NEWS: racing

Bavaro captures Hollie Hughes fresh off the claim

Monday, February 18th, 2019

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

All In the Family Racing had good reason to celebrate President’s Day, when new acquisition Bavaro, who was claimed on their behalf by Linda Rice on January 11, handily won the featured $100,000 Hollie Hughes for older New York-breds at six furlongs. The win was a first stakes victory for All In the Family Racing and the third straight win for the 5-year-old grey son of by Freud (Sequel Stallions).

The field of the Hollie Hughes Stakes got quite a makeover after scratches. Would-be contenders Honor Up and Syndergaard raced the day before, finishing one-two, just noses apart, in a memorable renewal of the Haynesfield Stakes. Also scratched were likely favorite Build to Suit, a talented Chad Brown trainee, and Runaway Lute. Among the six horses left in the mix, there was a preponderance of early speed.

After the break, Eye Luv Lulu, Sudden Surprise and Tribecca took part in the early scrum, before Tribecca, prevailing, emerged to lead the group through an opening quarter in 22.65 pressed along by Eye Luv Lulu.

Bavaro, too, looked to get into the action in the relatively early stages. After recovering from a bobble and a bump at the break, he advanced confidently under Junior Alvarado along the backstretch and approach to the turn. Making his way into second early on the bend, he engaged Tribecca and took over as the field neared the quarter pole.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

As the half ticked away in 46.22, Bavaro scampered clear. Digging in to discourage any possible challengers, he posted a one-length victory unmolested in a final time of 1:11.78. Celtic Chaos, a one-run closer, got up for second with an energetic rally, while Eye Luv Lulu hung on for third. Next across the line were Tribecca, Sudden Surprise and Bluegrass Express. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Bavaro began his career auspiciously, winning his 2-year-old debut for Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm and trainer Gary Sciacca by more than five lengths and, next out, upsettjng the New York Stallion Stakes series Great White Way. Winless as a sophomore, however, he moved his tack to the barn of Jeremiah Englehart but didn’t find the winner’s circle again until May 2018, by now racing in Englehart’s colors at Finger Lakes.

Following a strong season, in which he won five of ten starts in all, Bavaro returned to the NYRA circuit and was dangled twice at Aqueduct for a $25,000 tag. When he won by more than four lengths on December 8, he was able to return to his own stall after the race. Following an even more impressive 8 1/2-length blowout on January 11, however, the claim box routed him to Linda Rice’s barn.

“I was pretty excited about running him here today off the claim,” said Rice. “He had been training really well coming into the race.”

She added, “I was a bit concerned there was a lot of speed in here. He didn’t break that sharp today, but Junior [Alvarado] rode him beautifully so we’re very excited. This was the first stakes win for All In The Family Racing, so I’m very happy for them as well.”

“We were hoping to go to the lead,” said Alvarado, who has now ridden Bavaro to three straight victories. “He’s been winning on the lead. I thought that was his best shot. He kind of missed the break a little bit there, so I had to go plan B. Good thing he didn’t try to run off right away. I let him settle in, put him on the outside; then after that, from the half-mile pole, he pretty much took me all the way around.”

Bavaro was bred by a partnership of Hidden Lake Farm (where he was foaled), Gunston Hall Farm and Anthony Grey. His dam Chantess, an unraced daughter of Unbridled’s Song, was a $250,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase in 2004, and last changed hands at public auction when purchased by JMJ Racing at the 2007 Keeneland November sale for $150,000.

The grey is one of three winners for Chantess and the first to earn black type. She has an unraced 3-year-old gelding by Honorable Dillon named Michael Connor, a juvenile filly by Medal Count, an Into Mischief yearling colt and was bred in 2018 to More than Ready.

Bavaro sold as a weanling to Machmer Hall for $20,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga mixed sale in Saratoga, before being picked up by Parcells the following year for $85,000 at the Fasig-Tipton preferred New York-bred yearling sale. From nine victories with one second and two thirds from 20 starts, Bavaro has netted $312,605 in earnings.


Honor Up holds off Syndergaard in thrilling Haynesfield rematch

Sunday, February 17th, 2019

NYRY/Susie Raisherr

By Sarah Mace

Honor Up just managed to keep his nose in front of a rallying Syndergaard in a thrilling finish to the $100,000 Haynesfield Stakes for older New York-breds run at a one-turn mile at Aqueduct Sunday.

This was not the pair’s first meeting. Their one-two finish in the 7-furlong Say Florida Sandy Stakes on January 12, was also a squeaker. In that case Honor Up collared Syndergaard late to score a neck victory. This burgeoning rivalry between these talented older New York-breds is likely to carry on further into the racing season.

The 6-horse field of the Haynesfield contained nearly as many intriguing storylines as runners, including the fact that Honor Up and Syndergaard were both cross-entered in Monday’s Hollie Hughes, a 6-furlong tilt for older New York-breds. Arguably the shorter distance was better suited to both horses, but their trainers, Michelle Nevin and John Terranova respectively, felt that the mile would be fine.

Also, both horses, as it happens, were making their fifth starts following a trainer switch, and thriving in their new barns.

Four-year-old Honor Up (To Honor and Serve) concluded his time with trainer Bill Mott following his 2017 summer campaign. Away for more than a year, he returned last October in Nevin’s care. He shortened up in distance and abandoned any turf experimentation, resulting in three wins and a second in four starts. He was looking for a third straight victory in the Haynesfield.

Five-year-old Syndergaard (Majesticperfection), who is named for Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard, began his career brilliantly for Todd Pletcher in 2016, falling just a nose short of Practical Joke while finishing second in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes. That year he also won the Funny Cide Stakes. Failing to replicate that form in three starts at three, then away from competition for a year, he took a couple of races in Terranova’s barn – and a bit better of racing luck – to recover his lost form. Recently he has put together a pair of fine efforts, winning a second-level state-bred allowance in December, and finishing second to Honor Up in the Say Florida Sandy.

To get things started in the Haynesfield, sprinter Stoney Bennett, who was looking to stretch out his speed to a mile for a second time after winning an open allowance win at the same trip on January 12, shot out of his outside post, and took his customary position on the lead, taking the field through opening early splits of 23.45 and 46.11. Longshot Fiery Opal pressed in second, while Syndergaard tucked in behind the leader to pursue in third.

Honor Up, for his part, broke awkwardly and inward. Once he straightened out, he was faced with the task of working his way up into contention in the run up the backstretch. By the approach to the far turn, he had advanced from last into fourth.

Gaining ground three-wide through bend, Honor Up took over second and confronted Stoney Bennet at the quarter pole. After battling with that tenacious rival in upper stretch, he took over the lead with a furlong to go.

Meanwhile Syndergaard, who had fanned out three-wide for the dash home, found another gear and mounted a serious bid. Despite drifting out in late stretch, he very nearly got the job done, getting on almost even terms with the winner by the wire. When the pair were separated by the photo, Honor Up had his nose in front.

Twisted Tom, who is enjoying a renaissance of his own after moving from Chad Brown to Bill Mott, rallied down the center of the track and finished 1 1/2 lengths back in third. Completing the order of finish were Fiery Opal, Stoney Bennett and 8-year-old Loki’s Vengeance. The final time for the mile over the fast going was 1:37.04. [VIDEO REPLAY]

The finish was so close, neither trainer Michelle Nevin nor jockey Jose Lezcano were sure of the outcome.

Said Nevin, “I thought I was going to pass out. The other horse [Syndergaard] ran a hell of a race to keep coming. That was a close, close race. I thought it was a dead heat for a second.”

Lezcano said, “It was so close. I thought he got me, but as soon as my horse saw the other horse, he dug in, but I didn’t know if he got me on the wire.”

Jockey Rajiv Maragh, who was aboard Syndergaard for the tough beat, added, “[Syndergaard] got a little lost for a second there in the stretch, but that was just a tough way to lose. That’s probably the shortest of margins I’ve ever lost a race by.”

Nevin also commented on Honor Up’s poor start. “We didn’t have the cleanest break and that changed the dynamics of things,” Nevin said. “We would have hoped to break cleanly and be sitting right behind them and relaxed. Instead, we broke awkwardly and had to get back into the race and get position. Maybe [Jose Lezcano] switched him on a little bit too quickly, but he did a hell of a job to keep going to get to the wire.”

Lezcano added, “I think the longer you wait for him, the better for him. I got to the quarter pole, and I said it’s time to go, and the last three-sixteenths, he started to wait a little bit for the other horses. I think the longer you wait for him, the better.”

Bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd and foaled at Vivien Malloy’s Edition Farm in Hyde Park, Honor Up is out of Unobstructed View, a Florida-bred daughter of Yes It’s True who was graded stakes-placed and stakes-placed as a juvenile. Of her five winning offspring, Honor Up is her second stakes winner, following in the hoofprints of his Kentucky-bred full brother Blueridge Traveler who has bankrolled $319,000.

Saratoga Seven Racing Partners purchased Honor Up at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton preferred New York yearling sale for $65,000 from the Gainesway consignment. In 15 career starts he has earned $335,513 from six wins, three seconds and a third.



Holiday Disguise wins Broadway Stakes with patented closing rally

Saturday, February 16th, 2019

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Lady Sheila Stable’s Holiday Disguise got back to her winning ways Saturday when she parlayed her patented closing rally into an open-length victory in Aqueduct’s featured $100,000 Broadway Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares four-years-old and up at six furlongs.

A 5-year-old daughter of Harlan’s Holiday trained by Linda Rice, Holiday Disguise was last seen finishing a disappointing sixth in the Iroquois Stakes on Empire Showcase Day, a performance that belied the mare’s consistently outstanding efforts on the racetrack for the past two years.

On-the-board in nine straight races at three and four and, at one point, stringing together four straight wins, Holiday Disguise collected stakes victories in the Bouwerie Stakes and Biogio’s Rose – in back-to-back starts eight months apart – the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap and the Critical Eye Stakes for New York-breds. The top-earner in the intriguing Broadway field with history of running well fresh, Holiday Disguise was nevertheless overshadowed in the betting by Broman homebred Pauseforthecause, who was bet down to 4-5. Holiday Disguise was sent off as the 9-2 second choice.

After the break, Holiday Disguise settled in her customary position at the rear of the field while, up front, multiple stakes winner and confirmed speedster Filibustin battled for the lead with Absatootly, also a multiple stakes winner, through a testing quarter-mile in 22.31.

On the backstretch Holiday Disguise advanced between horses and, by the time the field was rounding the far turn, put herself into contention in fourth, a little earlier than usual.

Angling out at the top of the stretch and moving in tandem with stablemate Startwithsilver to her outside, Holiday Disguise started doing what she does best: gobbling up ground in the lane.

NYRA/Elsa Lorieul

Passing Absatootly, now back into third, Holiday Disguise collared new leader Pauseforthecause with a furlong to go, and widened her lead to 4 1/4 lengths by the time she crossed the finish line. After a half-mile in 45.90, she stopped the clock at 1:11.13 for the six furlongs.

Runner-up Pauseforthecause finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Palladian Bridge (15-1), followed in short order by Absatootly and Startwithsilver. Further back, Filibustin, I Still Miss You and Queeb completed the order of finish. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Winning jockey Jose Lezcano explained his game plan as follows: “[Holiday Disguise] looks like she’s more comfortable when she’s outside horses. She broke a little behind but picked it up and went behind [Pauseforthecause]. When I asked her, she kicked very good. There was plenty of speed and my filly can really finish.”

Linda Rice noted that while she thought Holiday Disguise was fit and ready, she was anxious about the race dynamics for her her late-running charge coming into the Broadway. “I was a little concerned because the track has been favoring speed for the last couple of days,” Rice said. “So, that was definitely a concern and also ‘Holiday’ really hasn’t had success [at the distance]. I don’t think she’s ever won a race at six furlongs, though she’s obviously capable of it.” Holiday Disguise has done her best work in longer sprints up to a mile and, coming into the Broadway, was winless in two tries at six panels.

Holiday Disguise was bred by Dr. William B. Wilmot and Dr. Joan M. Taylor and foaled at Gallagher’s Stud in Ghent. She is out of Wilmot and Taylor’s Thin Disguise (Yes It’s True), a winning half-sister to millionaire and 2007 New York-bred Horse of the Year Naughty New Yorker out of star broodmare Naughty Natisha.

Thin Disguise has produced four winners from five foals to start. Midnight Disguise (Midnight Lute), Holiday’s Disguise’s talented younger sister, has three stakes wins to her credit, namely the Bouwerie Stakes (like her sister) and the Busanda and Busher Stakes. Currently, Thin Disguise has a juvenile filly by Tiznow, a yearling filly by Bodemeister and was bred to Gun Runner in 2018.

Holiday Disguise sold first as a weanling, purchased by John Greathouse for $70,000 at the Keeneland November sale. Rice bought her for Sheila Rosenblum’s Lady Sheila Stable the following year, going to $220,000 at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale.

The mare’s fifth career stakes victory boosts her bankroll to $554,875 and improves her record to seven wins, a second and two thirds from 13 starts.


Somelikeithotbrown seals the deal in John Battaglia Memorial

Saturday, February 16th, 2019

Coady Photography

By Sarah Mace

Somelikeithotbrown came tantalizingly close to the winner’s circle on some very big stages as a juvenile. Most notably, he finished a game third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on November 2 at Churchill Downs after setting the pace, only three-quarters of a length behind winner Line of Duty.

In his sophomore debut Friday night the bay colt by New York sire and Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown (Irish Hill & Dutchess Views Stallions) sealed the deal with a dominant performance in the $75,000 John Battaglia at Turfway Park.

Trained by Mike Maker for Harvey Diamond’s Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable of David Koenig and partners, Somelikeithotbrown hasn’t run a bad race since his Saratoga debut in an off-the-turf sprint contest. Making his second of three starts at the Spa he blew away eight rivals to break his maiden by eight lengths while stretching out all the way out from 5 1/2 to 9 furlongs, a race notorious for an error in the placement of the starting gate.

Somelikeithotbrown then launched the stakes portion of his career, coming up just short of Opry to finish second in the Grade 3 With Anticipation at Saratoga, then second by three-quarters of a length when collared in the Grade 3 Pilgrim, and the game third in Breeders’ Cup.

Coady Photography

On paper Somelikeithotbrown had a class and talent edge over his Battaglia rivals and was bet down to even money accordingly. His main rival appeared to be The Mackem Bullet (3-2), a Group 1-placed filly in England and winner of her North American debut at Turfway by 10-plus lengths. The only open question for Somelikeithotbrown was whether, after a steady diet of grass races, he would take to the all-weather surface.

Bumped just after the break, Somelikeithotbrown quickly regrouped under Rafael Hernandez and tucked in behind a pair of dueling longshots – Dynamic Racer (29-1) and Maya Solomea (57-1) – for the run around the clubhouse turn and along backstretch.

In the approach to the far turn Somelikeithotbrown continued to draft in behind the leaders and maneuvered closer inside for a ground-saving trip around at the far turn, as the leaders ticked off reasonable splits of 24.08, 48.24 and 1:13.30.

As the field straightened away for the dash home, a gap opened at the rail and Somelikeithotbrown took full advantage. He scampered on through and dispatched Dynamic Racer, now alone on the lead, in upper stretch.

Coady Photography

Drawing away in the late stages, Somelikeithotbrown drifted out, but was well clear of his competition, crossing the wire a 3 1/2-length winner.

Dynamic Racer hung tough for second, while Dabo, who found his best stride in the far turn, closed into third. The Mackem Bullet completed the superfecta. Next across the line were Over Protective, Maya Solomea, Kentucky Allstar and Zulu Legend. Echo Alpha Six was a late scratch after flipping in the gate. After a mile in 1:39.44, Somelikeithotbrown stopped the clock at 1:45.86 for the 1 1/16 miles. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Bred by Hot Pink Stables and co-owner Sand Dollar Stable and foaled at Sequel Stallions New York, Somelikeithotbrown’s name is a clever amalgam. It pays tribute to the names of his sire Big Brown and dam Marilyn Monroan, while alluding both to the comedic masterpiece “Some Like It Hot” starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, and a legendary dish served at Louisville’s Brown Hotel named the Hot Brown.

Marilyn Monroan, a Kentucky-bred placed runner by Tapit, has a juvenile colt by Mission Impazible, a yearling colt by Temple City and was bred in 2018 to Palace Malice.

In six career starts, Somelikeithotbrown has compiled a record of two wins, two seconds and third and earned $246,918.



Frostie Anne freezes out Biogio’s Rose rivals with front-running score

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Frostie Anne by New York sire Frost Giant has become something of a handful for the assistant starters behind the gate but was all business as soon as the starter sprang the latch on the $100,000 Biogio’s Rose at Aqueduct Racetrack Sunday. After taking a decisive lead by the first point of call, the 6-year-old mare completely owned the one-turn mile for older New York-bred fillies and mares.

By mid-year 2018 Frostie Anne was in peak form for trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who co-owns the mare with Michael Imperio. She compiled a six-race win streak which was bookended by victories in the open Sis City Stakes at Aqueduct on March 31 (at the same trip as the Biogio’s Rose), and the 9-furlong Saratoga Dew Stakes at the Spa on August 17.

In the fall, however, Frostie Anne’s form tailed off. Despite placings in the Staten Island Division of the NYSS series and a $16,000 starter’s allowance, she threw in a clunker in the Empire Distaff in October and finished a no-excuse fifth in the Bay Ridge Stakes on December 30. Sent off at odds of 9-1 on Sunday, the dark bay put her struggles behind her.

At the bell, it was Bonita Bianca, dominant winner of last year’s Empire Distaff Handicap, who got a jump on the field, but Frostie Anne charged up rail from her inside post to take over, and quickly led the way by more than two lengths.

Unpressured, Frostie Anne carved out early fractions of 23.35 and 46.51 with Bonita Bianca still on the chase. Navigating the turn smoothly, she remained firmly in command at the quarter pole as six furlongs went in 1:11.21. Six lengths back, the imposing Midnight Disguise (2-1), returning from an eight-plus months’ layoff, was getting her large frame into gear for a closing bid.

Frostie Anne stayed comfortably clear and secured win by six lengths. Midnight Disguise passed the field in the stretch to get up for second, while a length back Bonita Bianca had to settle for third. The final time for the flat mile was 1:37.32. [VIDEO REPLAY]

NYRA/Coglianese Photos

Completing the order of finish were favorite No Hayne No Gayne, Playinwiththeboys and Frosty Margarita, who is due to retire the breeding shed after this race. Unbridled Adventure was scratched early in the day and, unfortunately, contender Split Time flipped in the gate and had to be a late scratch. The incident also delayed the start of the race and forced Frostie Anne to undergo the rigors loading into the gate twice, which she does with a blindfold.

“I had a perfect trip,” reported winning rider Hector Diaz, Jr. “She just went easy upfront. She likes to be on the lead and Rudy had the blinkers on her today [for the second time], which helped her stay focused. When I asked her for more, she did it easy.”

Rodriguez acknowledged that he was happy to see Frostie Anne flash her good form again. “She’s always trained very good. We were just disappointed with her last couple of races.”

Added Rodriguez, “I have to give all the credit to Hector. He’s been breezing her in the mornings and he’s really gotten to know her. I just told him not to fight her, to let her do what she’s comfortable doing being up front, and everything worked out perfect for us today. We just have to keep going from here.”

As a weanling Frostie Anne sold to Fergus Galvin for $18,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Fall mixed sale. After making her first six starts for Galvin and partners, including breaking her maiden at the $20,000 claiming level, she was claimed for the first of five times (twice by Garry Gullo for Unqua Stable).  Rodriguez picked her up for a $25,000 tag in December 2017. In 12 starts for the Rodriguez barn she has won six races, including three stakes.

Bred by Mr. and Mrs. Grant L. Whitmer and foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Frostie Anne is one of four winners from four foals to start out of Lake Toccet by Toccet, an unraced New York-bred half-sister to turf stakes-placed Irish Princess. Lake Toccet is also the dam of Freudie Anne by Freud, a multiple stakes winner of nearly $400,000. Lake Toccet has juvenile colt by Giant Surprise and a yearling colt by the same sire. She was bred to Freud in 2018.

Frostie Anne has now won five of nine starts at the one-mile distance of the Biogio’s Rose and five of 12 races at Aqueduct. In 36 career races in all, she has compiled a record of 14 wins, four seconds and three thirds and earned $528,063.



Mr. Buff cruises to comfortable front-running victory in Jazil Stakes

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

First to strike the lead and first to cross the finish line, Mr. Buff dominated the field of Aqueduct’s featured $100,000 Jazil Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8-miles Saturday.

This was a second straight stakes win – and fourth consecutive victory – for Chester and Mary Broman’s 5-year-old gelding, who is a third-generation homebred through the male line. Mr. Buff is sired by the couple’s homebred multiple stakes winner Friend or Foe, who stands stud at Smallwood Farm in Virginia. His sire, in turn, is Grade 1 Florida Derby winning Broman homebred Friends Lake.

Reunited with jockey Junior Alvarado, who was aboard Mr. Buff for a pair of races last March and April, and bet down to the 7-2, second choice in the wagering behind 1-2 Sunny Ridge, the speedy Mr. Buff surprised no one when he hit the ground running. By the time the field of six rounded the clubhouse turn, the chestnut had established a 1 1/2-length lead.

Ticking off temperate early splits of 25.05 and 49.90, Mr. Buff preserved a comfortable one-length advantage over Thebigfundamental who tracked in second in the two-path and Sunny Ridge who tracked another half-length back three-wide along the backstretch.

In the far turn Mr. Buff’s pursuers geared up to deliver a challenge and closed ranks, while Sunny Ridge advanced into second. Just past the quarter pole, however, Mr. Buff sealed the deal.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Kicking clear and widening his lead to an insurmountable margin, Mr. Buff crossed the wire geared down a 5 1/4-length winner in a final time of 1:50.71. Sunny Ridge in second, finished 1/2-length in advance of Thebigfundamental who stayed on for third. Next in order, another neck and head back, respectively, were Hero’s Welcome and Title Ready, while Holiday Bonus brought up the rear. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Alvarado recounted an easy ride for him and picture-perfect performance by his mount.

“That’s his running style, to get to the lead, Alvarado said. “Thankfully, we got there without much trouble and he wasn’t pressured. I just had to put him on the lead, and he knows what to do from there. He took me all the way around. I was just a passenger today. When I asked him for a run in the stretch, he was there for me and he gave me a great kick today. I was just a passenger, to be honest.”

A winner of eight races from 26 career starts with six seconds and three thirds for trainer John Kimmel, Mr. Buff pushed his earnings over the half-million dollar threshold with the Jazil score ($540,786).

Mr. Buff’s dam is Speightful Affair (Speightstown), a graded stakes placed Ontario-bred who was purchased by Chester and Mary Broman for $80,000 at the Fasig-Tipton 2013 winter mixed sale. Her first foal, Organic Gemini who was bred in New York by Turtle Bird Stable (FO 2012), is a stakes placed runner and all three foals to start are winners. In 2018 Speightful Affair produced a full sister to Mr. Buff and has been bred back to Friend or Foe.


Fund Purse Enrichment fuels dramatic purse hikes at Finger Lakes in 2019

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

By Sarah Mace

In an agreement reached this month between the New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund (“the Fund”) and Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack (FLGR), purse enrichment money from the Fund in the amount of $600,000 will finance 40-50% purse increases for maiden special weight races and the first two levels of allowance races at the Farmington, New York racetrack.

Infusion of Fund Purse Enrichment money into the Finger Lakes purse structure will increase the value of maiden special weight races by close to 49% at FLGR in 2019, worth up to $31,270 which includes up to $4,770 of open company owners’ awards from the Fund’s incentive program. In 2018, New York-breds won 90% of FLGR maiden special weight races. Of these, 68% were won by New York-sired progeny.

New first-level allowance races will now be worth up to $30,680 which includes up to $4,680 of open company owners’ awards from the Fund’s incentive program. The races are carded for 3-year-olds and up who have never won $12,000 other than maiden, claiming, starter or state-bred allowance, OR who have never won two races lifetime.

New second-level allowance races for 3-year-olds and up who have never won two races other than maiden, claiming, starter or state-bred allowance, OR who have never won three races lifetime will be worth up to $31,860 which includes up to $4,860 of open company owners’ awards from the Fund’s incentive program.

NYTB Executive Director Jeffrey Cannizzo said, “By enhancing multiple conditioned races, we hope to provide a strong incentive for horses to come to Finger Lakes and stay stabled on the grounds for subsequent conditions of value.  Also, breeders, owners and stallion owners will get the additional benefit of an opportunity to earn increased incentive awards from the Fund commensurate with the increased purses.”

FLGR President and General Manager Chris Riegle added, “The purse hikes will allow us to better attract new allowance horses that will improve the competitive nature of the Finger Lakes racing product by increasing field size, racing quality and ultimately will result in increased pari-mutuel handle. And we have a number of unallocated stalls that are available for new stables who wish to apply for the Spring meet.”

John Poklemba, Chairman of the Fund, praised participants in the negotiation for the time and effort they put into the project: “I sincerely hope that the parties which negotiated this agreement will see more entries and higher quality racing that will appeal to gamblers and racing fans alike.”

As important as it was to add these new conditions, it was equally important for Finger Lakes to continue to offer the second and third-level allowance races for New York-breds in a regular cycle familiar to Finger Lakes trainers. It is worth noting that, historically, New York-breds win virtually all allowance conditions at Finger Lakes. In 2018 New York-breds won 97% of all allowance races at Finger Lakes. Of these, New York-sired progeny won 54%.

Cannizzo concluded, “This year will see the largest purses at Finger Lakes on record for maiden specials and the first two levels of allowance races. Breeders, owners and stallion businesses will now see 40-50% increases in the awards they earn on these races.  It’s a win-win for everyone. Horsemen with stock that belong at this level across the northeast region should truly give Finger Lakes a close look when this enhanced purse structure appears in the spring condition book next week.”

Blindwillie McTell overcomes stumble to win Rego Park Stakes

Sunday, January 13th, 2019

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

In his second lifetime start in mid-December, Jerold Zaro’s homebred Blindwillie McTell made a splash by breaking his maiden with a nice-looking 2 1/2-length victory in the Great White Way Division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series over a sloppy, sealed racetrack.

Returning to action 28 days later on Sunday for the third start of his young career, the bay Posse gelding scored a second straight stakes victory in Aqueduct’s $100,000 Rego Park for newly-minted New York-bred 3-year-olds after managing to overcome the adversity of a stumbling start.

Reunited with Dylan Davis, his Great White Way pilot, Blindwillie McTell was was bet down to even money by post time, despite the robust field of nine that remained after the scratches of Strive for a Cure and Bustin to Be Loved. The wagering public seemed confident that he could stretch his speed out from 6 to 6 1/2 furlongs and would only improve while making in his first career start on “fast” dirt track.

The controlling speed on paper from post two, Blindwillie McTell ended up plenty of company on the front end after he nearly went to his knees after the bell.

Bydawnsearlylight (31-1) was hustled to the front from his inside post, while Blindwillie McTell neatly got his feet back under him and pressed in the two-path. Directly to their outside Funny Guy (37-1) and Show Prince (44-1) also joined the battle. Kadens Courage (Frost Giant) tucked in behind the vanguard in fifth as the opening quarter-mile went in 22.63.

Bydawnsearlylight began to fade in the approach to the far turn, leaving Blindwillie McTell to take the field into the bend but he was still dogged by Funny Guy and Show Prince. Also, late in the bend the white-faced Kadens Courage, third in the Great White Way, rode the rail into second.

NYRA/Elsa Lorieul

In upper stretch Blindwillie McTell kicked two lengths clear, but Kadens Courage seemed determined to make a horse race out of it. Tipping out and fully extended under leading jockey Manny Franco, Kadens Courage managed to erode Blindwillie McTell’s advantage in the lane, but could not quite get to his rival, who crossed the finish line a three-quarter-length winner. Another 1 1/4 lengths behind the top two Thorny Tale, the Great White Way runner-up, got his neck on front of Show Prince to win a photo for third.

Crossing the finish line next in order were Kazmania, Tiergan, Just Right, Funny Guy and Bydawnsearlylight. Blindwillie McTell completed the half in 46.28, three quarters in 1:12.01 and stopped the clock at 1:18.99 after 6 1/2 furlongs. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Jockey Dylan Davis recounted a tale of resorting to “Plan B,” after Blindwillie McTell’s tough start and then having to guide this lightly-raced runner though a new set of circumstances.

“The first plan was to come out running,” Davis said. “He won [the Great White Way] coming off the pace; that was the second plan. He took a little stumble out of there and got me a little worried, but I got him into gear, and he put himself right there. I was a little worried about being in-between horses, but he handled it well. He put away [Bydawnsearlylight] to the inside and then was going his own way.”

Davis concluded, “This horse loves pressure. He loves the horses being with him and he’s a fighter. He finds extra gears. I was a little worried because in the turn, he got a little relaxed. But when the horses came up to him, he found [a way].”

Rice commented, “Fortunately, Dylan [Davis] was able to stay on after the break. He was very game today. It was a good effort we wanted him to be up front early, and thankfully after the break Dylan was able to put him in a position to get up front. I don’t think he’s necessarily a horse that needs the lead. His first race he sat off the pace and made a late run.

As to the future, Rice said, “Going forward, I still think he’s a horse that may be able to stretch out. We’re just going to enjoy this win right now and weigh our options at a distance somewhere between six furlongs to a mile.”

Foaled at Rockridge Stud in Hudson, Blindwillie McTell is out of Bold Child, a Pennsylvania-bred mare by Flatter who earned a stakes placing as a juvenile. Bold Child has produced five winners from five foals to start led by Young Anna Lee, a full sister to Blindwillie McTell, who finished second in the Lynbrook Stakes in 2015.

Bold Child, who was originally purchased by trainer Tim Hills for $30,000 at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic selected yearling sale, has also produced a juvenile full brother to Blindwillie McTell named Blackjack Davey, a short yearling colt by Freud named Thunderbird Cafe and was bred back to Freud in 2018.


Honor Up charges home to capture Say Florida Sandy Stakes

Saturday, January 12th, 2019

NYRA/Elsa Lorieul

By Sarah Mace

Trainer Michelle Nevin, who won last year’s inaugural $100,000 Say Florida Sandy Stakes for older New York-breds with My Boy Tate, enjoyed a repeat trip to the winner’s circle Saturday after the second running of the race courtesy of Honor Up. Owned by Saratoga Seven Racing Partners LLC, the 4-year-old colt by To Honor and Serve captured his first career stakes victory with an energetic stretch rally under Manny Franco.

Honor Up began his career in the barn of Bill Mott, for whom he broke his maiden at fifth asking at Aqueduct on December 9, 2017, and collected a first-level state-bred allowance score routing on grass this past July 11 at Belmont.

Moving his tack to Nevin’s barn after the 2018 Saratoga meet, Honor Up returned to longer dirt sprints and produced three sharp efforts to close out the year. He won a 7-furlong second level state-bred allowance race over “good” going on October 12, and finished second and first, respectively, in a pair of open allowance races, at seven and 6 1/2 furlongs in November and December.

Honor Up came into the Say Florida Sandy armed with a best-of-ten bullet work at a half-mile on January 4, drawn advantageously to the outside and ready to take things to the next level as the 5-2 second choice in the betting. Seven formidable rivals awaited, however, led by five-time stakes winner Gold For the King, the even-money favorite. Also projected to be in the mix was a resurgent Syndergaard (6-1), who flashed great talent as a juvenile for Todd Pletcher and, on December 15, found his way back to the winner’s circle following a win-drought dating back to 2016 for John Terranova.

For the first half-mile, Honor Up was content to save ground near the back of the field with only the late-running Celtic Chaos beaten. Meanwhile 17-1 Royal Asset and 30-1 longshot Jewel Can Disco took on pacesetting duties, trading off the lead as Syndergaard pursued in third. The early fractions, as anticipated, were sharp: 22.75 and 46.13.

Coming off the fence to navigate the far turn three-to-four paths wide, Honor Up worked his way up into fifth, while Royal Asset and Syndergaard now battled for the lead on even terms.

NYRA/Viola Jasko

At the head of the lane and widest of all, Honor Up still had work to do with four contenders to his inside to pass: Syndergaard, who poked his head in front of Royal Asset at the rail at the three-sixteenths marker, Morning Breeze three-wide and Gold For the King looking for running room behind them in fourth.

Syndergaard kicked clear by a length, but Honor Up was moving best of all on the grandstand side. After passing the first three, he collared a game Syndergaard in the final sixteenth to get victory by a neck. Gold for the King, clear at last, got up for third at the fence 1 3/4 lengths back. Completing the order of finish were Morning Breez, Celtic Chaos, Royal Asset, Winston’s Chance and Jewel Can Disco.

After six panels in 1:11.03, Honor Up completed the seven furlongs over Aqueduct’s fast main track in 1:23.56. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Winning jockey Manny Franco described a picture-perfect trip aboard a mount he has come to know in the mornings. “He’s a nice horse,” said Franco. “I’ve been working him in the mornings, and I liked how he’s been coming along. I just followed the instructions. Michelle [Nevin] told me to break well and settle from our outside post to see how the race developed. I dropped him to the inside and waited as long as I could. When we got clear and I asked him, he was there for me. I knew I was going to get there in the end because in the beginning of the race, he was so relaxed. Once we got into the clear in the stretch, he was game.”

Added Nevin, “There was plenty of speed and Manny [Franco] was able to get him tucked in behind them. He was just sitting in a perfect spot, wheeled him out, and when he asked him to go, he responded really well.”

Syndergaard’s jockey Rajiv Maragh praised his own mount’s effort, who was in the fight throughout and seems to be finding a second lease on life in the Terranova barn.

“He didn’t deserve to lose, he ran so good,” Maragh said. “I just wanted to put him where he was traveling well, and he was always well within himself. Down the backstretch he was in a great spot and traveling nice and he was very comfortable. He kicked hard and the other horse [Honor Up] had to run really hard to beat me.”

Bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd and foaled at Vivien Malloy’s Edition Farm in Hyde Park, Honor Up is out of Unobstructed View, a Florida-bred daughter of Yes It’s True who was graded stakes-placed and stakes-placed as a juvenile. Of her five winning offspring, Honor Up is her second stakes winner, following in the hoofprints of his Kentucky-bred full brother Blueridge Traveler who has bankrolled $319,000.

Saratoga Seven Racing Partners purchased Honor Up at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton preferred New York yearling sale for $65,000 from the Gainesway consignment. In 14 career starts the 4-year-old has earned $276,388 from five wins, three seconds and a third.


Kathryn the Wise sparkles in La Verdad Stakes

Saturday, January 5th, 2019

NYRA/Elsa Lorieul

By Sarah Mace

Lawrence Goichman’s 6-year-old homebred Kathryn the Wise (Uncle Mo), who has been steadily rounding back into form following a 17-month break, delivered a dazzler at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday: a dominant 10-plus-length victory over sloppy going in the featured $100,000 La Verdad Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares.

Trained by Chad Brown, Kathryn the Wise has been something special from the beginning, but has had difficulty putting races together back-to-back.

In her debut and lone start at three at Aqueduct on November 25, 2016, Kathryn the Wise aired by 5 1/2 lengths in a state-bred maiden special weight. Returning to competition the following spring the handsome mare only managed to make two 2017 starts, but won the pair by a combined 20 1/4 lengths – a first-level state-bred allowance by 12 lengths at Aqueduct on April 5, then the lucrative one-mile Critical Eye at Belmont by 8 1/4 lengths in her stakes debut. Unfortunately, she was not seen again until fall 2018.

Heavily favored in open allowances in October and November, Kathryn the Wise experienced her first tastes of defeat, settling for a fourth and second, respectively, but put in solid efforts both times, particularly on November 29 when she ran second to the formidable Dawn the Destroyer.

NYRA/Susie Raisher

Bettors Saturday showed that they had not lost faith Kathryn the Wise’s magic. Heavily favored in all five prior starts, she was again sent off as the top choice odds of 8-5 in a high quality field filled with both talent and speed. A previous win at a mile meant the 7-furlong distance of the La Verdad posed no problem, and the mare was a perfect two-for-to over off-going.

Jockey Manny Franco got Kathryn the Wise out of the gate in a hurry and, by the time she completed the opening quarter in 23:10, Kathryn the Wise was a full length ahead of 9-5 second choice, Chester and Mary Broman homebred Pauseforthecause.

Pauseforthecause kept chasing with intent along the backstretch and gained some ground around the far turn, but was ultimately no match. By the quarter pole Kathryn the Wise was comfortably in control and bee-lined toward the wire several paths off the soupiest inside portion of the track.

Kathryn the Wise poured it on in the stretch, widening her advantage with every stride and crossing the finish line all alone, a 10 3/4-length winner. After a half-mile in 46.47 and six furlongs in 1:12.24, she completed seven furlongs over the sloppy, sealed racetrack in 1:25.22

Playinwiththeboys (22-1) vied with – and bested – Pauseforthecause in a battle for second by a neck. Next under the wire in order of finish were: Starlite Mission, Sunset Ridge, Palladian Bridge, Silly Sister and Byself. Scratched were a second Broman homebred, Out of Orbit, and Dream Maker Racing’s Satisfy, a likely contender. [VIDEO REPLAY]

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Manny Franco, aboard Kathryn the Wise for the first time (replacing regular jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. who is currently riding at Gulfstream Park) said, “She was ready. I came out of there good and put her on the lead, because I talked to Chad [Brown] and he told me to go for it. She was so comfortable in front and she was there for me. I just [urged] her one time, and as soon as I did, she just took off. I had a lot of horse under me.”

Chad Brown assistant Whit Beckman said, “She likes the slop, and she performed in it today. The plan was to see if she could get to the lead easily and she did just that. She rated up front nicely and kicked away when asked.”

Given the mare’s history, Beckman sounded a cautious note about predicting the Kathryn the Wise’s next start, saying, “[It was a] good performance from her to start the year and we’ll see how she comes out it before deciding what’s next.”

From four victories in six starts with one runner-up finish Kathryn the Wise has already earned $263,000.

Kathryn the Wise, who was foaled at Vivien Malloy’s Edition Farm, is the most recent reported foal of three offspring produced by Goichman homebred Shea d’Lady, all of whom are winners. Her third dam, unraced Kentucky-bred Elhasna (Danzig), was purchased by Goichman at the 2002 Keeneland January sale for $92,000.