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Champion Work All Week retired due to knee fracture

Edited release:

Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint-winning homebred Work All Week has been retired from racing due to a stress fracture in his right knee, his connections announced Thursday.

According to Midwest principal Richard Papiese, the stress fracture was discovered during a routine scan performed following his third place finish in the Grade III Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland on October 2.

“Sometimes he gets heat in his ankles, so we were doing a routine check on him,” Papiese said of Work All Week. “We decided to go ahead and check his knees for no reason except just to be thorough and we found a stress fracture that likely occurred during the running of the Phoenix. There was no pulse or heat, but there was just enough for us to have to stop on him. We are so lucky we decided to check, because it could have set him up for a slab fracture and that could have been catastrophic. To bring him back as a 7-year-old would be a big risk and he’s already done so much and given us so many highs that I would not risk his health and happiness. It’s not a tragedy and the glass isn’t half-empty – it’s full because he isn’t shattered.”

Trained by Roger Brueggemann, Work All Week was named the Eclipse Award champion male sprinter for 2014 for a campaign that saw him win five of six starts, highlighted by his half-length win in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita Park  on November 1.

The only time the 6-year-old gelding finished worse than third in any of his 19 career starts came when he finished sixth in his career debut going 1 1/16-miles on the turf at Hawthorne in November 2012. The Illinois-bred son of City Zip and the Repriced mare Danzig Matilda won over nine different tracks and was ridden to victories by jockeys Florent Geroux, Chris Emigh, Francisco Torres and Seth Martinez.

“You try to keep the highs and lows in perspective,” Papiese said. “After all the tears, the good thing is that we still have the horse and he goes out as a reigning Eclipse champion, Breeders’ Cup champion and the best sprinter ever in Illinois – and doesn’t go out in an ambulance. You feel bad for the horse because all he wants to do is run and compete, but this is the right thing to do. We will keep him in Roger’s barn for now and then possibly make him into a pony. He loves to be at the track.”

Work All Week retires with 13 wins from 19 starts and $1,511,071 in earnings.

“Work All Week is part of the family,” Papiese concluded. “We’re going make sure he stays happy and healthy.”

Champion Beholder set to breeze at Santa Anita Friday

Edited release:

Champion race mare Beholder is set to breeze “an easy five furlongs” at Santa Anita Park this Friday according to owner B. Wayne Hughes in what will be her first serious move since capturing the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes on September 26.

Beholder is preparing for a likely showdown against males in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on October 31.

“We’re excited about the prospect of her running there and we’re looking forward to it,” said Hughes, who races as Spendthrift Farm. “We just hope the weather holds.”

Beholder, winner of her third consecutive Zenyatta Stakes for trainer Richard Mandella Sept. 26, has already handily defeated the boys by 8 ¼ lengths in the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar Aug. 22.  The Breeders’ Cup will present a new level of challenge, however, with the likely presence of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah as well as multiple Grade I winners Tonalist and Honor Code.

Hughes, well-grounded however, maintained a sense of reality when asked if she might do it again.

“There are boys and there are men,” he pointed out. “We don’t know that she’s going to beat the men, but she’s got one hell of an advantage over those horses: she’s female.

“God willing, we’re going to be ready (on Oct. 31) and we’re going to try them. This is racing at its best and we have a chance to run against a Triple Crown winner, and no one’s accomplished what American Pharoah did in quite a while (37 years, since Affirmed in 1978), so we plan to be there.”

Even should Beholder conquer American Pharoah in the Classic, Hughes is among the vast majority who hold that such a victory would not sway voters enough to deny the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Horse of the Year honors.

“If we were to win and we weren’t Horse of the Year, I wouldn’t be complaining about anything,” Hughes said. “The Breeders’ Cup races are championship events, and American Pharoah has had one helluva year. I don’t have a vote, so I’m sort of out of it, anyway.”

Hughes, a major player in Southern California until he relocated to Kentucky 10 years ago, is content with his move to the Blue Grass State.

“We’ve got a pretty good group of stallions and mares,” Hughes noted, without naming names, perhaps for fear of slighting one. “I really like it there. There are really good people who are interested in racing, so overall, it’s been good.

“We’ve got (25) stallions at Spendthrift,” Hughes said, adding some doubt to the equation with a smile, “but at 82, I wouldn’t consider myself a good source.”


Grade I winner Liam’s Map confirmed for Dirt Mile

Liam’s Map, winner of the Grade I Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, will point for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland on October 30 rather than the $5 million Classic, trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed Wednesday.

Owned by Teresa Viola Racing Stables, Liam’s Map made his front-end speed last during the 1 1/8-miles Woodward on September 5, drawing off to win by 4 3/4 lengths and prompting serious consideration of starting him in the 1 1/4-miles Classic on October 31. With the Classic already expected to feature  Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and champion mare Beholder and distance limitations still a question for Liam’s Map, Pletcher said the Dirt Mile figured to give the son of Unbridled’s Song his best chance at a Breeders’ Cup triumph.

“After talking it over with the Violas, we felt it was the right race for him,” Pletcher said Wednesday. “He’s proven he’s a brilliant miler. The two-turn aspect of it here (at Keeneland) I think that suits him very well. Just want to take our best shot at winning a Breeders’ Cup.”

Pletcher said the decision with Liam’s Map was made before it was reported that multiple Grade I winner Private Zone was leaning towards the Breeders’ Cup Sprint rather than the Dirt Mile. Still, not having to tangle with the Grade I Forego Stakes winner and his blazing speed “doesn’t hurt our feelings”, the seven-time Eclipse Award winning trainer quipped.

“The thing about all the Breeders’ Cup races is you don’t anticipate any of them are going to be easy,” Pletcher added. “But honestly we had already made our mind up before we knew about Private Zone.”

Liam’s Map has five wins from seven career starts with earnings of $808,940. After winning four of his first five starts, the gray colt made his debut against graded stakes competition in the Grade I Whitney on August 8, leading every point of call before beaten in the last jump by Honor Code.


‘I know we did nothing wrong’: Trainer Motion to appeal suspension from Kentucky Horse Racing Commission

Trainer Graham Motion, who has campaigned such champions as 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and  2014 Breeders’ Cup Turf hero Main Sequence, said Wednesday he strongly plans to appeal a ruling handed down by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission suspending him five days and fining him $500 due to a medication overage in the mare Kitten’s Point at Keeneland this past April.

The ruling is the first medication violation for  Motion in his 23-year career as a trainer.

Kitten’s Point, who is owned by George Strawbridge Jr., captured the Grade III Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland on April 24 but was found to have an overage of the medication methocarbamol. The sample was confirmed at University of California, Davis laboratory at a level of 2.9 ng/ml in her blood, above Kentucky’s limit of 1.0.

Methocarbamol, also known as Robaxin, is a muscle-relaxant and is classified as a “Class C” drug by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Class C drugs are considered  “those that have a therapeutic indication in the horse and have low potential on influence performance based on their presence.”

After a formal hearing before the Board of Stewards, Motion was suspended five days from October 13-17 during which he is  “denied the privileges of all facilities under the jurisdiction of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission”. Kitten’s Point has been disqualified from the victory all must forfeit the $90,000 in purse money she earned in the $150,000 Bewitch Stakes pending the appeal. The disqualification of Kitten’s Point elevates Cay Dancer, trained by Chad Brown, as the victor  in the Bewitch.  Pari-mutuel wagering is not affected by the ruling.

In a statement posted on his website, Motion stated that the recommended withdrawal time for methocarbamol in many jurisdictions, including Kentucky, is 48 hours and that Kitten’s Point was last treated with the medication seven days out from the race.

When reached by the Herald-Leader for follow up comments, Motion emphatically took issue with the lack of research done in establishing that withdrawal time and also expressed concerns over the way the samples were handled.

“It would be much easier for me just to pay the fine and take the suspension, I could use a 5 day vacation. But that’s not the point. The point is, we have a problem here and this just shows how big the problem is,” Motion told the Herald-Leader. “There is no research to back up 48 hours (withdrawal time). We’re given this protocol to follow and it turns out that the protocol we’re following is done with one treatment and one treatment only . And that’s not sufficient to be giving us guidelines with this medication, which I’m finding out.

“We have evidence to show that Robaxin that’s given orally stays in the system beyond 48 hours and this should have been dealt with. What more can we do than follow the guidelines conservatively, which is exactly what I did. I did it all winter in all other jurisdictions. We handled it the same way. And there was no margin for error in this case because this filly was given the last dose of her prescription the Friday before the race which was the week before, and I know that because we didn’t have any more in the barn. That was the last dose of the prescription. There is no gray area here where someone messed up. What am I supposed to do? I know we did nothing wrong. So that shows to me there is a problem here.”

Motion said that while he understands the standards he and his fellow trainers are held to when it comes to being responsible for their charges’ medication, he wants jurisdictions to be held to equally rigorous standards given the level of sensitivity of the testing.


Motion specifically pointed out the room where test samples are stored at Keeneland, which he said is used at the tack room for the outriders’ until two days before the meet commences.

“If we’re being held to these incredibly high standards were the testing is so precise, how can they be handling our samples in a tack room that two days before was occupied by the outriders. Is that right?,” Motion said. “And we’re getting ready to run the Breeders’ Cup here. I think people would be pretty shocked to hear about that.

“A nanogram is a billionth of a gram.  This goes beyond me, this is a concern for every trainer that is running a horse at Breeders’ Cup the next month. I know I did nothing wrong so I’ve got to defend myself and I’ve got to defend all of us as trainers.  Most people don’t fight these things because it’s not worth it. That’s why nothing gets done. And I don’t blame them for that. But I happen to feel really strongly about it and I’m not just going to lay down and take a fine or a suspension without putting out my points.”


Grade I winner Palace to stand at Spendthrift Farm for 2016

Edited release:

B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm has acquired the breeding rights to Palace, the multiple Grade I-winning son of City Zip who is set to retire at the end of his 2015 campaign that will include a start in the $1,500,000 Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Oct. 3 1at Keeneland.


“Palace is the best colt by perennial leading sire City Zip, and he’s a great-looking individual,” said Ned Toffey, Spendthrift general manager. “He’s been one of the classiest and fastest sprinters in the country the last couple of years, and we believe breeders will find him to be an exciting opportunity through our ‘Share The Upside’ program in 2016. We’re thrilled to have him, and believe he has a big shot in the upcoming Breeders’ Cup Sprint.”


Palace will participate in Spendthrift’s “Share The Upside” program that the farm offers for its first-year stallions. His “Share The Upside” fee has been set at $7,500, and will require breeders to breed a mare in 2016 and 2017, and then have two live foals on a stands-and-nurses basis to earn a lifetime breeding right in Palace starting in 2018 and lasting throughout his stallion career. Palace’s one-time stud fee is $6,000 on a standard stands-and-nurses contract for people who do not wish to participate in the “Share The Upside” program. Commitments to Palace are being honored prior to the Breeders’ Cup, and his stud fees are subject to change pending race results through the rest of the year.


On the racetrack, Palace owns 11 wins and has been on the board 20 times in 26 lifetime starts for trainer Linda Rice, who also campaigned his sire City Zip a decade prior. Palace broke through on the national scene in 2014 with a win in the Grade II, $250,000 True North Handicap on Belmont Stakes weekend then went on to Saratoga last summer where he validated his status as one of the elite sprinters in America, winning the Grade I, $350,000 Vanderbilt Handicap and Grade I, $500,000 Forego Stakes.  He ended his 2014 campaign with a sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.


Palace heads into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint trying to halt a five-race losing streak. His most recent effort was a fourth place finish in the Grade I Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park on September 26, which was his third start of 2015.


Palace currently holds earnings of $1,391,550 for owner Antonino Miuccio, making him the most accomplished colt ever sired by City Zip. He’s out of the End Sweep mare Receivership, a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner French Park.


Kentucky Oaks winner Lovely Maria to bypass Breeders’ Cup Distaff, get freshening

Multiple Grade I winner Lovely Maria will not contest the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland on October 30, trainer Larry Jones said Tuesday morning.

Jones said that Lovely Maria appeared to be in good order following her fifth place finish in Sunday’s Grade I Juddmonte Spinster, which was also her third straight loss since capturing the Kentucky Oaks on May 1. Instead of pushing forward with the bay daughter of Majesticperfection, Jones said he and owner Brereton Jones have decided to give the filly some time off.

“She won two Grade Is, she’s a millionaire, she has earned a rest,” said Larry Jones, who still a Distaff contender in Grade I winner I’m a Chatterbox. “So they’re going to rest her up a little bit and then see what happens from there.”

Lovely Maria won three of her first four starts of 2015 including a 3 1/4-length victory in the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 4. She was at the very top of her game when she drew off to a 2 3/4-length win in the Kentucky Oaks over a field that included stablemate I’m a Chatterbox, but has not finished better than fifth in three outings since.

In the Delaware Oaks, Lovely Maria was impacted by a virus that was going through Larry Jones’ barn and came back from her fifth-place run that day “covered in mucus”. She followed that up with a sixth-place finish in the Grade I Alabama Stakes and faded in the Spinster after dueling with Yahilwa through fractions of 23.51 and 47.26.

Lovely Maria has four wins from 11 career starts with earnings of $1,003,000.

Catch a Glimpse, Conquest Daddyo tune up for Breeders’ Cup for red-hot Casse barn

Graded stakes-winning stablemates  Catch a Glimpse and Conquest Daddyo put in their first serious moves since arriving at Keeneland in advance of this year’s Breeders’ Cup on October 30-31, working five furlongs in company over the main track Tuesday morning.

After breaking off together, the pair of Mark Casse-trained 2-year-olds stayed on relatively even terms until the stretch when Catch a Glimpse drew away from her male counterpart, finishing up a couple lengths in front. The chestnut filly was timed in 1:00 flat by Keeneland clockers but officially given a time of 1:01 for five furlongs with Conquest Daddyo clocked in 1:01.60 according to Equibase.

“The filly looked like she was going pretty easy,” said Jamie Begg, assistant to Casse. “The other horse (Conquest Daddyo) I think he likes it more over the turf. They’re both turf horses but I think he’s purely turf where she can work over the dirt. But they looked like they went pretty easy, I was happy with the work.”

Catch a Glimpse and Conquest Daddyo are expected to be among the contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and Juvenile Turf, respectively. Catch a Glimpse will likely vie for favoritism in her spot as she is coming off a five-length victory in the Grade II Natalma Stakes at Woodbine on September 12, her second win in three career starts.

“She’s a pretty happy horse and she’s really matured,” Begg said of the daughter of City Zip. “They sent her to Saratoga and she trained there for a bit and ran once over the dirt (fifth in her career debut on July 30). She was a little bit of a red-head before, she had a little bit of an attitude but she’s really matured and seems a lot more straight forward now.”

Owned by Conquest Stables, Conquest Daddyo also prevailed on the Woodbine card on September 12, taking the Grade II Summer Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths under jockey Joe Bravo. The son of Scat Daddy has won two of his three career starts with his lone defeat coming when he ran second in the Vandal Stakes at Woodbine on August 15.

Should the Casse barn translate its current momentum into Breeders’ Cup results, the operation could be in for a monster couple of days at the World Championships. Coming off a gut wrenching Saratoga meet where Casse saddled just three winners from 42 starts, his runners have captured fives wins through the first three days of the Keeneland meet including Tepin’s seven-length romp in the Grade I First Lady Stakes and Airoforce taking the Grade III Dixiana Bourbon Stakes.

I judge meets not how necessarily we do at a meet, but how we come out of it. And I had to keep talking to my (staff) – especially (son and assistant) Norman – everybody was pretty depressed (after Saratoga),” Casse said after Airoforce’s win in the Bourbon. “But I said, ‘This is going to make us have one of the strongest meets we’ve ever had.’ It never fails. When we broke the record at Churchill in the 80s before that we had the worst Keeneland meet ever. And believe me, I talked to myself, too. But I’m supposed to be the motivator.”



Got Lucky scores emotional victory in Grade I Spinster Stakes

John Sikura is no stranger to having the efforts of his farm celebrated at the highest level on Keeneland’s grounds.

The owner of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm has long been one of the leading consignors in the Thoroughbred marketplace, regularly sending seven-figure offerings through the ring including several products of the elite broodmare band he has cultivated over the years.

On Sunday afternoon with his sons and wife by his side, Sikura watched a regally-bred filly he bred and raised prevailed in another protracted battle. But instead of walking over to congratulate the buyer benefiting from his aptitude, he was walking towards the winner’s circle celebration in the aftermath of the Grade I, $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes, relishing the ultimate reward for staying committed to quality.

Four years ago, Sikura and partner Philip Steinberg made the decision not to offer the lovely filly by the name of Got Lucky up for public auction and instead keep her to go to the races. When the daughter of A.P. Indy unleashed a monster kick in deep stretch with dead aim on a couple brave rivals, Sikura’s plans leading up to the November breeding stock sales became wonderfully more jam packed as Got Lucky caught past champion Untapable and longshot Yahilwa by a neck at the wire to capture the 1 1/8-miles Spinster and earn herself a spot in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland on October 30.

“The Grade Is I win are usually in the sales ring,” an emotional Sikura said. “Now I know the allure of people that buy yearlings why they do it, to have a thrill like this.”
It doesn’t get a whole lot more heart stopping that what Got Lucky pulled off in the Spinster, rating next to last in the nine-horse field for much of the test and then having the 2014 Kentucky Oaks winner and reigning Breeders’ Cup Distaff heroine as one of  the last obstacles she had to get past.


It was nothing compared to the chance Sikura and Steinberg took back in 2010 when they sent a Deputy Minister mare by the name of Malka to Lane’s End stallion A.P. Indy five times that season in an attempt to get her foal to the legendary sire who was in the waning stages of his fertility.


Of the 80 mares A.P. Indy was bred to in his final season at stud, 36 live foals were produced. One of which happened to be a dark bay filly that has now scored her first Grade I win in 16 career starts and given Sikura his first Grade I win as an owner at Keeneland.

“A lot of patience went into this filly,” Sikura said. “She’s a filly that was born and raised at the farm and we bred the dam to A.P. Indy I think five times that year. That’s how she got the name Got Lucky. My partner Phil said, ‘You think we should quit?’ and I said ‘No, we’re going to go to the end. We’ve come this far, we’ll take our chances.’

“Unfortunately the mare (Malka) died of a very rare cancer. It’s a great reward to have a filly like this. When you raise them it’s even more emotional because you’re there from the beginning.”

Though Got Lucky was sent off at odds of 7-to-2 and was coming off a good second place finish in the Grade I Personal Ensign at Saratoga on August 29, all eyes were on the two Kentucky Oaks winners in the field in this year’s victor Lovely Maria and last year’s winner, Untapable.


Breaking out of post No. 1, Lovely Maria was gunned to the front under jockey Kerwin Clark but found herself quickly pressed by 20-to-1 shot Yahilwa as the two cut through opening fractions of 23.62 and 46.89.

“We weren’t wanting to be going that fast but in the No. 1 hole we didn’t have a lot of choice except to get out there,” said trainer Larry Jones of Lovely Maria, who faded to fifth.

When Lovely Maria backed out of things coming off the final turn, Untapable was there three wide to challenge Yahilwa, who refused to yield to the reigning 3-year-old filly champion. As those two slugged it out stride for stride the length of the stretch, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. angled Got Lucky out after advancing on an inside path and got a determined response to his right-handed urging, catching Untapable when that one finally put her head in front of Yahilwa.

“Where I was in the Grandstand — I was right at the eighth pole — I thought she had a lot to do, but I could tell she was coming,” said Todd Pletcher, trainer of Got Lucky. “I was just hoping she got there in time.”

Final time for the test was 1:49.44. And while Got Lucky is now booked for a Breeders’ Cup outing, trainer Steve Asmussen said discussion would take place before deciding if Untapable would attempt to defend her crown in the race after now suffering her fourth straight loss.

“She’s a good mare that’s not running her best races,” Asmussen said. “She ran well, but that’s not her best.”

Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676.  Blog: Twitter: @horseracinghl.

Gomo gives O’Neill, Reddam another juvenile contender with Alcibiades victory

Doug O’Neill is typically a  jovial man, quick with a smile and friendly word whether he is meeting someone for the first time or the 20th.

It would be especially challenging given recent events to find any trainer with more reason to be in a wildly good mood these days. Be it East Coast, West Coast or – as of Friday evening – the Midwest, O’Neill’s armada of 2-year-olds owned by his top client Paul Reddam are trying their darnedest to corner the market on pre-race hype leading into the Breeders’ Cup World Championship at Keeneland this month.

With three of her stablemates already penciled in to venture to Lexington for October 30-31, the bay filly Gomo proved she can already handle top-level life in the Bluegrass just fine, thank you. The O’Neill trainee used a three-wide move on the final turn to launch herself to a 2 3/4-length victory over Dothraki Queen in Friday’s Grade I, $400,000 Darley Alcibiades on the opening day of the Keeneland Fall Meet.

The sight of Reddam’s purple and white silks hitting the wire in front of a major juvenile prep has become a reoccurring nightmare for horsemen around the nation. O’Neill and Reddam, who famously teamed up in 2012 to campaign dual classic winner I’ll Have Another, already have undefeated multiple Grade I winner Nyquist set to be the likely favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with his Grade I-winning stablemate Ralis looking to stay on that course with a good outing in Saturday’s Grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont.

Part of the reason Gomo was sent to the Alcibiades was to keep her apart from stablemate Land Over Sea, who is likely bound for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies after running second in the Grade I Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita Park on September 26. The two fillies are now set to be sharing gate space in the Breeders’ Cup after Gomo sat a stalk and pounce trip along the rail in the field of 10, skipping over the sloppy track like a professional to earn her second win from five career starts.

“It’s gotta be the best (group of 2-year-olds) I’ve ever had,” O’Neill said of his army of babies. “It’s pretty incredible. I think it’s just one of those lucky years so far, where we were blessed with a lot of really good clients who stepped up and if they like them and (brother and assistant) Dennis (O’Neill) likes the horses, they write the check. And this particular year everything has kind of unfolded the right way.”

Purchased by Dennis O’Neill for $75,000 at this year’s OBS March 2-year-olds in training sale, Gomo has alternated between starts on the dirt and turf and came  into the 1 1/16-miles Alcibiades off a third place run in the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes on September 7.

Her steady-paced style of running suggested two turns and more distance would be her thing. After sitting in third behind pacesetter Put Da Blame On Me through fractions of 24.34 and 49.43 in the Alcibiades, the daughter of Uncle Mo angled out approaching the final turn and was responding well to jockey Mario Gutierrez en route to covering the distance in 1:45.55.

“We tried to keep her and  Land Over Sea apart but we always felt she was a dirt filly and that she wanted two turns,” said Reddam, who also owns Nyquist, Ralis and Land Over Sea. “In the turf race she showed she was even paced and long on the dirt is where you want even paced.”

The 11,601 brave souls who endured a wet, raw day at Keeneland were also treated to memorable effort by Runhappy in the Grade III Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes in an outing that very well could be a preview of what is to come in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Facing a field that included defending race winner and reigning Breeders’ Cup Sprint hero Work All Week, James McIngvale’s Runhappy rushed up along the rail after breaking flat footed out of post position No. 1 and took command on the backstretch while  drilling fractions of 21.52 and 44.81 with Work All Week sitting second.

When Work All Week tried to make a run at his 3-year-old rival, Runhappy showed the same finishing kick he did in winning the Grade I King’s Bishop at Saratoga August 29. When the 7-to-5 favorite crossed the wire 1 3/4 lengths in front of Barbados while stopping the clock in 1:09.96, it marked his fifth win from six career starts and gave his upstart trainer Maria Borell, who is based at The Thoroughbred Center, the fifth victory of her career.

“It’s a dream come true,” Borell said. “I just won my first race this year…so it’s been a huge year for me. I’m excited but now I’m more relieved because everyone thought he was going to bounce after that race and that we had seen the best from him. People say he’s a freak. He’s so talented.”

Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676.  Blog: Twitter: @horseracinghl.

Grade I winner Rock Fall to stand at WinStar Farm upon retirement

Edited release:

Stonestreet Stables’ leading sprinter Rock Fall, winner of last Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont, will enter stud alongside his sire Speightstown at WinStar Farm upon his retirement at the conclusion of 2015.


Fresh off his seventh straight victory – and second straight in a Grade I, Rock Fall will likely be the favorite when he lines up later this month in the $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Sprint – a race his sire won 11 years ago en route to capturing Eclipse honors for Champion Sprinter.


“I am thrilled that our outstanding sprinter Rock Fall will enter stud alongside stablemate Carpe Diem at WinStar Farm for the 2016 season,” said Barbara Banke, owner of Stonestreet Stables. “Rock Fall offers breeders the opportunity to capture his impressive physical, raw talent, consistent speed, and pure heart in future generations. He’s a first-season horse that should make everyone’s list.”


Elliott Walden, President and CEO at WinStar, added: “Speightstown is on the verge of exploding as a sire of sires with the high-quality colts he’s had, but Rock Fall is the one we’ve been waiting for to stand alongside his sire. We love this colt, and everyone who’s been connected with Speightstown, including Todd Pletcher, has raved about how much Rock Fall reminds them of his sire. We are honored to have him, and I really believe he possesses every quality of Speightstown to replicate him as a leading sire for years to come.”


Trained by Todd Pletcher, Rock Fall  broke his maiden last season as a 3-year-old at Belmont by 9 ¼ lengths, and the speedy dark bay colt hasn’t lost since. During his seven-race win streak, he’s broken 1:10 for six furlongs on six different occasions, and broken1:09 in his last three wins – all in major graded stakes in New York.


Rock Fall captured his first graded victory in the Grade II, $250,000 True North Stakes and  followed up that performance with another win over top sprinters in the Grade I, $350,000 Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga.


In last Saturday’s Vosburgh, Rock Fall stopped the clock in 1:08.70 and earned a berth into the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland, where he owns a 9-length allowance win and 109 Beyer from earlier this spring. In his body of work, Rock Fall has run Beyers of 110, 109, 106, and 104 twice, and amassed $749,180 in earnings to date for Stonestreet Stables.


“Rock Fall reminds me of his sire Speightstown quite a bit,” said Pletcher. “It’s rare for a sprinter at that level to be this consistent, but he has a lot of fight to go along with all of that natural talent.”


A $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select yearling, Rock Fall hails from the multiple stakes-winning mare Renda, who was the first winner and first stakes winner from the debut crop of leading sire Medaglia d’Oro.

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