Archive for September, 2012

Belmont Stakes winner Sarava retired to Old Friends

Old Friends press release:


Sarava, winner of the 2002 Belmont Stakes, has been retired to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY.

Co-owners Gary Drake of Louisville and Paul and Susan Roy of Great Britain donated the 13-year-old stallion to the organization.
Sarava arrived at Old Friends early Saturday from the Appleton family’s Bridlewood Farm near Ocala, FL, where he has stood stud since 2010.
Bred in Kentucky by Bill Entenmann’s Timber Bay Farms, Sarava was sired by 1984 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Wild Again and is out of the Deputy Minister mare Rhythm of Life. He career boasted three wins from 17 starts and earnings of $773,832.
Beginning his career on the turf in Europe, Sarava failed to break his maiden overseas. Returning to the U.S., a minor injury kept the budding three-year-old off the Derby trail in 2002, but he returned under conditioner Ken McPeek to demolished the field in the Sir Barton Stakes on Preakness Day at Pimlico.
Sarava’s greatest victory–and one of the game’s biggest upsets–came three weeks later when, at 70-1, he ended War Emblem’s bid for the Triple Crown by capturing the 134th running of the Belmont Stakes.
Not only was Sarava the longest shot in Belmont Stakes history but his victory came before what was then the largest crowd ever assembled for the race: 103,000 in attendance.
“Sarava is the first Classic winner to retire at Old Friends,” said Old Friends founder, Michael Blowen. “We are thrilled that Gary and the Roys would trust us with his great stallion and grateful for the generous endowment.
“I also want to thank Midway Mayor and bloodstock agent, Tom Bozarth, for his assistance. I know Sarava’s fans will love to visit him,” continued Blowen. “To me, it’s like having Michael Jordan in my yard.”
“Sarava has been a special horse to all of us,” said Gary Drake. “He has done his job well on the track and in the breeding shed, and has earned a respectful retirement. We are pleased that Michael and the Old Friends staff will be caring for him,” added Drake. “They do a marvelous job with their retired stallions.

Multiple Group I winner Snow Fairy sidelined for remainder of year

Brilliant racemare Snow Fairy will miss the Group I Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the remainder of her 2012 campaign after returning from her final piece of serious work before the Arc with heat in a foreleg, Racing Post reports.

Third in the Arc last year and among the favorites for this year’s edition, the Ed Dunlop-trained mare has had a series of injuries throughout her career that have ruled her out of major targets. The five-year-old daughter of Intikhab came back from a tendon injury to win the Group I Prix Jean Romanet this August in her first start back and most recently romped against males in track record time in the Group I Irish Champion Stakes on September 8.

“We don’t know everything yet but she did her final piece of serious work yesterday and she worked very well,” Dunlop told the Racing Post on Saturday morning. “But at evening stables we realised she has a bit of heat in her foreleg.

“With veterinary advice we decided risking her in the Arc in a week’s time was not an option, and as she was missing the Arc we thought the best thing to do would be to put her away and give her every chance to recover.”

Patrick Cooper, racing manager to the owner, added: “It is a separate issue to the one which sidelined her earlier this year. Provided that she makes a full recovery, (owner) Cristina Patino has confirmed that Snow Fairy will remain in training next year.”

Snow Fairy has won seven Group I races in her career in five different countries.

Wise Dan posts bullet move in “easy” half at Keeneland

Displaying his trademark deceptive ease, Morton Fink’s multiple Grade I winner Wise Dan worked four furlongs in a bullet :47.40 at Keeneland Friday morning as his connections continue to mull what if any will be his next move leading up to the Breeders’ Cup.

“That was just an easy half,” said trainer Charlie Lopresti. “It was kind of dark so we couldn’t really tell much to be honest, but we just saw the last eighth and he came home really strong. It was just something to do with him in between (races).”

Lopresti said there is still a chance the Wiseman’s Ferry gelding could start in the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland next Saturday but would most likely train the 5-year-old chestnut up to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita next month.

“We’re going to see how he does over the next couple days,” Lopresti said. “I’m still leaning toward (training up to) the Breeders’ Cup. Everyone seems to think he’d win (the Shadwell) but if he goes out to California – there hasn’t been a horse since (two-time Mile winner) Lure that’s won from the East Coast to the West Coast. So then I’d think ‘Well, that was dumb running in the Shadwell Mile).”

Also still up for debate – albeit slightly – is whether Wise Dan will end up in the Breeders’ Cup Mile or $5 million Classic. Though he won the Grade I Woodbine Mile in spectacular fashion last time out and is 3-for-4 on the turf, Wise Dan is also a Grade I winner on dirt having taken the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs last November.

“I think we’re looking at the Mile, that’s kind of what he’s been doing well with that’s what we’re going to stick with for right now,” Lopresti said. “But I haven’t talked to Mr. Fink yet and…we’ll just play everyday by ear.”


Belmont cancels Friday racing

NYRA release:


Due to anticipated heavy rain, Friday’s live racing card at Belmont Park has been cancelled to ensure the track surfaces are in optimal condition for Saturday’s card, which features six graded stakes, all part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series. The winners of those races qualify for an automatic starting position in the corresponding Breeders’ Cup Championship race with pre-entry and entry fees paid.


Saturday’s 11-race card gets underway at 12:50 p.m. EDT and is highlighted by the Grade I, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, with a 10-horse field featuring a rematch between the top four finishers from Saratoga Race Course’s Whitney Invitational – Fort Larned, Ron the Greek, Flat Out, and Hymn Book.


Many of racing’s superstars will compete on Saturday’s undercard, including champion Royal Delta and multiple-Grade I winner It’s Tricky in the Grade I, $400,000 Beldame Invitational, Woodward and Cigar Mile winner To Honor and Serve and classic winner Shackleford in the Grade II, $400,000 Kelso, Grade 1 winners Zagora and I’m A Dreamer in the Grade I, $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational, and multiple Grade I winners Point of Entry and Little Mike in the Grade I, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational.


Saturday’s wagering menu is highlighted by a $500,000 Guaranteed All Grade I Stakes Pick 4, starting with the Grade I, $400,000 Vosburgh Invitational at approximately 4:04 p.m. and also including the Flower Bowl, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, and Jockey Club Gold Cup. There will also be a Pick 6 starting with the Kelso at approximately 3:30 p.m.


Customers can wager on Saturday’s card on track at Belmont, at the Aqueduct simulcast center, or through NYRA Rewards, which offers Internet, On-Track, Phone, and Mobile wagering.

Keeneland cataloges 3,958 for November breeding stock sale

Keeneland announced Wednesday that it has cataloged 3,958 horses for its 2012 November Breeding Stock Sale, scheduled for November 6-16. The total is up slightly from the 3,919 cataloged in 2011.


Catalogs will be available electronically via Keeneland’s website,, beginning Tuesday, October 2. Print catalogs will be mailed the week of October 16.


The total cataloged includes 1,890 broodmares and broodmare prospects, 1,691weanlings, 363 horses of racing age, four yearlings, nine stallions and one share in Macho Uno. Among the notable broodmares slated to sell at the auction are 2011 Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty.


“The November Sale is unmatched in terms of the selection of stakes-winning and stakes-producing fillies and mares in foal to the world’s leading sires, as well as foals by today’s most fashionable stallions,” said Walt Robertson, Keeneland’s vice president of sales. “That international appeal sets it apart from any other sale of its kind in the world.”


The November Sale will feature mares in foal to such stallions as Arch, Bernardini, Blame, Cape Blanco, Distorted Humor, Drosselmeyer, Elusive Quality, Empire Maker, Eskendereya, Exchange Rate, Galileo, Giant’s Causeway, Hard Spun, Lonhro, Lookin At Lucky, Malibu Moon, Medaglia d’Oro, Montjeu, Paddy O’Prado, Pulpit, Quality Road, Rip Van Winkle, Scat Daddy, Smart Strike, Speightstown, Street Cry, Tapit, Tiznow, Trappe Shot, Unbridled’s Song, Uncle Mo and War Front, among others.


Weanlings representing  stallions, such as Arch, Awesome Again, Bernardini, Blame, Cape Cross , Distorted Humor, Elusive Quality, Eskendereya, Exchange Rate, Galileo, Giant’s Causeway, Hard Spun, High Chaparral, Indian Charlie, Lookin At Lucky, Malibu Moon, Medgalia d’Oro, Pulpit, Quality Road, Raven’s Pass, Scat Daddy, Smart Strike, Speightstown, Street Cry, Tapit, Tiznow, Unbridled’s Song and War Front, are cataloged.


Keeneland announced earlier that it would delay the start of its November Sale by one day to better accommodate horsemen attending the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on Friday and Saturday, November 2-3.

International entities making offers for Grade I winner Dullahan

Jerry Crawford, founder and managing partner of Donegal Racing, confirmed on Wednesday his group has been fielding offers from parties based in the Middle East to purchase multiple Grade I winner Dullahan.

Dale Romans, trainer of Dullahan, initially said during an online chat with Tuesday that a large offer had been made for the son of Even the Score. Though Crawford declined to specifically name who the offers have came from, he said Wednesday there have been offers from “multiple interests”.

“The latest offer was both very, very large on the one hand and, we thought, less than appropriate on the other hand,” Crawford said. “He is in various future books listed as the favorite for the 2013 Dubai World Cup and while that is a ways off, it means he has as good a chance as any at that $6 million (first place) purse. Especially when you through in what he might do in the (Grade I) Jamaica Handicap (at Belmont on October 6) and in the Breeders’ Cup.”

The substantial monetary gain that could come from selling Dullahan is something Crawford concedes can not be ignored. However, the emotional investment he and his partners have in the chestnut colt as well as the thought of what he could ultimately achieve lends a bittersweet element to any possible sale.

“Oh absolutely, it would be  tough,” Crawford said. “When the offer came in,  my partners and I had a conference call and I let everyone think about it for a couple of days and they were strongly against the sale. That’s not to say there isn’t a number that couldn’t change their mind. Also, we’re still very keen  on him being given the opportunity to be a Grade I winner on all three surfaces. That’s something that’s only been done once before (Lava Man).  He was just a length away in the Kentucky Derby so I don’t think (winning a Grade I on dirt) is unrealistic.

“One option is we run this horse through his 4-year-old year and then sell him as a sire domestically. I would love to think the domestic offers would be in the same range as the foreign offers.”

All three of Dullahan’s career victories have in Grade I races over synthetic surfaces. After breaking his maiden in the Grade I Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last October, the half brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird won the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes over the same track this April and defeated some of the top older horses in the country last time out in the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Dullahan will shoot for his first Grade I win on turf when he starts in the Jamaica Handicap on October 6. Depending on how that outing goes,  the debate will be on as to whether he goes in the Breeders’ Cup Turf or tries the dirt again in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“The door is open (for the Classic) but we’ll see how the next ten days of racing goes,” Crawford said. “You know, he’s kind of  the last horse standing (in the 3-year-old class). When we bought him we bought him because he looked like the kind of horse who can stay very sound and he’s done exactly that. And he’s kept moving forward, forward and forward.”

Ellis: Include Me Out being left out of divisional discussion

Royal Delta has a championship and a jaw-dropping $8.5 million price tag.

The quirky It’s Tricky has gritty Grade I form while Questing, My Miss Aurelia and Awesome Feather all have had moments of brilliance that left those who witnessed them agape in wonderment.

While he doesn’t dispute the aforementioned represent some of the best distaffers in the game, trainer Ron Ellis would appreciate it if his multiple Grade I winning charge Include Me Out was regularly mentioned in the same breath as those – especially since he believes she is capable to toppling them all.

With 11 graded stakes including 10 Grade I contests taking place on both coasts this Saturday, there will be a glorious all-out battle for headlines in the racing community this weekend. Though the latest showdown between reigning 3-year-old filly champion Royal Delta and her multiple Grade I winning foe It’s Tricky in Saturday’s Grade I Beldame Stakes at Belmont already has a chunk of the hype, the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes (formerly known as the Lady’s Secret) at Santa Anita figures to have the female runner Ellis thinks might be the best in the country with Include Me Out.

Since first dipping her toe into Grade I company last December when she finished fifth in the La Brea Stakes, Include Me Out has barely put a hoof wrong during the 2012 season. The four-year-old daughter of Include has won four graded stakes in five starts this year, including the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Stakes last time out and the Grade I Santa Margarita over the Santa Anita main track in March, with her lone loss being a runner-up finish in the Grade I Vanity Handicap in June.

Still, when the talk turns to how deep a race this year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic figures to be, Ellis bristles at what he feels is a lack of respect for a filly who is a proven top performer over this year’s host track.

“To tell you the truth, I’ve been a little insulted by the lack of respect my filly has gotten,” Ellis said during a national teleconference on Tuesday. “She’s proven she’s the best filly on the West Coast but I understand the East Coast bias and the press building up those other fillies. But my filly loves that track and she’s done everything we’ve asked of her this year.”

Owned by Jay Em Ess Stables, Include Me Out opened her year with a 4 1/4 length score in the Grade II La Canada Stakes and has defeated such Grade I winners as Star Billing, Switch, Zazu, and Love Theway Youare during her campaign. The dark bay filly is 3-for-5 over the Santa Anita surface heading into Saturday, though her off-the-pace style has proven just as effective over synthetic surfaces as it is on dirt.

The last time the Breeders’ Cup was in Santa Anita, California-based horses ended up winning four of the World Championship races. West Coast representatives also ruled this year’s Triple Crown races – headed of course by dual classic winner I’ll Have Another – leading Ellis to again contemplate why it has been so challenging to get some respect floated their way.

“Usually when they hook our California horses, reality sets in,” Ellis said. “It just feels like we’re not getting as much credit.”

Latest “Night School” to focus on handicapping synthetic tracks


With Keeneland’s Fall meet beginning next week, this is the perfect time to brush up on how to figure out the synthetic surfaces:


Night School, the racing industry’s national online fan education program, addresses synthetic surfaces from a handicapping perspective in TONIGHT’S 90-minute, interactive session, which will kick off at 8:30 p.m. (ET).


Thoroughbred racing’s “third” surface has changed the handicapping landscape at many tracks over the past few years. With prominent Polytrack meetings currently in play at Woodbine, Turfway Park and Arlington-and another on the horizon with the upcoming fall meet at Keeneland-the lesson plan this week will equip horseplayers with angles that have proven to be successful on the synthetics.


This week’s hosts will be program founders Joe Kristufek and Jeremy Plonk-two visible handicappers at Arlington and Keeneland, respectively-as well as frequent Night School instructor Caton Bredar.


Horse Player NOW handicappers Brian W. Spencer and James Dickson will join Kristufek on video for a roundtable discussion of synthetic surface handicapping as well. Dickson specializes in the synthetic surfaces on the West Coast at Del Mar and Hollywood Park. Those who attend Night School through the live or archived sessions this week will be able to download a free list of Synthetic Sires to Watch from Kristufek. The link will be provided within the Night School chat.


Meanwhile, the Night School Tour will kick off a fall series of appearances this Saturday when the traveling troupe of fan educators conducts live seminars all day at the Racing 101 tent at Santa Anita Park, presented by America’s Best Racing.


Meet Joe Kristufek, Jill Byrne, Tim Brannan and Brandi Goode on Breeders’ Cup preview day at Santa Anita this weekend. The Night School Tour will be on two fronts the following week, including a three-day stop at Keeneland for another Racing 101 Tent, presented by America’s Best Racing, on Oct. 5, 6 and 7. Also next weekend, the Tour hits Laurel Park for the Oct. 6 Maryland Million day program with Jeremy Plonk and Brian Nadeau.


Tuesday’s session will be the 34th of 40 Night School lesson plans throughout the 2012 season, which continues through November.

Fasig-Tipton catalogs record amount of entries for October sale

Fasig-Tipton has catalogued a record 1,254 yearlings for The October Sale, which will be held over three days, October 22nd to October 24th, at its headquarters in Lexington.

“The October Sale has established itself as a major fall event in the Thoroughbred world, attracting buyers from the U.S. and Canada, as well as Europe, Asia and South America,” Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said in a release. “The sale offers a wide and ever-improving variety of pedigrees, physical qualities and values. But one thing it has consistently shown – with two Kentucky Derby winning graduates in the last five years – is good value and horses that can take you to the best winner’s circles anywhere in the world.”

Few sales experienced as much positive growth as The October Sale did in 2011, when total sales increased 81.4% to $17,046,800. Average price increased 76.3% to $24,010, and the median rose 140% to $12,000. The buyback rate was just 19.8% last year.

“It’s a sale that is gaining popularity with consignors and buyers alike,” Browning said. “It’s an up-and-coming sale, and we probably have more sire power in this year’s catalogue than we’ve ever had.”

Electronic catalogues are now available at the company’s website and will be available on the equineline catalogue iPad app as well as all Fasig-Tipton offices by approximately October 5th. The sale will be streamed live at

Grade I winner The Factor retired to Lane’s End Farm

Multiple Grade I winner The Factor has been retired from racing and will enter stud at William S. Farish’s Lane’s End Farm for the 2013 breeding season. Raced by George Bolton and David Shimmon’s Fog City Stable, The Factor won six races, five of them graded, including the Grade I Malibu Stakes and Grade I Pat O’Brien Stakes.

A winner at ages two, three and four, the son of War Front out of the Miswaki mare Greyciousness, also won three Grade II events, including the Rebel Stakes last year and the Grade II San Carlos Stakes this year. His earnings are $922,180. He was awarded eight triple digit Beyer Speed Figures for his efforts.

“The Factor showed brilliant speed and exceptional scope and quality in his three seasons on the racetrack and Lane’s End is very pleased to stand this stunning horse whose pedigree will be of great interest to breeders,” said Will Farish.

The Factor will stand as the property of a syndicate and his initial stud fee will be $15,000.

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