NEWS: racing

Fifty Five kicks off 5-year-old campaign with Plenty of Grace score

Sunday, April 14th, 2019

NYRA/Elsa Lorieul

By Sarah Mace

Peter Brant’s ultra-consistent Fifty Five successfully launched her 5-year-old campaign at Aqueduct Racetrack Sunday with an authoritative victory in the fifth edition of the $100,000 Plenty of Grace, a one-mile turf contest

Trained by Chad Brown, Fifty Five followed a familiar playbook coming into the race. The daughter of Get Stormy concluded both 2017 and 2018 campaigns with a one-length victory in the Ticonderoga Stakes on Empire Showcase Day. Following a winter freshening, she returned both years in the Plenty of Grace and, both times, drew the rail in a field of five. In 2018, however, she had to play second fiddle and runner-up to her stablemate Uni, who won the race under Irad Ortiz, Jr. before going on to become a Grade 1 Matriarch winner. This year, Uni was not in the picture and Fifty Five was teamed up with Ortiz. The pair was favored to win at 50 cents on the dollar.

Exiting the gate uneventfully, Fifty Five – a confirmed closer – assumed her customary position at the tail end of the group, about five lengths off Coffee Crush, who carved out honest early fractions of 23.44 and 47.55.

Relaxed at the fence along the backstretch, Fifty Five waited until the turn to launch her bid, coming off the rail. Splitting horses and advancing into second late in the bend, she drew a bead on the pacesetter once she straightened away.

Powering to the front in mid-stretch, Fifty Five cruised to a 1 3/4-length victory in a final time of 1:36.10 over the “good” turf.

The competition for the remaining spots behind the winner was fierce. Ultimately, New York-bred Conquest Hardcandy, who saved ground throughout, earned second after a determined drive, finishing a half-length ahead of Coffee Crush. A neck back Thais (also running for Brant and Brown) finished fourth. Silent Sonet completed the order of finish. A pair of MTOs – New York-bred Frostie Anne and Crimson Frost – were scratched.

Coglianese Photos

“Everything went perfect for her,” Ortiz said. “She went easy and there was not too much traffic. Never had to stop, she had horse, so it was really easy. She always tries, she’s honest and does everything right.”

Chad Brown, for whom this was a fourth consecutive training victory in the Plenty of Grace, said, “[Fifty Five] had a good trip. Irad rode her beautiful. She had been training super. My crew at Payson Park, assistant Luis Cabrera and his team, really did a great job over the winter. She looks great. It was a good first race back. She should move forward off of it.”

For Fifty Five’s next start Brown is eyeing the Mount Vernon on the Big Apple Showcase card at Belmont on the Memorial Day, May 27: “We know she loves Belmont, so we’ll probably go there next. After that, everything is in play. She’s certainly fast enough and good enough to win in open company, she’s proven that before.”

Dylan Davis, aboard runner up Conquest Hardcandy, commented “She likes to be aggressively ridden but the pace was pretty quick. She put herself in a great spot and saved ground both turns. We got through a nice tip and got up to finish second. She ran a great race, looking forward to seeing what she can do later on.”

As honest and consistent as they come, Fifty Five has won five of her last eight starts, eight races in all and finished on the board in sixteen of seventeen career outings. Winner of her lone start at two on November 1, 2016, she took the Grade 3 Florida Oaks in stakes-record time and restricted Ticonderoga Stakes at three. At four Fifty Five annexed the John Hettinger and repeated in the Ticonderoga. Her earnings currently stand at $716,288.

Bred by John and Sandy Crowe’s Empire Equines and foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, Fifty Five is one of two winners out of Empire’s homebred mare Soave by Brahms out of New York-bred Cozzene mare Cozzekiki.

Fifty Five RNA’d for $24,000 at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sales only to emerge as Get Stormy’s first stakes winner when she won the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs. Brant purchased the filly privately from Empire Equines’ John Crowe after the Florida Oaks, which she won for trainer Tom Bush.


Laurel invader Pat’s No Fool outfoxes Maddie May bettors at 16-1

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

Dismissed by the betting public at odds of 16-1 in a field of 10, Harry J. Loso’s Pat’s No Fool scored a convincing victory in the $100,000 Maddie May Stakes for 3-year-old New York-bred fillies which was run at Aqueduct Sunday at a one-turn mile. Based at Laurel Park and meeting fellow New York-breds for the first time, the grey daughter of Cross Traffic bested the competition with an impressive middle move and admirable staying power in the stretch in her stakes debut.

Drawn in post two under regular rider Jevian Toledo, Pat’s No Fool lingered among the back markers in the early stages, coming six or seven paths off the rail and into the clear for the trip along the chute and backstretch. Up front 4-1 Flush was away first from post eight, but 2-1 favorite Shelley Ann charged up to her inside to strike the lead and set early fractions of a quarter and half in 23.81 and 48.26.

Pat’s No Fool drew the eye when she accelerated as the field approached the far turn and gained a spot. Midway round the bend, in the matter of just a few strides, she engaged her five remaining rivals, struck the front and entered the stretch in full control after three-quarters went in 1:15.14. In upper stretch she drew away to lead by four lengths.

As anticipated for such a speed-laden field, things looked like they could get interesting in the dash to the wire. As the closers made their bids, however, Pat’s No Fool opened up her stride, and was not seriously threatened by the time she crossed the wire with a 3/4-length cushion in a final time of 1:41.80 over the good (harrowed) Aqueduct main track.

Wadidli Princess, who made her run on the outside, and Elegant Zip, who surged at the rail, finished noses apart in second and third. Another 1 1/4 lengths back Today Comes Once completed the superfecta. Next across the line were Cheatham Hill, Flush, Intoxicologist, Saratoga Style, Shelley Ann and Maiden Beauty.

Jevian Toledo reported that Pat’s No Fool’s outside trip was (more or less) part of his strategy. “I was worried because I was a little bit wide, but I think she’s a better horse on the outside. I knew that if I was at little wide on the turn to the quarter pole, she was going to give me something, because she always picks it up in the last part, and that’s what she did. We got the job done.”

Toledo concluded, “It’s a long stretch. I knew she was going to give me something. At least she held on. You can’t ask for more than that.”

Pat’s No Fool, who is trained by Gary Capuano, did little running in her August 27 debut at Delaware, though well-backed at 2-1. She broke her maiden in her second start, when returning for her seasonal debut on February 23, wiring the field while stretching out from six furlongs to a mile at Laurel. Out of the gate slowly in her first try against winners on February 27 at Laurel, she ran a solid third.

Obviously delighted with the performance, Capuano said, “[Pat’s No Fool] has a lot of ability. We knew this was a New York-bred race, and she had been training super. We thought she had the talent. She’s a big, strong filly. She does everything right. She didn’t break as good as I thought, but she got the perfect setup. [Jevian Toledo] got her to the outside and made a nice sustained run and was able to hold off. This was a big effort. It was big.”

Pat’s No Fool was bred by Banahan Farms in partnership with Saratoga Glen Farm and is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Flipcup (Milwaukee Brew). Her dam Dream Affair is a Kentucky-bred Touch Gold mare Dream Affair, who issues from the family of Canadian juvenile champion Wavering Girl. Capuano purchased the filly for $35,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale. She now boasts a record of two wins and a third from four starts and has earned $82,545.

Dream Affair, who has produced six winners from six foals to start, entered the New York-bred program when purchased by Flipcup’s breeder Team Penney Racing for just $11,000 at the 2007 OBS Winter mixed sale.

An RNA at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton New York fall mixed sale when consigned by Saratoga Glen Farm, in 2013 she produced an unraced filly by Giant Surprise named Giant Dreams Await for a partnership of Team Penney and Banahan. The following year she foaled a winning Simmard gelding named Rochester bred by Banahan.

Currently Dream Affair has a yearling colt by Mineshaft bred by Saratoga Glen Farm LLC & Beals Racing Stable LLC. Dream Affair was bred in 2018 to Klimt.


Durkin’s Call much the best in Gander Stakes

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Durkin’s Call, a recent private purchase by Wachtel Stable, Peter Deutsch and Christopher Dunn, proved his mettle for his new connections Sunday at the Big A when he made his stakes debut in the $100,000 Gander Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds. Sent off as the even-money favorite, the Jump Start gelding rallied from off the pace and found another gear in the stretch to win by more than seven lengths going away.

Breaking cleanly from his outside post under Junior Alvarado, Durkin’s Call raced along the backstretch and into the turn well off the fence while trading third and fourth position with Kadens Courage.

Four lengths ahead, Kosciuszko set the pace, pressed along by Pipes through an opening quarter mile in 23.84 and a half in 46.87. Traveling three deep around the far turn, Durkin’s Call advanced into second as six furlongs went by in 1:12.01.

Asked for more run in upper stretch, Durkin’s Call overhauled Kosciuszko with less than a furlong to go, then found an entirely new gear, drawing off impressively to cross the wire a 7 1/4-length winner. Kosciuszko, who hung on for second, finished a neck ahead of Pipes in third, while Kaden’s Courage completed the order of finish. The final time for the mile was 1:37.90. [VIDEO REPLAY]

According to Mott’s assistant Leanna Willaford, after Durkin’s Call relocated from trainer Mike Trombetta to Bill Mott’s barn when he changed hands, he built on a strong foundation and adjusted nicely.

NYRA/Susie Raisher

“We’ve had him for about a month or so in the barn and he had been working well heading into this race,” Willaford said. “It was our first time running him, but we were happy with him. He had good prior form and he was training well.”

Junior Alvarado said, “I worked him three times since they got him in the barn. I was expecting something like he did today. He worked against other nice horses in the barn and he was better than them. I was expecting this type of run, but you have to see if they can transfer morning workouts to the races. He did.”

As to race strategy, Willaford said, “It looked like there were one or two horses in the field that might show a little speed, but he [Durkin’s Call] is very ratable, so I just relayed that to Junior and he gave him an excellent ride and it worked out.”

Alvarado added “I was waiting and by the three-eighths pole I had to make a little move just to make sure to keep the other horses right there, where I wanted them to be. Turning for home, I put him outside in the clear and asked him. After a few strides, he finished strong. He galloped out really good. We should have some fun with him going a mile an eighth; it shouldn’t be a problem at all for him.”

Unplaced in his first four races at two, including two grass starts, and dangled once for a $50,000 tag at Saratoga, Durkin’s Call shipped to Laurel to break his maiden, where he aired by more than eight lengths going one mile. After that initial win, he hasn’t run a bad race, finishing on the board three times in three starts, all the while racing in open company. In his previous start on February 1 he won an optional claiming/starter’s allowance contest at the same trip as the Gander.

Bred by Richard Zwirn, Kay Zwirn and Richard Golden, Durkin’s call was purchased by Trombetta for only $4,000. The stakes winner has now earned $142,325 from three wins, a second and a third in nine starts. The gelding’s dam is Feelin Abit Frisky, a winning Kentucky-bred daughter of Posse, who has produced three winners from three foals to start. She has a yearling colt by Strong Mandate and was bred in 2018 to Tu Brutus (CHI).


Startwithsilver tops Rice quartet in Correction Stakes

Saturday, March 16th, 2019

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

The odds were that, with four entries in a field of six older fillies and mares, Linda Rice would take a trip to the winner’s circle after Aqueduct’s featured $100,000 Correction Stakes. In the end it was her lone New York-bred who took her there.

Lady Sheila Stable and Iris Smith Stable’s Startwithsilver (Jump Start), whose late-running style fit the race shape to a tee, mounted a perfectly-timed rally to win the race from off the pace by a neck.

Third in the 2018 renewal of the six-furlong Correction to Sounds Delicious – also a Rice-trainee who was back this year to defend her title – 6-year-old Startwithsilver was looking for her first win since last April 8, when she annexed an open second-level allowance race. The grey’s strong record at Aqueduct, where she had won four of six starts, along with a closing style in a speed-laden field, drew the support of bettors, who sent her off as the 5-2 second choice under Junior Alvarado, who had piloted her to three prior wins, including the Broadway Stakes last year.

In the early stages Startwithsilver raced at the rear of the field in tandem with relative longshot Honor Way, while speedy fellow-New York-bred Filibustin shot to the front from her outside post, leading the field by a length through an opening quarter in 22.64.

As the field made its way along the backstretch and around the far turn, the first flight closed ranks on Filibustin. Once the half went in 46.28, Sower and Sounds Delicious lined up with the leader across the track.

Startwithsilver, now in fifth with a five-length deficit to make up, began to forge a path to the finish line eight-wide. In a perfectly timed move by Alvarado, she struck the lead in the final sixteenth before going on to win by a neck in a final time of 1.11.19. Yorkipoo Princess closed into second, while Sounds Delicious stayed on for third. Completing the order of finish were Sower, Honor Way and pacesetter Filibustin. [VIDEO REPLAY].

Startwithsilver began her 6-year-old year finishing fifth in the Broadway Stakes on February 16. The supposition that she needed the start after eight months on the bench, was confirmed by Rice, who added that she believed the mare was primed for a big effort in the Correction.

“The last race [Startwithsilver] ran, I had her at around 80 percent ready,” Rice said. “She ran decent, but I knew she was ready today. I thought we might have a wet track, which she loves running on. We didn’t get it, but I was really impressed with the way she ran on a dry track the way she did.”

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Alvarado commented, “I had to play it by ear. I didn’t want to leave her with too much to do. At the same time, she’s one of the only horses in the field that likes to run from behind, so I kind of had to sit early and hope for a fast pace.”

He continued, “They were moving, but they weren’t really going that fast up front, so that’s why she wasn’t too far back. I tried to save some ground and when I put her in the clear she started picking it up and giving me a nice run. She likes to run on the outside and I always have to time it with her, because sometimes when she gets to the lead, she gets a little lost. She did everything right today and we got there in time.”

Startwithsilver began her career on the green, making 11 of her first 13 starts on grass – and with good reason: her dam Office Miss won three turf stakes. In her fourteenth start at the beginning of her 5-year-old campaign the grey made a full transition to dirt sprints and found a niche for herself. She won through her state-bred second-level allowance condition and won last year’s Broadway Stakes in her stakes debut with a last-to-first move. She also collected placings in last year’s Correction and Pimlico’s Skipat Stakes.

Bred by Burning Sands Stable and foaled at Rockridge Stud in Hudson, Startwithsilver, was purchased as a yearling by Raul Reyes’ Kings Equine at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall sale for $32,000. Rice picked her up at the 2015 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Spring sale of 2-year-olds in training for $180,000. She is the final reported foal for her dam Office Miss, who produced five winners in all.

Startwithsilver’s record now stands at seven wins, five seconds and three thirds from 21 starts, with $412,059 in earnings.



Favored Somelikeithotbrown obliges backers in Jeff Ruby Steaks

Saturday, March 9th, 2019

Coady Photography

By Sarah Mace

Tabbed as the “horse to beat” in the 1 1/8 mile Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks for 3-year-olds over the Turfway Park Polytrack Saturday and sent off as the overwhelming 3-5 post time favorite of in the field of 11, Somelikeithotbrown obliged his backers and connections alike with a 3 3/4-length victory.

The Jeff Ruby, a stop on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” gives the bay colt, who is sired by Kentucky Derby winner and New York sire and Big Brown (Irish Hill & Dutchess Views Stallions), 20 points toward a berth in the Churchill Downs starting gate on the first Saturday in May.

Following turf successes as a juvenile for Mike Maker, who trains for co-owners Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable, Somelikeithotbrown flashed talent in his first try on Polytrack. On February 15 in his sophomore debut he won Turfway’s local prep for the Jeff Ruby – the $75,000 John Battaglia Memorial – by more than three lengths under Rafael Hernandez. On Saturday, he was paired for the first time with Gulfstream-based jockey Tyler Gaffalione, after posting an interim 5-furlong maintenance drill at Turfway on March 2.

Breaking on the muscle from post 10, Somelikeithotbrown vied early with Five Star General for the lead and and struck the front as the top two powered through early fractions of 23.61 and 47.03.

Maintaining a comfortable one-length advantage over the competition along the backstretch and around the far turn, Somelikeithotbrown drew off in the stretch after a quick six furlongs in 1:10.78. He went on to secure 3 3/4-length victory in a final time of 1:52.05. Although he did not have to face a serious challenge from any of his rivals, the colt did a good deal of wandering in and out in the late stages of the race as he did in the Battaglia. As in the prep, he was far enough ahead late that there was no price to pay. Dynamic Racer, Battaglia runner-up finished second, while Moonster rallied from well back for third.

Coady Photograhy

Debuting off-the-board at Saratoga in an off-the-turf sprint race, Somelikeithotbrown has not finished out of the money in six subsequent starts, while keeping formidable company.

Second out at Spa Somelikeithotbrown came from far back to blow away his rivals by eight lengths while stretching out all the way out from 5 1/2 to 9 furlongs. Launching the stakes portion of his career, he came up just short of Opry to finish second in the Grade 3 With Anticipation at Saratoga, then finished second by three-quarters of a length when collared in the Grade 3 Pilgrim. Somelikeithotbrown wrapped up his juvenile campaign with a game third in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Somelikeithotbrown’s first graded score in the Jeff Ruby brings his earnings total to $363,478 with three wins two seconds and a third in seven starts.

Bred by Hot Pink Stables and co-owner Sand Dollar Stable and foaled at Sequel Stallions New York, Somelikeithotbrown’s name 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.


Espresso Shot carries juvenile momentum into sophomore year with Busher score

Saturday, March 9th, 2019

NYRA/Jasko Viola

By Sarah Mace

Espresso Shot (Mission Impazible), winner of the East View Stakes in her juvenile finale, got her sophomore campaign off to rousing start when she passed rivals in the stretch to win the $250,000 Busher Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct Saturday.

Campaigned by NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Maspeth Stable, Espresso shot earned 50 qualifying points toward a start in the Kentucky Oaks. This was the second year in a row that a New York-bred found the Busher’s winner’s circle, after Midnight Disguise rallied to win the race last year.

The 4-1 third choice in the robust field of 10, Espresso Shot exited the gate cleanly to go the one-turn mile under jockey Eric Cancel, the same trip and rider as the East View.

The bay filly was content to occupy the rear guard in the early stages of the race while Excess Capacity led the way through an opening quarter in 23.51, and was joined on her outside by Filly Joel, Please Flatter Me and Orra Moor.

Coming off the rail on the backstretch and gaining a couple of spots on the closely-bunched group, Espresso Shot went three-wide in the far turn. Up front, as the half went in 46.58, Excess Capacity yielded the lead to Filly Joel.

Advancing into contention by the quarter pole and widest of four fillies stacked up across the track, Espresso Shot moved in tandem with a fifth contender Oxy Lady. Both had Please Flatter Me, Orra Moor and Filly Joel Still to run down after six furlongs ticked by in 1:11.44.

Wearing down her rivals, Espresso Shot struck the front just in advance of the sixteenth pole and edged off to win by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 1:37.69.

The stewards were called upon to adjudicate an incident in the stretch when Oxy Lady had to check in close quarters around the three-sixteenths pole, but there was no change in the order of finish. Oxy Lady ended up second, 3-2 favorite Orra Moor finished a head back in third, followed by Please Flatter Me, another head back. Completing the order of finish were Filly Joel, Enliven, Dovey Lovey, Excess Capacity and Ujjayi. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“To be honest, I had a wonderful trip,” said jockey Eric Cancel. “I had it all planned out in my mind. I mean, it worked very well. The filly broke there with them. I was just trying to get her to a comfortable position, where we were both happy. I did have the trip, once I started getting closer to the three-eighths, I just swung her out a little bit, and just let her cruise around. Once I got to the quarter pole, it was ‘let’s go.’

Cancel added, “I was very confident. [Trainer] Jorge Abreu knows what he’s doing; he does a good job. She’s a very talented filly. I didn’t have any doubt that I had a shot to win the race.”

Speaking for the large group of partners that crowded the winner’s circle after Expresso Shot’s victory, Daniel Zanatta, managing partner NY Final Furlong Racing Stable, said, “It’s so exciting to go from winning a [restricted] stakes with a New York-bred to come into open company and basically ensure a spot in the Kentucky Oaks. It’s pretty special. We only buy New York-bred fillies. My dream is not to win the Kentucky Derby, my dream is to win the Kentucky Oaks with a New York-bred filly, and we’re on our way, so it’s very exciting.”

Zanatta continued, “”We were one of the first owners with Jorge Abreu two years ago. We’ve done fantastic with him. He helped us pick this filly out along with Brandon and Ally Rice. She’s never missed a beat. She’s been on the track training as a 2-year-old since April 1 and she’s never missed a breeze. She trained perfectly, and it’s great to get this big win with a young trainer just starting out. We were all in the winner’s circle jumping up and down and to have her come wide and be six or seven lengths off of it, it was the best way to win a stakes race.”

In six career starts Espresso Shot has only had one sub-par outing. Third on debut at Saratoga on August 16 in a turf sprint, the bay came back on September 14 to break her maiden going 1 1/16 miles in an off-the-turf event. Following a tough outing in the Grade 2 Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland where she finished last after being steadied in the first turn, Expresso Shot aced the Key Cents stakes before a brief freshening at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Florida. From three wins, a second and a third the filly has earned $262,975.

Bred by Twin Creeks Farm and sired by New York-based third-crop sire Mission Impazible (Sequel Stallions), Expresso Shot is out of Glory Gold, a winning daughter of Medaglia d’Oro bred in New York by Dr. Lance G. Bell. Glory Gold was purchased by Twin Creeks Farm for $125,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale and has since changed hands twice, most recently when snapped up by Final Furlong Racing for $13,000 at this year’s renewal of the same sale. On February 14, 2019 she foaled a filly by Firing Line.

Espresso Shot, originally sold as a short yearling at the 2017 Keeneland January Sale for $22,000, before being purchased later that year by Final Furlong Racing for $69,000 at the Fasig-Tipton preferred New York-bred yearling sale in Saratoga.


No obstacles in the path to a perfect record for Stonesintheroad in Franklin Square

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Stonesintheroad, a homebred for Shirl and Mary Ann Penney’s Team Penney Racing, drove her race record to a perfect three-for-three at the Big A on Saturday when she went straight to the front and never looked back in the featured $100,000 Franklin Square for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies.

A chestnut daughter of New York sire Bustin Stones (Waldorf Farm), Stonesintheroad came into the Franklin Square following a pair of good-looking wins by a combined 10 1/4 lengths to begin her career for trainer Jeremiah Englehart.

Debuting at 5 1/2 furlongs at Aqueduct on December 30, she stalked and pounced over “good” going to win a New York-bred maiden special by four lengths. Taking on allowance foes at six furlongs at the same venue on February 3, she made it look even easier, wiring the overmatched field by 6 1/4.

In the Franklin Square Stonesintheroad was sent out for the third straight time as the betting favorite (9-5), despite the stiffer competition, which included undefeated New York Stallion Stakes Fifth Avenue winner Forgotten Hero (8-5) and Flush, a promising youngster trained by Kiaran McLaughlin fresh off a 7 1/2-length maiden-breaking rout on January 11 (2-1).

Flush got out of the gate first from her outside post under Junior Alvarado, but in short order Stonesintheroad darted up along the rail to take over. She led the field through the early splits at a good clip (22.91, 46.12) with Flush pursing a length back second.

NYRA/Susie Raisher

In the far turn Flush made a bid, getting as far as the throatlatch of Stonesintheroad, but the menace was short-lived. Once the field straightened away for the stretch, Stonesintheroad kicked clear and widened her advantage, winning by an uncontested 3 3/4 lengths.

Longshot Wadadli Princess (16-1) outran her odds to finish second, rallying nicely in the lane to nip Flush. Following Flush in order were Maiden Beauty, Quietude and Forgotten Hero, who started poorly. The final time for six furlongs over the fast going was a strong 1:10.66.

Jockey Rajiv Maragh, who had previously ridden both Stonesintheroad and Forgotten Hero and took the former as his first call, said, “I’m very high on this horse, and from the mornings to the races, she’s shown us a lot of ability. We think she can be a special sprinter. She’s really fast naturally, and she got to the lead and got relaxed on the lead. She wasn’t over-pursuing it, so I was really happy. It felt like she was in a good flow and was going to have something left to finish, and she did.”

Englehart feels that with Stonesintheroad the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. “This is a very quick filly. She reminds me a lot of her dad [Bustin Stones] and watching her dad run,” said the conditioner. “She’s quick out of there and she can take it to them early. In her first start, she sat off the early leader and passed her. She’s very versatile and she really enjoys what she’s doing.”

Stonesintheroad, who was foaled at Waldorf Farm in North Chatham, where her sire stands stud, is out of Dixie Talent, an unraced Dixie Union mare who was purchased by Team Penney Racing for $30,000 at the 2008 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Dixie Talent has produced six winners from nine foals to start and Stonesintheroad is her first to earn black type. Her top earner is A Shin Ranger by Read the Footnotes, who has bankrolled over $550,000 in Japan. She has a juvenile filly by Big Brown, did not bring a foal to term in 2018 and 2019 and has been already bred back this year to Bustin Stones.

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.