NEWS: racing

Quezon rallies though the snow to head up New York-bred trifecta in Garland of Roses

Saturday, December 9th, 2017

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

Marc Keller’s Quezon (Tiz Wonderful) added a fourth stakes win to her career tally, and first open black-type score, when she rallied to victory in the $100,000 Garland of Roses for fillies and mares three and up against the backdrop of a snowy Aqueduct on Saturday afternoon. Fellow New York-breds Picco Uno and Absatootly followed Quezon across the line next in order to complete an all-New York-bred trifecta.

All three of the New York-breds in the Garland of Roses were exiting the Iroquois Stakes at Belmont Park on Empire Showcase Day, October 21. That day, Newman Racing’s Absatootly was best, out-finishing Quezon from well off the pace following a heads-up rally at the rail. Picco Uno, owned by Kennesaw Mountain Racing LLC, chased the pace early and faded to fifth.

Partnered for the first time with Joe Rocco, Jr. to go six furlongs in the “Roses” as the 7-5 favorite, Quezon started alertly, but backed off for the first half mile, racing down on the rail three lengths off pacesetter Absatootly (2-1), who carved out opening splits in 23.35 and 47.26. Picco Uno (2-1) pursued a length back in second in the closely-bunched field

Still mired down on the inside through the turn, Quezon found room in upper stretch to maneuver into the three-path and found a seam in the final furlong to launch a strong rally in the clear.

In the final strides, the chestnut mare ran down new leader Picco Uno to win by three-quarters of a length. Absatootly had to settle for third another 2 1/2 lengths back and, completing the order of finish, were Kalabaka and Fusaichi Red. The final time for six panels in the snow over a track labeled “good” was 1:11.75. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Joe Rocco reported, “I thought that Kendrick’s horse [Picco Uno] was the lone speed and I thought he would clear and I could get out right away because the rail didn’t look too great today, but it didn’t work out that way at all. Bravo’s horse [Absatootly] ended up showing more speed than I thought.”

Continued Rocco, “At least the two horses to beat were in front of me so I followed them until we turned for home. I was able to find a seam and get out. She switched leads and she really came home strong today.”

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Winning trainer Bobby Ribaudo also registered some surprise about the way the race unfolded. “We figured we’d be laying a close second and our concern was that the inside wasn’t as good as the outside today and we’d have to try to get around. When they were all together, I wasn’t happy about that. We were kind of stuck down in there but [Rocco] worked his way out. She switched leads today, which she doesn’t always do, so it worked out.”

Quezon has been a consistent runner throughout her career, finishing on the board in 10 of her last 11 starts dating back to July 2016, but the mare came into the Garland of Roses with a win drought, having last visited the winner’s circle in October 2016 when she won the Iroquois. In six prior starts this year, the 5-year-old had posted three seconds and a third

Said Ribaudo, “It took a couple of races to get her game face on, but the last couple of starts, you can’t fault her. She probably shouldn’t have gotten beat the last time (in the Iroquois) and the Gallant Bloom (September 24, third place) was a graded race against nice fillies.”

With Saturday’s victory, Quezon improved her overall record to six wins, six seconds and two thirds, with one stakes victory a year: Maid of the Mist in 2014, Bouwerie in 2015, Iroquois in 2016 and the Garland of Roses. Her bankroll sits at a robust $694,200.

Bred by Apache Farm LLC and foaled at Apache Farm North in Mt. Morris, Quezon is the only foal produced by Kalookan Dancer, a multiple stakes-winning California-bred daughter of Olympio. Quezon was a $90,000 purchase by Riverside Stable at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale in Saratoga.


Gold for the King back to “old ways” in NYSS Thunder Rumble

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

NYRA/Alysse Jacobs

By Sarah Mace

Francis Paolangeli’s homebred Gold for the King had a banner juvenile campaign last year, winning three of six starts, including the lucrative Breeders’ Futurity and Notebook Stakes. This year, after an auspicious start with a victory in the New York Stallion Stakes (NYSS) series Time Square division in April, the gelding finished well off the board in three of four subsequent starts.

On Wednesday, in the NYSS Thunder Rumble (rescheduled from November 19 when racing was cancelled at Aqueduct due to high winds), the “old” Gold for the King was back in full force, romping by more than seven lengths in the 7-furlong tilt for eligible New York-sired horses three and up.

“He’s always been a good horse,” said winning trainer Charlie Baker. “Last race, he had a lot of excuses. He looked good coming into the race, so I thought he’d run back to his old ways. He did it pretty comfortably. It was pretty much what we wanted to see. It was good to see him come back to his form.”

Drawn in the one-hole and sent off under Joel Rosario as the 5-2 second choice in the field of seven, Gold for the King stumbled slightly after the break and spent the opening quarter mile in sixth chasing early pacesetter and favorite Loki’s Vengeance who had gunned to the front from his outside post.

Gaining ground later the backstretch, by the far turn Gold for the King had made up the deficit at the rail and hooked up with Loki’s Vengeance to his outside.

After vying with his rival through the turn, Gold for the King gained control in upper stretch and never looked back, opening up at will to win by 7 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:26.12.

Sudden Surprise, near the pace throughout, got the place, while Fleet Irish closed from last to finish third. Loki’s Vengeance had to settled for fourth, followed by Cloud Control, Nobody Move and Becker’s Galaxy. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“It was great,” said Rosario. “He broke OK. Then he stumbled a little bit. I had to tap him. But, there was not a lot of speed. On the backside, he wanted to get up there. It looked like they weren’t going very fast, so I just let him be up there. He just pinned his ears and was looking around.

“I was just trying to keep my spot, hold my position. He caught up with the horses very quick and I was there so I just kind of kept my position there. He is a big horse. He grabbed the bridle and took off. I was on the inside of the horse on the lead [Loki’s Vengeance]. I already got his spot, so I just had to be there and keep improving my position.”

Added Baker, “They weren’t going that fast, and it was inside, so you didn’t want to get trapped in there. I think Joel [Rosario] did the right thing trying to move up, because you don’t want to get trapped. Being in the 1-hole, it wasn’t the greatest post, but he did a great job.”

Baker plans to give Gold for the King plenty of time between races for now, indicating that he might not make his next start until January. Baker also commented on “Gold’s” affinity for Aqueduct, where he is three-for-three. “He likes it here, so we’ll keep shipping him over until he shows he doesn’t like it.”

Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia and now a $470,371-earner from five wins (including four stakes victories), two second and two thirds, Gold for the King is the second foal and one of two winners out of Gold for the Queen, a New York-bred multiple stakes winner of $239,136 bred by Pegasus Farms Inc., also campaigned by Paolangeli and trained by Baker.

Gold for the Queen currently has a yearling colt by Frost Giant named True Gold, was barren this year and bred to Super Saver in the spring.

Fire Key unlocks competitive Autumn Stakes

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Second generation Backwards Stable homebred Fire Key (Fresian Fire) posted her first stakes victory in convincing fashion at Aqueduct Sunday in the inaugural running of the co-featured $125,000 Autumn Stakes for filly and mare sprinters on the outer turf course.

Fire Key has had regular dates with the starter throughout her 4-year-old campaign in 2017, with 11 prior starts this year, and the results have been consistently good: three wins, four seconds and third. In her only prior stakes try, the Sensible Lady Turf Dash Stakes at Laurel Park on September 16, Fire Key finished second, and last out she fell just a nose short of victory in an open allowance at Aqueduct. She also came into the Autumn stakes in sharp form Beyer-wise, with figures of 90-92-90 in her three most recent starts.

Breaking from post two as the 5-1 third choice in the salty field of 12, Fire Key settled into the pocket in third/fourth for a ground-saving trip, while Mo’ne Davis (a half-sister to Barbaro, Lentenor and Nicanor), then Ultra Brat set the pace through brisk splits of 23.13 and 46.50.

Moving out for the drive at the head of the stretch, Fire Key agilely altered course inside the final furlong for completely clear running.

Passing new leader Ultra Brat, who was passed, in turn, by 5-2 favorite Stormy Victoria and close second choice First of Spring in the shadow of the wire, Fire Key opened up to a convincing 2 1/2-length victory. The next five finishers were separated by only 1 1/4 lengths, with Stormy Victoria collecting second, a neck ahead of First of Spring in third, who finished a neck ahead of fourth-place finisher Ultra Brat. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Jockey Paco Lopez said, “That was the first time I’ve been on her and I’m really happy for the opportunity. I know she is a quality filly.”

Added Lopez, “It looks easy when you’re on the best horse in the race. The trainer said, ‘Paco, do whatever you want. If you can make the lead easy, then make the lead. The filly doesn’t have to have the lead, she can put you behind horses and she’ll be perfect.’ Today, I saw a couple horses trying to rush [to the lead], so I moved down [to the rail] a little bit. Then I waited for the eighth pole and took her out of the hole and when I asked her to run, she gave me everything she had. She’s a very nice filly.”

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Winning trainer Pat Kelly said, “She’s really come on all year long. We just got nipped on Opening Day [November 3] on the turf. Paco rode a great race. She really finished today.

“We thought there’d be speed from the outside and we [planned] to sit in there and take advantage of the post position and hope she’d finished good, and she did.”

Kelly plans to give Fire Key the winter off in preparation for her 5-year-old campaign. “We’ll have her back next spring and have some fun, I think.” To date Fire Key sports a record of five wins, six seconds and one third from 17 starts and has earned $344,185.

Out of Backwards stable homebred mare U R Key and foaled at Sun Valley Farm in Ballston Spa, Fire Key is a third generation New York-bred thorugh the female family with Virginia roots. Her third dam, the Virginia-bred Shukey (Key to the Mint), produced second dam Sugar Key (Missionary Ridge GB), bred in New York by Jill Rich and Edward Michaels II.

U R Key (Albert the Great), Sugar Key’s daughter, was unraced but has already produced two winners from two foals to start For Backwards. Her first foal Masterkey (Will He Shine) is a Finger Lakes-based six-figure earner and, currently, she has a yearling filly by Emcee. Not bred in 2016, U R Key went to Micromanage this year.

Sea Foam rallies, digs in to win Notebook Stakes

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Fresh off a maiden victory on November 3 in his fourth try, Waterville Lake Stable homebred Sea Foam (Medaglia d’Oro), wasted no time in enrolling his name in the ranks of stakes winners Sunday when he stalked, rallied, then gamely held off a favored rival to win Aqueduct’s $100,000 Notebook Stakes for New York-bred juveniles at six furlongs.

Never worse than second in his four starts for trainer Christophe Clement while racing on or near the lead at every point of call, Sea Foam added Lasix for his stakes debut. With Nik Juarez, jockey for Sea Foam’s maiden win, in the irons, he was 6-1 third choice (of eight) by post time. Bettors favored Stoney Bennett (Bustin Stones) to the tune of 4-5.

After the starter sprang the gates, 9-1 Morning Breez showed the lead, while Sea Foam settled in second in the two-path1 1/2 lengths back. Stoney Bennett raced in third another length back. The order remained unchanged along the backstretch and round the turn through solid splits of 23.35 and 47.38.

Approaching the quarter pole, the top three closed ranks and stacked up three across the track: Morning Breez at the rail, Sea Foam between horses and Stoney Bennett three-wide. Once the trio straightened for home, Morning Breez had come out of the turn with an advanage, but his rivals to the outside were about to have their say.

Sea Foam, closing best, made his way to the front with a sixteenth of a mile to go, then dug in to hold off Stoney Bennett and secure the win by a length. A half-length back, Morning Breez had to settle for third. The final time for six furlongs was 1:12.79, and completing the order of finish were We Should Talk, Analyze the Odds, What a Catch and Mr. Pete. [VIDEO REPLAY]

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

“Sea Foam was coming off his maiden win and that time, I learned that when another horse comes to him, he gets really game,” said Juarez. “So, last week, we worked him, and he worked that same way. He had a horse laying off of him and he never let that horse get by.”

The pilot continued, “Today that was the same strategy. Just keep him right off the lead and when [Stoney Bennett] came to me at the quarter-pole, I thought he was going by, but Sea Foam really dug in. Hats off to Christophe’s team. They did a really great job.”

Christophe Lorieul, Clement’s assistant, commented, “The first time Lasix might have helped a little bit. He ran really well here the other day when he broke his maiden. It looks like he might like Aqueduct.”

Lorieul echoed Juarez’ assessment of Sea Foam’s fighting spirit and sees longer races in the colt’s future. “He was very game today. The big favorite was coming to him from his outside and he kept on going. He might want to go a little further. Coming into the race, Christophe said three-quarters might really not be his game, but it worked out today.”

From two wins and three seconds in five starts, Sea Foam has collected $131,600 in earnings. Foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, he is one of two winners out of Kentucky-bred Strike It Rich by Undbridled’s Song, purchased for John Meriwether’s Waterville Lake Stable by Clement for $350,000 at the Saratoga select yearling sale.

After going on to become a graded winner then retiring to broodmare duty, Strike It Rich has produced a pair of winners from three starters. She currently has a yearling filly by Kitten’s Joy, a weanling filly by Giant’s Causeway, and is anticipated to deliver a Hard Spun foal in 2018.


Control Group dominates Aqueduct’s Grade 3 Discovery Stakes

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

NYRA/Robert Mauhar

By Sarah Mace

On January 20, 2017, 3-year-old Control Group (Posse) was claimed by Rudy Rodriguez for Michael Dubb and David Simon out of state-bred route run on the Aqueduct inner oval for $62,500.

Dangled for a tag twice more, the bay colt ultimately signaled on October 21 that he was claiming material no more with a solid second-place finish to the accomplished Twisted Tom in the Empire Classic.

At Aqueduct Saturday, Control Group cemented the deal with a dominating wire-to-wire victory in the co-featured Grade 3, $200,000 Discovery Stakes for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs.

Rodriguez did, however, explain that Control Group’s presence in the Discovery was more a matter of accident than design. “They said they needed horses,” said Rodriguez. “They only had four. [The racing office] was looking for another New York-bred, Broken Engagement. I said I don’t know about Broken Engagement because I don’t think he wants to go that far, but Control Group, he loves two turns, and that’s what we did.”

Bet down to 5-2 favoritism over five well-meant and well-matched rivals, and partnered for the first time with Joel Rosario, Control Group used his natural speed to clear the field from his outside post and grab a spot at the rail by the time the group entered the clubhouse turn. The other main speed horse, True Timber, chased two lengths back through moderate opening splits of 24.05 and 48.52.

By the far turn, as six furlongs ticked by in 1:13.29, Control Group had extended his lead to four lengths. Cruising solo to the finish line after leading by as much as five lengths in the stretch, the bay made his 3-length victory look easy in a final time of 1:52.83.

Senior Investment closed to take second, while Bonus Points finished third more than eight lengths back, a neck ahead of New York-bred Can You Diggit, who chased throughout. Wrapping up the field were Spieth and True Timber. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Jockey Rosario said, “I was just trying to stay where I was early and improve my position as it went. He handled everything fine. It looked like it was very easy for him.”

NYRA/ Chelsea Durand

The pilot based his tactics to a combination of homework and instinct. “Rudy [Rodriguez] didn’t tell me much. We thought maybe [Spieth] or [True Timber], [or] someone like that was going to go. It looked OK and then we broke, and I had to make a decision to go or take back so I just decided to keep him going. In his other races, it looked like he liked to be up there, so I just let him do whatever he liked to do.”

Rodriguez said, “I told Joel [Rosario] to warm him up good, and see if we can clear the horses, he loves the two turns, that’s the key. When I saw 24 [seconds for the opening quarter-mile] I was very comfortable, 48, he was nice and controlled, and Joel looked very, very controlled, and at the three-eighth pole, I thought we looked very, very good. The farther they are, the better it is.”

Plan A for Control Group’s connections was to enter Claiming Crown at Gulfstream Park on December 2 and have a fresh horse for the $100,000 Alex M. Robb for state-breds on December 31. Now Rodriguez, Dubb and Simon have a graded win in the bank, and will have an even fresher horse for the Robb.

Bred by Colts Neck Stable and Alan Goldberg and foaled at Vinery New York at Sugar Maple Farm in Poughquag, Control Group is the third foal, and one of two winners out of We Kept Her, an unraced Kentucky-bred daughter of Victory Gallop. The mare’s other winner We Did is a full brother to Control Group and six-figure earner. The mare has a yearling filly by Courageous Cat and a 2017 filly by Giant Surprise.

Control Group, a consistent runner, who has won five of 13 starts with three seconds and three thirds and earned $321,570, was never, as it happens, valued at his true worth at public auction. A graduate of the 2014 Fasig-Tipton New York fall mixed sale, he went to MRC Equine for $27,000. Then he RNA’d when offered as a yearling at the Saratoga New York-bred sale ($49,000) and again at two at the Midlantic spring sale of 2-year-olds ($19,000). Gary Contessa shrewdly picked him up for the bargain price of $15,000 at the 2016 OBS open horses of racing age sale.


I Still Miss You sharp winner of Key Cents Stakes at 11-1

Friday, November 24th, 2017

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Juvenile filly I Still Miss You (Majestic Warrior), who last visited the winner’s circle after winning the open Astoria Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8, resumed her winning ways on Belmont’s Black Friday card with a sharp front-running win in the $100,000 Key Cents Stakes for New York-breds.

Trained by Jeremiah Englehart for partners Gold Star Racing Stable, Matthew Hand and Brian McKenzie, I Still Miss You began her career with all systems on go, putting together back-to-back open-length wins in her Belmont debut and the Astoria within the span of 21 days. After running a solid second to Pure Silver in Belmont’s Lynbrook on July 16, however, she finished well out of the money in her next two tries, both New York-bred stakes, by a combination of more than sixty lengths.

Let go at odds of 11-1 in the competitive Key Cents field, I Still Miss You gave every sign before the race that she was on her toes, including a brisk, eye-catching warm-up under Manny Franco, who had the call for the first time aboard the dark bay filly.

Shortly after an even break for all, I Still Miss You from post five hooked up with 44-1 Stone Cold Flirt to her inside, and the pair clocked an opening quarter mile in 22.45.

By the completion of a half in 46.15 during which the top two traded the lead, I Still Miss You poked a head in front of Stone Cold Flirt for good, while 8-5 favorite and Grade 2 Adirondack winner Pure Silver waited in the wings in third.

Once Stone Cold Flirt began to fade, Pure Silver rallied into second but, by the wire, could get no closer than one length to the victorious I Still Miss You, who I stopped the clock after six furlongs at 1:12.98.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

I Still Miss You’s better-regarded stablemate Indy’s Lady (3-1), who raced in last place, as much as 10 lengths off the lead in for the first half mile and more, came with a flying finish in the final furlong to edge Cause We are Loyal for fourth by a neck. Miss Mystique and Stone Cold Flirt dead heated for fifth, while Newport Breeze and Tayler’s the Boss completed the order of finish.

“I think she was comfortable in front, and some of her best races have come when she’s been in front,” said Franco. “I didn’t have many instructions. The pace helped because she was in control and when I asked her to go, she was there for me.”

“The race in Saratoga [the 6 1/2 furlong Seeking the Ante on August 25, where I Still Miss You finished last of nine] was a real headscratcher,” said Englehart. “We added blinkers with the thought that if she got in between horses again, maybe she wouldn’t worry about it as much. The last race [Maid of the Mist at Belmont on October 21 at one mile] was going long and I don’t think she wants to go long. Our plan was to keep the same level of horses and run her in a six-furlong race with the blinkers and see how it would help. Today, she ran back to her old self. She’s just more of a sprinter. I thought Manny did a good job of asking her to get into a good spot. He didn’t allow the race to come to her, he put her in the race and I thought that was the difference.”

I Still Miss You, who has earned $206,867 from three wins and a second in six starts, was bred by Emcee Stable, LLC and foaled at Hickory Hill Farm Thoroughbreds.

The filly is the first foal out of Maryland-bred Lion’s Terms who won 16 races for Englehart and Gold Star Racing Stable and earned $235,042. Lion’s Terms has a yearling colt by Blame who brought $100,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale this year. Without issue this year after being bred to Orb in 2016, she visited Congrats this spring.

Chris Englehart to be inducted into Finger Lakes Hall of Fame

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Courtesy FLGR

(Edited Finger Lakes press release)

Perennial leading Finger Lakes trainer Chris Englehart will be inducted into Finger Lakes Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 18 at the 2017 Awards Dinner Dance.

Chris Englehart began his career at Finger Lakes Racetrack in 1967 as a hot walker.  He began training in 1973 and earned his first training title in 1985. Since then he has earned an additional 14 training titles and is the only Finger Lakes trainer to have over 4000 wins. Englehart was named New York bred Trainer of the year in 2011 by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc (NYTB).

Chris ranks 11th on the North America trainers list with 4096 wins. Horses from the barn of Englehart have won multiple stake victories including the 1989 Finger Lakes Budweiser Breeder’s Cup with Frattare (1997 Hall of Fame Inductee). His horses have amassed a sum of over $46 million in purse earnings.

Chris’s success could not be possible without the hard work and support of his wife Sheila and their six children. Chris is still an active trainer and remains a respected member of the Finger Lakes family.

Chris Englehart

Born: August 24, 1955
4096 wins in 18,382 starts
Career earnings:  $46,830,205
Finger Lakes Leading Trainer: 1985, 1987, 2003, 2004, 2005,
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015




Bee Noteworthy clinches first black type victory in NYSS Staten Island

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Check Mark Stables’ Bee Noteworthy (Read the Footnotes), who just missed winning Finger Lakes’ Arctic Queen on October 2 by a nose, got the job done at Aqueduct on Sunday in an intriguing edition of the $125,000 Staten Island division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series.

The seven-furlong Staten Island, which is restricted to eligible New York-sired fillies and mares, had a cast of six after the scratch of Passporttovictory.

The field included Wonderment (Cosmonaut) winner of the Arctic Queen by a nose over Bee Noteworthy, Frosty Margarita (Frost Giant), who was trying to return to winning dirt form by turning back in distance and switching surfaces, and Bluegrass Jamboree (Bluegrass Cat), a rapidly improving sophomore trained by Charlie Baker. To complicate matters further for bettors, Bluegrass Jamboree’s uncoupled stablemate Riot Worthy (Patriot Act), was clearly a “buzz” horse, bet down from her 5-1 morning line to a chalky 9-5.

After an even start for all, PA-bred and 15-1 longshot Bernick’s Bank (Bank Heist) was the first to show the lead, taking the six-pack through opening half-mile in a brisk 46.89, with Wonderment and Bluegrass Jamboree in pursuit. Bee Noteworthy, 7-2 at post time, meanwhile settled in fourth at the rail, where she stayed throughout for a ground-saving trip.

Approaching the far turn, while Bernick’s Bank held on to her a half-length lead over Wonderment, Bee Noteworthy actually slipped back into last position, but advanced as the field rounded the bend.

In upper stretch Bernick’s Bank drifted out, leaving an appetizing gap at the fence. Bee Noteworthy and jockey Rajiv Maragh, who was looking for his second win on the card, darted energetically up the rail and took over the lead in the blink of an eye. Bee Noteworthy then poured it on, nailing down the victory by 5 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:25.36.

Frosty Margarita (6-1) finished with a strong kick between horses to get the place, while Bluegrass Jamboree finished third. Completing the order of finish were Wonderment, Riot Worthy and pacesetter Bernick’s Bank. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Bee Noteworthy broke her maiden at second asking in March 2015, after which she was off for 16 months. Ever since she returned to the races in 2016 at Saratoga, she has been a model of consistency, finishing in the exacta in nine of 11 starts plus one third. In previous stakes competition she finished third in the Critical Eye in the slop at Belmont on May 29 and last out suffered that nose loss in the Arctic Queen.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

“She’s consistent,” said winning pilot Rajiv Maragh. “She runs her race almost every time and she’s gradually stepped up into bigger races and kept her form. When the races get tougher, sometimes horses can’t compete, but every time she steps up, she gives more and more. Today was her toughest race and it was her best performance.”

Maragh, “When she’s on top of her game, she has that big kick, and thankfully she had it today again. There seemed to be a few potential speed horses in there, and for our style, the faster, the better. I was hoping that they’d go fast. It was an honest pace and I just felt confident in her that if she showed her best run, she would be right there. She surpassed my expectations with such a big kick.”

Kevin Bond, assistant to winning trainer H. James Bond, added “[Bee Noteworthy] loves this track. This is pretty much her home base. Rajiv made a very smart decision and saved ground on the inside and we were very fortunate today and she got a good trip. She’s very honest, she tries every time and has a lot of heart.”

Added Bond, “She kind of warms up on her own and she knows the drill. Rajiv keeps her in the game. One thing we know about her, she’s always going to make a run no matter what. It just depends on where she is and the trip she gets.”

Bred by Sequel Stallions New York, LLC and Willard C. Freeman, Bee Noteworthy is one of two winners out of Beesanees, an unplaced daughter of Anees who graduated from the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky summer sale as a $85,000 yearling. Freeman purchased Beesanees at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton spring 2-year-old sale for $23,000. To date, Bee Noteworthy has earned $269,685 from a record of seven wins, four seconds and one third from 14 starts.

Bar of Gold springs monster upset in Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

Bar of Gold © Eclipse Sportswire

By Sarah Mace

Bar of Gold, a second generation homebred for Chester and Mary Broman, took her 66-1 post-time odds and ground them into the dust at the finish line when she got up just in time to earn Breeders’ Cup glory in the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint at Del Mar on Saturday.

The 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro paid $135.40 for a $2 win bet, which was the second-biggest upset in Breeders’ Cup history, and became the third New York-bred to win a Breeders’ Cup race, joining 2013 Marathon winner London Bridge and Dayatthespa, winner of the 2014 Filly and Mare Turf.

Making her 25th lifetime start for trainer John Kimmel at Del Mar, Bar of Gold has spent her career in quality company after galloping through her New York-bred conditions in her first three starts. Kept on a steady diet of graded and top-level New York-bred stakes for the last three seasons, Bar of Gold had won three state-bred stakes: the 2016 Critical Eye Stakes, last year’s Empire Distaff by 18 lengths and this year’s Yaddo at Saratoga on turf. She has also constantly nibbled at the edges of a graded victory but never quite got there.

In 2015 she finished second in the Grade 1 Test, Grade 2 Prioress and Grade 2 Raven Run. In 2016, she ran third in the Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters, Grade 3 Distaff Handicap and Grade 3 Bed of Roses Handicap. In sharp form this year and even branching out to turf, Bar of Gold finished second in the Grade 2 Ruffian and Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters.

Needless to say, the Broman’s mare could not have chosen a better time for her breakthrough first graded victory, not to mention her first win over a dry dirt racing surface.

Bar of Gold broke alertly and took back to near the back of the pack, with only two horses beaten, where she raced on the rail through sizzling opening splits of 21.84 and 44.35 set by odds-on favorite Unique Bella.

Picking up steam in the approach to the far turn, the big mare advanced to fourth at the top of the stretch as she worked her way toward the outside.

Four wide at the head of the lane and in the clear for the drive, Bar of Gold dug in under a vigorous ride, eroded the advantage of new leader Ami’s Mesa and got up in the shadow of the wire to win by a nose. Ami’s Mesa finished a length ahead of Carina Mia, while favored Unique Bella faded to seventh. Bar of Gold covered the seven furlongs on a fast main track in 1:22.63.

Ortiz, Jr., said, “I got a perfect trip. She broke good, put me in good position and I just saved her. She made a good run on the inside and when I took her to the outside, she responded pretty good.”

Said John Kimmel, with palpable pride in Bar of Gold’s breakthrough achievement, “We knew it was in there somewhere. She pulled it out at the right moment. She’s brushed on greatness a few times, and she’s gotten better as the years have gone on. Her last race [Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland where she finished a well-beaten sixth] was weird. At the track it had been raining all day and she really didn’t break sharp and was wide. It was really just a throw-out. We were all confused about whether we were going to come out here, but then we got her back to New York (from Kentucky) and she had a couple of breezes that were really impressive. Irad (Ortiz, Jr.) said she felt great.”

Kimmel added, “I wouldn’t have come out here if Irad couldn’t ride the horse, so when he told me he was open, I said ‘Let’s go. Let’s give it a shot.’ She is getting to the end of her career and here we are. I’ve always liked horses cutting back in distance, especially in a sprint, and a seven-eighths sprint. I’ve won the Test a couple of times with that tactic. She showed up today, and Irad gave her a great, great trip.”

When she donned the Breeders’ Cup blanket of yellow and purple flowers, Bar Of Gold’s career record stood at seven wins, six seconds and four thirds in 25 starts. She also improved her position on the New York-bred millionaire’s club roster with $1,551,000 in earnings.

The filly and mare sprint coup was Kimmel’s first Breeders’ Cup victory, and Ortiz’s third. The Bromans have made prior four starts in the Championship races, including three by Artemis Agrotera, who raced twice in the Filly and Mare Sprint and once in the Juvenile Fillies. Hook and Ladder ran in the 2001 Sprint. The Bromans’ best previous finish was a fifth by Artemis Agrotera in 2013.

Bar of Gold is the first foal and one of two winning offspring of Khancord Kid, a Broman homebred by Lemon Drop Kid. Also trained by Kimmel, Khancord Kid captured the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes on turf at Gulfstream Park turf in 2010. Chester Broman purchased Khancord Kid’s dam Confidently, an unraced daughter of Storm Cat, at Keeneland’s 2000 January sale of horses of all ages for $1 million.

Khancord Kid has a yearling colt by Giant’s Causeway and a weanling colt by American Pharoah. She was bred back to Medaglia d’Oro this spring.

Therapist stays unbeaten with Awad win

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Oak Bluff Stables homebred Therapist (Freud) psyched out the competition once again in Belmont’s Saturday nightcap, the $100,000 Awad Stakes for juveniles at a mile on the Widener turf. The victory drove the chestnut colt’s record to a perfect three-for-three, and took his earnings to $157,200.

Therapist has done nothing wrong in his young career. Following a debut win in a turf sprint for state-breds at Belmont Park on July 2, the colt dove straight into open company stakes competition. In the 6-furlong Laurel Futurity on September 16, Therapist surged dramatically in the final strides to win by a head, even after breaking through the gate before the start.

After horseplayers weighed the colt’s assets and liabilities, they bet him down to the 4-1 second choice from his 8-1 morning line.

On the plus side, Therapist had an advantageous draw (post two of 10), an unbeaten record, powerful late kick and open stakes success. On the other hand, he was stretching out from six furlongs to a mile for the first time, his top Beyer Speed Figure of 64 came up a little light compared to the competition and his pilot, Irad Ortiz, Jr., was his third jockey in as many starts.

Therapist settled in fourth after an alert break, four lengths off the lead and pinned down in the two path, where he remained from gate-to-wire. Meanwhile, while fellow New York-bred Looking Ready (13-1) led the way through opening splits of 23.16 and 46.90.

Following six furlongs in 1:10.83, and keeping Looking Ready directly in his sights four lengths ahead, Therapist advanced a spot in the turn, but made little headway on his rival in upper stretch.

At the furlong marker Looking Ready drifted out, and Therapist wasted no time in taking full advantage of the opportunity. Kicking into another gear in the final seventy yards, he gained the lead on the inside and opened up to a one-length victory in a final time of 1:35.41.

V.I.P. Code, the longest shot on the board at 71-1, rallied from the rear of the field to finish second, a nose ahead of Looking Ready in third, who kept a neck in front fourth-place finisher New York-bred Way Early (6-1). [VIDEO REPLAY]

“I was in great position,” said Irad Ortiz, Jr. “I got the two hole, we broke good, saved some ground by staying on the inside. I wished I could have worked a way to get to the outside [in the stretch], but the rail opened and I got through, and he responded really well.”

The pilot continued, “He is 3-for-3, but it is my first time riding. [Trainer] Christophe [Clement] gave me the chance and he is a nice horse. He is a nice New York bred.”

Clement, who has raced Therapist Lasix-from in all three starts and is co-breeder with Oak Bluff, was very pleased with Therapist’s first route try. “It was a great race to stretch him out because it’s a one-turn mile. He got up very strong, so I guess he can get the distance.”

Added Clement, “He’s been great. He’s a nice horse. He’s unbeaten. He’s also a New York-bred, but he can obviously compete in open company.” He said he would consult with the owners about whether to keep going with Therapist or give him a break.

Foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, Therapist is one of two winners, and the first stakes winner, out of Lady Renaissance, a winning Kentucky-bred daughter of Sharp Strike who was purchased by Oak Bluff Stables for $15,000 at the 2009 Keeneland November sale.

Lady Renaissance’s first winner is Gio’s Lady (Gio Ponti), a sophomore who has won twice in California. She has produced a weanling full sister to Therapist and was bred this year to Temple City.