NEWS: racing

Breakin the Fever holds to win Leon Reed

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015
SV Photography

SV Photography

by David Mattice

FARMINGTON, N.Y. – Breakin the Fever narrowly held off a late challenge by longshot Bigshotinthenews to win the $50,000 Leon Reed Memorial Stakes at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack on Friday. The bay gelding completed the six furlong sprint for older New York-breds in a time of 1:10.97. [VIDEO]

The $252,681 earner owned and trained by Debra Breed seized the front end in the early stages of the sixth race. He maintained a clear lead over his older rivals until Bigshotinthenews cut into the margin as they approached the wire. He sustained his speed to take the annual dash by a neck over his fast closing competitor.

Oscar Gomez guided the classy 3-year-old to his second stakes triumph. Gomez also directed him to a seven and one-quarter length win in the $50,000 Ontario County Stakes at FLGR on August 21.

Breakin the Fever registered his eighth victory in his 17th career start and paid $6.80, $4.70 and $4.00. Bigshotinthenews ran second at odds of 68-1 and paid $30.20 and $22.60. Baime was third and returned $3.80.

The $50,000 Leon Reed Memorial Stakes was formerly named the Wine Country Handicap which was established in 1973. The name was changed in remembrance of the Finger Lakes employee who tragically lost his life on November 19, 2005.

Flipcup rallies to victory in Woodbine’s Classy ‘n Smart

Monday, September 28th, 2015
Michael Burns

Michael Burns

by Sarah Mace

A prior two-time stakes winner in New York-bred company, and a two-time winner and two-time stakes performer at Woodbine, Team Penney Racing’s homebred Flipcup (Milwaukee Brew) made a return trip north of the border on Sunday a victorious one, rallying from off the pace to win the $125,000 Classy n’ Smart Stakes in the final stride of her third start in 2015.

Breaking from post 8 to go 1 1/16 miles over Woodbine’s all weather surface under Alan Garcia, and settling in mid-pack in the early stages of the race, the Bill Mott-trainee (3-1) stayed out of traffic travelling two-wide through the first turn, three-wide along the backstretch and closing five-wide on the far turn as Silent Treat led the way through a half-mile in 49.96 and three-quarters in 1:14.08.

Swinging out six-wide into the stretch, Flipcup rallied with determination, cutting down her rivals and just catching Obeah Woman, who was making her own bid at the fence from fifth. After a mile in 1:38.16, Flipcup completed the distance in 1:44.38 a neck winner. [VIDEO]

Jockey Garcia reported, “She was so comfortable. I know I lost a little ground in the second turn, but she got the job done. The more I ride, the more she tried. She never gave up. The owner told me she has a good kick, just try and save some ground through the first turn and then come get it. And she did.

“When she saw the horse inside her, she grabbed the bridle and ran on again at the end.”

Michael Burns

Michael Burns

Winner of the East View Stakes in 2013 at Aqueduct as a juvenile and the New York Oaks at Finger Lakes the following year, and seven more times a stake-placed runner, 4-year-old Flipcup has compiled a record of five wins, four seconds and five thirds from 16 starts and earned a robust $403,852.

Foaled at Waldorf Farm in North Chatham, Flipcup is the fourth winner from four starters and lone stakes winner out of Dream Affair, an unraced daughter of Touch Gold out of stakes winner Fleet Wahine, who issues from the family of Canadian juvenile champion Wavering Girl. Team Penny Racing purchased the mare for $11,000 at the 2007 OBS Winter mixed sale.

Dream Affair currently has a 2-year old filly by Giant Surprise who has not yet started, and a yearling colt by Simmard.

Sudden Surprise hangs on for second stakes victory in Bongard

Sunday, September 27th, 2015
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Sudden Surprise, a Repole Stable homebred by Mike Repole’s New York-based freshman sire Giant Surprise, is now a two-time stakes winner and a perfect 3-for-3 after a frontrunning victory over the short but salty field of the 7-furlong $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard for New York-bred juveniles on Belmont’s Sunday card.

Comfortable winner of his previous two starts, a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight in the slop at Saratoga on July 30 and the Funny Cide Stakes, a 6 1/2-furlong contest at the same venue on August 28, Sudden Surprise was 7-2 third choice in the betting for the Bongard and facing his toughest competition to date.

Lined up with the Todd Pletcher-trainee were, among others, 6-5 favorite Championofthenile, who aired by six lengths in his second start at Saratoga on September 4 for Linda Rice, 3-2 second choice Get Jets, impressive debut winner on August 19 at the Spa for Tony Dutrow, and Broman homebred Manipulated, runner up to Sudden Surprise in the Funny Cide.

Breaking well from post four under Johnny Velazquez, aboard for both previous starts, Sudden Surprise cleared the competition and maneuvered over to the rail along the backstretch, while Championofthenile pursued a length back in second in the two path followed by Get Jets at the rail.

After carving out early fractions of 23.91 and 47.22, Sudden Surprise was faced with more pressure as the tightly-packed field negotiated the far turn. Championofthenile pressed closer, Steven’s Image advanced into third, Manipulated loomed widest of all in fourth, while Get Jets hugged the rail and prepared for his bid.

Still clear by a length at the head of the lane, Sudden Surprise turned back Championofthenile, but drifted out, giving Get Jets the opportunity to scoot up the rail with a late rush. Sudden Surprise then dug in and held on to preserve the victory by a neck in a final time of 1:23.52. Get Jets finished second 1 1/4 lengths in front of Championofthenile, who was followed across the finish line by Manipulated and Steve’s Image. [VIDEO]

Conditioner Todd Pletcher said, “I thought he ran very well. He got a good start and seemed like he responded every time he was challenged. I think today’s race was an open stakes-caliber race. There were some very good colts in here so I think everything is in play [for his next race].”

Winning owner/breeder Mike Repole was on hand to enjoy the win and add his lively two cents. “I joked with Todd, our next start will be either in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile or the Sleepy Hollow,” said Repole. “This race came up like a Grade 1 New York-bred 2 year-old stakes race. Probably the toughest New York-bred 2-year-old stakes race in history. I couldn’t believe the two horses I saw in the race . . . Our horse is 3-for-3 and he’s done everything right. He just keeps getting better.”

Foaled at Mill Creek Farm in Stillwater, Sudden Surprise, now a $253,800-earner from three winning efforts, is the first foal out of Ready and Good, a placed Florida-bred runner by More than Ready, also trained by Pletcher for Repole, who had a lone career start. She has visited Repole stallions exclusively, and has a yearling filly by Overdriven and a weanling filly by Stay Thirsty. She was bred this year to Uncle Mo.

Sudden Surprise’s sire Giant Surprise, who stands at Rockridge Stud in Hudson, likewise won his lone start for Repole/Pletcher in a much-anticipated debut at Saratoga four summers ago. He completed the six furlongs a 4 1/4-length winner in 1:10.23 and earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure, but unfortunately suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture during the race or shortly after and had to be vanned off the track and retired.

Repole said on Sunday, “It’s so cool because [Sudden Surprise is] by my stallion Giant’s Surprise who’s throwing some really nice horses.”


Melodic chalks up Gimma score in second career start

Sunday, September 27th, 2015
NYRA/Susie Raisher

NYRA/Susie Raisher

by Sarah Mace

Under a patient ride by Kendrick Carmouche, Treadway Racing Stable’s Melodic (Tale of the Cat) became a stakes winner second out when she kicked off Belmont’s Sunday card by taking the 7-furlong, $150,000 Joseph A. Gimma Stakes for 2-year-old New York-bred fillies.

A determined winner of her 6-furlong debut at Saratoga on September 2 for trainer Leah Gyarmati at odds of 19-1, Melodic garnered much more respect from the wagering public in the short but well-matched Gimma field of five, bet down to 5-2 third choice at post time.

Melodic broke on top from post five, but was shortly taken back into fourth, where she set up shop behind the dueling trio of Surprise Cameo, Super Surprise and Frosty Margarita.

Staying relaxed, but within striking distance along the backstretch run and into the turn as the front three vied through an opening quarter-mile in 23.13 and half in 46.46, Melodic angled out four wide at top of the lane and was asked for more.

Responding with energy, the blaze-faced chestnut filly gained the lead within the final furlong, and kicked clear to a 3-length victory in a final time of 1:25.01. Frosty Margarita, second choice at 2-1, followed in second, followed by Surprise Cameo another 1 3/4 lengths back. Completing the order of finish were favorite Super Surprise and Ben’s Girl. [VIDEO]

Kendrick Carmouche, who had also piloted Melodic to her debut victory, said, “Leah just wanted me to ride her the same way I rode her last time and not rush her. She broke so fast today but I had her nice and relaxed behind horses. Once we got to the quarter-pole, I just let her do her thing. She came home nice and easy. It was a good effort by the filly, Leah, the owners, grooms, hot walkers and everybody.”

Leah Gyarmati added, “It was great. She broke so sharp, I wasn’t expecting that. That worried me a little because I knew there would be a couple of horses that wanted to go but Kendrick did a great job getting her to relax. He kind of had to work to get up in there. She had a great trip.”

Melodic, who has earned $133,800 from her two winning starts, changed hands twice via public auction. Purchased by Off the Hook for $50,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale, she was hammered down to Patrice Miller/EQB in April at this year’s OBS spring 2-year-old sale for $150,000. The filly showed promise from the start, but also took a little while to get to the races.

Said Gyarmati, “She had a little shin issue when we first got her out of the sale, so we gave her some time. She’s a beautiful filly and right from the get-go she acted like she was going to be OK. You never know how good, but she had her mind in the game right from the beginning.”

Bred by Mia Gallo in partnership with Dave Stack, Mary Kopley, Sam Palazzole, Bernie Ryan and others, and foaled at Tom and Mia Gallo’s Bluestone Farm in Cambridge, Melodic is the second winner out of Christina’s Melody a winning New York-bred daughter of Unbridled’s Song bred by Mia Gallo and Deborah Petrisak. Her third foal Echluath, a full sister to Melodic, is a five-time winner of nearly $130,000. The mare, who did not have a foal in 2015, was bred to Frost Giant this spring.

La Verdad still perfect in ’15 after G2 Gallant Bloom

Saturday, September 26th, 2015
NYRA/Adam Mooshian

NYRA/Adam Mooshian

by Sarah Mace

In truth, La Verdad can do nothing wrong this year. Conditioned by Linda Rice for Sheila Rosenblum’s Lady Sheila Stable, the star sprinter drove up her 2015 record to a perfect five-for-five on Saturday afternoon with a frontrunning victory in Belmont’s Grade 2, $300,000 Gallant Bloom for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Four-length winner of the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap at six furlongs while posting a career high 102 Beyer Speed Figure on July 29 at Saratoga Race Course, the five-year-old daughter of Yes It’s True missed her next start, the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga, due to inflammation in a hind leg. The minor setback appears to have left no lingering effects, however, as she cruised unchallenged to victory in the Gallant Bloom while going a half-furlong further than her optimum three-quarters of a mile.

Bet down confidently to .55 cents on the dollar in the field of seven fillies and mares, La Verdad popped out of the gate and immediately assumed a half-length lead over fellow early speedster Room for Me.

Pressed along through a first quarter-mile in 22.76 and half in 45.02, La Verdad opened up a full length in the far turn and entered the stretch in command.

After completing six panels in 1:08.78, the six-furlong specialist passed the distance test of the final sixteenth with flying colors, holding well to preserve a half-length victory over Wavell Avenue, who closed with a big kick from sixth. The final time was 1:15.16. Dame Dorothy, 5-1 second choice, raced evenly to finish third, followed across the line by pace-presser Room for Me, Classic Point, Willet and Street Story. [VIDEO]

Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, “[La Verdad] broke well. She took the lead easy. I had a little pressure from the outside, but after that she settled down and she was fine.”

NYRA/Susie Raisher

NYRA/Susie Raisher

Rice added, “I think she needed the race. She’s been carrying a little extra weight with having had that issue at Saratoga. We missed a little training. I thought she broke just a tip flat-footed today. She’s usually much quicker away from there, but she hadn’t run in a while. I’ve had to work hard to get her here and we lost some time, but I think this race will do her a lot of good. She’ll move forward and will be harder to beat next time.”

Following a planned winter vacation that lasted from late November until mid-April, La Verdad has stymied all rivals in each date with the starter this year: Aqueduct’s Grade 2 Distaff Handicap in April, Belmont’s Grade 3 Vagrancy Handicap in May, the Dancin Renee Stakes for state-breds in June, the Grade 2 Honorable Miss in Saratoga in July and yesterday the Gallant Bloom.  A winner of ten stakes races in all and owner of a 15-2-0 record in 21 starts, La Verdad has now amassed $1,350,700 in earnings.

La Verdad is scheduled to retire to the breeding shed next year, but there may be more fireworks to come in 2015. Rice had indicated earlier that if she liked what she saw on Saturday the mare could be supplemented to the seven-furlong Filly and Mare Sprint at Keeneland.

Said Rice last week, “Last year, we didn’t pay her into [the Filly & Mare Sprint] in California for several reasons: one, she had been in training for a year and a half at that point and she was a little bit tough. I knew she was a tired horse at the time. Plus, we had to go all the way to California and run seven-eighths. This year, she’s pretty fresh and in better form. It’s still seven-eighths, but if she runs a big race in this next one, we’ll probably put her in.”

La Verdad’s $180,000 winner’s share of the purse plus $18,000 in open company owner’s awards from the Fund will more than cover the $100,000 supplemental and $20,000 entry fees, should her connections decide to opt for the Breeders’ Cup start.

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 Hot City Girl, winner last weekend of the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks for the same connections and earner of over $340,000. Noble Fire’s first foal N. F’s Destiny (Cuvee) is an eight-time winner of over $335,000

The mare currently has a yearling filly by Freud, was not bred last year and this past spring went to Will Take Charge.

Mom’s Law upsets Jack Betta Be Rite

Saturday, September 26th, 2015
SV Photography

SV Photography

by David Mattice

FARMINGTON, N.Y. – Mom’s Law rallied to score an upset victory in the 20th renewal of the $50,000 Jack Betta Be Rite Stakes at Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack(FLGR) on Friday. She achieved the triumph by a margin of one and one quarter length.

The 6-year-old mare owned by My Purple Haze Stable and trainer Michael LeCesse [who is also her breeder] was aided by a fast early pace in front of her. She got into gear as the quick fractions took a toll on the early leaders and ran by her rivals in the stretch. The 16-1 longshot completed the one mile and one-sixteenth route in a final time of 1:45.94. [VIDEO]

The $207,038 earner now has a total of three stakes triumphs at double digit odds on her resume. She paid $50 to win when she took the 2013 running of the Jack Betta Be Rite Handicap. The outsider also scored a 15-1 upset victory in the $75,000 New York Oaks on August 25, 2012.

Jockey Luis Perez recorded his first Continental U.S. stakes victory in the event for older New York-bred fillies and mares. The 35-year-old journeyman earned 45 stakes wins in Puerto Rico before arriving at FLGR in 2011.

Mom’s Law registered her eighth victory in her 31st lifetime start and paid $35.80, $10.60 and $9.50. Carameaway held second and returned $4.60 and $4.40. Atlantic’s Smile faded to be third after setting the early pace and paid $3.50.

The $50,000 Jack Betta Be Rite Stakes is named after the female horse who won seven stakes and earned over $350,000 during her career.


Old Harbor presses, prevails in Hettinger

Sunday, September 20th, 2015
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Joseph Birnbaum’s homebred filly Old Harbor, by New York sire Raffie’s Majesty, collected her second career stakes victory at Belmont Park on Sunday in the $125,000 John Hettinger for state-bred fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles over the inner turf course.

The Monmouth Park-based 4-year-old, trained for Birnbaum by Russell Cash, pressed a moderate pace set by Freudie Anne (25.02, 49.71), first on the inside from post one, then tipping into the two path in the first turn.

Pressing the leader along the backstretch, she drew even with Freudie Anne midway through the far turn, then kicked clear in upper stretch on her way to a 3 1/2-length victory as 3-1 fourth choice in the relatively evenly-matched field of seven New York-bred fillies and mares.

The Tea Cups, the 2-1 favorite to whom Old Harbor finished second in the Yaddo at Saratoga on August 28, finished second from off the pace, followed across the line by Selenite at 3-1. Unbelievable Dream, Freudie Anne, Chrysolite and Saythreehailmary’s completed the order of finish. Old Harbor’s final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:47.95. [VIDEO]

Winning jockey Elvis Trujillo said, “It was a perfect race. The speed went [to the front], I sat down behind and I could feel that the pace was really slow. Turning for home, I asked and the horse kicked. I could see the TV and saw nobody was coming and my horse wasn’t stopping. [S]he just kept going.”

Miguel Santiago, assistant to trainer Russell Cash, said, “This filly always gives her all. She tries hard and is an absolutely stunning horse. Every time she comes up here she gives her all; her performance speaks for itself. She seems to have a liking for this turf course.”

Now a five-time winner, two-time stakes winner and on-the-board finisher in 12 of 16 starts, Old Harbor has won four races from eight starts over the Belmont sod. Also winner of last year’s NYSS Cupecoy’s Joy at Belmont in a field of 12, she has five stakes placings to her credit and has earned $395,405.

Santiago continued, “When I saw the fractions – the half went in :50 [49.71 seconds] – it was a slow pace. That’s an open gallop for her; she’s a big girl. I just thought at that point if she had anything left she would absolutely accelerate from there, and she did. She had a good turn of foot.”

Old Harbor’s dam Royal Mast was purchased by Cash as a weanling for a mere $8,500 in 2001 at the Fasig-Tipton December mixed sale. A New York-bred daughter of Roy, Royal Mast won her debut on dirt and started twice more, including a runner-up allowance finish, before beginning her career as a broodmare.

Royal Mast has produced all winners from five foals to start, including another multiple stakes-placed Shipwreckstreasure, by Service Stripe, a $254,336-earner. Royal Mast’s most recent reported foal is a yearling colt by Girolamo.

Kharafa flies home to capture second Ashley T. Cole

Sunday, September 20th, 2015
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch’s Kharafa (Kitalpha) enjoyed what turned out to be – for him – a dream trip on his way to winning his second $125,000 Ashley T. Cole for New York-breds at 1 1/8 miles over Belmont’s inner turf course on Sunday.

Sometimes rank when on the lead or chasing, the 6-year-old gelding relaxed while covered up in the early stages of the race, then launched an explosive charge in the stretch on his way to a two-length victory.

Off a half-step behind the rest from his outside post of five, Kharafa, second choice at 2-1, tucked in neatly behind Lubash and Iron Power who raced second and third around the clubhouse turn and along the backstretch, while 31-1 longshot More Zen Tea led the field through moderate fractions of 25.62 and 50.88.

Picking up momentum and moving out into the three-path in the far turn, Kharafa then launched his closing bid going widest of all in upper stretch.

Aiming for the lead in tandem with long-time rival and 3-2 favorite Lubash, Kharafa outkicked everyone on his way to a two-length victory. After completing the final furlong in 10.98, his final time was 1:49.13. Runaway Posse closed from last to finish second, while Iron Power, who raced evenly throughout got the show. Lubash and More Zen Tea completed the order of finish. [VIDEO]

Jockey Javier Castellano indicated that increased familiarity with Kharafa over time contributed to the victory. “The one thing about the horse, he needs to relax and stay covered up,” said Castellano. “I think he’s the kind of horse that if you chase horses or go to the lead, he loses power. He’ll lose his kick. He had always dictated the pace but I learned something in April at Keeneland [in an allowance race on the eighteenth]. That day he missed the break and I covered him up and he came from off the pace; he gave me a big kick and finished great. I think that’s the best style for him.”

Castellano said the way the race unfolded was unexpected, however. “Today really surprised me. There wasn’t much speed in the race, and he missed the break, but he was so kind behind the horses. He was laid back, off the bridle, just followed the other horses in a nice, good rhythm. Turning for home, I just asked a little bit, pushed the button, and he just took off. He’s amazing. To ask and see a horse respond like that is an advantage.”

The race dynamics came as a bit of a surprise to trainer Timothy Hills also. “I was surprised the way it came up, said Hills. “I handicapped the race and thought [number one Iron Power] would be in front. I told Javier, ‘Don’t let the one go out and walk the dog and you end up outside fighting him.’ He looked at me funny in the paddock and I thought, ‘OK.’”

Hills continued, “The way it broke, [Kharafa] broke just a step slow and fell in and Javier covered him up. He was so relaxed, which is a problem we’ve had before with him getting rank. [Javier] had him relaxed nicely and he just exploded. I’m not going to give him instructions any more other than ‘Good luck.'”

Kharafa’s second victory in the Ashley T. Cole was his sixth career turf stakes victory overall. With 11 wins, eight second and four thirds, he has earned $835,137 and has won seven of 15 starts over the Belmont sod.

Hills said the gelding may start once or twice more this year before getting the winter off. “You can’t get the urge to push a New York-bred turf horse through the winter. We always put him away for the winter and bring him back. He’ll have a couple more races then he’ll go to the farm and we’ll see you next year.”

Kharafa was bred, and campaigned in the first part of his career, by Lawrence Durocher, Jr. After Durocher passed away in 2013, Kharafa won the Ashley T. Cole for Durocher’s estate and was then was sold by Durocher’s daughter Kate to Braverman, a Boston investment manager.

Foaled at Mill Creek Farm in Stillwater, Kharafa issues from the first North American crop of Kitalpha, a full brother to Kingmambo. Kharafa’s unraced dam Exquisite Cassie (King of Kings [IRE]), who is a half-sister to multiple stakes-winning New York-bred Lovely Amanda ($376,450), has produced one other winner.

Sold to Chadds Ford Stables for $20,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December Mixed sale, Exquisite Cassie currently has a juvenile full sister to Kharafa named Saratoga Sassy who is a registered New York-bred. The mare also has produced a yearling colt by E Dubai, and a weanling colt by Union Rags.

Breakthrough stakes victory for Hot City Girl, wire-to-wire winner of G3 Charles Town Oaks

Sunday, September 20th, 2015
Coady Photography

Coady Photography

by Sarah Mace

Hot City Girl, owned by Sheila Rosenblum’s Lady Sheila Stable and trained by Linda Rice, was perhaps best known to this point as a promising half-sister to La Verdad, a multiple graded stakes winner and million dollar-earner for the same connections.

The talented sophomore made headlines in her own right on Saturday night in West Virginia when she enjoyed a breakthrough first stakes victory in frontrunning style in the Grade 3, $350,000 Charles Town Oaks.

The two-time winner and two-time stakes-placed daughter of City Zip added blinkers, perhaps tipping her hand that she would use her speed as her main weapon under jockey Jose Ortiz for the two-turn, seven-furlong tilt in the six-furlong Charles Town “bullring,”

Winner of state-bred allowance in January and placed just once during a steady diet of four stakes races since, Hot City Girl ended up as the fourth betting choice in the field of six at odds of 7-1.

Breaking from post three, Hot City Girl darted toward the front to take over the two path, then took possession of the coveted rail spot by the time the field entered the first turn.

Leading by a length, but pressed intently by Tootsie Rules through an opening quarter mile in 22.96 and a half in 46.74, Hot City Girl still kept at least a neck ahead of her rival through the far turn. Opening up at the top of the stretch, she hit the wire a 2 1/2-length winner.

Jose Ortiz savors Hot City Girl's Charles Town Oaks victory (Coady Photography)

Jose Ortiz savors Hot City Girl’s Charles Town Oaks victory (Coady Photography)

Temper Mint Patty completed a New York-bred exacta, closing from third to nose out Tootsie Rules for the place. White Clover, Fusaichi Red and 3-2 favorite Sarah Sis completed the order of finish. After three-quarters in 1:10.64, Hot City Girl completed the two-turn seven furlongs in a final time of 1:23.60. [VIDEO]

Trainer Linda Rice said, “We’re absolutely thrilled.  I’d scratched her out of the Prioress when she drew the 1 [post] in a large field and I didn’t like the way the race set up for her.  She was 6-to-1 in here, so it wasn’t like she was a big favorite or something, but Jose [Ortiz] rode a beautiful race.”

Added Rice, “We had been trying to get her graded placed or a graded win.  She’s a half-sister to La Verdad and I’ve trained for Mrs. Rosenblum for a while, so this is special.” The conditioner mentioned the Grade 2, $250,000 Lexus Raven Run for 3yo fillies going 7 furlongs on the main track on October 17 at Keeneland as a possibility for Hot City Girl’s next start.

Bred by Eklektikos Stable LLC, and foaled, like La Verdad, at Chester and Mary Broman’s Chestertown Farm in Chestertown, Hot City Girl is another feather in the cap of her dam Noble Fire, a stakes-placed runner bred by Chester and Mary Broman also trained by Rice.

Rice bought Noble Fire for Eklektikos for $115,000 at the 2007 OBS Spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. In addition to stakes winner La Verdad and Hot City Girl, Noble Fire’s first foal, the speedy eight-time winner N. F.’s Destiny, has earned over $300,000 and all together, the mare’s progeny have earned over $1.8 million.

From three firsts and two seconds from nine career starts Hot City Girl has earned $344,150.

Gregorian Gold shines in Lady Finger, Love That Jazz jives in Aspirant

Saturday, September 19th, 2015
Gregorian Gold (SV Photography)

Gregorian Gold (SV Photography)

by Dave Mattice

FARMINGTON, N.Y. – Talented young horses displayed their class in a pair of 2-year-old New York-bred stakes on Friday at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack (FLGR). The $115,749 Aspirant Stakes and the $119,613 Lady Finger Stakes were the co-features of the nine race card. Jockey John Davila, Jr. was aboard both victors of the rich events. He earned the triumphs in similar gate-to-wire fashion.

Gregorian Gold won the 37th renewal of the Lady Finger Stakes with an aggressive ride by Davila. The bay filly was sent to the front by the veteran journeyman and established a significant lead on her rivals. She sustained her speed and won the rich event for 2-year-old fillies by a margin of four and one-quarter lengths.

The $86,367 earner, [who is bred], owned and trained by Richard Lugovich completed the six furlong distance of the fourth race in a final time of 1:12.51. She scored her first victory in her second career start and paid $5.50, $3.20 and $2.70. Celestial Sighting rallied to secure the place position and returned $3.50 and $3.10. Pont de l’Alma was third and paid $3.90. [VIDEO]

Love That Jazz (SV Photography)

Love That Jazz (SV Photography)

Love That Jazz was also guided to a front running victory by Davila. The bay colt owned by Happy Face Racing Stables scored a one and three-quarter length triumph in the $115,749 Aspirant Stakes. He completed the 41st running of the six furlong dash for 2-year-old colts and geldings in a time of 1:11.56.

The Steven Asmussan-trainee [bred by Saratoga Glen Farm] improved his lifetime earnings to a sum of $99,800 and paid $9.30, $4.00 and $2.30. Dr. Shane was second and returned $3.80 and $2.30. Inside Straight was third and paid $2.10. [VIDEO]

John Davila, Jr. has recorded a total of four stakes victories during the 2015 season. The tally includes a triumph aboard Force in the $161,425 New York Derby at FLGR on July 3. The 51-year-old from Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico is currently second in the local rider standings with 115 wins.

The Aspirant Stakes and the Lady Finger Stakes are held annually as preparation races for the New York Breeders’ Futurity. The Futurity is a six furlong sprint for New York-bred 2-year-olds with an estimated purse of $200,000. The annual stake is scheduled for October 17.