Archive for December, 2012

Fan vote launched for 2012 Horse of the Year

Daily Racing Form (DRF), Breeders’ Cup and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today the launch of the 2012 Eclipse Horse of the Year Fan Vote Sweepstakes. The free-to-enter sweepstakes requires fans to select the horse they feel deserves to win the 2012 Horse of the Year Award, which will be announced Saturday, January 19, 2013, at the 42st annual Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream Park Racetrack in Hallandale Beach, Fla.


Fans are also encouraged to cast their votes in a host of other Eclipse Award categories. All voters will be entered in a random drawing for a trip for two—including airfare, hotel accommodations, ground transportation and event tickets—to January’s Eclipse Awards ceremony, plus reserved seats and VIP access for a day of racing at Gulfstream Park.


Voting is available at and will continue until 3:00 p.m. (ET) on January 3, 2013. The prize winner will be drawn on or about January 4. Following the close of voting, but prior to the Eclipse Awards, DRF, Breeders’ Cup and the NTRA will release the fans’ top choices in each Eclipse Award category, including Horse of the Year. The sweepstakes is open to U.S. and Canadian (excluding those in the province of Quebec) residents.  For official rules, visit


Actual Eclipse Award voting takes place among designated representatives of the NTRA, DRF and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.


The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies.


The Eclipse Awards are presented by Daily Racing Form, The Stronach Group and Breeders’ Cup and produced by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). Official Partners of the Eclipse Awards include Adequan, Besilu Stables, Keeneland, Kendall-Jackson, NOA Watches and Roberts Communications. The official hotel of the Eclipse Awards is the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa.


Tickets to the Eclipse Awards are available for $375 each. Order forms for tickets are available at. Hotel Reservations at the Westin Diplomat can be made at For additional information, please contact Michele Ravencraft of the NTRA at

Pioneerof the Nile, Maimonides added to WinStar stallion roster

Pioneerof the Nile and Maimonides, two Kentucky-based stallions owned in majority by Zayat Stables, have been moved to WinStar Farm to stand the upcoming 2013 breeding season. Pioneerof the Nile will stand for a fee of $15,000 stands and nurses, and Maimonides will stand for $2,500 stands and nurses.


“I am proud that Pioneerof the Nile and Maimonides will stand alongside Bodemeister at WinStar Farm,” owner Ahmed Zayat said in a release. “Elliott (Walden) and his team have done a tremendous job already with Bodemeister’s first book at stud, and I am confident both Pioneerof the Nile and Maimonides will benefit under their management.”


Pioneerof the Nile and Maimonides both formerly stood in Kentucky at Vinery, Ltd. Maimonides was originally slated to stand at Vinery Kentucky for 2013 upon the closing of Vinery’s  Florida division in Summerfield.

Dr. Tom Simon announced in late August that he was looking to sell Vinery’s US operations.


“Even though we are sad to see these two horses leave, we are extremely excited about staying in on Pioneerof the Nile, and look forward to racing his babies,” said Tom Ludt, President of Vinery. “We’ve had many offers to buy our shares, and we are holding every one of them.”


Pioneerof the Nile enjoyed sales success with his first crop of yearlings in 2012. His yearlings averaged $78,261 from 51 sold, giving the multiple Grade I-winning son of Empire Maker the second highest average among all sires with first yearlings in 2012. Pioneerof the Nile had five yearlings sell for over $200,000, including a $250,000 colt at Keeneland September. His first 2-year-olds will race in 2013.


A $4.6 million purchase at the 2006 Keeneland September yearling sale, Maimonides is  a Grade I-placed half-brother to El Corredor and Roman Ruler and will also have first 2-year-olds hit the track in 2013. The son of Vindication is out of the Silver Deputy mare Silvery Swan.


“We’re thrilled to stand Pioneerof the Nile and Maimonides, who are both nice additions to our expanded and diverse 2013 stallion roster,” said Elliott Walden, WinStar President & CEO. “During the (Keeneland) September sale, I watched the results everyday because ‘Pioneer’ was breathing down Colonel John’s neck for leading average by a freshman sire. The two of them ran away from the pack. I started studying (Pioneerof the Nile’s) stock and was extremely impressed by their athleticism and class. Maimonides was an expensive yearling that broke his maiden as impressively as you’ll see at Saratoga. Mr. Zayat has a reputation for having quality horses, and we look forward to working with him on building onto the stallion careers of Pioneerof the Nile and Maimonides.”


For more information of Pioneerof the Nile or Maimonides, please contact Gerry Duffy or Chance Timm at 859-873-1717.

Stonestreet purchases Vinery’s Florida training center

Edited press release:

Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet operation has purchased a 220-acre property near Ocala, Florida that was previously owned by Vinery.  The facility will officially become Stonestreet Training and Rehabilitation Center.

“Vinery with its team of skilled and seasoned horse professionals created a world class training and rehabilitation facility,” says Banke. “We are pleased to incorporate it into our breeding and training operation.”

Stonestreet homebreds Grade I winner Dreaming of Julia and Champion My Miss Aurelia are both recent graduates of the program.

Dr. Tom Simon announced that he would sell Vinery’s US operations on August 28, 2012. The Florida training center is the only property purchased by Stonestreet.

Stonestreet is comprised of approximately 90 broodmares and 18 stallion interests, producing 70 foals each year.  Stonestreet is a perennial name found on leading breeder lists throughout North America.

Champion Animal Kingdom to begin stud career in Australia

John Messara’s Arrowfield Stud has acquired a majority interest in the breeding rights to Team Valor’s 2011 Kentucky Derby winner and champion Animal Kingdom, who will begin his stud career in Australia next September and likely shuttle to the Northern Hemisphere beginning in 2014.


The 20 Team Valor International partners will maintain a significant interest in the homebred’s stud career. Having most recently run second to Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on November 3 off a 259-day layoff, Animal Kingdom is slated to prep for an expected run in the $10 million Dubai World Cup this coming March 30 with a start in the Grade I Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap on February 9.


After the World Cup, the son of Leroidesanimaux will be flown from Dubai to England and considered for an additional start, possibly at Royal Ascot in June.


“Animal Kingdom excites us as a rare kind of athlete with a truly international pedigree who is able to express his class on a range of surfaces,” John Messara said in a release. “He is already rated among the world’s elite turf milers and has the potential to become a global superstar in 2013.”


Animal Kingdom stands to be the only Derby-winning stallion prospect to race into his 5-year-old year since Silver Charm, who scored in the 1997 Kentucky Derby.


“Originally it was our intention to race Animal Kingdom for the entire 2013 season,” Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin said. “However, the prospect of getting the support of John Messara’s Arrowfield Stud in the Southern Hemisphere was so meaningful, that I advised my partners to sublimate their fun and take the deal. It is critically important to get a history-making stallion master behind a new prospect and in John Messara we have that.


“He has developed two of the world’s most successful sires in Danehill and his son, Redoute’s Choice. No way I was going to pass up this opportunity.”


Robin Bruss of Northfields Bloodstock brokered the deal.


Team Valor will form broodmare partnerships to breed to Animal Kingdom, with the plan of selling and racing his offspring around the globe.


Trained by Graham Motion, Animal Kingdom is a graded stakes winner on dirt and synthetic racetracks and has finished first or second in 8 of his 9 career starts, the lone exception being his troubled sixth-place finish in the 2011 Belmont Stakes. He has earned $2,327,500.

Champion Awesome Feather retired to Adena Springs

Champion Awesome Feather, who suffered her lone career loss in 11 starts during this year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, has been retired from racing owner Adena Springs announced Thursday. Breeding plans have not yet been finalized.

Awesome Feather  began her career in the Stanley Gold barn racing in the colors of her breeder Jacks or Better Farm, Inc. Following an unbeaten juvenile season in which she captured the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies en route to Eclipse Award honors, the daughter of Awesome of Course was purchased for $2.3 million by Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs at the Fasig-Tipton November sale.

After recovering from a tendon injury, she returned in October of 2011 with an easy win in an overnight stakes at Aqueduct for new trainer, Chad Brown followed with a Grade I victory in the Gazelle Stakes over Thanksgiving weekend. Awesome Feather added two more stakes victories to her resume in 2012, including an emphatic 5 ¾-length win in the rich Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park and the Nasty Storm Stakes, which she won by 11 1/4 lengths.

“Working for Bobby (Frankel) I was around several of the Stronach’s best runners and Awesome Feather was right up there with the best of them,” said trainer Chad Brown. “She is a rare horse to overcome a tendon injury, like she did, and maintain top form. She is truly special.”
Awesome Feather retires with earnings of $1,912,746 and a record of 10 victories in 11 starts, her lone defeat being a sixth place run in the Ladies’ Classic.

KHRC continues to evaluate Lasix protocols

Despite a series of snafus during its first five weeks of implementation, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission remains committed to the protocol that allows only commission veterinarians rather than private practitioners to administer the anti-bleeder medication Lasix to horses on race day.

During its monthly meeting on Wednesday, the KHRC reported it appointed an ad-hoc committee consisting of commission members Frank Jones and Frank Kling to look at the Lasix procedures in the wake of four separate mistakes by state vets that occurred during the Keeneland and Churchill Downs meets, including miscues that prompted two horses to be scratched.

The new protocols that have been put in place – which include installing test barn office manager Greg Barry as the Lasix coordinator to work with the three vets assigned each day to administer the shots – have been successful in preventing further mistakes from happening, according to KHRC deputy executive director Marc Guilfoil. Still, Guilfoil referred to the situation as a “moving target” and added that all of the methods used are reviewed daily.

“We’ve got standards and protocols right now some might call overkill but I think right now, overkill is okay,” Kling said.

Despite the new rule drawing heavy criticism from several horsemen – particularly those who had little recourse when their horses had to scratch – commission members Dr. Jerry Yon and Betsy Lavin pointed out that there were ample oversights when private veterinarians were in charge of administering Lasix.

“I don’t want the perception to take root that these problems are just caused by the new regulations,” Lavin said. “I think ultimately we will do a better job but lets don’t put it all on the doorstep of the new rules.”

One of the issues raised by commission member and Standardbred breeder Alan Leavitt was why Kentucky’s Thoroughbred tracks don’t follow harness racing’s rule of requiring all horses slated to be administered Lasix to report to one spot.

“To me it’s Mohammed coming to the mountain rather than the mountain coming to Mohammed and it’s worked perfectly,” Leavitt said. “We’ve never had a problem.”

While the above procedure has been the norm in Standardbred racing since the inception of Lasix being allowed, Guilfoil believes it would be a different matter to ask Thoroughbred trainers to alter course.

“One thing I will say is the Standardbred people have been doing in that way so it’s not a change from them,” Guilfoil said. “This would be a change and we both know how change on a racetrack is difficult some times.”

Owner and commission member Tom Conway, however, continued to be a critic of the new regulation. Conway charged that a state veterinarian had left the grounds at Turfway Park on Sunday after a horse they administered a Lasix shot to showed signs of going in anaphylactic shock. Guilfoil said the commission was looking into it but said the state vet who administered the shot did actually return to check on the horse 15 minutes later, found it to be fine and that the horse was cleared by a private veterinarian to race that day.

“The commission vet that gave the shot came back and looked at the horse 15 minutes later, deemed the horse was okay and then turned it over to the private vet from there,” Guilfoil said. “They made the decision and talked to the stewards if they wanted to race or not.”




High hopes for Bullet Train in challenging market

By his estimation, John Greely IV can’t recall a time when such a high number of first-year stallions were expected to flood the Kentucky market for the upcoming breeding season.

Challenging as the current climate may still be for the state’s signature industry, the early reaction generated by a certain new sire at Greely’s Wintergreen Stallion Station has the longtime horseman bursting with optimism regarding his prospects.

Less than a week after it was announced that Group III winner Bullet Train, a three-quarter brother to undefeated European champion Frankel, would enter stud for 2013 at Wintergreen for $7,500, the Midway-based operation formally introduced the blue-blooded son of Sadler’s Wells to Kentucky breeders during an open house on Tuesday.

Like his celebrated sibling, Bullet Train was bred and campaigned by Juddmonte Farms but gained most of his on-track notoriety by regularly serving as his younger brother’s pacesetter. With Frankel himself set to enter stud this coming year at Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor Stud in England for nearly $200,000, the move to bring Bullet Train stateside gives the 5-year-old a chance to standout among American breeders instead of being just another commodity in Europe.

“This year to me is funnier than I’ve ever seen because there are more first year stallions in Kentucky than I can remember in the last 10-20 years and obviously there are less mares in the  state of Kentucky because of our political climate,” Greely said Tuesday. “So I think it’s going to be a difficult year but I’ve been overrun and thrilled with the interest (Bullet Train) has drawn. We’ve had word from Deauville, Newmarket as well as California, New Jersey and all up and down the East Coast.

“We’re offering a product no one else can get. He’s not another Grade I winner on the dirt, he’s got a little bit more of an intangible than I can see a lot of these other first year stallions can get. People are clamoring to us before we can even reach out to clamor to them.”

While speed and precocity on dirt has long been the goal of the American breeder, now may be an ideal a time for Bullet Train to gain support on this side of the ocean. When The Jockey  Club released its report of mares bred for 2012, Ashford Stud’s Cape Blanco and Ramsey Farm’s Kitten’s Joy – both champion turf horses with European bloodlines – ranked  Nos. 1 and 3 in terms of productivity with 220 and 213 mares bred, respectively.

Bullet Train didn’t come close to those two in terms of on-track ability but the strength of his family, and his brother’s name, figures to catch more than a few eyes. Like Frankel, Cape Blanco is by Coolmore Ireland’s Galileo – himself a son of Sadler’s Wells and widely considered the best sire in the world. While Galileo has had his greatest impact overseas, the fact American breeders have shown a willingness to get on board with his turf-strong influence could be a mark in Bullet Train’s favor as well.

“I think (the attitude toward turf sires) is definitely turning here,” Greely said. “It hasn’t turned 100 percent or done a complete 180 but people just want a good stallion. They want some blood that they don’t have, something new as as long as it can throw a racehorse. You go to the sales and if you have a good racehorse, it doesn’t matter who they’re by, they’ll buy it.

“If you look at (Darley sire) Medaglia d’Oro, you had that whole sire line – El Prado, by Sadler’s Wells. El Prado was basically a turf horse and he has thrown dirt and turf. So there is nothing that would restrain Bullet Train to the turf. That being said, if he ends up being the next Kitten’s Joy, we’d all be thrilled.”

Out of the Danehill mare Kind, Bullet Train’s arrival in the states was no overnight deal as bloodstock agent Bob Feld – who will manage the stallion – first approached Greely about the possibility months ago.

“If (Juddmonte) has got the three-quarter brother who is the Cartier Horse of the Year (in Frankel), they have their focus there,” Greely said. “Where as Bullet Train comes in and he’ll be the focus here. We expected him to be well received but this is well beyond my expectations.”