Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Bawina out of Filly & Mare Turf; Siding Spring draws into Juvenile

Edited release:

Wertheimer et Frere’s Bawina, trained by Carlos Laffon Parias, has been scratched from Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

The 4-year-old daughter of Dubawi got tied up behind after exercise on Wednesday morning and although she showed improvement Thursday when going for a trot on the training track, having discussed matters with the veterinary team in the quarantine barn Carlos Laffon Parias decided to scratch the filly from the race.

This now allows another European challenger Talmada, owned by Sheikh Ahmed al Maktoum and trained by Roger Varian, into the race Saturday.  The daughter of Cape Cross comes into the race with solid form having finished second in the E P Taylor Stakes at Woodbine in her latest start.

Charles Fipke’s Tale of S’avall has been declared from the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, allowing for Mark Casse-trainee Siding Spring to draw into the race, breaking from the far outside post 14.

Trainer Barclay Tagg said of Tale of S’avall’s defection, “He’s been having a problem with sore ‘frogs’ in his feet. We’ve been working on the problem all week but the vets recommend that he not run Saturday. He’ll be all right going ahead.”

The homebred son of Tale of Ekati was listed at 30-to-1 on the morning line after winning his career debut at Saratoga and finishing fifth in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in his only two starts.



Champion Beholder declared out of Breeders’ Cup Classic

Trainer Richard Mandella kept his sense of humor. Spendthrift Farm manager Ned Toffey kept perspective in the forefront.

Yet, none of it could really cushion the blow of having their champion mare Beholder knocked out of a potentially historic Breeders’ Cup run for a second straight year.

Spendthrift Farm’s two-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder, the 3-to-1 second choice on the morning line for Saturday’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, was declared out her anticipated showdown against the likes of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah after an endoscopic examination performed following a routine gallop Thursday morning revealed she had bled slightly.

Beholder’s connections had been especially diligent in monitoring her after she spiked a slight fever on October 20, one day after she shipped from California to Kentucky.

Toffey said that a “touch of blood” was found in her scope following her five furlong breeze in 59.40 on Monday. The 5-year-old mare galloped without issue on the training track Thursday, but Mandella said a subsequent scope revealed “some irritated lungs that are vulnerable right now.”

“There was just a touch of blood the other day but we were delighted with the gallop this morning,” said Toffey, who manages Spendthrift Farm for owner B. Wayne Hughes. “Really, we kind of felt like the other day that the little bit of blood there was probably just residual from the fever and all of that. And, it’s never been part of her history. We were cautiously optimistic that we were going to be just fine but we were also going to take every precaution.

“Normally you wouldn’t even scope after a gallop. But that was part of why we did.”

Beholder, winner of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and 2013 Distaff, was attempting to become the first horse to win three different Breeders’ Cup races – Goldikova won three straight editions of the Mile from 2008-1010 – and join Zenyatta as the only female runners to prevail in the Classic.

This marks the second straight year Beholder has had to miss the Breeders’ Cup due to ailment. The daughter of Henny Hughes had to bypass last year’s Distaff after spiking a fever about a week and a half out and was later found to have inflammation in her lungs which necessitated her being turned out for two months.

Toffey said, given that history, they have ultrasounded Beholder’s lungs a couple of times this week. He added, however, that bleeding had not been part of her history.

“We don’t think it’s serious at all other than we have some irritated tissue in her lungs that is making it a weak spot that is bleeding under pressure,” Mandella said. “She’s fine, but if I put her under pressure of a race, she would do some real damage to it and we couldn’t take that chance.”

Both the Spendthrift team and Mandella had previously said they hoped to bring Beholder back for a 6-year-old campaign as long she was healthy and willing. Even with this latest setback, that plan remains in place.

“We will fully investigate (the lung irritation) and we plan to run her next year if everything is good,” said Mandella, who has won eight Breeders’ Cup races in his Hall of Fame career but none outside of California. “I guess I’m destined to just be in Breeders’ Cups at Santa Anita.”

The loss of Beholder from the now 9-horse Classic field changes much of the race’s complexion as her easy, high cruising speed was capable of staying right with 4-to-5 morning-line choice American Pharoah.

Though his expected toughest foe is out of the way,  Bob Baffert, trainer American Pharoah, took no joy in the misfortune of a fellow champion.

“That mare means to Richard Mandella what American Pharoah means to us,” Baffert said. “Anything can happen and we still have 48 hours. This is unfortunate, but that’s  why we’re all on pins and needles. She was the horse to beat.”

Beholder was coming into the 1 1/4-miles Classic in as good form as she has ever boasted in a career bound for Hall of Fame induction. The bay mare stepped up to face males for the first time in the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 22 and destroyed that field by 8 1/4 lengths under mild urging from jockey Gary Stevens.

Her most recent start was another variation of a paid workout as Stevens had Beholder totally geared down during her 3 1/4 length victory in the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita Park on September 26.

Bred by Clarkland Farm, Beholder has won 15 of 20 career starts including nine Grade I wins with earnings of $4,436,600. She was originally slated to be sold at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November  sale before her illness prevented her from shipping and prompted Hughes to keep her in training.

Given the brilliance of her 2015 campaign  – and the fact the 2016 Breeders’ Cup is at Beholder’s base of Santa Anita Park – her connections are hoping for another blessing in disguise.

“You know (Hughes) he’s been in this business for a long time and he’s had his share of bad news,” Toffey said. “He always handles it with class. He’s obviously disappointed but his intention is to keep her in training next year. We have an expression around here that when you have luck in this game, you don’t know at the time if it’s good luck or bad luck.


“The good news is we still have a really nice mare and our intention is this will just be a temporary setback.”

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

Champion Untapable to miss Breeders’ Cup Distaff

Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Untapable, winner of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Distaff,  will not get the chance to defend her title in that spot as the champion filly spiked a fever and was declared out of the 1 1/8-miles race on Tuesday.

Owner Ron Winchell said that Untapable “scoped with a bit of mucus” after working four furlongs in 50.20 on Monday. The 4-year-old daughter of Tapit was attempting to join Bayakoa (1989-1990) and Royal Delta (2011-2012) as the only horses to win back-to-back editions of the Distaff.

“She got a slight temperature. She scoped with a little bit of mucus…and we were hoping for the best,” Winchell said. “Unfortunately, it’s the right thing to do. You have to treat her with some antibiotics and that pretty much declares her out of the race. She’s done so much for us and we just want to be careful.

“We trained her lightly all year basically preparing for this event. So, disappointment is an understatement.”

Untapable had drawn post No. 11 in the 14-horse field for the Distaff as was installed with 5-to-1 odds on the morning line. Untapable’s defection allows Grade I winner Peace and War, third in the Grade I Cotillion Stakes on September 19, to draw in off the also-eligible list into the Distaff field.

The 2015 season has been a downcast one for Untapable. After winning six of seven starts last year en route to being named champion 3-year-old filly, Untapable has only been victorious in one of six starts in 2015 – though that win did come in the Grade I Apple Blossom.

In her most recent start, Untapable was beaten a neck by Got Lucky in the Grade I Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland on October 4. Winchell said that while no firm decisions have been made for next year, he is currently leaning towards keeping his filly in training for her 5-year-old campaign.

“I haven’t made my mind up but I’m probably leaning towards running her next year,” Winchell said “That’s my first thought, especially after having to scratch out of this race. It kind of makes you want to come back and attempt one more.”

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Untapable has won nine of 17 starts with earnings of $3,816,725.

Beholder works five furlongs in advance of Breeders’ Cup Classic

Exercise rider Janeen Painter played the role of statue in the saddle. The champion mare beneath her performed her usual act of making the taxing look effortless.

With owner B. Wayne Hughes and the rest of her admirers looking on from the grandstand, two-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder put in her last piece of work before the Breeders’ Cup Classic when she breezed five furlongs in :59.40 over the Keeneland main track.

The move comes  less than a week after the 5-year-old daughter of Henny Hughes spiked a slight temperature after shipping to Kentucky from her base in California. The strength of her morning gallops have put that episode behind her and Beholder further solidified she is spry as ever with Painter sitting motionless as she clocked splits of 12 2/5, :24, :36 with a gallop out in 1:12 4/5.

“She was just having a nice time, the time was good, she was good,” trainer Richard  Mandella said of the move. “I would have preferred to work yesterday but us trainers don’t know what we’re doing anything.  It was just maintenance, just get some wind in her because it’s been a while between works. Just testing the water and the water looked good.”

Mandella says that Spendthrift Farm owner Hughes “has worn a different look on his face this year than he ever has before.” So deep is Beholder’s hold on her connections that Hughes has decided to go against his own business model of taking some money off the table and has said he would not sell his champion mare at public auction as previously planned.

“If you saw that race (her 8-1/4 length win in the Pacific Classic) I think it transformed all of us on her ability,” Hughes said. “It’s the first horse  that I’ve ever had the emotion of being really proud of her and proud of being associated with her.”

Bred by Clarkland Farm, Beholder has won 15 of 20 career starts including the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic. With her expected start in the Classic, the bay mare will be attempting to become the first horse to win three different Breeders’ Cup races – Goldikova won three straight editions of the Mile from 2008-2010 – and join Zenyatta as the only female runners to win the Classic.

She also may not be done. Hughes has repeatedly said that as long as Beholder is sound and happy, he would seriously consider bringing her back for a 6-year-old campaign.

“Everyone is enjoying her running and I think we retire horses pretty early in this business nowadays and that hurts the racing business,” Hughes said. “So to have her come back is not only good for us to enjoy her but also for fans.

“She’s going to have to be perfect though or we’re not going to bring her back.”


Sticksstatelydude out of Juvenile with tendon injury

Sticksstatelydude, the fourth place finisher in the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on October 3, will miss the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile this Saturday due to a tendon strain in one of his front legs, according to trainer Greg Burchell.

Sticksstatelydude put in a strong four furlong move in 47.20 at Keeneland on October 23 but Burchell said he noticed heat in the leg in the aftermath. Burchell said the son of First Dude would likely have 30 days of laser treatment on the injury with designs on coming back for his 3-year-old season.

“It’s very minimal but it’s there,” Burchell said. “With technology these days, you can’t act like you don’t see it. There would be the chance that you could do  more damage to it and really hurt him so I’d rather just give him the time and strengthen it back up. I’ll give him as much time as he need and ultrasound it again in 30-45 days and see what it looks like and go from there.”

Sticksstatelydude broke his maiden at Saratoga second time out on August 1.

The defection of Sticksstatelydude from the Juvenile allows Waterloo Bridge to get into the 14-horse field, but that one was pre-entered with first preference in the Juvenile Turf.

If Waterloo  Bridge does go in the Juvenile Turf, Mark Casse trainee Siding Spring would get into the field.



Shadwell winner Grand Arch smooth in final move

Grand Arch has been near the top of the list of horses touting themselves during morning outings in the days leading up to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland.

The Grade I winner continued to sell himself as a leading threat for the Breeders’ Cup Mile on October 31, putting in a four furlong move in 50.80 over a soft turf course on Sunday.

The rain that hit Central Kentucky most of Saturday caused havoc with trainer’s plans on Sunday. With the Keeneland main track sealed and the usual renovation break canceled, many had to call an audible with their training schedules – most notably trainer Richard Mandella who sent champion Beholder for a gallop over the training track’s Polytrack surface instead of the main track.

Turf works were still a go, however, and Grand Arch handled the cut in the ground with little issue, cruising along between the “dogs”.

“He’s a big horse and it’s nice to see him get over it as comfortably as he does because you always think big horses are going to sink into the grass a lot deeper,” trainer Brian Lynch said. “But he seemed comfortable enough doing it. He looked happy going past the wire, I saw our rider giving him a little pat on the neck and his ears were pricked up. We didn’t want to do too much with him but overall I think it was a nice piece of work.”

Owned by Jim and Susan Hill, Grand Arch earned the first Grade I win of his career when he held off Arlington Million winner The Pizza Man by a head in the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile over a yielding course at Keeneland on October 3.

The 5-year-old gelded son of Arch had won three of five starts this year and has not been worse than second in six career starts over the Keeneland turf course. Grand Arch has seven wins from 23 starts lifetime with earnings of $1,607,230.

“I  think he’s as good as we can get him going in there,” Lynch said. “It’s nice to have a horse that can handle a rain-affected turf.”


Navarro ‘wanted a little more’ in Private Zone’s final work

When word circulated that Keeneland’s main track would be sealed during Saturday’s renovation break due to the rainy weather, trainer Jorge Navarro called an audible and sent multiple Grade I winner Private Zone out for his four furlong move a bit early.

Navarro ended up not totally satisfied with the end result as Private Zone, one of the likely favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on October 31, worked a half mile in 48.60 over a track that exercise rider Carlos Marquez termed “heavy”.

Private Zone recorded splits of :12 4/5, :35 4/5, 4f :48 3/5, out in 1:03 3/5. The move was the 11th fastest of 27 at the distance and, for a horse capable of ripping off moves in 45 and change, Navarro was hoping to see a little more.

“I was expecting a little faster,” Navarro said. “But he did it so easy. He’s ready. I just think going it this race I wanted to get a little more but luck was not on my side.

“As soon as they said ‘sealed the track’ I knew I wasn’t going to work him on a sealed track. But Carlos is on top and he knows him really well so he told me ‘don’t worry about it, the horse is doing really good.’ They’re still going to have to bring King Kong to beat him.”

Private Zone is expected to vie for favoritism in the Sprint with 3-year-old Grade I winner Runhappy. The 6-year-old son of Macho Uno was third in the Sprint a year ago and has won three of his five starts this year, including the Grade I Forego at Saratoga on August 29.




Exaggerator leaves Desormeaux beaming in final pre-Breeders’ Cup work

Keith Desormeaux isn’t the kind of trainer who cranks hard and fast on his horses on in the morning – which is precisely why the veteran conditioner was falling over himself as he talked about the easy manner in which his Breeders’ Cup  Juvenile contender Exaggerator sizzled through a five furlong move in :59 2/5 during a rainy morning at Keeneland on Saturday.

Like many horseman, Desormeaux was watching the weather in deciding when he was going to send his charge out for his final piece of serious work over the Keeneland main track.  At around 7 a.m., Desormeaux went forward and sent the winner of the Grade II Saratoga Special on August 16 out to work in company.

The workmate didn’t provide much resistance, however, as Exaggerator started five lengths back but finished up about 10 length in front posting splits of :12 1/5, :24 1/5, :36, 5f in :59 2/5, out in 1:13 3/5.

“We were stressed out about the rain, I can tell you that, so we got him out early,” said Desormeaux, who won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with Texas Red. “We got lucky, the track was great at 7 a.m.  But it was a spectacular work. He was nice and settled the first part of it, finished the last quarter in 23 and change, galloped out great.

“I’m not really known for working my horses really quick. So to see a nice, quick work a good week out tells me he’s ready. He came back to the barn not exhausted, caught his breath quickly.  It was an exceptional work.”

Owned by Big Chief Racing, Exaggerator is coming into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile off a second place finish to Brody’s Cause in the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland  on October 3. Desmormeaux was still thrilled with that run as the son of Curlin had actually missed a couple of weeks of training after the Saratoga Special after spiking a fever.

“He had some less than spectacular works coming into that race (the Breeders’ Futurity) and that was also his first trip around two turns,” Desormeaux said. “That was also a seven-week interim between the Saratoga Special and he actually missed two weeks because of a fever. So for that horse to run that well in the Breeders’ Futurity and then come back and do this today, we’ve got to be confident.”

Exaggerator broke his maiden second time out at Del Mar on July 25 and delivered a gritty run in the Saratoga Special to win by three quarters of a length. Desormeaux is seeking to become the first trainer to win consecutive editions of the race since Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas saddled three straight Juvenile winners from 1986 to 1988.

“It wasn’t exciting or fun until now,” Desormeaux laughed. “That was the last work and this rain was driving me nuts. So to get to this point and have a legitimate chance again in the best race for 2-year-olds in North America is pretty awesome.”


Conquest Big E makes huge impression in final work at Churchill Downs

Conquest Big E’s gray frame makes him easy to spot even in the early morning darkness. The 2-year-old son of Tapit was a standout on merit rather than just his handsome looks Friday  morning as he work four furlongs in 48.40 at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland on October 31.

Conquest Big E worked in company with stablemate City Flyer. And, just like he inhaled Conquest Windycity when those two worked together last Friday, the big-bodied colt handled his partner with little effort, finishing four lengths in front with a gallop out in 1:01.80 and 1:15.80.

“Big E was just awesome, again,” trainer Mark Casse said. “As impressive as he was last time he may have even been more impressive today. I told (jockey) Shaun (Bridgmohan) I wanted to go in 48 and I think he went in 48 2/5. But Shaun geared him down from about a sixteenth after the work started. He was geared down for the last three eighths of a mile. So he was really impressive.”

Owned by Conquest Stables, Conquest Big E is heading into the Breeders’ Cup off a maiden win at Keeneland on October 2 but has turned the corner in terms of maturity, according to Casse. In his career debut at Churchill Downs on September 11, Conquest Big E ran extremely green but still finished second to Brody’s Cause, who went on to triumph in the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.

Casse, who is seeking his first Breeders’ Cup win, is also set to send multiple Grade I winner Tepin in against males in the $2 million Mile on October 31. The winner of the First Lady Stakes at Keeneland also put in her final piece of serious work on Friday, covering four furlongs in 49.80 over the Churchill main track under jockey Julien Leparoux.

“She went a little faster today than she did last time, she looked good,” Casse said.

Casse also worked graded stakes winner Airoforce, a contender for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile hopeful Siding Spring on Friday. Airoforce worked four furlongs in :48.40 in company with Souper Awesome while Siding Spring covered four furlongs in 47.60.

Siding Spring is cross entered in the Juvenile Turf and Juvenile but Casse said following Friday’s move, he would enter the son of Warrior’s Reward in the Juvenile on Monday in hopes of making the 14-horse field.

“I don’t know who worked better today between Big E and Siding Spring,” Casse said. “He worked awesome. We’re going to go for the dirt.”





Rachel’s Valentina smooth and easy in final work before Breeders’ Cup

Trainer Todd Pletcher was hoping the workmate he sent out with Rachel’s Valentina Friday morning would provide the Grade I winner with the right amount of moxie in her final move before the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on October 31.

Instead of some push, the dark bay colt by the name of Ransack got shoved into submission as Rachel’s Valentina dismissed him with ease while covering five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 over the Keeneland main track.

Owned by Stonestreet Stables, Rachel’s Valentina was pretty much left to her own devices as she easily drew clear of Ransack, notching splits of 37 1/5 and  1:00 4/5 with a gallop out in 1:13 1/5 and 1:28 1/5.

“She basically toyed with her workmate who basically couldn’t keep up at any point,” Pletcher said. “It was almost like a solo work for her really. I thought she looked great, did it very easily.

“I was actually concerned that I didn’t have the right horse to work with her today. And I didn’t want to match her up with someone who was going to go too fast. I was hoping that Ransack would step up a little bit and at least provide her some entertainment for a little while. But she’s just too much for him.”

Due to her parentage, Rachel’s Valentina has been a force since birth. The daughter of Bernardini is the second foal out of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.

She is also likely the last foal her brilliant mother will ever produce. Rachel Alexandra underwent emergency abdominal surgery after foaling Rachel’s Valentina and spent more than month at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital recovering.

Barbara Banke, owner of Stonestreet Stables, has said she will not risk her prized mare suffering such complications again. Just two starts into her career, Rachel’s Valentina has already  ensured her mother will still go down as a success as a broodmare. After breaking her maiden first time out at Saratoga on August 2, she captured the Grade I Spinaway Stakes by a length at Saratoga on September 5.

“Anytime you have a filly with a pedigree like that and you’re able to win a Grade I race like the Spinaway, it’s a fantastic achievement for her and her dam and the entire family,” Pletcher said. “Aside from that, she’s just a lovely filly to be around. She’s a really cool horse to train. She has such a sweet personality.

“She’s a delight. She’s been as straight forward as any 2-year-old we’ll ever get in. Everything we’ve done with her from her first three furlong breeze to now, she has just continually handled everything with ease.”

Before sending Rachel’s Valentina out for her final move before next weekend, Pletcher also worked Breeders’ Cup Turf contender Red Rifle, Mile hopeful Mshawish and Filly & Mare Sprint contender Dame Dorothy.

Dame Dorothy and Red Rifle each covered their half mile works in 49 flat while Mshawish was exceptional in his four furlong move as he was clocked in 47 4/5 with splits of :13 1/5, :25 4/5, :47 4/5, out in 1:01 and 1:14 1/5.

“I had Mshawish finishing in 22 and change for the last quarter and he really galloped out great,” Pletcher said. “I thought it was a very impressive work from him.”




« Previous PageNext Page »