NEWS: racing

War Dancer gelding among Aiken Trials’ winners

Monday, March 20th, 2023

The War Dancer gelding Sinful Dancer was among the winners at the 80th Aiken Trials last weekend in South Carolina. Barry Bornstein Photo.

Kimberly Smith’s Sinful Dancer, last seen in a sanctioned race winning at Aqueduct in early December, was among the winners Saturday at the 80th renewal of the Aiken Trials.

The 5-year-old War Dancer gelding won the City of Aiken Trophy, the featured event run on the Aiken Training Track, for trainer David Figueroa.  He won the 4 1/2-furlong event from off the pace by less than a length under Makaia Paige Carpenter over He Is Bonafide in :55, according to a report in the Aiken Standard.

“When we came around the turn, my horse just started to pick it up,” Carpenter told the Standard. “He understood his job. And when I asked him for a little bit more, he did the rest. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity.”

Bred by Wes Carter, foaled at Rockridge Stud in Hudson and out of the unraced Purge mare Sensationista, Sinful Dancer was purchased by Thomas E. Brockley for $50,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale. He finished second in his first two starts in 2021, including the Times Square division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes.

Sinful Dancer won his most recent two starts at Aqueduct – taking a maiden claiming event at Aqueduct Nov. 13 and a $16,000 open claiming race Dec. 4. He was claimed in the latter.

“It was just what he needed,” Figueroa told the Standard. “This was a horse that we were giving a little bit of time off from the races, and this was the perfect place to start him back.”

War Dancer, a 13-year-old son of War Front who stands for $7,500 at Irish Hill & Dutchess Views Stallions LLC in Stillwater, finished third on New York’s general sire list in 2022 with progeny earnings of more than $2.8 million.

Looms Boldly sharp in Damon Runyon score

Sunday, March 19th, 2023

Looms Boldly, a half-brother to New York-bred champion Critical Value, lands his first stakes in Sunday’s Damon Runyon at Aqueduct. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.

Manny Franco knew Looms Boldly could do it all on the lead and wasn’t about to take his mount out of his game after the break of Sunday’s $97,000 Damon Runyon at Aqueduct. He’d ridden the big Goldencents colt to victory on the front end before – namely in a maiden win in mid-November – and didn’t change a thing in the 6-furlong Runyon.

“I took advantage of the break,” Franco said after Ten Strike Racing’s Looms Boldly won by a half-length. “He broke so sharp and I went with him because I won on the lead with him before. That’s what I did and he took me all the way to the wire.”

Looms Boldly, coming off a third in a state-bred allowance-optional Feb. 20 off a more than three-month break, improved to 2-for-4 in the Runyon for trainer Brad Cox. He also became the second stakes winner for Marshall Gramm’s and Clay Sanders’ Forestry mare See the Forest, who is also the dam of 2019 champion New York-bred 2-year-old filly and $303,795-earner Critical Value.

Sent off as the 5-1 fourth choice in the field of five, Looms Boldly came away quick from the gate and led stakes winner Andiamo a Firenze by a half-length through the opening quarter-mile in :22.39.

Looms Boldly continued on around the far turn, holding that half-length edge and to the half-mile split in :46.42. Franco let him out in the lane and Looms Boldly opened up 2 1/2 lengths on Andiamo a Firenze in midstretch with What’s Up Bro trying to make a belated run on the outside. Looms Boldly held it together inside the final furlong and won in 1:13.73.

“In the stretch, my horse was getting a little tired in the end, but at the same time he was giving me all he had,” Franco said. “I’m glad we got it done today.”

Andiamo a Firenze, winner of last year’s Funny Cide Stakes at Saratoga Race Course and the second choice at 9-5, held second and was 4 1/4 lengths clear of 9-5 favorite What’s Up Bro in third. D’ont Lose Cruz and Bobby Ride completed the field, reduced by the scratch of East Coast Girl.

Looms Boldly added the Damon Runyon to his Nov. 12 maiden victory also at 6 furlongs at Aqueduct. He finished second in his debut – after opening up a 3 1/2-length lead in midstretch before falling short by three-quarters of a length – and third in his comeback Feb. 20.

Dustin Dugas, Cox’s New York-based assistant, said Franco’s familiarity with the colt played a key role in the victory.

“I expected him to be on the lead or near it, but I didn’t expect it to be that quick,” he said. “Manny was really confident in the horse and has breezed him a bunch of times. He knows him really well. He rode him last time and he needed the race a bit off the layoff. He wasn’t that comfortable sitting off the pace, so Manny made sure to be really aggressive today and it panned out.

“I was a little bit nervous down the backside with the fast fractions, but when he turned for him he just looked as confident as he did and was striding out very comfortable. I was confident then.”

Looms Boldly is one of six winners out of See the Forest, who is out of two-time champion New York-bred, multiple graded stakes winner and $1,060,984-earner Critical Eye. See the Forest was claimed by Gramm for $12,500 out of a victory in early October 2010 at Philadelphia Park. See the Forest retired with six wins in 24 starts and $126,313.

In addition to Critical Value, See the Forest is the dam of Grit’n’grind, a 10-time winner in 80 starts who earned $449,584; three-time winning New York-bred Backstretch George, five-time winning New York-bred winner Steam Engine; and the 4-year-old New York-bred Midnight Lute colt Whittington Park, a three-time winner currently in training for Ten Strike Racing. See the Forest did not produce a foal in 2021 or 2022 before delivering a colt by Constitution in New York Feb. 6.

Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Looms Boldly earned $55,000 for the victory to boost his bankroll to $117,540.

“He’s always been a big, chunky boy and we always thought he was unfit, but he’s shown us that he just is [this way],” Dugas said. “He never lost his baby fat and he’s just this big boy. He’s definitely grown mentally and physically. His whole family is happy-go-lucky and they love to race and train.”

Downtown Mischief stays unbeaten in Cicada

Saturday, March 18th, 2023

Downtown Mischief runs record to 3-for-3 in Saturday’s Cicada Stakes at Aqueduct. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

Like mother, like daughter.

Downtown Mama, a $440,000 2-year-old in training purchase for Sheila Rosenblum’s Lady Sheila Stable, started her career with three straight wins in 2017. She retired with those three wins from seven starts in 2018 and now her first foal, the 3-year-old Into Mischief homebred filly Downtown Mischief, is off to a 3-for-3 start to her career.

The latest came in her first try in a stakes and against open company in Saturday’s $100,000 Cicada Stakes at Aqueduct, where Downtown Mischief overcame what her trainer called a “complicated situation” to defeat five foes in the 6-furlong event.

“She worked her way through it,” winning trainer Linda Rice said. “I was really proud of her as well. She doesn’t need the perfect trip to get there.”

Rice said she expected Downtown Mischief and Lezcano to track the early speed of Hot Little Thing early in the Cicada. That plan went out the window when Hot Little Thing, a stakes winner at Horseshoe Indianapolis last fall, came away last at the break. Fabulously Funny broke well and took the early lead, just ahead of Musicmansandy before Downtown Mischief asserted herself to take the lead.

“It totally went upside down,” Rice said. “(Hot Little Thing) doesn’t break and then she comes rushing up through, but Jose is such a pro and he never loses his cool. When he needed to hold his ground, he did. That makes a difference.”

That advantage also didn’t last long with Hot Little Thing and Alex Achard rushing up to lead through the opening quarter-mile in :22.89. Downtown Mischief retook the advantage between the first and second quarters and led by a head over Fabulously Funny through the half in :47.19.

Downtown Mischief widened her lead from there, clicking past 5 furlongs in 1:00.02 and up 2 1/2 lengths. Lezcano stayed busy down the lane without asking too much and Downtown Mischief hit the finish in 1:13.72. Tappin Josie, coming off 11 days’ rest and a win in the Society Hill Stakes at Parx Racing, rallied for second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Fabulously Funny in third.

“She broke a little slow; she didn’t break that sharp,” Lezcano said. “(Hot Little Thing) didn’t break either, so I had to go for my position. When I asked her, she gave me a good run. I stayed in my position when I saw the two on the outside. I asked her at the quarter-pole and she ran on like the good horse that she is.”

Rice bought Downtown Mama as agent for Lady Sheila at the 2016 OBS April sale of 2-year-olds in training. She earned $78,100 in her seven starts before heading to the breeding shed. She produced Downtown Mischief in 2020. Downtown Mama is the dam of a yearling filly by Maclean’s Music, also bred by Lady Sheila, and was bred to Violence last season.

Foaled at Edition Farm in Hyde Park, Downtown Mischief didn’t start at 2 and made her debut going 6 furlongs Jan. 14 at Aqueduct. She won that day by 7 3/4 lengths before a 1 1/4-length tally in a state-bred allowance-optional Feb. 17.

Downtown Mischief earned $55,000 for the Cicada victory to boost her earnings to $133,100.

Timeless Journey lands first stakes in Biogio’s Rose

Sunday, March 12th, 2023

Timeless Journey continues her rise in Sunday’s Biogio’s Rose Stakes at Aqueduct. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.

Timeless Journey overcame a touch of trouble at the start to secure her first stakes victory in the $97,000 Biogio’s Rose for older New York-bred fillies and mares Sunday at Aqueduct.

Merrylegs Farm’s homebred 6-year-old daughter of Verrazano recorded a 1 1/2-length win over Know It All Audrey for her third victory in her last four starts and third in five starts since joining trainer Ray Handal’s barn. Dylan Davis rode Timeless Journey to complete his three-win day to start Sunday’s card.

“She ran super and she had been touting her hand lately,” Handal said. “She had been breezing awesome, so it was nice to see her put things together. She’s just getting better and improving and getting stronger.”

Sent off at 3-5 while shortening up from 1 1/8 miles to the one-turn mile, Timeless Journey came away from the break last of five. Davis said she wasn’t standing correctly, got situated by the gate crew but still “wanted to push back on those back panels” just before the start.

“She just wasn’t ready for it, but it was a good trip,” Davis said.

Impazible Donna, winner of the Staten Island division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes two starts back in early December,  took the initiative under Kendrick Carmouche and led the field through early splits of :24.13 and :47.52. Impazible Donna continued to barrel along on the lead around the far turn and held a half-length advantage over 2-1 second choice Know It All Audrey through 6 furlongs in 1:12.18.

Davis watched everything unfold to that point from the back of the field before swinging Timeless Journey out at the quarter-pole. They came out and bumped with Captainsdaughter before straightening back up to take aim at Know It All Audrey on the lead. Timeless Journey continued her momentum from midstretch to the wire to win in 1:37.42. Know It All Audrey held second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Impazible Donna with Mia Bea Star and Captainsdaughter completing the lineup.

“I didn’t like that she missed the break,” Handal said. “It honestly wasn’t that great a trip. … I thought Know It All Audrey would be in front and we’d be sitting second or third if Kendrick decided to engage. Of course, when the gates break, everything changes. But Dylan knows her well and has great hands. He got her to switch off and she was right there for him the whole race. When he gave her daylight, she took off.

Timeless Journey earned $55,000 for the victory, her sixth in 18 starts, and boosted her bankroll to $378,483.

“She had to run her good race today and she did,” Handal said. “I thought if everybody ran their best race, she’s still probably the best in the race.”

Davis, aboard Timeless Journey for her five starts since being transferred from Christophe Clement to Handal, appreciated the mare’s effort.

“Ray has done a great job with her,” Davis said. “She’s steadily progressing and she tries hard every time. I was just hoping for that daylight. Once we get through, she does the rest.”

Bred by Merrylegs Farm North LLC and foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Timeless Journey is out of the stakes-winning Utopia mare Matchmadeinheaven. Another homebred for Merrylegs, Matchmadeinheaven won three of five starts with a second and $206,217 in earnings. She started her career with three straight stakes wins in the Lady Finger and Rachel Alexandra at Finger Lakes and the Joseph A. Gimma at Belmont Park.

Timeless Journey is the second foal and one of two winners out of Matchmadeinheaven, who is also the dam of 2022 winner and 4-year-old Overanalyze New York-bred filly Hope for the Best. Matchmadeinheaven is also the dam of the unraced 3-year-old Palace Malice filly Watch Over Me and her 2-year-old full sister Till There Was You. Each of those foals are New York-breds bred by Merrylegs Farm North LLC.

Rossa Veloce keeps hot barn rolling in Correction

Saturday, March 11th, 2023

Rossa Veloce, who hadn’t run in a stakes since the Franklin Square in early 2021, dominates Saturday’s $100,000 Correction at Aqueduct. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

Rossa Veloce continued her ascent since being claimed last summer at Saratoga Race Course and kept trainer Rob Atras’ barn clicking with a victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Correction Stakes at Aqueduct.

The 5-year-old daughter of Girolamo cruised to a 5 1/4-length victory Prodigy Doll in the 6-furlong Correction under Manny Franco for her second straight victory and first stakes score. She also gave Atras a seventh winner from his last eight starts at Aqueduct.

“It’s racing. I lose way more than I win,” Atras said. “Obviously, we want to keep winning all the time. We went three weeks without winning a race with some seconds and thirds. But we never got down, we were happy and everyone was doing well. This week we got the horses in the right spots, we got the right trips and tracks. It just happened to work that way and that’s where racing goes. You can’t get too down and you can’t get too high. You just have to keep it level and hope for the best all the time.”

Atras did come into the Correction with confidence. Bettors backed it up, hammering Rossa Veloce down to 2-5 from her 6-5 price on the morning line.

“Our plan was to break sharp and get out there and if we can hold our own on the front, we’ll do it,” Atras said. “If someone wants to go, Manny is smart and knows what to do. He made the right decision. That was his plan from the get-go, when he established the lead. He took pressure, but I thought he had enough and the way she had been doing, I thought she would kick clear.”

Rossa Veloce led Fouette by a half-length through opening splits of :23.28 and :46.93, well in hand by Franco, before putting that rival away approaching the stretch.

Franco kept Rossa Veloce a few paths off the rail turning for home, gave her a few reminders with his right-handed whip and drew off. Prodigy Doll closed from third to claim the runner-up spot, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Fouette with Easy to Bless fourth. I’m Buzzy, Secret Love and Big Tentations completed the field. Rossa Veloce won in 1:11.16 over the sloppy and sealed main track.

“My filly was doing what she liked – to be in front,” Franco said. “She went with her ears pricked up and waited for my call. When I called on her, she was there for me and she got it done.”

Rossa Veloce, who hadn’t run in a stakes since finishing fourth in the Franklin Square in early January 2021 at Aqueduct, picked up $55,000 to pad her career bankroll to $476,510. She also improved to 9-for-25, with four seconds and two thirds, including a runner-up in the Key Cents Stakes back in November 2020.

Atras and owner Bob Derr claimed Rossa Veloce for $32,000 out of a fourth going 6 furlongs Sept. 1 at Saratoga. She won back-to-back starts after the claim, at the Belmont at the Big A meet and at Aqueduct, before a runner-up finish on New Year’s Eve at Aqueduct in an open allowance-optional. Rossa Veloce started her 2023 season with a victory in a similar open allowance-optional Jan. 27 at Aqueduct.

“Bob Derr called me about the filly last summer at Saratoga. I looked at her and it looked like she had some really good races,” Atras said. “She had gone off form, but he liked her. I got to give full credit to him. I get a little gun-shy when you see a horse going the other way. You really don’t know if you want to claim them, but he wanted to take a shot at her. She looked good that day so we took a shot and it worked out.”

Bred by John Scott Rogers and foaled at Millstone Stable in Bridgehampton, Rossa Veloce is the second foal out of the winning Hard Spun mare Spuntastic. Rogers also bred Spuntastic, a New York-bred who won twice and earned $103,677 on the NYRA circuit. Rossa Veloce originally sold for $12,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale and was owned by Blue Streak Racing and Ray Handal, who also trained the filly, early in her career.

Spuntastic’s first three foals made the races – Rossa Veloce and her older half-sister Tina Burner, a New York-bred daughter of Noble Mission who has a win and six placings in 17 starts. Spuntastic is also the dam of the 3-year-old New York-bred Astern filly Strictly Taboo who sold for $40,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale and a colt by Honor Code born Feb. 28 in New York. Rogers bred Strictly Taboo and the Honor Code colt.

It’s a Gamble wins Barbados Gold Cup

Thursday, March 9th, 2023

It’s a Gamble, here winning the 2021 Jersey Derby at Monmouth, won last week’s $214,000 Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup. Bill Denver/EquiPhoto.

It’s a Gamble made a successful foray to the island nation of Barbados last weekend and came away with a victory in the $214,000 Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup at the Garrison Savannah Racetrack in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Recognized as a Barbadian Grade 1 event and contested at 1,800 meters on the turf, the Barbados Gold Cup also made its return after not being run in 2021 and 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sent off as the 5-2 co-favorite in the field of nine under Jalon Samuel, It’s a Gamble won by three quarters of a length over Tallahatchiebridge with So Suave another 1 1/4 lengths back in third. The 5-year-old son of English Channel won in 1:50.2 over the firm ground.

Bred by Ron Lombardi and out of the Yes It’s True mare Yes It’s Pink, previously raced for his breeder’s Mr. Amore Stable. He went 3-2-3 in 21 starts, including a victory over open company in the 2021 Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park, and earned $260,437 in the U.S. It’s a Gamble was claimed out of his prior start before the Barbados Gold Cup for $35,000 at Gulfstream Park in mid-January by trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. and Paraiso Investments.

It’s a Gamble won his debut during the 2020 meet at Saratoga Race Course before adding an allowance-optional score later that year at Aqueduct. He also placed in two stakes on the NYRA circuit – and won the Jersey Derby – as a 3-year-old.

It’s a Gamble won the Barbados Gold Cup for owner Mark Goodridge and trainer Rommell Lovell. The victory also marked Samuel’s sixth victory in the race, along with scores aboard Dancin David (2012), Dorsett (2016 and 2017), Sir Dudley Digges (2018) and Night Prowler (2020).

The winner of three of her 13 starts with just two off-the-board finishes, Yes It’s Pink was claimed at Belmont Park by Lombardi for $50,000 in October of 2013 and raced three more times before retirement.

Joining the Mr. Amore broodmare band, Yes It’s Pink’s first foal was an unraced New York-bred colt named Always Will. Her second foal, the New York-bred Verrazano mare Misty Tate is 7-1-5 in 28 starts – the most recent in early January at Laurel Park – with earnings of $200,021.

Itsalittlebitfunny, a 4-year-old New York-bred gelding by Algorithms, won his debut for Mr. Amore and Breen; and Yes It’s Pink’s fifth foal, the 3-year-old New York-bred Union Jackson filly, has made two starts for Mr. Amore and Breen this year at Aqueduct.

Neural Network gets Gander via DQ

Saturday, February 25th, 2023

Manny Franco signals the victory aboard Neural Network after the Gander. Joe Labozzetta/NYRA photo

By Melissa Bauer-Herzog

Milfer Farm-bred Neural Network picked up his first stakes win when the son of Cloud Computing earned a victory in the $100,000 Gander Stakes after Maker’s Candy was disqualified for interference.

Bouncing back from a fourth in the $150,000 Jerome Stakes last month, Neural Network again tackled the one-mile distance at Aqueduct. The colt broke evenly with the rest of the field, raced two wide in fourth as D’ont Lose Cruz set a pressured lead with Maker’s Candy on his hip.

The field clocked the first quarter in :23.84 and half in :47.42 without any serious moves made down the backstretch before Manny Franco let Neural Network out a notch. That was all the colt needed to start his pursuit of the two horses in front of him with Franco working hard to make sure he took his task seriously.

While Neural Network was hard ridden in third as he steadily made progress on the leaders, Maker’s Candy and D’ont Lose Cruz engaged in a duel down the stretch with Maker’s Candy taking the lead in the final furlong. Neural Network finally clicked into his top gear and closed late on Maker’s Candy but had to dodge the drifting leader and check near the wire when Maker’s Candy weaved into his path once more.

After an inquiry and a foul claim by Franco, stewards determined that Maker’s Candy’s stretch run had interfered enough name Neural Network the winner with Maker’s Candy demoted to second after 1:38.64. Dr. Kraft was third.

“The blinkers helped me a lot. He put me in a forward position. I don’t want to be too far away. I think the kickback [in the Jerome] – he doesn’t like it all – so, I used my post to my advantage,” Franco said after the race. “The distance is fine for him. I think he can go a mile, mile and an eighth.”

A $120,000 purchase by West Bloodstock from Legacy Bloodstock at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale, Neural Network is trained by Chad Brown for Klaravich Stables. The colt has nearly earned back that pricetag with two wins and $102,000 earned in three starts.

Foaled at Milfer Farm in Unadilla, Neural Network is out of the winning Street Cry mare Lapinski. Milfer bought that mare from Godolphin carrying Hard Spun filly Spun for Lu Lu for $82,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

A half-sister to stakes winner Sunset Wish, Lapinski is a granddaughter of Grade 1 winner and top broodmare Cara Rafaela. Among Cara Rafaela’s foals are champion and successful sire Bernardini and the dam of Grade 1 winner Love And Pride. Love And Pride herself is the dam of two stakes winners.

Lapinski had a New York-bred Preservationist filly named Wrong One the year after Neural Network was born and foaled a New York-bred Gormley colt last year. Lapinski made another trip to Kentucky after foaling that colt in late April to visit Paynter for her 2023 foal.

Neural Network (left) closes on Maker’s Candy near the finish of Saturday’s Gander. NYRA photo

Dr Ardito outslugs Bankit to win Haynesfield

Monday, February 20th, 2023

Dr Ardito (4) wins lengthy stretch battle with Bankit to take Monday’s Haynesfield Stakes at Aqueduct. NYRA Photo.

Dr Ardito made a successful President’s Day foray into stakes competition – and did so surviving a tough tussle with a leading member of the New York-bred older male division – in Monday’s $97,000 Haynesfield at Aqueduct.

Michael Dubb’s and Michael Caruso’s 5-year-old gelding by Liam’s Map also stretched his winning streak to six with a head victory over millionaire and multiple stakes winner Bankit in the 1-mile Haynesfield. Trained by Chad Brown and under Manny Franco, Dr Ardito improved to 6-for-7 and boosted his bankroll to $284,600.

“He has a ton of heart,” Dubb said of the gelding named for his longtime doctor. “Chad has managed this horse incredibly well.”

Dr Ardito, the 4-5 favorite against a group of seasoned New York-breds led by Bankit, landed in the Haynesfield after his connections also considered the open $88,000 allowance-optional at 1 mile that immediately followed the state-bred stakes.

“You have to be patient. I had in my mind if this race didn’t go, we’d be in the 3x here today,” Dubb said. “Fortunately, it did go and all worked out well. He’s had ankle [issues], but we’ve given him plenty of time. We gelded him a long way back and that may have helped him. He’s sound now. Chad is never in a rush.”

Sea Foam and Wudda Y Think Now were in a rush in the Haynesfield, hooked up early and opened up on their three rivals through a sharp opening quarter-mile in :22.84. Bankit and Dr Ardito were content to race third and fourth, respectively, up the backstretch and to the half in :46.18 as the two front-runners continued their duel on the lead.

Bankit, looking to give Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen his 10,001st about 20 minutes after his milestone score at Oaklawn Park, cruised past the tiring leaders approaching the stretch with Dr Ardito to his outside. The two leaders plummeted after 6 furlongs in 1:11.67, leaving Bankit and Dr Ardito to run for the $55,000 first-place check.

Bankit, on the inside under Jose Lezcano, and Dr Ardito were deadlocked past the eighth pole before the latter barely edged clear inside the final sixteenth for the win in 1:37.86.

“I know the horse pretty well so I know when I ask him, he’s going to be there for me,” said Franco, aboard for all of Dr Ardito’s starts. “I knew the pace was hot in front of me and at that point the horse to beat was going to be Bankit, so I had to follow him. When I had the chance, I went around him and I asked my horse because I knew it was him and me. I went a little early, but I think that was the right move.”

Full Moon Fever, making his stakes debut at 16-1, picked up the pieces to finish third and 7 3/4 lengths back. Wudda U Think Now and Sea Foam completed the lineup.

Bred by Fred Hertrich and John Fielding, foaled at Waldorf Farm in North Chatham and out of the winning Indian Charlie mare Delightfully So, Dr Ardito was purchased by Dubb for $95,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale. Unraced at 2, Dr Ardito made a pair of starts at 3. He finished second in his debut sprinting on a sloppy track at Aqueduct in late February 2021 before winning going 1 mile in mid-April.

Dr Ardito went to the sidelines for nearly a year and returned last February to string together three wins – two against state-breds going 1 mile at Aqueduct and another in an open-company allowance at 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park. He went to the shelf again after the last victory in mid-May and returned last month at Aqueduct to take another open allowance-optional over stablemate Nabokov on a muddy track at 7 furlongs.

Dr Ardito is the fourth foal out of Delightfully So, a half-sister to Canadian champion and Grade 3 winner Delightful Mary and Grade 2 winner and millionaire Delightful Kiss

Hertrich purchased Delightfully So as an unraced 3-year-old for $55,000 at the 2013 Keeneland January horses of all ages sale. She won two races from nine starts carrying his colors before heading to the breeding shed.

Delightfully So’s first foal, the winning Union Rags gelding Navistar, sold for $900,000 at the 2017 OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training. Her third foal, a New York-bred Constitution filly, sold for $210,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale. Delightfully So is also the dam of a yearling filly by Volatile that brought $180,000 at last year’s Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Cairo Sugar delivers 27-1 upset in Maddie May

Sunday, February 19th, 2023

Cairo Sugar and Andrew Wolfsont head to the finish 27-1 winners of Sunday’s Maddie May Stakes at Aqueduct. NYRA Photo.

Cairo Sugar went from favorite to outsider to stakes winner in Sunday’s $100,000 Maddie May for 3-year-old New York-bred fillies at Aqueduct.

AP Stable’s daughter of Cairo Prince landed her second straight win with her 27-1 upset of the 1-mile Maddie May, giving Parx Racing-based trainer Alan Bedard his first stakes winner on dirt and his first stakes winner in New York. Under Andrew Wolfsont, Cairo Sugar led from the start on the way to a 1 1/4-length win over even-money favorite and two-time stakes winner Les Bon Temps.

Cairo Sugar won the Maddie May off a 5-length victory in a 1-mile state-bred maiden at Aqueduct Jan. 19. She went to the post 6-5 that day, a far cry from her odds Sunday.

To complicate matters, Cairo Sugar sprung her left front shoe in the paddock before Bedard tacked her up. That led to a brief delay, and some anxious moments for her conditioner.

“I was very upset; I’ve never really had that happen before,” he said. “She actually stepped right on it and pulled it off. The blacksmith did a fantastic job getting it done. She wasn’t real easy about it.”

Cairo Sugar wasn’t easy on her five opponents in the Maddie May. The lone double-digit odds runner in the field of six, Cairo Sugar went to the front after breaking last, regrouping and led Luna Loca by a length through the opening quarter-mile in :23.56.

Les Bon Temps, winner of the Maid Of The Mist on Empire Showcase Day and Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes in her last two starts; and Sweetest Princess, returning to the New York-bred ranks after a fourth in the Busanda Stakes last time out, tracked the two leaders up the backstretch ahead of 2-1 second choice I’mhavingamoment and Starry Midnight.

Cairo Sugar continued on the lead through the half in :47.39 and 6 furlongs in 1:11.78, repelling a tepid rally from Luna Loca and later a wide run from Les Bon Temps approaching the stretch.

“I got into her because that was the game plan,” Wolfsont said. “I was hoping they would give me an easy lead, but I definitely wasn’t expecting that. Once I saw Jose Gomez [aboard Luna Loca] wasn’t committed to the lead, I figured I would just let her get comfortable a length in front. She took off a little faster than I was expecting, so I eased her back a little bit and got her in a nice and relaxed rhythm.”

Wolfsont said Cairo Sugar had “plenty left in the tank” late in the race and they held a 1-length lead in midstretch. Cairo Sugar hung tough inside the final sixteenth to hold off Les Bon Temps. Sweetest Princess finished another 1 3/4 lengths back in third with I’mhavingamoment fourth. Cairo Sugar won in 1:38.44 over the fast track.

“I was just hoping they wouldn’t come to me too soon because I had no idea how well she was going to run down the whole lane,” Wolfsont said. “She already went pretty quick early, but I was pleasantly surprised.”

Cairo Sugar improved to 2-for-6 with two seconds and third and boosted her earnings to $123,107.

Bred by and foaled at Peter Kazamias’ Kaz Hill Farm in Middletown, Cairo Sugar is out of the multiple Grade 1-winning Awesome Again mare Spun Sugar. AP Stable purchased the filly for $6,000 late in the second session of the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale.

Cairo Sugar made four starts at 2 – the first two for trainer Bruce Kravets at Penn National Race Course and the next for Bedard at Parx and Aqueduct. She finished a respective fourth, third and second twice in those races before her maiden win last month. Only one of those tries came around two turns in a 1-mile and 70-yard maiden race Nov. 29 at Parx. Bedard is hopeful Cairo Sugar will handle added distance going forward.

“Her breeding looks like she can go even longer,” he said. “Hopefully, even a mile and an eighth type of horse. The last time we ran against [I’mhavingamoment] we were second best, and that’s the day she was getting in and we thought a little more distance and not getting in she could go by. Today, she got it done.”

Cairo Sugar is one of 13 foals and eight winners out of Spun Sugar, who was purchased by Kasamias in foal to Street Sense for $20,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. The resulting foal, a New York-bred daughter of Wear My Ring, was a winner for Kazamias on the NYRA circuit. Spun Sugar’s next two foals – the now 4-year-old New York-bred Bank Heist colt Kaz Sugar Bank, most recently third in a Penn National allowance race Feb. 10, and Cairo Sugar – are winners and she’s also the dam of a 2-year-old New York-bred Leofric colt Sugar’s Last Hope.

Bred by Adena Springs and raced by Stronach Stables, Spun Sugar won six of 13 including the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at 3 and Grade 1 Apple Blossom and Grade 1 Go for Wand at 4, with $929,171 in earnings. She sold in foal to A.P. Indy for $4.5 million at the 2007 Keeneland November sale.

Classy Edition makes amends in Royal Delta

Saturday, February 18th, 2023

Classy Edition collects first graded stakes victory in Saturday’s Royal Delta. Lauren King/Gulfstream Park Photo.

Robert and Lawana Low’s Classy Edition turned the tables on Kathleen O. in Saturday’s Grade 3 Royal Delta Stakes at Gulfstream Park, almost a year removed from losing to that foe in another important South Florida graded stakes.

Benefitting from a smoother trip than her rival this time, Classy Edition improved to 2-for-2 on the season with a 1 3/4-length victory over Kathleen O. in the Royal Delta. Irad Ortiz Jr. rode the 4-year-old daughter of Classic Empire to her first graded stakes win in his fourth win on the card as trainer Todd Pletcher collected his fourth win in the stakes formerly named the Sabin before 2015.

“I was pretty pleased,” Pletcher said. “We got to a good spot and it looked like Irad had a lot of horse, just waiting to pull the trigger.”

The $150,000 Royal Delta looked like a rematch on paper and gamblers agreed, sending last year’s Grade 2 Davona Dale and Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks winner Kathleen O. to the post as the 4-5 favorite. Classy Edition, second to Kathleen O. in the Davona Dale after closing her juvenile campaign with back-to-back state-bred stakes wins, went off even-money with the 6-1 third choice Midnight Stroll the only other filly or mare at single-digit odds in the field of seven.

Longshot Jungle Juice took the early lead and led Classy Edition by a length into the first turn and to the pedestrian quarter-mile split in :25.28. Kathleen O. got away a half-beat slow and wound up sixth in the early stages, 5 lengths behind Jungle Juice and Classy Edition through the first half in :50.15.

Ortiz sent Classy Edition at the leader midway around the far turn and took control, clicking past 6 furlongs in 1:13.93 and opening up with Tap Dance Fever looking like a threat from her outside and Kathleen O. still more than 2 lengths back. Classy Edition extended her lead in the lane and held a 2-length edge at the eighth pole.

“She was going good on the backside,” Ortiz said. “We were going slow but she was close to the lead. I let her do her thing and she did the rest.”

Kathleen O. continued her wide run through the lane but couldn’t gain enough ground on the winner to finish second, 4 lengths ahead of Don’t Get Khozy. Tap Dance Fever, Soul of an Angel, Midnight Stroll and Jungle Juice completed the field.

Classy Edition, who prepped for the Royal Delta with a comeback win in allowance-optional last month at Gulfstream, won in 1:45.15.

Classy Edition, the most expensive New York-bred 2-year-old filly sold at auction in 2020, improved to 5-for-7 in the Royal Delta and boosted her earnings to $372,790. Bloodstock agent Jacob West bought the filly for the Lows for $550,000 out of the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May sale of 2-year-olds in training, and she ended that year as the second most expensive New York-bred sold at a juvenile auction.

Bred by Chester and Mary Broman and foaled at their Chestertown Farm in Chestertown, Classy Edition was sold at the Timonium sale by Becky Thomas’ Sequel Bloodstock. Out of the Broman-bred two-time winning Bernardini mare Newbie, Classy Edition is a half-sister to multiple New York-bred stakes winner Newly Minted and the stakes-placed New Girl In Town. Newbie is also the dam of the unraced New York-bred American Pharoah colt Pharoah Lake and a yearling New York-bred colt by Vekoma bred by the Bromans.

Newbie is also the dam of the unraced Speightstown mare Colonizer, who sold for $150,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale. The Bromans subsequently purchased Colonizer, in foal to Omaha Beach, back for that same price at last year’s Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

The Bromans bought Newbie’s dam Changeisgonnacome, carrying Newbie, for $320,000 at the 2008 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Bred in Virginia by Audley Farm, that mare won Saratoga’s P.G. Johnston Stakes in 2006 and placed in a Grade 2 the following year. All five foals of her foals to race were winners.

Classy Edition started her career with three straight victories in the late summer and early autumn of 2021 – a 5 1/2-furlong maiden at Saratoga, the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes at Belmont Park and the Key Cents Stakes at Aqueduct. She started her 3-year-old campaign with that runner-up in the Davona Dale before a fourth back at Aqueduct in the Grade 3 Gazelle. On the sidelines for nine months, Classy Edition returned to win going 1 mile Jan. 11 at Gulfstream.

“We really thought highly of her,” Pletcher said. “She showed quality. She ran a good second in the race here and then needed some time off. She came back really well. I thought her comeback race was excellent. We kind of had a little tactical edge today and she was able to get it done.”