Archive for November, 2010

Gainesway stallion Mr. Greeley euthanized

Gainesway stallion Mr. Greeley, sire of 53 stakes winners, was euthanized due to complications from laminitis on Tuesday. The son of Gone West was 18.

Mr. Greeley had been diagnosed with laminitis several weeks ago, according to Gainesway, and his condition began to deteriorate in recent days. The chestnut stallion had stood the 2010 season for an advertised fee of $50,000 and had stood for as high as $125,000 at one point. He was scheduled to stand the 2011 season for $40,000.

“All of us at Gainesway are saddened at the loss of a great stallion,” Gainesway president Antony Beck said in a statement. “He was not only a great stallion, he was a great horse.”

A multiple Grade III winner on the track, Mr. Greeley produced top runners both in North America and internationally. Among the Grade/Group 1 winners sired by Mr. Greeley were Nonsuch Bay, El Corredor, Celtic Melody, Whywhywhy, champion Finsceal Beo, Saoirse Abu and Reel Buddy.

Mr. Greeley began his stud career at Dixiana Farms in Lexington  in 1996 and moved to Spendthrift Farm for five seasons before joining the Gainesway roster in 2006.

From 12 crops of racing age, Mr. Greeley had 24 graded stakes winners, two champions, and progeny earnings of $50,438,968 to date.

Mr. Greeley will be buried on the farm.

Zenyatta to be paraded before fans at Keeneland

Local fans of the champion mare Zenyatta will get another chance to see the recently retired 6-year-old daughter of Street Cry before she begins her broodmare career. On Monday, December 6, Zenyatta will arrive in Lexington at approximately 3:45 p.m. and will be vanned across the road to Keeneland where she will be paraded in the paddock before the public at approximately 4:15 p.m.

Zenyatta will then head to Lane’s End Farm where she will be boarded. According to a release from Lane’s End, fans wishing to see Zenyatta once she arrives at Mr. and Mrs. William S. Farish’s farm will need to check her website at zenyatta.com, or at lanesend.com, to see what her schedule might be while she is preparing for her second career.

Champion Gio Ponti to remain in training

Dual champion Gio Ponti will remain in training for his six-year-old season with the Dubai World Cup as his main goal, Castleton Lyons president Shane Ryan announced on Tuesday.

Gio Ponti, the reigning champion older male and champion turf male, most recently finished second to the brilliant racemare Goldikova in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs on November 6.

“We at Castleton Lyons are delighted to announce that we have decided to keep our dual Champion Gio Ponti in training for one more year, with the 2011 Dubai World Cup as our main aim,” Ryan said in a statement. “It is an exciting time to have a tough consistent horse in training as prize money is generally one of the more lucrative sides of our business at the moment. We would like to thank all his fans and well wishers to date. It is our hope that we can continue to campaign him with imagination and of course, success!”

Gio Ponti captured the Grade I Man o’ War Stakes and Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile this season in a campaign that could likely earn him a second Eclipse Award for champion turf male. The son of Tale of the Cat has won 11 of 23 career starts and notched more than $5 million in earnings.

Champion Lookin At Lucky retired, sold to Coolmore

Reigning 2-year-old champion and Preakness Stakes winner Lookin At Lucky has been purchased by Ashford Stud and will stand at the American arm of John Magnier’s Coolmore Stud operation for 2011. His fee will be $35,000, according to Ashford Stud manager Dermot Ryan.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Campaigned by the partnership of Mike Pegram, Paul Weitman, and Karl Watson and trained by Bob Baffert, Lookin At Lucky racked up nine wins in 13 career starts including five Grade I triumphs. The bay son of Smart Strike is the likely choice to be named champion 3-year-old male this season after earning wins in the Preakness, Haskell Invitational and Indiana Derby prior to his fourth-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on November 6.

“He’s a fantastic looking horse,” said Ryan. “He’s a Classic winner and he’ll probably be the champion 3-year-old as well. He’s very well bred and he’s got all the traits we look for in a stallion.”

Should Lookin At Lucky take the Eclipse Award for champion 3-year-old male this year, he would be the first horse since Spectacular Bid in 1978 and 1979 to earn divisional honors in both his 2-year-old and sophomore seasons.

Out of the Belong to Me mare Private Feeling, Lookin At Lucky was unbeaten in his first four career starts including victories in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity and Grade I Norfolk. His lone loss as a juvenile came when he was beaten a head by Vale of York in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park but he rebounded from that loss to close out his six-race campaign last year with a win in the Grade I CashCall Futurity.

Despite his fortuitous name, Lookin At Lucky was plagued with trouble in a handful of his races this year. Although he overcame nearly clipping heels with a horse to win the Grade II Rebel Stakes in his seasonal bow, he was checked in tight quarters during a third-place run in the Santa Anita Derby and bumped hard into the rail during his sixth-place effort in the Kentucky Derby.

That Derby outing prompted his connections to switch from jockey Garrett Gomez to Martin Garcia for the Preakness Stakes. That pairing instantly clicked as Lookin At Lucky powered home to a three-quarter length win in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown and then followed that up with a four-length romp in the Haskell at Monmouth Park this August.

“Any horse that pops up with his criteria of pedigree and race record, any top stud farm would have their eye on,” Ryan said. “He’s pretty open to breed with any sort of mare. He’s just a quality, gorgeous looking horse.”

A half brother to Grade II winner Kensei, Lookin At Lucky retires with earnings of $3,307,278. Ryan said the colt is currently at the farm and available to breeders for inspection.

Churchill boosts overnight purses again

For the second time in a week’s period, Churchill Downs  will raise overnight purses because of higher than expected all-sources wagering levels. Effective today, overnight race purses will be increased 20 percent for the final eight days of the Fall Meet, which concludes its 21-day run on Sunday, Nov. 28.

On Nov. 12, Churchill Downs announced that overnight race purses would jump 6.3 percent for the final 10 days of the season.

Purses for the final 83 scheduled overnight races – which include allowance, maiden special weight, claiming and maiden claiming events – will rise from the announced prize money in the condition book by an approximate blended average of $6,600 per race.

The revised projection for total overnight purses awarded at the meet is $6.8 million, up from the original forecast of $6.2 million at the start of the season. The daily average purse distribution (not including the Nov. 5-6 Breeders’ Cup World Championships programs) will be approximately $459,000 per day.

“We’ve been fortunate to have good weather and full, competitive fields during our boutique, four-week Fall Meet, which has limited competition from other racetracks during the fall,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs. “Also, some of our high-level allowance and claiming races for our top-tier horses have not filled and were not used, which means there’s more money available to distribute. We’re thrilled that horse racing fans have responded to our product through strong all-sources wagering, and that our owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders will benefit from a 20-percent increase in prize money over the final stretch of our season.

“As we’ve said before, these positive purse adjustments aren’t long-term solutions to the problems we continue to face in Kentucky’s signature horse racing industry. Purses remain well shy of their highest levels of recent years, and Kentucky still isn’t on a level playing field with states whose racetracks have an immense competitive advantage by having their purses fueled by slot machine and casino revenues.”

Smith wins Big Sport of Turfdom Award

The Turf Publicists of America (TPA) announced today that jockey Mike Smith has been chosen as the 2010 winner of the organization’s Big Sport of Turfdom Award.  The annual honor is bestowed upon a person or group of people who enhance coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with media and Thoroughbred racing publicists.

Last year Smith was a part of “Team Zenyatta” who garnered the Big Sport of Turfdom Award.  Included in the 2009 “Team” were owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Sherriffs and his wife Dottie.

“It was an incredible honor just to be a part of a team that won the Big Sport of Turfdom Award,” stated Smith upon receiving the news.  “Now, to win this award on my own is overwhelming.  As a matter of fact last year’s trophy is one of my all-time favorites and it sits prominently on my mantle at home.”

The Big Sport of Turfdom Award will be presented along with the Race Track Industry Program Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, December 7.  It is part of the 2010 Symposium on Racing & Gaming presented by the University of Arizona at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson, Arizona. The TPA is an organization consisting of approximately 150 publicity and marketing personnel from racetracks and racing organizations around the country. The Big Sport of Turfdom award has been presented every year since 1966.

“Mike Smith will forever be immortalized for his scintillating rides aboard the great Zenyatta throughout her career,” stated John Engelhardt, President of the Turf Publicists, “but this award is for his entire body of work throughout his career.  What resonates most at the present was his heart-felt press conference after this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, but win or lose, Mike has always made himself available to the press, reflecting positively on his craft and the entire sport of Thoroughbred racing.  His individual recognition is well deserved.”

Champion Zenyatta to be retired to Lane’s End

Jerry and Ann Moss’ champion mare Zenyatta, who concluded her career with a runner-up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will be boarded at Mr. and Mrs. William S. Farish’s Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Kentucky. She is expected to arrive in early December.

Zenyatta won 19 of 20 starts with her only loss coming in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic when she ran second by just a head to multiple Grade I winner Blame after coming from far off the pace. She set North American female records in earnings – $7,304,580 and earned 13 Grade I wins. Those Grade I victories include the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic and the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic. She earned Eclipse Awards as champion old mare in both 2008 and 2009.

Breeding plans have not yet been finalized.

Shadai gets dam of Blind Luck for $1.85 million

Shadai Farm outlasted representatives of fellow Japanese powerhouse operation Northern Farm to secure Lucky One – dam of this year’s Kentucky Oaks winner Blind Luck – for $1.85 million during the second session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale on Tuesday.

“Blind Luck is a very, very good racehorse and this looks like a very good mare,” said Mitsuru Ikeda, who signed the ticket on behalf of Shadai.

Consigned by Dr. William Baker’s Fairlawn Farm, Lucky One is carrying a full sibling to Blind Luck as she is in foal to Pollard’s Vision. The eight-year-old mare is by Best of Luck and is a half sister to Grade III winner Ethan Man.

“We’re very happy. We were expecting a million but we weren’t expecting that much,” Baker said. “We thought she’d bring seven figures but you’re never sure until you get to the auction. We’d had several offers but never could get the deal done. So we’re very happy with that. She came here to sell.”

Heart Shaped goes for $1.55 million

The 4-year-old Storm Cat mare Heart Shaped continued the recent spree of big money inside the Keeneland sales pavilion, selling for $1.55 million midway through the second session of the November breeding stock sale on Tuesday.

Agent Tom Goff of Blandford Bloodstock purchased the chestnut mare on behalf of an undisclosed American client. Consigned by Eaton Sales, Heart Shaped is a half sister to Grade I winner A.P. Valentine and was sold in foal to leading sire A.P. Indy.

“She’s a lovely big mare,” Goff said. “A Storm Cat mare in foal to A.P. Indy…they don’t grow on trees do they? And she was a stakes performer in Ireland.”

Dreamtheimpossible paces seven-figure run at Keeneland

Following a relatively quiet morning of action at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, a trio of mare reached the seven-figure mark within a half hour of each other. Dreamtheimpossible, a daughter of multiple Grade I winner Spain, led the way when she sold for $2.55 million to Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs.

Consigned by Eaton Sales, the 4-year-old Dreamtheimpossible is a half sister to Group III winner Plan and was Group I placed herself in England. Eric Hamelback, general manager of Adena Springs, outlasted Mt. Brilliant’s Greg Goodman in a protracted battle after the bidding opened at $500,000 to obtain Dreamtheimpossible, who was sold in foal to Galileo.

“She was a very nice mare,” Hamelback said. “She’s a tremendous mare and Spain is obviously one of the best race mares in history. And to be in foal to Galileo was a huge plus. She is said to be carrying a colt so we’re very excited to get this colt and put him into our racing stable and hopefully do very well with him in the states.”

Minutes after Dreamtheimpossible sold, Elusive Sparkle – a half sister to 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense – sold for $1.2 million to Paul Fudge of Australia and Fit Right In, dam of Grade I winner Rightly So,  sold to Northern Farm for $1.05 million.

Consigned by Mill Ridge Sales, Elusive Sparkle is a five-year-old mare by Elusive Quality and was sold in foal to Darley stallion Street Cry.

Fit Right In, consigned by Burleson Farms, is a half sister to multiple stakes winner Under Serviced and is believed to be in foal to two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.

“I described how she looked to my father and he liked her looks,” said Shunsuke Yoshida, who signed the ticket on behalf of his father Katsumi Yoshida. “She didn’t race but she’s already produced a graded stakes winner.”

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