Archive for July, 2011

Pauls Mill stallions to relocate to WinStar Farm

WinStar Farm has acquired an interest in all four stallions – Bellamy Road, Summer Bird, Artie Schiller and US Ranger – from Pauls Mill and will relocate them to WinStar for the 2012 breeding season.

Pauls Mill is owned and operated by Ben Walden, elder brother of WinStar Farm president Elliott Walden. Ben Walden will continue to operate Pauls Mill as a Thoroughbred farm but will no longer stand stallions.

“It will be rewarding to see the work we have begun with these four stallions meld into the exciting future of WinStar,” said Ben Walden. “I look forward to serving them going forward as WinStar seeks future opportunities in the stallion business.”

Bellamy Road and Artie Schiller both have second crops racing in 2011, and both have already enjoyed success from their progeny. Bellamy Road currently stands No. 3 on the second-crop sires list and has sired four graded stakes winners to date, including Wood Memorial  winner Toby’s Corner and undefeated GII-winning 2-year-old filly Position Limit. His second crop ncludes the undefeated 2-year-old filly Georgie’s Angel, recent winner of the Grade III Schuylerville  at Saratoga. Artie Schiller has eight stakes horses to date, led by Grade I performer Mr. Commons, who recently captured the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar.

Summer Bird, the champion 3-year-old male of 2009, and US Ranger stood their first and second years, respectively, in 2011.

“We are extremely excited about these four young stallion prospects, which Ben Walden has already done a fabulous job developing,” said Kenny Troutt, owner of WinStar Farm. “Ben has a God-given talent to see the potential in a young stallion prospect, and Bellamy Road is his latest success story. Ben will stay involved and continue to have a significant interest in all of these stallions’ futures.”

“This was a rare opportunity to buy into four promising young stallions at the upswing of their careers,” added Elliott Walden. “We tested the proven-sire market last year when we acquired Harlan’s Holiday, and he was our most popular stallion in 2011. We’re hoping for similar results from Bellamy Road and Artie Schiller.”

WinStar will announce 2012 stud fees at a later date.

Uncle Mo has second breeze back; Get Stormy to miss Fourstardave

Six days after his initial return to the worktab, reigning juvenile champion Uncle Mo turned in his second breeze over Saratoga Race Course’s main track, covering four furlongs in 50.49 shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday morning.

With exercise rider Patti Krotenko aboard, Uncle Mo began galloping on the clubhouse turn, then picked it up approaching the half-mile pole before galloping out five-eighths in 1:03.

“It’s a steady progression,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains the Indian Charlie colt for owner Mike Repole. “We stepped it up to a half today, and I particularly like the way he galloped out. His fitness level is more than I expected it to be. He was into it.”

Uncle Mo’s first breeze since before being scratched from the Kentucky Derby came at Saratoga on July 22, when he went three furlongs in 38.22. He has not raced since finishing third in the Grade I Wood Memorial, after which he was taken off the Triple Crown trail with a liver disorder.

Uncle Mo, who broke his maiden by 14 ¼ lengths at Saratoga on Travers Day last year, could make his next start on Travers Day this year in the Grade I King’s Bishop on August 27.

In other Saratoga news, Grade I winner Get Stormy will miss the opportunity to defend his Grade II Fourstardave title on Sunday after being diagnosed with what appears to be a minor tendon issue, trainer Tom Bush said Thursday afternoon.

“He has a little pimple on the edge of his right front tendon,” Bush explained. “It looks very good on ultrasound and I’m not too worried about it. Peritendinous, is how it’s described. We’ll probably come back after medicating him for a couple of days and re-ultrasound it to make sure, but the tendon itself seems perfectly fine. We want to be conservative. That news is about as good as we could get could get, even though the timing wasn’t great.”

Get Stromy earned his first Grade I win this spring when he won the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland before going on to take the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic  at Churchill Downs in May.

Shackleford made 5-2 favorite for Haskell

Post position draw and morning-line odds for Sunday’s $1 million, Grade I Haskell Invitational

No. 1 Coil 3-1

No. 2 Joe Vann  15-1

No. 3 Pants On Fire 4-1

No. 4 Concealed Identity 12-1

No. 5 Shackleford  5-2

No. 6 Ruler On Ice 4-1

No. 7 J J’s Lucky Train 20-1

No. 8 Astrology  9-2

Breen on Lasix ban: “I don’t know if it’s the best thing for horse racing”

Trainer Kelly Breen has a potentially huge weekend ahead of him this Sunday as he is slated to saddle both Louisiana Derby winner Pants On Fire and Belmont Stakes hero Ruler on Ice in the Grade I, $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

While discussing both of his horses’ chances during a national teleconference on Tuesday, however, Breen took the opportunity to reiterate his stance against the current movement to eliminate the race-day use of the anti-bleeder medication Lasix.

Breeders’ Cup Ltd. earlier this month announced its intention to ban the use of Lasix in all of its juvenile races in 2012 and in all of its world championship events by 2013. Following through on such plans – according to Breen – would only hinder potential top horses like Pants On Fire, who bled while finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby but came back to take the Grade III Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth in mid June.

“I don’t understand how  Breeders’ Cup is just allowed to take ranking on everything and say there is not going to be any Lasix for 2-year-olds (in 2012),” Breen said. “I’m so out of whack with this whole thing about Lasix. I hate to make Pants On Fire a poster child for it but here’s a horse that showed he’s a top class horse when he gets Lasix and doesn’t bleed.

“I don’t know who sanctions what or what’s going to happen in the next few years but I think (the potential ban) hurts the racehorse and theoretically then will hurt the owner which will hurt the bettor.”

One of the driving forces cited behind the Breeders’ Cup ban and the RCI’s plan to eliminate all race-day medication within the next five years is public perception of the sport. Breen counters that Lasix isn’t the reason bettors are holding back their dollars but that the shortage of horses which could run as a result of a ban would definitely raise their ire.

“I think going to the races at Churchill Downs this years and seeing the nights they had under the lights, they had young people going out,” Breen said. “I don’t think the bettors are as much concerned about Lasix as the people who…sit back and talk poorly about horse racing.

“I don’t know if it’s the best thing for horse racing, I really don’t.”

Breen said he would not rule out running Pants On Fire in a race where he couldn’t use the medication – such as in Japan – but he doesn’t support the desire to deny horses the use of something that has proven therapeutic value.

“Going back to the Jockey Club thing, they funded a study where they find (Lasix) to work and…then they turn their backs on us and say ‘Yeah it does help but we’re not going to let you use it’,” Breen said. “It’s a touchy situation. I don’t like to be a poster child for it and I don’t want Pants On Fire to be a poster child for it. If it were to come up where we’d have the opportunity to run with out, yes, I would run. And I would hope he would perform to his natural ability as if he had gotten Lasix.”

Grade I winner First Dude retired

Donald Dizney’s Grade I winner First Dude has been retired after suffering a strained tendon to a front leg.

First Dude ran down stablemate Game On Dude to win the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup in a thrilling finish on July 9 and was considered one of the more promising members of the older male division heading into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on November 5.

“I was sick about it,” trainer Bob Baffert told the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association on Monday. “He is the best older horse in the country. It’s sad because he was just getting good. It’s a devastating blow to us because he loves Churchill Downs and we were really excited about the Breeders’ Cup. He is a big, solid and smart horse. He is just beautiful. He is very balanced for a big horse. He was becoming a great horse. He was going to have a huge year.”

Previously trained by Dale Romans, First Dude finished in the top three in five consecutive Grade I races as a 3-year-old last season beginning with a third-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. The 4-year-old son of Stephen Got Even broke through to win the Grade III Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs prior to his Gold Cup triumph and retires with career earnings of $1.4 million from four wins from 17 lifetime start.

Stud plans have not yet been announced.

Grade I winners Gio Ponti, Get Stormy work at Saratoga

Castleton Lyons’ three-time Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti was among a handful of standouts on the Saratoga worktab Monday, covering five furlongs in 59.22 over the Oklahoma turf course in preparation for his expected start in the Grade I Arlington Million at Arlington Park on August 13.

The six-year-old son of Tale of the Cat won the Arlington Million in 2009 and is coming into this year’s race off a runner-up finish to Cape Blanco in the Grade I Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont on July 9.

“He looked very well,” trainer Christophe Clement said. “He came back in good order and will work next Wednesday and we’ll got for the Million.”

Also working at Saratoga Monday was two-time Grade I winner Get Stormy. Get Stormy, who earned his first Grade I triumph when he took the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland this April, drilled five furlongs in 1:00.32 over the Oklahoma training turf course but was eased in the final yards due to a loose horse ahead of him.

The 5-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic is slated to start in the Grade II Fourstardave this Sunday having most recently run third in the Grade III Monmouth on June 12.

“He had a great spring,” said trainer Tom Bush. “We hope to keep that going. He’s had a little breather between this race and his last and he runs well fresh so hopefully we’re ready to rumble.”

This weekend will also feature two major 3-year-old races in the Grade II Jim Dandy at Saratoga Saturday and the Grade I Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on Sunday.  The Steve Asmussen-trained duo of Dominus and Astrology each turned in four-furlong works Monday in preparation for their starts this weekend but their connections are still deciding which horse will run in which race.

Dominus, winner of the Grade II Dwyer Stakes on July 2, breezed four furlongs in :50.54 on the main track while Astrology, third in the Preakness Stakes, worked in :51.31 on the training track. Both horses are campaigned by Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton with Spendthrift Farm owning an additional interest in Dominus.

“We’ll just wait and see how they come out of the workout (before we make a decision),” Asmussen said. “We don’t want to put the cart ahead of the horse. We’ll discuss it with the group and go from there.”

National HBPA supports use of race-day lasix

The board of directors for the National HBPA unanimously passed a resolution during its summer convention in Seattle this weekend calling for the elimination of all medication on race-day, including adjunct bleeder medications, with the exception of the use of the Lasix.

The National HBPA states it supports the race-day use of Lasix to prevent exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage provided it is only administered at least four hours prior by a regulatory veterinarian in the horse’s stall.  Although the American Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) earlier this year announced its intention to eliminate the use of all race-day medication  within the next five years, the National HBPA cited existing scientific evidence showing that most racehorses will bleed sometimes in their career as reason why allowing the use of lasix is in “the best interest of the welfare of racing horses and, by extension, the safety of the jockeys that ride those horses.”

The Jockey Club is among the organizations that supports the RCI position on banning race-day medication. Earlier this month, Breeders’ Cup Ltd. announced its plan to eliminate the use of lasix in all of its juvenile races for 2012 and in all of its world championship races by 2013.

“The National HBPA will continue to advocate that changes to the industry’s rules and regulations regarding medication be based on scientific fact, not opinions,” Joe Santanna, president and chairman of the National HBPA, said in a statement. “That’s who we are.”

Santanna also cited what were termed three “under-reported facts” regarding U.S. horse racing based on RCI data: 25 percent of all equine participants are drug tested in each race; 99.5 percent of all horses tested in compliance with existing scientific standards; and 98 percent of 6,000 licensed trainers have no Class 1 or Class 2 medication violations.

The National HBPA board also passed a resolution supporting the enforcement of the strictest penalties for violations involving Class 1 or 2 substances which have no approved or indicated use in the horse and are not detected due to environmental contamination nor have any therapeutic use.

“I believe the public positions taken by our board send the message out that while we and industry regulators may still have work to do on how we regulate and penalize horsemen with regard to the use of legitimate therapeutic medications, we are very much united with regulators on passing even tougher penalties  for those found guilty of using substances that we all agree don’t belong any where near a horse,” Santanna said. “

Horses, humans escape injury in barn fire at Three Chimneys

A near disaster was avoided at Robert Clay’s Three Chimneys Farm in Midway Sunday night when a broodmare barn caught fire and was destroyed after being struck by lightning.

The Spinster barn housed two broodmares but both horses escaped without injury. Night watchman Billy Kutchman and assistant broodmare manager Jennifer DeLaittre were nearby when the barn caught fire and were able to rescue the two horses and put them in a pasture away from harm without injury to themselves or the mares.

“Oh my gosh, we were so lucky,” said Case Clay, president of Three Chimneys. “Everybody is okay, all the horses are okay. Billy and Jennifer were close by and got the mares out. They are heroes in my book. Everybody is doing fine and the barn is insured. It could have been a lot worse.”

One mare was taken to a veterinary clinic to be checked out but was reportedly doing well and eating well as of Monday morning. The other mare is resting comfortably at Three Chimneys.

No other barns at Three Chimneys were affected by the fire.

Uncle Mo back on work tab

Reigning juvenile champion Uncle Mo took the first steps toward a return to the races early Friday morning at Saratoga Race Course, breezing three furlongs in a move that trainer Todd Pletcher called “perfect.”

With exercise rider Patti Krotenko aboard, Uncle Mo covered the distance in 38.40, according to NYRA clockers, and galloping out a half-mile in 51.62 shortly after 6 a.m.

It was the first workout for Uncle Mo since May, when he was knocked off the Triple Crown trail and scratched from the Kentucky Derby with a liver disorder.

“It was perfect,” said Pletcher said of the move. “I told Patti to go between 37 and 39, and he went in :38 2/5 and galloped out in 51, so it was exactly what we were hoping for today.”

Both Pletcher and owner Mike Repole, who was on hand for the breeze, said they were delighted with the colt’s progress since he returned to training on July 1 at WinStar Farm, where he had been recuperating. Uncle Mo arrived at Saratoga on July 11 having gained back 100 pounds, and has been galloping daily since then.

“He’s a different horse. He’s the horse he was when he was a 2-year-old. He’s been here for over a week now and gained five more pounds with heavy training,” said Repole. “His blood work keeps improving every single day, which is great. It’s nice to see him out there.

“It’s kind of déjà vu,” he added. “Last time I saw him running down the stretch at Saratoga he was winning by 14 ½ lengths in his maiden, and today it looked like there was a horse 15 lengths behind him. It’s a good day. It feels like I won a big race today and it was only a three-furlong work.”

Uncle Mo is being pointed toward the Grade I, seven-furlong King’s Bishop on Saturday, August 27, which would be his first start since finishing third in the Grade I Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack on April 9, his first loss after four straight wins.

Grade I winner Awesome Maria injured, out for season

The depth-laden older female division lost one of its top contenders Thursday when it was announced Awesome Maria, the winner of four straight graded stakes, would be out for the remainder of 2011 with a non-displaced condylar fracture of her left foreleg, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.

Pletcher said the injury was detected following a five-furlong breeze at Saratoga on Monday and that the 4-year-old daughter of Maria’s Mon, who was targeting the Grade 1 Ruffian Invitational Handicap at Saratoga Race Course on July 31, underwent successful surgery at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky on Wednesday.

Owned by E. Paul Robsham Stables, LLC, Awesome Maria won stakes at the ages of 2, 3, and 4 and earned her first Grade I triumph when she took the Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park on June 18. Overall, she is 7-3-1 from 12 starts, with $842,375 in earnings.

“Her prognosis is good for a return to the races next year, should Mrs. Robsham decide to bring her back,” said Pletcher. “Unfortunately, her season is over. It’s disappointing to say the least, but we’re happy she is in good shape and has already had a successful season.”

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