NEWS: racing

Cross Border explodes to win Cape Henlopen

Saturday, September 16th, 2023

Ageless veteran Cross Border rolls to victory in Saturday’s Cape Henlopen at Delaware Park. Hoofprints, Inc. Photo.

Cross Border returned to flat racing this summer after a brief stint as a steeplechaser, and returned to the winner’s circle with his fifth stakes victory in Saturday’s $200,450 Cape Henlopen going long on the grass at Delaware Park.

The 9-year-old English Channel ridgling won on the flat for the first time since taking the Prairie Bayou Stakes in mid-December 2021. The multiple graded stakes winner lost six straight after that run before making four appearances on the National Hunt scene, where he finished third in a 2-mile flat stakes under steeplechase conditions at Far Hills in October 2022 and won a 2 1/16-mile maiden hurdle at the Aiken Steeplechase in late March.

Cross Border returned to the flat game in the 2-mile, Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup June 9 at Belmont Park, where he finished 13th.

Entered a few times early in the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course, where he won back-to-back editions of the Grade 2 Bowling Green in 2020 and 2021, Cross Border didn’t run until Aug. 26 when he finished a close third for a $62,500 tag in a 1 3/16-mile allowance-optional on the grass.

Cross Border wasn’t claimed that day and the Wycoff family’s Three Diamonds Farm and trainer Mike Maker set their sights on Delaware Park’s stamina-testing Cape Henlopen.

Sent off as the 8-1 fourth choice in the field of eight behind John’s Call Stakes winner Tawny Port, Commandeer and Beacon Hill, Cross Border was content to race second-last for most of the 1 1/2-mile trip over the firm turf course.

Tawny Port, the even-money favorite off his Saratoga victory last time out, led the field from the break under Trevor McCarthy. They carved out posted fractions of :24.49, :53.55 and 1:18.23 under slight pressure from Urban Myth. Cross Border and Ruben Silvera saved round the entire way and were still next-to-last around the far turn. Tawny Port tried to give the field the slip up the backstretch, raced past the mile in 1:42.72 and continued to lead into the lane.

Silvera angled several paths off the rail turning for home and Cross Border responded with a furious run, caught Tawny Port at the sixteenth pole and drew clear to a 2 1/2-length win over Tawny Port. Tough Tickets finished another 3 1/4 lengths back in third with Commandeer fourth. Cross Border won in 2:33.31.

Bred by Dr. Doug Koch’s Berkshire Stud and B. D. Gibbs and foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, Cross Border improved to 13-for-52 with eight seconds and seven thirds and boosted his bankroll to $1,333,258. A $100,000 purchase by Three Diamonds and Maker at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July horses of racing age sale, Cross Border was a finalist for New York-bred champion turf male honors in 2020 and 2021 and missed out on the crowns to stablemate Somelikeithotbrown.

A $180,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase in 2015 before selling for $10,000 at the 2016 OBS June sale, Cross Border is one of three winners from three to race out of the Empire Maker mare Empress Josephine. Empress Josephine is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winning New York-bred Private Emblem and stakes winner Rhum, the dam of leading New York sire and Grade 2 winner Central Banker and multiple stakes winner Gantry.

NY-bred Saratoga Flash opens National Thoroughbred League with victory

Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

Saratoga Flash, a son of Laoban bred by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, rolls to victory in inaugural National Thoroughbred League Handicap Sept. 3 at Kentucky Downs. Coady Photography.

Saratoga Flash, a stakes-placed New York-bred son of the late Laoban, kicked off the inaugural National Thoroughbred League with a victory over Labor Day weekend at Kentucky Downs.

Owned by Dailey Double Racing LLC and trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., Saratoga Flash powered to a 2 3/4-length victory in the $378,666 National Thoroughbred League Handicap Sept. 3 going 1 mile on the grass. Edgard Zayas rode the 5-year-old gelding, who just missed the 1-mile course record winning in 1:32.39.

Sent off as the 8-1 sixth choice in the field of eight, Saratoga Flash carved out fractions of :23.43, :46.31 and 1:09.29 before just missing Flavius’ course mark of 1:32.21 set when he won the 2020 Tourist Mile Stakes. Siege of Boston, the 7-5 favorite for trainer Jimmy Toner, finished second, with the Arnaud Delacour-trained Eons third.

Saratoga Flash races for the New Jersey Racing Club in the National Thoroughbred League, which was launched as an event-focused league for Thoroughbred racehorses modeled on other sports leagues. The organization’s “league office” purchased racehorses privately, conducted a draft among six team owners that are equity holders in the league and fund the purses for the series of races run over three weekends in late summer and fall at four tracks.

Kentucky Downs hosted the first race, with the Meadowlands (Oct. 14), Santa Anita Park (Nov. 10-11) and Tampa Bay Downs (Dec. 30-31) completing the hosting lineup.

The New Jersey Racing Club leads the standings with 95 points, 30 more than the Philadelphia Stallions. New York Knights are third with 52, followed by California Shamrocks (48), Seattle Gems (20) and Nashville Dreams (20).

Four National Thoroughbred League races are in the condition book for Oct. 14 at the Meadowlands, all with $50,000 purses at 1 mile on the grass. Two of the races are for fillies and mares.

Bred by and foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Flash is the sixth foal out of the winning Sky Mesa mare Flash Act.

Flash Act is the dam of New York-bred stakes winner Nine Route, a son of The Factor who sold as a weanling for $190,000 at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November mixed sale and for $290,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale. She also the dam of winners Easy Banker (by Central Banker) and Cause (The Factor) and the 3-year-old New York-bred Mendelssohn filly Inflationary Trend that sold for $180,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale.

A $60,000 purchased by de Meric Sales at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale, Saratoga Flash started his career for Sackatoga Stable and trainer Barclay Tagg. He won three of his first 12 starts before he was claimed by Dailey Double Racing for $35,000 out of one of those victories, a 1 1/16-mile race on the inner turf Aug. 20, 2022 at Saratoga Race Course. He closed the 2022 season with another victory in a starter optional on Christmas Eve at Gulfstream Park.

Saratoga Flash made four starts in 2023 before his National Thoroughbred League victory, winning and finishing second in Gulfstream allowance-optional events and finishing second in the Mr. Steele Stakes in mid-May at Gulfstream. He prepped for his Kentucky Downs run with a seventh in a $120,313 allowance-optional on the turf July 20 at Saratoga.

Barese scores in Genesee Valley

Monday, September 4th, 2023

Barese reaches for the finish of Monday’s Genesee Valley Stakes. SV Photography

By Paul Halloran

Barese made it a second successful sojourn out Route 90 from Saratoga Springs to Farmington Monday, rolling to an easy win in the Genesee Valley Breeders’ Stakes at Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack.

The field in the $50,000 stakes for New York-breds scratched down to five and it looked like a two-horse race on paper. That’s what it turned out to be, but it was not Sea Foam battling it out with Barese. That role was played by Debra Breed homebred Lady’s Golden Guy, who led into the stretch before Barese overtook him at the eighth pole.

It was the sixth win in 16 career starts for Barese, a son of Laoban bred by Becky Thomas’ Sequel Thoroughbreds and Lewis Lakin’s Lakland Farm. Owned by Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher, the son of Laoban increased his career earnings to $531,252.

Barese won his fourth stakes race and first since capturing the New York Derby at Finger Lakes July 18, 2022, which he followed by running second in the Albany Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on New York Showcase Day. After ending his 3-year-old campaign with a sixth in the Alex M. Robb Stakes, Barese was given five months off by trainer Mike Maker.

After running third in an open allowance and last in the Commentator Stakes, Barese won an open allowance by 5 lengths at Belmont July 1. He finished last in the Evan Shipman Stakes and continued the off-on pattern Monday.

Lady’s Golden Guy set the pace, but a timing malfunction precluded accurate fractions being posted (that became evident when :32.16 was put up for the first quarter). Beta stalked in second while Barese saved ground on the rail and Sea Foam, a 10-time winner and $850,000 earner raced wide throughout and ended up finishing last.

Barese engaged Beta on the far turn, going by on the inside and taking aim at Lady’s Golden Boy. The winner collared the frontrunner a furlong out and pulled away in the final eighth to win by 2½ lengths. The winning time for the 1 1/16 miles was posted in 1:45.72. Sent off at 1-4, Barese paid $2.60 to win.

Barese is the third foal out of the unraced Successful Appeal mare Right Prevails. Maker purchased the colt for $150,000 out of Thomas’ Sequel Bloodstock consignment at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Right Prevails, a full-sister to Grade 3 winner and 2005 Kentucky Derby runner-up Closing Argument, also produced Barese’s 6-year-old full-sister Breakfastatbonnies, who has won three of seven and earned $165,865. Right Prevails is also the dam of unraced 2-year-old colt Krigsman; Wrongsideofhistory, by Tiznow, who was winless in six starts; Not Wrong, an unraced 3-year-old filly by The Lieutenant, a yearling colt by Mission Impazible and a colt by Catalina Cruiser, all bred in New York and co-bred by Sequel and Lakland. She was bred to Jackie’s Warrior this year.

Thin White Duke rocks to Harvey Pack win

Saturday, September 2nd, 2023

Thin White Duke flies down the stretch to win the 2023 Harvey Pack Stakes. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo

Fourth time’s the charm.

Thin White Duke, making his fourth start of the 2023 Saratoga Race Course season, rallied wide down the stretch to catch favorite Big Invasion in the final yards and win the $150,000 Harvey Pack Stakes by a neck Saturday.

The victory completed a busy month at the Spa for the 5-year-old Dominus gelding, bred by co-owner and former trainer Phil Gleaves. Now trained by Dave Donk, Thin White Duke finished fifth in an optional claimer July 26; 10 days later, he placed third in the Grade 3 Troy Stakes; 18 days after that, he checked in fourth in another optional claimer.

Undaunted, Thin White Duke went to the post 10 days later in the Harvey Pack, a race the dark bay won last year when it was known as the Lucky Coin Stakes. Sent off at 9-1 in a field of six, Thin White Duke took his customary spot in the back early as Dancing Buck showed early speed and completed the first quarter-mile in :22.42 and a half in :45.36. Our Shot sat just off the leader, followed by Big Invasion and Chess Master.

Thin White Duke was last of five after Mister Mmmmm was pulled up early, but went to work coming off the turn. Ahead, Big Invasion and Our Shot went after the leader with Big Invasion taking a slim lead in mid-stretch. To their outside, Jose Lezcano revved up Thin White Duke and the horse responded – switching to his right lead and reeling in the favorite to sweep past in the final three strides. Big Invasion, making his first start since Royal Ascot in June, held on for second with Our Shot a head back in third. Final time for 5 1/2 furlongs was 1:02.18.

“He broke pretty good and I sat behind the speed,” Lezcano said. “I’ve been watching his replays and he’s kind of a horse who likes to be outside, this is who he is. I let him go, relaxed in the back, and when I made my move, I go around and he gave me the kick – the kick I needed to win the race.”

Thin White Duke won for the sixth time in 29 starts – 10 at Saratoga – while pushing his career earnings to $682,605 for owners Gleaves, Steve Crist, Ken deRegt, Bryan Hilliard. Trained by Gleaves for his first two seasons, Thin White Duke broke his maiden in the 2020 Funny Cide Stakes at Saratoga and added the Aspirant at Finger Lakes that fall. In 2021, he lost all three starts. When Gleaves retired from training at the end of that year, the horse moved to Donk’s shedrow and he went 3-for-11 with victories in the Lucky Coin, two optional-claiming wins and a third (beaten a head and a neck by Golden Pal) in the Grade 3 Troy.

This year started in April and included seven defeats, but enough solid efforts to encourage Donk and the team. The win was the trainer’s second at the 2023 meet.

“It’s been a slow meet not having any live ones to lead over,” Donk said. “This horse likes it here and I thought his races earlier in the year were really good and I thought the course played to him more this week where you can close on it more than you could earlier in the meet. He’s done really well and I wasn’t afraid to run him back, he’s been kind of full of himself. I’m just happy that he ran so well and for Phil, Steve, Ken and Bryan. I know it means a lot to these guys that the race is named after Harvey. It was appropriate.”

Crist, a former racing columnist at the New York Times and head of the Daily Racing Form, called the win special thanks to a long relationship with Pack, a New York racing media personality for decades who died at age 94 in 2021.

“It’s tremendous,” Crist said. “The second we heard that this was the race they were going to name for Harvey and we had won it last year, I didn’t care what else we do this year I just wanted to be in the Harvey Pack and try to win it. I spent some time with his family before the race, you just can’t make this stuff up.

“When I was a cub reporter in the early ’80s, that’s when Harvey started with the replay show and he put me on. He was very helpful to a guy that was just getting his feet wet. He was a loyal friend the whole time that I was a working journalist. We became good friends. To win this, there’s some magic left in the world.”

Foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs, Thin White Duke is out of the unraced Distorted Humor mare Aberdeen Alley. She’s the dam of Saratoga stakes winner Miami Cat, stakes-placed winners I Ain’t Gonna Lie and Now Is and winners Dunnotarr, Fortythreeoeight N, Yes And Yes and Sweet Summer Sweet. Aberdeen Alley was euthanized in 2019 after suffering an injury.

Big Cyn wins first stakes at Grande Prairie

Wednesday, August 30th, 2023

Big Cyn, a 6-year-old mare bred by Patricia Generazio, wins the Paint the Park Purple Stakes at Grande Prairie racetrack in Alberta. Photo courtesy of Angie Patterson/Watson’s Foto Source & Studio

Six-year-old mare Big Cyn added a stakes victory to her 45-start resume in her stakes debut Sunday with a win in the $8,750 Paint the Park Purple Stakes at Grande Prairie in Alberta, Canada.

Racing at 6 furlongs on the dirt, the daughter of Handsom Mike went to the lead and was happy to set the pace. A few others in the five-horse field stayed close throughout when but it was Causin Mischief that made sure Big Cyn had a battle into and through the stretch.

Causin Mischief dug deep to catch Big Cyn and came with a late run but the New York-bred was not to be denied and won by three quarters of a length.

Trained by Kathy McNally for Tracie Gillis, Big Cyn boosted her earnings to $125,540 and scored her first win of 2023 in the Paint the Park Purple.

Bred by Patricia Generazio, Big Cyn started her career at Belmont Park as a 2-year-old and has been well-traveled in her career with races at six tracks in two countries. She improved to 7-for-45 with six seconds and nine thirds.

Big Cyn is out of the stakes-placed New York-bred Rockport Harbor mare Cape Cod Carol.

Cape Cod Carol finished in the top three in 18 of her 32 starts and earned $346,505. The 14-year-old mare went through the sales ring for the first time this year, selling for $1,000 in foal to Disco Partner at Keeneland January to Charles Yochum.

Cape Cod Carol is a half-sister to stakes winner Becky’s Exchange and stakes-placed Believeinmenow. Becky’s Exchange also produced the stakes-placed Keep The Ring while another half-sister produced the stakes winning Saratoga Treasure and April Gaze in addition to Big Brown’s stakes-placed Veterans Beach. Each of Big Cyn’s first six dams have produced stakes performers with five of them producing stakes winners.

Cape Cod Carol is the dam of two winners from four named foals. She also has an unnamed New York-bred Maclean’s Music 2-year-old filly who sold for $9,000 to Elizabeth Barr and Turks Head Turf at the Keeneland January sale.

The mare’s New York-bred filly by Disco Partner sold for $80,000 at this month’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale to C.F.E. Stables. There was no live foal reported for Cape Cod Carol this year, but the mare was bred to Burrow in 2023.

Three-Year-Olds: Drake’s Passage wins Albany; Ichiban takes Fleet Indian

Sunday, August 27th, 2023

Drake’s Passage rolls to victory in the Albany in his stakes debut for owner-breeder Robert Evans. NYRA Photo.

Christophe Clement and Robert Evans employ a simple strategy to their trainer-owner relationship.

“He doesn’t tell me how to train and I don’t tell him how to breed,” Clement said after the final stakes on Sunday’s New York Showcase Day program at Saratoga Race Course. “It works great that way.”

The protocol worked great with Tonalist – trained by Clement for Evans to victory in the 2014 Belmont Stakes – and with a couple runners who won stakes Sunday. Drake’s Passage capped the day for the team with a dominating victory over six fellow sophomore New York-breds in the $250,000 Albany Stakes.

Drake’s Passage won the 9-furlong Albany by 7 3/4 lengths in his stakes debut under Manny Franco, who won four races on the card. Clement also celebrated three Showcase Day stakes wins, adding the Albany to City Man’s score in the West Point and New Ginya’s victory in the Yaddo Handicap. The latter, like Drake’s Passage, was bred by Evans.

“The horse has always trained like a nice horse,” Clement said of the Albany winner. “He won last year … and came back after some time off. He came back, he won at Belmont and was very impressive this afternoon.”

Clement and his son and assistant Miguel always liked Drake’s Passage, a homebred out of Evans’ Grade 3-placed Speightstown mare Raucous. He trained with the stable’s summertime string at Belmont Park during last year’s Saratoga meet before shipping north to finish his training on the Oklahoma Training Track.

Drake’s Passage breezed three times on the dirt on the Oklahoma before a half-mile work on the grass 13 days before his debut, also on grass going 1 1/16 miles during the Belmont at the Big A meet, which actually wasn’t totally by design.

The Clements joked about that run, a fifth by 6 lengths on good turf, after the Albany.

“We won’t talk about it,” Miguel Clement said. “That was my mistake. I knew he wanted to go long, but we had 6 furlongs on dirt that day or a mile and a sixteenth on grass . . . I got in a lot of trouble. That was my mistake.”

Drake’s Passage made amends from there, finishing third going 7 furlongs a month later during the main Aqueduct fall meet before winning on a muddy track going 1 mile Dec. 8.

“We worked him with everything in the barn and he always outworked everything in the barn,” Christophe Clement said. “He’s a nice horse.”

Off until July 3, Drake’s Passage returned with another victory going 1 mile at Belmont Park before stepping into stakes company and going two turns for the first time in the Albany.

Gamblers bet Drake’s Passage down to 6-5 in a field that included the 1-2 finishers from the New York Derby in Allure of Money and Maker’s Candy and Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred Saratoga allowance winner Mariachi. Drake’s Passage bobbled a bit at the break before settling into a tracking position in second behind Mariachi through splits of :24.11, :48.44 and 1:12.55.

Mariachi held the lead into the lane but came under serious pressure from Drake’s Passage outside the sixteenth pole. Drake’s Passage took over from there and opened 3 1/2 lengths past the eighth pole. He widened the advantage from there as 15-1 longshot Jackson Heights closed from last to finish second, 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Miracle Mike with Maker’s Candy fourth. Mariachi, Allure of Money and Leo and Royal completed the lineup. Drake’s Passage won in 1:50.95 over the fast track.

“I just wanted to wait as long as I could because I know I had a lot of horse,” Franco said. “I know I’ve got the horse in the lead, so I take a peek back to see what the company was, and it was a matter of time . . . He definitely wants to go longer. Clement told me that the race before . . . that he wants to go longer and he was right.”

Drake’s Passage improved to 3-for-5, earned $137,500 and boosted his earnings to $231,480. He’s the first foal out of Raucous, a $300,000 purchase by Evans at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale who won two of seven starts including the Chelsey Flower Stakes at Aqueduct and placed in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes at Del Mar.

Raucous’ second foal, a Gun Runner colt named Unique Insight in training at Saratoga, sold for $360,000 to Klaravich Stables at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale. She’s also the dam of a yearling colt by Tonalist named Radauti and a weanling filly by Gun Runner born April 9.

Tom Law

• • •

Ichiban scores in Sunday’s Fleet Indian,  her third win of the 2023 Saratoga Race Course meet. NYRA Photo

Ichiban finds third win of meet in Fleet Indian

Coming into the 34th day of Saratoga Race Course’s 2023 meet, Linda Rice was three wins behind leader Chad Brown in the trainer standings with 27. But with all that success, she had yet to notch a stakes win.

That void ended in Sunday’s second race when 3-year-old filly Ichiban won the 1 1/8-mile Fleet Indian Stakes by 5 ½ lengths on the main track. The race was the first of six stakes in Sunday’s New York Showcase Day for state-breds.

Rice ran two fillies in the four-horse field, and had secured the services of both of the Ortiz brothers, one and two in the jockey standings. Jose rode the winner while Irad finished second on Amanda’s Folly for a Rice/Ortiz exacta.

For Ichiban, a daughter of Street Sense and the Out Of Place mare Cover Girl Elle, it was not only her first stakes win, it also completed a Saratoga hat trick with her third victory of the meet.

“She didn’t surprise me,” said Rice, of the 2023 meet’s first three-time winner. “She’s been training so forwardly and I think she’s still improving.”

Discussing race strategy, Jose said, “We knew [Timely Conquest] had the speed but was stretching out so we wanted to push her a little. Either one of us could have done it, but I broke better this time so I was the one applying the pressure. But I still wanted to give myself a shot to win. When I came up to the leader, I kind of felt she was done and I knew I still had plenty of horse so I decided to go on and my filly responded very well.”

Ken Gill, a partner with his wife Karen in the filly through Cypress Creek Equine and breeder Mike Moreno’s Southern Equine Stable, loved it.

“Powerful,” Gill said. “We expected it. We bought into this filly with Mike in July and she’s done nothing but win since.”

Ichiban lost her first four starts – in January at the Fair Grounds with Ricky Courville and three in New York with Rice – but has turned it around since. Second at Belmont June 25, she started the Saratoga triple with a 7 furlong maiden race July 15 and a 1 1/8-mile allowance July 26.

“We’ve got a good many horses in the New York program,” said Karen Gill. “It’s wonderful, you have the breeders’ program and you have all these races for New York horses.”

Ichiban’s share of the $200,000 Fleet Indian purse pushed her career earnings to $228,750 with a record of three wins in seven starts.

“As I said, she’s improved so much I don’t know right now where she goes next,” said Rice, an eight-time New York Thoroughbred Breeders trainer of the year. “Maybe she could graduate into the Empire Distaff [Oct. 29 at Aqueduct]. We’ll see.”

A perfect 3-for-3 on Ichiban, Jose Ortiz also picked up his third Fleet Indian victory (following Final’s Cave in 2022 and Sunset Ridge in 2017).

In addition to the Fleet Indian victor, Cover Girl Elle has produced five winners including stakes winner (and graded-stakes-placed) Ava’s Grace.

– Terry Hill

Turf: City Man adds second West Point to resume; New Ginya captures Yaddo

Sunday, August 27th, 2023

City Man racks up his 10th career stakes victory in Sunday’s West Point. NYRA Photo.

City Man has been dominant among New York-breds, captured a Grade 2 stakes in open company and has won stakes five consecutive years, starting as a 2-year-old. But if you think there’s nothing left for him to accomplish, think again.

“Hong Kong or Dubai? What are we doing?” interjected Miguel Clement, assistant to his father and trainer Christophe Clement, as owner Dean Reeves conducted a winner’s circle interview after City Man rallied to win Sunday’s West Point Stakes on New York Showcase Day at Saratoga Race Course.

And while Clement said it with a wide smile, it turns out he wasn’t kidding.

“We actually have looked at it,” Reeves said. “There’s a nice race in Hong Kong (in December) and I think he could run in Dubai (next year). This guy is maturing and he’s running as well as he ever has. It’s not out of the realm.”

In winning the West Point for the second time (2021), the son of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man improved his career record to 11-5-4, with 10 stakes wins in 30 starts and $1,189,170 in earnings. He did it by closing from fourth in the five-horse field and catching odds-on favorite Spirit of St. Louis, who had battled down the stretch with Jerry the Nipper, in the last 50 feet.

“I’m almost out of words to describe him,” Reeves said. “Eleven wins and more than a million dollars. He’s so consistent . . . Speed and stamina. That’s a tough combination to beat. He’s special to us.”

Jerry The Nipper led until the far turn, putting up fractions of :23.91, :48.83 and 1:13.64. Spirit of St. Louis took the lead on the turn and eventually put away a stubborn Jerry The Nipper, but by then City Man was rolling down the outside under Joel Rosario. The winning margin was 1 1/4 lengths in 1:42.63.

“He’s as good as any New York-bred out there right now,” Reeves said. “We’re so proud of him. He’s a tough customer.”

City Man, owned in partnership with Peter and Patty Searles, was in the second crop of Mucho Macho Man, also owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. Out of the City Zip mare City Scamper, the West Point winner was bred by Moonstar Farm and sold for $20,000 as a weanling in 2017. Two years later he went to Reeves for $185,000 at the OBS April sale. City Man was named champion New York-bred turf male in 2022.

City Scamper is the dam of six-figure New York-bred earner Go Kelly Go and the Laoban colt El Mayor, who has earned $71,767. City Scamper also produced New York-bred mare Patty’s Temple; a New York-bred colt by Hoppertunity; Miss City Girl, a 2-year-old full-sister to City Man who has not yet raced; and a yearling filly by Vino Rosso.

Paul Halloran

• • •

New Ginya rolls to victory in Sunday’s Yaddo for owner/breeder Robert S. Evans and trainer Christophe Clement. NYRA Photo.

Owner/breeder/buyer Evans wins Yaddo with New Ginya

It’s not the usual business model.

Robert Evans bred his four-time stakes winner Rapid Rhythm to his Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist in 2018. She produced a New York-bred filly a year later. Lane’s End consigned the bay filly to the Keeneland September Sale where she brought $25,000. Nine months later, the filly attracted the attention of Evans’ advisor Patrick Lawley Wakelin at the OBS June Sale. Evans bought her for $250,000 and sent her to trainer Christophe Clement.

Call it a reverse pinhook.

“His advisor liked her as a 2-year-old, called Mr. Evans and he said, ‘If you like her, why don’t we buy her back?’ ” Clement said. “You know, he was right. He’s done this many times, this is not the first time.”

Sunday in Saratoga, New Ginya made the math work with a last-to-first rally in the Yaddo Handicap at Saratoga Race Course. The win improved her record to four wins from 12 starts for $334,110.

Jockey Dylan Davis settled the 4-year-old filly in last behind a quick tempo set by She’s Dancing and Whatlovelookslike. Davis stayed on the hedge through a quarter in :23.52 and a half in :48.90 over the good turf, continued to bide his time in last through three-quarters in 1:13.54. Nearing the quarter pole, Davis swung New Ginya to the outside and it was over. New Ginya passed seven rivals in about seven strides to draw off by 3 ¾ lengths over Spungie, who had a rough trip, and Runaway Rumour. New Ginya finished 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf in 1:43.06.

New Ginya won her debut at Aqueduct in November 2021 and spent the next 17 months toiling in the New York-bred a-other-than division. She broke out of that level in her eighth start and has now three of her last five.

“We’ve always liked her, he bought her back because she had a very good work at OBS, we always knew she had ability and we just had to be patient. Patience, usually you get rewarded at some stage,” Clement said. “She was a little bit tricky mentally. She was always very worried and anxious as a younger horse. She was not easy.  She’s much better now, but it took a long time.”

A venerable owner and breeder on the national stage, Evans waded into the New York program at his trainer’s behest.

“Just very recently because of Tonalist, I’m the one who told him that maybe it would make sense to have a few mares in New York,” said Clement, who trained Evans’ Tonalist to victories in the Belmont Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup (twice) and Cigar Mile. “This might be one of the first ones he’s done. It’s good for him. I hope he’s going to carry on doing it because it seems to be working.”

Three hours after New Ginya tabbed the Yaddo, Drake’s Passage made it a double for Evans by dominating the Albany. And, this time, Evans didn’t have to buy up. The son of Tonalist has always been in the program.

“It’s great for an owner/breeder,” Clement said. “I trained Tonalist for Mr. Evans so this is like a full-time success for the operation. It’s nice when it works out.”

– Sean Clancy

Two-Year-Olds: The Wine Steward wins Funny Cide; Caldwell Luvs Gold rolls in Seeking The Ante

Sunday, August 27th, 2023

The Wine Steward scores a narrow victory in Sunday’s Funny Cide Stakes. NYRA Photo

Mike Maker finished one interview and interrupted another to make a point.

“I want to make sure you put a note there to thank Peter Proscia for overpaying,” Maker joked with a nod toward Proscia, whose Paradise Farms Corp. co-owns The Wine Steward with David Staudacher.

Proscia and Staudacher did exceed their initial budget of $250,000, along with Maker’s suggested ceiling of $290,000, when they purchased the New York-bred 2-year-old son of Vino Rosso for $340,000 at this year’s OBS March sale. The Wine Steward has almost earned back that hammer price after adding to his ledger Sunday with a victory in the $200,000 Funny Cide Stakes.

“A little pricey, but it fell right in for us,” Proscia said of The Wine Steward, who improved to 3-for-3 with a head victory over El Grande O in the 6-furlong Funny Cide.

The third highest priced New York-bred at the OBS March sale, The Wine Steward added the Funny Cide to his victory last time out against open company in the July 2 Bashford Manor Stakes at Ellis Park and a May 28 state-bred maiden win at Belmont Park. He won those two races by 2 3/4 and 6 lengths, respectively, and grinded out the Funny Cide by a head over the stubborn El Grande O. Watchatalkinabout finished 5 ½ lengths back in third with Works for Me fourth of six. Ridden by Manny Franco, The Wine Steward won in 1:10.92.

“Mike developed the horse really nicely for us,” Proscia said. “He took his time after the last race at Ellis and here we are.”

Maker targeted the Funny Cide specifically to get The Wine Steward back with New York-breds and to allow plenty of time to recover from his win in the 6-furlong Bashford Manor.

“His last race was a hard race, it was hot out that day, so we kind of zeroed in on this one,” Maker said. “He’s more of a feminine-made horse and we thought the time would be beneficial. Having said that we think he’s more geared toward route races anyway.”

Sent off as the 6-5 favorite, The Wine Steward bobbled a few times leaving the gate from post six, while El Grande O also stumbled at the break before recovering to take a short lead heading toward the turn.

El Grande O, runner-up in the off-the-turf Skidmore Stakes behind The Wine Steward’s stablemate Ship Cadet nine days ago, led through the opening quarter-mile in :22.54 ahead of Works For Me and Trust Fund. Always A Warrior and The Wine Steward raced fourth and fifth to that point, the latter a few paths off the rail with only Watchatalkinabout behind them starting the bend.

The Wine Steward continued to advance around the turn and eventually made a four-wide rally at the leader through the half in :45.97. The wide run didn’t overly concern Franco.

“I wanted to be forward and I had to stalk four wide, but I knew I was on the best horse,” he said. “If he’s going to win, he’s going to win from here. I didn’t make things complicated. I just wanted to stay there and made my move when I thought it was the right time.”

Trust Fund and Works For Me yielded into the straight, leaving The Wine Steward and El Grande O to settle things in the final three-sixteenths. El Grande O clung to a 1-length lead at the eighth pole before The Wine Steward wore him down in deep stretch to get up in time.

“Manny rode him great,” Maker said. “He bobbled at the start and had a wide trip . . . The thing is, he wants no part of sprinting. The best we’ll see is when we go a mile or a mile-and-a-sixteenth.”

The Wine Steward collected $110,000 for the Funny Cide, increasing his earnings to $274,010.

Bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds, Lakland Farm and Mark Toothaker and 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 consigned at OBS March by Sequel Bloodstock, agent.

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. Call To Service sold in foal to Authentic for $350,000 at the 2022 Keeneland January horses of all ages sale. She is the dam of a Louisiana-bred yearling colt by Authentic and produced a filly by Curlin in Louisiana March 6.

Maker said several factors, including a presale workout in :10.20, put the colt from the first crop of the champion and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner on his short list.

“Being a New York-bred for one,” Maker said. “And we loved his work and loved him physically.”

– Tom Law

• • •

Caldwell Luvs Gold becomes a stakes winner in Sunday’s Seeking The Ante Stakes at Saratoga. NYRA Photo.

Caldwell Luvs Gold goes to 2-for-2 in Seeking The Ante

The record shows that Hip 418 sold to Melissa Dicke for $73,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred yearling sale Aug. 15, 2022. The reality is it was pretty much a fait accompli well before the gavel dropped.

Dicke, her husband Kevin and their infant son, Caldwell, had met bloodstock agent Josh Stevens at the Saratoga select sale the previous week. They also came across trainer Brad Cox and took a photo with him. At the sales grounds prior to the New York-bred sale, Melissa wanted to have a photo taken with a horse. By pure chance, that yearling happened to be Hip 418, a Goldencents filly at the Taylor Made Sales consignment.

“The sales guys were licking their chops,” Stevens said. “They figured they had to buy him now. So I had my youngest client ever – a one-month old.”

The Dickes returned home to Indianapolis before the sale, but they entrusted Stevens with making the purchase. Having already had success buying progeny of Goldencents – including $2.3 million earner By My Standards and five-time graded stakes winner Mr. Money –  he didn’t need any convincing.

“All the Goldencents have speed, so I tried to buy one with a little leg and a little length,” Stevens said. “I liked that she was out of a Quality Road mare (Snow) to give her some stamina. And I thought the filly would fit their budget.

“We went in looking to buy a $50,000 horse, but as the sale got closer we talked about going to 65 (thousand). I went to $72,000 and I wasn’t sure if they were going to be happy or mad. Then I got a text saying, ‘Tell me we bought her.’ So they were happy.”

Any joy the Dickes felt at buying the horse they would name for their son was eclipsed by the happiness of watching her win her debut at Saratoga July 27, where she closed from eighth to win by 2 3/4 lengths for Cox and jockey Florent Geroux. The euphoria multiplied Sunday when she outlasted a game Stellamaris to capture the $200,000 Seeking the Ante Stakes on New York Showcase Day at Saratoga Race Course.

“I don’t know what to say. It’s unbelievable,” said Kevin Dicke, who came to Saratoga for the first time about 10 years ago when a friend owned a piece of Mucho Macho Man. “Give me a day or two to let it settle in.”

Caldwell Luvs Gold, bred by Jeremiah Desmond and Drumkenny Farm, settled at the back of the pack Sunday as Cara’s Time, Tricky Temper and Concerti scrimmaged through an opening quarter in :22.51. Stellamaris made a wide move on the turn and took the lead heading for home. Caldwell Luvs Gold hooked her at the sixteenth pole, but Stellamaris dug in and battled to the wire, with the winner prevailing by a half-length in 1:11.29 for 6 furlongs.

“It’s pretty incredible,” Dicke said. “The last time I was numb, this time it was more like shock.”

Caldwell Luvs Gold, who sold for $36,000 as a weanling at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale, was the second foal out of Snow. Eminency, by Cupid, has won once and earned $98,143 in 16 starts. Snow also had a filly by Vekoma in 2022 and was bred back to Cupid this year.

– Paul Halloran

NYTB to honor trio of legendary New York-breds

Thursday, August 24th, 2023

The New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. will honor three more of the greatest New York-breds to compete and represent the program at Saratoga Race Course during the Saratoga New York Showcase Day program Sunday, August 27.

Connections from Dayatthespa, Mind Your Biscuits and Saratoga Dew will be honored after the sixth race Sunday, – the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. Honors New York-bred Legends. The trio were chosen by a distinguished panel of New York turf writers and represent the second class of honorees recognizing their importance in setting forth the New York-bred program.

They join last year’s inaugural group of Fio Rito, Commentator, Fourstardave, Funny Cide and Tiz The Law.


Dayatthespa en route to winning the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita. Susie Raisher Photo.

Dayatthespa: The Eclipse Award-winning champion turf female in 2014 earned New York-bred Horse of the Year, older female and turf female titles that same season. She won three of four starts that season, including the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita. Bred by Castellare DiCracchiolo Stable, Cracchiolo and Goldsher and foaled at Empire Stud in Hudson, the daughter of City Zip was the first New York-bred winner of a seven-figure Breeders’ Cup World Championship event. Recognized as New York-bred champion 3-year-old filly and turf female in 2012, Dayatthespa won 11 of 18 starts and earned $2,288,892 for owners Jerry Frankel, Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon and Pete Bradley and trainer Chad Brown. She’s the seventh leading New York-bred earner.


Saratoga Dew cruises to victory in Belmont Park’s Grade 1 Beldame during her championship season. NYRA Photo.

Saratoga Dew: Bred by Penny Chenery and campaigned by Charles Engel, Saratoga Dew became the New York breeding program’s first Eclipse Award winner after an 11-start campaign that produced eight wins in 1992. Trained by Gary Sciacca, Saratoga Dew started her champion 3-year-old filly campaign – and career – in mid-January 1992 with a victory at Aqueduct. She rattled off five straight, including the Grade 2 Comely. The daughter of New York-based sire Cormorant later added the New York Oaks at Finger Lakes and Grade 1 Gazelle Handicap and Grade 1 Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park to her resume before a run in the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Gulfstream. Foaled at Erch-less Farm in Old Westbury. She earned New York-bred Horse of the Year, champion sprinter and champion 3-year-old filly honors that same season.


Mind Your Biscuits wins the 2017 Belmont Sprint Championship. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.

Mind Your Biscuits: A globe-trotting son of New York-based sire Posse, Mind Your Biscuits won back-to-back editions of the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen along with four other stakes including the Grade 1 Malibu at Santa Anita in 2016. Campaigned for most of his career by M. Scott Summers, Daniel Summers, J Stables and trainer Chad Summers, and later in partnership with Michael Kisber, Head of Plains Partners and Shadai Farm, Mind Your Biscuits retired as and continues to be the all-time New York-bred earner with a bankroll of $4,279,566 after going 8-10-3 in 25 starts. Bred by Jumping Jack Racing and foaled at Sue and Gary Lundy’s Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains, Mind Your Biscuits earned back-to-back New York-bred Horse of the Year titles in 2016 and 2017, three straight champion New York-bred male sprinter titles from 2016 to 2018 and champion 3-year-old male honors in 2016 and champion older dirt male honors in 2017.


Sunday’s Saratoga New York Showcase Day, a racing card complete with exclusively New York-bred restricted races, includes six stakes – the $250,000 Albany for 3-year-olds, $200,000 Fleet Indian for 3-year-old fillies, $200,000 Funny Cide presented by Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital for 2-year-olds, $200,000 Seeing the Ante for 2-year-old fillies, $200,000 West Point Handicap presented by Trustco Bank for 3-year-olds and up on the turf, and the $200,000 Yaddo Handicap for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up on the turf.

The 2023 season at Saratoga Race Course continues through Labor Day, Monday, September 4. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit

Ramblin’ Wreck wins Rick Violette via DQ

Thursday, August 17th, 2023

Ramblin’ Wreck (outside) comes up short at the finish in Rick Violette but gets put up with the disqualification of Let’s Go Big Blue. NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Dean Reeves took one look at the stretch-run replay of Friday’s $125,000 Rick Violette Stakes from the television in the winner’s circle at Saratoga Race Course and let his take rip.

“We were going by,” Reeves said.

Ramblin’ Wreck, under Irad Ortiz Jr. in the white and dark green colors of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, did appear to be going by at the top of the stretch. The 3-year-old son of Redesdale circled the field around the far turn, set sail for the leader Let’s Go Big Blue in midstretch but came up a nose short at the wire.

Let’s Go Big Blue, running for Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm, won the photo under Jose Lezcano but eventually lost in the stewards’ stand as the officials upstairs reversed the order of the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes. The latest controversial call, which came after Ortiz claimed foul against Lezcano, led to a hearty round of boos from the crowd throughout the track and especially near the winner’s circle.

Parcells, who endured the loss of his filly Maple Leaf Mel in the Grade 1 Test Stakes Aug. 5, made a quick exit from the winner’s circle along with George Weaver, who trains the son of Cairo Prince for the popular former coach of the New York Giants, disagreed with the call.

“I don’t see enough to take the horse down,” Weaver said. “The one-horse’s (Ramblin’ Wreck) momentum was never stopped.”

Reeves, who campaigns Ramblin’ Wreck with Peter and Patty Searles, and trainer Danny Gargan obviously disagreed.

“That’s what this is for,” Reeves said of the inquiry. “You can’t come over three lanes, bump a horse and he loses by a neck and say it wasn’t interference. That’s what it was.”

Ramblin’ Wreck, second last time out under Ortiz in the Cab Calloway division of the New York Stallion Series after making a similar late run, won for the second time in three starts in 2023.

“It cost us the win,” Gargan said of the Violette. “When these colts and geldings get next to each other, they want to lay on each other. We lost half a stride and we didn’t even get beat a half-length. The stewards made the right call. That cost us the nose we lost by.”

Reeves celebrated the call with Ron Bowden, who bred Ramblin’ Wreck out of his Lemon Drop Kid mare Dakota Kid. Bowden also co-bred another stakes-winning Reeves colorbearer, $707,950-earner Dakota Gold, out of the same mare.

Reeves Thoroughbred Racing purchased both at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga auctions – Dakota Gold as a weanling for $83,000 at the 2019 fall mixed sale and Ramblin’ Wreck for $140,000 at the 2021 New York-bred yearling sale. The stakes-winning duo were also foaled at Lili Kobielski’s The New Hill Farm in Hoosick Falls and prepped and consigned for their sales by the same operation.

“She’s done a marvelous job. I’m so thankful,” Bowden said of Kobielski. “And thankful to Dean, too. He’s put a great program together. We’re both business guys and I’m impressed at what he’s done. … I said to him, ‘you’re carrying it, it’s all on your shoulders.’”

Reeves, who celebrated New York-bred stakes wins on consecutive days after Silver Skillet won Wednesday’s Suzie O’Cain, didn’t miss a beat.

“I’m only as good as what you give me,” Reeves said.

Dakota Kid is a half-sister to the 37-1 upset winner of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs, Dakota Phone. Bowden bred and raced Dakota Kid, a winner on the Southern California circuit in 2015 before heading to the breeding shed for the 2017 season.

Bowden said he sees similarities in Dakota Kid’s foals to her more accomplished sibling, who won six of 35 starts, earned $1,282,810 and made appearances in 19 graded stakes from 2008 to 2011.

“As Gary Stevens said after he rode the mare out in California, ‘she will go all day long, the longer the better,’” Bowden said. “He kept jumping off the horse and coming over to me telling me that. … Both Dakota Gold and Ramblin’ Wreck show that. Once you get them rolling they’re locomotives, not Ferraris. You can’t just step on the pedal. Like what happened last time (in the Cab Calloway). You can’t make it up in a hurry.

“Dakota Phone is a half-brother to Dakota Kid. … Go watch (the Dirt Mile). He dropped back to dead last and came running. Bottom line, they’ll finish the race for you.”

Ramblin’ Wreck earned $68,750 for the win, and improved to 3-for-8 with $339,460 in the bank.

He’s the third foal out of Dakota Kid, following the stakes-placed New York-bred Freud mare Dakota Dancer and recent Hudson Valley Stakes winner and Fasig-Tipton Lure Stakes runner-up Dakota Gold. Bowden also bred Dakota Kid’s 2-year-old, the New York-bred Mucho Macho Man colt Dakota Country.

Dakota Kid, who is in foal to Triple Crown winner Justify, took a year off in 2021 and is the dam of a New York-bred weanling colt by Caravaggio that he might to sell later this year.

“He’s going to be in the Night of the Stars sale at Fasig-Tipton,” Bowden said, of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November mixed sale Tuesday, Nov. 7 in Lexington.

Reeves, again, might have something to say about that.

“Maybe, maybe not,” he joked as he and Bowden headed to the Carmen Barrera Room for a champagne toast.

Willintoriskitall, fourth in the Cab Calloway, finished 5 1/2 lengths back of the first two and in third in the Rick Violette, with Cab Calloway winner Itsallcomintogetha fourth. King of Comedy and Vacation Dance completed the field.