NEWS: racing

Gold for the King prevails in NYSS Times Square

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Just before Sunday’s 24th running of the $100,000 Times Square division of the of the New York Stallion Series for eligible New York-sired 3-year-olds, Francis Paolangeli’s homebred Gold for the King was getting a shoe repair and, according to the paddock report, “not happy” about it.

That could have spelled trouble for the 3-2 favorite, as he launched his sophomore campaign after a four-month layoff, but the Posse gelding obviously recovered his equanimity by post time, and proceeded to deliver yet another a thoroughly professional performance to capture Aqueduct’s Closing Day feature.

Never out of the money in six prior career starts, and winner of last year’s New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes and Notebook Stakes at Belmont, Gold for the King was partnered with Joel Rosario for the first time in Sunday’s highly-competitive 6 1/2-furlong tilt.

After breaking from post six (of seven), Gold for the King settled comfortably in midpack in the four path, while relative longshot Italian Syndicate led the way through early fractions of 22.78 and 45.27, chased by Bavaro in second.

Still racing in the clear through the turn, Gold for the King, in his distinctive lime-green blinkers, spun out five wide for the drive. Zeroing in on Italian Syndicate and Bavaro, he cruised past the pacesetters with a furlong to go, with T Loves a Fight to his inside.

NYRA/Annette Jasko

NYRA/Annette Jasko

Edging away from T Loves a Fight in the stretch, Gold for the King crossed the finish line 1 3/4 lengths to the good. After six furlongs in a sharp 1:10.08, the final time for 6 1/2 panels over the fast main track was 1:16.53.

Runner up T Loves a Fight finished three lengths ahead of Reason to Soar in the third and completing the order of finish were Italian Syndicate, Bavaro, Mission Leader and Jaime’s Angel. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“I had a great trip,” Rosario reported. “[Trainer] Charlie [Baker] told me to wait as long as I can and make one run at the end. I tried to wait as long as I could and he came with a very nice run.”

Baker, who was celebrating his fourth win on the card, followed up, “He’s a nice horse and he can overcome anything. He did everything OK. He has a big, long stride so once he got going, he was clear. We had enough pace in there where he was going to be OK. It was a pretty decent race coming back off the layoff.”

Baker is considering the Mike Lee on the May 29 New York Showcase day card at Belmont Park for Gold for the King’s next start. The gelding has now won four of seven starts with a second and two thirds, and earned $370,568.

Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Gold for the King is the second foal and first winner out of Gold for the Queen, a New York-bred multiple stakes winner bred by Pegasus Farms Inc., also campaigned by Paolangeli and trained by Baker.

Gold for the Queen currently has a yearling colt by Frost Giant named True Gold, and was barren this year after being bred to Japan in 2016.

Bluegrass Flag stamps herself as a filly with future in NYSS Park Avenue

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Bluegrass Flag (Bluegrass Cat) notched her second career stakes tally even more impressively than her first, when she when she buried two rivals in a six-length romp in the open Cicada Stakes at Aqueduct on March 25.

In Saturday’s 24th running of the $100,000 Park Avenue division of New York Stallion Series (NYSS) for eligible sophomore fillies, Bluegrass Flag won again by six lengths, but at the same bested a highly-touted opponent and stopped the clock in “real racehorse time.”

Stretching out to 6 1/2 furlongs with regular rider Kendrick Carmouche in the irons, and going off as the 3-1 second choice, Bluegrass Flag faced six rivals, headed by Noble Freud. A half sister to Eclipse champion La Verdad and graded stakes winner Hot City Girl, Noble Freud was bet down to .30 cents on the dollar on the strength of an eye-catching debut on February 16 at Oaklawn Park. The promising filly was then purchased privately by a potent partnership group that includes Sol Kumin’s Head of Plains Partners and Michael Kisber (both involved with Mind Your Biscuits) and moved to Chad Brown’s barn in New York.

At the bell, front-running Bluegrass Flag did what she does best, gunned to the lead and challenged all comers to “Catch me if you can.”

The filly clocked stiff early splits of 22.71 and 45.48, pursued 1 1/2 lengths back by Noble Freud. The rest of the field gave chase.

Bluegrass Flag widened her lead to more than two lengths by the head of the stretch, and to more than five lengths with a furlong to go before sailing across the finish line six lengths to good without a serious challenge.

After six panels in 1:10.08, she completed the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.67 over the fast main track. Noble Freud checked in second, a neck in front of closing longshot Frosty Gal in third. Toni Tools, Dublin Girl, Unbridledadventure and Karen Kan completed the order of finish. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“My filly ran a gorgeous race today,” enthused winning rider Carmouche. “What a good job by [trainer] Thomas Morley and his team.  All I had to do was sit on her and get her around and make her look good. We know we can run.”

Carmouche continued, “We wanted to make Chad Brown’s horse [Noble Freud] run. Today, that’s what happened. My filly finished up really good. I was really pleased with her.”

Morley, in Ocala scouting fresh talent, regretted not seeing the race in person, but said, “This was probably the best performance of her career to date. Before the race, it was interesting to see Chad’s filly so strongly fancied, but we were confident in Bluegrass Flag’s ability to perform today.”

Morley added, “I thought Kendrick gave her a terrific ride. We do think the further she goes the more she’ll enjoy the added distance and I told the owners one day perhaps I envision she could possibly be another Ballerina horse, but we’re going to take it nice and steady and let her tell us where she wants to take us.”

In the meantime, the conditioner will point Bluegrass Flag, whose record stands to 3-1-0 in five career starts with career earnings of $173,220, to the seven-furlong Bouwerie at Belmont on the May 29 Big Apple Showcase card.

Bred by Susanne Hooper, James Hooper and Thomas Albrecht, and foaled at Haven Oaks Farm in Fort Edward, Bluegrass Flag is one of four winners from four foals to start, and first black type offspring out of No More Flags, a multiple winner bred in New York by the Hoopers. The mare has a juvenile colt by Posse and a yearling colt by Dublin. In 2016 She was bred to Stephanoatsee.

Twisted Tom goes the distance in Federico Tesio Stakes

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

By Sarah Mace

Winner of the 1 1/16-mile Private Terms at Laurel Park on March 18, when he nailed O Dionysus at the wire in his stakes debut, Cobra Farm’s Twisted Tom bested that rival and three others in the short but potent field of Saturday’s $125,000, 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio at Laurel. The Creative Cause gelding appears to be getting better and better the longer he goes.

Exiting post three with the vanguard, Twisted Tom navigated the clubhouse turn three wide in third before inching up into second in the backstretch, with Action Everyday just to his inside. The pair pressed the pacesetter Hashtag Alex through early fractions of 24.39 and 48.08.

In the far turn, Twisted Tom and Action Everyday passed Hashtag Alex in tandem, while O Dionysus uncoiled a bid from last and moved into contention.

O Dionysus engaged Twisted Tom, now on the lead, in upper stretch, but this time the outcome for the rivals was not even close, as Twisted Tom went on to post a decisive 2 1/4-length victory. Action Everyday finished 2 3/4 lengths back in third and the final time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:53.60 over the sloppy (sealed) track.

Twisted Tom was let go at 5-1 and, after Newman Racing’s New York-bred Absatootly upset the Primonetta field at odds of 10-1 in the previous race, the New York-bred Laurel double came in at $169.80 for $2.

“He broke sharper today,” said Jockey Feargal Lynch, also aboard for Twisted Tom’s Private Terms victory. “I just got into a nice rhythm all the way. I thought O Dionysus might struggle to stay and I knew from my horse’s gallop-out last time that he would like the distance. Today he had no kickback and a small field. He’s a turfer and a mudder and a very adaptable, huge horse who should get better.”

“He ran terrific and Feargal really rode him well once again,” said trainer Chad Brown. “They’re a great team, those two. The horse showed a lot of heart again. He’s a long-winded, hard-trying horse that obviously showed he has a tremendous amount of stamina and will to win. He’s a horse that continually is improving, which we love to see. We’re just really proud of his effort today.”

Continued Brown, “[Twisted Tom] really has [shown versatility]. It’s another thing I’m really proud of. He showed a new dimension today, and dealing with an off track he handled it fine. Feargal deserves a lot of credit for using good judgment in keeping him out of trouble. He’s a big horse and although he was losing some ground he picked a good spot to let him relax and find his rhythm. When that horse [O Dionysus] came to him on the outside, he showed his heart.”

Twisted Tom, who has earned $209,040 from four wins in six career starts, broke his maiden at second asking for trainer George Weaver and owner Thomas Brockley at Belmont Park last September 22 going a mile on the green in a state-bred maiden special weight. Acquired by Cobra Farm, who transferred the horse to Brown, in four starts for his new connections he has won through his first level state-bred allowance condition at a mile and posted victories in the Private Terms at 1 1/16 miles and the 9-furlong Tesio.

The Tesio is a “Win and You’re In” event for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the $1.5 million Grade 1 Preakness at Pimlico Race Course, but Twisted Tom has not been nominated. Said Brown, “Because he’s not [Triple Crown] nominated it certainly complicates things, so I’ll speak to the ownership group. Right now we’ll just enjoy this win. We’ll see how the horse comes out of the race physically and then we’ll all probably speak about it next week sometime and come up with a plan.”

Bred by Dr. William B. Wilmot and Dr. Joan M. Taylor and foaled at Gallagher’s Stud in Ghent, Twisted Tom is one of six winners from six foals to start out of Tiffany Twisted, a Wilmot-Taylor homebred who is a half sister to multiple graded stakes winner Incurable Optimist and two stakes-performers. Grade 1 winner Class Play appears further down the family tree.  Tiffany Twisted has a yearling filly by Fed Biz and was bred to Paynter in 2016.



Absatootly upsets Laurel’s Primonetta at 10-1

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

By Sarah Mace

After being let go at odds of 10-1, Newman Racing’s Absatootly (Mineshaft) posted the first open stakes victory of her career Saturday in Laurel Park’s $75,000, six-furlong Primonetta for fillies and mares three and up, which was run over a sloppy (sealed) track.

An admirably consistent runner for trainer Charlie Baker, 4-year-old Absatootly came into the Primonetta having finished off-the-board only twice in eleven prior starts.

The filly had already shown an affinity for Laurel, shipping in to win open allowance contests in March 2016 and February 2017. Off-going was also in her wheelhouse. While facing winners for the first time in her third career start, she won the East View for New York-bred juvenile fillies by a nose on a “good” Aqueduct inner track; her February victory at Laurel was also over a “good” track. Jockey Kevin Gomez, aboard for that win, had the return call.

Breaking alertly from post eight (of nine), Absatootly tracked early pacesetter and favorite Appealing Maggie in fourth in the four path, but worked her way up into third by the approach to the far turn. When she emerged at the top of the stretch as a clear second to new leader Loveable Lady, the affair turned into a two-horse race.

Absatootly gained the lead midstretch, and, despite drifting out late toward the center of the track, had enough forward momentum to secure a 1 1/2-length victory over Lovable Lady. Next Best Thing circled the field from last to get third. After opening splits of 22.92 and 46.65, Absatootly stopped the timer at 1:11 flat.

“I thought someone was going to catch up with me,” Gomez said. “I just tried to keep her straight and hoped no one could catch me and she got it done.” The win was the first stakes score for the 22-year-old Guatamala native.

Absatootly’s second stakes victory improves her record to five wins, three seconds and two thirds from twelve starts and increases her earnings to $249,107.

Bred by the late Donald Newman and foaled at Fawn Ridge Farm in East Nassau, Absatootly is campaigned by Newman’s son Richard. She is the second foal and second winner out of New York-bred So N So (Freud), who took the Lucy Scribner Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in 2009. The mare’s first foal So Let It Be So (Sky Mesa) is multiple winner.

So N So has a three-year-old colt by City Zip named Quest for Fire who has not started and a juvenile colt by Desert Party named Whendowerunpappy. Not bred in 2016, the mare went to Munnings last year.

FLGR earns reaccreditation from NTRA safety & integrity alliance

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

FL logo 3_21_17(NTRA press release)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 19, 2017) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack has earned reaccreditation from the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance. Located in Farmington, N.Y., the 55-year old track opens its door for live racing season April 22. Finger Lakes has been continuously accredited by the Alliance since 2011.

The reaccreditation of Finger Lakes was the culmination of a lengthy process that hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. An on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility. Interviews were also conducted with race track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Dr. Ron Jensen, DVM, former equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board; Mike Kilpack, security and integrity consultant and past chairman of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators; Dan Fisk, racetrack operations consultant and vice chairman of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program; and Steve Koch, executive director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.

In addition to the reaccreditation for the Finger Lakes, the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program (FLTAP) received a “Best Practice” from the Alliance in 2011 as one of the best Thoroughbred aftercare programs in the nation. In 2016 the FLTAP was awarded accreditation from the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA).  The TAA is the only accrediting organization in thoroughbred aftercare network of 64 accredited organizations, operating at more than 180 facilities across the United States and Canada.

Finger Lakes is one of 23 racing facilities fully accredited by the Alliance that together host 90 percent of graded stakes and generate 75 percent of North American pari-mutuel handle. The others are Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Canterbury Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Indiana Grand, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Laurel, Los Alamitos Race Course, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Suffolk Downs, Sunland Park, Turfway Park and Woodbine.

The NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance is horse racing’s key mechanism for implementing racetrack safety and integrity initiatives on a uniform basis nationwide. Information on the Alliance, supported by the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute and Insurance Office of America can be found at


Inside Straight springs 19-1 upset in Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap

Saturday, April 15th, 2017
Coady Photography

Coady Photography

By Sarah Mace

Driving his record to a perfect two-for-two after shedding blinkers, longshot Inside Straight (Super Saver) posted a decisive victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap at Oaklawn Park at 1 1/8 miles.

On March 10, in his first try without blinkers since November 2015, Inside Straight powered his way from the back of the pack to a five-length victory in an optional claiming race at Oaklawn Park. Reunited with win jockey Geovanni Franco, the 4-year-old gelding was let go Saturday at odds of 19-1, the fifth choice in the seven-horse field, while most of the money went in the direction of 1-2 favorite Midnight Storm.

Coady Photography

Coady Photography

After the bell, Inside Straight broke with the vanguard from post five, and raced toward the clubhouse turn between horses in third and two lengths behind pacesetter Midnight Storm.

Making his way to the fence, Inside Straight enjoyed a ground-saving trip through the bend and along the backstretch, as Midnight Storm clocked a quarter in 22.96 and a half-mile in 46.49.

Cruised along comfortably under a patient ride, the gelding was unfazed when passed to his outside by longshots Goats Town and Cutacorner, who rallied to challenge Midnight Storm on the way to the far turn. At the head of the stretch, he maneuvered out into the two path and began his bid.

Coady Photography

Coady Photography

After the other challengers wilted, Inside Straight passed Midnight Storm within the furlong grounds, and employed the final sixteenth to widen his margin to two lengths by the wire. Domain’s Rap closed from midpack to get the place by a neck, while Midnight Storm had to settle for third.

After the mile went in 1:35.88, Inside Straight stopped the clock after nine furlongs over the fast going at 1:48.40.

“My horse broke very sharp. He was alert, feeling good, nice and relaxed,” Geovanni Franco said. “I just tried to follow [Midnight Storm]. My horse was just full of run and full of strength today.” Continued Franco, “I don’t know (what to say), it was incredible. My first graded stakes. I am so happy it happened.”

Winning trainer Robertino Diodoro commented, “Midnight Storm is a nice horse and I was scared he was going to be the lone speed and we weren’t going to have much pace to run at. All we could worry about was our horse. This horse has just been getting better and better, training better, working better. He’s a horse that just made the step to the next level, and he proved it today. Can’t say enough about the horse. Franco suits him. I give my assistant, Rob Atras a lot of credit. It was his idea two starts back to take the blinkers off him. I think that’s helped the horse a lot, helped him relax. Awesome win, that’s all I can say. Great for the owner, Randy Howg. Can’t say enough about him. Twenty-three years I’ve trained for him. He’s a great man, and he deserves it.”

Diodoro said of the future, “One step at a time. We haven’t made any plans. He is a New York-bred, and the plan is to take him to Belmont. We are going to have a string there this summer. He’s had kind of a rough campaign, a tough campaign since we bought him (privately last June through an agent). He’s done a lot of traveling. He’s not that big a horse, but he’s carried good weight. He’s just gotten better and better with each race, and today he proved it. Been a good purchase.”

Inside Straight began his career in New York for WinStar Farm and trainer Todd Pletcher. Third in the Aspirant stakes at Finger Lakes in September 2015, he won his last start for these connections on May 4, 2016 by more than 10 lengths in the mud at Belmont at the $40,000 claiming level.

Resurfacing at Assiniboia Downs on July 9 in Howg’s colors, Inside Straight finished third in the Harry Jeffrey Stakes in his Canadian debut for conditioner Robertino Diodoro, and followed up with a victory in the Manitoba Derby on August 1.

Coady Photography

Coady Photography

Inside Straight has improved in every start of his 4-year-old campaign, capping third and second place finishes with the unblinkered optional claiming and Grade 2 victories. From seven lifetime wins, two seconds and four thirds in 20 starts, he has earned $752,889.

Bred by SF Bloodstock LLC and foaled at Vinery NY at Sugar Maple in Poughquag, Inside Straight is out of Dance Alexa, an unraced Maryland-bred by Southern Halo purchased by SF Bloodstock at the 2010 Keeneland November sale for $80,000.

Dance Alexa has produced eight winners from nine foals to start, and Inside Straight is her fourth stakes horse. Her second foal Dance Daily (Five Star Day) won the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes in 2006 and Mission Viejo Halo (Luhuk) is a two-time stakes performer. Her only other registered New York-bred to date, Conquest Superstep, an older full sister to Inside Straight, finished second in the 2015 running of the Fleet Indian.

Macagone returns to winning ways with repeat victory in the Danger’s Hour

Sunday, April 9th, 2017
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Tom Egan of Trinity Farm had the pleasure of taking home the trophy for New York’s first turf race of the year when his homebred Macagone (Artie Schiller) recovered his winning form in Sunday’s $100,000 Danger’s Hour Stakes at one mile for 4-year-olds and up. Well-beaten in two prior starts at Gulfstream Park on January 14 and March 4, the 6-year-old gelding came roaring back with a dominant wire-to-wire win to repeat in a race he captured for his connections last year.

Macagone, who won his sire Artie Schiller’s namesake race at 34-1 odds at the same trip on November 19, had no answer for the competition in Gulfstream’s Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale and Grade 3 Canadian Turf. He was, however, well-backed Sunday for the return to his favored surface on which he had posted three wins in four starts, and was bet down to 5-2 second choice in the field of seven. Kendrick Carmouche, aboard for the Artie Schiller, had the call.

Sharp in the warm up, Macagone was aggressive from the bell, and had the lead well in hand before the field entered the clubhouse turn. The gelding raced along the backstretch a measured length and half ahead of his pursuers, then let things out a notch in the far turn, extending his lead to three lengths.

In the home stretch, odds-on favorite Catapult loomed the only possible threat, and closed some ground, but never got close enough to pose any real challenge.

After posting solid fractions of 23.40, 46.78, 1:10.62, Macagone crossed the finish line a 1 1/2-length winner in a final time of 1:36.13 for a mile over the yielding turf. He galloped home cheerfully and full of energy, looking as if he had never even run. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Kendrick Carmouche said, “Like [trainer] Mr. Billy Mott says never take anything that comes easy. They just wanted me to warm him up, get him back into his front-running character, and he ran good. He loves this turf course. Mr. Bill and Ms. Leanna [Willaford, Mott’s assistant] had this horse coming in very good.”

Though able to rate, Macagone has had greatest success on the front end.

Added Carmouche, “Congratulations to the owner [Tom Egan of Trinity Farm] and his family. He lost his wife in December and it really helps him as a person and his kids. This all goes to them.”

Leanna Willaford, Mott’s assistant said, “[Macagone] loves Aqueduct. There was a nice little cut in the ground and the plan was to go to the lead from the start. He actually just shipped in from Florida a couple of days ago and he looks fantastic. They did a good job with him and Kendrick finished the job.”

A consistent runner throughout his career, Macagone owns eight wins, three seconds and five thirds from 26 lifetime starts. His victory Sunday pushed earnings past the half-million-dollar mark ($525,667).

Foaled at Monhil Farm in Pine Plains, Macagone is out of Isabel Away, a winning daughter of Skip Away who is also the dam of successful turf runner Birchwood Road (Pure Prize), a three-time grass winner over $230,000.

The mare has produced a 3-year-old full brother to Birchwood Road named Red Knight, who has not started, a juvenile colt by Colonel John, and a yearling filly by Freud.

Highway Star rallies to victory in Grade 3 Distaff Handicap

Sunday, April 9th, 2017
NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

Chester and Mary Broman’s Highway Star (Girolamo) prolonged a run of graded victories by New York-bred homebreds on Wood Memorial weekend when she rallied down the center of the track Sunday to win the Big A’s Grade 3, $150,000 Distaff Handicap at seven furlongs. On Saturday, Long Haul Bay was an impressive winner of the Grade 3 Bay Shore, followed two races later by Send It In’s determined score in the Grade 3 Excelsior.

Highway Star, who last Monday was honored in Saratoga as the 2016 New York-bred champion 3-year-old filly, was already a Grade 3 winner, having posted a nose victory in the Go For Wand on December 3. She was also a perfect two-for-two over the Aqueduct main track, preceding the Go For Wand score by a win in the Staten Island division of the New York Stallion Stakes (NYSS).

Coming off an 8-week freshening after finishing well back in fourth in the Ladies Handicap on January 13, Highway Star was reunited Sunday with Angel Arroyo, aboard for both prior stakes wins. The 4-year-old stalker-closer was relatively neglected by bettors who made her fifth choice in a competitive group of six, despite the fact that the field was loaded with speed.

After the break, Highway Star settled at the rail in fourth from gate two, three lengths behind the longshot early pacesetter Kelsocait (15-1), who clocked an opening quarter mile in 22.46.

Previously undefeated Clipthecouponannie, who pressed the pace, challenged successfully for the lead rounding the far turn, while completing a half-mile in 45.16. Indulgent, who is Frosted’s well-regarded half sister, advanced into second to her outside. Meanwhile, Highway Star worked her way off the fence into the two path.

With Indulgent and Clipthecouponannie left to collar, Highway Star drew closer, but was forced yet wider into the six path, as the other fillies drifted out.

Indulgent took over the lead from Clipthecouponannie in the final furlong, but with less than a sixteenth of a mile to go, Highway Star made a perfectly-timed final bid, cruising past her rival in the closing strides on her way to a half-length win. After six furlongs in 1:09.37, her final time for seven panels was a swift 1:22.25. [VIDEO REPLAY]

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

“She was really comfortable,” said pilot Angel Arroyo. “I broke and got a good trip and stayed behind the speed. In the stretch, when she switched leads, she went great. She loves seven furlongs, she likes the distance.”

Trainer Rodrigo Ubillo said, “We’re happy. She’s a nice filly. I was just hoping they’d go fast up front but she can adapt to any pace scenario really. It certainly helped they went fast and she was able to wear them down. Her last race [the Ladies Handicap on January 13], she was in heat and maybe she didn’t like the smaller [inner] track, but we took our time. We know her ability and took her time to bring her back and you see the result.”

Highway Star, who has now won six of nine lifetime starts and finished third once, began her career at three with back-to-back victories at Belmont last May and July.  Unplaced in her first stakes try, the Statue of Liberty division of the NYSS at Saratoga, she finished third in the Fleet Indian at the Spa before reeling off wins in a second-level allowance race, the Staten Island and Go For Wand. Highway Star has earned $464,000.

The chestnut filly is one of three winners, and only stakes winner, out of Stolen Star, a multiple stakes-placed homebred for the Bromans, who is also a half sister to their multiple stakes winner and Friend or Foe, now a sire.

Highway Star’s sire Girolamo, a Grade 1-winning son of A.P. Indy owned by Darley, began his stud career in 2012 at Becky Thomas and Dennis Narlinger’s Sequel Stallions New York before relocating to Kentucky.

Send It In up in time to capture Grade 3 Excelsior

Saturday, April 8th, 2017
NYRA/Viola Jasko

NYRA/Viola Jasko

By Sarah Mace

Paul Pompa Jr.’s Send It In (Big Brown) became the second New York-bred homebred to win a graded stakes race on Wood Memorial Day at Aqueduct Racetrack when he rallied to victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Excelsior Stakes at 1 1/4 miles. Two races earlier Alpha Delta Stables’ Long Haul Bay notched an impressive win in the Bay Shore Stakes.

Like all but one member of the Excelsior field, Send It In was previously untested at 10 furlongs, but his strong form and consistency inspired the betting public to send him off as the even-money favorite under jockey John Velazquez. In 12 starts since breaking his maiden at Saratoga on August 5, 2015, the Todd Pletcher-trained gelding had finished out of the money only once, and won seven races, including back-to-back scores in the Alex M. Robb on New Year’s Eve and Haynesfield on February 11. In his most recent outing on March 12, he recovered from a stumbling break to finish a strong third in the Stymie at 1 1/8 miles.

After the break, Chilean import Tu Brutus threw down the gauntlet under Irad Ortiz Jr., gunning straight for the front in his first North American race and opening up daylight on his rivals. Send It In raced in third behind the pacesetter and fellow New York-bred Bellamy Way for an opening half mile (47.20), but never trailed the leader by more than three lengths. Once Send It In advanced into second after six furlongs, the Excelsior became a match race.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Velazquez asked Send It In for more rounding the far turn, and for the length of the stretch, the gelding whittled away at the leader’s margin. Still grinding away in earnest with a sixteenth to go, Send It In got by his rival in the last seventy yards, edging away for the half-length win. Doyouknowsomething finished 14 lengths back in third. After a mile in 1:36.25, the final time for 10 panels was 2:02.07. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Said Velazquez, “We broke well, better than [in the Stymie] and we got a nice position going into that first turn. Down the backstretch, I got the position that I wanted. I didn’t want to leave [Tu Brutus] too far in front and give my horse too much to make up, so I got busy on him at the three-eighths pole. Once he got into the lane he had a nice kick. That kick was very good. It was just what I needed then.”

“I thought Johnny [Velazquez] did a great job,” said Todd Pletcher’s assistant Byron Hughes. “This time he broke a little better and Johnny got him into a good position going down the backside and from there he ran down [Tu Brutus], who also ran a big race.”

Continued Hughes, “[Send It In] really dug in and fought hard for the win. He switched leads and he kept fighting, kept fighting, and he got up just in time. It’s not easy to chase lone speed like that. The second place horse was out there all by himself and he put up decent fractions but nothing grueling, so it was nice to see Send It In and keep fighting and get up for the win. We’ve had him here all winter and he’s been a barn favorite and he’s a lot of fun to train.”

Foaled at Vivien Malloy’s Edition Farm in Hyde Park, Send It In is a special horse for owner/breeder Paul Pompa, Jr. His sire is dual classic winner and 3-year-old champion Big Brown, whom Pompa campaigned in partnership with IEAH Stables, and he is the first foal out of Sharp Instinct, a multiple winner by Awesome Again, whom Pompa purchased as a Keeneland September yearling in 2008 for $275,000. Big Brown now stands for Sunrise Stallions at Dutchess Views Farm in Pine Plains. Sharp instinct has produced two full siblings to Send It In who are winners .

Said Pompa, “He’s a beautiful homebred,” said Pompa. “He wanted it today and he’s a grinder. It’s very nice to have a New York-bred who is now a Grade 3 winner. He’s by the horse I had who won the Kentucky Derby, Big Brown. I used some of my breeding rights to Big Brown and I got this horse. I bought Sharp Instinct as a yearling filly, so it’s really very nice to win with this horse.”

Continued Pompa, “This is the second time he’s chased down the loose speed and he just wants to win. One day it’s going to be a little easier for him because somebody’s going to go with the loose speed. That’s what we were hoping for today, but everybody took back.”

Send It In has compiled a record of nine wins, three seconds and three thirds from 17 starts. With the winner’s share of the Excelsior purse, his earnings bankroll stands at over a half-million dollars ($500,914).


Long Haul Bay impressive winner of Grade 3 Bay Shore in second start

Saturday, April 8th, 2017
NYRA/Annette Jasko

NYRA/Annette Jasko

By Sarah Mace

Long Haul Bay (Quality Road), a homebred for Jon Clay’s Alpha Delta Stables is giving every indication of being a very talented racehorse with a big future. Having stalked his way to victory in a February 18 unveiling in state-bred company, the bay colt kicked away impressively to win the Grade 3, $250,000 Bay Shore for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack on Wood Memorial Day

Long Haul Bay began his career in his home state rather than Florida with the bulk of trainer Chad Brown’s string. As explained by Whit Beckman, Brown’s assistant, “[Long Haul Bay and Cloud Computing] were originally in Florida and Chad sent them up knowing they’d be good horses for New York. Once we got them up, these two separated themselves early as top-quality type horses. It’s just been maintaining them.”

Continued Beckman, “We know the talent is there and they’ve done the rest themselves. We have a lot of turf horses, but horses we know are going to be competitive in these dirt races [up north]. New York, you know, is a great place to keep horses for the winter. It really is.”

Following the scramble for the lead after the bell, 7-5 second choice Long Haul Bay settled in fifth three wide, three lengths behind 15-1 pacesetter Even Thunder through a sharp early fractions of 23.09 and 46.78. Under a snug hold on the backstretch, Long Haul Bay let it out a notch on the far turn and began pass horses three wide.

NYRA/Viola Jasko

NYRA/Viola Jasko

Up into second by the head of the stretch, he gained command halfway home under left-handed urging, then kicked away in the final furlong under a strong hand ride to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Even Thunder finished second, a neck in front of You’re to Blame. After six furlongs in 1:11.41, the final time for the seven panels over the fast main track was 1:24.14. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“He’s improved so much,” commented winning jockey Manny Franco. “I like him a lot. When I rode him the first time, I knew he could run. He showed that today. He broke sharp but when I saw there were three horses going, I decided to take him back and wait a little. When I saw the chance to make a move, I made it.”

Franco also has a feeling that we could see Long Haul Bay in route races at some point: “Chad [Brown] is a good trainer, he can do whatever he wants [to stretch him out]. I think he’s a talented horse.”

Beckman added, “Mid-stretch, it looked pretty good. I was pretty confident how he was going to finish.”

According to Beckman, the decision to step up into graded company after the maiden win, was not hard. “Obviously with the number [Long Haul Bay] ran and how professionally he ran the first time out, we had options, and, talking with Chad, he thought this would be the best spot.” Long Haul Bay’ Beyer Speed Figure of 90 for his debut effort topped the Bay Shore field.

Foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, Long Haul Bay, now a $183,000 earner from two wins, is the second black type runner of seven winning offspring from French Satin, a Kentucky-bred graded stakes winner and a half sister to multiple Grade 1 winner and sire Lion Heart.  The other stakes winner is Midnight Transfer, who was bred in Kentucky by Alpha Delta.

Breeder Jon Clay purchased French Satin at the 2008 Keeneland November sale for $400,000. She has a 2-year-old colt by Bluegrass Cat and was bred last year to Fed Biz.