NEWS: racing

A Day in Paradise draws off to take Sam Houston’s Texas Heritage S.

Sunday, March 1st, 2015
A Day In Paradise - Texas Heritage Stakes - 02-28-15 - R08 - HOU - Inside Finish

Coady Photography

by Sarah Mace

Tommy G. Ligon’s, A Day in Paradise, a 3-year old bay Yes It’s True gelding bred by Anstu Farm LLC, became a stakes winner in his sophomore bow, when he drew off in the stretch to take the one-mile, $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday evening.

Trained by Larry Jones and ridden by Kerwin Clark, A Day in Paradise was making his fifth start for his first stakes appearance. A Keeneland maiden-breaker routing, he was last seen at Fair Grounds on December 28 delivering a career-best performance when he finished second after a sound bump at the start in a one-mile first-level allowance, for which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 81.

Exiting post two as the 3-5 favorite, A Day in Paradise grabbed a cozy spot at the rail and moved into the top spot. Joined up front by longshot Witt Six, the two vied for the lead through the clubhouse turn and down the backstretch run through a first half mile in 49.71. Dogged by this persistent rival through the far turn, A Day in Paradise began to get clear in upper stretch and opened up in the final furlong, drawing off to a 3 1/4-length victory in a final time of 1:40.38.

Foaled at Vinery New York at Sugar Maple in Poughquag, A Day in Paradise is one of four winners from four foals to start out of the unraced mare Tiz Paula, a daughter of Tiz Now out of stakes winner Paula’s Girl (Phone Trick).

Coady Photography

Coady Photography

The gelding changed hands twice at public auction, selling for $7,500 as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton’s 2013 October sale in Kentucky and bringing $50,000 last spring at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds.

His record now stands at two firsts, a second and third from five starts with $73,140 in earnings.

International Star shines again at Fair Grounds with paint-scraping Risen Star victory

Saturday, February 21st, 2015
Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr.

Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr.

by Sarah Mace

Things may not have gone Upstart’s way at Gulfstream Park on Saturday afternoon, but the “stars” did align later on at Fair Grounds when Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus) catapulted himself to the top of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points leaderboard with a gutsy paint-scraping victory in the Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star Stakes.

International Star was last seen winning the Fair Grounds’ Grade 3 LeComte on January 17 with a career-best performance under Miguel Mena. Reunited with the same rider on Saturday, International Star shipped in to New Orleans from Gulfstream Park having posted two strong works for trainer Mike Maker, the more recent, a best-of-39 five-furlong drill on February 14. By contrast with his rail draw in the LeComte, however – a cozy spot for a colt who likes to run inside – the bay faced the challenge of getting position from the outside post in a field of nine.

Out of the gate cleanly and sharply as the 7-2 third betting choice, International Star met the challenge presented by his post early, working his way deftly over into the two path under Mena by the time the field began rounding the clubhouse turn. He was then able to set up shop at the rail in sixth for the early stages of the 1 1/16-mile route.

After longshots St. Joe Bay and Hero of Humor vied on the front end through a first quarter-mile in 23.29 and half in 47.08, International Star began his bid on the far turn, making a big advance into third in relatively tight quarters just inside Bluff. Then, just past the quarter pole, he slipped through an extremely narrow opening to the inside of St. Joe Bay

Digging in at the rail, International Star shook clear of his rival inside the final furlong and drew off to secure a one-length victory. War Story closed into second, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Keen Ice and St. Joe Bay, who finished heads apart. After three-quarters in 1:12.16, International Star stopped the clock after 8.5 furlongs at 1:43.82. [VIDEO]

A confident Mike Maker said, “He was doing super and he ran as advertised. I wasn’t worried about the post. Realistically I thought we had an outside trip and we wound up having a trip like in the LeComte turning for home looked.”

Miguel Mena had a bit more concern about the set-up, but was impressed by his mount’s heart. “The post position worried me. You never know if you can get to the rail, where he wants to be. I was impressed because I moved at the five-sixteenths-pole to get through and he came through a tight hole and then another one at the quarter-pole and kept running and drawing away.”

Mena feels confident in the colt’s ability to keep moving forward. “I think more distance will be no problem. He rates well, he loves the rail; it doesn’t matter how tight the hole is – he goes for it. When I put him on the rail, he grabs the bit and when we come up to a tight hole, he just goes for it. Not many horses do it. The more you save, the more you’re going to get. He’s not much to look at it, but he has a big heart.”

Maker said that International Star will point next to the Louisiana Derby on March 28. “Not going to change routes for him; he loves it [at Fair Grounds] and there’s no reason to change course.”

International Star, whose third graded victory improves his career record to four firsts and two seconds from eight starts and swells his bankroll to $560,979, also brought his Kentucky Derby points total to a leaderboard-topping 71, which assures him a berth in the Run for the Roses.

In addition to picking up 50 points for the Risen Star, the colt earned 10 points for winning the Grade 3 LaComte, 10 points for winning the Grey Stakes at Woodbine last October and one point for his show finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs.

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

Isabelle makes it three straight with Broadway score

Saturday, February 14th, 2015
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

William C Schettine’s Isabelle, a bay 4-year-old filly by Successful Appeal, scored her second career stakes victory and extended her winning streak to three with a win from off the pace in the $150,000 Broadway Stakes. The six-furlong sprint for older New York-bred fillies and mares was run as the Valentine’s Day feature Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Isabelle, who was 2-1 post time favorite under trainer Bill Mott’s go-to rider Junior Alvarado, got out of the gate well, but was forced to regroup and take back somewhat shortly after the break when the speedy Atlantic’s Smile to her outside crossed over to take the lead.

Racing evenly in fifth as Atlantic’s Smile carved out solid early fractions of 23.14 and 46.89 on an uncontested lead, Isabelle still had two lengths to make up approaching the quarter pole

Working her way out into the four path, Isabelle began picking off her rivals in late stretch. Inside the final sixteenth, she swept past Atlantic’s Smile on her way to a 1 1/4-length victory in a final time of 1:12.23. [VIDEO]

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Junior Alvarado explained the dynamics of the early stages of the race: “She broke good. I tried to send her a little bit but there was a fast horse outside of me; she brushed with the other filly and lost all her action. After that I just tried to get a good spot for her and make her comfortable without rushing her.”

Alvarado continued. “I thought it was going to be harder than that, but I had so much horse. Everything ended up easy for me. Turning for home I put her outside and she finished very good.”

Riley Mott, Bill Mott’s son and assistant, added, “She kind of got squeezed back at the break, shuffled back, and got dirt in her face. She overcame that and Junior rode a great race. The track was playing to speed all day, so the fact that she was able to come off the pace like that was impressive.”

According to Trakus data, Isabelle travelled 18 feet further in the race than Atlantic’s Smile and 23 feet more than Make the Moment, who charged home from last to finish a neck back in third. Vicki’s Dancer, Blithely, Uncle Southern and Pennymine completed the order of finish.

Isabelle began her career under the care of Lisa Lewis. Unplaced in her single start at two, Isabelle has run first or second in six of seven subsequent starts. A runner-up in her sophomore bow last April 6 at Aqueduct, she parlayed a twelve-plus length maiden breaking score in the mud at Belmont on May 9 into a victory in the Bouwerie stakes at the end of the month. She also won a state-bred allowance for Lewis last summer at the Spa.

Going out for the Mott barn for her first start of the year, Isabelle won a second-level open allowance race on January 29, before wheeling back sixteen days later in the Broadway. Her career record now stands at five wins and a second from eight starts with $281,400 in earnings.

Bred by Bluegrass Farm Partners in partnership with Jeffrey Tucker, and foaled at Tucker’s Stonebridge Farm in Gansevoort, Isabelle was purchased by Schettine at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton New York select yearling sale for $100,000. The bay filly’s dam is Florida-bred stakes-placed runner Merrill Gold, who has produced two other winners. The mare currently has an unraced 3-year-old filly by Harlan’s Holiday and a 2-year-old colt by Bellamy Road, both registered New York-breds. In 2015 she was bred to I Want Revenge.

Hard to Stay Notgo resumes winning ways in Franklin Square

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Hard to Stay Notgo (More than Ready), an impressive Saratoga debut winner for breeders Chester and Mary Broman and trainer Jimmy Jerkens, returned to the winner’s circle at Aqueduct Racetrack on Sunday afternoon after a frontrunning score in the inaugural $125,000 Franklin Square Stakes for 3-year-old New York-bred fillies.

Drawn in post seven (of nine), Hard to Stay Notgo (6-1 fourth choice) stumbled at the break, but also broke full of run, and once she got her feet back underneath her tugged her way to the front.

After blazing her way through an opening quarter-mile in 23.55 seconds and half in 46.97, the dark bay widened her advantage through the far turn and pulled away the stretch, crossing the finish line a 5 1/2-length winner. Her final time for six furlongs over the fast Aqueduct inner oval was 1:12.30. [VIDEO]

Favorite Golden Gem finished second, followed in third by Graeme Crackers, 3 1/2 lengths back. Completing the order of finish were: Sonora, My Super Nova, Majestic Jessica, Saluda, Enduring Touch and Nonna Jo. Bernstein Flambe was scratched.

Angel Arroyo, aboard Hard to Stay Notgo for the first time for the filly’s fourth career start, said, “I had talked to the assistant trainer [Steve Moyer] before, and he just told me to get out in front and keep going and that’s just what the horse did. He was perfect.”

hard to stay notgo4Hard to Stay Notgo earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 75 for her good-looking open-length debut victory on August 6 at Saratoga, but her follow-up performances in two other juvenile outings were not as sharp as the debut promised: a second in the Seeking the Ante as the odds-on favorite and a well-beaten third in the muddy Joseph A Gimma, both awarded Beyers in the low fifties.

Jerkens’ assistant Steve Moyer commented, “[Hard to Stay Notgo]’s hit or miss, and she’s a little problematic to train, but she’s a vintage inner-track type filly. She’s naturally very fast; that’s all she wants to do.

Continued Moyer, “We liked her when she broke her maiden at Saratoga, and we loved her when she ran back in the [Seeking the Ante]. She trained really, really good coming into this race; the problem was there was never a New York-bred [allowance race] in the book. She couldn’t have been any better in the receiving barn and the paddock today, and before she wasn’t like that. We’re thrilled with her performance.”

The Franklin Square improved Hard to Stay Notgo’s record to two wins, one second and one third from four starts with and increased her purse earnings to $173,800.

Hard to Stay Notgo is out of Whichwaydidshego (Storm Cat), purchased by Chester Broman for $425,000 at the 2009 Keeneland November sale. The mare is a winning half-sister to the multiple Grade 2 winner Fed Biz and issues from the family of Minardi, Tale of the Cat and Johannesburg.

Whichwaydidshego has produced three winners, including multiple stakes-winning Broman homebred Mark My Way. She has a yearling colt by Bernardini and was bred back to the same stallion last year.

Saratoga Dreamer aces dirt debut in Rego Park

Friday, January 30th, 2015
Adam Coglianese

Adam Coglianese

by Sarah Mace

Peter Deutsch’s Saratoga Dreamer (Elusive Quality), whose first two career starts came on the green, fulfilled trainer Christophe Clement’s expectations that he would thrive on dirt by winning the inaugural running of the $125,000 Rego Park Stakes for New York-bred sophomores at Aqueduct Racetrack on Friday.

Originally scheduled for last Saturday, but lost due to a weather cancellation, the six-furlong sprint attracted one additional entry when it was redrawn for Friday to make up a field of seven.

During the loading process, Saratoga Dreamer, 3-1 second choice at post time, hardly acted the part of a horse destined to end up in the winner’s circle, resisting the assistant starters and requiring a blindfold to get in the gate. Once settled, however, the chestnut colt was all business, breaking well and setting up shop behind duelers Regal Minister and Breakin the Fever, who led the field through a first quarter-mile in 23.56 and clocked a half in 47.29.

In the far turn Saratoga Dreamer picked up the tempo and angled out with intent, advancing into second as he entered the lane and taking aim at pacesetter Regal Minister with two lengths to make up.

Closing the gap, he engaged a game Regal Minister in the final furlong, made a steady determined bid for the lead, and took over in the final seventy yards before edging away to secure win by a neck. Favorite Regal Minister finished second, followed across the line by Drama King, Breakin the Fever, Agent Van Alden, Deficit Hawk, and Chasing Bubbles. The final time for six furlongs over the fast inner track of 1:12.83. [VIDEO]

Saratoga Dreamer won his turf sprint debut at Saratoga on August 20, but followed up with a last-of-eight finish in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes on turf at Woodbine on September 13 after more shenanigans behind the gate. For his third start at Aqueduct, the colt added lasix and was reunited with winning debut rider Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Ortiz said, “I broke good and he put me in a great position. I didn’t have to use my horse in the first part of the race, just save him for the end. He finished good. One thing I like about Christophe Clement is that he trains the babies very good; he puts them behind horses to take some dirt. I was very confident with the dirt, and when I asked him he kicked in.”

Adam Coglianese

Adam Coglianese

Clement, who had said as early as last summer following the colt’s winning turf debut, “I’m not 100% sold he is a turf horse,” commented by telephone, “The horse had trained spectacularly on the dirt in Florida. I was thinking about a race here for him, but it got cancelled. I saw this race and was able to get him up there to run in it. Before he ever ran, he trained so well on the grass I felt I had to run him on the grass. The second time, I tried stretching him out to a mile but he acted up badly behind the gate. He probably wants to sprint at this stage.”

Saratoga Dreamer’s reward for his Rego Park victory will be to spend the rest of the winter in a friendly climate. Said Clement, “He’ll come back to Florida for a freshening and return to New York in the spring.” Saratoga Dreamer’s earnings now total $120,603.

Bred by Aynsford Holdings LLC and foaled on March 24, 2012 at Hidden Lake Farm in Otisville, Saratoga Dreamer is the fourth winner from four foals to start out of St Francis Wood, a black type placed daughter of Irish River (FR) purchased by Anynsford Holdings at the 2011 Keeneland January sale for $47,000. St Francis Wood is a full sister to turf stakes winner Abbey Bridge.

Offered at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale, Saratoga Dreamer was a $95,000 RNA. A younger sibling, 2-year-old filly Laurel Heights (Capo Blanco [IRE]), brought $180,000 at the Fasig-Tipton preferred New York-Bred yearlings sale in 2014.

Upstart kicks off sophomore campaign with dominating win in Holy Bull

Saturday, January 24th, 2015
Coglianese Photos/Leslie Martin

Coglianese Photos/Leslie Martin

by Sarah Mace

Last seen finishing a bold third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on November 1 following a rough trip, Ralph M. Evans’ New York-bred Upstart, a ridgling son of Flatter, returned to the races on Saturday bigger, stronger and evidently even more dangerous as a 3-year-old, as he dominated the field of the Grade 2, $400,000 Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Upstart came into the 1 1/16-mile contest for Kentucky Derby-minded sophomores after putting in a strong six-furlong move in 1:12 on January 18 at Palm Meadows that told his conditioner Rick Violette he was ready to roll after his 84 day break. Bet down to 2-1 second choice at post time behind well-regarded 3-2 Godolphin runner Frosted, Upstart was reunited with regular rider Jose Ortiz.

Though forwardly placed from post eight (of nine) after the break, Upstart was still hung three-wide through the first turn, as he tracked Bluegrass Singer and First Down through a moderate first quarter mile in 24.52 half in 48.82. After First Down weakened, Upstart drew even with Bluegrass Singer and gained the lead through the turn, entering the lane in full control.

With no further challenge forthcoming from the field and full of run, Upstart drew off confidently in the stretch to a 5 1/2-length victory. Frosted, who was bumped at the break and raced in fourth, finished well to get second while Bluegrass Singer held for third. After six furlongs in 1:12.49 and a mile in 1:37.06, the final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.61. According to Trakus statistics, Upstart covered a good deal more ground than the other contenders: 34 feet more than Frosted and 39 feet more than Bluegrass Singer. [HRTV VIDEO]

Coglianese Photos

Coglianese Photos

Jose Ortiz reported that all went according to plan. “The horse broke very well and I was in the position where me and Rick [Violette] planned to be. It was perfect. By the half-mile pole, I let him go and said, ‘Let’s see what we have here,’ and when we turned for home we rolled.”

Continued Ortiz, “He was very good. He jumped into the bit, and I knew he was ready. I want to congratulate Rick and the owner. Rick did a tremendous job and I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to ride this amazing horse. When I saw him today in the paddock, I was very surprised because he looked so much bigger and so much stronger. I think he wants to go a mile and a quarter, so we will hopefully make the Kentucky Derby with him.”

With the victory in the Holy Bull, Upstart moved into third place in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points standings with 16, behind tied El Kabeir and New York-bred International Star, who are tied with 21 points.

Violette’s first reaction was, “I thought it (the pace) would be much quicker. [But,] one speed scratched and Kiaran [McLaughlin]’s horse [Frosted] was between a rock and a hard place (from the rail). They were coming off the bench, too. When they went 24 (seconds for the first quarter), I said, ‘We’re in a good spot.’ When they went 48, I said, ‘We’re in exactly the right spot.’ You couldn’t have asked for a better ride.”

Violette, who took gutsy New York-bred Samraat all the way to the Kentucky Derby last year, also has a pretty clear game plan in mind for this promising youngster.

Coglianese Photos/Lauren King

Coglianese Photos/Lauren King

He commented, “I hope it wasn’t too fast. That’s one of the advantages of running today – you have two weeks to play with. We can go up to the Gotham (March 7 at Aqueduct) or we can come back here in four weeks in the Fountain of Youth (G2, Feb. 21). There is a cushion there if we came off the bench a little strong. We got some points today. If we ran in the Withers (Feb. 7 at Aqueduct) we would have been locked in to four weeks, four weeks, four weeks and there is no wiggle room. So this is a good spot.

Violette continued, “We’ll see how he bounces off this and follow his lead. It could be that we’ll stay here (for the Grade 1 $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby on March 28) to give us the extra two weeks going into the (Kentucky) Derby. That might be the thing to do. It’s nice to have that option.”

Upstart won his 5 1/2-furlong Saratoga debut from off the pace by open lengths on August 15 and followed up just nine days later with a victory when supplemented to the Funny Cide stakes for New York-breds. He finished a wide-trip second to Daredevil in the slop in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont on October 4, for which he earned four Kentucky Derby qualifying points before shipping out west to run third in the Breeders’ Cup (two points). From his three wins, a second and third in five starts, Upstart has earned $701,880.

Bred by Mrs. Gerald A. Nielsen and foaled at her Sunnyfield Farm in Bedford, Upstart is the first winner for his dam Party Silks, an unraced daughter of Touch Gold also bred by Mrs. Nielsen. His second dam Intend to Win (Housebuster) is a stakes-placed Kentucky-bred purchased by Gerald Nielsen for $120,000 at the 2001 Keeneland November sale.

Upstart was purchased by Evans on Violette’s advice at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale from the Summerfield consignment for $130,000. Violette said last summer at Saratoga, “He just had a great shoulder, really well-balanced. He looked like he was going to be a decent size, and he’s actually gotten bigger than we anticipated. He was pretty correct, he had a decent family. As they say ‘he checked all the boxes,’ which he did.”

Captain Serious scores game victory in muddy Hollie Hughes

Sunday, January 18th, 2015
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

by Sarah Mace

Barry K. Schwartz’s 4-year-old homebred Captain Serious (Successful Appeal) gamely preserved a narrow lead in the final sixteenth to score his second career stakes victory Aqueduct’s Sunday feature, the $100,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes for older New York-breds. The race was contested at six furlongs over a sloppy (sealed) racetrack.

Open-length winner last May of Belmont’s Mike Lee Stakes for trainer Mike Hushion, Captain Serious has since placed in three graded contests, but was still looking for that elusive second stakes score. The Hollie Hughes was his inner track debut.

Captain Serious broke from the outside post of six as the 8-5 post time favorite and immediately set his sights on the front. Advancing to challenge fellow Hushion trainee I’m Stoked, who was hustled out of the gate into the top spot, Captain Serious pressed the leader through a first quarter mile in 23.15 and half in 46.34.

Captain Serious managed to secure the lead late in the far turn and angled out four wide into the lane, but the bay’s hard work was far from over. A resurgent I’m Stoked fought on inside drawing even once again, Geaux Mets charged at the rail, while longshot Crafty Dreamer threatened on the stand side.

With a final determined effort, Captain Serious repelled all three challengers and got free late to secure the victory by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 1:10.70 over the sloppy going. The next three finished heads apart as runner-up Crafty Dreamer nipped I’m Stoked in third and Geaux Mets fourth. Completing the order of finish were Big Business and Jeter. John’s Island was an early scratch. [VIDEO]

Winning rider Jose Ortiz said, “We had a perfect post; I knew I’m Stoked was going to go [to the front.] I broke good, sat, and everything went perfect. I was pretty confident in the horse when he got that post. He’s so game, and he was ready for today.” Added Ortiz, who has piloted Captain Serious in every start, “I want to thank Mike Hushion and all of the connections for their support.”

Hushion, winner of six renewals of the Hollie Hughes, commented, “I think [Captain Serious] was waiting on horses once he got the lead. It was good to see him back on the winner’s circle.”

Named for Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, Captain Serious has compiled a strong 10-race resume. His record of four wins, one second and three thirds includes the Mike Lee and Hollie Hughes victories, a runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Dwyer and a pair of thirds in the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes and Grade 3 Fall High weight Handicap. His earnings bankroll stands at $320,200

Foaled at Barry Schwartz’s Stonewall Farm in Granite Springs, Captain Serious is one of two winners out of Madame Diva, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Mr. Greeley. A half-sister to Deceptive, the dam of $1.1 million earner Mizdirection, Madame Diva was purchased by Buzz Chace, agent, as a yearling at the 2003 Fasig-Tipton New York select sale for $260,000, before going on to become a stakes-placed runner for Hushion and Schwartz.

Madame Diva’s most recent reported foal is a 2-year-old colt by Mizzen Mast. She was sold to El Aventurero Stables for $55,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale.


Dayatthespa near-unanimous choice for Female Turf Champion

Sunday, January 18th, 2015
BC FM Turf (Photo: Skip Dickstein)

BC FM Turf (Photo: Skip Dickstein)

by Sarah Mace

In an all-but-unanimous decision, Eclipse voters made New York-bred Dayatthespa, who became the Empire State’s first Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup winner, the Champion Female Turf horse of 2014. Dayatthespa collected 260 of the 264 votes cast for first place in the division (plus one abstention). Dayatthespa was also a finalist in the Champion Older Female category.

Dayatthespa started just four times in 2014, but raised the bar with each outing. Second to Filimbi in her seasonal debut on August 2 in the De La Rose Stakes, she defeated fellow New York-bred Grade 1 winner Discreet Marq in the Yaddo Stakes on Saratoga Showcase Day on August 24. She next delivered a powerhouse winning performance in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland, before sealing her case for championship honors with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

A chestnut City Zip mare bred by Castellare DiCracchiolo Stable, Cracchiolo & Goldsher, Dayatthespa brought $50,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York preferred yearling sale in 2010 before being purchased privately as a 2-year-old in training by Pete Bradley, who formed a partnership group consisting of Bradley Thoroughbreds, successful Broadway producers Jerry Frankel and Ron Frankel and optometrist Steve Layman. Dayatthespa retired with 11 wins in 18 starts (10 stakes victories), and career earnings of $2,288,892.

The champion will join the elite broodmare band of Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stable, who purchased Dayatthespa for $2.1 million at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton November Sale. Not long after the Eclipse announcement, Stonestreet Farm (@StonestreetFarm) sent out an excited tweet: “One of our newest members of the Stonestreet broodmare band wins Female Turf #EclipseAward congrats to @BradleyTBs!”

Here is what the connections had to say:

Co-majority owner Ron Frankel: “This is the best night of my life. How could it not? I want to thank Chad Brown, Javier Castellano, Peter Bradley and, most of all, my brother [and co-majority owner] Jerry Frankel. It’s great.”

Co-owner Steve Laymon: “It’s hard not to thank Chad Brown, but when you buy a New York-bred maiden at 5 1/2 furlongs, you’re sure not thinking Eclipse Award, you’re sure not thinking Breeders’ Cup, but we are so excited and we can’t thank everyone enough for this award.”

Co-owner Pete Bradley of Bradley Thoroughbreds: “Wow. Dayatthespa. What a ride she has taken us on these last three years. We were very fortunate to have a filly like this. They don’t come around very often. Thank you, Chad and his staff and team, his assistants are awesome. Javier, you gave her a great ride. Johnny gave her a great ride. And we’re just very happy to take this award”

HRTV Video of 2014 Champion Turf Female Eclipse presentation.

Previous New York-bred Eclipse winners are: Saratoga Dew (Three-Year-Old Filly, 1992), Funny Cide (Three-Year-Old Male, 1973) and Fleet Indian (Older Female, 2006).

International Star launches sparkling late charge to win Grade 3 LeComte

Sunday, January 18th, 2015
Amanda Hodges Weir/Hodges Photography

Amanda Hodges Weir/Hodges Photography

by Sarah Mace

Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Eclipse Award finalists for breeders and owners of the year, were given an excuse to celebrate early on Eclipse Saturday when International Star delivered a big performance in the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes at the Fair Grounds, coming off the rail in the stretch to fly home victorious.

The win elevates the bay son of Fusaichi Pegasus to the top of the Road to the Kentucky Derby point standings, where, by virtue of his victory in the Grey Stakes at Woodbine (10 points), a third in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs (one point) and the LeComte victory at the Fair Grounds (10 points), he shares first place with El Kabeir who also has collected 21 points.

Settling in at the rail after breaking from the one-hole under Miguel Mena at odds of 9-1, International Star saved ground through both turns of the one mile and 70-yard tilt, while longshot Hero of Humor (173-1) set the majority of the early pace through fractions of 23.66, 47.07 and 1:13.35, destined to be challenged by Tiznow R J (4-1) and Another Lemon Drop (7-1).

Hemmed in at the rail in upper stretch, International Star shifted out with two athletic maneuvers, finally getting clear at the furlong marker. Taking the lead at the sixteenth-pole, after a stutter-step he charged to the wire a 2 1/2-length winner in a final time of 1:43.62. War Story, bested Tiznow R J by a head for the place.  [VIDEO]

Mena said, “The plan was the save ground on both turns and then he came out at the three-sixteenths-pole and he came rolling.  He was running hard but he kind of pulled himself up a little at the end when he found himself alone on the lead.”

Mike Maker, who trains the colt for the Ramseys, said, “He’s been training very well.  We expected a big race – maybe not that big – but he was coming into the race great.  We’ll bring him back to Florida and take a hard look at the Risen Star.”

Now a two-time graded stakes winner, International Star has earned $320,979 with three wins and two seconds from seven career starts.

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

When opportunity knocked for Sunshine Millions Sprint, Weekend Hideaway answered

Saturday, January 17th, 2015
 Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin

Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin

by Sarah Mace

When the announcement came that entries for Gulfstream’s Sunshine Millions were opened up to horses bred in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland as well as Florida, trainer Phil Serpe immediately thought that the $100,000 Sprint Stakes at six furlongs would be just right for Red and Black Stable’s Weekend Hideaway. The 5-year-old son of Speightstown obliged on Saturday with a resounding four-length stalker’s victory under Javier Castellano.

Breaking sharply from his outside post as the 5-1 third choice, Weekend Hideaway immediately set up shop at the flank of speedy pacesetter and 4-5 favorite Happy My Way, the who broke on top from the rail.

After stalking the leader through an opening quarter mile in 22.76 and a half in 44.96, Weekend Hideaway began his winning bid at the top of the stretch. He took command with a furlong to go and drew off to a no-doubt-about-it four-length victory in a final time of 1:08.64. Grand Shores got up for second, leaving pacesetter Happy My Way to pick up the show [VIDEO].

Castellano said, “The way I handicapped the race, Happy My Way had the speed and the one-hole, so he had to go. I sat right off the pace, and it worked out great. I think the outside post gave me a big plus to win the race.”

Added Castellano, “The way [Weekend Hideaway] did it in the last part, he was very comfortable. I know they went really fast on the pace and it paid off in the last part of the race.”

 Coglianese Photos

Coglianese Photos

Trainer Phil Serpe explained that as soon as he heard about the expanded entries for the Millions, it seemed like the right move: “At that point, it was kind of a no-brainer. We were actually looking for a spot for him. It all worked out well for us.” Serpe also pointed out, “He’s really been touting himself down here. His [four] works [at Gulfstream] were excellent and we really thought he’d run well.”

Weekend Hideaway is now a five-time stakes winner with a career record of seven wins, three seconds and three thirds from 20 starts. His victory in the Sunshine Millions Sprint pushes his earnings over the half-million dollar mark to $507,332

Winner of the David Stakes and Bertram F. Bongard as a juvenile, as well as finishing third in the Grade 2 Futurity, the following year Weekend Hideaway posted a frontrunning victory in the open Gone Fishin overnight stakes at Belmont. He collected his fourth stakes victory at the Spa last summer with a wire-to-wire tally in the John Morrissey

Bred by the late Carl Lizza’s Flying Zee Stables, for whom Serpe was a long-time trainer, and foaled at Highcliff Farm in Delanson, Weekend Hideaway is the first foal and only starter out of New York-bred Apocalyptical, an unplaced New York-bred daughter of Wiseman’s Ferry. Weekend Hideaway was purchased by Michael Hoffman’s Red and Black Stable for $40,000 in the yearling portion of the Flying Zee Dispersal in October 2011.