NEWS: racing

Frosty Margarita holds on to win inaugural Maddie May for third straight stakes tally

Sunday, January 31st, 2016
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

New York-sired Gabrielle Farm homebred Frosty Margarita (Frost Giant) made it three stakes wins in a row on Sunday, leading early and holding late to capture the inaugural $100,000 Maddie May Stakes for three-year-old New York-bred fillies at one mile and 70 yards.

Frosty Margarita came into sophomore debut with a stellar juvenile record in tow, having never finished out of the exacta in six career starts. The only question was whether her strong sprint form would carry over into a two-turn contest and over a longer distance. The filly’s three career victories last year had come at six and 6 1/2 furlongs. In her solitary route attempt, the one-turn one-mile Maid of the Mist, she had to settle for second behind the accomplished Super Surprise.

Reunited with regular rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. and favored at odds of 3-5, Frosty Margarita projected to be on or near the lead and did not disappoint. She broke sharply and opened up three lengths of daylight by the first point of call, clocking a quarter-mile in a comfortable 25.54.

The dark bay filly extended her lead to six lengths along the backstretch while ticking off a half-mile in a quicker 49.65. Katniss the Victor, 2-1 second choice, was challenge-minded, however, and began to launch a bid from mid-pack, eroding Frosty Margarita’s lead to two lengths by the top of the lane.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Frosty Margarita kept to business in the stretch, but had to dig deep in the final yards to hold off a surging Katniss the Victor. She won the photo by a nose in a final time of 1:44.91. Mecke’s Madalyn finished third, 17 lengths behind runner up. Completing the order of finish were Miss Kew, Backwood Bay, Absatootly and Flatware. [VIDEO]

Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., said, “She’s a nice filly. We won last time sprinting and today she put in a mile. It’s a little hard to ride her but, thank God, we get along good. She doesn’t like it if you fight with her, you’ve got to keep the stick away from her, but she gave me everything she had.”

Conditioner Rudy Rodriguez added, “[Frosty Margarita] ran very good. She stole the race in the very beginning. We thought the other [speed] horse [Absatootly] was going to go with her from the start but once she didn’t, it made it more easy for Frosty Margarita and Irad knows the horse very well and not to hit her.”

Continued Rodriguez, who also trains runner-up Katniss the Victor for Michael Dubb et al, “The other filly [Katniss the Victor] ran good as well. We’re proud of both performances. It’s hard for the other part of the owners but we’re very happy for [Gabrielle Farm’s] Chip and Maria [Acierno].”

A maiden breaker in her second start at Saratoga last August 24, Frosty Margarita has had a steady diet of stakes ever since. Following a pair of close seconds to Melodic and Super Surprise in the Joseph A. Gimma and Maid of the Mist, respectively, she has now reeled off victories in the Key Cents Stakes, Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Series, and Maddie May. Her earnings total $345,800.

Frosty Margarita was foaled at Saratoga Glen Farm in Schuylerville. Her dam Mango Margarita, an unraced daughter of Not For Love also bred by Gabrielle Farm, has produced two winners from two starters and currently has a two-year-old filly by Freud and a yearling colt by Teuflesberg. She was bred in 2015 to Central Banker.

Whatawonderflworld garners first black type victory in OBS Championship Stakes

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

By Sarah Mace

Gary Barber’s Whatawonderflworld (Tiz Wonderful) rallied late to take the $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes by a length at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 27th annual Day of Champions on Tuesday at the Ocala Training Center. Jose Lezcano rode the winner, who ran the mile and a sixteenth in 1:45 flat, for trainer Mark Casse.

After breaking his maiden at second asking going seven furlongs on turf at Belmont on October 11, Whatawonderflworld turned right around to beat a state-bred allowance field at one mile on the Aqueduct sod on November 19. Now with the OBS Championship Stakes under his belt in his stakes debut, he has earned $136,200.

A gelding bred by T/C Stable LLC, Whatawonderflworld is out of Celtic Sunshine, a winning daughter of Victory Gallop who has produced six winners from six starters, including Parx stakes winner Warriorscmoutoplay (Warrior’s Reward). She has a yearling colt by Dublin on the ground and was bred last year to Shackleford.

Whatawonderflworld was sold for $50,000 by James Layden, Agent, to T M Ventures at the 2015 OBS June Sale after working a quarter in :21 2/5.

Haveyougoneaway wins Oaklawn’s American Beauty by a determined neck

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016
Coady Photography

Coady Photography

by Sarah Mace

Champion Racing Stable, Inc.’s 5-year-old mare Haveyougoneaway (Congrats) hit a career high note in her first start of 2016, winning Oaklawn Park’s $100,000 American Beauty Stakes at six furlongs by a determined neck over odds-on favorite and multiple graded stakes winner Sarah Sis.

Already a stakes winner, having trounced the competition in the $50,000 Flashy Lady Stakes at Remington Park last September, Haveyougoneaway came into the American Beauty with the profile of a consistent hard-trying sprinter, having won three of nine starts last year with only one off-the board finish.

Sent off as 7-2 co-second choice in the field of seven under jockey Jareth Loveberry, Haveyougoneaway cruised comfortably in fourth, then third in the early stages of the six-furlong dash, while Sarah Sis and Super Saks raced head-to-head up front through a snappy first quarter mile in 22.11 and a half in 45.61.

Turning for home Haveyougoneaway cornered neatly, taking advantage of a gap at the rail, and immediately engaged Sarah Sis, now the lone leader. Her extended, determined drive lasted the length of the stretch, but the chestnut mare finally put away the stubborn and equally-determined Sarah Sis for good. She secured the victory by a neck in a final time of 1:10.32. Runner-up Sarah Sis finished 3 1/2 lengths clear of 10-1 Meshell, who got up for third. Haveyougoneaway paid $9 to win.

Coady Photography

Coady Photography

“The race set up perfect for us,” said winning jockey Jareth Loveberry. “The two speed horses went to the front as I expected and I was able to set off them. The rail opened up for us down the lane and I had plenty of horse to get her going. I was worried the #2 Sarah Sis was digging in and was going to get to us, but we were able to stay in front and get up for the win. She’s an honest filly that tries hard wherever she goes. She loves it here and showed it today.”

Haveyougoneaway has won three of seven Oaklawn starts and only finished once off the board at that oval.

According to trainer Allen Milligan, the mare is under consideration for the $100,000 Spring Fever on February 20 at Oaklawn.

Haveyougoneaway’s career record stands seven wins, two seconds and six thirds from 20 career starts with two stakes wins and four stakes placings including a third place finish in the American Beauty last year. Her bankroll has climbed to a robust $312,425.

Bred by Andy and Susan Beadnell and foaled at Bead Land & Cattle Company in Pottersville, Haveyougoneaway is the most accomplished 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. Champion Racing Stable, Inc. purchased Haveyougoneaway as a 2-year-old for a mere $1,200 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale.

La Verdad crowned Eclipse champion female sprinter

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

LaVerdad_ChampSptFemaleBy Sarah Mace

Lady Sheila Stable’s star sprinter La Verdad (Yes It’s True) was crowned champion female sprinter Saturday night when the Eclipse Award winners for the 2015 racing season were announced at a ceremonial dinner at Gulfstream Park.

La Verdad opened up her account in 2015 by repeating in the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct in April, winning Belmont’s Grade 3 Vagrancy Handicap in May and repeating in the Dancin Renee Stakes for state-breds at Belmont in June. First across the line in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga Race Course, she was later disqualified following a positive test for clenbuterol.

After winning the Grade 2 the Gallant Bloom over Wavell Avenue in September at Belmont, she was a facile winner of the Iroquois Stakes against state-breds on Empire Showcase Day in October, where a rating experiment convinced conditioner Linda Rice that the seven-furlong TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, just a week away, was within the mare’s reach. And it almost was. La Verdad and regular rider Jose Ortiz finished a strong second to 10-1 Wavell Avenue after setting the pace.

Despite her second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup, La Verdad’s body of work for the season tipped scale in her favor with voters in the most closely contested category of the year. Of the three finalists, La Verdad beat Wavell Avenue by eight votes, 98-90, with Lady Shipman third with 41.

Onstage to accept the award were owner Sheila Rosenblum and trainer Linda Rice.

Said Rosenblum, “La Verdad has made a dream come true. Thank you to the voters who voted for her, thank you for my trainer who made this happen, who begged me to buy her. We have a passion, we love horses. We respect horses, we’ve made a great team, we’ve made syndicates happen for women. And I have a spectacular group of women over there who are my partners and friends. I love this mare. She is a love story. She is one of a kind. She’s pretty miraculous.”

Rice said, “It’s our first trip to the Eclipse Awards and it’s nice to come away with a win. Most of all I want to thank La Verdad. Everyone should have a horse like her.”

Bred by Eklektikos Stable LLC and foaled at Chester and Mary Broman’s Chestertown farm in Chestertown. La Verdad was purchased privately by Rosenblum following her second allowance victory in November 2013. After winning the Interborough Stakes on January 9, La Verdad is scheduled for a final start in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie on February 13 at Laurel before being bred to Medaglia d’Oro.

Fair Grounds-loving International Star wins Louisiana Stakes

Saturday, January 16th, 2016
Photo by Amanda Hodges Weir / Hodges Photography

Photo by Amanda Hodges Weir / Hodges Photography

By Sarah Mace

Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus), who swept the three Fair Grounds preps for last year’s Run for the Roses only to scratch the morning of the Kentucky Derby with heat on the inside quarter of his left front hoof, drove his Fair Grounds record up to a perfect four-for-four on Saturday when he earned a trip to the winner’s circle in the $75,000 Louisiana Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

Heavily favored for his return to the races at four in the Zia Park Derby on November 25 in New Mexico, International Star failed to flash any of the talent that led to last year’s stakes victories. Usually a stretch runner, he tired to fourth after contesting the pace, beaten by 13 lengths.

Owner Ken Ramsey dismissed the race, believing that external circumstances worked against the Mike Maker trainee.

“He had a disastrous trip out to Zia Park,” Ramsey commented. “It wasn’t so much bad luck as we were probably misguided in sending him out there. We couldn’t get transportation and even if we flew him, we would have to van him from there, so it was too many van rides. So, we hauled him all the way from Kentucky in one of my own vans and it didn’t go well. I really wanted to get another derby victory for him, since we couldn’t run him in the Kentucky Derby.”

Ramsey felt confident we’d see a much better performance at Fair Grounds on Saturday. “I think you’ll see a different horse this time around.” We did.

Breaking from the outside post of six under Miguel Mena, International Star entered the clubhouse turn four wide, then dropped to the rail to settle in fifth five lengths of the off the pace, which was set by Majestic Harbor, who posted splits of 24.46, 48.42, and 1:13.10.

Advancing in the far turn, International Star rallied five wide into the lane and launched a bid in upper stretch. Around the furlong marker the bay New York-bred shot past new leader Eagle, who had grabbed the top spot as he emerged from the turn, and opened up to a 1 1/2-length victory in a final time of 1:44.44. Third betting choice among the three most popular horses in the field — favorite Eagle who finished second and second choice Majestic Harbor who faded to fifth — the colt paid $7.80 for a $2 win bet.

Jockey Miguel Mena said, “He’s a nice horse. Mike (Maker) was telling me how good he was doing and he likes this racetrack. We were on the rail on the turn and I swung him out so he wouldn’t get stopped today and he was full of run.”

In addition to winning the Grade 3 LeComte, Grade 2 Risen Star and Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds at three, International Star was an accomplished  juvenile, annexing the Grade 3 Grey Stakes at Woodbine and finishing second in both the Grade 2 With Anticipation on turf and restricted Rockville Center Stakes. His record now stands at six wins and two seconds with an earnings bankroll of $1,066,629.

Bred by longtime Maryland breeders and owners Katharine M. Voss and Robert T. Manfuso and foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, International Star was purchased by the Ramseys as a yearling for $85,000 out of the Fasig Tipton select yearling sale in September in Timonium.

International Star’s dam Parlez is a multiple winner by French Deputy Parlez and a granddaughter of Halory (Halo), the dam of five graded stakes winners, including Blue Grass Stakes winner Halory Hunter.

Parlez has produced five winners in all, including stakes winners Fools in Love by Not For Love, who earned over $240,000 and D C Dancer by the same sire, a $270,000-earner. She has a two-year-old colt by Not for Love, was barren in 2015 and bred to Fusaichi Pegasus in 2015.

Saythreehailmary’s splashes gamely to victory in Ladies Handicap

Sunday, January 10th, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Currently in career form, Very Un Stable homebred Saythreehailmary’s (Repent) followed up her December 12 victory in the 1 1/16-mile Bay Ridge Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares, with a determined score at Aqueduct on Sunday in $100,000 open Ladies Handicap.

The forbidding conditions racing conditions at the Big A – a sloppy racing surface with some fog thrown in for good measure – seemed to present no obstacles for the hard-trying consistent five-year-old. Saythreehailmary’s had previously won of three races from four starts over off-going and seems to have a penchant for the Aqueduct inner oval itself (two wins and a second from six tries). The one mile and seventy yard distance was also right in her wheelhouse, with three prior firsts a second and a third at the distance.

Breaking at the rail under jockey Manny Franco as the fifth choice of six in the wagering at odds of 5-1, Saythreehailmary’s tucked in neatly for a ground-saving trip in fourth though the clubhouse turn, just two lengths off pacesetter Sustainable, who posted the first quarter-mile in 25.41 and half in 49.39.

Working her way into the three path along the backstretch run and asked more midway through the far turn, Saythreehailmary’s was floated out yet further at the head of the lane by odds-on favorite Wonder Gal to her inside who was making her bid from third as Mei Ling took over the lead.

With a furlong to go Saythreehailmary’s issued a direct challenge to Mei Ling, gained the lead at the sixteenth pole, sustained a bump from her rival and, with a final charge, scored a gutsy three-quarter-length victory.

Mei Ling finished second, followed five lengths back by Wonder Gal. Stroke Play and Sustainable completed the order of finish. The final time of race was 1:44.91. [VIDEO]

Jockey Manny Franco said, “We planned it out. We didn’t think there would be too much pace up front and we wanted to be close to them and we made our move from the outside. When she hit the front, she stopped a little bit but we worked it out.”

John Morrison, who trains Saythreehailmary’s for Joe Gioia’s Very Un Stable commented, “She got a perfect trip. Manny couldn’t have ridden her any better. She likes the inner track, we can’t argue with her record here so it was nice.”

Continued Morrison, “She’s just been doing great. She started turning around in October and has been getting better ever since. I kind of thought she was on top of her game today and she was. It was an open stake now and Joe is also the breeder so it helps. He still also owns the mare so this helps everything.” In November, Saythreehailmary’s also finished a close second to Sheriffa in the NYSS Staten Island division.

Foaled at Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains, Saythreehailmary’s is one of five winners from five starters, and the second stakes winner out of Just Call Me Angel, a winning daughter of Devil’s Bag who was purchased by Gioia in 2005 for $16,000 at the OBS winter mixed sale.

Just Call Me Angel’s first foal Afleet Alexandra (Northern Afleet) won the 2008 New York Oaks at Finger Lakes and earned over $250,000. As it happens, her four-year-old by Posse colt, Got Winged, recorded his second victory on Saturday in an open $40,000 claiming event at Aqueduct.

The mare currently has an unnamed three-year-old filly by Dublin, a juvenile filly by Courageous Cat named Courageous Angel and a newly minted yearling colt by Posse.

Now a dual stakes winner with three additional stakes placings, Saythreehailmary’s has compiled a career record of six wins, five seconds and four thirds from 22 starts and has earned $437,600.

La Verdad brings more joy to her connections in Interborough

Saturday, January 9th, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

La Verdad (Yes It’s True), an Eclipse Award finalist in the 2015 Filly and Mare Sprint division and scheduled to retire this year for a breeding shed date with Medaglia d’Oro, gave her connections more yet one more occasion to cheer at Aqueduct on Saturday.

In the penultimate start of her stellar career, the Lady Sheila Stable color-bearer cruised to a comfortable victory in the six-furlong, $100,000 Interborough Stakes. The six-year-old mare is scheduled to close out her account in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie on February 13 at Laurel.

La Verdad won five stakes in 2015: the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap, Grade 3 Vagrancy, Dancin Renee for state-breds, Grade 2 Gallant Bloom, and the Iroquois Handicap for state-breds. A week after the Iroquois victory on Showcase Day, she finished a strong second to Wavell Avenue in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

In her final start of the year, however, the Grade 3 Fall Highweight on November 26, presumed to be her final start before retiring, La Verdad failed to hit the board for the second straight year.

Conditioner Linda Rice said, “We brought her home from the Breeders’ Cup and, after the Fall Highweight which, two years in a row was somewhat disappointing, she trained well. We kept her in New York and made plans to breed her to Medaglia [d’Oro]. [Owner] Sheila [Rosenblum] and I spoke about it and said, ‘well, she’s doing so well, let’s see if we can win a race or two with her before she goes.’”

Bet down to a formidable 2-5 in the field of six, with regular rider Jose Ortiz in the irons, La Verdad headed, as usual, to the lead, this time accompanied by an unlikely challenger: 50-1 Fat Cat who showed early speed to her inside.

Dogged by Fat Cat through an opening quarter mile in 23.22, the bay mare began to shake off her pesky rival by the time she entered the far turn. Gaining clear command with three-eighths of a mile to go, clocking a half-mile in 46.13 and leading by three lengths at the top of the lane, the bay mare cruised home unchallenged to a 2 3/4-length victory in a final time of 1:10.65.

In the words of track announcer John Imbriale, “As they come for the finish, here’s this marvelous mare La Verdad to win her debut in 2016 and pick up career win number 16.”

Dancing house and Room for Me finished a length apart in second and third, followed across the line by Princess Violet, Jubilant Vision and Fat Kat. [VIDEO]

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Jockey Ortiz reported, “I broke good and felt we were in good position even though the No. 2 horse [Fat Kat] got a little bit of a jump on me. Little by little once I got to her, I got there and by the time I was in front I just took it easy. I waited a little bit more then I let her go around the turn.”

He added, “Linda brought her in at 100 percent and ready for this race. When I asked her to go she went very well. I don’t know what’s next but whatever they decide with her I’m good with it.”

Rice made clear what was next: “We will be pointed to the [Grade 2] Barbara Fritchie [on February 13 at Laurel] off of this, so hopefully she can get another win and go out a winner.”

Rice also elaborated on managing La Verdad’s career. “When you’ve got a filly that has won as much as she has, it puts a little extra pressure on us. It’s a little nerve-wracking, but I don’t think you can operate out of fear,” said Rice. “The filly doesn’t owe anybody anything. We enjoy racing her, I think you’ll find people like the Ramseys and people who love racing, enjoy racing their horses and Sheila and I certainly enjoy racing La Verdad.”

La Verdad’s career record is truly stunning: 16 wins from 25 starts with three seconds and a grand total of 11 stakes victories, translating into a whopping bankroll of $ $1,563,200.

Bred by Eklektikos Stable LLC and foaled at Chester and Mary Broman’s Chestertown farm in Chestertown. La Verdad was purchased privately by Rosenblum following her second allowance victory in November 2013.

She is one of three winners from three starters out of successful producer Noble Fire (Hook and Ladder), a stakes-placed runner bred by Chester and Mary Broman and also trained by Rice, who bought her for Eklektikos for $115,000 at the 2007 OBS Spring sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Noble Fire is also the dam of Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks winner Hot City Girl, owned and trained by the same connections, and earner of over $500,000. Noble Fire’s first foal N. F’s Destiny (Cuvee) is an eight-time winner of over $335,000. The mare currently has a 2-year-old filly by Freud, and was bred to Will Take Charge in 2015.

Flexibility, now in a league of his own in NY, aces G3 Jerome

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Newly-minted sophomore Flexibility (Bluegrass Cat), separated at last from arch-rival Mohaymen, became a graded winner on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack when he dominated the one mile and 70 yard Grade 3, $200,000 Jerome Stakes from off the pace. The victory landed him in co-third place in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” point standings.

Trained by Chad Brown and sporting the familiar white and red colors of Seth
Klarman’s Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, Flexibility had honed his skills in some pretty tough company in three career starts as a juvenile.

When he broke his maiden on debut on October 10 in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for state-breds at Belmont, Flexibility comfortably handled Spooked Out, who graduated next-out by nine-plus lengths.

Launching straight into stakes competition in his second start, and stretching out to eight and nine furlongs, respectively, in the Grade 2 Remsen and Grade 2 Nashua, he delivered a pair of strong back-to-back runner-up finishes to Mohaymen, an undefeated runner. Arguably the second-best juvenile unveiled in North America in 2015 he is now in training in Florida.

Bet down to 1-2 favoritism for the Jerome by post time, Flexibility was fortunate enough to get out of the gate sharply under Irad Ortiz, Jr. and avoid any collateral damage from Donegal Moon, just to his inside in post three, who fell to his face at the break and unseated his jockey. No apparent harm was done to horse or rider.

After this sharp start, the bay colt was wrangled back into fourth position by Ortiz, five lengths behind a trio of horses who moved up to his outside: Vorticity, who led for the first half-mile through opening fractions of 23.48 and 47.31, pressed hard by 3-1 second choice Bird of Trey and Condo King.

Traveling comfortably in the clear on the backstretch, Flexibility got his first solid cue four wide in the far turn and effortlessly gained the lead.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Once the colt entered the stretch with a narrow advantage, it was all over but the cheering. Flexibility opened up in the stretch under urging and cruised unchallenged to the wire, a 4 1/4-length winner in a final time of 1:42.98. Pacesetter Vorticity stayed well for second, followed across the line by 22-1 longshot, In Equality and Bird of Trey. [VIDEO]

Irad Ortiz reported, “[Flexibility] broke very sharp today, I had to take a hold of him to get him back. I was told they wanted him to rate and save ground. When I asked, he took off and I just wanted him to be able to switch leads in the stretch and finish in the stretch. He did it easy.”

Cherie DeVaux, assistant to winning trainer Chad Brown, followed up: “It’s very exciting to have him continue to perform well going in these races. Hopefully each one he can continue to step up.”

Continued DeVaux, “He’s been professional throughout. He just steps it up each time. It was a very professional effort, sitting behind the speed today and moving on cue. The race set up well for him. He’s always been a big, strong colt who did everything correct.”

As to the future, she said, “Chad [Brown] and the owners will talk about what’s next for him. After following Mohaymen [in the Remsen and Nashua] it was a good feeling to see him get his head in front of the other horses.”

The Jerome is worth ten points in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” standings. Flexibility, who also earned four points as the runner-up in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes on November 28, now sits co-third in the rankings (tied with Brody’s Cause and Mor Spirit at 14).

Bred by WinStar Farm. LLC and foaled at Vinery New York at Sugar Maple Farm, the talented colt is the third winner out of Santa Vindi by Vindication, a Kentucky-bred half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner, $2.1 million-earner and successful New York sire Golden Missile (A.P. Indy).

A placed runner in four career starts, Santa Vindi was purchased by WinStar for $60,000 out of the 2010 Keeneland November sale. She has an unnamed 2-year-old daughter by Sidney’s Candy, no foal in 2015 and was bred to Bellamy Road last spring.

Flexibility first sold as an $80,000 yearling at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale in 2014, before being snagged by LRK stable for $185,000 at the Fasig-Tipton select 2-year-old sale last March.

NYRA enhances spring 2-year-old offerings, announces Fund-supported bonus program for NY-bred juveniles

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

(Edited press release)

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Six maiden races worth $100,000 each will be offered by the New York Racing Association this spring as part of a program leading up to the Astoria and Tremont, run on June 9 and 10 as the first two juvenile stakes of the year. Additionally, the New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund has contributed $200,000 to fund bonuses worth a total of $25,000 to 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 2-year-old fillies, Astoria Trial A, at 4 ½ furlongs, will be run on April 20 at Aqueduct Racetrack. Astoria Trial B and C will be run on May 4 and May 18 at Belmont Park, both at five furlongs.

Tremont Trial A, at 4 1/2 furlongs, will be run on April 21, with Tremont Trial B and C at five furlongs scheduled for May 5 and May 19 at Belmont.

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, with $3,500 divided among the seventh through 10th-place finishers.

The regular purse for maiden races is $75,000.

The bonus program for New York-breds calls for owners to receive $9,000 for a first-place finish, $4,500 for second and $2,500 for third. Trainers would get a bonus of $4,000 for first, $3,000 for second and $2,000 for third.

“Two-year-old racing is an important part of the racing program here in New York,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s Senior Vice-President of Racing Operations. “We will continue to find ways in assisting owners to be profitable with a young horse and in trying to create a program that will let these individuals develop into future stars.”

Empire Dreams caps fine campaign with determined Robb victory

Friday, January 1st, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

West Point Thoroughbreds’ Empire Dreams (Patriot Act) put an exclamation point on a splendid 4-year-old campaign Thursday, when he dueled Saratoga Snacks into submission in late stretch to win the $100,000 Alex M. Robb for New York-breds at 1 1/16 miles on the inner track, Aqueduct’s feature race on the final card of the year.

Trained by Tom Albertrani for West Point, Empire Dreams was making his eighth start of the year in the Robb, all in New York-bred or New York-sired stakes company. He and his connections sought a third black type victory for the year to add to tallies in the Commentator Stakes at Belmont Park in May and the lucrative Empire Classic on Empire Showcase day at Belmont in the fall.

Bet down to 7-5 favoritism by post time, Empire Dreams settled in midpack in the two path from his rail post, cruising patiently down the back stretch five lengths off the pace as Ostrolenka, prompted by Saratoga Snacks, led the field through early fractions of 24.24, 49.06 and 1:13.65.

As Saratoga Snacks took over the lead from his rival midway on the far turn and showed the way into the stretch, Empire Dreams began his bid four wide.

Empire Dreams advanced with decision into second by midstretch and engaged Saratoga Snacks, but needed all his focus: his tenacious rival proved hard to shake and drifted out in the final stages. Undaunted, the dark bay gelding kept in the battle, just getting a head in front at the wire.

After a mile in 1:38.76, the final time for 1 1/16 miles over the muddy inner track was 1:45.14. Good Luck Gus rallied to finish three lengths back in third, followed across the wire by Full of Mine, Bullheaded Boy, Big Business, West Hills Giant and early pacesetter Ostrolenka. [VIDEO]

Winning jockey Manny Franco said, “It was tough to catch [Saratoga Snacks]; he kept coming back. My horse likes to run on the outside; he’s more comfortable like that, so that’s what I tried. At the half-mile pole, I made my move and did my best with him. I thought I was going to go right by, but [Saratoga Snacks] was a tough customer.”

Tom Bellhouse, Chief Operating Officer of West Point Thoroughbreds, said, “As great as our horse is, occasionally he likes company around him. He always doesn’t put them away, and there’s not a gamer New York-bred than Saratoga Snacks, so the fact that we end the year beating a great horse like him was just a thrill for us and our partners.”

Bellhouse continued, “This was our last runner of the year and what a way to end it. We kind of rode him home with Manny down the lane. It was just a great way to end the year for a New York-bred that has really given us a lot of thrills. He’s won all the big races this year. We were going to put him away after the Empire Classic but [trainer] Tom [Albertrani] thought he was doing well enough to earn him one more chance. It was a brilliant move now for sure.”

First, second or third in seven of eight starts this year, Empire Dreams is now a five-time stakes winner with seven additional stakes placings. In addition to this year’s Robb, Empire Classic and Commentator, he carried off prizes for The Great White Way division of the New York Stallion Stakes series at two and the New York Derby at Finger Lakes as a sophomore. With a career record of six firsts, six seconds and three thirds, Empire Dreams has earned $746,501.

Bred by Pegasus Dream Stable and foaled at Donna Sammons’ Farm Elizaville, Empire Dreams was purchased by West Point for $35,000 at the 2013 OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. His dam Ascended Dreams, an unraced daughter of Thunder Gulch, has produced four winners from four to start, including stakes-placed Court of Dreams by Powerscourt (GB). Ascended Dreams has a 2-year-old gelding by Pure Prize who has not yet started, a yearling colt by Bluegrass Cat and a weanling by Trinniberg. She is currently in foal to Honorable Dillon.