Silver Skillet skips to Mount Vernon win; Spirit of St Louis wins the Kingston

June 9th, 2024

Silver Skillet dominates the off-the-turf Mount Vernon. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

Christophe Clement heard the rain. Then he saw the rain. He didn’t care either way, Silver Skillet was running, rain or shine, turf or dirt. 

Silver Skillet showed she could handle either in her first 12 starts and did so again on Sunday’s New York Showcase Day card to close the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course. The 4-year-old daughter of Liam’s Map, a stakes winner in New York-bred company and placed in open stakes last year, added another stakes victory in the off-the-turf $125,000 Mount Vernon.

Joel Rosario rode Silver Skillet to her front-running score, finishing 4 lengths clear of Stonewall Star with 8-5 favorite Tough Street third in the scratched-down field of six. 

“She likes a wet track,” Clement said after the win. “She has run well before on a wet track. She was a little bit unlucky first time back at Aqueduct on the grass. She’s trained well. I just told Joel to break well and make it simple. And she broke well and he made it simple.”

Silver Skillet took command from the start, opening up 2 lengths through the opening quarter-mile in :24.31 and Rosario put his five rivals to bed from there. 

“With a sloppy track, we get in a position and see where we’re at,” Rosario said. “It looked like she showed a lot of speed and I was able to just go to the front and let her do what she wants to do.”

Silver Skillet continued to lead without pressure through the half in :47.35 and 6 furlongs in 1:11.21. She turned for home well in front and opened up 2 lengths in midstretch. Silver Skillet cruised from there, winning under a hand ride after on tap of Rosario’s right-handed whip in deep stretch. Silver Skillet won in 1:37.55. 

Silver Skillet improved to 2-for 4 on a wet track, adding the Mount Vernon to a 14 ½-length maiden win in December 2022. 

“She ran before on this kind of track and has run very well,” Rosario said. “Today, she proved that she’s OK with this track. You never know because (when a race comes off the turf) you could lose the speed of the race. We just try to get a good spot in the beginning and I was hoping to be close on the pace. I just tried to ride it from there.” – Tom Law

Sprit of St Louis handles off going to win Kingston to close New York Showcase Day card. NYRA Photo.

• Spirit of St Louis owner Michael Dubb didn’t have a stressful weekend.

He was only stressed before the Belmont Stakes festival started when he saw the thunderstorms scheduled for the weekend but other than that, there was no stress.

There definitely wasn’t any stress when he was standing in the winner’s circle after his New York-bred Spirit of St Louis won the $125,000 Kingston Stakes to close out the New York Showcase Day at Saratoga.

“I’ve been coming to Saratoga for 50 years and I’ve never had an experience like this in Saratoga,” Dubb said. “On Thursday when I arrived, I said ‘It’s a little awkward to be here.’ When I left Thursday afternoon, I said ‘Oh my God, this is unbelievable. I wish we could do this all the time.’ ”

Due to rain Sunday morning, the usual 1 1/16 mile turf race was moved to the dirt track for a muddy mile. It didn’t seem to bother the Chad Brown-trained 4-5 favorite.

Jockey Manny Franco put the son of Medaglia d’Oro near the lead in the shortened five-horse field and surged coming out of the final turn, passing Jerry the Nipper and Disarmed. From there, the race became how about the winning margin.

“He’s a good, consistent horse,” Brown said. “He’s effective on the dirt, particularly when it’s wet. He’s a real pleasure to have and he just continues to improve.”

The 5-year-old posted a 1:37.44 time and added his seventh victory and fourth stakes win in nine starts. This was his first dirt victory since his debut at Aqueduct in early 2023.

“He does whatever you ask him to do,” Franco said. “From the turf to dirt, he is a nice horse. He is very nice. Every time I ask him, he is there. He’s a cool horse.”

Dubb, before answering questions, asked a question of his own: “Where’s the champagne room?”

“It’s just phenomenal,” Dubb said. “This is the best racing place on Earth.” Spencer Ripchik

Doc Sullivan delivers for Lostritto in Mike Lee; Clear the Runway: Landed wins Bouwerie

June 9th, 2024

Doc Sullivan and Javier Castellano roll to victory in Sunday’s Mike Lee at Saratoga. NYRA Photo.

As he celebrated Doc Sullivan’s win in the Mike Lee Stakes on New York Showcase Day at Saratoga Race Course Sunday, Joe Lostritto had one concern.

“This is the major league,” Lostritto said. “This is make believe. This is not real. I’ll wake up tomorrow and say, ‘What a hell of a dream I had.’ ”

Not to worry, Joe, it is indeed real and your horse is a stakes winner.

Doc Sullivan, a 3-year-old son of Solomini, enjoyed a perfect trip in the Saratoga slop under Javier Castellano, taking the lead at the three-eighths pole and gradually extending it down the stretch to win the $125,000 stakes by 4 lengths in 1:22.61.

“Once he got the lead, he looked really tough,” trainer Mike Miceli said. “He was laying in a good position down the backside. Javier had him within range. When he asked him to run, he had a lot of horse. I said to myself at the head of the lane, ‘they’re going to have to run to get by him because I could see Javier hadn’t asked him to run.’ ”

Castellano was relieved that his horse behaved better on the racetrack than in the paddock, when he was a bit obstreperous when being saddled.

“He kind of reacted a little bit in the walking ring when they put (the saddle) on,” he said. “But before the race he was well-behaved today. He warmed up really good.”

The fifth foal and first stakes winner out of Queen Frostine, Doc Sullivan was bred by Seamus Coughlan. He went for $58,000 as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton 2022 New York Bred sale and Lostritto and his son, Glenn, who race as Tristar Farm, bought him for $59,000 at last year’s OBS June 2-year-olds in training sale. Doc Sullivan became the latest stakes winner by Solomini, a 9-year-old son of Curlin who stands for $7,500 at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughreds in Saratoga Springs.

Lostritto, a former trainer who has a 50-acre farm in Old Brookville on Long Island, said the horse was named for a medical doctor friend of his and a professor his son had at Penn State. “I think he named him more after his professor than I named him after the doctor. But he was also a doctor of teaching,” he said.

Doc Sullivan broke his maiden and romped in an allowance at Aqueduct before running second in the Gander Stakes for New York-breds and the New York Stallion Series. He came back with a solid win in an allowance in his last start before the Mike Lee for Miceli, whose Saratoga entries always deserve a second look.

“You just have the right horses because this is always a tough place,” he said. “So we like to try to come here with a loaded gun.” – Paul Halloran

Landed gives her dam Glory Gold a second Showcase Day victory in Sunday’s Bouwerie Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Jetta Vaughns/NYRA Photo.

• Landed looks like she’s on her way to bigger and better things after her 1 1/4-length win in Sunday’s $125,000 Bouwerie Stakes for owner Lael Stable and trainer Wesley Ward. The 3-year-old filly by Omaha Beach broke well and sat close to the pace set by Sunday Girl on the backstretch through fractions of :22.15 and :44.83. Under jockey John Velazquez, Landed started to inch her way clear as the field arrived at the top of the stretch and was able to hold off the late rallies from Caldwell Luvs Gold and Tricky Temper to get her first stakes victory in 1:23.61 for the 7-furlong distance on the main track.

“I didn’t think I was going to be in the lead, but I wanted to make sure she came out running,” Velazquez said. “She was misbehaving a little bit in the gate. All of a sudden I was close to the lead and I just left her alone.”

Velazquez noted that Landed did have to regain concentration late in the stretch after she had opened a gap on her competition, but once she realized there was still work to do, she was all business.

“Coming down the lane, she’s by herself and easing up, and I said ‘OK, we’ve got to get focused here,’ ” Velazquez said. “I went left-handed and kind of drifted out a bit so she could feel the competition and then she did it pretty handily after that.”

Co-breeder Shaun Nettleton of Final Furlong Racing Stable was in the winner’s circle to celebrate the win after having already won as an owner with the filly’s half-sister, Venti Valentine, earlier on the card in the Critical Eye Stakes. As one can imagine, he was thrilled.

“It’s a true honor,” he said. “We bought the mare for $13,000 on a whim. We owned Espresso Shot who was a great New York runner, turned around and had Venti Valentine who has given us the ride of a lifetime, and now to watch her younger sibling just keep following those winning ways on the New York circuit, we are thrilled to support the family and couldn’t ask for any more.”

Nettleton hopes that Landed can make a step forward into deeper waters.

“It looks just like her sister Venti where she could start stepping into bigger shoes, step into an open competition and start stretching out and see what life has in store for her,” he said. “We are excited for the future.”

It certainly seems like the race for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies is going to be a stepping stone to Landed’s future.

“We’d love to get some open black-type for her, and she’s just the horse to do it,” Nettleton said. “She has a great ownership and trainers behind her, so we wish them the best of luck and we love it.”

Landed is out of the winning Medaglia d’Oro mare Glory Gold. Lael Stables purchased Landed for $500,000 at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings out of the Eaton Sales consignment. – Alec DiConza

Venti Valentine cruises to Critical Eye victory; Drake’s Passage wins Saratoga return in Commentator

June 9th, 2024

Venti Valentine shines on Showcase Day with victory in the Critical Eye. NYRA Photo.

Dan Zanatta and Vince Roth jumped from their seats in the Saratoga Race Course clubhouse and headed to the top of the stairs leading to the winner’s circle Sunday, patting each other on the chest in excitement.

The representatives of NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds celebrated after watching their New York-bred mare Venti Valentine break away from the pack to win the $200,000 Critical Eye Stakes Sunday on the New York Showcase Day card at Saratoga.

“Any place on New York Showcase Day is a dream,” Roth said. “But to be here, Belmont Stakes at Saratoga weekend, and have her win like that, that’s the race you plan and today it happened.”

Venti Valentine stayed off the lead early in the 9-furlong stakes over the muddy track, waiting until the top of the stretch to make her move and track down frontrunners Bustin Bay and Bon Adieu. The daughter of Firing Line won by 6 3/4 lengths as at the 5-2 second choice in the field of six. Venti Valentine won in 1:52.51.

Venti Valentine’s trip wasn’t quite the trip trainer Jorge Abreu envisioned for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

“I’d like to see her on the lead,” said Abreu, decked out in a New York Yankees sweater for the occasion. “Irad told me ‘three other horses are going to go, so I am going to sit right off of them.’ I said, ‘well I’m not going to tell you how to ride it.’ He gave her a perfect ride.”

Venti Valentine hadn’t seen the winner’s circle since October 2023, when she won the Jack Betta Be Rite Stakes at Finger Lakes. She lost six straight after that win, racing in one- and two-turn races. She exited a second in the Serena’s Song Stakes at Monmouth Park May 12.. Abreu said she came out of the race in “great shape.” 

“Early on she looked like a horse that wanted to go a one-turn mile,” Abreu said. “Now that she’s older she’s got that speed and she wants to go two turns.”

Abreu doesn’t have a definite next outing in mind for Venti Valentine, but she’ll likely stay in similar spots to the Critical Eye. 

“We’re going to see how she comes out,” Abreu said. “We’re just going to keep her a New York-bred for now.” 

Bred by Final Furlong Racing Stable and Maspeth Stable and foaled at Schuylerville Thoroughbred Farm in Schuylerville, Venti Valentine improved to 7-5-5 in 21 starts and boosted her bankroll to $883,600 with the victory. Spencer Ripchik

Drake’s Passage adds the Commentator to his victory in last year’s Albany Stakes on Sunday’s New York Showcase Day card. NYRA Photo.

• Robert “Shel” Evans’ homebred Drake’s Passage improved to 2-for-2 at Saratoga in Sunday’s $200,000 Commentator Stakes, a 9-furlong contest for older New York-breds on the main track. The son of Tonalist added the Commentator to his 7 3/4-length victory in last year’s Albany Stakes at the same distance.

Breaking from post 2, the 4-year-old colt took the lead right away after the expected early pacesetter to his inside, Sheriff Bianco, stumbled at the start and almost lost rider Jose Lezcano. Drake’s Passage ran the opening quarter-mile in :24.45 and the half in :48.88 with Donegal Surges about a length behind on the backstretch. As the field rounded the turn and entered the stretch, Drake’s Passage gained some separation over that rival and was all by himself with a furlong to go. He galloped home on the muddy and sealed track 4 lengths ahead of Donegal Surges in 1:49.32 under jockey Manny Franco. Christophe Clement trains the winner. 

“When I saw the one stumble out of there, I said I’m going to go,” Franco said. “After that, I was in cruise control there the whole way.”

The winning trainer was pleased with the effort by his colt.

“He was very impressive,” Clement said. “Great trip. He was in front, comfortable. He’s a nice horse. When he got to an easy lead, I thought he’d be very dangerous, because I know he stays a mile and an eighth.”

Drake’s Passage came out of two runner-up finishes in open-company allowance races at Aqueduct. Despite the defeats, Clement was encouraged by how well he ran on both occasions coming into the Commentator.

“I know we got beat in New York in these allowance races, but they were actually spectacular allowance races if you look at numbers,” he said. 

Drake’s Passage could try to go 3-for-3 at Saratoga this summer in another major stakes event for New York-breds, according to Clement, with a possible start before then.

“We got a big stakes, New York-bred, in the Saratoga meet,” he said. “Where do we go in between? I’m sure we’ll find a place for him.”

As for the day as a whole, Clement is grateful that there is a day to celebrate the New York-breds as well as their owners and breeders with a card full of stakes races.

“It’s a great program,” he said. “There’s a lot of money. It’s a great owner/breeder program because they get us all these breeders’ awards. We need that kind of day to be successful for everybody involved.” – Alec DiConza

Six stakes highlight New York Showcase Day

June 9th, 2024

Fingal’s Cave, winner of the Fleet Indian as a 3-year-old, is among the stars on Sunday’s Showcase Day card at Saratoga. NYRA Photo.

By Alec DiConza/The Saratoga Special

Two years after Fingal’s Cave won both starts at Saratoga Race Course, the 5-year-old mare returns to the Spa in Sunday’s $200,000 Critical Eye Stakes as part of New York Showcase Day and the final card of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

The Critical Eye is one of six New York-bred stakes on the card, along with the $125,000 Mike Lee for 3-year-olds, $125,000 Bouwerie for 3-year-old fillies, $200,000 Commentator for older horses, $125,000 Mount Vernon for fillies and mares on the turf and $125,000 Kingston for older horses on the grass.

In 2022, Fingal’s Cave opened her career with five consecutive wins, highlighted by the Fleet Indian Stakes at Saratoga. She finished with a good second in the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland. After a 14-month layoff, she returned with a win in Aqueduct’s Bay Ridge Stakes last December before most recently running third and fourth in the Grade 3 Distaff and Grade 2 Ruffian respectively. 

“She’s a really nice filly,” trainer David Donk said. “I would say she was pretty impressive off the long layoff in December. Had a slight break on purpose because of the weather, came back and she ran well in the first race with open company and then her last race wasn’t quite as good. She didn’t finish up quite as well. I’m not sure, it was kind of a funny race. But she’s done well since, she’s had a couple good breezes. She breezed well here last week. She’s won at the distance, so it’s a good spot to hopefully get her back on the right track.”

Donk reflected on the 2022 season and believes the filly will enjoy the return to Saratoga for Alifyfe Racing and Mo Speed Racing.

“She was 2-for-2 that year, won the allowance race and won the stake, so that’s nice,” he said. “A lot of horses that seem to run well here in the past continue to. She’s been up here a couple weeks, settled in. So I’m hopeful that this is the right spot.”

Donk thinks the return to New York-bred company could help.

“I think she needed ideally easier company, although this is a pretty good race,” he said. “Being New York-breds, you get the opportunity to run against their own kind.”

Fingal’s Cave will have plenty of work ahead of her in the eighth race. She breaks from post eight as the 2-1 morning line favorite in a field of nine. Several, like Fingal’s Cave, are generally forward early. Donk will leave the tactics up to jockey John Velazquez.

“There’s a lot of pace in the race, especially for a mile and an eighth race,” he said. “He’s a Hall of Famer, there aren’t really going to be any instructions. I’m going to let him do what he thinks is best. She likes to be up on the pace or close, but I’m going to leave it in his hands.”

Second choice Venti Valentine lost to Fingal’s Cave twice, but trainer Jorge Abreu thinks the distance could be the difference maker for the daughter of Firing Line owned by NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds.

“She’s acting like she wants to go two turns,” he said. “Before, she was acting like she only wanted to go seven-eighths of a mile. Last race, the Serena’s Song at Jersey, she was just compromised by being checked pretty hard and she still got up out in front of everybody. Nice field. David Donk’s horse is the one to beat on paper but my filly is pretty good.”

Other major contenders include Bustin Bay, winner of the first race on opening day last year at Saratoga, for trainer Linda Rice and Winning Move Stable. She comes off a front-running victory at Aqueduct. Midtown Lights comes in for trainer Brad Cox off two wins going a mile at Aqueduct. Sunset Louise comes back to dirt after the Plenty of Grace Stakes at Aqueduct and is 2-for-3 at Saratoga. Others are Sweet Mystery, Amanda’s Folly, Lavon, and Bon Adieu.

Drake’s Passage returns in Sunday’s Commentator. NYRA Photo.

• Trainer Christophe Clement will be well represented with four stakes entries. Drake’s Passage goes in the Commentator. He impressed in a win in last year’s Albany at Saratoga. Although winless since, the 4-year-old son of Tonalist owned by Robert “Shel” Evans has put forth seconds in his last two starts against open company. Clement’s son and assistant, Miguel Clement, said the horse comes into the contest in good form.

“He’s doing very well,” he said. “We’re excited to see him run. His race here last season was very impressive.”

Breaking from post two, the 7-5 favorite will sit wherever is necessary. He has performed well from many early positions.

“Manny Franco is riding very well, he knows the horse inside out,” Clement said. “And Drake’s Passage is versatile. He can be forwardly placed, he can come from a bit off the pace, stalk. It’s very much whatever Manny would like to do, so we don’t have to worry about the pace.”

The race drew a competitive group of seven. Sheriff Bianco breaks from the inside for Linda Rice and finished second in the Empire Classic last October at Aqueduct. Dr Ardito was a closing winner of the Alex M. Robb Stakes and won the Evan Shipman last year. Whittington Park won the Haynesfield at Aqueduct and returns to New York-bred competition after two graded stakes tries. Donegal Surges stretches to two turns but comes off a third in the Affirmed Success. Union Fleet won over the slop at Pimlico in an allowance three weeks ago. 

• The stakes action for Clement continues in the Mount Vernon with favored Silver Skillet for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Tango Uniform Racing, and Steven Rocco. She exits a fourth in an allowance at Aqueduct off a layoff. Last year, she won two races at the Spa including the Suzie O’Cain. Joel Rosario has the mount. Clement is enthusiastic about her chances. 

“Makes a lot of sense, it’s a mile, I believe that’s her favorite distance,” he said. “She won well at Saratoga last year, two races here last summer, and it’s a logical place to go. She was the New York-bred champion for turf filly and mare last season, and hopefully we kick off the year in the right way in this spot.”

Second choice Marvelous Maude, a Chad Brown trainee, who won this race last year at Belmont Park. She has only run once since then, a third in the Plenty of Grace Stakes. Brown also trains Klaravich Stable’s Overacting, who broke her maiden in her debut last summer at Saratoga and comes out of a win at Aqueduct. Stonewall Star makes her turf debut for Barry Schwartz and trainer Horacio De Paz. She won the Biogio’s Rose at Aqueduct last out. Completing the field are Lady Jasmine, Lisa’s Vision, Masterof the Tunes, Snowy Evening, and Sweetest Princess.

• The longest shot of Clement’s quartet is The Shoe Lady, who at 10-1 under Dylan Davis will contest the Bouwerie going 7 furlongs. She comes off two victories at Aqueduct and steps into stakes company.

“The filly has done very well at Aqueduct,” Clement said. “She’s 2-for-3 and this is the next logical step. Without a doubt it’s a more ambitious placement, she’s going to have to step up in company. Nevertheless, she’s giving us every indication that she at least merits a try in order to obtain some precious black type.”

Race favorite Landed comes off a victory going 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland and cuts back for trainer Wesley Ward. Caldwell Luvs Gold also figures, with the two wins coming at Saratoga for Dicke Racing and trainer Brad Cox. La Banquera won her debut at Aqueduct. Tricky Temper has shown up in state-bred stakes, most recently third in the Franklin Square in January. Sunday Girl is 2-for-2 with impressive victories in a division of the New York Stallion Stakes series and a maiden special weight. The other entrants are P Mutter Pickle, Tough Love Torres, Bernietakescharge, and Carol T.

Multiple stakes winner City Man returns for title defense in Mohawk. NYRA Photo.

• The final horse from Clement’s stable running in a stakes today is City Man, a 7-year-old model of consistency with 11 wins and 22 top-three finishes in 32 starts for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Peter and Patty Seales. The son of Mucho Macho Man makes his 2024 debut in the Kingston Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile event. 

“He’s been very good to us,” Clement said. “That horse, he’s a millionaire, winning stakes races from the age of 2 all the way to 6. He broke his maiden at Saratoga and won a stakes here sprinting on the dirt. He’s amazingly versatile to the surface, distance, he’s done it all. He’s a great horse for all of us involved and a lot of fun.”

The last time fans got to see City Man was in the Mohawk at Aqueduct last year, where he finished second over a yielding turf course. It has been a little more than seven months since he has raced, so Clement believes there is a chance he will need the race.

“Not entirely sure if he’s fully cranked or might benefit from the race,” he said. “Nevertheless, good horses overcome when the variables are not always in their favor, and he’s a top class horse. Maybe he’s good enough to overcome it all.”

Last year, City Man not only won the Kingston by a nose at Belmont, but also won the West Point Stakes at Saratoga in August. He has run six times over the Saratoga turf course and won three with two seconds.

“He’s very consistent at Saratoga,” he said. “He’s won multiple stakes here, so he does have an affinity for the turf course and it’s exciting.”

City Man has developed a rivalry with Kingston favorite Spirit of St. Louis over the past year. Trained by Brown, this son of Medaglia d’Oro has never been worse than second and has won six of eight.  In three matchups last year,  City Man won the first with Spirit of St. Louis sweeping the the second two. Spirit of St. Louis has recency on his side, winning the Danger’s Hour Stakes at Aqueduct.

The trifecta from last year’s Kingston returns for this year’s edition. Jerry the Nipper, nipped at the wire last year, is coming back from a fourth in the Barbados Gold Cup in March and looks for his first win since July 30 at Saratoga last season for trainer Todd Pletcher. Dakota Gold, finished third behind Spirit of St. Louis in this year’s Danger’s Hour for his 2024 debut. 

The Kingston will go as the final race on the card at 6:48 p.m.

• The other stakes on the day is the Mike Lee, which will see a major scratch of initially favored Antonio of Venice, according to trainer Rudy Rodriguez. That leaves five horses with Doc Sullivan taking over the role of favoritism. He exits an allowance win at Aqueduct last month. He has never missed the board in six starts and will break from post four for Tristar Farm, trainer Mike Miceli, and jockey Javier Castellano. 

That’s Money was fourth in the same race as Doc Sullivan. Elysian Meadows tried a couple races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis and sixth in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial before running in the Woodhaven Stakes on grass. He has won twice in state-bred company for trainer Bill Mott. Mischief Joke and Grand Opening complete the field.

The Wine Steward, My Mane Squeeze headline Belmont Festival

June 6th, 2024

The Wine Steward, already an open-company stakes winner, leads the NY-bred contingent at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga. Coady Photography.

Grade 1-placed stakes winner The Wine Steward and Grade 2 winner My Mane Squeeze lead a strong group of New York-breds headed into stakes company during this week’s Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

Paradise Farms Corp.’s and David Staudacher’s The Wine Steward, a son of Vino Rosso bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds, Lakland Farm and Mark Toothaker, tops the group and runs in Saturday’s headlining Grade 1, $2 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRABETS. Trained by Mike Maker, The Wine Steward comes off back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland and Grade 3 Peter Pan at Aqueduct.

Foaled at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson, The Wine Steward originally sold for $70,000 to Oldham Bloodstock at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale. He was purchased by his current connections for $340,000 at last year’s OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training out of the Sequel Bloodstock consignment.

The Wine Steward will look to join Tiz the Law [2020], Forester [1882], Fenian [1869] and Ruthless [1867] as New York-bred winners of the Belmont Stakes.

Maker said he hopes The Wine Steward can sit off a pace duel in the Belmont before making his run.

“I’d like to see a pace duel develop and us maintain a stalking position,” Maker said. “If there was more of an honest pace last time, he would have appreciated it and maybe would have won it. We will hope for better luck this time. The owner has been very supportive of me and of New York. It would be great to win for them.”

The Wine Steward is the first foal out of the To Honor and Serve mare Call to Service, a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Isotherm and stakes-placed winners Gio Game and Giant Game.

The Wine Steward, who drew post four of 10 and is 15-1 on the morning line, is one of six New York-breds entered in stakes during the festival.

My Mane Squeeze also bids for Grade 1 success in Friday’s DK Horse Acorn Stakes against the likes of Kentucky Oaks 1-2 finishers Thorpedo Anna and champion Just F Y I.

Bred and co-owned by William “Buck” Butler and also trained by Maker, My Mane Squeeze comes into the 9-furlong Acorn (lengthened by a furlong and around two turns instead of one when contested at Belmont Park) off a victory in the Grade 2 Eight Belles on the Kentucky Oaks undercard.

My Mane Squeeze, a daughter of Audible also co-owned by WinStar Farm, drew post 5 in the field of nine and is 12-1 on the morning line. She bounced back from an eighth in the Grade 2 Fantasy to win the Eight Belles going 7 furlongs.

“It was a great effort [at Churchill],” Maker said. “I’m happy to see that she turned it around from the debacle at Oaklawn. We’ll hopefully see a true test at two turns. I’ve always had the impression that the further the better for her. I don’t know what set her off at Oaklawn, but hopefully we can cross that out and keep moving forward.”

Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia and out of the Speightstown mare In Spite of Mama, My Mane Squeeze won three straight New York-bred stakes before venturing into graded company for the first time in the Fantasy.

“From a breeding standpoint, WinStar stands Audible so that would be a plus and Buck [Butler] is from New York and a win would be extra special for him, as well,” Maker said.

R T Racing Stable’s Dominican Thunder, a 2-year-old son of Improbable bred by and foaled at Thirty Year Farm in Saratoga Springs, looks to kick things off early for the New York-bred team in Thursday’s $150,000 Tremont. A first-time starter trained by Jose Jimenez, Dominican Thunder drew post 3 in the field of eight and is 20-1 on the morning line.

Butler is also represented at the festival by his homebred Rotknee, a half-brother to My Mane Squeeze who runs in Saturday’s Grade 2 True North Stakes. The 5-year-old son of Runhappy drew post 2 in the 6 1/2-furlong True North and is 6-1 on the morning line.

Rotknee, also foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, comes off a victory in the Affirmed Success Stakes May 2 at Aqueduct. He also won the Say Florida Sandy Stakes in late January at Aqueduct.

The New York-bred contingent gets another chance at a Grade 1 victory – and a two-pronged challenge at that – when Thin White Duke and Dancing Buck run in Saturday’s $500,000 Jaipur Stakes.

J and N Stable’s and Diamond M Stable’s Dancing Buck, a 6-year-old gelding by War Dancer bred by J & N Stables and foaled at Sundial Farm in Amsterdam, is 3-1 for the 5 ½-furlong turf stakes from post 3. Trained by Michelle Nevin, Dancing Buck won the May 4 Elusive Quality Stakes against open company in his return to his native state last time out at Aqueduct. He’s 8-1 on the morning line.

Thin White Duke won last year’s Harvey Pack Stakes for owners Phil Gleaves, Steve Crist, Ken deRegt and Bryan Hilliard. Trained by David Donk and fifth in the Elusive Quality last time out, the 6-year-old son of Dominus bred by Gleaves drew post 1 for the Jaipur and is 30-1 on the morning line. Thin White Duke was foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs.

First winners for King for a Day, Disco Partner, Market Rally

May 29th, 2024

Soontobeking, King for a Day’s first starter, wins last week at Belmont at the Big A. NYRA Photo.

New York-based sires King for a Day and Disco Partner and former New York stallion Market Rally were represented by their first winners – all in open company and picking up sizable awards for their connections – in late May.

Freshman sire King for a Day, an 8-year-old son of Uncle Mo who stands for $5,000 at Irish Hill & Dutchess Views Stallions LLC in Stillwater, picked up his first winner when his first starter, Soontobeking, won a $90,000 open-company maiden special weight May 24 at Belmont at the Big A.

Bred and owned by Our Blue Streaks Stable and SGV Thoroughbreds and foaled at Irish Hill Century Farm in Stillwater, the 2-year-old out of the winning Freud mare Swayed won his second start by a head over Classic Time. Trained by Mitch Friedman, Soontobeking finished third in his debut against fellow New York-breds May 10.

“We are all really excited that King got his first winner so early in the season,” said Irish Hill Century’s Rick Burke. “The breeders and owners of Soontobeking have always been very high on him. His breeze at OBS was very nice.”

Soontobeking picked up $49,500 for his victory May 24 – boosting his bankroll to $58,500 from his two starts. He also picked up significant awards for his connections with the victory – breeder’s award: $19,800; stallion owner’s award: $4,950; and owner’s award: $9,900.

A stakes winner bred and raced by Stephen P. Brunetti’s Red Oak Stable, King for a Day entered stud in 2021 at Irish Hill & Dutchess Views. He won three of seven starts, including the Sir Barton Stakes on Preakness Day at Pimlico Race Course and the TVG.com Pegasus Stakes at the expense of Maximum Security at Monmouth Park, during his sophomore season. King for a Day earned $260,550.

“Many breeders loved their first-crop foals,” Burke said. “In King for a Day’s second season, we saw so many book back to him with just one look at their newborn foals. That speaks volumes. King for a Day is thriving in his career at stud. He’s had very solid books and we expect great things from the first crop. We should see a number of them with top connections. Red Oak Stable is very involved with his career and they will continue to support him every step of the way.”

Miami Twofer wins at Finger Lakes to give her sire Disco Partner his first winner. SV Photography.

World-record setter and multiple graded stakes winner Disco Partner sired his first winner May 22 when the filly Miami Twofer won at Finger Lakes.

Disco Partner, a 12-year-old New York-bred son of Disco Rico out of the Numerous mare Lulu’s Number, stands privately at Rockridge Stud in Hudson. He is the sire of 23 foals.

“Disco Partner is a world-record-holding turf sprinter whose foals were very well-received at auction,” said Rockridge’s Erin Robinson. “We are confident he will have more very competitive horses soon – especially considering the resurgence in turf racing.”

Bred by Moongate Racing LLC, foaled at Nota Bear Farms in Ontario and out of the Archarcharch mare Skippin’ Church, Miamo Twofer improved to 1-1-2 in her seven starts with Wednesday’s victory for owner Timothy Burr, trainer Karl Grusmark and jockey Jackie Davis. She also picked up a breeder’s award of $3,240 and stallion owner’s award of $810 for her connections.

Disco Partner, who raced for his owner and breeder Patricia Generazio, won 11 of 33 starts with six seconds and eight thirds during his six seasons on the racetrack and earned $1,487,560.

Trained by Christophe Clement, Disco Partner won his debut in late October as a 2-year-old and went on to win stakes at ages 4, 5 and 6. His biggest stakes score came in the Grade 3 Jaipur Invitational on the 2017 Belmont Stakes Day undercard, winning the 6-furlong stakes in a world and course record 1:05.67.

Disco Partner also won the 2018 Jaipur, upgraded for that running to a Grade 2 stakes, along with the 2017 and 2018 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational along with back-to-back thirds in the 2017 and 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

Kantbecc put former New York sire Market Rally in the win column in Tuesday’s first race at Finger Lakes. SV Photography.

Grade 3 winner and former New York-based sire Market Rally, who entered stud in 2018 and also stood at Irish Hill & Dutchess Views, sired a pair of winners on Tuesday’s card at Finger Lakes.

Our First Ward Stable’s Kantbecc got things started in the opener, running off to a front-running 6 1/2-length score under Nazario Alvarado in the 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight worth $31,280. Bred by Robert Simonick, foaled at Carlland Stables in Avon and trained by Linda Dixon, the 3-year-old filly out of the Kantharos mare Princessmaizekant won in her third start and 15 days after a runner-up finish in a similar open-company maiden.

Kantbecc also picked up significant awards for her connections – breeder’s award: $7,824; stallion owner’s award: $1,956; and owner’s award: $3,912.

Miss Wobbles made it two wins for Market Rally – and her breeder, owner, trainer and jockey – in Wednesday’s fourth at Finger Lakes. SV Photography.

The same breeder-owner-trainer-jockey team came back in the fourth race and won with the Market Rally filly Miss Wobbles, also in her third start and also after a runner-up in a maiden race 15 days prior. The 3-year-old filly out of the Big Brown mare Maizelovesbrownies won her 5 1/2-furlong maiden worth $32,266 by a half-length.

The win by Miss Wobbles, also foaled at Carlland Stables, was also worth a breeder’s award of $7,824, stallion owner’s award of $1,956 and owner’s award of $3,912.

A $210,000 Keeneland September yearling, Market Rally won three of four starts and earned $324,270. A debut winner at 2 in August 2015 at Monmouth Park, Market Rally continued his career at 3 in Dubai and won the Grade 3 UAE Two Thousand Guineas Sponsored by Gulf News and the Al Bastakiya Sponsored by Emirates Skywards for owner Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid al Maktoum and trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam.

Jak N Burny scores front-running win in George W. Barker

May 27th, 2024

Jak N Burny rolls to first stakes win in Monday’s $50,000 George W. Barker at Finger Lakes. SV Photography.

Sherry Washburn’s homebred Jak N Burny repelled multiple challenges in the stretch from Flying Emperor to win Monday’s $50,000 George W. Barker Stakes at Finger Lakes.

Off since a runner-up finish in late November, Jak N Burny shook off any rust early and fended off Flying Emperor late to win by 2 lengths as the 7-5 favorite in the field of nine for the traditional Memorial Day feature and first stakes of the season at Finger Lakes.

The 4-year-old gelding by Destin improved to 5-for-7 with the victory – his first in stakes company – for Washburn and trainer Debra Breed. Joel Cruz rode Jak N Burny, who won in 1:10.69. The Institute finished four lengths back in third at 22-1, a head in front of Tra Lad in fourth.

Cruz hustled Jak N Burny away from the gate at the break and established a clear 1-length lead from Flying Emperor with Writer’s Regret and Shipsational chasing another length back. Jak N Burny led through the opening quarter-mile in :22.77.

Jak N Burny continued to lead entering and around the far turn, holding Flying Emperor off by a length before running past the half in :45.71. Flying Emperor and jockey Emanuel De Diego made repeated tries to run down Jak N Burny in the lane, through 5 furlongs in 57.77, but couldn’t get past.

Unraced at 2, Jak N Burny rattled off three wins in open company by a combined 27 1/2 lengths in July, August and September. Sent off as the odds-on favorite in the Leon Reed Memorial going 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in mid-October at Finger Lakes, Jak N Burny hopped and bobbled at the start, never reached the lead and finished fourth behind Allure of Money, Flying Emperor and Lady’s Golden Guy.

Jak N Burny rebounded from his initial stakes foray with a victory in a state-bred allowance November 8 before a runner-up finish behind The Institute to end the season two weeks later.

Breed breezed Jak N Burney four times – including a 6-fiurlong tightener in 1:13.40 May 14 – for his 2024 debut in the Barker. He earned $30,000 for his Barker victory and boosted his bankroll to $102,680.

Jak N Burny is the fifth foal out of the winning New York-bred Duckhorn mare Betty’s Chance. He’s a half-brother to multiple stakes winner, 14-time winner and $495,264-earner Winston’s Chance – a three-time starter in the George W. Barker – and 13-time winner and $423,174-earner Ifihadachance and winner Honest Chance.

Betty’s Chance, bred by Washburn and Michael Haers, went 2-3-0 in six starts for $23,930 in earnings. She’s also the dam of the 2-year-old New York-bred Cloud Computing filly Cloudy Chance, who was also bred by Washburn.

New York-breds in demand at Midlantic finale

May 22nd, 2024

Hip 367, a filly by Mitole bred by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds and Jeff Gardella, sold for $325,000 to highlight Tuesday’s Midlantic May sale finale. Photo courtesy of Grassroots Training and Sales.

The six-figure haul continued Tuesday at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May 2-year-olds in training sale, with seven New York-breds bringing $140,000 or more including a pair of juveniles by New York-based sire Honest Mischief that brought $190,000 and $260,000.

Fasig-Tipton reported sales on 42 of the 46 New York-breds through the ring during Tuesday’s final session for a total of $2,777,500, an average price of $66,131 and median of $43,500. Overall, 74 New York-breds sold over the two sessions for $4,589,500, an average price of $62,020 and median of $42,000.

A filly from the second crop of champion Mitole brought the highest price of Tuesday’s session and wound up as the most expensive New York-bred at the sale on a final bid of $325,000. Hip 367, who is out of the stakes-placed Tiznow mare Tizjet, sold to KSI.

Bred by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds LLC and Jeff Gardella and foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs, the filly originally sold out of the McMahon of Saratoga consignment for $25,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale. Consigned at the Midlantic sale by Grassroots Training and Sales LLC, agent, the filly is the fourth foal out of Tizjet.

McMahon of Saratoga purchased Tizjet, carrying the Mitole filly in utero, for $30,000 at the 2021 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Hip 389, a colt by Honest Mischief bred by Burleson Farms, McKenzie Bloodstock and Sequel Thoroughbreds, sold for $260,000 Tuesday at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic. Photo courtesy of Sequel Bloodstock.

Hip 389, a colt by Honest Mischief out of the unraced Unbridled’s Song mare Vibrato, sold for $260,000 to Clay Scherer, Kerri Radcliffe and Lady Sheila. Bred by Burleson Farms, McKenzie Bloodstock and Sequel Thoroughbreds, foaled at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson and consigned by Sequel Bloodstock, agent, the colt is the fourth foal out of Vibrato. She’s the dam of stakes-winning New York-bred Navit and four-time winner and $109,245-earner All the Diamonds.

Hip 432, a daughter of Honest Mischief out of the unraced Curlin mare All in Time, sold for $190,000 to Donato Lanni, agent. Bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds LLC and Cypress Creek Equine LLC and foaled at Sequel Stallions New York, the filly previously sold for $20,000 at the 2023 Keeneland January horses of all ages sale and for $25,000 at the 2023 Keeneland September yearling sale. A half-sister to New York-bred winner Stress Reliever and three-time winner and $137,905-earner Libban, the Honest Mischief filly was consigned by Kings Equine, agent.

Honest Mischief, an 8-year-old son of Into Mischief whose first foals are 2-year-olds of 2024, stands for $6,500 at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson.

The highest-priced New York-bred colt Tuesday – and most expensive at the sale – also sold during the final session. Hip 284, a son of Volatile out of the winning Scat Daddy mare Scat’s Lassie, went to ABC Racing for $280,000.

Bred by Beals Racing Stable LLC and Saratoga Glen Farm and foaled at Saratoga Glen Farm in Schuylerville, the colt is the seventh foal out of Scat’s Lassie and a half-brother to four winners including New York-breds Frat and Shea On a Mission. He originally sold as a weanling for $40,000 at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale and for $50,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale.

New York Showcase Day Brunch presented by Thirty Year Farm – Sunday, June 9

May 21st, 2024

Join NYTB & Thirty Year Farm for a brunch buffet & bar to kick off New York-bred Showcase Day on Sunday, June 9, closing day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga!

Presented by Thirty Year Farm, the brunch will be a wonderful and exciting event and is an opportunity to interact with your fellow breeders, owners, NYTB members, and everyone in the program ahead of our first Showcase Day of 2024 in closing out the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. We look forward to seeing you there!

Purchase tickets by visiting nytbreeders.org/events

 

Volatile colt, Vino Rosso filly top Midlantic opener

May 21st, 2024

Hip 136, a colt by Volatile bred by Hidden Lake Farm, brought $250,000 Monday at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May sale. Photo courtesy of LG.

Four New York-breds led by a colt by Volatile and filly by Vino Rosso sold for six figures to highlight the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May 2-year-olds in training sale Monday in Timonium, Maryland.

Cash Is King/Alex Zacney went to $250,000 to land the top-priced New York-bred of the day, Hip 136, a son of Volatile out of the winning Storm Cat mare Lexington Girl. Bred by and foaled at Hidden Lake Farm in Stillwater, the colt is the 13th foal out of the full sister to graded stakes winners Magicalmysterycat and Burmilla.

Consigned by LG, agent, the Volatile colt is a half sibling to 11 winners including stakes winners Whirlin Curlin and Lexington Street. He originally sold for $27,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale.

Hip 23, a daughter of Vino Rosso bred by Christopher Shelli, sold for $190,000 Monday in Timonium. Photo courtesy of de Meric Sales.

Mark Glatt, agent, landed the session’s top-priced New York-bred filly, going to $190,000 for Hip 23, a daughter of Vino Rosso out of the unraced Ghostzapper mare Fear This. Bred by Christopher Shelli and foaled at Fort Christopher’s Thoroughbreds in Fort Edward, the filly is a half sibling to five winners including the New York-bred Violence ridgling and $170,385-earner Gambler’s Fallacy and New York-bred Palace Malice gelding and $105,025-earner Fast N Fearious.

Consigned by de Meric Sales, agent, the Vino Rosso filly originally sold for $45,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale.

Fasig-Tipton reported sales on 29 of the 41 New York-breds through the ring Monday for a total of $1,653,000, an average price of $57,000 and median of $40,000.

LEB, agent for West Point Thoroughbreds, paid the highest price of the session for a New York-sired juvenile, going to $85,000 for Hip 216, a daughter of Solomini.

Bred by Amy Boll and Raymond DeStefano and foaled at Buckridge Farm in Kinderhook, the filly is the fourth foal out of the Americain mare Peeress. A full sister to the winning New York-bred 3-year-old colt Solo in Paris, the Solomini filly was consigned by Grassroots Training and Sales LLC. The filly sold twice prior to going through the ring Monday – for $11,000 at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale and for $20,000 at last year’s OBS winter mixed sale.

Solomini, a 9-year-old son of Curlin who stands for $7,500 at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs, ranks third on the Empire State’s general sire list and topped the 2023 New York freshman and juvenile sire lists.

The sale concludes with Tuesday’s second session at 11 a.m.