both by Spendthrift’s New York-based sire Dublin.

Offering Plan last-to-first winner on debut

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Offering Plan, a 2-year-old first-time starter by Spring At Last, rallied five wide from last to first in the stretch to notch an impressive victory going 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf course at Saratoga on Thursday.

Trained by Chad Brown for Michael Dubb, Nantucket Thoroughbred Partners, Bethlehem Stables LLC et al. Offering Plan ended up at the tail of the field after exiting from post five under Jose Lezcano, but also managed to tuck inside for a groundsaving trip around the first turn.

As Offering Plan continued to bring up the rear, Cosmo Storm and Foxhall Drive hooked up on the front end and led the field through fractions of 23.14, 47.85 and 1:13.49. Although he advanced a couple spots on the backstretch at the rail, the dark bay once again dropped back to last before entering the far turn.

Swinging out widest of all at the top of the lane, Offering Plan began his rally five or more paths out and when asked for run in earnest shot past his rivals to secure the victory by 1 1/2 furlongs. Fellow Brown-trainee and firster Kerjillion finished second, followed across the wire in third by Foxhall Drive. The final time for 8 1/2 furlongs was 1:42.37. [VIDEO]

A May foal bred by C. W. Swann and Cygnet Farm and foaled at Akindale Farm in Pawling, Offering Plan is the first starter and only foal to date produced by Rosalie Road, an unraced daughter of Street Cry (IRE) who is a half-sister to Grade 2 dirt sprint winner Adore the Gold. Rosalie Road was bred to Jimmy Creed this year.

Offering Plan changed hands twice at public auction, purchased as a yearling by Summer Mayberry at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale for $32,000 and bringing $135,000 at this year’s OBS Spring sale of 2-year-olds in training after working one furlong in 10.2 seconds.


So Lonesome rolls to Albany victory at 9-1

Sunday, August 24th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Bill Heller

Barry Schwartz’s home-bred gelding Captain Serious, who had finished in second by three-quarters of a length to Kid Cruz in the Grade III Dwyer Stakes and a troubled third in the Grade II Amsterdam Stakes, figured to be the favorite in a field eight contesting the 37th running of the mile-and-an-eighth $250,000 Albany Stakes for three-year-old New York-breds, the feature race of Sunday’s Showcase Day. Captain Serious had blazing early speed and it appeared he could dictate the pace in the Albany. Accordingly, he went off the 9-5 favorite.

Apparently, the connections of one of his opponents in the Albany, Patricia Schuler’s gelding So Lonesome, never got the memo. So Lonesome, who is trained by Tom Bush, began his career with three dirt starts last year, winning his debut at Saratoga by a length and three-quarters at 2-1, then finishing second at 6-5 in an allowance race, and third in the $150,000 B.F. Bongard Stakes at 5-1.

He hadn’t raced on dirt since. He concluded his successful two-year-old campaign by winning his turf debut in the $100,000 Virgo Libra Stakes by a head at 6-1.

As a three-year-old, So Lonesome ran ninth in the Grade III Palm Beach Stakes. That’s when Bush decided to add blinkers. Regardless, in an obviously tough assignment, he finished seventh of 14 in the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes on the synthetic track at Keeneland after breaking slowly.

So Lonesome returned to grass, winning a state-bred allowance/optional claimer, then finishing third in the $100,000 Manila Stakes and sixth in the Grade II Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga in his last start before the Albany.

With Jose Lezcano aboard for the second straight time, So Lonesome went off at 9-1, breaking directly outside Captain Serious and jockey Jose Ortiz in post seven.

Captain Serious broke on the lead, but the lead didn’t last long as Lezcano absolutely gunned So Lonesome to the front, which he obtained quickly in a :23.04 opening quarter. Jose Ortiz settled Captain Serious in second, a length behind the front-runner while well clear of the others.

“Last time, I took too much of a hold on him,” Lezcano said. “He doesn’t want to run that way. He wants to run free. I let him run today, and he never stopped.”

Lezcano let So Lonesome roll to a three-length lead on Captain Serious after a half-mile in :47.13. Heading to the three-quarters, So Lonesome extended his margin to four lengths. But after So Lonesome completed three-quarters in 1:11.61, Captain Serious closed in.

Around the far turn and into the top of the stretch, Captain Serious got within three-quarters of a length of So Lonesome. Lezcano then let So Lonesome loose and he quickly opened his margin again, coasting home a four-length winner in 1:50.17. Effinex, sent off at 5-1, edged 23-1 Eye Luv Lulu by a head for second, and Captain Serious was fourth. [VIDEO]

So Lonesome is a son of Awesome Again out of Dash for Money by General Meeting who was bred by Waterville Lake Stables. He is now two-for-four on dirt with one second and one third, and two-for-five on grass with a third. He has earned more than $330,000 in 10 lifetime starts.

“The turf, I think, helped get the horse built up a bit,” Bush said. “He was always a lightly-built colt and he just needed a lot of time. He moves much better now on the dirt than he did when he was a young horse. I think he’s turned the corner.”

Star Grazing chalks up another one for Bromans, Jerkens in Fleet Indian

Sunday, August 24th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Bill Heller

Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred, three-year-old filly Star Grazing hadn’t had any of the success of another Broman three-year-old home-bred filly Artemis Agrotera, who won the Grade I Frizette as a two-year-old last year and on Saturday captured the Grade I Ballerina against older fillies and mares.

In fact, Artemis Agrotera and Star Grazing made their two-year-old debuts in the same race at Saratoga last Aug. 16. Artemis Agrotera won by 11 3/4 lengths over Star Grazing, who finished a distant second. While Artemis Agrotera went on to glory, Star Grazing struggled a bit last year. She finished fourth in another maiden race on turf at Belmont Park. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens returned Star Grazing to dirt and added blinkers while asking her to take a huge step up in her third career start, the $150,000 Joseph A. Gimma Stakes at Belmont Oct. 19. Star Grazing finished fourth in the field of six.

Jerkens gave Star Grazing a nice rest for her three-year-old debut in a maiden race at Belmont Park July 4. She won by a length and a quarter. On Aug. 7, she made her next start in an allowance race at Saratoga and won by three-quarters of a length at 1-2.

Jerkens, whom you might have heard finished 1-2 in Saturday’s $1.25 million Travers Stakes, decided to take a shot in Sunday’s first running of the mile-and-an-eighth $200,000 Fleet Indian Stakes for three-year-old New York-bred fillies.

Rajiv Maragh had ridden Star Grazing in her last three starts, but he opted to ride Flipcup, who would go off as the 9-5 favorite in the field of seven contesting the Fleet Indian. Star Grazing went off the 4-1 second choice with Angel Arroyo aboard.

Alwaysinstilettos, a 14-1 shot on the rail, dictated the early pace, prompted by 6-1 Lucky Nancy E. Flipcup was well placed on the rail in third with 18-1 Canal Six alongside in fourth. Star Grazing was sixth as Alwaysinstilettos set a soft pace: a quarter in :24.50, a half-mile in :50.00 and three-quarters in 1:15.62.

Around the far turn and into the stretch, Flipcup was presented a gift. Alwaysinstilettos began to bear out as she tired and Flipcup had an opening wide enough for a tank on the inside. Maragh sent her through, and she struck the lead in mid-stretch. Arroyo, however, had Star Grazing rallying boldly and she kept coming. Flipcup tried to hold on, but couldn’t. Star Grazing won by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.40. Canal Six finished third, four lengths behind Flipcup, and 5-1 Storied Lady was fourth. [VIDEO]

Star Grazing is a daughter of Sky Mesa out of Unbridled Star by Unbridled. She now has three victories and a second in six career starts with earnings of more than a quarter million dollars.

“She had a nice prep a couple weeks ago, and having a race over this track means a lot,” Jerkens said.


Dayatthespa wins showdown of Grade 1 winners in Yaddo

Sunday, August 24th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Bill Heller

There was intrigue surrounding the 35th running of the mile-and-a-sixteenth $150,000 Yaddo Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares. Was Chad Brown, the trainer of Jerry and Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon and Bradly Thoroughbreds’ Grade I stakes winner Dayatthespa, going to race the five-year-old mare in Saturday’s Grade II Ballston Spa Stakes in open company or in Sunday’s Yaddo? He nominated Dayatthespa for both, but scratched her Saturday.

“I think the race set up better for her today,” Brown said Sunday. “I’m sure the ground was firmer today, although it was listed as good. With all the warm weather, I’m sure it had less give in it today.”

Conventional wisdom said the Yaddo would be an easier spot than a Grade II stakes, but that might not have been the case. Only six fillies and mares contested the Ballston Spa, and the odds-on favorite Filimbi, finished last. In a tight finish, Abaco won the Ballston Spa.

But the Yaddo featured Discreet Marq, a Grade I stakes winner who beat Abaco by a length when she finished third in the Grade I Diana Stakes.

Only four other fillies and mares entered the Yaddo and the betting public correctly made it a two-horse race, Dayatthespa and Discreet Marq, sending both of them off at 6-5, with Discreet Marq the slightest of favorites. Effie Trinket would go off the 5-1 third choice on the rail.

Dayatthespa was making just her second start of the year following a front-running second by a length and three-quarters to Filimbi in a $100,000 ungraded stakes at one mile. That was the first time Dayatthespa lost a race at Saratoga. She had won a race there as a two, three and four-year-old. Her career record heading into the Yaddo was eight wins and four seconds in 15 starts, all on turf. Patricia Generazio’s home-bred Discreet Marq, who had one unsuccessful dirt start, had six wins, four seconds and three thirds from her 15 turf races before the Yaddo.

Dayatthespa would depart from the four post with Saratoga’s leading jockey, Javier Castellano. Discreet Marq was right next to her in the five post with Irad Ortiz Jr., Saratoga’s second leading jockey.

Dayatthespa, who can race on the lead or from mid-pack, shot to the lead immediately as Discreet Marq took a stalking position on her outside. They would remain 1-2 the entire race.

Dayatthespa hit the quarter in :24.80, the half-mile in :50.0 and three-quarters in a dawdling 1:15.62 with Discreet Marq shadowing her in second every step.

Around the far turn and into the top of the stretch, Discreet Marq kept the pressure on, but Dayatthespa was up to the challenge and began to draw clear. Dayatthespa hit the wire 2 ½ lengths clear of Discreet Marq, who saved second by a length and a half over Effie Trinket. [VIDEO]

“It was a great race,” Castellano said. “I wanted to see how far she could go, you know? I had to be careful for the last sixteenth. It was a little bit of a question mark, but she did it so easy. I give her all the credit.”

Brown shared his praise: “Javier rode a beautiful race. The second quarter-mile concerned me the most because it looked like Discreet Marq drew alongside, and Javier, for a moment there, might have his hands full. But our filly was dead game today and proved best. For a horse to win four straight years up here at Saratoga, it’s so hard. For a horse to be consistent enough to win four straight years is remarkable.”

Dayatthespa’s Saratoga streak points out how incredible another Saratoga lover performed. Richard Bomze’s Fourstardave won a race at Saratoga eight consecutive years. Dayatthespa is highly unlikely to be given an opportunity to match that. Brown knows one thing: “We’re going to hate to see her go some day when she leaves us.”

Dayatthespa, a daughter of City Zip out of M’Lady Doc by Doc’s Leader, was bred by Castellare DiCracchiolo Stable, Cracchiolo and Goldsher. She has now earned just under $950,000 in her outstanding career.

Myfourchix secures Seeking the Ante prize from off the pace

Sunday, August 24th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Clear Stars Stable’s Myfourchix (Henny Hughes), favored in her unveiling at Saratoga on July 30 when she finished a solid second after setting the pace, got the job done – and then some – when she won the $200,000 Seeking the Ante for state-bred juvenile fillies from a stalking position on Sunday’s inaugural Saratoga Showcase card.

Myfourchix (8-1) broke well from post five of six and settled two lengths off favored Hard to Stay Notgo, who had overhauled early leader Evrybdymstgetstonz. Following sharp fractions of 21.66 for a quarter-mile and 45.61 for a half, the filly moved up on the turn when asked by jockey Cornelio Velasquez.

Myfourchix advanced in upper stretch and passed the front-runner in the final furlong before going on to win by three lengths, stopping the clock after 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:20.34. She was followed across the line by Hard to Stay Notgo, Nonna Jo, Evrybdymstgetstonz, Quick Reward and Graeme Crackers. [VIDEO]

Winning jockey Cornelio Velasquez reported, “I had great position. I wanted to wait until the quarter pole. I had a lot of horse. She’s a nice filly. The horse in front just stopped, but my filly tried hard. Very professional.”

Trainer Rick Schosberg started with a quip, alluding to the runner up – a horse trained for the Bromans by Jimmy Jerkens, whose runners V.E. Day and Wicked Strong ran 1-2 in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes on Saturday. “Sorry to have to stop the Jimmy Jerkens train, but it had to stop somewhere.”

Schosberg then said, “[Myfourchix] got beat in her first start, no fault of her own. She broke a little slow from the rail and she rushed up, probably went in :21 and change, and fought as hard as she could. I said after the race, when we were a little bit disappointed, ‘You’ll never be disappointed in this filly again.’

“The post position today helped and Cornelio rode a perfect race. The first quarter-mile in :21 and change helped us out a lot. For 2-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs is like an older horse going from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. It’s a long way home and I think we showed that; it took us a while to get there. But time doesn’t matter to us now. She’s a really good filly, and I think you’ll be hearing more of her when we get to [Empire] Showcase Day [Belmont Park, October 18].”

Bred by C. Kidder and N. Cole, Myfourchix is the second foal and first winner out of Stellaluna, an unraced daughter of Tapit. Stellaluna’s dam is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Fairbanks and she issues from the family of Darn that Alarm and Afleet Again.

Myfourchix sold as a yearling to The Duke Stable at the Keeneland September sale for $35,000. Clear Stars Stable went to $90,000 to purchase her at this year’s OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training after she posted a ten flat work.


Triumphant return to the races for King Kreesa in West Point

Sunday, August 24th, 2014
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

by Sarah Mace

Gerald and Susan Kresa’s graded stakes winner King Kreesa (King Cugat), on the bench since December 8 when he set the pace in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile on December 8 at Sha Tin before fading to twelfth, made a triumphant return to the races in the $150,000 West Point presented by Trustco Bank, leading the field from the bell and gamely fending off a challenge in the final furlong from runner-up Lubash.

The five-year-old, who had previously hit the board in 12 of 17 turf starts, including a victory in the Grade 3 Poker while earning more than $650,000 from the barn of trainer Jeremiah Englehart, made his first start for trainer David Donk in the West Point. He did, however, retain the services of jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., who had been aboard the 5–year-old King Kreesa for the majority of his career starts.

Breaking on top from post three in a field reduced to five by the scratches of Sir Leslie (main track only) and Hangover Kid, the winner of last year’s West Point, King Kreesa maintained a comfortable one-length advantage over Lubash through a half-mile in 49.71.

Maintaining his lead down the backstretch and around the far turn, and picking up the tempo as he went, King Kreesa was faced with a serious challenge mounted by Lubash in the stretch.

Lubash drew even with about a furlong to go, but King Kreesa dug in bravely and simply refused to let his rival pass, winning by a brave head. Notacatbutallama rounded out the trifecta, a length behind runner-up Lubash, followed across the line by Barrel of Love and Street Game. The final time for 1 1/16 over the inner Saratoga turf course labelled “good” was 1:42.07. [VIDEO]

Irad Ortiz, Jr. said, “I get along with him. I always ride him, and he’s a fighter. He kept fighting at the end; that’s why we got the victory. I bring a lot of confidence; I give him a chance to win. The trainer did a good job; he was ready.”

Donk felt that King Kreesa’s class helped overcome any liability after the long break. Said Donk, “It was a long layoff, and I didn’t have him, maybe, as ready as I’d liked to, but I was running out of time. The season is running short. One of Woody [Stephens'] quotes was, ‘A good horse overcomes all trainers’ and riders’ mistakes.’ He’s a really good horse. He was a really good horse with Jeremiah [Englehart]; he did a great job with him. I’m just fortunate to be standing here [in the winner's circle].”

Donk also addressed the fact that King Kreesa raced with bar shoe on his right front foot. “I’ve never run a horse in a bar shoe, so I’m 1-for-1. He trained so well in it, so I was afraid to take it off. The foot still needs a lot of growth to be fully recovered, so it’s not going to be 100 percent until next year. It will stay on for now.”

King Kreesa, has now complied a record of seven wins, four seconds and two thirds from 19 starts and has earned, $747,370. He has won six stakes races — the Grade 3 Poker, open London Company, three New York-bred stakes and a division of the New York Stallion Stakes series — and placed in five more, including a second in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap and a second to two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga last summer.

Bred by Gerald Kresa under the banner of Horse Partners, King Kreesa was foaled at Carlland Stables in Avon. He is the most successful of four winners out of Storm’s Advance, a Florida-bred daughter of Storm Creek who was a multiple winner and stakes-placed on turf ($94,652). Sophomore Lady Kreesa, by Stonesider, has placed in a division of the New York Stallion Stakes series.

Storm’s Advance currently has a 2-year-old colt by Malibu Moonshine named Moonsurge.

King Kreesa’s sire King Cugat, a multiple Grade 2-winner and millionaire by Kingmambo, stood in New York in 2008 and 2009 under the management of Questroyal Stud.

Upstart stays perfect with strong performance in inaugural Funny Cide

Sunday, August 24th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Ralph M. Evans’ Upstart (Flatter) is now a perfect two-for-two after running down loose-on-the-lead Bustin It to win the inaugural running of the $200,000 Funny Cide for New York-bred 2-year-olds. The Funny Cide was the first of six stakes races worth $1.15 million on the special 11-race card of the first Saratoga Showcase Day on Sunday.

An eye-catching debut maiden breaker at the Spa just nine days earlier for trainer Rick Violette when he rallied to win by five-plus lengths and earn a Beyer Speed Figure of 85, Upstart was reunited with jockey Jose Ortiz as he stretched out from 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 furlongs in his second career start.

After the break, the race was all about the speedy Bustin It (Bustin Stones), winner of the Rockville Center Stakes for state-breds last out at Belmont on July 13. As Bustin It opened up daylight on the field, Upstart, fifth at the break, came off the rail and improved his position to second rounding the far turn.

Upstart began to make up ground on his rival in the latter part of the turn and upper stretch, advanced ever closer in the final furlong, but did not take over until the final strides before going on to win by one length with a flying finish. Runner up Bustin It crossed the wire more than eight lengths ahead of Bullheaded Boy, followed by Good Luck Gus and Tax Package. After a half-mile in 45.62. six furlongs in 1:09.86, the final time for 6 1/2 furlongs was 1:16.23. [VIDEO]

Jockey Jose Ortiz said, “I was hoping there was going to be more of a speed duel between the number four [Bullheaded Boy] and the number five [Bustin It], so the number five broke so good and took the lead so easily. When I saw that, I figured out quick I needed to move a little earlier. By the quarter-pole I was driving already, but my horse was ready. I got there little by little.”

Violette saw the race the same way. “He actually broke well and Jose [Ortiz] just put his hands down and let him fall where he was going to be and he kind of fell out the back door. I really thought Todd [Pletcher]‘s horse [Bullheaded Boy] was going to show more speed and hook up with [Bustin It] horse and he didn’t. He opened up another five [lengths] in front and he was still out the back door.”

Continued Violette, “He had horse, you could see he had horse, but you just weren’t sure that he could make up that much ground on a pretty nice horse that was loose on the lead.”

Violette explained why Upstart was supplemented to the race. “We just broke our maiden nine days ago, I really wasn’t planning on it. But he won kind of easily and it sets us up better running today for the fall than waiting and going to the Champagne [Grade 1, October 4, Belmont Park] with only one race under his belt. That was kind of the game plan.”

Keeneland is also an option for the ridgling. “We’ll nominate to the [Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity on October 4 at Keeneland], too; basically the two-turn races are what you’re supposed to do, but I think we’ll probably stay home. This is a really good prep for anything we do. It worked out pretty good.”

Concluded Violette, “He had a tough race today. He’ll be a tired puppy tonight. But he’s got an extra week to recuperate. He showed that he might be a real horse.”

Owner Ralph Evans, who purchased Upstart on Violette’s advice at last year’s Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale from the Summerfield consignment for $130,000 said, “I think it’s very very rewarding for Rick as well as for me. I’ve had some very lean years. The last stake horse I had was in 2004 so that’s ten years. It’s been a long time between drinks, but I’ve persevered.” Evans campaigned Florida-bred Free of Love who won the Grade 3 Westchester and, at three, ran second in the Grade 1 Jim Dandy.

Evans continued, “Rick has always done the best he could with what I gave him. I’m not an immensely wealthy man so I can’t throw as much money at the horses as some other people do. But I have my budget, I spend it every year.” Evans added with a smile, “As I get older and the actuarial table is creeping up on me, if I have a good one I keep him.”

Mrs. Gerald A. Nielsen, the breeder of Upstart, who was foaled at her Sunnyfield Farm in Bedford, was delighted with the victory, but also with the quality of the race. “You know there was a very very good horse alongside him and they’re both new York-breds and I’m thrilled they’re so good. I’m thrilled he won, though. I’m happy for all of these good ones.”

Upstart, who has earned $148,815 from his two winning starts, is the first winner for his dam Party Silks, an unraced daughter of Touch Gold also bred by Mrs. Nielsen. His second dam is stakes placed and third dam is a stakes winner.

Broman homebred Artemis Agrotera all alone at the wire in Grade 1 Ballerina

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Chester and Mary Broman’s eighth victory with a homebred at the current Saratoga race meeting was surely the sweetest, as Artemis Agrotera, the lone sophomore in the salty nine-horse field of the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina Stakes, gained the lead in the stretch under jockey Rajiv Maragh and drew off to an overwhelming 6 1/2 length victory.

Named for the Greek goddess Artemis, one of whose cult titles is “Agrotera” meaning “Artemis of the wilds” (i.e. “the huntress”), Artemis Agrotera began her career last August at Saratoga by dominating a state-bred maiden special weight field by 11-plus lengths. In her very next start the Roman Ruler filly stalked and pounced to win the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont in October by 1 1/4 lengths. She wrapped up her juvenile campaign with a tough-trip fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Returning to the races this year in June, Artemis Agrotera disappointed in the Grade 1 Acorn, finishing eighth, but regained her form and, perhaps, her confidence with a romp in a state-bred allowance at Saratoga on July 23. Third choice in the Ballerina at 4-1 she was partnered for the first time with Rajiv Maragh and was drawn in the inside post.

NYRA/Adam Mooshian

NYRA/Adam Mooshian

After breaking slightly outward, Artemis Agrotera soon settled in second position, two lengths behind pacesetter and fellow New York-bred La Verdad, who ticked off the first quarter-mile in 23.14 and half in 45.78.

The relative positions of the first two remained unchanged along the backstretch. Maragh began to ask Artemis Agrotera in earnest for run rounding the far turn and guided her into the lane three wide.

Artemis Agrotera passed La Verdad in upper stretch and opened up to secure the victory, geared down, by a much-the-best 6 1/2 lengths over My Miss Aurelia who closed into second. Next across the line were New York-bred Willet, a solid closing third, followed by Better Lucky, La Verdad, Kipling’s Joy, Geeky Gorgeous and Hot Stones. [VIDEO]

Maragh said, “I was gearing down inside the sixteenth pole because she had the race wrapped up and was powering away. I don’t think I squeezed the lemon dry. I think she has more to give.” Maragh added, “She was pretty dominant today and she was much the best.”

NYRA/Lauren King

NYRA/Lauren King

Artemis Agrotera completed seven furlongs in 1:21.89, or .46 seconds faster than The Big Beast (1:22.35), who won the King’s Bishop one race earlier.

Trainer Mike Hushion said that he left decisions about race strategy in the hands of his jockey. “I left it to Rajiv. We talked about [post 1] this morning, and he was going to take the path of least resistance. She barked out of there pretty good and he took it from there and it worked out well.”

Hushion also explained that he approached the filly’s training after her eighth place-finish in the Acorn a little differently. “I just lightened up on her a little. She’s a filly that apparently does better off of light training than five-eights [of a mile] in a minute every six days.”

Ultimately, however, Artemis Agrotera’s overpowering performance in Ballerina came as no great surprise. “You know, this filly has always acted like a special filly every day I’ve had her, so I was more confused by the couple of times she didn’t run well and never surprised when she shows up big.” Hushion added, “To win a Grade 1 at Saratoga, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

The Ballerina is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win & You’re In” race, which guarantees Artemis Agrotera a berth in the starting gate for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Park this fall.

Hushion said, “I heard that Mr. Broman told the last interviewer we were going. It sounds good to me.”

Artemis Agrotera, who has scored four victories from six starts and earned $763,800, is the most recent reported foal out of Indy Glory by A.P. Indy, also bred and campaigned by the Bromans. A full sister to Grade 1 winner, millionaire and sire Stephen Got Even and to stakes winner Grand Merger, Indy Glory is a stakes-winning router with multiple graded placings ($283,422). The Bromans purchased her dam Immerse (Cox’s Ridge) at the 1997 Keeneland November sale for $350,000.

Indy Glory’s four winners include stakes-placed Time Squared by Fusaichi Pegasus, who brought $1.05 million at the 2006 Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds, and stakes-placed Submerge, a filly by the same sire. Indy Glory was bred to Pioneerof the Nile this year.