NEWS: racing

Laid off for a year? No problem for 9YO Moonlight Song in Morrissey title defense

Thursday, July 28th, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Albert Fried, Jr.’s 9-year-old gelding Moonlight Song (Unbridled’s Song) delivered an inspiring performance at the Spa on Thursday afternoon, when he wired the featured $100,000 John Morrissey Stakes for his second straight year with exactly . . . zero (yes, zero) . . . intervening starts. As it happens, veteran’s victory was also uplifting for young hot-handed jockey Jose Ortiz, who made his 1000th trip to the winner’s circle after the race.

Trained by Charlie Baker, Moonlight Song is extremely lightly raced for his age, with only 17 career starts under his girth coming into the 6 1/2-furlong Morrissey. The handsome dark bay gelding was a bit of a late bloomer and only got to the races for the first time at five. He dominated the fields in his first two career starts, but has had to work through a variety of physical issues over the years. Fried has shown exemplary patience and continues to reap the rewards.

Sent off as the 6-1 fifth choice in the competitive field of seven, Moonlight Song assumed command shortly after the break, and took the field through a hot first quarter in 22.05 and half in 45.73 with a one-length lead over 3-2 favorite Weekend Hideaway.

Pressed though the far turn by his main rival, but kicking clear and comfortably extending his lead to three lengths in upper stretch, the gelding was guided to the rail by Ortiz nearing the furlong marker, and dug for the wire as a host of challengers ganged up behind him.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Moonlight Song hit the line a three-quarter length winner under a drive. The next three to finish were separated by a photo, with Ostrolenka second, a head in front of Crackerjack Jones in third, who nosed out Weekend Hideaway in fourth. After six panels in 1:09.54, Moonlight Song stopped the clock at 1:15.99. Completing the order of finish were Drama King, Notacatbutallama and John’s Island. [VIDEO]

Ortiz reported, “He broke well; he broke perfect. We went really easy the first quarter-mile. This horse is a special horse. He doesn’t run a lot, but every time he steps on the track, Charlie [Baker] brings him 110 percent.”

On his 1000th victory, Ortiz said, “This means a lot. It’s a big goal in my career. I’m just thankful. I want to thank every single owner and trainer who gave me the opportunity. My family, and my fiancée [Taylor Rice] who support me every day, [and] my brother [jockey Irad], who taught me a lot when I first started riding. Saratoga is the place to be in the summer, and I really love it. I’m very blessed I could do it here.”

Charlie Baker was, with reason, beaming in the winner’s circle over Moonlight Song’s impressive win. “He’s a great horse and he runs great fresh, so it’s a little easier on me. You still have to get him cranked up and ready to go, but he’s a nice horse.”

Continued Baker, “He had a little problem after the race last year and the owners are very easy to get along with. We got him back in March. We took our time; he had a little issue here and there, but it worked out super. It’s very hard to imagine a 9-year-old coming off a year layoff, but if any horse can do it, he can.”

Of the secret to Moonlight Song’s long-term success, Baker explained, “We’ve always given him time off and never abused him. We are going to go and see how he comes from here.” He plans will give Moonlight Song at least six weeks before (fingers crossed) his next start.

A stakes winner at all three NYRA tracks (Aqueduct’s Gold and Roses and Belmont’s Hudson in 2014 and a pair of Morrisseys at Saratoga), Moonlight Song is the third foal, and one of four winners from seven to start out of Moonlightandbeauty (Capote), also bred by Fried.

Fried purchased Moonlightandbeauty’s Grade 2 winning-dam, Stolen Beauty (Deputy Minister), for $30,000 at the 1990 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Moonlightandbeauty became a stakes winner and $228,053-earner for trainer Rick Schosberg and Fried and began her broodmare career with a bang, producing Schosberg-trained Giant Moon (Giant’s Causeway) as her first foal.

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.

Moonlight Song, after four stakes wins, an additional stakes placing, and a record of nine wins, two seconds and third from 18 starts, has earned $534,294.


Haveyougoneaway runs down Paulassilverlining in G2 Honorable Miss

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

by Sarah Mace

Sequel Racing’s multiple stakes winner Haveyougoneaway, added graded laurels to her resume Wednesday at Saratoga Racecourse when she won a highly competitive renewal of the six-furlong, Grade 2 Honorable Miss for trainer Tom Morley. The 5-year-old daughter of Congrats, who relocated this spring to New York from her Oaklawn Park base after a private purchase, now has two stakes wins and a stakes placing in her native state.

Out of the gate cleanly from post four of seven, Haveyougoneaway settled in fifth position three lengths off the pace under pilot Kendrick Carmouche. Paulassilverlining, favored at 7-5, was out of the gate first, but took back on the backstretch into sixth to the inside of Haveyougoneaway, leaving 16-1 Diva Express, then 10-1 Disco Chick to click off the early splits in 22.01 and 45.04.

Rounding the far turn Haveyougoneaway had only one horse beaten as Paulassilverlining advanced at the rail. Angling out four-wide into the lane, she quickly closed into second spot, after Paulassilverlining ran past leader Disco Chick in upper stretch.

Wearing down her rival down in the final furlong, a determined Haveyougoneaway got up in the final forty yards to garner the victory by a neck in a final time of 1:09.94. The rest of the field followed 12 lengths behind runner-up Paulassilverlining: Disco Chick, La Madrina, Sarah Sis, Diva Express and Bar of Gold. [VIDEO]

Carmouche, delighted by his first Spa victory, reported, “I broke good and I was sitting behind the top-four and being patient. The favorite [Paulassilverlining] came inside of me. I let her take the spot I could have been in because I knew my filly would make up the ground. It was going to make me get in the clear faster than I wanted.”

Added Carmouche, “Right past the eighth pole, I grinded a little and she really came home. This horse never really exploded like she did. That’s when I knew she would grind it out.”

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Trainer Tom Morley first praised his pilot’s savvy ride, “All meet, this track has been playing so far where you need to be in the middle of the track. The rail is not the place to be. [Kendrick] angled out outside [Bar of Gold] and took dead aim at Paulassilverlining. We just got there in time.”

Morley also spoke of his mare’s continued improvement and her being ready to take on graded company. “I take nothing away from her connections previously. She’s a hard-knocking filly who won a bunch of stakes, but sometimes these sprinters start to get better around this age. She ran so well last time against New York breds that it was time to face open graded stakes company.”

Second to the accomplished Bar of Gold while making her New York debut in the Critical Eye Stakes at Belmont Park on May 30, Haveyougoneaway closed in the final furlong to win the Dancin Renee at six furlongs for New York-bred fillies and mares.

As to the future, Morley will consider the Ballerina, Bed o’ Roses at Belmont and even the Breeders’ Cup, but because she could come back to race at six, he plans to pick and choose his starts.

Morley, who was also celebrating his first graded victory as a trainer, was also vocal about Haveyougoneaway as a product of New York. “It’s very special to [win my first graded stakes] with a New York-bred,” said Morley. “I’m a huge fan of the New York-bred program. We’re breeding some seriously good horses up here. I don’t think they can be looked at as they were previously. They are good horses.”

Bred by Andy and Susan Beadnell and foaled at Bead Land & Cattle Company in Pottersville, Haveyougoneaway is the most accomplished by far of two winners out of One Wise Cowgirl, an unraced New York-bred daughter of Wiseman’s Ferry also bred by the Beadnells.

A $50,000 weanling at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Mixed sale in 2011, Haveyougoneaway brought $105,000 as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale before Champion Racing Stable, Inc. purchased her a 2-year-old for a mere $1,200 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale when she was offered as a racing or broodmare prospect.

For Champion she earned $402,425, winning the Flashy Lady Stakes at Remington Park in September 2015, and this year nearly sweeping the filly and mare sprint series at Oaklawn Park, when she won the American Beauty and Spring Fever Stakes and finished second the Carousel.

Haveyougoneaway’s record overall stands at 10 wins, four seconds and six thirds from 25 starts. Her winner’s share of the Honorable Miss $200,000 purse brings her earnings to a lofty $622,425.


Super Allison wins New York Oaks by a head

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016
SV Photography

SV Photography

By Jim Dunleavy, courtesy drf.com

On the far turn of the 1 1/16-mile New York Oaks, Super Allison, with Jacqueline Davis aboard, and Mecke’s Madalyn, with Tammi Piermarini up, were sitting just behind three battling leaders – Crazy Love, along the inside; Katniss the Victor, between horses; and three-wide Wonderment.

When Katniss the Victor began to bear out on the turn, Davis made a decision that may have won her the race. She sent Super Allison to the lead from between Crazy Love and Katniss the Victor. At the same time, Piermarini moved Mecke’s Madalyn, hugging the rail and going up inside Crazy Love.

Super Allison and Mecke’s Madalyn battled the length of the stretch with Super Allison proving a head the best.

After her difficulties on the turn, favored Katniss the Victor found her best stride in the stretch and steadily closed with a belated bid to finish third, three-quarters of a length shy of Super Allison.

7-23-16 R7s Super Allison Lead In

SV Photography

Wonderment, who was floated wide by Katniss the Victor on the far turn, flattened out and finished fourth, 9 3/4 lengths farther back.

Super Allison, trained by Carlos Martin, paid $7.30 as the third choice in the six-horse field. Following slow early fractions of 25.09, 49.16, and 1:13.95, she completed the course in 1:46.79. [VIDEO]

Mecke’s Madalyn was hesitant to load into the gate prior to the start.


Hit It Once More dominates New York Derby

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016
SV Photography

SV Photography

By Jim Dunleavy, courtesy drf.com

Hit It Once More scored an easy win in the second-richest race of the Finger Lakes meet Saturday, taking the $164,150 New York Derby by 6 1/2 lengths.

Hit It Once More romps by 6 1/2 lengths under Kendrick Carmouche in the New York Derby.

Trained by Gary Sciacca and ridden by Kendrick Carmouche. Hit It Once More wrested the early lead from Awesome Gent, set a controlled pace on an open lead, and then widened his advantage in the stretch while being taken in hand by Carmouche late.

Hit It Once More paid $5 as the favorite in the seven-horse field of New York-bred 3-year-olds. He set fractions of 24.37 seconds, 48.10, and 1:11.81 before completing the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.02. [VIDEO]

SV Photography

SV Photography

After going winless in five starts last year, Hit It Once More won a statebred maiden race by 4 1/2 lengths at Aqueduct in April and then came back to win a New York-bred allowance by five lengths at Belmont Park in May. In his most recent start, Hit It Once More tired to finish a well beaten fourth against open company in the Easy Goer Stakes at Belmont.

Extinct Charm, the second choice at 2-1, finished well to be second-best after encountering traffic on the backstretch. Extinct Charm attempted to move up along the inner rail on the backstretch but lacked room, brushed with Awesome Gent, and then dropped back. He rerallied to be 4 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Taoiseach.

Awesome Gent stalked the winner early, dropped back a bit on the backstretch, and then finished evenly to be fourth.


Ancient Secret four-for-four after G2 Lake George coup

Friday, July 22nd, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Alpha Delta Stables’ undefeated sophomore filly Ancient Secret (Kantharos) had been climbing the class ladder and meeting increased distance demands with every one of her first three career starts. On the opening day of the storied Saratoga race meet, she upped the ante yet again, acing her first graded try and first race around two turns, the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake George at 1 1/6 miles for 3-year-old fillies on the Mellon turf.

A three-length winner right out of the box at Belmont last October 24 going six furlongs on turf in state-bred company, she returned to the races on May 14 firing on all cylinders.  She won a first-level state-bred allowance at seven furlongs by more than four lengths, and four weeks later annexed the open Wild Applause Stakes, a one-turn mile, winning by a head. In all three starts, she successfully came from off the pace.

Bet down to 2-1 favoritism by post time in the Lake George under regular rider Irad Ortiz, Jr., the Chad Brown trainee settled in fourth three lengths off the lead and saved ground around the clubhouse turn, while Sky My Sky set the pace, clocking a first half in 48.03, pushed along a length back by Gone Away.

Moving out into the two path, and gaining a position early in the far turn, Ancient Secret moved out into the three path midway around the bend and the top of the stretch set her sights on the front two to her inside.

She overhauled the leaders within the final furlong and began to edge away. She then had enough left in the tank to spurt clear and comfortably hold off stablemate Elysea’s World, who was closing with intent. Ancient Secret scored the victory by 1 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:40.35. Outsider Art finished a length back in third. [VIDEO]

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Trainer Chad Brown said, “This filly ran really well. She’s a remarkable horse. She always trained like a really quality animal, we just gave her little incremental goals and she’s hit them all. I wasn’t quite sure about the two turns, I know she’s a top class horse but I was curious to see what she was going to do when the gates opened and she passed the test.”

Bred by Lambholm and foaled at Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains, Ancient Secret is the first winner and first registered New York-bred out of Privacy. The filly sold on the opening day of the 2015 OBS spring sale to Steven Young, agent on behalf of John Clay’s Alpha Delta Stable, for $225,000.

Privacy, a winning Florida-bred mare by Notebook, also bred by Lambholm, is a half-sister to stakes winner Admonition. Her 2014 foal by Posse, named Hiding, is also a registered New York-bred.

From her four victories Ancient Secret has earned $259,200.


First-time starter Miss Freeze much the best in Lynbrook Stakes

Sunday, July 17th, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Miss Freeze, a daughter of Frost Giant (Keane Stud), got her career off to a flying start on Belmont Park’s closing day when she scored a decisive six-plus length stakes victory on debut in the 6-furlong, $125,000 Lynbrook for New York-bred juvenile fillies.

The only first-time starter in the six-horse field, Miss Freeze had posted a steady series of published works at since May, including a gate move on June 22. At post time, with meet-leading rider Jose Ortiz in the irons, she was the public’s fifth choice at odds of nearly 9-1.

Gunned out of post three, and undeterred by brief brush with odds-on favorite Paz the Bourbon, Miss Freeze settled in third in the two path, as Zenna (7-1) led the way, chased by 3-2 second choice Wilburnmoney.

Holding her course along the backstretch and passed by runners on either side, Miss Freeze briefly found herself in last at the approach to the far turn, but picked things up again, gained a couple of positions, and midway around the bend grabbed a spot at the rail.

Once pacesetter Zenna drifted out in the turn, leaving a large and inviting opening at the rail, Miss Freeze took full advantage. The filly charged toward the lead and took over just past the three-sixteenths marker. Scampering to the wire, she opened up readily on new leader Wilburnmoney, and secured the victory by 6 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:11.98.

Wilburnmoney finished a half length ahead of Paz the Bourbon, who closed into third. Completing the order of finish were Zenna, Christening and Holy Gold. [VIDEO]

Ortiz said, “She’s a very straightforward filly. First time out, it’s tough to win a stakes race, but she was ready. I like her a lot. She did everything right. She broke well. She took dirt like a professional. When it was clear by the quarter pole, I angled in as the rail was open for me and she really gave me a nice run.”

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

The Lynbrook was not only a cause for great celebration for her owners, Joseph Bulger, Michael Imperio and DJC Racing Stables, but for her conditioner David Cannizzo, as well, who recorded his first stakes victory as a trainer.

“It’s a great feeling to get it done,” said Cannizzo. “It was beautiful, to say the least. We ran well in a bunch of New York-bred stakes before, but had never been able to break the ice.”

Cannizzo added, “Miss Freeze is a very special filly and I’m so grateful to the owners for letting me work with her. I also need to thank [bloodstock agent] Nick Sallusto, who has been a big factor in getting some really nice horses into my barn.”

As to Miss Freeze, Cannizzo said, “Since Day One, she’s been straightforward and has handled everything perfect. She’s handled everything we’ve thrown at her; we worked her against older horses and younger horses. She’s just been a dream.”

He also explained his thinking behind debuting the filly in a stakes race. “I figured this race would be a shorter field. The other race we [considered] was a 12-horse field. I didn’t want to have a troubled trip.”

Cannizzo will be pointing Miss Freeze to the $200,000 Seeking the Ante Stakes at Saratoga on August 26. “She ran hard, for a first start and I want to give her a chance to get into a good routine [at the Spa].”

Bred by Anthony Bruno and foaled at Rick Burke’s Irish Hill Century Farm in Stillwater, Miss Frost is the most recent reported foal out of Reata’s Vixen, a Kentucky-bred multiple winner and six-figure earner who is a half sister to multiple stakes winner Royal Currier, who banked nearly $870,000. The filly is her dam’s second winner of two foals to start.

A $57,000 yearling at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale last year, she was purchased by Sallusto and Albana for $150,000 at the OBS Spring Sale.


King Kreesa combines speed and heart in Forbidden Apple title defense

Saturday, July 16th, 2016
NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

By Sarah Mace

Millionaire King Kreesa, who has been seeking a return to the winner’s circle ever since taking last year’s renewal of the $150,000, one-mile Forbidden Apple Stakes, combined his hallmark speed with pure grit to win the race the again this year, digging deep to fend off 4-5 favorite Grade 1 winner Force the Pass.

Competitive in most of his six interim starts since winning the race last year, the 7-year-old King Cugat gelding was drawn in post four and bet down to 2-1 second choice under Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Out of the gate a jump ahead of the field, King Kreesa used his greatest asset, early speed, as his weapon of choice. He got over to the fence and led the way through fractions of 24.31 and 47.20 under a snug hold, while Force the Pass chased a length back in second.

King Kreesa continued to cruise along into the far turn, but Force the Pass eroded his lead leaving the pair nearly on even terms late in the bend after six furlongs in 1:09.82

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Still not headed at the top of the lane, King Kreesa brought out the second weapon in his arsenal: heart. He gave his all for the length of the stretch, holding off his stubborn foe. He ultimately won the battle, scoring his victory over Force the Pass by a nose.

Force the Pass finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of New York-bred Tapitation, while New York-bred stalwart Lubash and Brickyard Kitten finished next in order. The final time for the mile was 1:33.06. [VIDEO]

Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. said, “There wasn’t too much pace in the race today and that’s his best race. I didn’t take anything away from him that he gave me. The trainer brought him ready because he went a little fast and then, when he felt the other one [Force the Pass] he kept fighting. He’s always a fighter, he has a big heart. He’s a nice horse.”

Trainer David Donk said, “Irad told me afterwards he [King Kreesa] really wants to battle. He didn’t want him to spurt away too much because he didn’t want him hanging.”

Donk continued, “I was really impressed. I was impressed with him last summer, and today. Everyone knows I’m not really a speed guy, but speed is your best friend. I said, ‘Don’t slow it down too much. But keep everybody honest.’ When Johnny [Velazquez aboard Force the Pass] hooked him, I said to myself, ‘Well, we’re going to find out.’”

Donk is considering the West Point Stakes on Saratoga Showcase Day, August 26, for the gelding’s next start.

Bred by owners Gerald and Susan Kresa under the banner of Horse Partners (and given an extra “e” in his name by his breeders, so that their often-mispronounced surname would not extend to the horse), 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). Another foal, five-year-old Lady Kreesa by Stonesider, is a multiple winner, a stakes performer and has earned over $230,000.

King Kreesa’s remarkable career has to this point netted him $1,256,704 in earnings from 32 career starts. He has finished in the money 21 times, with ten wins in all (nine in stakes), seven seconds and four thirds while competing both in open company and the ultra-tough New York-bred turf male division.

Voted champion New York-bred turf male in 2013, he has been a contender for the honor both subsequent years, when Lubash took the title. Highlights of his career to date include a pair of victories in the Grade 3 Poker Stakes in 2013 and 2015 and a thrilling second to Wise Dan in the Grade 2 Fourstardave in 2013.


Runaway Lute parlays stumbling start into a romp in Rockville Centre

Saturday, July 16th, 2016
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Overcoming a stumble at the break which left him last in the opening strides, Runaway Lute (Midnight Lute) went on to score an impressive eight-plus length victory in Saturday’s 125,000 Rockville Centre for New York-bred 2-year-olds at Belmont Park. The dark bay son of Midnight Lute remains unbeaten in two career starts with $111,000 in earnings.

Trained by Gary Contessa for Herald Lerner and Nehoc Stables’, Runaway Lute ran true to his name in his Belmont unveiling on May 28, when he won by 12 lengths on the front end and completed five furlongs in 57.28. The Rockville Center was destined to teach him one of the most important lessons for speedy young horses: how to come from off the pace.

Partnered for the second straight time with Javier Castellano, and narrow second choice in the betting at 7-5 to odds-on Tremont winner Silver Mission, Runaway Lute’s stumbling start out of post four allowed the rest to get a jump on him, but the colt got into stride in short order and rallied from fifth to third.

Settling in three lengths behind pacesetter Manifest Destiny and Silver Mission, who between them carved out an opening quarter mile of 22.16 and half in 48.85, Runaway Lute came under some coaxing in the far turn, swung three wide into the stretch and caught up to the dueling leaders.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

He nabbed the lead just past the three-sixteenths pole and from that point it just became a matter of how much the colt would win by, as he drew off impressively in the final furlong under encouragement. In the end the margin of victory was 8 3/4 lengths and he stopped the clock after six furlongs over the fast Belmont track at 1:10.82.

Ethan Hunt closed from fourth to get the place money, while Tremont winner Silver Mission finished 1 1/4 lengths back in third. Early leader Manifest Destiny and Concatulations completed the order of finish. [VIDEO]

Winning rider Javier Castellano said, “[Runaway Lute]’s shown a lot of potential. I think he’s going to be a really good horse in the future. The way he did it today, he did it the right way. When it was time to go, he [went.] He switched at the right time and right place. You don’t see too many 2-year-olds that way. It’s a big advantage for a jockey to ride those kind of horses.”

Added Castellano, “He had problems at the start but it didn’t matter. I didn’t want to rush and put him in the lead. I wanted to teach him something. Today was the perfect scenario for that [with] only a five-horse field.”

Trainer Gary Contessa said he left the race strategy in his jockey’s capable hands in the first place. “Looking at this race on paper, I was thinking, ‘Man, there’s three serious speed horses in here. Are we going to have to rate?’ But when you have Javier Castellano, you don’t even have to have that discussion. I always tell Castellano, just ride him Castellano style, however it comes up.”

Contessa also thought that the poor break was a blessing in disguise. “Obviously, after the fact, I’m glad he got left a little bit [at the break] because he showed us a new dimension. If you want to have a good horse, he’s got to have that ability to not have things go his way and win anyway. So I’m glad to see this, I’ve always thought he was a super horse.”

The conditioner sees big things in Runaway Lute’s future and is eager for the next challenge. “Now we’ll take the next step forward, maybe the [Grade 2, $200,000] Saratoga Special [on August 14] or the [Grade 1, $350,000] Hopeful [on September 5], but we’re definitely going to go open company because I think he’s that good.”

Bred by Windlea Farm and foaled at Tender Loving Care in Slate, Runaway Lute is the second black type winner for his dam, Nikki Tootsie, an unplaced Maryland-bred daughter of Waquoit. Her first foal Judy Soda (Personal Flag) was a multiple New York-bred stakes-winning homebred for Scott Solar who earned nearly $400,000. Her English Channel filly Style Drift has earned six figures. In all Nikki Tootsie has produced seven winners from eight foals to start and currently has a yearling colt by English Channel, and a weanling filly by Midshipman.

Runaway Lute was purchased by Harold Lerner for $77,000 at last summer’s Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale from the consignment of McMahon of Saratoga.


Effinex finds redemption in Suburban repeat, Samraat a game second

Saturday, July 9th, 2016
NYRA/Susie Raisher

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

Reunited with regular jockey Mike Smith and back to his home oval, Effinex put his mysterious June 18 clunker in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs far behind him, with a repeat victory in the Grade 2, $500,000 Suburban Handicap on Stars & Stripes Saturday at Belmont Park. A resurgent Samraat, who set the pace, finished an ultra-game second to produce a New York-bred exacta in the prestigious 1 1/4-mile race.

When entries were drawn for the Suburban, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said “I don’t know what happened [to Effinex] last time [in the Stephen Foster, where he finished sixth as the 3-5 favorite under Gary Stevens]. He ran kind of wide. Maybe he didn’t like that, but we’ll give it another go.” Drawn in post four of seven, 122-pound highweight Effinex was 2-1 second choice by a nickle behind favorite Mubtaahij.

Effinex settled in second position after the break, a length behind a pacesetting Samraat (11-1), who carved out moderate early fractions of 25.31 and 49.34 after exiting post six.

The two New York-breds continued one-two for the length of the backstretch, but midway around the far turn Effinex began to press harder, coming up on even terms with his rival. The pair raced nose-to-nose approaching the quarter pole, and set up for a hammer-and-tongs battle to the wire.

The thrilling head-to-head tussle lasted the length of stretch, until Effinex surged in the final strides, to post a neck win over Samraat. Mubtaahij, who advanced a bid at the rail, finished 1 1/4 back in third. After a mile in 1:36.50, the final time of the race was 2:01.04. [VIDEO]

Mike Smith said, “He ran wonderful. I got him away good. I got to the outside and got in comfortable, and in a rhythm.  He’s funny sometimes. You have to work with him, but I’ve been so lucky to ride him at the right time. The post was right; everything always seems to be right. I just got blessed again.”

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Samraat’s jockey Jose Ortiz said, “Everything went like we planned. He broke great and I sent him to the lead. We set very good fractions for the distance. Mike [Smith] never let me go more than one or two lengths in front of him. He sat right there, half a length behind me, the whole way. When I asked him to go, he did. We sprinted home. I got beat by a nice horse. I’m glad to see Samraat back in form.”

Jimmy Jerkens commented, “All things came together. I guess [Effinex]’s a natural at a mile-and-a-quarter. He’s a grinder. It looks like he can out-grind anybody out there, it looks like. We’ll take it.”

This second Suburban win for Effinex also had a special place in the conditioner’s heart. “I always loved this race,” said Jerkens. “When I was a little kid, my father [late Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens] won this race a bunch of times with Beau Purple. He used to love to run in it any chance he could. He was a New York guy and those New York handicap races always meant a lot to him, and to me too. It’s great to win here.”

Dave Grening noted that “Effinex is the first horse to win back-to-back Suburbans since Devil His Due in 1993-94, who was trained by Allen Jerkens. In 1994, the horse was ridden by Mike Smith.”

As to the future for Effinex, Jerkens said, “You can’t rule anything out. [The Grade 1 Whitney on August 6 at Saratoga] is a little close. It all depends on how he’s doing, and who’s running. Sometimes it’s better just keep running.”

Effinex is a five-time graded stakes winner, topped by his victory last year the Grade 1 Clark and runner-up finish to Triple Crown hero American Pharoah in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which earned him the title of New York-bred Horse of the Year. He has a record of nine wins, two seconds and four thirds in 22 starts with earnings of $2,962,950, which puts him third place on the all-time New York-bred earnings list, behind 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide ($3,529,412) and A Shin Forward, who raced exclusively in Japan ($3,421,360).

Bred by Dr. Russell S. Cohen and campaigned by his mother Bernice’s Tri-Bone Stables, Effinex is the only foal out of multiple stakes-winning Tri-Bone homebred What a Pear by E Dubai. What a Pear’s dam Perfect Pair was purchased by Tri-Bone as a juvenile at OBS in 1999 for $28,000. The stable is named after Cohen’s three sons, who called one another “bonehead” when they were growing up.

 


Fish Trappe Road comes up big in Grade 2 Dwyer

Saturday, July 9th, 2016
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Up-and-coming sophomore Fish Trappe Road doubled down on his strong runner-up finish to Tom’s Ready in the Woody Stephens on June 11, when he charged home from a stalking position to score an impressive 1 1/4-length victory in Belmont’s Grade 3, $500,000 Dwyer on Belmont’s Stars & Stripes Day. The race, in its 99th running, is carded for 3-year-olds at one mile.

Trained by Bret Calhoun for Martin Racing Stable LLC, Fish Trappe Road (3-1 second choice) got away with the vanguard from his outside post under Luis Saez, but took back to stalk speedy duelers The Great Whiteway and Laoban, who clocked a first half mile in 46.47.

Along the backstretch and into the far turn Fish Trappe Road raced a length and a half behind the front pair in tandem with Economic Model, while keeping the favorite penned in on the dead rail. Midway on the far turn, he began his bid in earnest.

Swinging out three wide into the lane, Fish Trappe Road took command from new leader Laoban in upper stretch, edged ahead, and finished with gusto 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Economic Model, who finally made his way off the rail, re-rallied and nosed closer Tale of S’avall for second.

After six furlongs in 1:10.42, Fish Trappe Road completed the mile in 1:34.84. [VIDEO]

Jockey Luis Saez commented, “Very nice trip. He broke good. He usually breaks very quick and fights you the whole time. But today, he was so relaxed. He was perfect and he finished strong.”

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Bret Calhoun followed up with a comment on the race dynamics and high praise for Saez’ ride. “When the post positions came out, I felt really, really good. It gave us a lot of options out there,” said Calhoun. “He didn’t have to be pushed. Luis rode him perfectly. I’ve been playing this race out in my head for a couple of days since it was drawn, and it played out exactly the way I thought it would.”

Calhoun also observed of the colt in general, “He’s matured a lot. He was a big kid at two, played 24-7. Now, it’s all just coming together mentally and physically.”

At two Fish Trappe Road broke his maiden in his fourth start on September 11, and closed out the year as the runner-up after a pace-setting bid in the Sleepy Hollow. This year, off the board in the Grade 2 Lacomte, he won an open allowance before his eye-opening performance in the Woody Stephens.

For Fish Trappe Road’s next start at Saratoga, Calhoun is considering the 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 Jim Dandy on July 30, or the 7-furlong, Grade 1 King’s Bishop on August 27.

A handsome grey son of Trappe Shot, and his sire’s first stakes winner, Fish Trappe Road was bred in partnership by Rhapsody Farm in Plymouth, where he was foaled, with Jon Davis. He is out of Electric Shock, a New York-bred stakes winner bred by Driver-Ferguson, who was purchased in foal by Rhapsody Farm at the 2012 Keeneland November ale for $22,000.

Electric Shock has produced six winners, including three more stakes performers, All Electric, Electric Chant and Electric Temptress. She has a yearling colt by Shanghai Bobby.

A $140,000 Fasig-Tipton New York preferred Saratoga yearling, Fish Trappe Road was purchased the following year at OBS March by Martin Racing Stables for $95,000. A winner of three of nine starts with three seconds, he has earned $518,185.