NEWS: racing

NY-breds in Breeders’ Cup 2014: Post positions & training notes

Friday, October 31st, 2014
BreedersCup_2014WorldChamp_Logo_Date_CMYKBy Sarah Mace

A record number of Breeders’ Cup-bound New York-breds made their way to Santa Anita this week in advance of the 2014 World Championships on October 31 and November 1. Post positions are drawn and most of the competitors have had a chance at least to stretch their legs over the Santa Anita oval.

Here’s a rundown of post positions, jockeys and morning line odds of the New York-bred competitors, as well as what the horses have been up to this week and what their connections have had to say.

Offering Plan, Startup Nation, International star (Friday, October 31, Race 6. $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf)

Three New York-breds will compete in the one-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. While many in the field are going a mile for the first time, all three New York-breds are turning back in distance for the race.

Offering Plan (20-1 ML), the first of a pair trained by Chad Brown, drew post 8 and will be ridden for the first time by Irad Ortiz, Jr. After the scratch of Aktabantay, stablemate Startup Nation (12-1 ML) will break from post 9 (as #10) under regular rider Joel Rosario.

Despite a delayed flight, the Brown pair shipped well from New York on Monday and went out for some light exercise Tuesday. On Wednesday morning they galloped 1 1/2 miles.

Brown discussed both on Thursday, “The two colts seemed to have shipped in well coming off third- (Offering Plan) and fourth-place (Startup Nation) finishes in the Pilgrim. For Offering Plan, it was a real nice step forward for him, off his maiden win beating New York-breds. He stepped up in open company and really ran credible. Both of his races in his career have been good and I think he deserves a shot in the races. He’s had two breezes since the Pilgrim and they were A-pluses for me. His energy level is terrific.

Startup Nation seems to be training well. With him, I was very disappointed in the Pilgrim. He was a heavy favorite off his race in the With Anticipation at Saratoga where he showed that huge burst of foot.” Brown said jockey Joel Rosario told him that the colt never seemed comfortable on the inside.

“He came out of the race in good order and since then he’s been training well. He’s another one who would appreciate more pace up front, to get a little further back and, of course, in the clear this time. I’m OK to lose ground with him and he drew toward outside anyway. I don’t want to see him down on the fence this race. I’m willing to give up ground and see if he prefers to run outside of horses.”

Five of seven (and the last three runnings) of this race have been won by horses trained in Europe, of whom there are five in the main body of the race, but according to some analysts, no giant-killers. The talented Startup Nation, who had an excuse in the Pilgrim, has every right to have a say in the outcome of this race.

Finally, International Star, who won Grade 3 Grey Stakes at Woodbine on October 5 and has never finished out of the exacta in any of his four races, drew post 11 (#12) of 14 and will have the services of John Velazquez, who has won 12 Breeders’ Cup races (15-1 ML). Trainer Mike Maker said, “I was really confident in him until the draw. But, he’s really coming around nicely and doing well.”

Wonder Gal (Saturday, November 1, Race 4, $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies)

Wonder Gal, who ran second to By the Moon in the sloppy Frizette last out on October 4, drew post 10 for the Juvenile Fillies and will be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith, owner of the most Breeders’ Cup victories by a jockey with 20 (12-1 ML).

Trainer Leah Gyarmati said of the post position, “Wonder Gal’s draw is fine. Wonder Gal won’t have to stand in the gate too long. Her post is fine because with her running style (off the pace) it won’t matter too much. I’m sure Mike (Smith) will find a spot to get over and save a little ground.”

Wonder Gal breezed on Monday on the main track at Santa Anita, going four furlongs in 47.80 (14/54) and jogged on Tuesday.

Gyarmati reported on Tuesday: “She’s much more relaxed today [after her work]. She jogged the wrong way this morning from the quarter-pole gap, walked to the paddock and took a long walk around the backside. Normally, I just walk her after a breeze but this took the edge off of her.”

A big strong filly, Wonder Gal seems drawn ideally to stay out of the kind of traffic trouble she encountered in the Adirondack, and should love the extra distance (1 1/16 miles after the one mile Frizette) and a return to a fast track. She is absolutely a top contender in this event.

Dayatthespa (Saturday, November 1, Race 5, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf)

Two-time Grade 1 winner Dayatthespa, who projects to be on or near the lead in the 1 1/4-mile Filly and Mare Turf, drew post four for her first attempt beyond nine furlongs. Javier Castellano, who rode her to eight wins, including her Grade 1 victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in her sophomore year has the call (8-1 ML).

The 5-year-old daughter of City Zip shipped from New York on Monday and had a light morning of exercise on Tuesday morning at Santa Anita Park. On Wednesday morning she galloped about 1 1/2 miles.

Trainer Chad Brown believes a victory in the Filly and Mare Turf could make Dayatthespa a contender for the division title. “That would be her second Grade 1 and it depends on what other horses do in the race,” he said. “She’s very dangerous. She’s got speed and she can carry it. She’s in career form right now.”

Although she has never gone the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Filly and Mare Turf, the City Zip mare has the pedigree to do so on her dam’s side, and it is hard to discount the confidence of her trainer, who is very successful when he precisely points a horse to a big race in this manner. The mare will be making just her fourth carefully-chosen start of the year on Saturday,

“She’s a very consistent horse,” said Brown. “For a trainer to have a horse as dependable as her, when you need a win she steps up and gives it to you.”

On Thursday, Brown gave a little more background. “When I had her as a 2-year-old we were working her on the dirt and she was just OK,” Brown said. “Then I breezed her on the turf one day with one of the partners there, Steve Laymon. I turned to him and said, “That filly will win a million dollars if she stays sound.” And she did.

“That was just off one breeze. That’s how talented she is. Just the first time I put her on the turf she breezed remarkable. When you see a work like that with a young horse you can tell.”

Dayatthespa is scheduled to be offered at The November Sale at Fasig-Tipton on Monday, November 3, 2014 as part of the Lane’s End consignment. Said Brown, “She’s just meant so much to me and my whole staff. She’s really a barn favorite. She’s scheduled to be sold days after the Breeders’ Cup. It will be sad to see her go, but she’s earned it and can go on to the next stage of her life.”

Artemis Agrotera (Saturday, November 1, Race 6, $1 million DraftKings Filly & Mare Sprint)

If the Filly and Mare Sprint were a beauty contest, by all accounts and photographs Artemis Agrotera should win hands down. “Artemis” drew post position five for the race and is tabbed at 3-1 on the morning line. With regular pilot Rajiv Maragh sidelined by injury, Jose Ortiz will ride her for the third time. She looks for her fourth straight victory and second Grade 1 tally.

Trainer Mike Hushion was upbeat after the draw. “I’m very happy,” said Hushion. “She’ll load late and has a terrific post position.  She’s the kind of horse that will run from anywhere.  Jose Ortiz knows her pretty well.  He rode her over the summer and has worked her about six times.  She’s doing great and we’re hoping for a clean trip.”

“Artemis” shipped over the weekend, and galloped 8 1/2 furlongs on Tuesday morning.

“She’s OK,” Hushion said. “She gets disturbed a little bit by the shipping. We have to worry about getting her back 100 percent on her feet. She certainly looked like it didn’t bother her going over the track this morning.” Added Hushion, “She’s wants to be strong,” he said. “She wants to be strong in the barn and she wants to be strong on the track. She’s a very active horse in her stall.”

Although Artemis Agrotera is just one of several top contenders in the line-up, topped by possible lone speed Stonetastic, and Maragh also seems to have suited her particularly well, the draw is excellent for the
Grade 1 winning Broman homebred, she has a versatile running style and appears to be in peak form. With a clean trip she should give an excellent account of herself.

Upstart (Saturday, November 1, Race 8, $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile)

Upstart, second to top Juvenile contender Daredevil in the Champagne, drew the outside post, number 12 for the Juvenile and sits at 8-1 on the morning line. The talented colt’s ability to come from off the pace could be of service here with the wide draw, and trainer Rick Violette has been explicit about race strategy, telling the DRF, “We have to break running and be very aggressive and try to seize a decent position going into the first turn.”

Violette elaborated. “Being on a highway, if you want to change lanes, you’re better off to accelerate and get in front of somebody because if you back up, you might be backing up to the back of the pack.”

With favorite American Pharaoh out of Sprint, Upstart is a top contender, along with Calculator, Carpe Diem and Daredevil, the four that are likely to attract the most support at the windows.

Hangover Kid (Saturday, November 1, Race 9, $3,000,000 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf)

Hangover Kid, who breezed 3f in 38.45 at Belmont on Tuesday (4/5), drew post five and will be ridden by Jose Lezcano, his pilot two starts back when they won the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap.

The 6-year-old has longshot status in a field full of accomplished European horses (30-1 ML), but also a long history of outperforming his odds. Last year Hangover Kid came from last in a field of 12 to finish second in Aqueduct’s Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap at odds of 23-1, and mounted a strong late rally to finish third in Monmouth’s Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at odds of 47-1 in a field of eight. This year he was second in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes at odds of 19-1. If he gets a chance to make his run, it would not be out of the question to see him jump up in the final stages to finish on the board.

Palace (Saturday, November 1, Race 10, $1.5 million Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint)

Palace, who drew post eight and is 6-1 on the morning line, will be reunited with regular rider Cornelio Velasquez for the Sprint. He posted his last serious work at four furlongs in 46.40 on Monday at Santa Anita (3/54). Trainer Linda Rice said, “I wanted five through eight and we got it. I’m really happy with it.”

Rice also reported that Palace exited the workout in excellent shape and full of energy. “He came out really well. He was really fresh, though, so we jogged him today. He’s feeling great.”

Rice shipped Palace early to Santa Anita by design. Said Rice, “I had been monitoring the temperature between California and New York on a daily basis – and in my mind, I think there’s a risk if you ship from cold to hot,” Rice explained. “So we shipped him in earlier. From hot to cold it’s easier – like when Gulfstream horses ship north and do well in New York.

“I’m glad he’s adapted so well,” Rice continued. “He also took to the track well.” She mapped out the plan for the rest of the week: “He will gallop into the race a mile and a half every day and we will paddock school him on Wednesday or Thursday.”

Rice added some general observations on Thursday: [“Palace is] very much like his father [City Zip, whom Rice trained]. He’s a little taller and he’s become better as he has aged – while City Zip was a great two-year-old – but he has the same ability and speed to win or the front or come off the past just like his sire.”

Again, this is a tough lineup, but Palace has stamped himself one of the top sprinters in the country and belongs with this group. He should be on or near the lead throughout in the speed-laden field.

Zivo (Saturday, November 1, Race 12, $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic)

Zivo, a potential sleeper in the imposing Classic field of sophomores and older horses, drew post eight and will be ridden by regular rider Jose Lezcano (15-1 ML). His strong closing style could well be just the right answer to all the hard hitting which is likely to take place on the front end. There is no reason that he could not spring an upset, even in a field of this caliber with the right trip.

Trainer Chad Brown explained how the 5-year-old son of True Direction got to where he is today. “We always liked the horse. I know he’s not by a sire who’s really known, but the bottom side of the pedigree is solid for distance on dirt. We thought he would be a solid New York-bred horse and we have allowed him to work his way up. He’s come from the bottom but we’ve never run him for a tag, either. We’ve always run him against New York-breds and he’s earned his way through the allowance ranks and the stakes ranks. It’s been a pleasure to watch him develop.”

Zivo moved into open-company stakes this summer and won the Suburban Handicap at 10 furlongs. He was fourth in the Woodward at Saratoga and ran second to Tonalist in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. The fourth in the Woodward was the only time Zivo missed hitting the board in 17 career races.

Brown elaborated after Zivo’s 1 1/2-mile gallop on Thursday, crediting owner/breeder Thomas Coleman with the decision to move the horse up the ladder the Suburban. “It was time to take a shot. The owner wanted to take a shot and he was right. He ran terrific [in and we started to think about [the Breeders’ Cup Classic] and maybe we can get there, so we started to work backwards from it. We had to sit one of the races out and the Whitney seemed like the logical race to sit out. We were using the Woodward as a prep for the Jockey Club in turn as a prep for this race.”

NY-bred Breeders’ Cup pre-entries soar in 2014

Friday, October 24th, 2014
BreedersCup_2014WorldChamp_Logo_Date_CMYKBy Sarah Mace

More horses have been pre-entered for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup World Championships than ever before (201), but that wasn’t the only record that fell when pre-entries were announced on Wednesday.

Previously, the most New York-breds to compete in the Breeders’ Cup races in a single year was six (in 2011), and in only one other year (1992) have there been more than four New York-breds in the championship races. This year a grand total of eleven New York-breds are pre-entered (including one cross-entry) in nine of the thirteen Grade 1 races to be run at Santa Anita on October 31 and November 1.

After 53 New York-bred Breeders’ Cup starts, last year saw the first Empire-bred winner when London Bridge (Arch), bred by Patricia S. Purdy and owned by Waratah Thoroughbreds, captured the now-discontinued Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Marathon. Otherwise, the most successful New York-bred performances in the championship races have resulted in three seconds and five thirds. It seems likely that the strong slate of New York-bred runners pre-entered this year, in some cases leaders of their divisions, could carry the state-bred program into new territory. A brief review of the pre-entrants follows.

Friday, October 31

Race 6. Three New York-bred 2-year-olds are pre-entered in the one-mile $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, which makes this the only Breeders’ Cup race this year that could have multiple New York-breds in the starting gate.

International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus), bred by Katharine M. Voss and Robert T. Manfuso and trained by Mike Maker for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, comes to the Juvenile Turf on the heels of an October 5 victory in Woodbine’s $156,300 Grade 3 Grey Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds on Polytrack.

Chad Brown also has a pair of New York-breds pre-entered for the Juvenile Turf, only one of which might compete. Offering Plan (Spring At Last), bred by C. W. Swann and Cygnet Farm and owned by Michael Dubb et al., finished third in the Grade 3 Pilgrim on September 28, but is he is also entered this Sunday in Belmont’s $100,000 Awad Stakes. Brown also sends out Klaravich Stables, Inc. and William H. Lawrence’s Startup Nation (Temple City). Bred by Spendthrift Farm, Startup Nation won the Grade 2 With Anticipation on August 28 in his second career start, and in his most recent race made a late run to finish fourth in the Grade 3 Pilgrim.

Four New York-breds have competed previously in the Juvenile Turf. The best finish came from Cannonball (Catienus), who was third in 2007. Bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Cannonball returned in the Breeders’ Cup in 2009, when he also finished third in the Turf Sprint.

Saturday, November 1

Race 4. Treadway Racing Stable’s Wonder Gal is scheduled to appear in the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, which kicks off the action on Saturday. Bred by Apache Farm LLC and trained by Leah Gyarmati, the imposing filly romped in the Lynbrook Stakes in her unveiling on July 6 and has since run third and second, respectively, in the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga and Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont.

Six New York-breds have competed previously in the Juvenile Fillies, with the best efforts producing a pair of thirds. Cadillac Women (Carr de Naskra), bred by Andrew and David Kaskel and owned by Fares Farm, was third in 1991 at odds of 28-1 under Perry Compton. Weemissfrankie, bred by Hidden Point Farm Inc., owned by Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stables et al. and trained by Peter Eurton, finished third to My Miss Aurelia and Grade Hall in 2011 under Rafael Bejarano at odds of 5-1.

Race 5. The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at 1 1/4 miles is the first preference for multiple Grade 1 winner and millionaire Dayatthespa, who is cross-entered in the Breeders Cup $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile later in the card (Race 11). Bred by Castellare DiCracchiolo Stable, Cracchiolo & Goldsher and trained by Chad Brown for owners Jerry and Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon and Bradley Thoroughbreds, Dayatthespa powered home to win the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland at one-mile in her most recent start. This will be a return trip to Breeders’ Cup competition for the 5-year-old City Zip mare, who, needless to say, has every right to improve on her ninth-place finish in the Juvenile Fillies turf in 2011.

Dayatthespa is the first New York-bred to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Race 6. The $1 million DraftKings Filly & Mare Sprint, will see the second New York-bred Breeders’ Cup returnee of the group, Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred Artemis Agrotera (Roman Ruler), who ran fifth in the Juvenile Fillies last year as second choice after being forced to steady. Winner of the Grade 1 Frizette last year, in her two most recent starts “Artemis” delivered powerful winning performances in the Grade 1 Ballerina (part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win & You’re In” series) and Grade 2 Gallant Bloom. The Mike Hushion-trainee is also a perfect 2-for-2 at the seven-furlong distance of the sprint.

The only other New York-bred to try the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint was Oprah Winney, who was unplaced.

Race 8. Ralph M. Evans’s Upstart (Flatter) will take on the best 2-year-olds in the country in the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile run at 1 1/16 miles. Bred by Mrs. Gerald A. Nielsen, and trained by Rick Violette, the dark bay/brown ridgling romped in his Spa debut in mid-August, took down the Funny Cide against statebreds later in the meet and most recently finished second in the Grade 1 Champagne to Daredevil, a Todd-Pletcher trainee also in the Juvenile field.

Only two other New York-breds have competed before in the Juvenile, Noteasybeingreen in 1998 and Overextended in 2007. Both were unplaced.

Race 9. The $3,000,000 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf will see the first Breeders’ Cup appearance by 6-year-old Hangover Kid (Lemon Drop Kid), a homebred for Steve Taglienti’s Four Tags Stable trained by Jason Servis. Owner of a powerful late kick, Hangover Kid won Belmont’s Grade 2 Bowling Green two starts back at the 1 1/2-mile distance of the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Gallagher’s Stud homebred Allez Milord, the only New York-bred to compete in the Turf previously, finished unplaced.

Race 10. Palace (City Zip) was claimed by Linda Rice for owner Antonino Miuccio from Bill Mott and WinStar Farm for $20,000 in October 2012 and now, at age five, is one of the top sprinters in the country and will take his place in the starting gate in the $1.5 million Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint at six furlongs. He carried off two Grade 1 prizes this year at Saratoga with a victory in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap on August 2 and a powerful open-length victory in the Grade 1 Forego Handicap (a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race). Last out, Palace finished third in the Grade 1 Vosburgh to Private Zone who is also in the Sprint field.

The Sprint has seen six New York-bred entrants in all, resulting in two runner-up finishes. In 2006 Todd Pletcher-trained Friendly Island, owned by Anstu Stables and bred by Kildare Stud and Adrian Regan, ran second to Thor’s Echo at odds of 58-1 under Ramon Dominguez. In 2012 The Lumber Guy, bred and owned by Barry K. Schwartz, finished second as 3-1 second choice to longshot Trinniberg.

Race 11. ($2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile, Dayatthespa, see race 5 above). Fourstars Allstar appeared three times in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (1992, 1993 and 1995) finishing third in 1993. Compliance Officer finished off the board in 2011.

Race 12. Last, but certainly not least, is Thomas Coleman’s homebred Zivo (True Direction), who will participate in the biggest race of them all, the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, featuring a potent line-up of 3-year-olds and older horses. Trained by Chad Brown, Zivo is a strong closer with dramatic last-to-first flair. A winner of five of seven starts this year, Zivo bested Classic rivals Moreno and Prayer for Relief in Belmont’s Grade 2 Suburban in July with a last-to-first move at the Classic distance (1 1/4 miles). Last out he finished second to Tonalist in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic has seen eight prior New York-bred entries (six individuals, with Gander and Funny Cide appearing twice each). Virginia Kraft Payson’s L’Carriere owns the best Classic finish to date, finishing second to Cigar in 1995 under Jorge Chavez at 51-1 odds.

Final entries for the 31st Breeders’ Cup World Championships are due on Monday, October 27, with the post-position selection draw for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup set for Wednesday, October 29. Download complete pre-entries.

Pricey yearling Fannaan now an undefeated juvenile in the UK for Sheikh Hamdan

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
By Sarah Mace

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Fannaan, a son of Speightstown bred in New York by Waterville Lake Stables Ltd LLC and foaled at Doug Koch’s Berkshire Stud, has made good so far on his $350,000 price tag as a Keeneland September yearling by chalking up two comfortable victories to begin his young career, scoring his second tally at Newmarket on October 22.

Trained by John Gosden, Fannaan won his six-furlong unveiling at Haydock on September 26 by 3 1/2 lengths. On Wednesday, stretching out to seven furlongs over soft turf, he looked comfortable every step of the way as he led the three-horse field, which included the Listed Washington Singer S. runner-up, from start to finish before crossing the finish line a 1 1/2 length winner in a final time of 1:27.55. [VIDEO via TDN, courtesy Racing UK]

Gosden told the Newmarket Journal, “He is a very good horse. He came in early to me from Dubai and was meant to be an Ascot two-year old but he rubbed a foot boarding a plane.”

Continued Gosden, “He had his ears pricked today and was relaxed while in front. He will be better on better ground. The only disappointment was the horse in behind (Hawkesbury) struck into him.”

As to the future, the conditioner said, “We will see how he is in the spring but he is a miler and you would look at the Classic trial races next year.”

Purchased at Keeneland by Shadwell Estate Company Ltd. from Don Robinson’s Winter Quarter Farm consignment, Fannaan is the third foal, and first colt, produced by Titian Time, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Red Ransom out of British-bred Timely.

Titian Time, who raced in England, France, Ireland and the United States, was Group 1 stakes placed in England at two, the highweighted filly that year on the English Free Hand and a course record-setter at six furlongs on the inner turf at Belmont in 2005. Purchased by Don Robinson on behalf of Waterville Lake Stables for $475,000 at the 2007 Keeneland November sale, Titian Time is a full-sister to Shining Hour, a Group 3 winner and producer of a stakes performer.

Moonlight Song exploits dangerous speed to capture Hudson Handicap

Sunday, October 19th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Albert Fried, Jr.’s late-blooming homebred Moonlight Song (Unbridled’s Song), who brought home his first stakes victory earlier this year in the Gold and Roses Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack at age seven, wrapped up the stakes portion of the Empire Showcase Day card by collecting his second career tally with a frontrunning victory in a deep and competitive running of the 6 1/2-furlong, $150,000 Hudson Handicap.

Returning to the starting gate 64 days after his last start, Moonlight Song was last seen finishing fifth in the restricted John Morrissey at Saratoga, a race in which the next four horses who followed two-length winner Weekend Hideaway across the line ended up in a blanket finish. The first five finishers in the Morrissey (Weekend Hideaway, Big Business, West Hills Giant, Saratoga Snacks and Moonlight Song) were all back for another tilt in in the Hudson, along with six more. With plenty of speed signed on, it looked like the winner would either be the “speed of the speed,” or in the event of a pace collapse, the best of the closers.

Partnered for the first time with jockey Joel Rosario, Moonlight Song (5-1) got out of post seven cleanly and threw down the gauntlet, forging his way to the front and carving out solid early fractions of 22.54 and 45.18 while prompted by longshot Laila’s Jazz.

With a length advantage, Moonlight Song cut the corner neatly exiting the far turn and, when faced with a challenge from Captain Serious with a furlong to go, dug in and kept to business on his way to a 1 1/2-length victory. After six panels in 1:09.25, he completed the six furlongs in 1:15.58.

Big Business closed wide from midpack to finish second, followed a half-length back by West Hills Giant and Captain Serious noses apart in third and fourth. Completing the order of finish were favored Noble Cornerstone, Weekend Hideaway, Crafty Dreamer, John’s Island, Chapman, Laila’s Jazz and Sandy’z Slew. [VIDEO]

With the his second stakes victory, the relatively lightly raced Moonlight Song improved his career record to seven wins, two seconds and a third from 16 starts with $414,294 in earnings.

Rosario said he let Moonlight’s Song’s natural speed work to his advantage. Said the jockey, “He broke sharp and I was thinking it looked like, on paper, there were a couple of horses with speed like my horse. I was thinking if a couple of them go, I’ll just let him settle behind but he broke sharp and I just let him go on and he took it all the way. Every time a horse came to him he kept on going. He was game the whole way.”

Charlton Baker, who trains Moonlight Song for Fried, said, “He’s a nice horse. He’s got a lot of speed. We rated him a little last time because he runs at horses pretty good. Today, he broke sharp and nobody seemed like they wanted the lead. He’s the best horse I have in the barn. He was second in this race last year to Palace; he came back and beat Palace in January [in the Gold and Roses]. Palace is going to the Breeders’ Cup, so you know he’s been keeping good company.”

Moonlight Song is the third foal, and one of four winners, out of Moonlightandbeauty (Capote), also bred by Fried, who purchased her dam, Stolen Beauty (Deputy Minister), for $30,000 at the 1990 Keeneland September yearling sale. Winner of the Grade 2 Demoiselle in 1992 in her third career start, Stolen Beauty won or placed in seven stakes races and earned $299,451.

Moonlightandbeauty, a stakes winner and $228,053-earner trained by Rick Schosberg, began her broodmare career with a bang, producing Giant Moon (Giant’s Causeway) as her first foal. Also trained by Schosberg, Giant Moon went undefeated in his first four starts, culminating with a victory in the 2008 Count Fleet Stakes, and was voted champion New York-bred 2-year-old male in 2007. Giant Moon won at least one stakes race every year from 2007 to 2010 and earned just over a half million dollars ($502,586).

Moonlightandbeauty’s most recent reported foal, and first to be offered for sale at auction, was a Medaglia d’Oro colt now named Apollo Eleven who was purchased by The Elkstone Group for $250,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga preferred New York-bred sale in 2013. The mare was bred to Street Cry this year.

Discreet Marq, sale-bound, becomes a millionaire in Ticonderoga

Sunday, October 19th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Patricia Generazio’s Discreet Marq, to be offered as a racing/broodmare prospect at the November 3 Fasig-Tipton November Sale, had one last hurrah for the Christophe Clement barn at Belmont Park on Empire Showcase Day, winning the 1 1/16-mile, $200,000 Ticonderoga for New York-bred turf fillies and mares by three lengths after a stalking trip and pushing her career earnings into seven-figure territory.

Making her sixth start of 2014 in the Ticonderoga, Discreet Marq had yet to put one in the win column this year, but has been racing competitively in Grade 1 races or in Grade 1 company. The grey finished second by a half-length in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland to kick off her campaign in April and a close-up fourth the Just A Game at Belmont in June. From two starts in Saratoga she was third in the Diana, and second in the restricted Yaddo behind fellow New York-bred Grade 1-winning turf star Dayatthespa. Just two weeks before the Ticonderoga, back at Keeneland, Discreet Marq ended up sixth in the First Lady, but just 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner, once again Dayatthespa.

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Breaking from post ten in the field of 12, Discreet Marq (4-5) set up in a perfect stalking position in the two path under Irad Ortiz, Jr. behind longshot One Time Only, biding her time through three-quarters of a mile. Moving decisively on the far turn, she took over confidently while turning for home and never had an anxious moment before finishing three lengths to the good in a final time 1:44.36.

Old Harbor closed on the outside to pick up second, while Selenite finished three lengths back in third, followed by Effie Trinket, winner of the race last year. Chrysolite, Caribean Beat, Strike Accord, Invading Humor, Run to Mama, Stock Fund, One Time Only and Mah Jong Maddnes completed the order of finish. [VIDEO]

Both trainer and rider appear to have approached the race with confidence. All smiles, Christophe Clement said, “There’s a saying, ‘There’s nothing like the drop,’ and I guess this confirms it. She’s been running in Grade 1s all along and this was an easy race, and she won it very nicely. She’s never run a bad race. She’s a lovely mare.”

Ortiz added, “She’s such a nice filly. She broke well, I sat and waited, and when I asked her, she took off. There weren’t any surprises.”

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Discreet Marq’s sixth career stakes victory, led by last year’s triumphs in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and Grade 2 Sands Point, netted $120,000 to bring her lifetime earnings to $1,067,900.

A four-year-old daughter of Discreet Cat foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Discreet Marq is out of the multiple stakes winning and graded stakes placed Marquetry mare To Marquet ($198,236), a Kentucky-bred Generazio homebred. Frank Generazio Jr. bred To Marquet’s dam, Florida-bred Pretty Momma, also a multiple stakes winner.

To Marquet has produced two more successful turf stakes performers. Marquet Cat (Cat Thief) has earned nearly $400,000 from 61 starts and Marquet Madness (Pico Central) earned over $200,000. To Marquet currently has a yearling colt named Too Discreet and a weaning colt, both full siblings to Discreet Marq. She was bred to Ghostzapper this year.

Effinex adds blinkers, delivers stunning upset in Empire Classic

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Bill Heller

Tri-Bone Stable’s three-year-old New York-bred colt Effinex deserved to be a longshot in the 39th running of the mile-and-an-eighth $300,000 Empire Classic Handicap Saturday on New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park. Heck, he was beaten 10 lengths when he finished third as the 2-1 favorite in a second-level state-bred allowance race in his last start, the first time Angel Arroyo rode him. That was Effinex’s sixth straight defeat.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens – whom you may have noticed is having a rather remarkable year with two other three-year-olds named Wicked Strong and V.E. Day – made two important decisions for Effinex’s next start in the Empire Classic. He let Arroyo, who had already won one of the Showcase stakes Saturday, keep the mount, and he added blinkers.

The blinkers helped and Arroyo delivered a brilliant ride as Effinex wore down front-running So Lonesome to win by a neck.

Bettors had difficulty selecting a favorite for the Empire, sending both Saratoga Snacks and Sioux off at 5-2, with Sioux the slight favorite.

Saratoga Snacks, who switched barns from Gary Sciacca to Bill Mott earlier this year, finished second to Lunar Victory in the 2012 Empire Classic and won the 2013 version by three-quarters of a length. But he hadn’t won since, finishing eighth in the Grade I Cigar Mile, then second and fourth in a pair of New York-bred stakes. In his last start, a New York-bred allowance, he’d finished sixth at 7-5 behind two other horses he was facing Saturday, Beautyinthepulpit and Eye Luv Lulu.

Sioux had won two consecutive state-bred allowance races by wide margins and was making his first start in a stakes race.

Of his opposition, So Lonesome went off the 7-2 third choice under Jose Lezcano. The entry of Empire Dreams and Awesome Vision was 6-1; Beautyinthepulpit 9-1, Sinistra 12-1, Eye Luv Lulu 13-1 and Effinex the longest shot on the board at 17-1.

So Lonesome, who needed a saddle adjustment before walking into the starting gate, went immediately for the lead from the five post. So did Eye Luv Lulu, who was ridden by Mike Luzzi from the six post.

So Lonesome led Eye Luv Lulu by a neck in a :23.66 opening quarter. Sioux got away third on their outside, while Sinistra moved up on the inside. Effinex, on the outside of Saratoga Snacks, alternated with him in fifth and sixth.

So Lonesome increased his lead to 3 1/2 lengths in a :47.09 half-mile, still tracked by Eye Luv Lulu and Sioux in second and third.

Heading into the far turn, Arroyo kept Effinex on the inside and he moved up into fourth after three-quarters in 1:11.31. While Eye Luv Lulu and Sioux tried gaining on the outside of So Lonesome, Effinex continued to gain on his inside.

In mid-stretch, Eye Luv Lulu and Sioux tired, and Arroyo took Effinex to the outside to go after So Lonesome, who was still two lengths clear after completing the mile in 1:35.92.

Effinex moved up on his outside, kept grinding and wore So Lonesome down in deep stretch to get up by a neck in 1:48.51. There was a gap of 5 3/4 lengths separating So Lonesome and Beautyinthepulpit in third. Saratoga Snacks was fourth, another 1 3/4 lengths back.

“We figured we’d take a shot,” Jerkens said.

Arroyo was certainly happy that Jerkens did. “The blinkers made a big difference today,” Arroyo said. “He ran great.

Effinex is a colt by Mineshaft out of What a Pear by E Dubai who was bred by Dr. Russell Cohen. Effinex now has three victories, a second and two thirds in 10 starts with more than $325,000 in earnings.

Princess Violet starts slowly, then crushes the competition in Empire Distaff

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Bill Heller

Barry Schwartz’s home-bred, three-year-old filly Princess Violet gave her eight rivals a head start and still blew them away, taking the inaugural running of the mile-and-a-sixteenth $250,000 Empire Distaff Handicap by 5 1/2 lengths in 1:43.81 to give jockey Jose Ortiz his third consecutive victory on Saturday’s card.

“It was sweet,” Princess Violet’s trainer, Mike Hushion, said. “She relaxed better than ever and when Jose stepped on the gas, she came on.”

Bettors who made Princess Violet the 6-5 favorite may have been concerned when she turned her head as the starting gate opened, but Ortiz didn’t bat an eye when she broke next-to-last. She worked her way up to fourth behind 74-1 Pennymine, 6-1 Sunny Desert and Carameaway, half of a 2-1 entry.

Pennymine took the field to a quarter in :23.19 and a half-mile in :46.51 before both Sunny Desert and Carameaway both roared past her, two and three-wide, respectively. Behind them, Princess Violet quickly drew closer.

Racing three-wide around the far turn, Princess Violet went by the two fillies in front of her easily, assuming complete command after three-quarters in 1:11.48. She hit the mile in 1:37.08 on the way to her impressive victory. “When I made my move, I had a lot of horse,” Ortiz said.

Princess Violet, a daughter of Officer out of Lady Rapper by Grand Slam, is now four-for-seven in her career with two seconds – including a distant one to Untapable in the Grade I Mother Goose – and earnings of more than $330,000.

Iroquois winner La Verdad queen of New York-bred female sprinters

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Bill Heller

Pushed early and tested late, Lady Sheila Stable’s four-year-old filly La Verdad proved she is the queen of New York-bred filly and mare sprinters, winning the 36th running of the 6 1/2-furlong $150,000 Iroquois Stakes by a length and a quarter as the 3-5 favorite in the field of eight. Ridden by Jose Ortiz, La Verdad defeated the 9-5 second choice Willet under Joel Rosario, in 1:17.13.

Risky Rachel was third at 9-1 well clear of 33-1 Make the Moment in fourth.

“It’s nice to get her back in the winner’s circle,” La Verdad’s trainer, Linda Rice, said.

La Verdad had a career record of nine-for-11 before finishing fifth twice and second by a head in three graded stakes in open company. She was beaten just a head in her last start by Artemis Agrotera, arguably the best three-year-old filly sprinter in the country, in the Grade II Gallant Bloom Handicap.

For the Iroquois, she posted identical 1:00 2/5 five-furlong works – one of them a bullet, the other second best – and was pounded at the windows for her drop back to state-breds.

She didn’t disappoint.

Beautifully drawn in the outside post, she broke as sharply as she does in all her starts. But Irish Whisper, a 13-1 shot ridden by Ortiz’s brother, Irad Jr., left hard from the five post inside of La Verdad.

Irish Whisper led for a couple strides before La Verdad took over. She had run hard to do so, reaching the quarter in :22.51.

La Verdad opened a four-length lead by running a half-mile in :45.52. Irish Whisper couldn’t keep up, but Risky Rachel and Willet moved into contention, Risky Rachel on the outside and Willet on the rail.

La Verdad still had a comfortable lead after six furlongs in 1:10.43. Willet closed resolutely without threatening La Verdad. Risky Rachel finished third, 2 ¼ lengths behind Willet.

Jose Ortiz said, “Linda Rice did a tremendous job with the filly because she brought it one hundred percent today.”

She usually does. La Verdad improved her record to 10-for-15 with two seconds and more than $770,000 in earnings.

“She’s a star,” owner Sheila Rosenbaum said. “She’s been up against the best of them and she’s proven she’s one of the best. She’s New York.”


Kharafa powers to impressive victory in Mohawk Stakes

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Bill Heller

Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch’s five-year-old gelding Kharafa, sent off at 6-1 under Angel Arroyo, powered past even-money King Kreesa at the top of the stretch, opened a three-length lead in mid-stretch and held off Lubash, the 3-1 second choice, by a length and a quarter to win the 36th running of the mile-and-a-sixteenth $200,000 Mohawk Stakes in 1:45.01 on a grass course rated “good”. King Kreesa was third, 1 3/4 lengths behind Lubash in third. Notacatbutallama finished fourth, another three-quarters of a length back, at 9-1.

Tim Hills trains Kharafa, a son of Kitalpha out of Exquisite Cassie by King of Kings who was bred by High Meadow Farm.

That Kharafa, who had finished in the money in five straight starts, went off at 6-1 spoke of the immense quality of this field of seven, which had collectively earned more than $3.5 million. Four of them had more than a half-million in earnings. Kharafa had the least earnings of the quartet with $533,497. Lubash ($911,079), King Kreesa ($772,370) and Notacatbutallama ($685,534) were 1-2-3.

King Kreesa, who had won the West Point Handicap by a head over Lubash and finished second by a neck to Lubash in the Ashley T. Cole in his last two starts, was made the clear favorite. Kharafa had finished a tiring third at 5-1 in the Ashley T. Cole, but that stakes was at a mile-and-an-eighth. At a mile-and-a-sixteenth, Kharafa had three wins, two seconds and a pair of thirds in eight starts.

Four horses vied for the early lead: Kharafa on the rail, King Kreesa from the two post, Notacatbutallama, who was ridden by John Velazquez from the five post, and Lubash, who was ridden by Junior Alvarado from the six post.

King Kreesa was squeezed momentarily between horses, but then went on to take the early lead by a length and a half. Kharafa raced in second, with Notacatbutallama on the rail in third and Lubash a half-length back on his outside in fourth through a slow quarter in :25.67 and a glacial half-mile in :51.25.

Ocala Jim, a 7-1 proposition under Jose Lezcano, made a bold middle move into second, but tired.

Arroyo sent up Kharafa on the outside of King Kreesa and he went right on by, hitting three-quarters in 1:15.73 with a two-length lead. Lubash rallied into second, but couldn’t threaten the winner.

“If Kharafa gets in tight, and they slow the pace down, he gets really rank,” Hills said. “So Angel’s job was to hustle him out of there and get in the clear, so that when King Kreesa took the lead, he could get around him. He did that to perfection.”

Arroyo said Kharafa “was doing it pretty easy.”

Kharafa improved his turf record to eight-for-23 with seven seconds and four thirds. He now has earnings of nearly $650,000.

Quezon spurts away to stay perfect in Maid of the Mist

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Marc Keller’s Quezon (Tiz Wonderful) emerged from her second career start, the $250,000 Maid of the Mist Stakes for juvenile fillies on Empire Showcase Day, with an unblemished record, decisively besting seven rivals in the one-mile contest, including 8-5 favorite and stakes winner Temper Mint Patty.

Despite a runaway victory in her career debut on September 17 at Belmont, where she romped by six lengths in an off-the-turf six-furlong maiden special weight over a muddy sealed track in 1:10.71, Quezon came into the Maid of the Mist with multiple question marks. Was she aided by the off going in her debut? Could she stretch out to a mile? On the other hand, Quezon’s debut victory was flattered when the runner-up, The Lewis Dinner, who was 3-5 that day, broke his maiden on Thursday in a good-looking effort by open lengths. The Bobby Ribaudo trainee, 4-1 second choice at post time, had answers to all the questions.

Roughed up a little at the start, bumping with Sweetpollypurebrd to her inside, Quezon settled back in fifth as a headstrong Myfourchix took over the lead at the rail from Sandra, while Temper Mint Patty stalked in third.

Rounding the far turn, Quezon worked her way out into the four path to the outside of Temper Mint Patty, while Myfourchix continued to lead through a half mile in 47.88 with Sandra at her flank. When Myfourchix relinquished her lead, the remaining three lined up across the track: Sandra at the rail, Temper Mint Patty in-between and Quezon on the outside.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

As the group came off the turn Quezon suddenly spurted away and opened up at will, ultimately gaining the victory by six lengths at the wire. Temper Mint Patty was the best of the rest, finishing 3 3/4 lengths ahead of Sweetpollypurebrd. Completing the order of finish were Sandra, Serious Happiness, Lady Bling, Dunn Listening and Myfourchix. The final time for one mile was 1:38.38. [VIDEO]

Winning jockey Manuel Franco reported, “Today, there was a lot of speed. I tried to follow instructions; he [Bobby Ribaudo] said, ‘If someone wants to go, you sit, wait and when you’re in the clear, then make your move.’ I came with a lot of horse today. She galloped out really good. I think she can go further.”

Ribaudo was delighted he took a chance with his lightly-raced charge. “I had my doubts about doing this because she had come off the one race going three-quarters,” said Ribaudo. “You’re coming back in a month, which is good timing, but you’re going to a mile. You’re going into a stake. Common sense says you shouldn’t be doing this, but how many times can you run for a quarter of a million dollars with a New York-bred 2-year-old filly? She was doing good, so we went. I was surprised we outran the favorite [Temper Mint Patty] so easily.”

Quezon, untreated with Lasix in either start, has earned $193,200 from her two winning efforts. Bred by Apache Farm LLC and foaled at Apache Farm North in Mt. Morris, she is the only reported foal out of Kalookan Dancer, a multiple stakes-winning California-bred daughter of Olympio, who last changed hands at the 2009 Keeneland November sale, going to Jane Moriarty for $20,000. Quezon was a $90,000 purchase by Riverside Stable at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale in 2013.