Archive for October, 2011

Uncle Mo made 5-2 favorite for Classic, Havre de Grace 3-1 second choice

Post positions and odds for the 1 1/4-miles Classic is as follows:

1. Prayer for Relief  (Rafael Bejarano) 30-1

2. Flat Out (Alex Solis) 6-1

3. Drosselmeyer (Mike Smith) 15-1

4. Ruler On Ice (Garrett Gomez) 30-1

5. So You Think (Ryan Moore) 5-1

6. Ice Box (Corey Nakatani) 30-1

7. Rattlesnake Bridge (Calvin Borel) 30-1

8. Game On Dude (Chantal Sutherland) 10-1

9. Stay Thirsty (Javier Castellan0) 12-1

10. Havre de Grace (Ramon Dominguez) 3-1

11. Headache (Paco Lopez) 30-1

12. Uncle Mo (John Velazquez) 5-2

13. To Honor and Serve (Jose Lezcano) 12-1



Oaks winner Plum Pretty made Ladies’ Classic favorite

Plum Pretty, winner of the Kentucky Oaks this May, drew  post No. 8 in a field of 10 and was made the 2-to-1 morning line favorite for Friday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic.

Grade I winner Royal Delta is the second choice at 5-to-2.

Post positions with odds:

1. Miss Match 10-1

2. Pachattack 12-1

3. It’s Tricky 5-1

4. Satans Quick Chick 30-1

5. Ask the Moon 6-1

6. Royal Delta 5-2

7. Ultra Blend 8-1

8. Plum Pretty 2-1

9. Medaglia d’ Amour 30-1

10. Super Espresso 20-1

Smart Strike to stand for $85,000 in 2012

Smart Strike, who currently leads the general sire list for 2011, will stand for an advertised fee of $85,000 in 2012, Lane’s End Farm announced Monday.

The fee is up from the $75,000 Smart Strike commanded this past breeding season.

In addition to siring fellow Lane’s End stallions and champions English Channel and Curlin, Smart Strike has had 118 winners from 246 runners this year through Sunday.

Lane’s End also raised the fees for Mineshaft and Candy Ride for 2012. Mineshaft, who stood for $25,000 this year, will command $35,000 this coming season while Candy Ride’s fee went from $40,000 to $50,000.

The complete list of stud fees for Lane’s End in 2012 is as follows:

After Market – $7,500

Belong to Me – $5,000

Candy Ride – $50,000

City Zip – $20,000

Courageous Cat – TBA

Curlin – $40,000

Discreetly Mine – $15,000

English Channel – $25,000

Langfuhr – $15,000

Lemon Drop Kid – $35,000

Mineshaft – $35,000

Pleasantly Perfect – $10,000

Quality Road – $35,000

Rock Hard Ten – $20,000

Shakespeare – $10,000

Smart Strike – $85,000

Stephen Got Even – $7,500

Twirling Candy – $15,000

Jones unfazed after leisurely work from Havre de Grace

Trainer Larry Jones knows the move Havre de Grace put in Monday won’t silence any critics. Instead of listening to the opinions of others though, Jones is going to trust what the filly herself is telling him.

In her last serious work before her expected start in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, Havre de Grace covered five furlongs in 1:02 over the Churchill Downs track with jockey Gabriel Saez up.

The multiple Grade I winning daughter of Saint Liam didn’t exactly light it up beneath the Twin Spires but Jones said he felt better about the outing seeing her nonchalant demeanor after and hearing from Saez how easily the filly handled it.

” Gabe’s first impression before he heard the time was he felt it was just like before (her win in) the Beldame,” Jones said.  “Watching the helmet cam, you could tell every time he called on her a little bit she gave him something. It probably wasn’t as fast as all these other horses have been working. That was a concern when we first saw the time but it looks like, watching her now and what little water she drank, it’s more like a gallop than a work.”

While she has improved drastically in this area since she first came into his barn, Jones stated that Havre de Grace has never been a great work horse in the mornings and that she tends to need a target in order to get the best run out of her.

“Maybe I should have thrown the target out there if we wanted something faster but we know we’re fit,” Jones said. ” If we really needed to tighten her down, I would have sent something out there. I wanted to kind of see how she got over the track and I never saw any bobble steps on her.  I sure wouldn’t give it an ‘A’ but knowing her, we’re okay. As far as being worried, we know what she’s done. She shows up every time.”

Aruna headed to Filly and Mare Turf

Aruna, winner of the Grade I Spinster at Keeneland on October 9, will start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf and not the Ladies’ Classic, trainer Graham Motion confirmed on Sunday.

Aruna had been pointed toward the 1 3/8-miles Filly and Mare Turf originally but with champion Blind Luck not running and Grade I winner Havre de Grace taking on males in the Classic, the Ladies’ Classic became an option especially in the wake of Aruna’s Spinster triumph.

Although Motion was concerned about Aruna trying the 1 3/8-miles for the first time, he was even more unsure about putting the daughter of Mr. Greeley on dirt for the first time.

“We feel more comfortable with the distance after talking to (regular rider) Ramon (Dominguez),” Motion said via text message. “That’s where she belongs.”

Julien Leparoux will have the mount on Aruna as  Dominguez is already committed to ride Grade I winner Stacelita.

Flat Out shines in final pre-Breeders’ Cup move

Like his trainer Scooter Dickey, Flat Out is an old-school sort of horse, the kind who seems to relish his work in the mornings as much as he does his efforts in the afternoon.

The first part of that equation was certainly evident Sunday as the Grade I winner sizzled four furlongs in a bullet :46.60 in preparation of his expected start in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, fastest of 58 moves at the distance over the Churchill Downs main track.

Dickey may not have been overcome with emotion as he was following Flat Out’s triumph in the Grade I Jockey  Club Gold Cup on October 1. Still, it was evident that the longtime conditioner could not have been happier with the unbashed star of his five-horse stable.

“I thought he’d probably go in about :47 but he just likes to do it himself,” Dickey said. “He doesn’t need anybody to tell him what to do because he’s going to do what he wants. He really loves his work. He’s happier out there (on the track) than he is around here (in the barn).”

Flat Out headed a long list of well-regarded Breeders’ Cup contenders who put in their final serious works at Churchill on Sunday. Champion Uncle Mo and his stablemate, Travers Stakes winner Stay Thirsty – both of whom are slated for a start in the Classic – each worked five furlongs for trainer Todd Pletcher. Uncle Mo covered the distance in 1.01:40  after posting splits of 12 4/5, 24 4/5, and 36 4/5 with jockey John Velazquez up while Stay Thirsty worked in company with Rule and posted a time of 1:00.60.

“It was perfect for what we were looking for today,” Pletcher said of Uncle Mo’s move. “It was very nice, steady, excellent gallop out. Stay Thirsty was a little bit quicker for the five-eighths, his gallop out was slightly slower than Uncle Mo’s. But I thought both were excellent works.”

Royal Delta and To Honor and Serve also left trainer Bill Mott grinning on Sunday in their final works before the Ladies’ Classic and Classic, respectively.

Royal Delta, winner of the Grade I Alabama in August, covered four furlongs in :47.80 while To Honor and Serve went five furlongs in 1:00.40.

“I thought it was very good, he was very professional about everything,” Mott said of To Honor and Serve. “I thought it was a better work than it was last week, I thought he went off a little quicker today. I thought everything worked out very well.”

Mott won the Ladies’ Classic last season with Unrivaled Belle and was feeling confident about his chances of a personal repeat following Royal Delta’s move.

“If you didn’t like that, you don’t like training horses,” Mott said of her work. “That’s what you’re looking for. You dream of getting up in the morning and coming out and seeing something like that and she went great. There is so much that goes into this and part of our job is just to try and not do anything foolish and keep them out of trouble. It makes you feel good when you see them go well so I feel good about it.”

Grade I winner Winchester out of Breeders’ Cup Turf

Multiple Grade I winner Winchester will not contest the Breeders’ Cup Turf after he failed to scope well following a four-furlong work on the inner turf at Belmont Saturday, according to Breeders’ Cup officials.

Trained by Christophe Clement, Winchester captured the Grade I Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga on August 13, the fourth Grade I win of his 24-race career, but was most recently fifth in the Grade I Turf Classic at Belmont on October 1.

The six-year-old son of Theatrical was fourth in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf behind Dangerous Midge.

Motion still mulling options for Aruna

How Aruna handled the dirt in her final work before the Breeders’ Cup was going to help determine whether the Grade I winning filly was in the starting gate for the Ladies’ Classic on November 4 or in the Filly and Mare Turf earlier on the card.

In the aftermath of her five furlong move in 1:03 1/5 over the main track at Churchill Downs Saturday morning, trainer Graham Motion still found himself with a debate on his hands.

Though the Filly and Mare Turf has been the target for Aruna for most of this season, the door was left over for her to contest the Ladies’ Classic on the main track when she captured the Grade I Spinster over the Polytrack at Keeneland on October 9. Aruna has not started on dirt before but the 1 1/8-miles distance of the Ladies’ Classic would appear to be more in her wheelhouse than the 1 3/8-miles of the Filly and Mare Turf.

Thus, Motion finds himself in the conundrum of either taking a stab at a distance he’s not sure she’ll handle or swinging for the fences against what has become a wide-open edition of the Ladies’ Classic.

“I don’t want to get too carried away with the whole dirt thing when she’s had such a remarkable run on the turf,” Motion said. “If it weren’t for the fact it was a mile and three eighths, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. But I didn’t get to run her in the Flower Bowl which was supposed to be her test for the distance so that’s just left the window open to whether or not she wants to go that far. That’s the problem.

“Her whole season has been pointed for this race and up until she won the Spinster and the dirt race started falling apart, I hadn’t even considered (the Ladies’ Classic). I would hate to make the wrong decision to run her on the dirt and have her not handle it. I would really regret it.”

Owned by Flaxman Holdings, Aruna clocked splits of 12 3/5 , 25, 37 2/5, and 50 during the move, but Motion said those numbers were about what he was looking for out of the four-year-old daughter of Mr. Greeley.

“Did she do something that really made me think ‘Wow, she really got over this, I’ve got to do this’, no, she didn’t do that to me,” Motion said. “I wasn’t expecting her to have a flashy work. To be honest, it would have been easier if (the exercise rider) had come back and said she didn’t handle it. But the good thing is she had a sensible work so whatever race I run her in she’s ready.  But I’m still not sure.”



Crawford: Juvenile next for Grade I winner Dullahan

Owner Jerry Crawford had a couple of  scares put into him on the Churchill Downs backstretch Saturday morning.

The first came when a loose horse came within inches of him as he was standing by the gap waiting for his Grade I winner Dullahan to take to the track. The second came when Crawford misheard the time for the colt’s final move before the Breeders’ Cup.

“It was a minute and four fifths? Someone told me it was a minute and four,” Crawford said. “That feels better.”

Dullahan looked good enough Saturday that Crawford said he was likely going to give the green light for the son of Even the Score to contest the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on November 5 instead of the Juvenile Turf the same day.  Working in company with  Cars and Trucks, Dullahan indeed covered the distance in 1:00 4/5, finishing well ahead of his stablemate and galloped out in 1:15 3.5 under the watch of trainer Dale Romans.

A half brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, Dullahan earned his first win in five career starts when he captured the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity over the Polytrack at Keeneland on October 8. The chestnut colt finished third and fifth in his only two starts over dirt, both at Churchill, but Crawford said he feels his horse deserves a shot to chase divisional honors.

“He has earned the right to compete for the Eclipse Award for 2-year-old of the year and that certainly would mean going in the Juvenile,” said Crawford, who also campaigned Grade I winner Paddy O’Prado. “And now that my heart stopped pounding from thinking he worked in a minute and four, that’s what we’ll do, we’ll go in the Juvenile.  He’s not ever been a spectacular work horse but he’s dead game on the track. He’s going in the right direction.”

Dullahan  did take a bad step shortly after finishing his move.

“He landed funny and went down as he was pulling up,” Crawford said. “Not all the way down but he went down pretty good. Looked like a spot on the track or something.”

Just before Dullahan worked, his stablemate and Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford put in his final serious paces in advance of his expected start in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, working five furlongs in a bullet 58.20  in company with Tammy Fox up.

“They both worked super and they look like they’re ready,” Romans said of Shackleford and Dullahan. “I wanted them to be on the bit and work strong and get a good work into them. They both outran their competition.”


Rapid Redux makes history with 19th straight win

This comes in courtesy of the Laurel Park publicity department:


Robert L. Cole, Jr.’s Rapid Redux joins Zenyatta and Peppers Pride as the only horses in North American thoroughbred history to win 19 consecutive races in a row after he out stepped four starter allowance runners this afternoon at Laurel Park.


“I’m kind of freaked out,” said Cole. “It was a little tougher than I was expecting. We got it done and I’m very thankful. This track has such a long stretch and a long run to the turn, I was worried. It wasn’t a desperate performance but we got it done.”


J.D. Acosta sent the 5-year-old gelded son of Pleasantly Perfect straight to the lead in the seven furlong test over the muddy main track. Rapid Redux led throughout and covered the distance in 1:24.07 to win 2-3/4 lengths by over the speedy sprinter Rich Hero. Shordawatyadrink finished third.


“I didn’t want to make any mistakes,” Acosta said. “It was really in intense moment. You don’t want to do anything wrong. You want to be a part of history.”


The winner paid $2.40 and topped a $6.80 exacta and $11.60 trifecta.


“I was really nervous at the eighth pole, it was scary,” said trainer David Wells. “When Jamie Ness’s horse (Rich Hero) came at him I thought he was going to go by him but I give all the credit to the horse.”


Rapid Redux was claimed by Cole, a Baltimore County native, at Penn National for $6,250 on October 13, 2010. Since then, the gelding has won 20 of 21 races with earnings of $237,009. The win-streak began on December 2, 2010 at Penn National. Cole and trainer David Wells have sent their star to seven different tracks, including three previous victories at Laurel Park, at different distances from five-furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.


“I think I’ve owned more than a thousand horses in my day and kind of hope they all improve tremendously and get some kind of joy like this,” added Cole. “You dream about it but typically these dreams don’t come true.”

Acosta is one of seven jockeys to ride Rapid Redux during the streak. It was his fifth victory (fourth in a row) and the 30-year-old is proud to be part of history.


“I’m really excited,” added Acosta. “There are only a few people that feel what I feel.”


Rapid Redux is a perfect 17-of-17 this year. The record for most victories in a year is 19 by Citation in 1948, the year he won the Triple Crown.


“The horse has a tremendous amount of heart,” Wells said. “He feels and sees the horses or he hears them coming and he does not want to be passed. You saw that again today. He heard that horse coming he just dug back in.”


Racing offices in the Mid-Atlantic will be writing races in condition books to entice Cole to attempt to break the record at their tracks. The Maryland Jockey Club racing office has starter allowance races on November 10 (1 mile on the turf), November 11 (5 ½ furlongs on the turf), November 15 (1 mile on the main track) and November 17 (five-furlongs on the main track) in its current condition book. Another condition book will be available for the final month of racing in 2011.


“There seems to be a lot of spots in the next couple of weeks,” Cole said. “I’m not sure where we go. We really got to space out three to four weeks, something along those lines, and see how he comes out of the race.”


“I’d love to break the record and have the Kentucky Horse Park invite him there to retire,” Wells said.


A replay of the race is available at

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