Wilkins named director of stallion division at historic Calumet

Edited release:

Ken Wilkins, most recently stallion director at Spendthrift Farm for seven years, has been appointed the new director of Calumet Farm’s stallion division effective immediately, it was announced Monday.


Wilkins comes to Calumet after having served as stallion director for some of North America’s leading stud farms. Wilkins was the sallion director for Spendthrift Farm for seven years, where he helped launch such initiatives as the Share The Upside Program and Breed Secure Program. Wilkins also helped grow Spendthrift’s stallion roster to one of the largest in North America, and helped develop exciting young stallions such as Into Mischief and Warrior’s Reward, as well as leading sire Malibu Moon.


“We’re thrilled to be able to bring in such an accomplished stallion expert as Ken to help lead Calumet back as a leading stallion station in North America,” said Eddie Kane, Calumet’s general manager. “Ken has a terrific track record of growing and developing stallion programs, and we look forward to working with him to execute Calumet’s vision of revitalizing our stallion program.”



“Calumet is one of the most recognized farms in the industry, and it’s just one of those special places in our sport. It’s a dream job for me, a real opportunity of a lifetime,” said Wilkins. “I am very humbled by it, and I look forward to helping write a new chapter in Calumet’s storied history.


Wilkins added that Calumet has plans to further expand its stallion roster.  The storied operation currently stands six stallions including champion Point Given, Eye of the Leopard, Americain, Raison d’Etat, Aikenite, and Snapy Halo.


“Calumet has big plans for returning the farm to prominence,” added Wilkins. “Our approach will be reminiscent of Calumet’s glory days when the farm had a powerful stable of homebreds that were raced before being retired to stud as leading commercial stallions. We will be active in acquiring new stallions, and those stallions will receive the support of the Calumet broodmare band. We look forward to the challenge of developing leading sires, and eventually creating leading sires that are 100% products of Calumet.”

LoPresti still mulling options for Wise Dan’s return

August has been penciled in as the month when two-time defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan would make his anticipated return to the races after undergoing emergency colic surgery on May 16. While trainer Charlie LoPresti expects that scenario to materialize, exactly which contest the six-time Eclipse Award winner will end up in is something his connections are still weighing.

Wise Dan put in his third timed workout since his surgery, breezing five furlongs in 1:03.72 over the turf training course at Saratoga under regular exercise rider Damien Rock Friday morning.

The final time wasn’t anything to light up the watches, especially when compared to Wise Dan’s usual moves. However, LoPresti said he didn’t believe the course was playing particularly fast and that he was still pleased with how the 7-year-old gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry finished up in the lane.

“He went good. It wasn’t blistering fast but the clockers caught him coming home good,” said LoPresti when reached in Saratoga on Friday. “I think he came home in 24 and change. And he galloped out really good. I don’t think this turf is extremely fast right now based on what all the other hroses worked in. But he’s pretty unconcerned. He walked home, didn’t act like he did anything. He wasn’t stressed in any way, we just scoped him he was clean. We were hapy with it.”

LoPresti added that Rock said Wise Dan “slipped a little bit around the turn, there was a little bit of a soft place. But he said just for two strides he slipped, then grabbed him and took off again and never took a bad step after that.”

The Grade II Fourstardave Handicap on August 9, a race Wise Dan has won the last two years, has been targeted as a likely spot for Morton Fink’s homebred to make his return. LoPresti has expressed some concern about the amount of weight Wise Dan could be assigned over his rivals and reiterated on Friday they will take a wait-and-see approach before committing the champion gelding to any spot.

“You know, I’m not trying to persuade them (the racing secretaries) to do anything,” LoPresti said. “If this horse was coming into this race without a colic surgery and coming off another race,  I wouldn’t have any problem with them putting more weight on him. But I don’t want to throw him to the wolves first time out. No one has told me anything yet. But I think they all know I’m concerned about the weights. ”

LoPresti has previously stated the Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga on August 30 could be a backup option if Wise Dan doesn’t go in the Fourstardave or that he could even wait until the Grade I Woodbine Mile on September 14.

“I think they (Saratoga) want him to run here,” LoPresti said. “Whether he runs or not, depends on how he comes out of this work and I probably have one more work to work him at. I didn’t bring him up here to for sure run him in the Fourstardave. I brought him up here to train him and get him further along with the idea of running him in the Fourstardave if everything looks right. But he looks fine. He’s eating good and he’s happy.”

Wise Dan opened his 2014 campaign with triumphs in the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland on April 11 and Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 3. The chestnut gelding has 21 wins, including 10 Grade I scores, from 29 career starts with $6,802,920 in earnings.


Grade I winner Dance With Fate euthanized after training accident

Dance With Fate, winner of the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland this spring, was euthanized on Thursday after suffering severely torn ligaments in his right hind leg as a result of a training accident at Del Mar earlier in the morning.

The son of Two Step Salsa was on the track at approximately 5:30 a.m. nearing the far turn when he suddenly bolted to the outside fence and crashed into it, falling hard and losing exercise rider Joe Duran. Trainer Peter Eurton told Del Mar’s publicity team they had sent X-rays of Dance With Fate’s injuries to noted equine orthopedic surgeon Dr. C. Wayne McIlwraith for evaluation, but Eurton later posted on his Twitter account they were unable to save the striking colt.

“Words can’t express what we’re feeling right now,” Eurton posted. “With an extremely heavy heart we report Dance With Fate was unable to survive his injuries. Thank you for all of the support during a rough time like this. The joy he gave us will never be forgotten.”

Duran was taken by ambulance to Scripps La Jolla Hospital. Eurton later posted that Duran’s wife, Janice, said he had suffered fractures in his spine and ribs and would undergo surgery on Friday.

“I don’t know exactly how it happened or why,” Eurton said of the accident.

Dance With Fate was preparing for a start this Saturday as the likely favorite against older horses in the San Diego Handicap. He had been in training at Santa Anita and Del Mar since having to miss his expected start in the $1.25-million Belmont Derby July 5 at Belmont Park in New York after suffering a bout of colic on the eve of that race.

Owned by Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing, Dance With Fate, rallied from 11th in the 14-horse field to win the  Blue Grass Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths over Medal Count on April 12. That victory was the first graded stakes score for the colt, though he had previously run second in both the Grade I Del Mar Futurity and Grade I FrontRunner Stakes during his 2-year-old season.

While dirt was not his preferred surface, Dance With Fate would go on to run a good sixth behind California Chrome in the Kentucky Derby. In nine starts, the  dark bay specimen notched three wins from nine career starts with earnings of $680,050.

“Dance With Fate will be missed more than words can express but he will never be forgotten,” Britney Eurton, daughter of Peter Eurton, posted on her Twitter account.

Pocahontas, Iroquois highlight Churchill Downs September meeting

 Edited release:
The second September Meet in the 140-year history of Churchill Downs will offer a eight stakes races with total purses of $925,000 during its 12-day run, topped by a pair of stakes events for 2-year-olds who have their eyes on the Breeders’ Cup and the return of the $125,000-added Homecoming Classic, a race for 3-year-olds and up designed as a prep for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The  opening Saturday night of the Sept. 5-28 meet will feature four of those stakes events in a program highlighted by the Grade II, $200,000-added Pocahontas for 2-year-old fillies and the Grade IIII,  $100,000-added Iroquois for colts each going 1 1/16-miles. Both races are part of the  “Road to the Kentucky Derby” and “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” points system for the 2015 Derby and Oaks, and the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” program for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
The second running of the Homecoming Classic – a 1 1/8-mile race designed to be a prep for the 1 ¼-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic will share the stage on Saturday, Sept. 27 with the Grade III, $100,000-added Jefferson Cup, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Racing during the September Meet will be conducted on a Friday-through-Sunday schedule during each of its four weeks, with “Downs After Dark” night racing celebrations scheduled for Friday, Sept. 5 (Opening Night) and Friday, Sept. 19.
The races on the stakes schedule for this year’s meet are identical to the roster of events offered during last year’s inaugural September racing session, but total stakes purses have been reduced by $50,000 and individual purses have been changed for three races. The Pocahontas purse has been raised by $50,000 to $200,000-added. Purses for the Homecoming Classic and Iroquois were each reduced by $50,000. The value of the Homecoming Classic is now $125,000-added, while the Iroquois purse is $100,000-added.
The Pocahontas and Iroquois will be joined on that first Saturday program by the Grade III, $100,000-added Ack Ack, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, and the $100,000-added Locust Grove, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares.
The $100,000-added Open Mind, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares, will be the featured event on Saturday, Sept. 13, while the Grade III, $100,000-added Dogwood for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 20.
The roster of winners of stakes events run during last year’s inaugural September Meet included:
  • Mrs. Janis Whitham’s Fort Larned, the winner of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic that used a victory in the first Homecoming Classic as a final prep race for his defense of his Breeders’ Cup triumph. Fort Larned would finish fourth to Mucho Macho Man in the Classic at Santa Anita and end his career with 10 wins and nearly $4.5 million from 25 starts.
      Winchell Thoroughbreds’


    Untapable, whose victory in the Pocahontas earned the 2-year-old daughter of Tapit a starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She finished eighth in that race, but is unbeaten in 2014 with four stakes victories that include the Kentucky Oaks and the Mother Goose at Belmont Park. Another accomplished product of the 2013 Pocahontas isRosalind, who finished third to Untapable and went on to be a dead-heat winner of the Grade I  Ashland Stakes at Keeneland this April.
Churchill Downs had conducted racing during the month of September during parts of various summer and fall racing meets during its long history that began in 1875. But last year was the first in which the track had offered both a third racing meet in a calendar year and a racing session conducted exclusively during September.
Seating for the Sept. 5 and Sept. 19 “Downs After Dark” celebrations and other racing programs scheduled during the first Homecoming Meet at Churchill Downs is available for purchase online at www.ChurchillDowns.com.

Sept. 5-Sept. 28
Sat., Sept. 6 Iroquois III Open 2YO 1  1/16 M Dirt $100,000
Pocahontas II Fillies 2YO 1  1/16 M Dirt $200,000
Locust Grove F & M 3 & Up 1  1/16 M Dirt $100,000
Ack Ack

III Open 3 & Up 1 M Dirt $100,000
Sat., Sept. 13 Open Mind F & M 3 & Up 6 F Dirt $100,000
Sat., Sept. 20 Dogwood III Fillies 3YO 7 F Dirt $100,000
Sat., Sept. 27 Homecoming Classic Open 3 & Up 1 1/8 M Dirt $125,000
Jefferson Cup III Open 3YO 1 M Turf $100,000
  TOTAL PURSES $925,000


Farish, Beck prevail in run-off voting to fill Breeders’ Cup Board

Edited release:

The Breeders’ Cup announced Wednesday the final composition of its Board of Directors upon the completion of run-off voting by the 45 Breeders’ Cup Members. Current Breeders’ Cup chairman Bill Farish earned the most votes and will serve a four-year term while Bobby Flay will serve a one-year term on the Board.


Antony Beck received the most votes over Bruce Lunsford to fill the remaining one-year term.  At the Annual Meeting last week, Barbara Banke and Dan Pride were elected to the Board, and Elliott Walden was re-elected. All three will serve four-year terms.


Following the election, the Board of 14 Directors is as follows: Barbara Banke; Stonestreet Stables;   Antony Beck, Gainesway Farm; William S. Farish, Jr., (Chairman), Lane’s End Farm; Bobby Flay, Chef andRestaurateur; Craig Fravel, President & CEO of the Breeders’ Cup; Roy Jackson, Lael Stables; Bret Jones, Airdrie Stud; Tom Ludt, President,Santa Anita Park;  Clem Murphy, Coolmore Stud; Bill Oppenheim, Journalist and Pedigree Consultant; Dan Pride, Darley;  J. David Richardson, M.D., Chief of Surgery, University of Louisville; Elliott Walden, WinStar Farm and Barry Weisbord, Thoroughbred Daily News/Trakus.


Veterinarians Bramlage, Fallon and Lavin to be honored at TCA dinner

Edited release:

Noted veterinarians Dr. Larry Bramlage, Dr. Edward Fallon and Dr. Gary Lavin have  been selected by the board of directors of the Thoroughbred Club of America to be recognized as the Honored Guests at the TCA’s 83rd Testimonial Dinner at Keeneland Race Course on September 28th.


“These distinguished honorees are legends in equine veterinary medicine,” TCA president Happy Broadbent said in release. “Through their respective accomplishments as a surgeon, reproductive specialist, and racetrack veterinarian, these three pioneers have all improved the welfare of the Thoroughbred. Particularly in a year when the world has focused on how Thoroughbreds are treated, we look forward to honoring these three remarkable men and telling the story of the best in veterinary care.”


Dr. Bramlage has distinguished himself as a teacher, researcher, and leader within his profession but is best known as an orthopedic surgeon. He is the most highly sought veterinarian for countless owners and trainers whenever orthopedic problems need diagnosis or surgery.


Among his best known cases was repairing champion Personal Ensign’s fracture which had appeared to be career-ending. After surgery, Personal Ensign returned to continue her unbeaten career, culminating in a dramatic victory in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.


A native of Kansas, Dr. Bramlage graduated from Kansas State University and taught at The Ohio State University before moving to Lexington in 1989 to join Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, where he became a partner in 1992.


Dr. Fallon represents the fourth generation of a family of veterinarians whose connection to Kentucky dates from 1875, when a Scottish-educated veterinarian named Edward Thomas Hagyard was called to Kentucky to consult on a valuable Shorthorn bull. An equine practice grew from that visit.


Third-generation Charles Edward Hagyard was joined in the practice in 1940 by Arthur Davidson and William McGee, which completed the team that for decades was known as Hagyard-Davidson-McGee (now Hagyard Equine Medical Institute).


Dr. Fallon is the son of Dr. Charles Hagyard’s sister. He graduated from Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1956, and his son Luke Hagyard Fallon, a fifth generation equine veterinarian, graduated from Cornell in 1996.


In taking his turn of stewardship of the revered old firm, Dr. Fallon was instrumental in bringing about an era of increased efficiency in broodmare management. He utilized and promoted such scientific developments as ovarian palpation to determine pregnancy in mares and use of artificial lighting to stimulate estrous cycles.


Dr. Lavin is the son of well-known racing secretary Allan Lavin and grew up in the sport. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary college in 1962 and for many years was a practitioner and surgeon on the race track. The many honors he received reflect the quality of care he gave to clients and their horses. They include his alma mater’s Bellwether Medal for Distinguished Leadership, status as a Distinguished Life Member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and designation as a Distinguished Practitioner of the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners.


Further indication of the respect he has earned within his profession was the AAEP’s establishment of the Lavin Cup for Equine Welfare in 1996. Dr. Lavin has given his time and leadership to many roles, having been president of the AAEP and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, as well as steward of The Jockey Club, trustee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, The Breeders’ Cup and presently as director of Keeneland and as vice chairman of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.


Lavin and his family operate Longfield Farm in Goshen, Ky. Lavin’s wife, Betsy, serve on the Kentucky Racing Commission, and their sons are involved in bloodstock agency and equine insurance.

Wise Dan leaves LoPresti happy in drill at Saratoga

Two-time defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan continued to make progress on the worktab Friday morning, breezing four furlongs in 49.12 over the turf training track at Saratoga.

The move was the second for Morton Fink’s champion homebred  since undergoing emergency colic surgery at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital on May 16. In his first timed move since that surgery, the 7-year-old Wiseman’s Ferry gelding worked four furlongs in 50.40 over the Keeneland turf last Friday morning before shipping to Saratoga this past Sunday.

In typical fashion, Wise Dan broke off Friday with regular exercise rider Damien Rock maintaining a solid hold on him and galloped out five furlong in 1:02 1/5.

“Very happy. This was a little bit better than last time by design,” trainer Charlie LoPresti said by phone from Saratoga. “He galloped out really strong, cooled out great. I couldn’t have been happier.”

LoPresti reiterated Friday that a start in the Grade II, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap on August 9 at Saratoga could be a likely target for Wise Dan’s return to the races but that the Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap on August 30 remains an option as well.

“We’ll know as we get closer but we plan on trying to make a start here (at Saratoga) if all goes well,” LoPresti said.

A six-time Eclipse Award winner and victor of ten Grade I races, Wise Dan opened his 2014 campaign with triumphs in the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland on April 11 and Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 3.

Banke, Pride among those elected to Breeders’ Cup Board

Edited release:

The Breeders’ Cup announced Thursday election results for six positions to its Board of Directors. Four seats are for terms of four years and two seats are for terms of one year, filling the seats of Robert Manfuso and Richard Santulli. 


Barbara Banke and Dan Pride are newly elected Directors to the Board who will serve four-year terms, along with Elliott Walden, who was re-elected. These individuals were elected by the 45 Breeders’ Cup Members whose voting concluded on Tuesday, July 15 at the annual meeting.


Currrent Breeders’ Cup Chairman Bill Farish and Bobby Flay finished in a tie for the fourth four-year position in the election. A run-off election by the Members will be held from Monday, July 21 at 9:00 a.m. ET through Tuesday, July 22 at 5 p.m. ET to resolve the tie between Farish and Flay. The person who receives the most votes in the run-off will receive a four-year term and the other person will receive a one-year term.


Antony Beck and Bruce Lunsford finished in a tie for the second one-year position, and a runoff by the Members will also be held on Monday and Tuesday to resolve that election.  The person who receives the most votes in the run-off election between Beck and  Lunsford will receive a one-year term.


The annual meeting will be reconvened at the Breeders’ Cup offices on  July 23 to finalize the results.

Lukas hoping for familiar success with Take Charge Brandi

D. Wayne Lukas says when he threw down a bid $435,000 for a certain chestnut filly on behalf of owner Willis Horton at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale, he loved his would-be protege regardless how she was bred.

The bloodlines that flow through Take Charge Brandi have been awfully good to the Hall of Fame conditioner and his affable client, however. And when Saratoga Race Course begins its 40-day meet on Friday, Lukas and Horton will are hoping said 2-year-old filly will channel some of her elite blood when breaks from the outside in a field of five set to start in the Grade III, $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes.

A daughter of Giant’s Causeway, Take Charge Brandi is out of the Seeking the Gold mare, Charming who herself is out of multiple Grade I winner and 2013 Broodmare of the Year, Take Charge Lady.

Take Charge Lady of course is the dam of fellow Lukas trainee and Horton-owned Will Take Charge, the champion 3-year-colt of last year who is currently pointing toward a start in the Grade I, $1.5 million Whitney Handicap on August 2 at Saratoga.

Along with being a near doppelganger for Will Take Charge with her chestnut coloring and chromed-out markings, Take Charge Brandi flashed some of the same ability when she broke her maiden at first asking going 4 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs on June 22, an effort that saw jockey Corey Lanerie remain a statue as he never asked the filly for a hint of run en route to a 2 1/2 length triumph.

“She’s really a nice filly. She’s so professional for this time of the year,” said Lukas, who has won six editions of the Schulyerville. “She does everything perfect. You pull up that video (of her maiden win) you’d think she was 4-years-old.”

Where Lukas describes multiple Grade I winner Will Take Charge as “such a professional, he just does his job”, the legendary trainer jokes that Take Charge Brandi has “more of an attitude”.

“She leans a little bit more towards the dam and maybe the Storm Cat influence a bit,” Lukas added. “She has a lot of try in her, a beautiful mover. And that family…but I liked her no matter how she was bred when I bought her.”


Among the top challengers Take Charge Brandi will have to swagger by in the six-furlong Schuylerville is 3-to-5 morning line favorite Fashion Alert, winner of the Astoria Stakes in her career debut at Belmont Park on June 14.


Fashion Alert is trained by six-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer and former Lukas protege Todd Pletcher, who is seeking his fifth victory in the Schuylerville.Lukas has a couple promising bullets he is hoping will fire during Saratoga’s opening weekend.


Saturday’s Grade III Sanford will see the old ball coach saddle Mr. Z, another impressive 2-year-old maiden winner taking the jump into stakes company. Owned by Zayat Stables, Mr. Z also won at first asking at Churchill Downs under Lanerie. The chestnut son of Malibu Moon stalked the early pace before edging out a half-length win going six furlongs on the main track on June 28.


“He was dead short (fitness wise),” Lukas said of that outing. “He was about a half mile, five-eighths fit and I ran him 6 1/2-furlongs and he won pretty much on his class. That is a nice colt.”


Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man retired

Reigning Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man has been retired from racing, and will enter stud at Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs, the farm announced on Tuesday.  A stud fee for the 6-year-old son of fellow Adena Springs stallion Macho Uno will be announced at a later date.

Mucho Macho Man had not raced or had a timed workout since finishing fourth in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 8. In a release, trainer Kathy Rivto cited “minor wear and tear” as the catalyst behind the colt’s retirement.

“Mucho Macho Man was so tough and genuine. He gave his all every time,” said Ritvo, who became the first female trainer to saddle a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner when Mucho Macho Man took last year’s edition of the 1 1/4-miles race. “After five seasons of training and racing, he shows signs of some minor wear and tear. He is still sound and happy, but we have decided that it is in his best interests to retire him. He has nothing more to prove to any of us.”

Campaigned for most of his career by Dean and Patti Reeves, Mucho Macho Man was second to Fort Larned in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic but hit his best stride at the end of his 5-year-old season in 2013. After earning his first Grade I win when he took the the Awesome Again Stakes last September, the massive bay horse edged eventual 3-year-old champion Will Take Charge by a nose in the Breeders’ Cup Classic over the same Santa Anita Park track last November 2.

Mucho Macho Man signaled his talent early with runner-up efforts in the Grade II Nashua and Remsen Stakes as a two-year-old and stamped himself as a contender on the Kentucky Derby trail the following spring with his victory in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes. He would go on to run third in the 2011 Kentucky Derby but earned his first graded stakes score in March 2012 when he was victorious in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Handicap.

This year, he opened the season with a 14-length win in the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream, his second victory in that event.

“Mucho Macho Man gave Patti and our team enormous pleasure,” Dean Reeves said. “He has generated so many fans, both in the state of Georgia and nationwide. We are extremely excited about him joining the star-studded roster at Adena Springs, and look forward to supporting him as a stallion and racing his progeny.”

Mucho Macho Man retires with nine wins from 25 career starts and $5,625,410 in earnings. He will stand alongside his sire, 2000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and champion Macho Uno, and four other Breeders’ Cup Classic winners: Alphabet Soup, Awesome Again, Fort Larned, and Ghostzapper.

“The Breeders’ Cup Classic is a true Championship race, and a forecaster of the industry’s future top sires,” Frank Stronach said. “Mucho Macho Man campaigned against the best every year ages two through six, and consistently excelled around two-turns on the dirt. He will be an important addition to our roster.”

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