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Half to champion Beholder first to seven figures at Keeneland September yearling sale

A bay filly that is a half sister to champion Beholder and Grade I winner Into Mischief became the first youngster to reach the seven-figure level during the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale, bringing a final bid of $1.1 million early in Monday’s opening Book One session.

The filly by Curlin is one of just two horses consigned in Book One by Fred and Nancy Mitchell’s Clarkland Farm and is out of top producer Leslie’s Lady. George Isaacs, general manager of Bridlewood Farm based in Ocala, Florida, signed the ticket for the filly and said the plan is for the farm to race her themselves.

“Obviously she’s a very nice filly,” Isaacs said. “She’s got a huge pedigree, looks like she can run. It’s a foundation type family for Bridlewood Farm.

“I knew I might have to go to a million but obviously I had to reach a little farther. She’s just an alpha-type physical, has a big walk. If she didn’t look like she could run, I wouldn’t have bought her. We’ll give her every opportunity.”

Leslie’s Lady has been a dream of a broodmare, producing Into Mischief – winner of the 2007 Grade I CashCall Futurity – and most notably multiple Eclipse Award winner Beholder. Beholder captured the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies en route to being named that year’s champion 2-year-old filly and she romped in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff to claim last year’s honor for champion 3-year-old filly.

Beholder is currently being pointed to the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita Park on September 27 with an attempted defense in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff her year-end goal.


Cristina’s Journey much the best in Pocahontas; Asmussen duo reigns in Iroquois

By Alicia Wincze Hughes

LOUISVILLE – As commercial breeders, the best thing Phil Needham and his wife Judy can end up questioning themselves on is why they decided to let one of their own go.


They fielded such queries in the wake of the success of 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and multiple Grade I winner Dullahan, both of whom the Needhams co-bred and later sold.

Standing in the winner’s circle after  Saturday’s Grade II, $231,000 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs, Phil Needham was happy to wonder the same thing after Cristina’s Journey – another product of their operation – put forth a gate-to-wire effort to win by 2 1/4 lengths, earning herself a likely trip to California for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

The Pocahontas was one of four stakes, three graded, on Churchill’s Saturday card. One race earlier, Steve Asmussen trainee Lucky Player became the first horse to lead the points standings for the 2015 Road to the Kentucky Derby when he bested stablemate Bold Conquest by a neck in the Grade III, $115,500 Iroquois Stakes for 2-year-olds.

The 1 1/16-miles Pocahontas has produced eventual Grade I winners in three of its last five runnings, including this year’s Kentucky Oaks heroine Untapable.

As easy as Cristina’s Journey was to be around as a foal is how handily she has dismissed her competition in her two career starts, winning by a combined 6 1/2 lengths.


“As the breeder you wonder why you sold them now that she’s accomplished,” laughed Phil Needham, who bred Cristina’s Journey along with his wife and Bena Halecky. “But it’s always been our formula to raise as good a horse as we could raise and let someone else enjoy the racing side.


“She was always a nice filly to be around. You question whether it was good wisdom to sell but…if you count the numbers you sold and haven’t materialized like this one.”


Trainer Dale Romans signed the ticket for Cristina’s Journey after she brought a final bid of $37,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September sale. Carrying the colors of owner Tim Newcomer’s GSN Racing, the 2-year-old daughter of Any Given Saturday broke her maiden at going six furlongs at Ellis Park on July 27 and has yet to be headed in her brief career.


Most important, she showed maturity to relax under jockey Miguel Mena through fractions of 24.19 and 48.63 despite being pressed by True to You down the backside of the Pocahontas.


“She was pressed today and she drew off clear and looked good to me,” said Romans when reached at Kentucky Downs. “I’m sure everybody liked their filly but you don’t know until you line them up and she ran the way we were hoping.”


Sent off as the 7-to-2 second choice in the 10-horse field, Cristina’s Journey covered the distance in 1:46.37 over a fast track. Pangburn came up for second, 2 1/2 lengths clear Milehigh Butterfly.


The 1 1/16-miles Iroquois featured similarly tepid fractions but a much closer result. After sitting just off the flank of 6-to-5 favorite Mr. Z through an opening half in 49.51, 11-to-1 shot Lucky Player edged clear of that one when nine-horse field hit the lane but then had the chestnut frame of Bold Conquest range up to his throat.


Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. kept the son of Lookin At Lucky to task with right-handed urging as they hit the line in 1:45.76 for his second win in four career starts. Hashtag Bourbon held for third with Mr. Z fading to fifth.



“Lucky Player was laying extremely well, he was in a perfect spot,” Asmussen said. “Ricardo gave him a great trip. I think he benefited a lot from his two-turn race that he had previously  second in the Prairie Juvenile Mile at Iowa’s Prairie Meadows in August) and then Bold Conquest – I think he was a little wide early, not a lot of pace, but he still continued well.”


Earlier on the card, six-year-old Don’t Tell Sophia put herself in line for a possible start in the Grade I Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland on October 5 when she rallied from last in the six-horse field to win the $108,200 Locust Grove by 2 1/4 lengths in her first start since running third in the Grade II Azeri at Oaklawn on March 15.



Don’t Tell Sophia came out of the Azeri with a quarter crack that forced her to miss a start in the Grade I Apple Blossom on April 11. Despite the mini layoff and pacesetter Baby Fresh being allowed to walk through fractions of 25.31 and 49.76, the daughter of Congaree came with a sweeping move around the far turn, leaving graded stakes winner Molly Morgan in her wake for place money.



“She shows up, you can count on her,” said trainer and co-owner Phil Sims, who purchased the bay mare for just $1,000 as a yearling. “She likes this track, too, a whole lot. If you look at her, you know she’s not a thousand dollar horse. She just happened to be in the right place. She’s by Congaree who wasn’t a faster stallion, but that’s what I look for. Her mother was a graded stakes placed horse, and her mother was a nice horse. I look for those kind of horses, maybe not that fast of stallion but they can have the physique as well.”



Frivolous held for third in the 1 1/16-miles Locust Grove, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia.



Race favorite and multiple Grade I winner On Fire Baby faded to last in the field in what was her 17th career start. Owner Anita Cauley indicted afterwards the 5-year-old daughter of Smoke Glacken will likely be retired after that outing.



“I think it’s time for her to go home and be a broodmare,” Cauley said. “We’ve had a good run, but it’s time.”


The Grade III, $107,300 Ack Ack Handicap saw favored Bradester jumped to the lead at the start and stubbornly fight off a challenge from Carve en route to a 1 3/4 length victory in the one mile test.


The Ack Ack victory by the Eddie Kenneally-trained Bradester snapped a four-race losing streak that dated to a Feb. 22 triumph in the Grade III Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds.  Owned by Joseph Sutton, Bradester won for the third time in seven 2014 starts and improved his career record to 5-5-1 in 13 races.

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

Multiple Grade I winner Palace Malice retired due to bone bruise

Palace Malice, winner of the 2013 Belmont Stakes and this year’s Grade I Met Mile, has been retired from racing due to a deep bone bruise in his left hind leg, owner Dogwood Stable announced on Friday.


Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell said the 4-year-old son of Curlin underwent an examination at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington on Thursday where the ailment was revealed. Palace Malice was coming off a lackluster sixth place finish in the Grade I Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on August 2.


“This situation causes us to address retiring Palace Malice, although Dr. Larry Bramlage’s prognosis states that the horse should race to his true potential as a five-year-old, after sufficient time for healing this problem,” Campbell said in a release. “After winning four straight graded stakes, including the Grade I Metropolitan Mile, Palace Malice ran a uncharacteristic race in the Whitney on August 2, and worked several times in a lackluster manner following that race. When no apparent reason for that emerged, we flew him to Kentucky on September 2 and the examination revealed the reason for this change in form.”


Campbell has previously stated that nearly a dozen breeding operations had reached out to him to stand Palace Malice at stud.


“We are contacting those breeding operations that earlier have expressed interest in this horse and we will have discussions regarding his future,” Campbell said Friday.


Prior to the Whitney, Palace Malice had put forth a 2014 campaign that had him considered one of the leading handicap horses in the nation. The bay colt opened his year with a victory in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 8 and came back that same month to capture the Grade II New Orleans Handicap by 4 3/4 lengths.


Following a 9 3/4-length romp in the Grade III Westchester Stakes on May 11, Palace Malice scored arguably his most impressive victory when he overcame the No. 1 post position and fought past 2013 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents to take the Met Mile by a length at Belmont Park on June 7.


Fittingly, this year’s Met Mile was part of the undercard of the Belmont Stakes, which 12 months prior had been Palace Malice’s breakout moment. The Todd Pletcher trainee rebounded from a 12th place run in the 2013 Kentucky Derby and defeated Preakness Stakes hero Oxbow by 3 1/4 lengths in the final leg of the Triple Crown.


Uut of the Royal Anthem mare Palace Rumor, Palace Malice retires with seven wins from 17 career starts and $2,676,135 in earnings. He is currently stabled at Dr. Robert Copelan’s Sunnyside Farm in Paris, Kentucky.

Champion Wise Dan returns with thrilling victory in Bernard Baruch

In the end, none of it mattered.

Not the 17-week layoff since Wise Dan’s last race. Not the incision carved upon his belly during emergency surgery, not even a rare bout of fractiousness in an area where he is usually a total gentleman.

When Optimizer came to Wise Dan’s flank in deep stretch of the Grade II, $250,00 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga Race Course, the former looked as if he might be a threat the two-time defending Horse of the Year could not fend off. Once the finish line photo was reviewed, Optimizer joined the above obstacles as just another in a countless list of challenges overcome by Morton Fink’s homebred champion.

Emotions exploded in the winner’s circle and around the Thoroughbred racing community Saturday afternoon as Wise Dan held off Optimizer by a nose to capture the 1 1/16-miles Bernard Baruch on the Saratoga turf in what was his first start since undergoing emergency colic surgery at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital on May 16.

As wonderfully as Wise Dan recovered from his bout with colic, no one was holding their breath more than Fink and trainer Charlie LoPresti in anticipation of whether the 7-year-old gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry could run and fight in the aftermath of his surgery in the same manner that has earned him six Eclipse Awards to date.

Nerves got even more frayed when Wise Dan uncharacteristically acted up in the starting gate, rearing and unseating his Hall of Fame pilot, John Velazquez. It was business as usual when they reunited and sprang from post No. 5, sitting fourth through fractions of 23.26 and 46.32 en route to covering the distance in 1:39.08, just .17 off the course record of 1:38.91 set by Fourstardave in 1991.

“He showed today when he is the two-time Horse of the  Year,” an emotional LoPresti said. “To overcome what he’s overcome…that’s the amazing thing about him. He’s been through a lot. I knew he was training good and I knew he was going to run good.”

LoPresti has been masterful at listening to what his gut and his stable star tells him is the best course of action. Thought the Lexington-based trainer initially considered bringing Wise Dan back in the Grade II Fourstardave Handicap on August 9, he opted to bypass that outing and give the chestnut monster more time and tightening works.

The Bernard Baruch indeed set up beautifully for Wise Dan as Five Iron set a honest pace on front end with Velazquez saving ground with his mount on the rail. Wise Dan rolled up three-wide outside of Sayaad around the final turn and was inching up under right-handed urging from Velazquez, but had longshot Optimizer rallying to his outside to give him all he could handle in the last handful of strides.

“He was really tough,” Velazquez said. “He showed he has the heart of a champion. (He carried) 127 pounds coming from a long layoff. When I got to the eighth pole, I didn’t think I got it. When I got past the sixteenth pole he was giving me everything he had and the other horse was coming from the outside. There was a little bit of doubt; he was getting tired. (I’m) incredibly proud. It’s incredible to have this horse coming back.”

Optimizer, sent off at 29-to-1 odds, was  1 1/4-lengths ahead of Five Iron who ended up third.

The Bernard Baruch improved Wise Dan’s record to 22 wins – ten of which have come in Grade I races –  from 30 lifetime starts with earnings of $6,952,920.

A two-time defending winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Wise Dan opened his 2014 campaign with victories in the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland and Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs before being sidelined. A start in the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on October 4 is likely the next stop for the gelding with a third straight run in the Breeders’ Cup Mile this November the ultimate goal.

“He’s a trouper, man,” LoPresti said. “He knows how to win races. I can tell you, he’s just an amazing horse. That’s the way he wins.

“He’ll build from this race, I have to think. He’ll be way tougher next time.


Kentucky Sire Stakes action highlights Sunday’s Red Mile card

Edited Red Mile release:

The best 2- and 3-year-old trotters and pacers in the Bluegrass State will be out in force at The Red Mile on Sunday night as the Lexington oval hosts the $2 million Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) Championship Night. Each of the eight divisions for 2- and 3-year-old trotters and pacers will vie for a purse of $175,000.

All four 2013 KYSS 2-year-old champions will be on the track in their respective finals on Sunday in hopes of repeating.

Last year’s champion colt pacer On Golden Ponder has cruised to a pair of preliminary victories with driver John Campbell. The son of Ponder was on the sidelines all year until KYSS action, and he returned with scores in 1:57.2 and 1:54.3.

Defending filly trot champ Petticoat Affair has finished second and third in both her preliminaries, which have been won by Dress For Success and Twice Too Nice. Petticoat Affair is sandwiched between the two on the starting gate in post 2, with Dress For Success in post No. 1 and Twice Too Nice in post 3.

The final for sophomore filly pacers features defending divisional champ Somethinincredible and Rollin Deep, both daughters of Ponder. Somethinincredible may have her work cut out for her to repeat as she has finished second to Rollin Deep in both preliminaries. Campbell drives Somethinincredible while fellow Hall of Famer Mike Lachance sits behind Rollin Deep.

The 3-year-old gelding trotter Sorrento Hall rounds out the returning champions, and he starts from post 6 in Race 7 with driver Lachance. The son of Groton Hall’s lone win last year came in the KYSS final and he has yet to taste victory this year in six attempts. Both of that division’s early rounds have been won by Tinder.

In the finals for 2- year-olds, four daughters of Groton Hall are in the five-horse field in the filly trot, including preliminary winner Armatrading and Janey Eyre. Groton Hall’s lone representative in the race for male trotters is Cinnabar Hall, likely the odds-on favorite after capturing both preliminaries.

Bestbestraight, a son of Third Straight, bested his rivals in both preliminaries for freshman male pacers, the latter score a career-best 1:54.2. Dave Palone, the sport’s all-time winningest driver, will be in the sulky from post 3.

Cielle, also a daughter of Third Straight, will start from post No. 1 in the six-horse KYSS final for 2-year-old filly pacers and has six wins and two seconds in eight career starts, with her victories including a sweep of the KYSS preliminaries.

Post time for Sunday’s Kentucky Sires Stakes Championship night is 7 p.m. There is a guaranteed Pick-4 pool of $10,000 offered on races 6-9. Concession-stand specials Sunday include $1 hot dogs, soft drinks and beer. The clubhouse is also open for fine dining, with reservations made by calling (859) 233-0814.


Pleasantly Perfect shifts to Taylor Made Stallions for 2015

Pleasantly Perfect, winner of the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic and 2004 Dubai World Cup, will stand the 2015 breeding season at Taylor Made Stallions. A fee will be announced at a later date.


Pleasantly Perfect had stood at Lane’s End Farm since retiring following his 2004 campaign and commanded a fee of $5,000 for the 2014 breeding season. The son of Pleasant Colony  has sired 16 stakes winners, five graded stakes winners, and two champions to date, led by millionaire and 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Shared Account. He’s also sired top-class performers as Setsuko, a multiple Grade I-placed earner of $657,936, and Cozi Rosie, a multiple graded stakes winner  earner of $527,280


On the racetrack, Pleasantly Perfect was a three-time Grade I winner under the care of trainer Richard Mandella, including two of the world’s richest and most prestigious races on dirt – the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup. He defeated Medaglia d’Oro to claim his Breeders’ Cup Classic victory and toppled that one again in winning the Dubai World Cup that following March.


Pleasantly Perfect retired to stud as Pleasant Colony’s most accomplished performer, with career earnings of $7,789,880.

Grade 1 winner Discreet Marq to be offered at Fasig-Tipton November

Trainer Christophe Clement announced Thursday he will consign, as agent, Grade I winner Discreet Marq to the Fasig-Tipton November sale being held November 3, offering the daughter of Discreet Cat on behalf of her owners and breeders Patricia and Frank Generazio.

The 4-year-old Discreet Marq earned her most prestigious victory in the 2013 edition of the Grade I Del Mar Oaks  in which she defeated a top class field that included five graded stakes winners.  Her five career stakes wins to date also include the Grade II Sands Point Stakes at Belmont as a three-year-old, as well as the Lie Low S. at Aqueduct at two.

Discreet Marq most recently finished second to fellow Grade I winner Dayatthespa – who is also slated to be sold at the Fasig-Tipton November sale – in the Yaddo Stakes over the Saratoga turf on August 24. She has career earnings to date of $945,900.

“Discreet Marq is as remarkably consistent and versatile a filly as I have ever trained,” said Clement.  “From her two-year-old year, to present, she has won from 5 ½ furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, competing against the best fillies of her generation from coast-to-coast. She is also a very beautiful filly, and should appeal to a wide range of buyers this fall at Fasig-Tipton.”

Discreet Marq’s first dam, To Marquet, and her second dam, Pretty Momma, are both multiple stakes winners and multiple stakes producers.  Her third dam, Turn To Mommie, is also a multiple stakes producer.

Discreet Marq is scheduled to make her next start in the Grade I First Lady Stakes at Keeneland on October 4th.

Carstanjen named CEO of Churchill Downs Inc.; Evans remains Chairman of Board of Directors

Edited release:

The board of directors of Churchill Downs Incorporated named Bill Carstanjen as the company’s 12th chief executive officer (CEO), succeeding Robert L. Evans in the position he has held since August 2006.  Carstanjen has been the CDI’s president and chief operating officer since March 2011.

Evans will continue as chairman of the Board of Directors and will continue his full-time, daily involvement in the leadership of the company focusing on strategy, acquisitions, senior management selection and development, technology initiatives, legislative initiatives, and the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby events.

“CDI’s future is exciting and I look forward to continuing to work with these outstanding leaders,” said Evans.  “We operate under a collaborative senior leadership model and have frequently changed our organizational structure to allow our executives to develop experience in new areas.  This approach has served us well, enabling us to diversify and grow the company.”

Over his career, Carstanjen, 46, spent five-and-a-half years as an attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York and five years at General Electric Company (GE) in Connecticut.  Since joining CDI in July 2005, Carstanjen has served as the company’s general counsel and chief development officer (2005-2008), as chief operating officer (2008-2011) and, most recently, as president & chief operating officer.  He has led CDI’s diversification strategy into online wagering on thoroughbred racing via, including the acquisitions of, AmericaTab, and Bloodstock Research Information Systems (BRIS); the growth of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby events; and into regional casino gaming.

“I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to lead Churchill Downs,” said Carstanjen.  “Over the last several years we have transformed Churchill Downs into a diversified growth company while continuing to strengthen and invest in our traditional horse racing business.  Today, CDI is better positioned strategically and operationally, and is stronger financially and organizationally, than perhaps at any time in its 140-year history.  I’m excited about our terrific team and the future of our racing, gaming and online businesses and new businesses we may yet enter.”

In addition, William E. Mudd has been promoted to president and chief financial officer (CFO).  Mudd has served as the company’s executive vice president and CFO since joining CDI in October 2007.  Mudd will be responsible for operations at the company’s race tracks and gaming properties, except for Churchill Downs Racetrack, and for all finance activities, corporate-level communications and investor relations.  He will report to Bill Carstanjen.

“In Bill Carstanjen and Bill Mudd we have two proven senior executives who are well known by our major shareholders and who can continue to profitably grow the company and deliver exceptional returns to our shareholders,” Evans said.

Evans, Carstanjen and Mudd will assume their new roles effective immediately.


Champion Wise Dan to break from post No. 5 in Bernard Baruch

Priorities often change in the face of crisis. After two-time defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan underwent emergency colic surgery on May 16, trainer Charlie LoPresti has repeatedly stated that the main thing he wants the 7-year-old champion gelding to achieve is a long,  healthy life.



Like most challenges he has dismissed on track, Wise Dan has handled his recovery with his signature aplomb. Now 106 days removed from his venture to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Morton Fink’s homebred star is set to make his return in Saturday’s Grade II, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.



The six-time Eclipse Award winner has had seven works since the operation, the last six at Saratoga, where he won the Grade II Fourstardave in 2012 and 2013 en route to multiple championship honors. Though LoPresti initially had targeted this year’s Fourstardave for Wise Dan’s first start post surgery, he put the breaks on that idea for fear of asking too much, too soon out of the chestnut Wiseman’s Ferry gelding.



The way Wise Dan has acted and moved in the mornings last few weeks have told LoPresti that go-time was upon him. Though LoPresti said that if something were to go off track the next few days, he could still bypass the 1 1/16-miles Bernard Baruch for the Grade I Woodbine Mile on September 14, the plan is indeed to commence with Wise Dan’s return this Saturday.


“He’s gotten back to where he was; he’s dragging (exercise rider Damien Rock) around there,” said LoPresti. “His works have been really good, and they’ve been basically not even asking him to do that. He’s just been doing it in hand.


“I think he’s back to himself again,” he added. “It took him a while to get back. We were probably two works short of the Fourstardave. Once we got him up here, I realized I was trying to play catch-up to make that race and this makes more sense. I can’t say that any race at Saratoga is easy, but this is an easier spot, I think, for him to come back in.”


Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez will be back aboard Wise Dan, who drew post No. 5 in the field of 11 entered. Lea and Red Rifle are entered for main track only.


How much weight Wise Dan will have to carry compared to his competition has been a concern of LoPresti’s. It will certainly be a challenge as Wise Dan was assigned 127 pounds, eight more pounds than key challengers Boisterous and Five Iron.


Wise Dan did carry 129 pounds in his 1 ¼-length victory over King Kreesa in last year’s Fourstardave. Coming off a layoff and surgery this time around though brings the task to heightened levels.


“We got a lot of weight,” LoPresti said. “It’s not as bad as last year, but we still got the weight that we’re dealing with, too. I think he’s really good. He’s doing good right now. I got him as fit as I can get him and I’m happy with him.


“I’m not going to jump off the roof if he gets beat half a length or a length, something like that. If he’s lucky enough to win, fine, but if it sets him up for the Shadwell (Turf Mile at Keeneland) and the Breeders’ Cup (Mile), I’m OK with that, too.”


A two-time defending Breeders’ Cup Mile winner, Wise Dan opened his 2014 campaign with victories in the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland in April and Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in early May before his colic surgery. He has a record of 21 wins and two seconds from 29 lifetime starts and earnings of $6,802,920.


“At this point I’m just glad that he’s alive and we’ve got a chance to run him back,” LoPresti said. “(As far as winning a third straight) Horse of the Year…I  haven’t even thought about that much at this point.”

But now at this point I’m just glad that he’s alive and we’ve got a chance to run him back, and Horse of the Year really hasn’t—I haven’t even thought about that much at this point. – See more at:
But now at this point I’m just glad that he’s alive and we’ve got a chance to run him back, and Horse of the Year really hasn’t—I haven’t even thought about that much at this point. – See more at:


The other Grade I winner in the Baruch field is Boisterous, a 7-year-old son of Distorted Humor making his sixth start since being transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher for the 2014 campaign.


Boisterous won the Grade I Man o’ War last summer at Belmont Park for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey and owns one victory in four career tries on the Saratoga turf, his maiden triumph in August 2010. Most recently, he finished fourth, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap on July 12 at Belmont, going 1 ½ miles.


Closing in on 1,000 career stakes victories, Pletcher captured the Grade III, 1 1/8-mile Cliff Hanger on August 24 at Monmouth Park with Winning Cause, who the trainer cut back in distance after running fourth in the 1 5/8-mile John’s Call at Saratoga. Pletcher won the 2012 Baruch with Dominus.


“Sometimes you get an improved effort when you’re going from longer to shorter [distances]. We saw that with Winning Cause,” Pletcher said. “Boisterous shows up and tries hard every time. He’s been training steadily since his last race and he’s doing well. On certain days, he’s shown that he can compete at the highest level.”



The field for the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch:









Optimizer (KY)

A Garcia


J Fernandez



Bio Pro (KY)

J Lezcano


W I. Mott



North Star Boy (IRE)

I Ortiz, Jr.


N Saville



Boisterous (KY)

J Castellano


T A. Pletcher



Wise Dan (KY)

J R. Velazquez


C LoPresti



Lea (KY) (MTO)

J Rosario


W I. Mott



Paris Vegas (KY)

L Saez


E Voss



Red Rifle (KY) (MTO)


T A. Pletcher



Five Iron (KY)

J Rosario


B A. Lynch



Sayaad (KY)

J L. Ortiz


K P. McLaughlin



Sky Blazer (KY)

R Maragh


B Tagg



a-Coupled entry



Los Alamitos Futurity added to Kentucky Derby points system

The Grade I, $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity  has been added to the list of 35 select races that comprise the 2014-15 “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points system that determines which horses qualify to start in the first leg of the Triple  Crown to beheld next year on May 2, 2015.


The Kentucky Derby points system features 19 “Prep Season” races and 16 “Championship Series” races with points increasing in value as they are held closer to the first Saturday in May.


The 1 1/16-mile Los Alamitos Futurity, which was known as the Hollywood (1981-2006) and CashCall (2007-13) Futurity at the now-shuttered Hollywood Park, will be run for the first time at Los Alamitos Race Course – the home base for 2014 Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome – on Saturday, Dec. 20. Points awarded to the top four finishers in the Los Alamitos Futurity will be 10-4-2-1 as part of the “Prep Season” that showcases foundation-building races over a minimum of one mile between September and mid-February. It commences Sept. 6 at Churchill Downs with the Grade III, $100,000 Iroquois over 1 1/16 miles.


The 2013 edition of the CashCall Futurity was won by eventual divisional champion Shared Belief. The reigning 2-year-old champion male most recently defeated older horses in the Grade I Pacific Classic this past Sunday to remain unbeaten in six career starts.


“The robust commitments by the team at Los Alamitos suggest a strong desire to be included in our series, and we’re confident the race is likely to attract aspiring and compelling Derby prospects,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “We’re delighted to welcome the Los Alamitos Futurity to the Kentucky Derby ‘Prep Season.’”


The 16 significant events that comprise the “Kentucky Derby Championship Series” during the 10-week run-up to the first Saturday in May remain unchanged from a year ago.


This is the third consecutive year that Churchill Downs  will use a sliding scale of points awarded to the Top 4 finishers in choice races to determine preference for its 20-horse Derby field. At least 20 horses have entered the 1 ¼-mile classic for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds every year since 2004, and 14 of the last 16 years.


In the first two years of the point system, the horses that topped the leaderboard with 150 points each won the Kentucky Derby: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Orb in 2013 and Steve Coburn and Perry Martin’sCalifornia Chrome in 2014.


A similar series remains in place to qualify for the Derby’s sister race, the $1 million  Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on Friday, May 1, 2015. The lone change to the 31-race “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” series is the addition of the Grade I, $350,000 Starlet, a 1 1/16-mile “Prep Season” race scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 13 at Los Alamitos. Like the Futurity, the Starlet also had been previously run at Hollywood Park.


35 Races (16 Championship Series Races)
Kentucky Derby Prep Season (20 races)
Date Race Racetrack Distance 1st (Points) 2nd (Points) 3rd (Points) 4th (Points)
Sept. 6 Iroquois Churchill Downs 1 1/16 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
Sept. 27 FrontRunner Santa Anita 1 1/16 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
Oct. 4 Champagne Belmont Park 1 Mile (10) (4) (2) (1)
Oct. 4 Breeders’ Futurity Keeneland 1 1/16 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
Oct. 5 Grey Woodbine 1 1/16 Miles (S) (10) (4) (2) (1)
Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Santa Anita 1 1/16 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
Nov. 22 Delta Downs Jackpot Delta Downs 1 1/16 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
*Nov. 29 Remsen Aqueduct 1 1/8 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
Nov. 29 Kentucky Jockey Club Churchill Downs 1 1/16 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
+Dec. 20 Los Alamitos Futurity Los Alamitos 1 1/16 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
*Jan. 3 Jerome Aqueduct 1 Mile 70 Yards (10) (4) (2) (1)
*Jan. 10 Sham Santa Anita 1 Mile (10) (4) (2) (1)
*Jan. 17 Lecomte Fair Grounds 1 Mile 70 Yards (10) (4) (2) (1)
Jan. 19 Smarty Jones Oaklawn Park 1 Mile (10) (4) (2) (1)
Jan. 24 Holy Bull Gulfstream Park 1 1/16 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
*Jan. 31 Withers Aqueduct 1 1/16 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
*Feb. 7 Robert B. Lewis Santa Anita 1 1/16 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
*Feb. 14 El Camino Real Derby Golden Gate 1 1/8 Miles (S) (10) (4) (2) (1)
Feb. 16 Southwest Oaklawn Park 1 1/16 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
Kentucky Derby Championship Series (16 races)
Date Race Racetrack Distance 1st (Points) 2nd (Points) 3rd (Points) 4th (Points)
Feb. 21 Fountain of Youth Gulfstream Park 1 1/16 Miles (50) (20) (10) (5)
*Feb. 21 Risen Star Fair Grounds 1 1/16 Miles (50) (20) (10) (5)
*Feb. 28 Gotham Aqueduct 1 1/16 Miles (50) (20) (10) (5)
*March 7 San Felipe Santa Anita 1 1/16 Miles (50) (20) (10) (5)
*March 7 Tampa Bay Derby Tampa Bay Downs 1 1/16 Miles (50) (20) (10) (5)
March 14 Rebel Oaklawn Park 1 1/16 Miles (50) (20) (10) (5)
*March 21 Spiral Turfway Park 1 1/8 Miles (S) (50) (20) (10) (5)
March 22 Sunland Derby Sunland Park 1 1/8 Miles (50) (20) (10) (5)
March 28 UAE Derby Meydan Racecourse 1 3/16 Miles (S) (100) (40) (20) (10)
March 28 Florida Derby Gulfstream Park 1 1/8 Miles (100) (40) (20) (10)
*March 28 Louisiana Derby Fair Grounds 1 1/8 Miles (100) (40) (20) (10)
*April 4 Wood Memorial Aqueduct 1 1/8 Miles (100) (40) (20) (10)
*April 4 Santa Anita Derby Santa Anita 1 1/8 Miles (100) (40) (20) (10)
*April 11 Blue Grass Keeneland 1 1/8 Miles (100) (40) (20) (10)
April 11 Arkansas Derby Oaklawn Park 1 1/8 Miles (100) (40) (20) (10)
*April 18 Lexington Keeneland 1 1/16 Miles (10) (4) (2) (1)
2014-15 Road to the Kentucky Derby Changes
Date Race Racetrack Distance Top 4 Points Change
Dec. 20 Los Alamitos Futurity Los Alamitos 1 1/16 Miles 10-4-2-1 Added

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