NEWS: racing

Moonlight Song exploits dangerous speed to capture Hudson Handicap

Sunday, October 19th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sunday, October 19th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

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

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

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

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

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

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

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

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

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

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

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


Effinex adds blinkers, delivers stunning upset in Empire Classic

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Bill Heller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Bill Heller

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Bill Heller

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

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

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

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

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

She didn’t disappoint.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Kharafa powers to impressive victory in Mohawk Stakes

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Bill Heller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arroyo said Kharafa “was doing it pretty easy.”

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


Quezon spurts away to stay perfect in Maid of the Mist

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

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

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

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

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

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

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

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

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

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

 


Ostrolenka obliges as favorite in Sleepy Hollow

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Eric Fein’s homebred Ostrolenka (Musket Man), winner of a one-mile New York-bred maiden special weight by more than 14 lengths at Belmont Park on September 28, proved the blowout performance was no fluke when he kicked off the stakes portion of Belmont’s Empire Showcase Day card with handy victory as 3-5 favorite in the $250,000 the Sleepy Hollow Stakes for New York-bred juveniles.

Stymied by a sloppy (sealed) track in his Saratoga debut on August 31, but roaring back and winning for fun over a fast track for a 90 Beyer Speed Figure in his second start, Ostrolenka also merited favoritism by coming into the one-mile Sleepy Hollow with eight-panel credentials under his belt, while most of his competition were looking to pass a distance test. He was partnered for the third straight time by jockey John Velazquez.

Out of the gate well from post 2, and taking up a position at the rail Ostrolenka pressed longshot pacesetter Breakin the Fever from the inside, while New York Breeders’ Futurity winner Good Luck Gus tracked in third in the three path through a first quarter-mile in 23.61 and half in 46.91.

Ostrolenka edged up on Breakin the Fever in the far turn, and took over the top spot by the time he was ready to straighten away, but then faced a fresh challenge from Good Luck Gus at the head of the stretch. When Velazquez asked his mount for more, Ostrolenka kicked clear, opening up four lengths in the stretch and ultimately crossing the finish line a 2 1/2-length winner.

After six furlongs in 1:11.83, Ostrolenka stopped the clock after a mile at 1:37.39. Good Luck Gus finished second, three-quarters of length in front of a closing Market Conduct. Following the top three across the finish line were Thank You, Bullheaded Boy, Bellamy Way and Breakin the Fever. [VIDEO]

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Jockey John Velazquez said, “I was getting in tight early on, but once I got a spot inside the five-eighths pole I was comfortable. He got into the bridle and was [going] pretty good. I saw someone moving at the three-eighths pole – I didn’t know who it was – and I said, ‘You know what? Let him go now.’ He’ll go further; he seems like the kind that wants to run all day.”

Byron Hughes, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher, observed, “[Ostrolenka was] very professional once again. He was good in the paddock, good on the track. He seemed to relax there on the front end, especially being on the inside and being hounded the whole way. He kind of broke loose down the stretch and won impressively again. They went in 23, 46 and we thought he might get a little tired there, but it didn’t seem to bother him much at all.”

Ostrolenka, who has earned $186,292 from his two victories, was foaled at Waldorf Farm in N. Chatham. He is one of five winners from five foals to start out of Pumpkin’s Pride, a dirt sprint winner by Louis Quatorze and a half-sister to multiple stakes-winner Gesture (Italy). Previously Pumpkin’s Pride’s most accomplished offspring was multiple stakes-placed Great Gracie Dane, earner of over $344,000. This year the mare produced a filly by Malibu Moon and was bred to Flatter.

 


International Star lives up to his name in Woodbine’s Grade 3 Grey

Monday, October 6th, 2014
Michael Burns

Michael Burns

By Sarah Mace

New York-bred International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus) lived up to his name on Sunday afternoon, shipping across the border to compete in Woodbine’s $156,300 Grade 3 Grey Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds on Polytrack, and coming away a winner. As part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series The Grey Stakes offered 10 points to the winner toward a berth for the “Run for the Roses.”

Trained by Mike Maker for Ken and Sarah Ramsey and supplemented to the race, International Star was making his first start since finishing second in the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes going the same distance on turf at Saratoga on August 28. In two prior starts he had not finished worse than second, winning his debut handily at Belmont on June 21 and chasing a lightning-fast Bustin It around the track in the Rockville Center on July 13. In the With Anticipation he encountered traffic in upper stretch.

After breaking from his inside post, International Star (5-2 second choice) settled in sixth in the early going under Rafael Hernandez, saving ground around the clubhouse turn as Imperial Dream, destined to fade to last, led the field through splits of :24.63 and :49.01.

Michael Burns

Michael Burns

Late along the backstretch run and rounding the far turn, the bay colt began to weave his way toward the front, passing several rivals before angling out at the top of the lane and beginning his bid in earnest. Responding to urging, International Star began to rally by the rest, gaining the lead just past the sixteenth marker and drawing off to a 1 1/4-length victory. Favorite Conquest Tycoon finished second, followed across the line by longshot Hollywood Critic. [VIDEO]

Hernandez, aboard International Star for the first time, said, “He broke well and then started laying back into the first turn. We saved ground all the way and turning for home, I decided to take him outside. Once we got clear he was rolling. I had plenty of horse.”

International Star, who has earned $190,028 from two wins and two seconds in four career starts, was bred by Katharine M. Voss and Robert T. Manfuso and purchased by the Ramseys as a yearling for $85,000 out of the Fasig Tipton select yearling sale in September in Timonium. His dam is Parlez, a multiple winner by French Deputy who has produced five winners in all, including stakes winner Fools in Love by Not For Love.


Dayatthespa delivers powerful performance in Grade 1 First Lady

Saturday, October 4th, 2014
Keeneland/Coady Photography

Keeneland/Coady Photography

By Sarah Mace

Dayatthespa earned her second career Grade 1 victory over the Keeneland turf on Saturday with a powerful performance while facing a deep, well-matched field of fillies and mares in the one-mile, $400,000 First Lady Stakes.

Trained by Chad Brown for owners Jerry and Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon and Bradley Thoroughbreds, Dayatthespa was starting for just the third time this year, but had put together strong back-to-back races at the Spa, finishing second to Filimbi in her seasonal debut on August 2 in the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes, and defeating fellow New York-bred Grade 1 winner Discreet Marq in the Yaddo Stakes on Saratoga Showcase Day on August 24. Filimbi and Discreet Marq were among the nine fillies and mares lined up for the First Lady.

Looking full of run from the bell, Dayatthespa (7-2 second choice) stalked pacesetter Istanford under a tight hold.  On the far turn the chestnut targeted the leader, took over in upper stretch and then edged clear. She kept to business and opened up ultimately to a 1 1/4-length victory in a final time of 1:35.21 for a mile over the “good” turf. Click here for a clip of the race.

Jockey John Velazquez reported, “She broke really well and the other speed went to the front, so it worked well. I was just holding it together and when I let her go at the quarter pole, she was all fresh. She finished unbelievable – really, really good. She started to look around a little bit around the sixteenth pole, so I hit her one time to keep her mind running but she was doing really well.”

Velazquez also reported his instructions from the trainer at second hand. “[One of the owners] told me Chad said make sure to drop inside going into that first turn. He didn’t want to be three wide early.”

The 5-year-old mare, who will be offered at the Fasig-Tipton November sale, turned the tables on Better Lucky in the race, who prevailed by a head over her runner-up effort last year, and became a millionaire in the bargain after she increased her earnings to $1,188,892.

Dayatthespa now boasts a record of ten wins and four seconds in 17 starts. Her nine stakes victories are topped by a pair of Grade 1s at Keeneland, the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in 2012 in addition to the First Lady, the Grade 3 Appalachian Stakes also at Keeneland and Grade 3 Herecomesthebride. Dayatthespa was voted champion New York-bred 3-year-old female and turf female in 2012.

Bred by Castellare DiCracchiolo Stable, Cracchiolo & Goldsher and foaled at Empire Stud in Hudson, Dayatthespa was purchased by Sarazen Stable for $50,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York preferred yearling sale in 2010. Her dam M’Lady Doc, an unplaced daughter of Doc’s Leader, is a full sister to Phi Beta Doc, a Grade 3 winner and turf course record-setter at Saratoga and Colonial Downs ($442,815). M’Lady Doc’s half-brother Queen Mary’s Boy (Full Pocket) won a listed stakes.

M’Lady Doc has produced four winners from four starters, including New York-bred $126,140-earner Doc Can Do (Quiet American).