Archive for December, 2013

Three Chimneys acquires half interest in Will Take Charge

Edited press release:

The Borges Torrealba & Clay families’ Three Chimneys Farm has secured a 50-percent interest in multiple Grade I-winner Will Take Charge, this year’s favorite for the Eclipse Award for 3-year-old male. With Willis Horton retaining the other 50-percent, the plans are for Will Take Charge to remain in training with Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas for a 2014 campaign before he retires to stud duty at Three Chimneys at the conclusion of his racing career.

“Will Take Charge is the kind of horse we all dream of having in the stallion barn, because he’s the complete package in every way,” said Case Clay, president of Three Chimneys. “Being a part of a horse of this magnitude is a step in an exciting new direction for Three Chimneys, and we’re thrilled to be able to race him with Mr. Horton in 2014.”

After breaking his maiden at two, Will Take Charge bloomed in the second half of his 3-year-old season, winning the Grade I Travers, Grade II Pennsylvania Derby, and topping older horses in the Grade I Clark Handicap while bankrolling nearly $3,000,000 in earnings. The chestnut son of Unbridled’s Song also narrowly missed winning the $5,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Classic, closing tenaciously to fall just a nose short of Mucho Macho Man in a powerful runner-up performance. Will Take Charge has shown tremendous durability and versatility, running 11 times in 2013 at seven different racetracks, from January thru November, and from distances of a mile to a mile and a quarter.

“Will Take Charge had a magnificent year, and I’m hopeful that he will receive consideration for year- end awards,” said Lukas. “He’s a special horse because he has it all: physical presence, toughness, talent, and one of the best pedigrees in the book. This deal is a true win-win. I get to keep a special horse in training for some great clients, and the fans get to enjoy Will Take Charge for another year. I’ve already trained one special horse for the Torrealba’s – Grade I winner Cara Rafaela back in the 90’s. She went on to be the dam of Bernardini. So if we can keep that kind of success going with this new venture, we’re in for a super 2014.”

Will Take Charge is out of multiple Grade I winner Take Charge Lady, a frontrunner for 2013 Broodmare of the Year, and is a half brother to fellow Grade I winner Take Charge Indy.

“I can’t think of a better result,” said Horton. “This deal allows me to enjoy racing Will Take Charge another year, and secures a wonderful home for him when he’s retired. Will Take Charge is the horse of a lifetime, and 2014 will hopefully be exciting for me, for Three Chimneys, and for the fans.”

Grade I winner Flat Out to enter stud at Spendthrift Farm

Multiple Grade I winner Flat Out will enter stud for 2014 at B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm, commanding an advertised fee of $10,000 as part of the farm’s “Share The Upside” program.

 

An earner of $3,645,383 on the track, Flat Out recently retired after winning the Grade I  Cigar Mile on Nov. 30 at Aqueduct. The 7-year-old son of Flatter captured three Grade I races during his 29 career starts, including back-to-back triumphs in the 2011-2012 editions of the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup.

 

“Flat Out has proven himself to be among the elite racehorses we’ve seen over the course of the last three years,” Ned Toffey, general manager of Spendthrift, said in a release. “His brilliant win recently over five Grade I winners in the Cigar Mile is a fitting way for him to close out his tremendous racing career, and it showed he was top class among the best milers and best classic horses around. Physically, he’s an awesome individual who’s very well-balanced, handsome and correct, and his A.P. Indy sire line is obviously the preeminent sire line in North America today. We believe breeders are going to like him, and we invite everyone to come out to the farm to see him.”

 

Campaigned by Preston Stables LLC, Flat Out began his career being trained by the venerable Charles “Scooter” Dickey who patiently guided the bay horse through a stress fracture in his shoulder and numerous foot issues to develop him one of the top handicap runners in 2011. Following a fifth place finish in the 2012 Grade I Donn Handicap, the Prestons transferred Flat Out to the barn of Hall of Famer Bill Mott and he went on to win four more graded stakes, including this year’s Grade II Suburban Handicap – a race he also captured in 2011.

 

“Flat Out possesses the tremendous heart and talent that is only found in the truly top-class racehorses, and he proved that with his honesty, consistency, and ability to overcome. I’d have to rank him number one among the most exciting horses I’ve raced,” said owner Art Preston, who has also campaigned such racehorses as champion Victory Gallop. “Spendthrift is an established stud farm with great history and class, and Wayne (Hughes) has been an innovator with his breeding programs. I’m making a plan to breed some mares to Flat Out and it should be a lot of fun.”

 

Flat Out retires with nine wins from 29 outings. He is available for inspection at Spendthrift.

Castellano the new owner of single-season earnings mark

Gulfstream Park release:

Jockey Javier Castellano put his name in the record books on Friday at Gulfstream Park, passing Ramon Dominguez to establish a new North American single-season record for purse earnings.

Castellano, 36, set the standard for riders after rallying on the far outside with I Ain’t Gonna Lie  to win the third race by a nose over Currency Union for owner and trainer Herman Wilensky.
The victory, Castellano’s eighth of the meet, pushed his purse earnings to $25,655,988 on the year. He entered the day $8,849 shy of the $25,634,852 banked in 2012 by Dominguez, 37, who was forced to retire in June, five months after suffering serious head injury in a spill at Aqueduct.
Leading the country in wins and purses earned, Castellano was a finalist for the Eclipse Award as top jockey behind Dominguez in 2011 and 2012, and is a leading contender to earn his first trophy in 2013. The ceremony will be held on Jan. 18, 2014 at Gulfstream.
“I am very proud to break the record,” Castellano said. “One thing you work for all year round is this moment. I’m very proud to be at the level of Ramon Dominguez. He is such a classy guy.
“It feels so great. I am so thankful and blessed to be competitive with the top jockeys in the country. I appreciate all the opportunity from the owners and trainers, everybody involved, especially my agent. He handled my business the right way.”
Castellano is the two-time defending riding champion at Gulfstream, taking the 2012-13 title with 100 wins. This year, Castellano has also won riding crowns at Belmont Park in the spring and fall and Saratoga Race Course in the summer, and was leading the standings at Aqueduct’s fall meet when he moved to south Florida for the winter.
“I’ve been very blessed to ride in New York. The purses are good and they help me break the record,” he said. “I am thankful to participate at Gulfstream with the best jockeys in the winter. To be the consistent leading jockey all year round is very special for me, almost more impressive to me than breaking the money record.
“It’s a lot of sacrifice to my family. My wife, my kids, they support me every single day, every single race. I don’t have the words to describe how thankful I am and how I appreciate everything. There are so many great riders out there. To be the number one earning jockey is unbelievable.”
In his career, Castellano has amassed more than, 3,600 wins and been the regular rider for 2004 Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Ghostzapper, as well as Bernardini, the 3-year-old champion of 2006. Among his wins this year are the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks, Alabama and Beldame with Princess of Sylmar, and the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with Ria Antonia.

Turfway Park to increase stakes, allowance purses

Turfway Park release:

 

Turfway Park will increase purses for the seven stakes races on its schedule from January through March,  director of racing Tyler Picklesimer announced Friday.  The Northern Kentucky racetrack also will raise purses for allowance races by $1,500 beginning Dec. 14 and continuing through the rest of the holiday meet, which ends Dec. 31.

 

The allowance and stakes purses gain from a surplus in Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) money available to Turfway.  The KTDF portion of the purse is available to horses bred in Kentucky.

 

“After meeting with the KTDF Advisory Committee on Monday (Dec. 9), we learned we would enter the winter/spring meet with a substantial surplus of KTDF purse funds,” said Picklesimer. “The committee, the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, and Turfway together agreed that the best use of those funds is to reward Kentucky horsemen with an increase in allowance purses.  Increasing our stakes purses benefits the horsemen as well by offering better purses for their better horses and should increase the caliber of those races.”

 

Purses for the Wintergreen, Forego, 96ROCK, and Cincinnati Trophy stakes increase to $60,000 each; $10,000 of each purse derives from the KTDF.

 

The purse for the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, a listed race, returns to $100,000, with $25,000 coming from the KTDF.  The purse for the Grade III Bourbonette Oaks, a designated points race for the Kentucky Oaks, increases to $125,000, again with $25,000 from the KTDF.

 

The Grade III Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes, a designated points race for the Kentucky Derby, retains last year’s purse of $550,000 with the inclusion of $50,000 in KTDF money.

 

Purse for Preakness Stakes increased to $1.5 million

The Maryland Jockey Club announced Thursday it has increased the purse for the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, from $1 million to $1.5 million.

 

It is the first increase for the 1 3/16-mile classic since the purse was raised to $1 million guaranteed in 1998. The last time the purse of a Triple Crown race was increased came in 2005 when Churchill Downs doubled the purse of the Kentucky Derby to $2 million.

 

The 1 1/2 miles Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the American classics, is contested for $1 million.

 

“The Preakness Stakes is the centerpiece of a terrific stakes program that weekend,” said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas. “Seventeen of the twenty-six races on Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan days are stakes. With this increase the total value of our stakes program over the two-day period is nearly $4 million.”

The 2014 Preakness will be held on Saturday, May 17 at Pimlico Race Course. The May 16 card on Preakness eve features eight added-money races, headlined by the Grade II, $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and the Grade III, $300,000 Pimlico Special.

The Preakness undercard features eight stakes races, including the Grade II, $300,000 Dixie Stakes  and three $150,000 G3 stakes: the Maryland Sprint Handicap, the Gallorette Handicap and Allaire duPont Distaff Stakes.

“I support the move,” said Maryland Racing Commission chairman Bruce Quade. “It is another step in bringing Maryland racing back to a preeminent spot in the racing landscape.”

At its inauguration in 1873, the Preakness carried a value of $1,000. The first major increase occurred in 1919 when the race had a $25,000 value. It climbed to $100,000 in 1946 and in 1959 was raised to $150,000, the highest among Triple Crown races.

From 1979 to 1989, the purse rose four times from $200,000 to $500,000, before attaining its present status of $1 million.