NEWS: racing

The Tea Cups fires fresh; rallies from last to first in the Mount Vernon

Monday, May 30th, 2016
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Bill Heller

Rallying from dead last in the field of 12 under Luis Saez, Kendel Standlee’s idle six-year-old mare The Tea Cups edged idle Invading Humor and Jose Lezcano by a half-length in an exciting 38th running of the one-mile $125,000 Mount Vernon Stakes. Neck of the Moon and Irad Ortiz Jr. finished just a neck behind Invading Humor in third, and Selenite, who was ridden by John Velazquez, finished another 2 ½ lengths back in fourth.

The Tea Cups, who hadn’t raced since Oct. 24th when she was eighth in the $200,000 Ticonderoga Stakes, was 7-1 and Invading Humor, making her first start since finishing seventh in the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs Nov. 21st, was 9-2. Neck of the Moon was the 9-5 favorite and Selenite 15-1 on the rail.

William Parsons and David Howe bred The Tea Cups, a daughter of Hard Spun out of Lunar Colony by A.P. Indy who is trained by Jeremiah Englehart. Last year, she won the $150,000 Yaddo Stakes at Saratoga.

There was a wild scramble to the early lead, one that was claimed by 21-1 Freudie Anne and Joel Rosario. After a fast first quarter in :22.53, Freudie Ann had a half-length lead on 30-1 Isabelle and Junior Alvarado. There was a four-length gap back to Invading Humor in third.

Freudie Ann shook clear of Isabelle and opened a six-length lead by running a half-mile in :46.75. The Tea Cups was still last. “I knew it was going to be like that because there was a lot of speed and the track is wet,” Saez said. “I was coming from behind because she is a one-run filly, but I knew she was going to take off.”

Freudie Ann’s lead began to shrivel heading for the far turn while The Tea Cups was making a wide rally. Around the turn, The Tea Cups was flying past horses four-wide. “I had a lot of horse and when I came into the stretch,” Saez said. “I asked her and she responded.”

When Freudie Ann tired after three-quarters in 1:11.49, Invading Humor took over, taking a two-length lead on The Tea Cups, who had advanced into second and was gaining. Further back, Neck of the Moon kicked in and was charging hard.

Invading Humor was exceedingly game, but The Tea Cups got past her in the final 100 yards to win in 1:36.40 on the yielding course.

The Tea Cups is now six-for-20 on turf with four seconds and three thirds.  She has one third from a pair of dirt starts for total earnings of more than $330,000.

Flatterywillgetyou makes it four straight in Bouwerie

Monday, May 30th, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Everything’s Cricket Racing’s Flatterywillgetyou (Flatter) drove her winning streak to four with a confident victory in the seven-furlong, $125,000 Bouwerie Stakes which attracted eight New York-bred 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park on Monday aftertoon.

Third on debut at Aqueduct on December 20, the Linda Rice trainee has done nothing but win ever since, breaking her maiden in the slop on the Aqueduct inner in January, scoring a tenacious head victory in a first-level state-bred allowance in February and, after a brief freshening, blowing away a field of open allowance horses at her longest distance so far, 6 1/2 furlongs.

With Cornelio Velasquez in the irons, the chestnut filly (7-2) got out of the gate cleanly and sat a stalking second just a half-length behind pacesetter Bag of Tricks who clocked the first quarter in 23.12.

Three furlongs from home, Flatterywillgetyou assumed a narrow lead, opened up some daylight and had plenty left in the tank to hold off Absatootly, who closed into second, and prevail by a length. Wonderment finished third. Frosty Margarita, Bag of Tricks, Super Allison, Langfirst and Gregorian Gold completed the order of finish. After six panels in 1:10.80, the final time was 1:23.42. [VIDEO]

Velasquez said, “Every time she runs, she’s better than she was. She’s [improving] all the time. She’s run only five times and has four wins. She comes from behind great. She’s a nice filly.”

Trainer Linda Rice commented, “I’m very pleased. Bag of Tricks and Frosty Margarita are nice fillies, so I thought she had a pretty big job ahead of her today. Her last two races have been pretty powerful. I think she likes the outer track and the big sweeping turns at Belmont rather than the inner track at Aqueduct. Seven-eighths is a good distance for her.”

Bred by First Class Thoroughbreds LLC, Flatterywillgetyou is one of five winners and the first black type winner out of Tres Chaud (French Deputy). Her Northern Afleet foal Accelebrate is stakes placed. Flatterywillgetyou changed hands once via public auction, purchased by Lexicon Stable as a weanling at the Fasig-Tipton fall mixed sale in Saratoga for $75,000. From four wins and a third she has earned $193,900.

Tapitation makes his stakes debut a winning one in the Kingston

Monday, May 30th, 2016
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Bill Heller

The three past winners of the one-mile $125,000 Kingston Stakes, King Kreesa, Kharafa and Lubash, returned for the 38th running of the grass stakes Monday on Showcase Day at Belmont Park. Whisper Hill Farm’s idle, five-year-old Tapitation, who hadn’t even started in a stakes race, outran all three, winning the Kingston by a length and three-quarters in 1:35.62 on a yielding course, giving jockey Joel Rosario his third victory of the afternoon. King Kreesa nosed Kharafa for second, 2 ½ lengths clear of Lubash in fourth.

Tapitation was 7-2, King Kreesa and Jose Ortiz 5-2, Kharafa and Luis Saez 7-2 and Lubash and Junior Alvarado 9-1 in the field of nine.

Heading into the Kingston, nine-year-old Lubash, who had won more than $1.3 million, was only one-for-six on yielding courses. Seven-year-old King Kreesa, a $1.1 million earner, was zero-for-two and seven-year-old Kharafa, who had nearly $900,000 in earnings, one-for-two. Tapitation hadn’t encountered a yielding or a soft course in his first six turf tries.

Tapitation is a son of Tapit out of Derrianne by Cozzene who was bred by Waterville Lake Stables and is trained by Ralph Nicks. In his prior start, an open allowance/optional $62,500 claimer at Gulfstream Park, Tapitation finished fourth by 2 ¾ lengths at 4-1.

Credit Nicks with an outstanding job getting Tapitation ready for his first start in three months in the toughest field he’d ever faced.

“I thought he’d run good, but it is a step up in class, and you don’t know until you put them in there and see what happens,” Nicks’ assistant, Heather Smullen, said.

Taking advantage of the rail, Macagone and Manuel Franco streaked to the lead as King Kreesa and 17-1 Iron Power and Jose Lezcano disputed second and third in a fast opening quarter of :22.60. Tapitation was last. Macagone stretched his lead from one length to two, but he had to run a half-mile in a demanding :45.35 half-mile. Tapitation, was still last, five lengths behind next-to-last 13-1 Captain Gaughen. “I was very happy because it looked like the pace was very fast in front of me,” Rosario said.

Macagone held on to a rapidly-decreasing lead around the far turn as both King Kreesa and Kharafa drew closer. Kharafa closed in from fourth. Behind them, Rosario had navigated Tapitation inside two horses before angling him six-wide around the far turn.

After three-quarters in 1:09.16, King Kreesa opened a two-length lead on Kharafa in second. But Tapitation was third and gaining quickly on both of them.

Tapitation powered past both to win going away. King Kreesa gamely nosed Kharafa for second on a head bob. And Lubash, who was fifth in his nine-year-old debut April 10th, closed well to finish an improved fourth.

“He did it on his own,” Rosario said. “I was just a passenger.”

Tapitation improved his grass record to four-for-seven with one third. He also a victory and a pair of seconds from four dirt starts for combined earnings of more than $260,000.

Bust Another upsets Mike Lee

Monday, May 30th, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

The old adage is that “pace makes the race,” and that certainly held true in this year’s renewal of the seven-furlong, $125,000 Mike Lee Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds at Belmont Park. After a pair of blazing pacesetters — and favorites — dueled one another into defeat, Bing Cherry Racing’s Bust Another (Bustin Stones) took full advantage and gave trainer Michael Pino a solid longshot stakes victory.

Shortly after the break, the two post time favorites Sudden Surprise (2.20-1) and Championofthenile (1.95-1) gunned to the front and proceeded to blaze their way through a 22.05 quarter and 44.86 half, while 19-1 Bust Another sat four lengths off the pace in third.

With five-sixteenths left to go, jockey Eric Cancel began to ask his mount for more, entered the stretch four wide and rallied to take command just outside the furlong marker. Keeping his mind on business to the wire, Bust Another crossed the wire a 3 1/4-length winner. After six furlongs in 1:10.32, the final time of the race was 1:23.94. Mind Your Biscuits (12-1) closed from sixth to get the place while Championofthenile hung on for third. Taoiseach, Vincento, Cards of Stone, Sudden Surprise and Lucky Lurie completed the order of finish. [VIDEO]

Cancel said, “This horse has improved a lot. I’m really happy with his training and how he’s been running for Mike Pino. I had been really close to the pace with him and he struggled a little bit, but today it didn’t seem to bother him. Being too close to the pace, trying to go with the other horses, he gives more than he’s got and at the end he flattens out a little bit. But today, I had the perfect trip and he finished strongly.”

A winner of two out of three starts for Kuehne Racing et al, Bust Another was claimed by Bing Cherry Racing’s Scott Zimmerman for $32,000.

Zimmerman said, “I liked the way he tried. I thought he had a future and we took a shot and won a four-way shake to get him and it worked out. We’ll keep experimenting and trying but he’s a nice horse who tries all the time. We’ll see how he comes out of the race and we’ll look to Saratoga.”

From five wins and a second in eight starts overall, Bust Another has earned $22,630.

Bred by Casey Newick, Bust Another is one of four winners and three stakes winners from four foals to start out of I Drink Alone, a winning New York-bred daughter of Intidab. Her other stakes winners are Bustin It and May Shares.

Bust Another passed twice though the sales ring, purchased for $48,000 as a weanling at the OBS fall mixed sale by Jumping Jack Racing, then my Mareina Racing at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale for $80,000.

Bar of Gold rings true in Critical Eye

Monday, May 30th, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Chester and Mary Broman homebred Bar of Gold (Medaglia d’Oro), who has been steadily collecting checks in graded stakes company ever since trouncing New York-breds in her first three career starts, returned to state-bred company – and to the winner’s circle – on Monday with a convincing win in the $200,000, one-mile Critical Eye for New York-bred fillies and mares.

Bet down to 3-2 favoritism and with Junior Alvarado in the irons, Bar of Gold broke cleanly from post one and saved ground over the muddy going in third. Meanwhile longshot Perfect Freud and Jules N Rome gunned their way to the front and set a sharp pace, 22.23 for the first quarter mile and 44.84 for the half.

With positions unchanged in the turn, Bar of Gold found running room at the inside at the five-sixteenths pole, snuck on through and gained the lead. Alvarado guided his mount to the outside for the drive and she cruised home a 1 1/2-length winner. Haveyougoneaway, in fourth early, got up for a solid second, followed 1 1/2 lengths back Literata, far back early, who closed well to get third money. [VIDEO]

Alvarado reported, “Everything went perfect. The horses in front of me went very quick. I saved ground the whole way around. Turning for home, around the 5/16 pole, I had plenty of room on the inside to go through. I didn’t have any problems at all with the 1-post.”

“The first couple of races, the horses have been winning coming from the fifth, sixth and seventh lane out. I wasn’t worried about the inside for the first part of the race, but turning for home, I wanted to be on the outside.”

Trainer John Kimmel said, “I was a little worried about the inside draw and whether or not the inside was the good part of the racetrack to be sitting. Basically, my main concern was not being caught up in a speed duel up front. I wanted Junior [Alvarado] to get her in a nice rhythm and if he could get off the fence. We had an opening right outside the quarter-pole and he said he had to take advantage of it. He was worried if he didn’t go then, so he actually called on her a little sooner than he’d like to. But she had enough in the tank to get through there and enough energy to get the job done.”

Bar of Gold has only gone beyond seven furlongs twice before, finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Acorn and fourth in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks.

Kimmel said, “She came back blowing a little bit and I’m kind of wondering if a mile might be the outer limits of her effectiveness, but she got a little bit of class relief today. Maybe, if we’re going to go back in against graded horses, seven-eighths might be her ideal distance. She’s by Medaglia d’Oro and I’ve never taken her out on the turf course, and that might be something where we could just take a shot and see how she handles it. It might be a good space before the races at Saratoga.”

After going unbeaten in her first three starts, Bar of Gold has finished second three times and third once in graded company, including second in the Grade 1 Test to Cavorting. Last out, she finished third behind Paulassilverlining and Cavorting in the Grade 3 Distaff at Aqueduct. Bar of Gold has earned $509,500.

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

Weekend Hideaway wins second straight in $200,000 Commentator

Monday, May 30th, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Bill Heller

When Red and Black Stable’s New York-bred Weekend Hideaway finished an extremely distant seventh in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream Park to end his five-year-old season last Dec. 19th, trainer Phil Serpe decided to give him a good long rest.

Great idea.

Weekend Hideaway, a son of Speightstown out of Apocalyptical by Wisemen’s Ferry who was bred by Flying Zee Stables, made his six-year-old debut in the $100,000 Affirmed Success Stakes at Belmont Park April 29th. Sent off at 5-1 in the field of eight under Luis Saez, he rallied from fourth to win by 2 ¼ lengths at 5-1.

One month and one day later, in the first of six stakes on New York-bred Showcase Day Monday at Belmont, Weekend Hideaway made it two straight under Saez. He survived an early speed duel with Sioux and Jose Ortiz, opened a huge lead and won the fourth running of the one-mile $200,000 Commentator Stakes by 3 ¾ lengths despite drifting out in the stretch in 1:35.95 on a track upgraded from sloppy to muddy.

“It’s always great to have a fresh horse,” Serpe said afterwards. “He’s come back strong. He’s a grown up horse now, a good and sound horse and that’s always good to have in the barn.”

Royal Posse, the 4-5 favorite ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., finished second, a neck ahead of 9-2 Eye Luv Lulu, who was left at the start under Cornelio Velasquez. Bellamy Way, who was 7-1 with Jose Lezcano up, finished 2 ¼ lengths behind Eye Luv Lulu in fourth.

The early scratches of Ostrolenka and Drama King left an accomplished field of five for the Commentator. Each of the five had won more than $200,000, and four of them had solid records on wet tracks. Eye Luv Lulu was six-for-seven, Bellamy Way one-for-one, Royal Posse three-for-eight with three seconds and Weekend Hideaway three-for-four. Sioux was zero-for-three with one second.

Both Sioux, breaking from the four post, and Weekend Hideaway, leaving from the five, went for the early lead. Weekend Hideaway led Sioux on his inside by a head in a :23.18 opening quarter. There was a gap of two lengths back to 7-1 Bellamy Way, Eye Luv Lulu two-wide and Royal Posse three-wide battling for third.

“He didn’t wait for me and pulled me right to the lead,” Saez said.

Weekend Hideaway continued to lead Sioux by a head without clearing him in a :45.56 half-mile. There was a gap of four lengths back to the others.

“I had a little pressure, but I knew I had a lot of horse,” Saez said.

Weekend Hideaway then took over, spurting away to lead by two lengths and hitting three-quarters in 1:09.72. He extended his lead to four lengths in mid-stretch while drifting out though well clear.

“When we came into the stretch, he was gone,” Saez said. “When I asked him, he kept going.”

Weekend Hideaway is now nine-for-28 on dirt with four seconds and four thirds. He also is one-for-three on turf with career earnings of more than $750,000.

“I hate to ruin everyone’s Memorial Day, but I was very happy that this rain came along,” Serpe said.

Flipcup holds on to win Grade 3 Arlington Matron

Saturday, May 28th, 2016
Four Footed Fotos

Four Footed Fotos

By Sarah Mace

Expertly spotted by trainer Bill Mott, the all-weather-track-loving Flipcup delivered a narrow and thrilling victory Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Arlington Matron run at 1 1/8-miles over the Polytrack at Arlington International Racecourse.

Making her 5-year-old debut, the Milwaukee Brew mare, bred by Team Penney Racing and owned in partnership by Team Penney, Wachtel Stable and Brous Stable, was seeking her fifth stakes victory and second graded score in the Matron. With a penchant for strong performances on the Woodbine Polytrack where she won the Grade 3 Maple Leaf in her penultimate start of last year, Flipcup obviously also took to the all-weather surface at Arlington her debut at the track.

Drawn at the rail in the nine-horse field and ridden for the first time by 2006 Arlington Champion jockey Christopher Emigh, Flipcup (5-1 post time odds) saved ground from fourth in the early stages, tracking the pace about three lengths off the lead, while longshot Tiz Lately carved out the first half mile in 49.22.

Advancing into third at the fence, and angling out three wide before the quarter pole, Flipcup overhauled new leader She’s Not Here and pacesetter Tiz Lately before taking the lead in upper stretch. A fresh challenge materialized on the outside from the fast-closing post time favorite No Fault of Mine.

Despite drifting out, and obliged to face a jockey’s objection (disallowed by the stewards), Flipcup held grimly on to her advantage and prevailed by a neck. The mile went in in 1:38.42, and the final time of the race was 1:51.32.

Emigh said, “I had the inside post so I just kept her relaxed and found a good spot, and I got lucky that I got outside on the far turn. She was just relaxed, so easy. I knew I had some horse left and it was a good horse race down the lane.”

As to the jockey’s objection and steward’s review, Emigh commented, “She was drifting out pretty good, but we didn’t ever bump, so I think it was a good call.”

A five-time stakes winner and seven more times stakes-placed, Flipcup’s complete record now stands at seven wins, six seconds and five thirds from 19 starts. Her winner’s share of the Arlington Matron purse drove her earnings over the half-million-dollar mark ($533,266).

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. Dream Affair, who issues from the family of Canadian juvenile champion Wavering Girl, was purchased by Team Penny Racing for $11,000 at the 2007 OBS Winter mixed sale.

Dream Affair delivered a colt by Cross Traffic this spring.

Too Discreet wins Paradise Creek Stakes on the engine

Saturday, May 28th, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Too Discreet (Discreet Cat), a full brother to Grade 1 winner and millionaire Discreet Marq, has some awfully big shoes to fill, but the Patricia Generazio homebred is beginning to make noise of his own. On Saturday the grey scored a front-running victory in Belmont’s open $100,000 Paradise Creek Stakes for 3-year-olds going seven furlongs on the Widener turf course. The win was his second stakes score in four career starts.

Trained by Christophe Clement, Too Discreet comfortably defeated a field of state-bred turf sprinters in his debut at Saratoga on August 2. Eighteen days later he got up late to collect a victory in the Schenectady Stakes at the same trip.

After eight months on the bench, the colt kicked off his sophomore campaign with a solid fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Woodhaven. When entries were drawn for the Paradise Creek, Clement commented, “I thought he got a bit tired [in the Woodhaven]. Maybe it was a bit too far and it was his first race in a while. He’s trained well and has had some good works on the turf. He’s got natural speed and it’s going to be a good race.”

Second choice on the board at post time at odds of 5-2, breaking from the four-hole in the field of six and reunited with jockey Joel Rosario, aboard for both Saratoga victories, Too Discreet got out of the gate well and shortly pulled his way to a 1 1/2-length lead. He proceeded to take the field through evenly-matched opening splits in 23.05 and 46.07.

Unchallenged into the head of the lane, Too Discreet swung out three wide and cruised home in hand to secure the win by 2 1/2 lengths. After six panels in 1:08.78, he stopped the clock after seven at 1:20.28. Conquest See Ya closed from midpack and split horses to finish second, while Might Mo stalked his way to a third-place finish. [VIDEO]

Rosario said, “He broke in front right away. I was cruising the whole time and I let him take his time and get settled in and he did the job.” The pilot added, “He’s been [consistent]. He’s a good horse and I was happy with the way he ran today.”

Clement added, “He had been working very well heading into this race. He worked under Joel on the turf and I saw on paper the horse from Mr. [Bill] Mott [Mighty Mo] would be very tough but he got a great ride. Very patient, good fractions; he’s a very nice horse.”

As to the future, Clement said, “I’ve got to think about where we’ll run him next and at what distance. You don’t have many races at six or seven furlongs so we might have to go a mile, but I’m pretty sure he’ll go a mile. He’s Discreet Marq’s full brother and she [ran] a mile really well. When he ran at Aqueduct, maybe he was not 100 percent fit going a mile and sixteenth on the turf. Let’s just enjoy this for a day and go from there.”

With three wins and a fourth to his credit, Too Discreet has earned $168,800.

Too Discreet’s dam is the multiple stakes-winning and graded stakes-placed Marquetry mare To Marquet ($198,236), a Kentucky-bred Generazio homebred. Frank and Patricia Generazio Jr. also bred To Marquet’s dam, Florida-bred Pretty Momma, a multiple stakes winner.

To Marquet’s 2010 foal, multiple New York-bred champion Discreet Marq, earned over $1.2 million in a stellar career, but the 19-year-old mare has been very successful with five progeny winners in all. Marquet Cat (Cat Thief) earned nearly $400,000 from 61 starts and Marquet Madness (Pico Central) who earned over $200,000. To Marquet currently has a 2-year old full brother to Discreet Marq and Too Discreet named Discretionary Marq and filly this year by Gio Ponti.

Escape to Vegas wins on debut at Belmont

Thursday, May 12th, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Escape to Vegas (Desert Party) turned in a thoroughly professional performance when unveiled in the opening race at Belmont Park Wednesday, a five-furlong, $60,000 maiden special weight for New York-bred 2-year-olds.

The field, which (after a pair of scratches) featured second-time starter Jegos Fire and four firsters, got away quickly, with the exception of odds-on favorite Conquest Prankster, who suffered a bump at the break.

While Jegos Fire, Giant Rocks and Three Thirteen, battled for the early lead, Escape to Vegas, who was the 9-2 fourth choice in the betting, settled in fourth early on from his inside post. The duo of Jegos Fire and Giant Rocks carried their duel into the far turn, and opened three lengths of daylight on Escape to Vegas, who had advanced to third, drilling a first quarter mile in 22.33.

Escape to Vegas crept up on the leaders in the turn, and got on even terms by quarter pole as he angled out three wide for the drive.

Taking over the lead midstretch, the colt widened his advantage to 4 3/4 lengths by the time he hit the wire, ridden out in a final time of 58.38. Jegos Fire hung tough to preserve the place, while Conquest Prankster recovered from his early bump to collect third money. Three to Thirteen and Giant Rocks completed the order of finish. [VIDEO]

Trained by Thomas Morley for Robert Masiello, Escape to Vegas is a bay son of New York sire Desert Party (Sequel Stallions New York), who was bred by Sinatra Thoroughbred Racing & Breeding and foaled at Rick Burke’s Irish Hill Century Farm in Stillwater.

In addition to the $36,000 winner’s share of the purse, Escape to Vegas earned a bonus of $9,000 for owner Masiello and $4,000 for trainer Morley through a program funded this spring by the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund for the owners and trainers of New York-breds who finish first, second or third in any state-bred or open maiden juvenile race held during the Aqueduct spring and Belmont spring-summer meet.

The program also awards the owners and trainers of second and third-place finishers: runner up Jegos Fire earned $4,500  for the owner and $3,000 for the trainer, while the connections of the third-place finisher earned $2,500 and $2,000 for third on top of purse money.

Escape to Vegas was purchased as a weanling by William Butler at the Keeneland November Sale for $40,000. He was picked up by Masiello for the same price the following summer at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale.

The colt’s dam is Runaway Tiger (Runaway Groom), a New York-bred winner of a pair of stakes at Finger Lakes and now a producer of six winners from six starters. Her most successful offspring is Scat Away (Scat Away), a three-time winner and consistent check-getter also foaled at Irish Hill Century Farm who has earned $206,680 to date.

Desert Party stands at Sequel Stallions New York for a 2016 stud fee of $4,000.

Weekend Hideaway sharp on return in Affirmed Success

Friday, April 29th, 2016
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Trainer Phil Serpe had Red and Black Stable’s Weekend Hideaway (Speightstown) in winning form after a 4 1/2-month vacation: on Belmont Park’s opening-day Friday the six-year-old scored an authoritative victory over seven rivals to take the six furlong, $100,000 Affirmed Success Stakes. The win was the veteran’s ninth career victory and sixth stakes score.

Fourth choice in the betting at odds of 5-1, Weekend Hideaway got out of the gate first from post two, but then let longshot Little Popsie and others go on with it through a blazing early fractions of 22.32 and 45.14, while he cruised along at the rail a length back in fourth.

Angled out one path at the top of the stretch by jockey Luis Saez, Weekend Hideaway rallied toward the front between horses, took over with a little more than a furlong to go and edged ahead to a confident 2 1/4-length victory. He stopped the clock in 1:10.30.

Favored Loki’s Vengeance, winner of last year’s Affirmed Success, finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Drama King. Following them in order across the finish line were Ostrolenka, Little Popsie, Between the Lines, Eye Luv Lulu and Bond Vigilante. [VIDEO]

Saez said, “We had a good break and I thought we’d get to the lead but I waited and sat on the rail. I had plenty of horse and at the quarter-pole was able to get through and up to the wire. He’s a good horse and tries all the time. He’s a nice horse.”

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Phil Serpe added “[Weekend Hideaway] always steps up and runs a big race for us during the year. He ran a huge, huge race before his last race [of 2015]. I guess he went a little backwards off that race.” In his penultimate start of last year, a five-furlong dash at Gulfstream Park West, Weekend Hideaway romped by more than six lengths. He tired to last next out in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream.

Serpe continued, “He hadn’t been away from the track in two years, and it was in our plans to send him away for a while. We sent him to South Carolina to freshen him up, and he came back really well today. He just needed a little vacation.”

If all is in order after this race, Serpe said he would consider the Commentator for Weekend Hideaway’s next start on Big Apple Showcase Day May 30.

From nine wins, four seconds and four thirds Weekend Hideaway has earned $631,532. His most impressive performance came in January 2015, when he dominated the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream, completing six furlongs in 1:08.64 for a 107 Beyer Speed Figure. His stakes victories include wins in the Bertram Bongard and David Stakes at two, the Gone Fishin on the Belmont turf in 2013 and the John Morrissey at Saratoga in 2014.

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 winner 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.