Archive for September, 2013

Champion Groupie Doll works for TCA

Churchill Downs release:
While only two races appear to remain in her racing career, trainer Buff Bradley believes champion Groupie Doll is poised to end her racing days in spectacular style.
        The 5-year-old homebred daughter of Bowman’s Band tuned up for a run in next Saturday’s Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland with a four-furlong work in :48.20 Saturday at Churchill Downs.
        The Keeneland race will be a final prep for Groupie Doll’s bid for a second consecutive victory in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at seven furlongs on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
        Exercise rider Jada Schlenk was up as the reigning Eclipse Award Filly and Mare Sprint champion breezed over a fast track in fractional times of :13, :25 and :36.60 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.20.
        The work ranked as the 11th-fastest of 66 at the distance on a busy morning at Churchill Downs.
        “The work was very good,” Bradley said. “She galloped out good and strong all the way, and Jada said that she’s ready.”
        The Keeneland race will be only the third start of the year for Groupie Doll, who is owned by a partnership that includes the trainer and his 82-year-old father, Fred Bradley, and William Hurst and Brent Burns. She spent the early part of the year on the Bradley family farm near Frankfort, Ky. after she seemed lethargic in her training early in the year in Florida.
        Groupie Doll returned to competition with a third-place run in the Grade III Gardenia at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., a race she won as a 3-year-old in 2011, but returned to form earlier this month with a second consecutive victory in the Grade II Presque Isle Masters at Pennsylvania’s Presque Isle Downs. She established a record of 1:08.36 for six furlongs with a comfortable 1 ½-length victory over the track’s synthetic Tapeta surface.
        As good as Groupie Doll has been over her past three seasons, Bradley sees daily evidence that his star is still developing and maturing.
        “I think I see a lot more in her – maybe not in speed out here, but her mind,” he said. “Watching her walk around the shedrow, she comes out of the stall and she’s on it. She used to walk out of the stall and just wander down the shedrow. No big deal, she’s just another horse.
   “Now she’s kind of like, ‘Hey, I’m the queen.’ She goes out with a presence. It’s good for me to see her mentally develop that part of it.”
The homebred mare and the best horse of Bradley’s career will not return to the family farm when this year ends. She will be a headline attraction in Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale and will pass through the auction ring on the Tuesday after her Breeders’ Cup run.
Bradley acknowledged that it will be difficult to see Groupie Doll head to a new home. But the decision is necessary for the future of the family farm and all associated with it.
        “It doesn’t mean that I’ll never think of her – I’ll think of her every day of my life when she sells,” Bradley said. “I’ll guarantee that I’ll go out there teary-eyed, and I’ll be sad and it’s gonna hurt, but it’s the only thing that we can do.”
        Since the news of Groupie Doll’s impending appearance in the auction ring broke, Bradley has received emails from fans who question how the family could possibly part with a star that has done so much for their operation.
        Another Bradley star – Grade I-winning gelding Brass Hat – was retired to the farm after he completed his career with 10 wins in 40 races and earnings of $2,173,561. But Bradley said he and his father would have faced the same decision with Brass Hat if he had the prospect of a career as a stallion. And they would have reached the same conclusion in Brass Hat’s case.
        “They don’t know the whole story,” Bradley said of the critics. “They don’t know what I have to go through at the farm and with my family. I have to take care of them first. Groupie Doll is going to be taking care of the rest of my horses, basically.”
        And now, Groupie Doll will attempt to take care of business next week at Keeneland and five weeks later in the Breeders’ Cup. She will take a career record of 10-4-3 in 19 races and earnings of $1,908,850 with her when she boards a van next Saturday for the hour-long ride to Keeneland and the penultimate start of her career in the Thoroughbred Club of America.
 

Champion Groupie Doll among 3,602 cataloged for Keeneland November

Fred and Buff Bradley’s homebred champion filly Groupie Doll is among the 3,602 horses Keeneland has cataloged for its 2013 November Breeding Stock Sale, to be held Nov. 5-14.

 

The total includes 1,739 broodmares and broodmare prospects, 1,364 weanlings, 481 horses of racing age, 10 yearlings and eight stallions.

 

Groupie Doll, the reigning champion female sprinter, is one of several accomplished fillies and mares entered in the breeding stock auction along with recent Grade I winners Byrama, Daisy Devine, Executiveprivilege, Lady of Fifty, Lady of Shamrock, and Summer Soiree, who is foal to Medaglia d’Oro.

 

“This year’s November Sale catalog is particularly exceptional, offering a unique selection of Grade 1 stakes-winning fillies and young, graded-stakes performing mares,” Keeneland Vice President of Sales Walt Robertson said. “These broodmare prospects are highly prized by breeding operations around the world.”

 

 

The November Sale also will be highlighted by the dispersal of E. Paul Robsham LLC Stables, consigned by Lane’s End, agent, and the dispersal of Eric Kronfield, consigned by Winter Quarter Farm, agent. Robsham’s dispersal consists of 24 mares, weanlings and yearlings and features Grade I winners Awesome Maria, in foal to Giant’s Causeway, and R Heat Lightning, in foal to Bernardini. The Kronfield dispersal includes Eblouissante, the winning half-sister to Horse of the Year Zenyatta.

 

Additionally, a number of horses of racing age will be sold on Tuesday, Nov. 12 and include consignments from WinStar Racing, agent, and Adena Springs, agent.

 

Catalogs will be available electronically via Keeneland’s website, Keeneland.com, beginning Tuesday, Oct. 1. Print catalogs will be mailed the week of Oct. 14.

 

Kentucky Downs wraps up with record handle figures

Kentucky Downs release:

Kentucky Downs concluded an historic season Wednesday, when live all sources handle soared to $3,371,476, an all-time record and a 117 percent increase over the final day in 2012.

 

For its five days of live racing, from all sources, Kentucky Downs handled $12,814,966, an all-time record and an increase of 69.3 percent from a year ago. On-track handle of $645,343 increased 17 percent over 2012.

 

“This season showed what can be accomplished when we all work together,” said Corey Johnsen, Kentucky Downs’ President. “We were proud to offer quality racing with a low takeout, and horseplayers responded with record handle.”

 

Kentucky Downs paid out $4,121,142 in purses and Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund money.  That established a record for the racetrack and represented an increase of 103.9% percent from a year ago. The purses were augmented by revenue derived from pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse races, which accounted for more than 70% of the total.

 

Beyond the numbers, the season also succeeded in establishing the Franklin, Ky. racetrack in the popular awareness and putting it in the national spotlight. Rosie Napravnik, who’s the fifth leading jockey in the country, topped the Kentucky Downs’ standings with eight wins. In his first trip around the unique course, Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens rode the winner of the $400,000 Kentucky Turf Cup, Temeraine. Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who were the leading owners at the recently concluded Saratoga meeting, topped the Kentucky Downs standings with a record nine wins. And Wayne Catalano, who sits securely atop the trainers’ standings at Arlington Park near Chicago, assumed the same position here with 10 victories.

 

“What impressed me most about the season,” Johnsen said, “was that we had top quality horses, trainers and jockeys from all over the country.  And, in my opinion, we had some terrific races, showcasing our great sport at the highest level.”

 

The numbers:

 

  • Live All Sources Handle – $12,814,966 (69% increase over 2012)

 

  • Live On Track Handle – $645,343 (17% increase over 2012)

 

  • Purses/KTDF Paid – $4,121,142 (103.9% increase over 2012)

 

  • Average Horses per Race – 9.96

 

2013 Meet Leaders

 

Jockey

Starts

Win

Place

Show

Win %

ITM %

Purses

Rosie Napravnik

30

8

5

3

27

53

$428,702

Trainer

Starts

Win

Place

Show

Win %

ITM %

Purses

Wayne M. Catalano

15

10

1

0

67

73

$576,537

Owner

Starts

Win

Place

Show

Win %

ITM %

Purses

Ken and Sarah Ramsey

25

9

1

2

36

48

$536,213

 

Champion and sire Dayjur euthanized at age 26

European champion and sire Dayjur was euthanized Wednesday at Shadwell Farm in Lexington due to the infirmities of old age, the operation announced.  The son of Danzig was 26 and had been pensioned since 2010.

Bred in Kentucky by Georgia Hofmann, Dayjur was out of champion sprinter Gold Beauty and was purchased at the 1988 Keeneland July yearling sale by Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum for $1.65 million.  He went to renowned trainer Major R. W. (Dick) Hern and won seven races and finished second three times from 11 starts including a runner-up effort in the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Sprint when he jumped a shadow in deep stretch.

 

Dayjur was the Horse of the Year, Champion Sprinter, and Champion 3-Year-Old in England in 1990, and was the Top Weight in Europe and Champion 3-Year-Old in France.

“Dayjur was one great racehorse. He gave Sheikh Hamdan, and all of us at Shadwell, many great thrills –including his shadow-jumping antics in the Breeders’ Cup,” said Shadwell Vice President Rick Nichols.  “He was the cornerstone of our stallion operation, and he was a wonderful horse to be around.  He will be deeply missed.”

Dayjur set a course record winning the Group I Keeneland Nunthorpe Stakes, won the Group I Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp  by daylight under 137 pounds and went wire-to-wire in the Group I Ladbroke Sprint Cup.

 
Dayjur was retired to stud at Shadwell Farm in 1991.  During his career he sired three champions, some 30 stakes winners, over 60 stakes horses, and is the broodmare sire of a number of major stakes winners as well.

Champion Shanghai Bobby makes victorious return in overnight stakes

Courtesy of NYRA publicity team:

Making his first start in almost six months, reigning juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby made an inexorable charge to win the Aljamin overnight stakes for 3-year-olds by a neck on Friday at Belmont Park.

 

Shanghai Bobby, competing in a sprint for the first time since winning the Grade I Hopeful last year, raced in second as Dads Caps set fractions of 22.58 seconds for a quarter-mile and 45.15 for a half. Dads Caps clung to a tenuous lead in the stretch before Shanghai Bobby’s back class kicked in, allowing him to gain the upper hand in the final sixteenth. Slan Abhaile rallied along the rail to overtake Dads Caps late for second.

 

Owned by Starlight Racing, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor, and Derrick Smith, Shanghai Bobby had been sidelined since emerging from a fifth-place finish in the Grade I Florida Derby with a pelvic stress fracture. The son of Harlan’s Holiday won his first five career starts, including the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, before suffering his first career loss when he finished second in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes this January.

 

“It was my first time riding him, but I had watched his previous races, and what he does is get to the lead and wait,” said Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. “I didn’t want to make a premature move and get to the lead too quickly; then, I waited too long and it took him a long time to get going. Finally, when he got to the lead, he started waiting again. His gallop out was really good. He’s a tough horse to read.”

 

The final time for 6 ½ furlongs was 1:15.79. Shanghai Bobby returned $3.20 for a $2 win wager as the 3-5 favorite.

 

Trainer Todd Pletcher said  he will consider running Shanghai Bobby in the Breeders’ Cup in early November at Santa Anita.

 

“He ran really well off the layoff,” said Pletcher. “I thought he ran well enough today to put us in the mix for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint or the Dirt Mile, but we’ll see how he bounces out of it.”

 

Shanghai Bobby improved his record to six wins from eight career starts with $1,857,000 in earnings.

 

Tenango and Purple Egg completed the order of finish. Whiskey Romeo was scratched.

Coolmore goes to $2.5 million for son of War Front at Keeneland September sale

The level of excellence continued to be raised four days into the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale as a son of War Front established a new high price for this year’s auction when he sold to representatives of Coolmore Stud for $2.5 million Thursday.

That price is the highest paid for a yearling at public auction this year.

M.V. Magnier who signed the ticket on behalf of Coolmore said the dark bay colt out of the During mare Blading Gold Ring will be sent to Ireland.

“He’s a very nice horse and we’ve been lucky with War Front this year with (Coolmore owned) Declaration of War and War Command,” Magnier said. “Hopefully this one will do something along the same.”

That the War Front colt would be subject to the hottest bidding war yet at this year’s September sale validated what consignor Peter O’Callaghan of Woods Edge Farm saw in the youngster last fall when he purchased him for $180,000 at the 2012 Keeneland November sale.

“He was just really a nice horse, very strong horse, very correct,” O’Callaghan said. “You know at the time, it ($180,000) was probably plenty of money for him. A lot of people would have thought it was too much money. We bought him, we loved him, we took a chance and we got lucky.”

O’Callaghan added that Woods Edge only put a reserve of about $350,000 on the War Front colt but had a sense he was selling himself as a number of the top-end buyers repeatedly examined him in the days prior.

“I would never imagine he would make that kind of money but we had enormous interest,” O’Callaghan said. “When you have Coolmore and the Arab outfits eager to buy your horse, anything is possible. We knew he would make a lot of money but we had the reserve set sensibly because you have to sell them. He exceeded all expectations, we’re very grateful.

“I think they bought a great horse, but they knew it. And everybody loves that sire, he is the second coming.”

Half to G1 winner Justin Phillip brings $1.2 million at Keeneland September

It didn’t take long for the seven-figure barrier to be broached during the fourth day of selling at the Keeneland September yearling sale as Gainesway and Stonestreet Farm teamed up to purchase a Tapit colt out of the top producing mare Ava Knowsthecode for $1.2 million Thursday.

The Tapit colt became the 14th yearling to sell for $1 million or more thus far during the bellwether auction.

Gainesway’s affinity for Tapit is obvious as it stands the son of Pulpit, who commanded a fee of $125,000 for 2013. Adding to the lure of the dark bay colt it purchased was the fact he is a half brother to Grade I winner Justin Phillip as well as graded stakes winners Algorithms, Keyed Entry and Successful Mission.

“Obviously Tapit being such an incredibly wonderful stallion, we always try to get some good progeny of his to run,”said Gainesway president Antony Beck. “She (Ava Knowsthecode) is an incredible mare with an unbelieveable produce record. And I’m delighted to have (Stonestreet owner) Barbara (Banke) as my partner.”

The sale of the Tapit colt marks the second consecutive year consignor Cathy Parke and her Valkyre Stud operation have sold a seven-figure yearling at Keeneland September. Parke sold a Bernardini colt for $1.55 million during the first day of the Book 2 session last year but called the Tapit colt “probably the best looking animal I’ve ever raised.”

“He’s just all man. He is a real athlete, real muscular and you know I had to have my best guy lead him around because he’s not mean but he’s just all boy,” Parke said. “He’ll be one heck of a racehorse. We don’t use any kind of medication, any kind of feed enhancer, nothing. We can take an animal that’s just been raised on hills and oats and… he is just an athlete. An all natural athlete.”

The success Ava Knowsthecode has had as a broodmare is all the more impressive considering most of her top offspring to date are by less fashionable sires – with Justin Phillip a son of First Samurai and Keyed Entry by Honour and Glory. Parke added that the Cryptoclearance mares has a Bernardini colt on the ground and is currently in foal to top stallion Giant’s Causeway.

“It’s pretty exciting to think she’s got Bernardini, Tapit and Giant’s Causeway coming with what she did with smaller stallions,” Parke said. “I foaled and raised the mother, the whole family. They’ve all been bigger than Ava Knowsthecode, longer but they’ve been real correct. She’s just an amazing mare.”

Pope lands Indian Charlie filly for $2.2 million at Keeneland September

A bay daughter of Indian Charlie out of Grade I winner and producer Take Charge Lady lived up to all her pre-sale billing during the third session of the Keeneland September yearling sale, selling to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm for $2.2 million midway through the afternoon Wednesday.

The filly becomes the highest priced horse to sell thus far during the September sale, bettering the prior top price of $1.75 million Torrealba Holdings paid for a half sister to champion Speightstown earlier in the session.

Consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales, the bay filly was the buzz baby of the grounds. In addition to being from the final crop of Indian Charlie, who died in December 2011, her multiple Grade I winning dam has already thrown two Grade I-winning offspring in Take Charge Indy and this year’s Travers Stakes hero, Will Take Charge.

With the bidding opening at $200,000, Pope outlasted the likes of Spendthrift Farm owner B. Wayne Hughes to secure her latest high-profile purchase. Pope made headlines last fall when she purchased 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace for $10 million at the Fasig-Tipton November sale and Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty for $4.2 million at last year’s Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

“She’ll be a delight to have and something to go along with Havre de Grace and Plum Pretty after she becomes a famous racehorse,” Pope said of the Indian Charlie filly. “She’ll fit right in with those two. She’s absolutely beautiful, a stellar pedigree. We’re going to run her in the footsteps of her daddy and her mother and her brothers. She was gorgeous.”

In addition to consigning the Indian Charlie filly, Hill ‘n’ Dale also sold a son of Medaglia d’Oro that is a half brother to 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver for $1.7 million to Spendthrift Farm and Stonestreet Farm Wednesday.

“It’s a strong market with strong horses and people want the very best,” John Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale said after selling the Medaglia d’Oro colt. “If you offer the very best, people are going to pay for it. These are really the best pedigreed, high dollar horses spread out over four days.”

Pope said the Indian Charlie filly would head to her farm in Ocala, Florida to be broke after which she would then likely be sent to Goldmark Farm’s training center.

“We were expecting to pay right around $2 million for her,” Pope said. “To me she is the standout in the sale as far as the fillies go. She was my pick of the sale. We’re a little nervous, but happy. She’ll have the best of everything.”

 

Half sister to leading sire Speightstown sells for $1.75 million at Keeneland September

A bay Tiznow filly out of the top producing broodmare Silken Cat became the new sale topper early on in the third session of the Keeneland September yearling sale Wednesday when she sold to Torrealba Holdings for $1.75 million.

The final bid bettered the previous high of $1.5 million the Niarchos family paid for a Medaglia d’Oro filly during Monday’s session.

Consigned by Taylor Made Sales on behalf of Aaron and Marie Jones, the Tiznow filly is a half sister to champion sprinter Speightstown, who stands at WinStar Farm and currently sits atop the general sire list. The Borges Torrealba family joined forces with Robert Clay’s Three Chimneys Farm last November and Goncalo Torrealba, who signed the ticket for the filly, said he expects the two operations to race her in partnership.

“She comes from a stallion pedigree family and that’s what we’re trying to build at Three Chimneys and Borges Torrealba,” Goncalo Torrealba said. “We’re looking forward to having her at Three Chimneys after her racing career.”

Torrealba won a protracted battle that included the likes of bloodstock agent Jason Litt to secure the filly, saying that the strength of the market prompted him to pay above what was expected.

“You always wish to buy them for less,” he said. “We overpaid based on our valuation but we really liked her. I think it’s very strong at the top, it certainly looks strong. There is very little at the low end still.”

Duncan Taylor of Taylor Made Sales said the Tiznow filly indeed exceeded their expectations, but that the premium for well pedigreed fillies with physicals to match is lending itself to spirited bidding.

“We knew she was a great filly but we didn’t realize she would bring that much money,” Taylor said. “Getting to $1.5 million looked like it was life and death so  for one to bring $1.75 million…but she’s so gorgeous and with such a good family, foals out of her will bring a ton. And if she runs like she looks, it could be one of those blue hens.

“I think that’s the market for that kind of horse,” Taylor continued. “One of those that looks the part and has the breeding to go with it. If you have a good horse they’re willing to pay.”

 

Half to champion Proud Spell brings $1.3 million at Keeneland September

One of the female families that has been most special to former Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones continued to reward him during the second session of the Keeneland September yearling  sale Tuesday.

A Bernardini filly that is a half sister to Jones’s champion mare Proud Spell sold to Texas-based Baumann Stable for $1.3 million midway through the session.

Consigned by Jones’s Airdrie Stud, the filly is out of the Langfuhr mare Pacific Spell. A Jones homebred, Proud Spell put her family on the map when she won the Kentucky Oaks, Delaware Oaks, and Alabama Stakes in 2008 en route to being named that year’s champion 3-year-old filly.

“I really thought she would bring a million or better, yes, because she is that type of filly,” Jones said of the Bernardini filly. “Even in the heat, she never got tired (while being shown). She always walked like a great athlete with this great overstride.

“Of course it is hard (to part with her) but this is a business for us and we love it as much as anyone who is in it. But this is what we needed to do and we still have her mother and access to her father. It just made sense to put some money in the bank and pay off some bills, build some fences, and keep everything going.”

Lane Seliger of Baumann Stable said his operation is “relatively new” to the business but keeps a number of broodmares at Winchester Farm in Lexington. Seliger said he was uncertain about his immediate plans for his new purchase but loved the chance to buy into a pedigree with such residual value.

“The bloodline was very, very attractive, very deep and I think it will be well supported in the future,” Seliger said. “I think the price was a little higher than what we wanted to spend but we’re not disappointed.”

When asked how many yearlings he is looking to buy in September, Seliger laughed “This might be it! But we’ll see what comes up.”

Shortly after, a Tapit colt out of the stakes winning mare Pretty ‘n Smart became the sixth horse to crack the seven-figure barrier at this year’s September sale when he sold to representatives of Coolmore Stud for $1 million.

Consigned by VanMeter Sales, the Tapit colt is a half brother to graded stakes winners Heart Ashley and Ashley’s Kitty. M.V. Magnier of Coolmore said the colt would be sent to its American-based Ashford Stud but that no decision has been made yet on whether the youngster would remain stateside or head to Europe.

The colt represented a milestone for Tom VanMeter of VanMeter Sales as it marked the first seven-figure offering his operation has consigned.

“We didn’t think he was going to bring that much but we were very happy with the price,” VanMeter said. “We’ve liked him all spring but when he got over here, he showed himself as best anybody could show. We showed him 200 times, he had 26 repository checks, 15 or 16 scopes and through all of that he kept showing himself, kept walking and just always fresh. He’s the one who did it.”

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