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Champion and Hall of Famer Cigar dead at age 24

It wasn’t part of his 16-race win streak nor his 11 career Grade I wins and didn’t add to his nearly $10 million in career earnings. But the simple act of Cigar being Cigar was enough to leave Mike Pons awestruck one random afternoon.

“One of the first times I saw him at Kentucky Horse Park…there was a girl who had a baby in her stroller and Cigar was in the ring,” Pons recalled of the champion who was born on his family’s Maryland-based Country Life Farm. “While the gal was talking about him, the handler just let him go and he reached his neck over the ropes so this little girl – maybe a year old – could reach up and pet him on the nose.

“It was almost like a circus act. You had to see it to believe it.”


Sentiments of wonder became the go-to reaction when it came to Cigar’s exploits.


The two-time Horse of the Year and racing Hall of Famer now leaves the Thoroughbred community grieving after passing away at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital Tuesday evening at the age of 24 due to complications following surgery for severe osteoarthritis in his neck.


The charismatic bay horse, who was bred and campaigned by Allen Paulson, had been a most popular resident at the  Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions since his arrival there in 1999.


Kathy Hopkins, director of equine operations for the Horse Park, said Wednesday that Cigar “had been experiencing arthritis-related health issues over the past six months” and that “medical therapies had failed to relieve the pressure that the arthritis was causing on his spine, which had resulted in instability in his hind legs.”


Surgical correction was performed by a team led by Dr. Brett Woodie, of Rood and Riddle, Dr. Laura Werner, of Hagyard Equine, and Dr. Steve Reed, of Rood and Riddle who pioneered the special procedure performed.


Though Cigar initially appeared to come out of the surgery in good order, Dr. Reed said the son of Palace Music “suffered a vertebral fracture” during recovery and passed away.


“Every good horse I’ve ever been around knows they’re a good horse and knows they’re special. And Cigar certainly had that,” Wes Lanter, who oversees the Hall of Champions at the Horse Park, said of Cigar Wednesday morning. “There are people who would specifically plan their vacations and time every year just to come here and see him. He loved to stand at the fence, he loved being seen.


“He will certainly be missed here. Every day there is someone here who comes specifically to see him. He means a lot to the park, a lot to the Commonwealth and to us individually.”


Cigar’s death comes almost exactly seven years after the Horse Park lost fellow Hall of Famer John Henry. In terms of transcending the sport the last two decades, Cigar was arguably without peer.


His first nine starts were undistinguished as he toiled mostly in the allowance ranks on the turf under the care of trainer Alex Hassinger Jr.  After being transferred to Bill Mott at the start of 1994, the son of Palace Music found new form when his Hall of Fame conditioner tried him back on the dirt following four more losses on the turf, going one mile in an allowance test at Aqueduct that October 28.


A journey toward immortality began that day. His front-running, eight-length triumph kicked off a streak of 16 straight wins that would feature 10 Grade I triumphs.


Eight of those top-level triumphs came during his 10-for-10 championship campaign of 1995, an untouchable run that was capped with legendary announcer Tom Durkin famously calling him “the unconquerable, invincible, unbeatable Cigar” as he hit the line 2 1/2 lengths in front during the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Belmont Park.

“I’m the ultimate worrier. But I never worried about him because he had such quickness from the gate, had such a high cruising speed,” said Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, who rode Cigar in his final 19 career starts. “I could get out of any situation I might find myself in. He was never in trouble because he allowed me to use him to the degree that I was always outside in a perfect stalking position.
“I got to the point where I thought there was nothing this horse could not do.”


In 1996, Cigar traveled to Dubai for the inaugural running of the Dubai World Cup – now the world’s richest race with a $10 million purse. His victory in that test not only put the World Cup itself on the map as a top global race, but solidified Cigar as an international star of the sport.


“It was like there was gold dust everywhere he went and he would sprinkle it around,” Pons said.


The toll of crisscrossing the country and racing at 10 different tracks over a year and a half caught up with the seemingly tireless horse in August 1996. Cigar’s win streak was broken when he ran second to Dare and Go in the Grade I Pacific Classic.


He was retired following a third-place finish in that’s year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, ending his career with 19 wins from 33 career starts and a then North American-record of $9,999,815 in earnings.

“For the first half of my career, I had like a doctor-patient relationship (with horses),” Bailey said. “I rode the horses, I worked them out in the morning and I went home. And it was nothing else. Until Cigar. He made me fall in love with horses.”


Cigar’s retirement was as splashy as his career. After begin paraded at Madison Square Garden during the 1996 National Horse Show, he was sent to stand at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles but was moved to the Horse Park after he proved to be infertile.


The breeding shed’s loss was a gain for the public as Cigar’s presence proved a great ambassador for the Horse Park. Year in and out, countless fans across the country would make the trip just to see the bay runner who remained in top flesh and full of attitude until the end.


“Cigar was an incredible horse who left an everlasting mark on the racing world,” said Ted Nicholson, interim executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “We are honored that Cigar was able to spend so many years of his life here at the park where he was visited by so many fans and will always be remembered.”


Like the other Hall of Champions horses who died in retirement at the park, Cigar will be buried on the Memorial Walk of Champions. A public memorial service will be held for Cigar at a future date, yet to be determined.


“He’s a horse who changed my life so to speak. Most horses you can’t say that about,” Mott said Wednesday. “Because of him, we were able to go so many places and meet so many great people, some that have remained friends today.


“He did a lot more than just win races for us.”


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

Grade I winner My Conquestadory retired

Conquest Stables’ My Conquestadory, winner of the Grade I Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland last October, has been retired trainer Mark Casse said Tuesday morning.

My Conquestadory had been pointing towards a start in Saturday’s Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland where she was expected to be among the race favorites. Casse said Tuesday he was unsatisfied with how the 3-year-old daughter of Artie Schiller had trained while at Keeneland and the decision was made to let her begin her second career in the breeding shed.

“I just didn’t feel watching her train at Keeneland that she was at her very best. And if you’re going to run in a race like the one this weekend, you have to be at your very best,” Casse said. “The owners and I talked about it and our feeling was she’s already a Grade I winner, she’s done a lot of things. She’s sound and she could have gone on and ran another year….I just didn’t want to risk any problems with her. So she’s already at Lane’s End.”

My Conquestadory captured the Alcibiades in her second career start after winning the Grade II Summer Stakes at Woodbine while facing males in her career debut last September. All of her six career starts have come against graded stakes company and her most recent start saw the dark bay filly run third in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks on August 16.

The sentimental value surrounding My Conquestadory is huge as well as she became the first Grade I winner for owners Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell, who operate Conquest Stables.

“She’s named after Dory and I think every time she runs and does anything, everybody worries and holds their breath because she’s just so special to them,” Casse said. “So it is bittersweet but I think there is also some relief that now she gets to go and be a mommy. They’re more excited about that than racing.

Bred by Paul Tackett, My Conquestadory retires with two wins from six career starts and $503,526 in earnings. The only time she was worse than third came when she finished fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“I’m sorry to see her go but hopefully we’ll have lots of little My Conquestadorys in the future,” Casse said.

My Conquestadory is the second major contender to be declared out of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup this week. On Monday, Team Valor announced that Euro Charline, impressive winner of the Grade I Beverly D. at Arlington on August, would miss the race after lameness was discovered in her right hind ankle. She is slated to undergo a nuclear scan later this week to confirm if bone bruising is present.

Keeneland racing secretary Ben Huffman said Tuesday that Grade III winner Speed Seeker is now slated to join the QEII lineup. The list of probables also includes Aurelia’s Belle, Ball Dancing, Crown Queen, Daring Dancer,  Minorette, Personal Diary, Sea Queen,  and Xcellence.



Top stallion Silver Deputy euthanized at age 29

Edited release:

Silver Deputy,  sire of seven champions, was euthanized on October 4 at Fred Seitz’s Brookdale Farm due to infirmities of old age. The son of Deputy Minister was 29 and had been pensioned at Brookdale since 2008.

Silver Deputy was from the first crop of eventual two-time leading stallion Deputy Minister and went on to carve out his own distinction in the breeding shed. Undefeated in two starts for Windfields Farm before a knee injury cut his racing career shot, Silver Deputy entered stud at his owner’s Ontario, Canada-based operation for an initial fee of $2,500 in 1989.

His first crop saw him finish second to Forty Niner on the 1992 North American Freshman sire list. After moving to Brookdale for the remainder of his career, his fee would rise to as high as $75,000 in 2000 thanks to the exploits of such top offspring like Hall of Famer Silverbulletday, the champion 2-year-old filly of 1998 and champion 3-year-old filly of 1999.

Silver Deputy sired 694 winners and 88 stakes winners with progeny earnings of  more than $88 million. Other notable offpsring include Canadian champions Archers Bay, Deputy Inxs, Deputy Jane West, Scotzanna, Poetically, and Larkwhistle. His sons at stud include Posse, Spring at Last, Badge of Silver and Archers Bay.

Silver Deputy was buried at Brookdale Farm.

Don’t Tell Sophia scores first Grade I triumph in Juddmonte Spinster

Phil Sims knew the closing kick was coming.

Since the time the Kentucky-based trainer purchased Don’t Tell Sophia for the minimum starting bid of $1,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale, the Congaree mare had rarely failed to deliver a quality effort, finishing no worse than third in the last two years.

Of her 11 prior wins from 22 previous starts, however, none of those triumphs had come against Grade I company. Facing the filly widely considered the best distaffer in the nation, Don’t Tell Sophia’s latest rendition of her signature late-run proved the best of her enduring career.

There was little on paper to suggest multiple Grade I winner Close Hatches would be anything but the class of the field in Sunday’s Grade I, $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland. When the 1-to-5 favorite shockingly backed up in the six-horse field, it was hard-knocking Don’t Tell Sophia surging into the role of giant killer, fighting past Grade I winner Ria Antonia with a last-to-first rally and surviving a subsequent objection to win the 1 1/8-miles test by 2 1/2 lengths.

Trained and co-owned by Sims, 6-year-old Don’t Tell Sophia is the quintessential blue-collar heroine who is now likely slated for a start in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Park on October 31.
The bay mare has improved every year on the track, notching her first graded stakes score when she won the Grade II Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs last November.

This March, she came within 1 3/4-lengths of Close Hatches when that one won the Grade II Azeri at Oaklawn. As Don’t Tell Sophia’s bullet five-furlong move at Keeneland on September 28 signaled, she was never better than she was facing the Juddmonte Farms homebred again.

“I saw Sophie coming like a freight train and I said ‘She’s going to run them down’,” said Sims, who co-owns the mare with Jerry Namy and earned his only other Grade I win when he saddle Hot Cha Cha to victory in the 2009 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. “We didn’t want to get cocky, but we went into the race with confidence.

“It’s a dream, it is. It’s huge of course. I felt giddy about her, but just tried to keep it to myself.”

As reliable as Don’t Tell Sophia’s kick has been, Close Hatches had been lethal on the front end this year, coming into the Spinster unbeaten in four prior starts this season.The 4-year-old daughter of First Defence took the Grade I Apple Blossom, Grade I Odgen Phipps and was coming off a five-length win in the Grade I Personal Ensign.

Though she cruised along up front Sunday through fractions of 24.19 and 47.47, she had Ria Antonia at her throat the whole way and had no response when jockey Joel Rosario called on her in the stretch, fading to fourth behind Molly Morgan.

“When that horse (Ria Antonia) came to me she kind of stayed there,” Rosario said. “She gave me a little bit, but normally when they come to her she keeps on going and improves her position.”

After rating at the back of the six-horse field, Don’t Tell Sophia was giving jockey Joe Rocco Jr. all the confidence as she began picking up ground with ever-lengthening strides five-wide around the final turn.
Though she appeared to angle in front of Ria Antonia during her stretch run, the stewards deemed Don’t Tell Sophia was already clear and that it had no bearing on the order of finish.

“I just take my time with her,” Sims said of his mare who has now has $979,295 in career earnings. “I let her tell me when she’s ready, what she wants to do. With her pedigree, she gets better with age.”

Final time for the test was 1:49.80 over a fast track. As satisfying as the win was for Don’t Tell Sophia, the runner-up effort by Ria Antonia was as equally so for the connections of the filly who has not won in eight starts since being awarded the win in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies via disqualification.

“It’s very gratifying for (owner) Ron (Paolucci),” trainer Tom Amoss said. “He’s taken a lot of heat about what his filly is, but she’s now second in a Grade I against older fillies.”

The juxtaposition of emotions played out with enormous class during the winner’s circle presentation as representatives of Juddmonte had to hand over the trophy most expected their homebred mare to earn with ease.

“We’ll take her back and get her checked out,” Juddmonte Farms manager Garrett O’Rourke said of Close Hatches. “They get beaten half a length, you say it could be she got out run. But to be beaten that far (7 1/4 lengths), obviously something was amiss. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious.

“Some days it’s our turn, some days it’s someone else’s turn. I’m absolutely delighted for Phil. There is no one more deserving.”

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

Champion Wise Dan not to be denied in G1 Shadwell Turf Mile triumph

From the start, everything looked to be going awry, so much so that it sent real angst rippling through the connections of the horse who has refused to yield to repeated perils.

The famed chestnut face of two-time defending Horse of the year Wise Dan was cocked sideways as the starting gate for the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile opened. As he recovered  from breaking at the back of the eight-horse field to get into contention during the $1 million test, his former conqueror was running devoid of pressure on the front end.

With a quarter mile to go, the future Hall of Famer looked like he was about to suffer his second loss in the eight-furlong test. But with the arrival of the finish line came business as usual: an awe-inspiring victory worthy of an all-timer, complete with as emotional an outpouring as he has ever inspired.

In absence of adequate superlatives to describe Morton Fink’s 11-time Grade I winner, the tears from his camp and reception from the Keeneland crowd of 25,070 spoke as eloquently as any about Wise Dan’s one-length triumph over Grand Arch in Saturday’s Shadwell Turf Mile.

As much as the chestnut gelding’s presence in the winner’s circle was fully expected, the path there was peppered with pitfalls, from his missing the break to last year’s Turf Mile winner Silver Max winging it up front through a soft half mile in 48.27 while Wise Dan raced between horses in sixth.

Superior athletes have a way of turning a tide when defeat looms. With his Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez delivering right-handed urging, Wise Dan kept his 7-year-old legs churning, edging up from seventh on far outside, past Grand Arch to his inside and Sayaad on the rail for his 23rd career victory, third Grade I win this year and second triumph since returning from emergency colic surgery on May 16.

“It was emotional in Saratoga (winning the Grade II Bernard Baruch on August 30) but it was really emotional here,” trainer Charlie LoPresti said. “He’s just an incredible horse, I don’t know what else to say.

“When I saw that 24 and change with Silver Max I said he’s done, he’s going to steal this race. But (Wise Dan) just started cruising up the backside, Johnny got him settled. I don’t know how fast he ran the last quarter but he had to be flying. An incredible performance.”

The joyous screams that came from Amy LoPresti, wife and assistant to Charlie LoPresti, and Leona Velazquez, wife of John Velazquez, as they hugged and scrambled their way down the tunnel post race was matched by the ovation that welcomed Wise Dan as he made his way back past the stands.

Perhaps the most telling part of the gelded son of Wiseman Ferry’s latest win was how hard Velazquez had to work to get him pulled up after hitting the wire in 1:35.62 over a course rated good.

“The stretch was the easy part,” said John Velazquez, who won five races on the card including a sweep of all three Grade I contests on the day. “Going that slow, I was a little concerned I was going to be clipping heels. I was saying. ‘Buddy, be easy, easy, easy.’ Once I pulled him out of there, he kicked his usual kick. When I pulled him out, he was there for me.”

The racing public has come to expect nothing less from Wise Dan, he of the back-to-back victories in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and $7,552,920 in career earnings.

His only career loss in 16 starts on the turf came in the 2011 edition of the Shadwell Turf Mile and his only defeat in 2013 came when he was second in the race behind Silver Max when the test was taken off the turf due to inclement weather. If his wins in the Shadwell and Bernard Baruch answered the question if he could be his old self post surgery, the one LoPresti and Fink will now field is whether a third run in the Breeders’ Cup Mile will be on tap or if they take a swing at the $5 million Classic at Santa Anita Park on November 1.

“He’s doing what he’s been doing and we have no reason to change it,” Fink said.

Added LoPresti, “I think he deserves come consideration to run in the Classic, it’s up to Mr. Fink. But I would not be afraid to run him in either race.”

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

Breeders’ Cup bans Doug O’Neill from entering horses

Days after it was reported by various outlets that trainer Doug O’Neill was suspended by the New York State Gaming Commission for a medication violation, Breeders’ Cup Ltd. announced Friday it would not permit O’Neill to pre-enter horses in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

O’Neill is facing a 45-day suspension and $10,000 fine after  his trainee Wind of Bosphorous tested positive for the sedative drug oxazepam following a victory in the second race at Belmont Park on  June 2, 2013. The suspension was not scheduled to begin until Nov. 3, two days following the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park.

In a statement issued Friday, Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel said “Due to the recent administrative action by the New York State Gaming Commission, Breeders’ Cup Limited has informed trainer Doug O’Neill, and has notified the California Horse Racing Board, of the provisions of the Breeders’ Cup Convicted Trainers rule. Under that rule, adopted in 2010 and amended in 2012, Mr. O’Neill will not be permitted to pre-enter horses in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.”

In a follow-up statement issued, O’Neill said he would not appeal.

“I accept the Breeders’ Cup decision that I will not be permitted to participate in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” he said. “I maintain that I did not administer the drug and I am confident that none of my employees or staff did either. In fact, I was not present or even in the state of New York when the alleged infraction took place. Nevertheless, I was the trainer of record and take responsibility for the positive test.

“One of the reasons I wanted to resolve these allegations was to not be a distraction to the racing community. Unfortunately, it has become clear that certain reactions to the settlement have had the opposite effect. In particular, the provision that my suspension be postponed until after the Breeders’ Cup has caused a particularly strong reaction in some quarters. I know realize that delaying the suspension so that I could participate in the Breeders’ Cup was a mistake. Accordingly, after further reflection and prior to the Breeders’ Cup announcement that I could not participate, I made a request to the New York State Gaming Commission that my suspension begin on October 6, 2014 or as soon thereafter as is practicable.”

O’Neill has a handful of potential Breeders’ Cup runners, including defending Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents and Grade I winner Private Zone, who is likely slated for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

The Breeders’ Cup Convicted Trainers Rule states the following:

No person may participate as a trainer of a horse pre-entered or entered in a Breeders’ Cup World Championships race if that person, during the twelve months preceding the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, has been found by any racing regulatory agency, whether a governmental agency or a non-governmental regulatory body, to have violated a racing regulation prohibiting the possession or use of any substance listed under Class 1, carrying Category “A” or “B” penalties, or Class 2, carrying a Category “A” penalty, in the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances or a racing regulation prohibiting the possession or use of steroids and the appeal periods for such finding shall have expired or all appeals, if any, will have received final disposition (a “Drug Conviction”).




Multiple Grade I winner Game On Dude to Old Friends

Edited release:

Multiple Grade I winner Game on Dude has been retired to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown announced Friday.


Campaigned by trainer Bob Baffert and owned by a partnership that includes Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride, the Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable, and Bernie Schiappa, the 7-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again was retired from racing on September 18 following one of the most prestigious campaigns in history.

Game on Dude holds the distinction of being the only horse to ever capture three runnings of the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap. His Big ‘Cap victory in 2014 came at a near-American record time of 1:58 flat, which was the fastest time in the race’s 79-year history.In addition, he is only the second horse in history to sweep California’s three Grade I handicaps­–the Santa Anita Handicap, the Hollywood Gold Cup, and the Pacific Classic– in the same year.

In his 34 career starts Game on Dude captured 16 wins, eight of them grade I stakes, and earnings of just under $6.5 million.


“We are thrilled that Bob Baffert and the owners of Game on Dude are entrusting Old Friends with their spectacular racehorse,” said Michael Blowen, founder and president of Old Friends. “It’s such an honor to show him off to all of his fans and visitors. Over the last few weeks, Bob asked a lot of detailed questions about his care. Now I know how the people of Cleveland felt when LeBron James signed with the Cavs.”

“It feels like we are sending our child off to camp for five years,” said Baffert via telephone. “(My wife) Jill and I have been supporters of Old Friends and we really felt Game on Dude needed to be somewhere where he would be loved on–he is such a sweet horse, such a good soul, and we know there will be a lot of interaction there.”

Currently, arrangements are being made for Game On Dude’s flight to Kentucky via the Tex Sutton Forwarding Co. and arrival times will be announced when they are confirmed. A press event as well as a public viewing will be scheduled.

Keeneland catalogs 4,026 for November Breeding Stock sale

Edited release:

 Keeneland has cataloged 4,026 horses for its 2014 November Breeding Stock Sale, to be held Nov. 4-14.  The total is up from the 3,602 horses Keeneland  cataloged for its 2013 November exercise, an auction that concluded with double-digit gains in gross, average and median.

Catalogs will be available electronically via Keeneland’s website,, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 30. Print catalogs will be mailed the week of Oct. 13.

The total includes 2,082 broodmares and broodmare prospects, 1,589 weanlings, 350 horses of racing age and five stallions.

“The November Sale is the world’s most important sale of bloodstock,” Keeneland Vice President of Sales Walt Robertson said. “Keeneland’s recent September Yearling Sale once again proved that horsemen from around the globe shop at Keeneland, and those and other horsemen will return for this premier offering of breeding stock.”

The November Sale includes mares in foal to 208 of the world’s most prominent stallions and exciting young sires, including Alternation, Animal Kingdom, Arch, Astrology, Awesome Again, Bernardini, Bodemeister, Broken Vow, Candy Ride, Cape Blanco, Congrats, Creative Cause, Data Link, Declaration of War, Denman, Distorted Humor, Dubawi, Elusive Quality, Galileo, Ghostzapper, Giant’s Causeway, Graydar, I Want Revenge, Keep Up, Kitten’s Joy, Lemon Drop Kid, Liaison, Lucky Pulpit, Malibu Moon, Medaglia d’Oro, More Than Ready, Morning Line, New Year’s Day, Orb, Overanalyze, Oxbow, Paynter, Pioneerof the Nile, Point of Entry, Power Broker, Scat Daddy, Sea The Stars, Shanghai Bobby,  Smart Strike, Speightstown, Stormy Atlantic, Street Cry, Street Sense, Super Saver, Take Charge Indy, Tapit, Tiznow, Trappe Shot, Union Rags, Violence and War Front.

Prominent November Sale alumni sold as weanlings include 2014 Grade I winners Declassify, Fashion Plate and Sunset Glow; Grade/Group II winners Cavorting, Fire With Fire, Frac Daddy, Grand Arch, Heart Stealer, Mshawish, Noble Moon, Solid Appeal and Spellbound; and Grade/Group III winners Azarenka, Balance of Power, Best Warrior, Bradester, Can the Man, Daddy Nose Best, Falling Sky, Flashy American, J Wonder, Munirah, Sharp Sensation, Southern Honey, Thank You Marylou, Tonito M. and War Dancer.

On Wednesday, Nov. 5, the session will conclude with an exclusive draft of mares bred to dual-hemisphere stallion Scat Daddy on Southern Hemisphere time. Scat Daddy, the leading sire this year in Chile, stands in Kentucky at Ashford Stud, which is consigning the mares.

On Tuesday, Nov. 11, the session will include horses of racing age, including the annual consignment from WinStar Racing, agent.

The sale’s first two sessions, which are included in Book 1, will begin at 11 a.m. The remaining sessions start at 10 a.m.

The entire sale will be streamed live at

Kentucky Downs establishes wagering record for meet

Edited release:

Kentucky Downs closed out its 2014 live racing season on Wednesday, and the track established new records for wagering handle and starters per race during the five race-date season. A total of $15,880,755 was wagered on the Kentucky Downs races during the 2014 meeting, shattering the previous record of $12,814,967, established in 2013, by 23.9%. Field size was 10.2 starters per race.

“We are extremely gratified with the success of this year’s live meet,” said Kentucky Downs President Corey Johnsen. “We had tremendous support from horsemen and racing fans and are proud of the quality of live racing that we were able to offer. Many of the nation’s top trainers raced horses with us this year, and our jockey colony was second to none.”

“Surpassing last year’s previous record handle by almost 24% is an accomplishment the Kentucky Downs team is very proud of. On track crowds were very enthusiastic, showing a 15% increase in handle over last year. We have a lot of momentum, and are looking forward to what the future has to offer for Thoroughbred racing at Kentucky Downs,” Johnsen concluded.

Wednesday’s closing day card was a showcase for first-class racing as three stakes races that each carried a $200,000 purse were featured. The Kentucky Downs Turf Dash at 6 ½ furlongs was won by Dimension, while the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon (run at a distance of 1 5/16 miles) was so popular with horsemen at the entry box (with a total of 23 entries) that it was split into two separate divisions, with the winners being White Rose and Angel Terrace, respectively.

In the Kentucky Downs Turf Dash, the six-year-old gelding Dimension was a neck winner over Something Extra, with favored Undrafted another neck back in third. Dimension was ridden by Chris Landeros for trainer Conor Murphy, who also owns the gelding in the name of his Riverside Bloodstock. Dimension now has lifetime earnings of over $370,000.

In his most recent start before his victory in the Kentucky Downs Turf Dash, Dimension had finished third in the Grade II Play King Stakes at Woodbine. His past accomplishments include a fifth place finish, beaten only three lengths, in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita last November.

In the first division of the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon, White Rose was rated nicely by jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who swung the four-year-old mare out from behind horse in mid-stretch and went on to earn a 1 ¾ length victory, stopping the timer in 2:13.76. The gray daughter of leading sire Tapit is trained by Bill Mott for owners Jake Ballis and NBA star Rashard Lewis. The victory brought White Rose’s career earnings to over $319,600. Runner-up in the first division was La Maluguena, with Angegreen finishing third.

In the second division of the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon, Angel Terrace forged to the lead in the final sixteenth of a mile to overtake the stubborn frontrunner I O Ireland to claim the victory by 1 ½ lengths. Ridden by Florent Geroux for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard and owner George Strawbridge’s Augustine Stable, Angel Terrace is a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Ghostzapper, Angel Terrace brought her career bankroll to over $295,000 with the victory. Her winning time for the 1 5/16 miles was 2:12.44.

Reviewing individual honors for the 2014 Kentucky Downs meet, Rosie Napravnik and Julien Leparoux tied for the leading jockey title with seven victories apiece during the five-day season. Wesley Ward earned his third leading trainer title at Kentucky Downs, saddling seven winners during the meet, including two victories on closing day. Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey were the leading owners for the second straight year. The Ramseys had four wins, three second place finishes and earnings of over $264,000 for the five-day 2014 live meet.

Kentucky Downs features a one-of-a-kind European-style turf course that offers a fair test to horses at all levels of competition. The Kentucky Downs race course is among the longest courses in North America at 1.3125 (1 5/16) miles in length. With subtle elevation changes throughout the course, a sweeping turn into the stretch run and a quarter-mile run from the end of the final turn to the finish line, racing at Kentucky Downs is unlike any racing seen this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

While the live racing season is concluded at Kentucky Downs for this year, the track continues to offer year-around simulcasting on horse racing from tracks around the country, as well as the extremely popular wagering on historical horse racing.

Champion Beholder to be offered at Fasig-Tipton November sale

Edited release:

The list of high-profile mares slated to sell at the Fasig-Tipton November sale continues to grow as it was announced Wednesday evening that two-time Eclipse Award and Breeders’ Cup winner Beholder would be offered at the auction days after her expected title defense in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Owner B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm will consign the 4-year-old filly.


“Beholder is a truly special filly,” said Ned Toffey, Spendthrift general manager. “Her conformation is both flawless and spectacular. As a half-sister to one of the most exciting young stallions (Into Mischief) in the world, her pedigree really is unique and her race record quite simply speaks for itself.”


Trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, Beholder has assembled one of the most decorated careers by a filly in recent memory. She is the only distaffer to win both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and she’s the first filly since Hall of Fame champion Silverbulletday to earn the Eclipse Award at both two and three.


A seven-time stakes winner, Beholder has tallied five Grade I wins to date – the two Breeders Cup races, plus the Santa Anita Oaks, Las Virgenes Stakes and Zenyatta Stakes. The daughter of Henny Hughes is slated to defend her title in the Zenyatta Stakes when she starts in the race this Saturday at Santa Anita Park and is also seeking to become the first three-time Breeders’ Cup winner on the main track.


“Beholder will be one of the most accomplished horses ever to be offered at a Fasig-Tipton sale,” said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning. “She is truly the complete package. We appreciate Mr. Hughes and the Spendthrift Team for providing us the opportunity to sell this remarkable filly.”


Earlier this week, it was announced that Believe You Can and Princess of Sylmar –  winners of the 2012 and 2013 Kentucky Oaks, respectively – are also slated to be offered at the Fasig-Tipton November sale.


Bred by Clarkland Farm, Beholder currently boasts a record of nine wins from 14 starts with  career earnings of $3,188,300. She hails from the multiple Grade I -producing Tricky Creek mare Leslie’s Lady, and is a half-sister to fellow Grade I winner Into Mischief. Earlier this month, Beholder’s half-sister by Curlin sold for $1.1 million at the Keeneland September Sale.


“I’ve been lucky enough to have many good mares in my years of training, but this mare might have to be the best of all,” Mandella said of his charge.

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