NEWS: racing

Tiz the Law and Manny Franco stalk their way to victory in Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby

Saturday, March 28th, 2020

Coglianese Photos/Lauren King

By Sarah Mace

New Yorkers looking for something to cheer about in the waning days of March 2020, need look no further than Sackatoga Stable’s magnificent blaze-faced 3-year-old Tiz the Law. The New York-bred Constitution colt cemented his status as the top sophomore in the country Saturday after winning the Grade 1, $750,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park after a perfect stalking trip under jockey Manny Franco.

From the win Tiz the Law picked up 100 more qualifying points on “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” bringing his total to 122 and setting him atop the leaderboard. Recently, of course, that “Road” became four months longer than it would be in ordinary days. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Churchill Downs has rescheduled the 2020 Run for the Roses from the first Saturday in May (May 2) to the first Saturday in September (September 5). Provided all goes smoothly in the interim, Tiz the Law will be there.

Trained by Barclay Tagg, Tiz the Law brought multiple assets to the table to face his eight rivals in the Florida Derby: gate speed, tactical speed, a willingness to rate and athleticism. He and Franco have also been a good fit ever since last fall when they rallied to win the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont by four lengths.

Bet down to the 7-5 post time favorite, Tiz the Law was, on paper, pitted against the speedy Ete Indien, the second betting choice at odds of 5-2. Tiz the Law beat Ete Indien by three lengths in the Grade 3 Holy Bull on February 1 after his rival set the pace. By design, he trained for 56 days straight through to the Florida Derby. Ete Indien, however, took a huge step forward by competing in the interim, scoring a stunning gate-to-wire eight-plus length victory in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.

Exiting readily from four-hole, Tiz the Law and Franco began immediately to execute on the game plan. Franco expected that Ete Indien would try to clear the field from post eight, but wanted to make sure Tiz the Law stayed in the clear for running room. In fact, longshot Shiveree took control early from post two, Ete Indien set up at his flank in second, while Tiz the Law took up a stalking position in third outside the early leaders.

Coglianese Photos/Nikki Bernstein

Ete Indien and Shiveree continued to vie through three-quarters of a mile, clocking splits of 23.75, 47.95 and 1:11.94. Tiz the Law then began his serious bid in the far turn, ranging up alongside the duelers three-wide, engaging them in the bend and emerging with a slight advantage as they straightened away.

Set down for the drive under a confident Franco, Tiz the Law answered the call, lengthened his stride and drew off to a much-the-best 4 1/4-length victory. After one mile in 1:36.79, the final time for nine furlongs was 1:50 flat.

Overachiever Shivaree, who was let go at odds of 80-1, crossed the line second, while Ete Indien had to settle for third, three-quarters of a length further back and a neck ahead of Gouverneur Morris, who completed the superfecta.

Franco said, “I want to give all the credit to the horse. [Tiz the Law] broke out of there perfectly, like a shot, and I was able to let the horse on the outside clear me and I ended up in a great position. I sat third and I just thought about waiting for the right moment, and I was happy by the five-sixteenths pole. All the time when I called on him a little bit, he was there for me.”

Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable, who couldn’t be in attendance due to health and safety protocols that prohibited spectators, even owners, from attending Saturday’s races, said on behalf of his ownership group, “All we know is that we’ve got a horse that’s very special, and it’s pretty exciting for us. Unfortunately. none of us could be there today. We were all watching it on TV from coast to coast.” Knowlton earlier told hosts on FS1 that, otherwise, Tiz the Law’s cheering section at the track would have been 70-80 strong.

Coglianese Photos/Derby Glass

Overall, Tiz the Law is only three-quarters of a length shy of perfection in five career starts. Winner of his August 8 Saratoga debut, a 6 1/2 sprint against state-breds, by 4 1/2 lengths, Tiz the Law went straight on to the Grade 1 Champagne, where he parlayed a stumbling start and pocketed trip into another stunning win after agilely angling out in the stretch.

After passing on a cross-country trip to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, in his final start of the year Tiz the Law finished third, three-quarters of a length behind the winner in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club. In the contest run over sloppy going, he was covered up and waylaid in traffic which robbed him of his final punch. In 2020 Tiz the Law has been flawless, winning the Holy Bull and Florida Derby by a combined 7 1/4 lengths.

Tiz the Law was bred by Twin Creeks Farm and foaled at Sequel Stallions New York. Knowlton purchased him at the 2018 Saratoga New York-bred preferred yearling sale from the Sequel consignment for $110,000. From four wins and a third he has earned $945,300 in his young career.

Tiz the Law’s dam, Kentucky-bred Tizfiz, is a winner of four stakes on turf with a graded placing on dirt. She was purchased by Twin Creeks Farm for $125,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Tiz the Law is the mare’s second foal to earn black type. Awestruck, by Tapit, who was a $525,000 yearling, has collected four stakes placings to date. A full sister to graded stakes winner Fury Kapcori, Tizfiz also issues from the female family of 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick (Phone Trick). She has a juvenile filly by Mission Impazible named Angel Oak, an unnamed yearling by the same sire and was bred back to Constitution in 2019.

Dream Bigger steals the show in Damon Runyon

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Repole Stable’s Dream Bigger, a grey son of Mission Impazible, returned to his winning ways in style Sunday, taking the featured $100,000 Damon Runyon at Aqueduct Racetrack by 7 3/4 lengths under Junior Alvarado.

The field of the Damon Runyon, a 7-furlong race for New York-bred 3-year-olds, was a well-matched group of six, several of whom have been knocking heads since last fall. In the end, bettors gave a slight edge to Dream Bigger, drawn in post one, betting him down to 2-1 odds.

Dream Bigger broke inward at the bell, but got straightened out in short order and scooted up the rail to assume a half-length lead over Scilly Cay through early fractions of 23.16 and 46.60.

Improving on his advantage and shaking off Scilly Cay for good in the bend, Dream Bigger expanded his lead to nearly four lengths by the time he hit the quarter pole and never looked back, drawing off to win by 7 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:25.89 over the fast going.

More Graytful, who broke his maiden last out on February 17, rode the rail throughout from post position two and closed well, if greenly, from fourth to capture the runner-up position, followed by Bourbon Bay. Prince of Pharoahs, Titan’s Will and Scilly Cay completed the order of finish. Chowda, winner of the Gander Stakes last out on February 16, was scratched. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“He broke good, but he broke inside,” Junior Alvarado recounted. “I think that’s why he lost a little momentum going forward at the break. My only plan today was to put him on the lead and see how long he could carry his speed. Today, he had a good day, and he carried it all the way to the wire. I thought somebody would put pressure on me, but I didn’t have a second plan today. I was going to go to the lead breaking fast or slow. I was committed to the lead before the break.”

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez concurred. “He ran a big race. He broke a little slow, but Junior hustled him out of there and they took it from there.”

Well regarded from his debut, Dream Bigger has been sent off as the post time favorite in each of his seven career starts and has never finished off the board.

Second to top Kentucky Derby contender Tiz the Law in his Saratoga debut, the grey broke his maiden two starts later in dramatic fashion, romping by more than 10 lengths in the New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes on September 30. Winner of the Notebook Stakes next out in November, he suffered a heartbreaking nose loss in the $500,000 Great White Way division of the New York Stallion Stakes series. Third in the Rego Park to Scilly Cay, he was freshened for 63 days for his Damon Runyon effort.

Coming into the race, Dream Bigger boasted the field’s biggest bankroll. His third stakes win bolstered his earnings to $376,178.

Bred by Sequel New York, Twin Creeks Racing and Pamela Zielinski, Dream Bigger is the most recent reported foal, and one of two winners, out of Downtown Daria, a Kentucky-bred winner by Sky Mesa. The mare’s Noonmark filly Downtown at Noon placed in the Niagara Stakes at Finger Lakes in 2017 and earned just shy of six figures.

Dream Bigger changed hands three times at public auction. Northface Bloodstock purchased him for $15,000 as a weanling out of the 2017 Fasig-Tipton New York fall mixed sale. Returning next summer in the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale, he brought $65,000 from Whetstone Farm. Mike Repole went to $205,000 to take him home from the 2019 OBS spring 2-year-old sale.

New York sire Mission Impazible stands at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson for a 2020 fee of $5,000.


Heavy favorite Ice Princess obliges in Maddie May

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

NYRA/Coglianese Photos

By Sarah Mace

Bet down to odds of 2-5 in the $100,000 Maddie May Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies featured on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack, Ice Princess obliged her backers when she rallied to a convincing 2 1/2-length victory in the one-turn mile. The grey / roan daughter of Palace Malice, co-owned by Flying P Stable, R.A. Hill Stable and Corms Racing Stable, is now two-for-two in 2020 for trainer Danny Gargan.

Ice Princess won her September 6 Belmont debut – an off-the-turf affair run at 1 1/6 miles over a sloppy (sealed) racetrack – by an eye-popping 12 lengths. Her connections thought well enough of that performance to run her back four weeks later in the Grade 1 Frizette, where she finished an even fourth.

Freshened for 3 1/2 months for her sophomore campaign, Ice Princess returned to action on January 20 to win a first-level New York-bred allowance at one mile by 4 1/2 lengths, roundly defeating three of her four Maddie May Rivals: Courageous Girl, Myawaya and Holmdel Park. The fifth member of the five-horse Maddie May field was Nicky Scissors (3-1 second choice), who was looking to step up in her first race against winners after breaking her maiden second out at 6 1/2 furlongs by more than 10 lengths on January 17.

Following a good start for all, Ice Princess settled in fourth at the rail letting Nicky Scissors and 35-1 Courageous Girl, battle it out for the lead. Manny Franco, aboard for all three of the filly’s prior starts, had to keep an eye on possible traffic issues as Ice Princess found herself boxed in at the fence in the close-packed bunch for the length of the backstretch.

Following early splits of 23.45 and 47.15, Nicky Scissors began to tire leaving Courageous Girl on the lead solo. Ice Princess, shuffled back to last at one point, saw a seam late in the turn, angled out three-wide and advanced, engaging Courageous Girl at the three-sixteenths marker and grabbing the lead by a head with a furlong to go.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Living up to her name, Courageous Girl stayed in the fight but was ultimately outmatched as Ice Princess drew off to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Myawaya (9-2) finished third 5 3/4 more lengths back, followed across the line by Holmdel Park (9-1) and Nicky Scissors. After six furlongs in 1:12.59, Ice Princess stopped the timer at 1:39.70. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“I was the favorite, so they weren’t going to let me do it easily,” jockey Manny Franco said. “I had horse the whole way. I felt that as soon as I got out and I asked my filly, she was going to respond the best. I felt that I had a lot of horse. She still is a little green. When she made the lead, she kind of pulled up a little bit. Once you start working on her, she gets going.”

David Donk, who trains surprise runner-up Courageous Girl, commented, “I thought Dylan [Davis] gave her a great ride. I was a little concerned there was so much speed in the race. Obviously, she didn’t match up on paper the way she has run. But Dylan gave her an excellent trip and she really hung in there and the winner had to get by her and really earn it.”

When the race was drawn, R.A. Hill Stable’s Randy Hill was already looking forward to Ice Princess’ next appointment with the starter. “She’s nominated to the Bourbonette at Turfway Park (on March 14) so we’d like to try and get some Kentucky Oaks points with her,” Hill said. The Bourbonette offers 20-8-4-2 Oaks points to the top four finishers.

As to the filly’s future prospects, Franco opined, “The more distance, the better for her. She’s got the right body for it and I think she can go the distance.”

Bred by Mina Equivest and foaled at Thomas Mina’s Five Oak Farm in Saratoga Springs, Ice Princess is out of the Awesome Again mare Happy Clapper, an Ontario-bred multiple stakes-placed runner last purchased for $90,000 by Summerfield Sales at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale. Both of her offspring to run are winners. She also has an unnamed juvenile colt by Exaggerator, a yearling filly by Connect and was bred to Kantharos in 2019.

Corms Racing and R. A. Hill bought Ice Princess for $75,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale in 2018. From three wins in four starts, the grey has earned $148,300.

Mr. Buff manhandles Haynesfield rivals in a dazzler, turns millionaire

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

Chester and Mary Broman’s 17.2-hand homebred Mr. Buff has steamrolled every New York-bred stakes foe dating back to last June’s Saginaw Stakes at Belmont Park, winning four state-bred contests for older dirt males in four tries (including his second Alex M. Robb), and — for good measure — dominating the open Jazil for the second year in a row last out on January 25.

Favored at odds of 1-5 to win Saturday’s $100,000 Haynesfield Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack, the 6-year-old juggernaut turned in a dazzling performance in the one-turn mile that made his post time odds look like a bargain while earning him a place in racing’s millionaire’s club.

Race previews and pre-race prattle left analysts grasping at straws while seeking possible chinks in the short-priced favorite’s armor. The consensus was that cutting back one furlong from his favored nine-furlong distance and going from two turns to one could leave Mr. Buff vulnerable. Trainer John Kimmel dismissed this factor at the time of the draw (“I think he’ll handle the mile just fine.”).

Launched aggressively from the inside stall by regular jockey Junior Alvarado, Mr. Buff’s first task was to discourage Syndergaard, who challenged from the bell off a nine-month layoff.  Mr. Buff established a half-length lead by the first point of call and extended it to one length by the second, as he put up competitive early fractions of 23.22 and 45.76.

By this point the three main contenders – Mr. Buff, Syndergaard (5-1) and Honor Up (4-1) – had separated themselves by more than 13 lengths from Twisted Tom (13-1) and Fleet Irish (42-1) at the rear.

In the turn, Honor Up made his own bid to menace the leader, advancing into second and briefly hooking Mr. Buff, but was immediately repelled.

Mr. Buff led by 4 1/2 lengths at the quarter pole, completing six-furlongs in 1:10.15, but, paradoxically, the most exciting part of the race was yet to come.

Without apparent effort, Mr. Buff was suddenly more than 10 lengths ahead with a furlong to go. With his high cruising speed, he doubled that margin by the finish line, coasting under the wire with ears pricked to register a 20-length victory in an impressive final time of 1:36.22. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Trainer John Kimmel commented, “He really put that group away easily. I don’t know what the speed figures will be, but he was geared down right to the wire. I haven’t seen a mile race run in 1:36 in a while.”

Honor Up finished second, one length ahead of Syndergaard in third. A length back Twisted Tom and Fleet Irish completed the order of finish. I Love Jaxson was scratched from the race about 50 minutes before the post after reportedly shipping poorly over from Belmont for trainer Linda Rice.

“Just because it’s a mile race, I was going to get out of there gunning,” said jockey Junior Alvarado. “I was going to go no matter what [post] position I was in at the beginning. Coming from a mile and an eighth race, I didn’t want him to fall into a slow rhythm at the beginning. I just wanted to make sure I got him sharp out of there. He’s such a cool horse and knows what to do. You just nudge him a little out the gate and he knew what he was supposed to do. At the quarter-pole, I asked him a little and he took off again. He gave me the extra kick. He’s just a fast horse. It’s simple.”

As dominant as Mr. Buff has been in the older New York-bred dirt male division, deeper waters have proved a challenge. He turned in a head-scratcher in the Grade 2 New Orleans H. last March when basically eased out of the race. He then finished unplaced in the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga and Grade 1 Clark on November 29, where he set a torrid pace for the first three-quarters of a mile before fading to tenth.

Kimmel revealed that he declined an invitation for Mr. Buff to contest the Group 2, $1 million Godolphin Mile. On his radar instead are the Grade 3, $200,000 Westchester on May 2 at Belmont Park, or the Grade 2, $1 million Oaklawn Handicap on April 16 at Oaklawn Park.

“We’ll see how the numbers come back and evaluate the time frame,” Kimmel said. “Every time I took him out of town, I wasn’t happy with what happened, but right now he seems to be very well.”

The extra icing on the cake of Mr. Buff’s stylish victory is that the winner’s portion of the purse ($59,125) carried his earnings over the seven-figure threshold to $1,051,536. Mr. Buff has won 14 of 36 starts, led by eight stakes victories (six state-bred and two open), with six seconds and four thirds.

Mr. Buff is a third generation homebred for Chester and Mary Broman through the male line. He is sired the Bromans’ multiple stakes winning homebred Friend or Foe, who is by Friends Lake, winner of 2004 Florida Derby for the Bromans.

Mr. Buff’s dam Speightful Affair is a graded stakes-placed Ontario-bred by Speightstown, who was purchased by the Bromans for $80,000 at the Fasig-Tipton 2013 winter mixed sale.

In 2018 Speightful Affair produced a full sister to Mr. Buff named Miss Buff. With no surviving foal in 2019, she was bred to Accelerate last year.

Amundson sizzles off the bench in Hollie Hughes

Monday, February 17th, 2020

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

Amundson, a homebred for Barry Schwartz’ Stonewall Farm, came off an 11-week freshening full of run on President’s Day to win the $100,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for New York-breds 4-years-old and up at Aqueduct Racetrack. Let go at 15-1 odds, the 4-year-old Curlin gelding set aggressive splits while leading the eight-horse field, readily carrying his head of steam to the wire to get the victory by two lengths.

The only 4-year-old in a field of veterans, Amundson was making only his eighth career start in the Hollie Hughes. Unveiled in January 2019 and unplaced in that first start, he did not reemerge again until mid-June, when, as a new gelding, he trounced a maiden special weight field at Delaware Park by more than ten lengths for trainer Horacio DePaz.

Fourth and third, respectively, in a pair of New York-bred allowance sprints at Saratoga, Amundson then put together back-to-back state-bred wins at Belmont in September and October. In the latter victory, another open-length blowout, Amundson improved on his best Beyer by 15 points earning a 94. He closed out his sophomore campaign unplaced in his stakes debut when he set the pace then tired in the City of Light Stakes at Laurel Park.

Partnered with Jorge Vargas Jr. for the first time for his comebacker, Amundson had plenty of company as he strove for the lead after the bell, but he out-hustled the rest. Along the backstretch he raced three-wide while gradually widening his advantage from one-half to 1 1/2 lengths, while clocking aggressive splits of 22.20 and 45.44.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Angling in to save ground through the turn, Amundson was shaken up at the head of the stretch to keep to his task, but no serious threats emerged.

My Boy Tate, the 2-1 favorite, came with a late charge to check in second, but by that point Amundson had crossed the wire a two-length winner in a final time of 1:10.87. Morning Breez, also a longshot at 17-1, chased with intent throughout and finished third. Completing the order of finish were Binkster, Cerretalto, Eye Luv Lulu, Arthurs’s Hope and P J Advantage. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“He was brave up front,” Vargas said. “It worked out. I was going a little fast, but nobody was putting any pressure on me and I took advantage of it. He relaxed really well and really got back to me when it was time to go. Every time I asked him, he gave me something.”

Horacio DePaz, who is based in Maryland but keeps a small string of state-breds in New York, said, “There were just veteran horses he was running against today. Jason [Servis’] horse [Eye Luv Lulu] had 55 starts and you’ve got to respect these seasoned horses. He’s talented and today he showed that he’s capable of competing with them. Hopefully, he continues to improve off that.”

The conditioner added, “I thought he was going to labor there at the end and they were going to catch him. He hadn’t run in a few months, so I was just a little concerned fitness-wise. It looked like everybody was struggling behind him down the stretch. I was just hoping that the wire was going to get there in time.”

Amundson is the first foal and lone starter out of Bridgehampton who was purchased by Barry Schwartz for $100,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale. A daughter of Bernardini, Bridgehampton went on to win a stakes race at Parx and finish second in the Grade 3 Victory Ride at Belmont.

Bridgehampton has also produced unraced sophomore Winner’s Laugh (Broken Vow), a juvenile colt by Munnings and a yearling filly by Sky Mesa.

Amundson’s first stakes victory improves his record to four wins in eight starts and a third with $167,808 in earnings.

Chowda serves up determined victory in Gander Stakes

Sunday, February 16th, 2020

NYRA/Elsa Lorieul

By Sarah Mace

Eddie F`s Racing’s Chowda (Emcee) was all grit and determination to win Sunday’s Big A feature, the $100,000 Gander Stakes for New York-bred sophomores run at a one-turn mile. Aggressive from the bell, Chowda was headed in the stretch by Bank On Shea, but battled back hard to nail down a three-quarter length victory.

One of two horses from the Gary Sciacca barn signed on for the Gander, Chowda handed his stablemate Microscope a neck loss last out on January 17 in a first-level state-bred allowance at Aqueduct. On display that day were qualities that served him so well in the Gander: ample early speed and tremendous grit. He refused to lose that race, eking out the neck win in a three-horse blanket finish. Colormepazzi, the third place finisher from that January tilt, also a one-turn mile, returned to contest the Gander as well.

Bettors gravitated away from the first three finishers of that allowance, however, sending Chowda, Microscope and Colormepazzi off at odds of 15-1, 16-1 and 31-1, respectively. Instead they focused on a trio of well-matched and, on paper, more accomplished rivals. Bourbon Bay, who dead-heated for second behind Independence Hall in the Jerome was favored at even money. Stakes winners Scilly Cay and Bank On Shea were not far behind at odds of 2-1 and 5-2.

Eric Cancel, aboard for all six of Chowda’s prior starts, got his mount out of the gate fourth, but was single-minded about reaching the front in short order, gunning Chowda to the lead where he set opening splits of 24.03 and 48.07. One length back, Bank On Shea at the fence and Colormepazzi dueled for second, while favorite Bourbon Bay shared the caboose with Microscope.

In the turn Chowda was confronted with a two-pronged attack. Riding the rails Bank On Shea advanced to get on even terms while Scilly Cay loomed on the outside. Scilly Cay did not go on with it, but Chowda was decisively headed by Bank On Shea by midstretch.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Chowda absolutely would not throw in the towel. Inexorably wearing down Bank On Shea, he retook the lead in the final sixteenth and, for good measure, made sure the outcome was not even a photo finish, getting the win by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 1:40.06 over the fast going. Bourbon Bay closed four-wide to pick up third, 3 1/2 lengths behind Bank On Shea. Completing the order of finish were Scilly Cay, Microscope and Colormepazzi.

Unveiled late in the Saratoga meet, Chowda took two more tries to break his maiden, ultimately scoring a determined neck victory over a debuting (and next-out winner) Bourbon Bay at Aqueduct on November 11. Unplaced in the sodden, foggy Great White Way division of New York Stallion Stakes on December 14, which was won by Bank On Shea, Chowda rebounded for his January 17 allowance win.

Both pilot and trainer singled out Chowda’s will to win for praise.

“He’s a grinder,” said Eric Cancel. “He’s a horse that needs to feel other horses [beside him] to keep on going. I’ve been getting along with him really well and the trainer [Gary Sciacca] and staff have done a great job with him. He’s a horse that never gives up.”

Sciacca added, “He’s a fighter and a battler. It looked like he was going to get beat and he came back again. He just ran tough. He does better when he has someone to battle with. In his last two wins, he lost the lead and came back and won. Today, he fought it out and came back and won.”

Bred by Fedwell Farm, Chowda has won three of six starts and finished third once, earning $142,793. He is a second generation New York-bred out of Salty Little Sis, a multiple winner by Chief Seattle bred by Phil Trowbridge. Salty Little Sis has produced one other winner to date. Currently she has a juvenile full-brother to Chowda (delightfully named Lobsta) and an unnamed yearling colt by Micromanage. She was bred back to the same stallion last year.


Kept True rewrites script in Broadway

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Treadway Racing Stable homebred Kept True ran a terrific race in the La Verdad at Aqueduct on January 4, dueling the pacesetter and grabbing the lead in the stretch, but could not seal the deal. Reddam Racing’s Cash Offer, who watched the battle from third, scampered by her in the stretch to get the win by a length.

In Saturday’s $100,000 Broadway at the Big A, Kept True rewrote the script. She pressed the pacesetter once again but when she took over the lead midstretch opened an insurmountable lead, leaving Cash Offer three lengths in her wake in second.

A four-year-old daughter of Yes It’s True trained by Leah Gyarmati, Kept True was given a slight edge by bettors at 9-5 over 2-1 Cash Offer, as both runners turned back a furlong from the seven-panel La Verdad.

Breaking from post five (of six), Kept True settled in second a length behind Stonesintheroad, who was gunned to the lead from her outside post. Hay Field in the two path and Cash Offer at the rail set up shop in third and fourth

The order of the top four remained unchanged through a half mile in 46.80, but all the while Kept True steadily eroded the pacesetter’s lead, getting within a half length early on the turn and drawing even by the quarter pole.

Taking command just in advance of the furlong marker, Kept True had to hold off Cash Offer, now alone in second. Jockey Dylan Davis, also in the irons for the La Verdad and mindful of the outcome of that race, had timed his move to have plenty of horse in the final stages. The pair drove home to a convincing three-length victory in a final time of 1:11.51.

Cash Offer finished one-half length ahead of Hay Field in third, who was followed, in order, by Bluegrass Jamboree, Stonesintheroad and Out of Orbit. [VIDEO REPLAY]

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

“I didn’t want to move too early because she got short last time,” Davis said. “But at the same time, I didn’t want Cash Offer to get up to me too early and get the jump on me. I was trying to figure out where I was in the race and be in control.”

The pilot added, “My filly really likes the six furlongs. It was a little bit of tactics to figure out where I wanted to be. I loved my position laying second, and she was just waiting for me to tell her to go. Once I did, she really took off. She really ran well. I think she’s improving.

Trainer Leah Gyarmati, commented, “Dylan [Davis] has obviously been doing great with her. She has always shown ability; it was just a matter of trying to figure out what her level is. Against open company that was obviously a different ballgame.”

After Kept True won at first asking at Belmont in October 2018, she completed her juvenile campaign with state-bred stakes tries in the Maid of the Mist, where she third and Key Cents. Winning her first two starts at three, she dove into the deep waters of the Grade 2 Prioress, where she was unplaced. Following a 2 1/2-month freshening, in four starts dating back to November, she has collected two wins and two seconds. In all, from five wins in 10 starts with two seconds and third she has earned $298,959.

“As time passes, I think she’s getting a little better and stronger,´ Gyarmati said. “Some horses don’t bloom until they are 4 or 5, and you have to have patience. She’s obviously a very nice New York-bred filly.”

Kept True, who was foaled at Stone Bridge Farm in Gansevoort, is the only foal to race out of Well Kept, a multiple stakes placed runner for Treadway Racing Stable whose second dam is 1989 Eclipse Champion Sprinter and Hall of Fame inductee Safely Kept. Well Kept’s most recent reported foal is a juvenile filly by Street Boss.

More Mischief stalks her way to a first stakes victory in Biogio’s Rose

Sunday, February 9th, 2020

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Wise Racing’s More Mischief, a $350,000 purchase at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale, stalked her way to a first career stakes victory in Sunday’s running of the $100,000 Biogio’s Rose Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares at Aqueduct.

Trained by Chad Brown, the 4-year-old dark bay daughter of Into Mischief was relatively lightly-raced, with the Biogio’s Rose being only her ninth career start. It was also first time she had put together back-to-back races since a pair of starts at Saratoga last summer. Four weeks ago, though, she signaled that “all systems were go” for her these days.

On January 12, after three months on the sidelines, More Mischief demolished a second-level state-bred allowance field by 7 3/4-lengths at the same one-turn mile trip as the Biogio’s Rose, while earning a career-high 80 Beyer Speed Figure. Well regarded by bettors on Sunday, and enjoying a 2-6 pound advantage over most rivals at 118 pounds, she was sent off as the 3-1 second choice.

On the bit after an alert exit from post five, More Mischief settled four-wide in the second flight under a stout hold by Manny Franco. Up front 3-5 favorite Newly Minted at the rail and 39-1 No Hayne No Gayne hooked up in a duel through an opening half-mile in 46.98.

Holding position until the approach to the far turn, More Mischief advanced into third to get first run at the leaders.

Three-wide in upper stretch, More Mischief gained a spot as No Hayne No Gayne began to weaken, and set her sights on Newly Minted. Passing her rival midstretch and fully in control with one-sixteenth to go, More Mischief edged away to a 2 1/2-length victory, stopping the timer at 1:38.20.

Newly Minted, under pressure from the bell, held well for second and No Hayne No Gayne was still able to check in third 3 1/4 lengths further back. Expresso Shot (39-1) closed from last to complete the superfecta, followed across the line by Our Super Nova, Mrs. Orb and Held Accountable. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Held Accountable’s uncoupled entrymate Out of Orbit was scratched and will contest the 6-furlong Broadway on February 15.

NYRA/Elsa Lorieul

Winning jockey Manny Franco, who was also in the irons for More Mischief’s allowance win on January 12, said, “My instructions were to keep her in the clear. I made sure I broke good and let the horses on the outside clear me. She was nice and comfortable, just like last time.”

Continued Franco, “The speed helped us a little bit. The favorite [Newly Minted] was on the lead and was a little bit pressured, so I was able to stalk them. When I made my move, I had a lot under me, and my filly responded really well.”

Dan Stupp, assistant to winning trainer Chad Brown, commented, “She seems to like Aqueduct and relished the stretch out to a mile. Manny [Franco] did a great job with getting her to relax and get comfortable. She did the rest from there. He got to know her last time and just replicated what he did in her last race, and it worked out great today.”

Bred by Anlyn Farms, More Mischief is out of Gracilia, a placed daughter of Mr. Greeley and a half-sister to New York-bred graded stakes winner and sire Sharp Humor. Gracilia is a 100 percent producer, with five winners from five foals to start. More Mischief is her first offspring to earn black type.

More Mischief sold first time around to Louis Lazzinarro for $185,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale. Alan Wise signed the $350,000 ticket at the March Sale.

After four wins, a pair of seconds and third in nine starts, More Mischief has earned $240,493.

Tiz the Law kicks off sophomore campaign with dominant victory in Holy Bull

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

Coglianese Photos

By Sarah Mace

Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law took a big step closer to an anticipated start in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on the First Saturday in May when he drew off to a dominant 3-length win in the Grade 3, $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

The victory cemented the Constitution colt’s two-turn credentials while showcasing his athleticism and versatility. With 22 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, Tiz the Law now shares the top spot with juvenile champion Storm the Court.

Despite being sent off as the 6-5 favorite in the seven-horse field, Tiz the Law had some questions to answer in the Holy Bull.

Unveiled on August 8 at Saratoga, the blaze-faced colt immediately turned heads. The rallying winner of a 6 1/2 sprint against state-breds, he converted an erratic style in upper stretch into a smooth effortless stride that carried him across the finish line a 4 1/2-length winner. On October 5, testing the deepest waters in the Grade 1 Champagne, Tiz the Law parlayed a stumbling start and pocketed trip into another stunning win, this time after agilely angling out in the stretch before putting the competition away.

Tiz the Law’s final start of the year came in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club where he was sent off as the 3-5 favorite. He sat a similar trip to his first two starts, but the race – which was his two-turn debut and first trip over sloppy going – didn’t come together in the end for him. Covered up and in traffic, he eventually muscled his way through between horses but was unable to deliver a knock-out punch before being passed by Silver Prospector and another closer who had clear running on the outside.

Tiz the Law broke on top in the Holy Bull, but took back almost immediately to let Ete Indien and Relentless Dancer go on with it. Jockey Manny Franco then took a hard hold of the colt on the backstretch to keep from running up on heels before making crucial tactical decision. He checked Tiz the Law out of position and altered course to reposition him in the two-path to avoid the traffic issue altogether.

In the clear, Tiz the Law easily made up lost ground, advanced into second and issued a challenge to Ete Indien in the turn. Hooking his rival, he poked a head in front just before the quarter pole.

In control at the head of in the stretch, Tiz the Law lugged in late but otherwise cruised unchallenged to the wire to win by three lengths. Ete Indien in second finished more than 11 lengths clear of Toledo in third. Relentless Dancer completed the superfecta. Following a 1:35.46 mile, the final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:42.04.

Sackatoga Stable’s managing partner Jack Knowlton led the winning favorite into a thronged winner’s circle. Seventeen years ago, Knowlton and another set of partners famously teamed up with Tiz the Law’s trainer Barclay Tagg to put New York-breds and the New York breeding program on the map with Funny Cide’s memorable Kentucky Derby-Preakness double.

Knowlton said, “Obviously, we were disappointed [with the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes]. Going in, we felt we had the best horse after he won the Champagne the way he did. He had a lot of things against him that day. [There was a] lot of buzz out there. ‘Well, he isn’t what we thought he was. He isn’t that good. What’s Manny doing riding him.’ I think he proved today he’s the horse we saw in the Champagne.”

Knowlton’s former New York-bred star also wasn’t far from his mind.” We didn’t get this [the Holy Bull] done with Funny Cide. Seventeen years later here we are and thrilled to be here.” Funny Cide finished fifth in the race before going on to Derby glory.

Franco reported, “He ran like I expected him. He got out of there and I was able to decide where I wanted to be. For a second, I had to make the turn and I was back on the rail, but when I saw those guys putting pressure on, I was able to drop back and get outside where I wanted to be.

“After that, he jumped in the bit and I was traveling like I wanted. You can see on the first turn, when I took him to the clear on the outside, he got comfortable. He jumped in the bit right away and after that he grabbed me. I was so happy. He galloped out good. When he felt the horses again, he wanted to go. I am so grateful and happy to be here and get the win.”

Barclay Tagg revealed that avoiding a repeat of traffic trouble and the chance of rain were on his mind going in to the Holy Bull.

“His race was perfect,” the conditioner said. “We told [Franco] to ‘stay off the rail no matter what you have to do. Lose the ground and go around them.’ It worked out perfectly. I was a little bit [worried about the forecast for rain]. You couldn’t tell if he didn’t have the kick [on a sloppy track] last time [in Kentucky] or whether they just kept him in and crowded so much that he couldn’t get away. I think it was more that than it was the track. You never know for sure, so why pray for rain.”

Knowlton addressed Tiz the Law’s next start. “As you know, things can always change but we’re talking about going to the Louisiana Derby [on March 21]. We loved his breeding when we bought him. We’re really excited to win this today.”

Tiz the Law was bred by Twin Creeks Farm and foaled at Sequel Stallions New York. Knowlton purchased him at the 2018 Saratoga New York-bred preferred yearling sale from the Sequel consignment for $110,000. From three wins and a third he has bankrolled $498,900.

Tiz the Law’s dam, Kentucky-bred Tizfiz, is a winner of four stakes on turf with a graded placing on dirt. She was purchased by Twin Creeks Farm for $125,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Tiz the Law is Tizfiz’ second foal to earn black type. Awestruck, by Tapit, who was a $525,000 yearling, has collected four stakes placings to date. A full sister to graded stakes winner Fury Kapcori, Tizfiz also issues from the female family of 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick (Phone Trick). She has a juvenile filly by Mission Impazible named Angel Oak, an unnamed yearling by the same sire and was bred back to Constitution last year.

NYTB announces 2019 New York-bred divisional championship nominees

Friday, January 31st, 2020

By Sarah Mace

New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) is pleased to announce the nominees for the New York-bred divisional champions of 2019. New York turf writers, handicappers, chart callers and racing analysts will vote on the winners of each division. The voters will also choose the 2019 New York-bred Horse of the Year.

The 2019 New York-bred divisional champions and New York-bred Horse of the Year will be announced at NYTB’s Annual Awards Banquet on the evening of Monday, April 6, 2020 at the Saratoga National Golf Club in Saratoga Springs, New York. Also to be honored at the banquet will be Broodmare of the Year, Champion Trainer, Champion Jockey and Outstanding Breeder.

A list of the 2019 New York-bred divisional championship nominees by category follows with links to their Equibase profiles.

Champion Two-Year-Old Male:

Bank On Shea
Captain Bombastic
City Man
Cleon Jones
Dream Bigger
Tiz the Law

Champion Two-Year-Old Filly:

A Freud of Mama
Big Q
Critical Value
Fierce Lady
My Italian Rabbi
Naked Avenger
Rush On By
Time Limit

Champion Three-Year-Old Male:

Blindwillie McTell
Funny Guy
Not That Brady

Champion Three-Year-Old Filly:

Espresso Shot
Kid Is Frosty
Miss Lily B
Newly Minted
Pat’s No Fool
Wait a Minute

Champion Older Dirt Male:

Giant Expectations
Honor Up
Mr. Buff
Pat On the Back

Champion Older Dirt Female:

Frostie Anne
Holiday Disguise
Kathryn the Wise
Mrs. Orb
Our Super Nova
Out of Orbit

Champion Male Turf Horse:

Dot Matrix
Gucci Factor
Offering Plan
Red Knight

Champion Female Turf Horse:

Belle of the Spa
Fifty Five
Fire Key
Kid Is Frosty
Saratoga Treasure

Champion Male Sprinter:

Build to Suit
Celtic Chaos
My Boy Tate

Champion Female Sprinter:

Carrera Cat
Holiday Disguise
Kathryn the Wise
Newly Minted
Our Super Nova