NEWS: racing

Wonder Gal runs away with Ladies Handicap

Friday, January 13th, 2017
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Friday afternoon’s 146th running of the $100,000 Ladies Handicap for older fillies and mares at Aqueduct Racetrack belonged entirely to Wonder Gal, who broke fastest and only improved from there. The 5-year-old daughter of Tiz Wonderful sailed home comfortably, a no-contest winner by double-digit lengths.

The one-mile, 70-yard race was rescheduled for Friday from last Saturday, when snow forced NYRA to cancel the Big A card. The same five horses showed up, but were shuffled around by the draw, and Wonder Gal, who has ample early foot, had the good fortune to move from post four right to the rail to run on a track that in recent days has favored inside speed.

The strapping dark bay mare, highweighted at 118 pounds and favored to win at odds of 3-2, broke on top after the bell. Charging confidently around the first turn, she opened up a length on her competition, then improved her advantage to two lengths on the backstretch.

At one point Always On My Mind tried to reel Wonder Gal in, but got no closer to her rival than three-quarters of a length. Wonder Gal spurted away in the far turn.

From this point on, it was all over but the shouting, as Wonder Gal opened up her lead to five lengths by the quarter pole, then 10 lengths and more in the stretch, finally crossing the wire all alone, a 13 1/2-length winner.

Chorus Line at 12-1 outfinished the other relative longshot in the field, New York-bred Jet Majesty, also 12-1, for the place. Rounding out the order of finish were Highway Star and Always on My Mind. After a half-mile in 47.73 and a mile in 1:38.04, the final time for the race was 1:42.45. [REPLAY]

“I wanted to get to the front. I had the one-hole, and the best thing is to see if you can get position and see if everyone is scattering behind you,” said jockey Kendrick Carmouche, who was also aboard Wonder Gal for her two prior starts.

Carmouche continued, “Once I got to the half-mile and I heard the guys scramble back there, I just opened up. I said it was going to be a do-or-die situation. It worked out today. I just want to say congratulations to [trainer] Leah Gyarmati and her team.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Carmouche especially enjoyed being able to give Gyarmati, whose most recent win had come on October 9, a lift with the victory. “It’s tough when trainers go through a drought without winning and you really just want to pull that one through to make their situation better,” said Carmouche. “I’m just grateful for the chance to ride the horse. They canceled last week. Everything works out for a reason. They gave me the mount back and I made it successful.”

Wonder Gal has had a fairly demanding campaign since she came off the bench on September 2 to romp in a 6 1/2-furlong state-bred sprint allowance at Saratoga. In October she finished fifth after an outside trip in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom, in November finished mid-pack after getting mixed up with some traffic in the Grade 1 Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, and then rebounded in December with a strong third-place finish in the Grade 3 Go For Wand Handicap, only a neck behind winner Highway Star. Campaigned up to that point by Treadway Racing Stable, Wonder Gal raced Friday in the colors of new owner Clearview Stable LLC, who purchased her privately.

Gyarmati said, “Obviously, her performance today was spectacular. She seemed like she did it so easily. She ran that big race up at Saratoga [on September 2] and she was training so well heading into that race. It kind of set her back a little bit, but going into this race she started having those same works as she did back then. I’m just so thankful for this performance.”

Wonder Gal was purchased by Jeffrey Treadway at the OBS March Sale of 2-year-olds for $210,000 after a :10 1/5 breeze. She was the top-selling New York-bred filly, and fourth highest-priced New York-bred juvenile overall at that auction.

The Ladies Handicap is Wonder Gal’s third stakes victory and first in open company, having previously won the Empire Distaff and Lynbrook Stakes. She has placed in eight additional stakes, including runner-up finishes in the Grade 1 Frizette and Grade 1 Mother Goose. She also ran third in the 2014 Grade 1 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies and Grade 1 Acorn Stakes. Overall, from four wins, two seconds and six thirds in 17 starts she has earned $887,145.

Bred by Apache Farm LLC and foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Wonder Gal is out of Passe, an unraced Kentucky-bred daughter of Dixie Union. Out of stakes winner and graded stakes performer Gal on the Go (Irgun), Passe is a half-sister to Social Queen, a multiple graded winner by Dynaformer ($344,164). The mare has a 2-year-old filly by Jimmy Creed and a yearling colt by Tiznow. She was bred in 2016 to Palace Malice.

 

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Up just in time, Caledonian turns tables on Always a Suspect in open Lost in the Fog

Sunday, January 1st, 2017
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Curragh Stables’ Caledonian (Concord Point), celebrated turning three on New Year’s Day by winning the first NYRA stakes race of 2017, the open six-furlong, $100,000 Lost in the Fog. In deep stretch after a long drive, the grey colt overtook Always a Suspect, who last out on November 24 had beaten Caledonian by a neck in an open starter allowance at Aqueduct.

Caledonian, who is trained by John Terranova, was teamed up Sunday for the third time in four career starts with jockey Eric Cancel, and went off as the 3-1 third choice in the field of five. Always a Suspect was favored at odds of 3-2.

Despite getting away a little off balance, Caledonian settled solidly in third well off the rail after the bell, a length and a half behind pacesetter Mabrouk, who took the field through an opening quarter mile in 24.05 pressed along by Always a Suspect.

Caledonian began to gear up in the far turn and got set down for the drive in the three path. He moved into second behind new leader Always a Suspect in upper stretch after a half mile in 47.71.

Despite not changing leads until just outside the furlong marker, Caledonian ground down the favorite, engaged him in the final sixteenth and got up in the last few strides to a capture the victory by a determined neck. The rest of the field, consisting of Butch Walker, Cape Lookout and Mabrouk, finished six lengths and and more behind the top two. The final time for the race was 1:12.08.

“I just wanted to stay close to [Always a Suspect and Mabrouk] on the lead,” said jockey Eric Cancel. “My plan was to get close to them and not be too far out of it, so when he kicked, I had a good shot to get there in time. It took him a little bit of time to get there, but he did. It worked out. He was prepared. He’s been training good. I had no doubt he had a chance to win.”

Trainer John Terranova said, “Always a Suspect and Caledonian] look like they’re pretty equal, just traded turns today, I guess. This time, it looked like [Always a Suspect] got the jump, he was little bit more forwardly placed, but our guy keeps grinding, he kept coming at him. Nothing surprising, almost a repeat of last race, just flip flopped a little bit.”

Terranova continued, “I was going to run [Calledonian] in a starter this week, but I don’t know if it was going to go or not, because he still had that condition. Now he’s wiped that one out, so now we’re stuck in stakes, but there could be a lot worse things. I’m happy to be competitive here and can win these races this time of year. We’ll just see how he improves.”

Terranova is considering the $125,000 Rego Park, a 6-furlong sprint for New York-bred 3-year-olds on January 21, for Caledonian’s next start.

Caledonian, who broke his maiden for a $50,000 tag second out on September 21, has earned $96,565 from two firsts and a second. Bred by Kaleem Shah, Inc., he is the first foal out of Dazzling Display, a Kentucky-bred winner by Dehere, purchased by Bob Baffert for Shah, who just announced they have parted ways, at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton February juvenile sale for $250,000.

Dazzling Display has also produced two full siblings to Caledonian: a newly-turned 2yo filly and a yearling colt. She was bred in 2016 to Self Control.

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Favorite Send It In delivers in Alex M. Robb

Saturday, December 31st, 2016
NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

By Sarah Mace

Paul Pompa Jr.’s homebred Send It In made his stakes debut a winning one on Saturday as a 3-5 favorite when he captured NYRA’s traditional New Year’s Eve feature, the $100,000 Alex M. Robb Stakes for older New York-breds.

Foaled at Vivien Malloy’s Edition Farm in Hyde Park, Send It In, now a 4-year-old gelding, is a special horse for Pompa. He was sired by dual classic winner and 3-year-old champion Big Brown, whom Pompa campaigned in partnership with IEAH Stables and others, and who now stands for Sunrise Stallions at Dutchess Views Farm in Pine Plains. Send It In is also the first foal out of Sharp Instinct, a multiple winner by Awesome Again, whom Pompa purchased as a Keeneland September yearling in 2008 for $275,000.

A Todd Pletcher-trainee, Send It In managed only a trio of starts in 2016 before the Robb, but made all three count. In February and March, he cruised through his open allowance conditions at Aqueduct, but was then forced to the sidelines. His return to the races nine months later in an open, 1 mile-70 yard $100,000 optional claimer on December 9, was everything his connections could have hoped—a strong second-place finish just a neck behind the winner.

Explained Pompa, “He won the 2X [on March 12] and he came back and we thought he had pulled something up high, but he had a spiral fracture and they put a screw in. We gave him the right time before his next start and he came back the right way, [running] a 102 Beyer Speed Figure off a layoff against a speed bias.”

Exiting post four in the 1 1/16-mile Alex Robb, Send It In settled in third and rounded the clubhouse turn three wide. On the backstretch he and his pilot kept a watchful eye on the leaders.

Up front, the first three-quarters of a mile of the Alex Robb was a tale of two greys — Iron Power and Becker’s Galaxy, who passed the lead between them through fractions of 25.26, 49.07 and 1:12.98.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Jockey Manny Franco began to ask for some more from Send It In midway on the far turn. The gelding responded and challenged the top pair at the head of the stretch. He overtook the leaders with three-sixteenths to go, then moved over to the speed-favoring rail where he drew off to win by 3 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:45.41.

Empire Dreams (5-1), close runner-up to the recently-retired Saratoga Snacks in last year’s running of the Robb, made a good, but non-threatening move from fourth to claim second, while Testosterstone (19-1) closed into third another 2 1/2 lengths back. Following the top three were Becker’s Galaxy, Good Luck Gus and Iron Power. Second choice Wake Up in Malibu stumbled at the start and was eased. [VIDEO]

“I knew that he’s a good horse and I just let him do his thing,” said Franco. “I tried to get close to the pace and it worked out good. When I asked, he gave it to me today. He’s a nice horse. I trust him.”

Pompa said, “I was [worried about a speed bias today]. I ran a horse that was 1-2 yesterday and he was chasing the whole way.” He added, “I think this horse has been a stellar performer. I’m very proud of him. He’s a homebred, too. I had the mother, I had the father, and he’s just a tremendous horse.”

Send It In has won seven of 14 career starts, along with three seconds and two thirds and has compiled $338,414 in earnings.

Pompa is mulling some big ideas for Send It In’s next start and will be conferring with trainer Todd Pletcher. “There’s a series of New York-bred stakes coming up, but there is interest in him going down [to Gulfstream Park] for the [Grade 1, $12 million] Pegasus [World Cup] or the [$400,000] Poseidon [on January 28], but I’d have to make that decision.” He added,  “The timing is right.”

 

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Bonita Bianca goes last to first in East View

Friday, December 30th, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Graded stakes-placed runner Bonita Bianca might have given impression that she did not mean business Friday afternoon in the $100,000 East View for New York-bred juvenile fillies, but that could not have been further from the truth. After lollygagging as much as nine or ten lengths behind the lead for the first half of the race, she remedied the situation in short order in the latter stages and registered her second stakes victory by more than five lengths.

Even though a short field of five was signed on for the 1 mile and 70-yard East View, the race featured some serious talent and potential.

Bonita Bianca was the headliner. Trained by Rudy Rodriguez for Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables LLC and Michael Imperio, she broke her maiden on September 22, before scoring a next-out victory in the one-mile one-turn Maid of the Mist in the slop on Empire Showcase Day. In her third start on November 26, she tested much deeper waters in the Grade 2 Demoiselle, and managed to finish a creditable closing third.

Another filly to watch in the East View was Tiznow’s Smile, who was drawn in the outside post. Trained by Charlie Baker and issuing from a family of New York-bred stakes winners, she had placed twice in restricted stakes before breaking her maiden last out in front-running fashion while going a mile over the Aqueduct inner track December 11.

Opening at odds of 1-5, but drifting up 1-2 by post time, Bonita Bianca enjoyed a clean break from post three under Irad Ortiz, Jr, aboard for both her earlier victories, and settled into stride in the two path over the “good” (harrowed) racing surface.

The filly then proceeded to lope along at the rear of the field, 9-10 lengths behind the main action, where 3-1 second choice Tiznow’s Smile had gunned to the lead from her outside post, and showed the way 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Overnegotiate.

Tiznow’s Smile continued to lead for six furlongs through fractions of 23.68, 48.59 and 1:14.50, but Bonita Bianca was waiting in the wings. She advanced under urging to within 7-8 lengths of the lead along the backstretch run, and began to gear up more seriously in the far turn.

Rallying wide into fourth, Bonita Bianca inhaled her two other rivals in upper stretch, then cruised past Tiznow’s Smile just in advance of the furlong marker. Drawing off, the filly hit the wire a 5 1/4-length winner in a final time of 1:46.46. Runner-up Tiznow’s Simile finished five more lengths clear of Bree’s Got Heart in third. Overnegotiate and Messer Misfit followed. [VIDEO]

Ortiz felt that his mount ran her race, but that it took a little work on his part. “She’s a little lazy,” said Ortiz. “You have to work hard. When she got some dirt, some kick back, she started jumping a little bit. [I worried] maybe we were a little too far [back so] I was riding the whole way. I hit her once and she started to pick it up and she got there. She’s a nice filly, a nice New York-bred. I think if she were in the clear, she may have been a little closer, but that’s her race.”

“Irad rode her perfectly,” said Rodriguez, who was quick to spread the praise around. “I give all the credit to my brother, he’s been training her at Belmont. We got it done today. We’ll look to freshen her up and hopefully point her for something better.”

The conditioner continued, “I was confident when they went 23:68. The track was playing slow and I know she was a little far back, but Irad knows the filly really well and knows to get after her. For a minute, it didn’t look like we were getting there. On this track, you need to be able to close. I think she was a little better than these horses, and she proved it today.”

Dormellito Stud bred Bonita Bianca, a chestnut daughter of Curlin foaled at Mill Creek Farm in Stillwater. Purchased by Michael Dubb earlier this year for $97,000 at the OBS March sale of juveniles, the filly has earned $276,000 from three wins and a third.

Bonita Bianca’s dam Friendly Michelle (Artax), winner of the Grade 1 Prioress in 2004, sold in 2006 to Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings for $1.15 million at the Keeneland November sale. Steven Rowan picked her up for $42,000 with Bonita Bianca in utero at the same venue in 2013. Friendly Michelle has produced six winners overall, and currently has a yearling filly by Simmard. The mare had no foal in 2016 and was bred by Paynter in the spring.

 

 

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NYB bonuses reappear in NYRA’s expanded spring program for 2-year-olds

Friday, December 30th, 2016

NYRA-logo enewsBy Sarah Mace

The New York Racing Association announced Friday that eight maiden races worth $100,000 each, up from six last year, will be offered this spring as part of its ongoing program for 2-year-olds leading up to the Astoria and Tremont, run as the first two juvenile stakes of the year on June 8 and 9.

Furthermore, within the context of the enhanced juvenile program, bonuses worth a total of $20,000 will be offered to the owner and trainer of New York-breds who finish first, second or third in any state-bred or open maiden juvenile race held during the Aqueduct spring and Belmont spring-summer meet.

For fillies, Astoria Trial A, at 4 1/2 furlongs, will be run on April 19 at Aqueduct Racetrack. Astoria Trial B and C will be run on May 3 and May 17 at Belmont Park, both at five furlongs, all in preparation for the Astoria on Thursday, June 8.

Tremont Trial A, at 4 1/2 furlongs, will be run on April 20, with Tremont Trial B and C at five furlongs scheduled for May 4 and May 18 at Belmont. The Tremont will be held on Friday, June 9.

Bolstered by the positive response last year from horsemen and fans, the NYRA has supplemented the program this year with a pair of turf trials for juveniles at Belmont. For fillies, Astoria Trail D, at five furlongs on the turf, will be held May 25, while the Tremont Trial D, also at five furlongs on the turf, will run May 26.

The fields for the trials are limited to 10, with the winner to receive $50,000 and all runners to be paid. Should 10 horses start, the second through sixth-place horses would receive $20,000, $10,000, $7,500, 5,000 and $4,000, respectively, with the remaining $3,500 divided among the seventh through 10th-place finishers.

The New York-bred bonus program, supported in partnership with the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund, calls for owners to receive $7,000 for a first-place finish, $4,500 for second and $2,500 for third. Trainers would get a bonus of $3,000 for first, $2,000 for second and $1,000 for third.

In 2016, NYRA saw a significant increase in the number of 2-year-old starters as a direct result of its 2-year-old incentive programs. NYRA tracks ran 26 juvenile maiden races during the spring and summer in 2016, 10 more than in 2015. The maiden races attracted 222 total starters last year, a 65.57% increase over 2015’s total of 134, with an increased average field size of 8.54.

“A strong 2-year-old program is important to the Aqueduct and Belmont spring meets and the high demand for the bonus program in 2016 shows us that we’re moving our racing program in the right direction,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s Senior Vice-President of Racing Operations. “It’s one thing to offer races, but it’s another thing to make sure they go. We want our horsemen to feel confident when they send their 2-year-olds to New York in April, May, or June, that we will make every effort to be sure these races are used.”

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Haul Anchor bounces back to win Damon Runyon

Thursday, December 29th, 2016
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Chester and Mary Broman’s Haul Anchor bounced back in a big way Thursday from his first career off-the-board finish in the Sleepy Hollow last Showcase Day, when he dominated the $100,000 Damon Runyon Stakes for New York-bred juveniles at a mile and 70 yard.

At the bell, Linda Rice-trained Carradine got a jump on the Damon Runyon field from mid-pack, but was overhauled by a trio of horses heading into the first turn, among them the 2-year old Bernardini homebred Haul Anchor and Mo Maverick.

Haul Anchor set up at the rail establishing, a 3/4-length lead over Mo Maverick through the first turn, while on the backstretch two lengths back 33-1 long shot D’yer Mak’er moved up into third.

Through the far turn, the order of the front-runners remained unchanged. Haul Anchor forged on, now ahead by a length at the quarter pole after six furlongs in 1:13.85.

Haul Anchor drew off comfortably in the stretch without facing a challenge, winning by 4 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:45.69. Mo Maverick finished second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Carradine, who made his way back up into third place. D’yer Mak’er completed the superfecta. Voodoo Song, Tellmeafookystory, Mollica and Macho Mia crossed the finish line next in order. Bourbon Empire was scratched. Let go at generous odds of 13-1, Haul Anchor paid $29.20 to win. [VIDEO]

Veteran pilot Cornelio Velasquez said, “My horse was fast from the gate and [Mo Maverick] was sent [to the front]. My horse always wants to go on the lead and I tried not to pull him too much. [Mo Maverick] moved out a little bit and gave me a break. He never stopped, he finished good. I had a lot of horse at the quarter-pole. Today, he ran big.”

Joe Lee, assistant to winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, focused on the surface and distance. “He was training well so we thought he’d run well,” said Lee. “We weren’t crazy about the rain, but it was more of a sealed type of track, so we thought he’d get it over it well. As far as his breeding, we always thought he’d go long. In the mornings, he gallops really well at a mile-and-a-half and it doesn’t really take anything out of him, so I didn’t think the distance would be a problem for him.”

Lee continued, “It seemed like speed was holding and we thought that he would get over the ground well with it being on the firmer, packed-side, and he’d continue to run on. Knowing that fitness wasn’t an issue, we thought it would be [good] to go to the front and Cornelio [Velasquez] said ‘we’ll lay close and if we get the lead we get the lead and if we don’t, we’ll just sit.'”

Haul Anchor, who thrives on or near the lead, opened his account with a pair of solid runner-up finishes at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course in July and August, before breaking his maiden going 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga on September 1.

Back downstate, the colt showed an aptitude for off-going when he dead-heated for second two lengths behind Mirai in the Bertram F. Bongard at Belmont. He then threw in his Sleepy Hollow clunker in the slop on Showcase day, fading after flashing early speed in his route debut. The colt came into the Damon Runyon with a string of solid interim works under his belt.

Lee added, “He came out of his last race in good fashion and there was a thought to giving him some time off, but he was really doing well, so knowing that, we decided to keep him going. He’s filled out and grown and put on some weight. We’re happy we kept going.”

From a pair of wins and three seconds from six starts this year, Haul Anchor has earned $143,000.

Haul Anchor’s dam Whichwaydidshego (Storm Cat) was purchased by Chester Broman for $425,000 at the 2009 Keeneland November sale. A winning half-sister to the multiple Grade 2 winner Fed Biz, she issues from the family of Minardi, Tale of the Cat and Johannesburg.

Whichwaydidshego has worked out well for Bromans, already producing multiple stakes winners Mark My Way (Noonmark) and Hard to Stay Notgo (More than Ready). On the ground are a yearling full sister to Haul Anchor and a weanling filly by Will Take Charge. The mare was bred to Malibu Moon in 2016.

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It’s all gravy for Mind Your Biscuits in Grade 1 Malibu

Monday, December 26th, 2016
Benoit Photo

Benoit Photo

By Sarah Mace

The connections of Mind Your Biscuits could not have hoped for a more perfect way for the Posse colt to wrap up his sophomore campaign than his Santa Anita opening day coup: a determined Grade 1 victory in the 7-furlong, $300,000 Malibu Stakes.

Campaigned by J Stables, Head of Plains Partners LLC et al, and conditioned by up-and-coming young trainer Robert Falcone Jr., Mind Your Biscuits has come a long way since his first start for Falcone, a maiden-breaking score in state-bred company at Aqueduct on April 5. He had relocated from the barn of Roderick Rodriguez for whom he had picked up three placings at two, including a third in the New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes.

After logging several more solid starts for Falcone in the spring, including a second-place finish in the Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont, Mind Your Biscuits successfully made the leap from the state-bred ranks into graded company, taking on and besting the field of the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes at the Spa with a nifty closing move at the rail.

A closing fifth in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop on Travers Day, his only off-the-board performance all year, and runner-up in the Grade 3 Gallant Bob at Parx on September 24, Mind Your Biscuits headed to the Breeder’s Cup Sprint.

The closer acquitted himself extremely well in the championship race, just missing second by a nose to Masochistic a length behind Drefong. Drefong, who had been pointed to the Malibu, spiked a fever after his last work and did not join the lineup. Masochistic has since been disqualified from his Breeder’s Cup placing.

Reunited with his Breeder’s Cup pilot Joel Rosario Monday, Mind Your Biscuits got out of his inside post well, and settled at the fence along the backstretch, two lengths behind Jazzy Times and Sharp Azteca, who between them clocked a blistering half mile in 43.80.

Benoit Photo

Benoit Photo

Tipping out three wide at the head of the lane, Mind Your Biscuits began to wear down Sharp Azteca, now the lone leader, and gained the top spot in the final sixteenth on his way to a half-length victory in a final time of 1:20.81. Favorite Ten Blessings checked in third 2 1/2 lengths behind Sharp Azteca. Second choice Mind Your Biscuits paid $9.40 to win.

Rosario, who won the San Simeon Stakes two races earlier on the card aboard Bettys Bambino, said “It’s worth the trip. Not a bad afternoon. It is always fun coming out here.”

Rosario continued, “I was a little concerned in the stretch. We were closer than we have ever been before. They were smoking up front. We got a little late kick and he took off.”

Falcone followed up: “This is great for [Mind Your Biscuits]. He bounced out of the Breeders’ Cup great, and he gets over the track so well.” Since the Breeder’s Cup, Mind Your Biscuits had posted three half-mile works, most recently a :47 1/5 bullet over the Santa Anita oval.

© BENOIT PHOTO

© BENOIT PHOTO

Added Falcone, “He just proved today, again, that he’s a great horse. He’s a real nice horse. It feels great.”

Bred by Jumping Jack Racing LLC and foaled at Sue and Gary Lundy’s Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains, Mind Your Biscuits is one of three winners from three foals to start out of Jazzmane, an unraced Kentucky-bred daughter of Toccet and a half-sister to Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Kimchi (Langfuhr).  The mare has two more reported foals in the US, a 2-year-old filly by Posse and yearling colt by Officer.

Mind Your Biscuits was purchased as a short yearling by Machmer Hall at the 2014 Keeneland January sale. Offered at auction twice more, he RNA’d both times for $47,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale and at last year’s OBS Spring 2-year-old sale.

With a career record of four wins, four seconds and three thirds from 13 starts, Mind Your Biscuits’ earnings now total $675,366.

 

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Toni Tools mows down Park Avenue rivals with late last-to-first charge

Sunday, December 18th, 2016
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Toni Tools (Roaring Fever), captured the $150,000 Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes series at Aqueduct Sunday with an dramatic late charge, going from last to first in the final sixteenth to win the 6-furlong contest for New York-sired 2-year-old fillies.

Toni Tools began her career with two starts for Dominick Schettino, and second out finished second at Saratoga. She then migrated to the Todd Pletcher barn. On October 6, when offered for a $40,000 tag, the filly broke her maiden by more than seven lengths covering 6.5 furlongs at Belmont Park. She then recorded a second win in a starter allowance on the Aqueduct main track on November 23. She scored both victories from off the pace.

Third betting choice in the Park Avenue at odds of 5-1 behind two unbeaten horses, multiple restricted stakes winner Filibustin (4-5), and Catcher in the Sky, a debut maiden breaker on November 18 (3-2), Toni Tools settled in last from the outset, while the two favorites hooked up on the front end.

Through a testing first quarter-mile up front in 22.07, and half in 45.83, Toni Tools navigated the sloppy going on the backstretch well off the rail, moved inwards to save a little ground in the far turn and, at the head of the stretch, angled out into the six-path as she headed for home.

Even though she gained steadily on the field, now led solely by Filibustin, Toni Tools was still last with a sixteenth to go. Charging on the grandstand side, she passed her first horse just inside the sixteenth pole. Then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, the mud-bespattered filly inhaled the rest of the field, securing her victory by a clear half length in a final time of 1:14.43.

The outcome for the other runners was a little murky at first. A few minutes after the placing judges ruled that Filibustin and closer Passporttovictory dead-heated for the place, it was announced that Passporttovictory had indeed finished second, and Filibustin third. Catcher in the Sky, Gonna Be Morgan and Bliss to You completed the order of finish. [VIDEO]

Pletcher assistant Byron Hughes said, “She didn’t have the speed to keep up with the others, which we knew going into the race. We were just hoping the speed came back, which it did. She got up in time. It was a very dramatic win. She seemed to handle it [the muddy track] well today.”

Said winning jockey Manny Franco, “I watched her replays and she always gives something at the end, and the pace helped me a lot today.”

Bred by Barry Ostrager and foaled at his Questroyal North in Stillwater, Toni Tools is the only foal produced by Patine, a winning Kentucky-bred Smart Strike mare.

Toni Tools, who has earned $164,172 from three wins and a second-place finish in five starts, was purchased as a weanling by Crupi’s New Castle Farm for $35,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Fall mixed sale.

 

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Neck of the Moon gets breakthrough victory in South Beach

Saturday, December 17th, 2016
Coglianese Photo/Kenny Martin

Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin

By Sarah Mace

Expertly guided by Paco Lopez, Hidden Brook Farm’s multiple stakes-placed Neck of the Moon nailed down her first stakes score at Gulfstream Park Saturday afternoon when she swept to the lead in the far turn to win the $100,000 South Beach Stakes, a 7 1/2-furlong two-turn turf contest at Gulfstream Park.

Neck of the Moon last visited the winner’s circle in September 2015, but has been a consistent performer throughout her career, hitting the board in 16 of 21 prior starts and placed in four stakes. Still, the six-year-old daughter of More than Ready had found that first stakes victory elusive.

When the race was drawn, trainer Chad Brown observed, “She’s a very consistent horse, but she is just not lucky. We spotted her well all season and she just had very unfortunate trips. A couple of those races she could have won. She always gives her best.” Neck of the Moon was last seen finishing second by a length in the one-mile River Memories Stakes at Woodbine on November 5. She went postwards in the South Beach as the third betting choice (of nine) at odds of 6-1.

Out of gate six well, Neck of the Moon and Lopez secured a ground-saving spot near the fence for the first bend, then raced in seventh along the backstretch in the two-path, a couple lengths clear of the close-packed scrum up ahead.

Making her way between horses in the far turn, Neck of the Moon advanced into contention wtih clear running in the in the four path at the head of the stretch.

Neck of the Moon drove past her three remaining rivals under a ride, then held off the most persistent of them, Sandiva. who was trying to re-rally. The grey mare crossed the wire the winner by a neck, in a final time of 1:31 flat. Sandiva finished a half-length ahead of the Clement-trained British-bred Excilly in third.

After the victory, Brown said, “Today, she got the trip she needed. We told Paco a few things about her, particularly her affinity to get outside if possible in a big field, and he executed it perfectly. I’m really proud of the ride he gave her and I’m proud of the filly for the effort she gave.”

Remarked Lopez, “This filly is easy to ride. I had good position on the inside. When I took her to the outside, she ran big.”

Brown is unsure whether Neck of the Moon, a $402,312 earner, will continue racing or prepare for life as a broodmare with her back type win under her belt. “I’ll speak to the management at Hidden Brook, just enjoy this for now and see what happens.”

Bred by Stone Bridge Farm in Gansevoort, where she was foaled, Neck of the Moon is out of stakes-placed Kentucky-bred Cotopaxi, by With Approval, who was purchased by Stone Bridge owner Jeffrey Tucker at the 2006 Keeneland November sale for $120,000. She has produced five winners from five foals to start and relocated to Mexico in 2010.

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Bavaro draws off to upset Great White Way

Saturday, December 17th, 2016
NYRA/Robert Mauhar

NYRA/Robert Mauhar

By Sarah Mace

Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm and trainer Gary Sciacca teamed up to score an upset in Aqueduct’s Saturday co-feature, the $150,000 Great White Way division of the New York Stallion Stakes (NYSS) for New York-sired 2-year-olds. Bavaro, their grey son of Freud bred by Hidden Lake Farm, LLC, Gunston Hall Farm and Tony Grey, comfortably bested 1-5 favorite Gold for the King in Saturday’s six-furlong tilt

Bavaro debuted successfully just 28 days ago, scoring a front-running 5 1/2-length victory in a state-bred maiden special weight under Antonio Gallardo, despite failing to change leads in the stretch. He completed six furlongs on Aqueduct’s fast main track in 1:11.77 for a Beyer Speed Figure of 73. In the interim, Bavaro posted two strong half-mile moves, most recently last Tuesday, when he fired a bullet over Belmont’s training track in 48 2/5 seconds

Drawn in post two (of six), and partnered with Manny Franco for the first time, Bavaro (7-2, second choice) got off to a bit of clumsy start, but then threw down the gauntlet, grabbing a one-length lead by the first point of call and challenging the rest to run him down.

All eyes were on the talented Gold for the King, winner of both the New York Breeder’s Futurity Stakes and Notebook Stakes this fall, as he moved his way up into second from fourth in the far turn.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Approaching the quarter pole, it seemed as if Bavaro was about to face a serious challenge from the looming favorite, but the grey cornered neatly and readily kicked clear of his would-be challenger. Galloping off to a 3 3/4-length victory  Bavaro’s final time for six furlongs over the “good” going was 1:11.16.

Gold for the King in second finished, well clear of Remstin in third. Rounding out the order of finish were Eddie’s Gift, Ethan Hunt and Three to Thirteen. [VIDEO]

Sciacca said of the colt, who is named for former Giant’s tight end Mark Bavaro, “He’s a tough horse, that’s why he’s named Bavaro. He’s a big, good-looking runner where nothing bothers him. He’s like a bull.”

Continued Sciacca, “He’s a nice horse and he’s done everything right. I figured he’d be up front, but I didn’t think it’d come that easy. He changed leads today; he didn’t change it last time. The speed wasn’t that great today.”

Sciacca plans to keep the colt sprinting.

“I knew he had good speed from the first time he raced, said jockey Manny Franco. “He didn’t break good in his first race like today, but he showed good positional speed. Today, he got out of the gate well and took off. He really did it easy and when I asked for more at the quarter pole, he just took off.”

Bavaro, who was foaled at Hidden Lake Farm in Otisville, is out of is Chantess, an unraced daughter of Unbridled’s Song. A $250,000 Keeneland September yearling in 2004, the mare last changed hands at public auction when purchased by JMJ Racing at the 2007 Keeneland November sale for $150,000.

Chantess has produced three winners from four foals to start and Bavaro is her first stakes-winning offspring. Bavaro was first sold to Machmer Hall for $20,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton New York mixed sale in Saratoga, before being picked up by Parcells the following year for $85,000 at the Fasig-Tipton preferred New York-bred yearling sale. From two victories, the colt has netted $123,000.

Chantess has a weanling colt by Honorable Dillon and was bred in 2016 to Medal Count.

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