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Updated: 6 days 20 hours ago

Four Share Furlong Bullet at OBS Under-Tack Finale

Sun, 2024-06-09 14:52

Three colts and one filly shared the furlong bullet time of :9 4/5 during the final session of the under-tack show for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's June Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training Sunday. The quartet all took to track within the first half-hour of the session, with a colt by Tapiture (hip 993) getting the day started with his bullet work for Navas Equine. The colt is out of Union Queen (Union Rags) and his third dam, Above Perfection (In Excess {Ire}), produced GI Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming.

Next up, Top Line Sales sent out a colt by Practical Joke (hip 945) to put up his :9 4/5 work. The bay colt is out of Mo's Song (Uncle Mo), a half-sister to multiple stakes winner She's My Gem (Into Mischief). He was a $185,000 Keeneland September purchase.

A colt by Honest Mischief (hip 906) joined the :9 4/5 parade some 10 minutes later. The juvenile was bred by Robbie Harris and is consigned by his Harris Training Center.

“We felt he would work good,” Harris said. “I bred and raised him. He was foaled in New York and he came to the farm [in Williston] after he was weaned. He's been a real straightforward horse. We had him in one of the earlier sales, but we hit a little bump in the road, nothing major, but we felt like we needed to give him more time, so we did and it's paid off for us.”

The colt is out of Memories of Mom (Include), a mare Harris purchased for $9,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September sale.

“I didn't give anything for her,” Harris said of the purchase. “She could really run. I ended up partnering up with Mr. [Alex] Lieblong on her. She got hurt in her second or third start and he told me he would give me his half back.”

The colt is from the first crop of Honest Mischief (Into Mischief). The stallion, who stands at Sequel Stallions for $6,500, has had 15 juveniles sell this year for an average of $104,200. The group is led by a filly who sold for $310,000 at the OBS March sale and includes a colt who sold for $260,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May sale.

“[Sequel Stallion's] Becky [Thomas] talked me into him,” Harris said of the decision to send the mare to Honest Mischief. “Becky is a dear friend and she told me I really needed to breed to him. I just listened to her. She's pretty sharp. So we bred the mare to Honest Mischief basically because of Becky.”

Memories of Mom died shortly before her Honest Mischief colt was weaned.

“We lost the mare, so he will probably go on and win the Kentucky Derby or something,” Harris said with a wry chuckle.

With the loss of Memories of Mom, Harris has just one broodmare.

“I'm down to just one,” he confirmed. “I've got one in Kentucky. I had as many as eight or nine over the years, but we've been scaling back and scaling back.”

A filly by Complexity (hip 996) became the last of the under-tack show to work the furlong in :9 4/5. Consigned by Old South Farm, the bay is out of Will Ye Go Lassie (Trappe Shot), a half-sister to graded winner Venus Valentine (Congrats). The youngster was purchased by Greg James for $70,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton October sale.

Through the six-session under-tack show, 11 horses worked the furlong in :9 4/5.

A filly by Munnings (hip 1009) turned in the fastest quarter-mile work of Sunday's session, covering the distance in :21 flat. Out of stakes-winner Desert Duchess (Hard Spun), she is consigned by Hoppel LLC and was purchased for $130,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton October sale.

From the horses of racing age section, Just a Gem (Court Vision), an unraced 3-year-old filly (hip 1115) worked the fastest three furlongs Sunday, covering the distance in :33 4/5. She is consigned by Silvestre Chavez Thoroughbreds.

The OBS June sale will be held Wednesday through Friday. Bidding begins each day at 10 a.m.

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Jose Ortiz Wins 3,000th Career Race

Sun, 2024-06-09 14:29

Jose Ortiz rode the 3,000th winner of his career when Save the Trees (Preservationist) captured the third race at Churchill Downs Sunday. The 30-year-old, who began his riding career in his native Puerto Rico, moved to the New York circuit in 2012 where he competing against his brother, fellow leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. Five years later, he earned the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. Ortiz won the 2022 GI Preakness S. aboard Early Voting (Gun Runner) and the 2017 GI Belmont S. aboard Tapwrit (Tapit). He has also ridden the winners of five Breeders' Cup races.

“I'd say the top wins that come to mind throughout my career have been in the Triple Crown races–those have been pretty special,” Ortiz said. “It's hard to narrow it down. I've ridden so many talented horses for so many great people. It is such a great accomplishment to win this many races.”

Recently, Ortiz moved to Kentucky with his wife, retired jockey Taylor Rice Ortiz, and their three young children Leilani, Derek and Nikolai.

“Winning races here in Kentucky or New York is great, but we chose to move circuits this year to raise our children in a more rural setting,” Ortiz said. “I talked to my agent [Steve Rushing] and he thought my business would continue to do well in Kentucky and we made the move this year. It's been great to be here at Churchill Downs.”

According to Equibase, Ortiz is listed with 3,000 wins in North America but, due to incomplete records in Puerto Rico, any victories he recorded there are not included in the total.

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Pletcher Trio, Including Runner up Mindframe, Exit Belmont in Good Order

Sun, 2024-06-09 13:23

SARATOGA, NY-Sunday morning brought a stark contrast to the previous day, with the skies opening up for several hours over the region. Like many others, the Todd Pletcher squad went out for some light work given the challenging conditions, creating a far more sedate overall atmosphere as opposed to the frenetic activity raging through Saratoga only a day earlier.

In Saturday's GI Belmont S., Pletcher saddled a trio of runners in the Triple Crown's final jewel, with TDN Rising Star Mindframe (Constitution) just falling short by a half-length to winner Dornoch (Good Magic). According to Pletcher, all of his Belmont runners exited the race in good order.

With only two races under his belt, both won by wide margins, the Repole Stable and St Elias Stable representative handled his toughest assignment to date admirably, however, couldn't quite get the job done under Irad Ortiz Jr. when drifting out in the late stages of the 10-furlong Classic. He went off at 5-1 for his stakes debut.

“[His inexperience] was our concern going in that he's lightly raced and he's going up against much more seasoned horses,” said Pletcher. “It looked like when Irad hit him left-handed the first time, it didn't do anything. But the second time is when he drifted out and he lost a little bit of momentum and focus. [Ortiz] had to angle him back in and straighten him out. I think could have been the difference in the outcome.”

Offering a possible explanation for the drifting, he explained, “I don't think he ever felt the crop prior to that. I guess one of the disadvantages of winning so easily in his first couple of starts is that he didn't get a lot of education. They really weren't the experience-building races that some of the others might have had.”

While the result was a bit disappointing, Pletcher said he was pleased with the result overall.

“We're super proud of the race that he ran and the effort that he gave,” he said. “He showed his talent was what we thought it was going in and aside from winning, did remarkably well.”

Pletcher was also represented by Centennial Farms' Antiquarian (Preservationist), winner of the May 11 GIII Peter Pan S. in his most recent race. Accompanied by his regular rider, Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, the colt finished fifth at odds of 12-1.

“I thought he got a good trip and Johnny was pleased with the position he got,” Pletcher said. “He was just behind Mindframe and between horses. Johnny said he was handling the kick back really well. When they started to pick up the pace on the far turn, he held his position, but he couldn't really quicken the last part. He just stayed on steadily through the lane.”

He added, “If you go by Beyer figures, he ran a 92 Beyer, which is essentially what he ran in the Peter Pan. We need to find a little more improvement there. He's still a pretty lightly-raced horse and there is room for improvement. He ran a credible race but not quite good enough.”

Rounding out the Pletcher trio was Repole Stable's Protective (Medaglia d'Oro). Sent off at 19-1 under Tyler Gaffalione, the maiden finished third in his two latest races–the GII Wood Memorial in April and the GIII Peter Pan.

“He was angled out in the clear in the stretch and had to alter course when [race favorite and TDN Rising Star] Sierra Leone [Gun Runner] came in in front of him,” said the Hall of Famer, explaining the colt's trouble in the latter stages of the race. “I don't think that cost him a position quite frankly. Like Antiquarian, he was running on evenly in the stretch and put forth a credible effort but needs to improve. Obviously, we have all our conditions available with him. So we'll back up and regroup.”

Pletcher indicated that he will come up with a plan for all three horses in the coming days/weeks.

He also confirmed that Leslie's Rose (Into Mischief), runner up to Thorpedo Anna (Fast Anna) in Friday's GI Acorn S., exited her race well.

The winner of Keeneland's GI Ashland S. in April, the Whisper Hill Farm runner was making her first start since a 13th-place finish in the May 3 GI Kentucky Oaks.

“She ran terrific,” he affirmed. “We were very pleased with her effort. She was second-best on the day but she ran great and seems to have come out of it well.”

Pletcher indicated that the majority of his barn will remain in Saratoga, with a few shipping downstate depending on their upcoming engagements at Aqueduct.

“We're fortunate in that it doesn't change much for us,” he said of this year's changes to the Belmont venue and schedule. “We're stabled here and have been for many years for the spring and summer and even the fall so the entire thing was pretty seamless for us. It might be a little more challenging for trainers that don't already have a stable set up at Saratoga. But for those of us that are, it was pretty easy.”

Looking back at the maiden voyage of the Belmont at Saratoga so far, Pletcher said, “Going in, I thought it was going to be well received and well attended and it was. Saratoga is a remarkable place and people love coming to the races here. There is so much history and tradition here. You'd have to call it a tremendous success at this point.”

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Inaugural Belmont At Saratoga Generates Record Handle For Non TC Year

Sat, 2024-06-08 22:52

Edited Press Release

Saturday's blockbuster Belmont Stakes Day card, highlighted by Dornoch's victory in the 156th running of the GI $2-million Belmont S. presented by NYRA Bets, generated all-sources handle of $125,748,941, a New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) record for a non-Triple Crown year.

The 2024 all-sources handle figure is an increase of more than 6.3% over the previous non-Triple Crown record of $118,283,455, which was set in 2023.

On-track handle for the 14-race Belmont Stakes Day card, which included six Grade 1 races among nine total stakes, was $14,854,311.

All-sources handle for the Belmont S. itself, which was carded as race 12 was $60,904,557.

A sellout crowd capped at 50,000 witnessed history as the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival was held at Saratoga Race Course for the first time to allow for the uninterrupted construction of a new Belmont Park, the Long Island home of the Belmont S.

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Frank Stronach Arrested on Multiple Sexual Assault Charges

Fri, 2024-06-07 23:53

Eclipse Award-winning owner/breeder and founder of The Stronach Group Frank Stronach was arrested Friday and charged with mulitple criminal offenses according to a press release by the Peel Regional Police in Ontario, Canada. The 91-year-old Stronach has, according to the release, been charged with committing five crimes including rape, indecent assault on a female, sexual assault and forcible confinement and has been released on conditions to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton at a later date. The release also notes that the assaults “spanned from the 1980's to as recent as 2023.”

The investigation was carried out by Peel's Special Victims Unit.

Peel Regional Police Constable Tyler Bell told the Associated Press that there was more than one accuser, but did not specify how many there were. “Obviously, this is a high-profile case,” he told the A.P. “Our special victims unit is bound to protect the victims and in doing so, that's why we're being so vague. There is more than one victim, but we won't confirm the number yet.”

Police are asking members of the public to come forward with any relevant information by calling investigators of the Special Victims Unit at 905-453-2121, extension 3460.

Brian Greenspan, the lawyer representing Stronach, told Reuters that Stronach denied all charges. “He looks forward to the opportunity to fully respond to the charges and to maintain his legacy as a philanthropist and as an icon of the Canadian business community,” Greenspan told Reuters.

Stronach was born September 6, 1932 in Austria. He emigrated to Canada in 1954, and went on to found Magna International, an automotive parts company based in Canada. He founded The Stronach Group with his daughter Belinda in 2011, but resigned as a trustee in 2013 to run for office in Austria. The group owns racetracks such as Santa Anita, Gulfstream, and Pimlico, along with wagering systems. In 2018, Stonach filed a lawsuit against Belinda and other family members, charging mismanagement of the group. As part of the settlement, Belinda Stronach retained control of the racing, gaming and real estate ends of the business, since rebranded as 1/ST Racing. Frank and his wife Elfriede assumed control of the stallion and breeding business.

The Stronach Group released a statement late Friday, which read: “The Stronach Group is aware of the serious charges that have been brought against Frank Stronach. Frank Stronach has not held a formal role or been involved with company operations in any capacity for several years. This matter is now before the courts and will be dealt with in the appropriate forum. The company has nothing further to add.”

Reached Saturday morning, a public information officer for the Peel Regional Police said, “The matter is under investigation. We do understand the significant public interest in this investigation, however, to maintain the privacy of the victims and judicial integrity, we will not be providing further information at this time.”


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Thorpedo Anna Strikes Again in Acorn

Fri, 2024-06-07 19:05

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY–It didn't seem possible for trainer Kenny McPeek to be any more confident in his filly, 'TDN Rising Star' Thorpedo Anna (Fast Anna), as he was prior to her win in the GI Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs five weeks ago. But a short chat with the Kentucky-based trainer earlier in the week spoke volumes as to her ability to repeat in Friday's GI DK Horse Acorn S. Giving the afternoon's 27,529-strong crowd no real cause for concern at any point during the race, she unleashed a tour-de-force display to land in Saratoga's winner's circle after a facile 5 1/2-length victory over fellow 'Rising Star' Leslie's Rose (Into Mischief).

Displaying a dance of simmering power in the paddock prior to the nine-furlong race, the bay appeared to project exactly what McPeek had been saying all week about the filly–a 'beast' that could have been a force to be reckoned with in the GI Belmont S. one day later. However, given the presence of GI Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan (Goldencents) in Saturday's big race, it didn't seem to make sense to fire both of his big shots in the same race.

“I think my first thought [after the Acorn] was, 'Dang, I could have run her in the Belmont,'” laughed McPeek. “I really felt I could have. She makes it easy.”

According to regular pilot Brian Hernandez, Jr., the filly has developed a bit of a reputation for getting worked up prior to her races, but has also shown that she is starting to put it all together with experience.

“She gets a little nervous [before her races],” he said. “But with each race, she has gotten better about things. On the racetrack, we have learned that if we just take her by herself and leave her with just her and her pony, she settles right in and just soaks it all in and goes back into her routine. She is just the type of filly that is so competitive, I believe, that she just wants to show how good she is. We've got to get her to just take a deep breath and get her settled back in.”

Breaking sharply from her outside post, the 3-4 favorite rushed into contention, settling just off the outer hip of last year's champion juvenile filly Just F Y I (Justify), who atypically cruised to the front and carved out an opening quarter in :23.53. The duo kept up the tempo through a half in :46.75 as GI Ashland S. winner Leslie's Rose and GII Black-Eyed Susan victress Gun Song (Gun Runner) kept the leading pair in their sights. Starting to press the issue approaching the home turn, Thorpedo Anna cornered like a Ferrari, spurted clear in upper stretch and poured in on late, stretching her advantage under another confident hand ride by Hernandez. Leslie's Rose was a clear second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of the closing Power Squeeze (Union Rags). Just F Y I, runner-up in the Kentucky Oaks, faded to sixth as the clear second favorite at odds of 3-1.

Thorpedo Anna, owned by Nader Alaali, Mark Edwards, Judy Hicks and Magdalena Racing, became the 14th filly to register the Acorn-Kentucky Oaks double and the second consecutive year after Pretty Mischievous (Into Mischief) accomplished the feat in 2023 at Belmont Park.

“She's an amazing filly,” said Hernandez. “Just F Y I kind of surprised me by going to the lead, but my filly is such a good filly that she just settled right off of her outside and we got to the second turn. She was traveling so beautifully. For her to go :46 and change like she did again, she doesn't feel like she's going that quick. She just is doing it effortlessly with her ears up.

“We turned for home and I reached back and I slapped her one time, because she was kind of messing around a little bit, I didn't want someone to really run at her and jump on her, once I did that, I was like 'OK, we are in good order now. She is going to cruise home from here.'”

McPeek was equally taken aback by the early pace scenario.

“I was surprised, yes [that Just F Y I went to the lead], and I was also surprised that she [Thorpedo Anna] took him [Hernandez] there,” admitted McPeek. “That's what she does. She's got :47 and change speed. She can get you there. She makes my job easy and his job easy.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who saddled runner-up Leslie's Rose, was upbeat about his charge's defeat.

“I thought she ran super,” he said. “She had a good trip and kept trying to the wire. She was just second best to a really good filly today.”

He continued, “We were in the spot we wanted to be in. I was hoping [the frontrunners] would engage each other a little more. The winner was very settled outside. I thought for a moment we had a shot, but that other filly kicked clear. Our filly kept trying to the wire. We were happy to get [her back running well after a 13th-place finish in the Oaks]. I'm happy with her effort.”

Of Just F Y I, jockey Junior Alvarado said, “I wanted to take a shot and go to the front. I didn't want to sit off [Thorpedo Anna] again. I had to try something different. I am a little disappointed. I didn't think she ran her race. She didn't necessarily have to win, but she didn't fire at all today.

“When we switched leads at the half-mile pole, I was already completely empty. It was too early to be empty with her. That's when she usually turns her game on. She wasn't traveling well after that and wasn't taking me anywhere. She's a push-button horse, so when she didn't give me anything, I tried to regroup and go back again and didn't get any response, it wasn't necessary to keep pushing on her. You just try to save her for next time.”

Despite the ease of Friday's victory, McPeek later admitted that the week leading up to the race wasn't without its anxious moments.

“Pre-race, for some reason and I don't know how it happened, she got this little bitty cut on the left side of her mouth,” he explained. “It happened within the last couple of days. It's never easy, this game. I told Brian he was going to have to be really light with her because you don't want to get in any wrestling match because she's got a little cut. On a scale of 10 it was like a one or a two, but if you get to wrestling with her you're going to open it up. So I was watching her real close with that. Brian said she never felt it.”

Thorpedo Anna showed her talent early, scoring by an impressive 8 1/2-length margin in an auction-price restricted maiden at Keeneland last October before proving it was no fluke with an equally impressive nine-length score going a mile at Churchill Downs Nov. 10. Earning 'Rising Star' status in the latter, she made a quick turnaround for the Nov. 25 GII Golden Rod S. and had to settle for second, beaten 5 1 /4 lengths by Intricate. Freshened through the winter, she resumed with a confident four-length win in Oaklawn's GII Fantasy S. over 1 1/16 miles Mar. 30 prior to her romp at Churchill in May.

McPeek believes there is little doubt as to who leads the current sophomore filly division, given the nature of her two Grade I wins.

“That was one of our goals coming into the race was to stamp her as the best 3-year-old in America,” he said. “Whether we take on the colts [later] will be fun and it will be interesting. I'll probably tease you all with what I'm thinking about. We'll see. If she's doing really well and she came back in the [GI] Coaching Club [Oaks], and Mystik Dan didn't make the GI Travers S., then who knows? You might see us here. But I'm not going to run them against each other if I can help it.”

Hernandez was a bit more sentimental about what his recent dream run means.

“I believe we have a superstar on our hands,” he said. “Those are put in a rare air, but she seems to be one of those fillies. When the announcer calls you brilliant in a Grade I, you know it tends to make you believe that you are a part of something really magical. Something really special.”

Pedigree Notes:

Thorpedo Anna was bred by Judy Hicks, who took on the mare as a charitable act and later stayed in for a piece of the filly.

“She was premature; seven, eight weeks premature when she was born,” Hicks explained following her Oaks victory. “She was 45” tall, weighed 60 pounds. Her hocks were crushed. And there wasn't much hope of any future for her. So I volunteered to take her from the owners, Mr. Sanford Robertson and Kathryn Nikkel, who bred her. And Mr. Robertson graciously gave her to me when I volunteered to keep her. And I tried to do my magic and it worked.”

Sanford Robertson campaigned Thorpedo Anna's third dam Aldebaran Light to three wins from five starts at River Downs and went on to breed successfully from her. Robertson campaigned Aldebaran Light's foal of 2001, a Stravinsky colt named Balmont, to a victory (via DQ) in the 2003 G1 Middle Park S. for trainer Jeremy Noseda, while Eskendereya (Giant's Causeway) helped to further enhance the family with victories in the 2010 GI Wood Memorial S. and GII Fountain of Youth S.

Thorpedo Anna is the second foal out of the 9-year-old Sataves. The first, Charlee O (Tonalist) earned over $100,000 on the track. Thorpedo Anna was purchased by McPeek for $40,000 at the Fasig-Tipton October yearling sale in 2022. Sataves is also the dam of the 2-year-old colt McAfee (Cloud Computing), a $40,000 purchase by Maddie Mattmiller Keeneland last September, and the daughter of Uncle Mo foaled a filly by Known Agenda–already named After the Storm–earlier this year.



Another dominating performance by Thorpedo Anna as she cruises to a 5 1/2 length win in the Acorn for ⁦@KennyMcPeek⁩ and ⁦@b_hernandezjr⁩. That's 5 wins in 6 starts for the fast filly by a combined 31 3/4 lengths. 9-3-2-5

— Tim Wilkin (@tjwilkin) June 7, 2024

Friday, Saratoga
DK HORSE ACORN S.-GI, $500,000, Saratoga, 6-7, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m, 1:49.02, ft.
1–THORPEDO ANNA, 122, f, 3, by Fast Anna
                1st Dam: Sataves, by Uncle Mo
                2nd Dam: Pacific Sky, by Stormy Atlantic
                3rd Dam: Aldebaran Light, by Seattle Slew
'TDN Rising Star'. ($40,000 Ylg '22 FTKOCT). O-Nader Alaali,
Mark Edwards, Judy B. Hicks and Magdalena Racing (Sherri
McPeek); B-Judy Hicks (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek; J-Brian
Joseph Hernandez, Jr. $275,000. Lifetime Record: 6-5-1-0,
$1,705,663. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Leslie's Rose, 120, f, 3, by Into Mischief
                1st Dam: Wildwood Rose (Ire), by Galileo (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Wildwood Flower, by Langfuhr
                3rd Dam: Dial a Trick, by Phone Trick
'TDN Rising Star'. ($1,150,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP). O-Whisper Hill
Farm, LLC; B-John D. Gunther & Eurowest Bloodstock Services
(KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $100,000.
3–Power Squeeze, 120, f, 3, by Union Rags
                1st Dam: Callmethesqueeze (MSW, $324,499),
                                by Awesome Again
                2nd Dam: Mop Squeezer, by Roanoke
                3rd Dam: Honey League Girl, by Honey Jay
1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. ($50,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP; $90,000 2yo '23
OBSAPR). O-Lea Farms, LLC; B-Forging Oaks LLC (KY); T-Jorge
Delgado. $60,000.
Margins: 5HF, 1 1/4, 2HF. Odds: 0.75, 6.30, 25.50.
Also Ran: My Mane Squeeze, Regulatory Risk, Just F Y I, Where's My Ring, Gun Song. Scratched: Becky's Joker
Click for the chart and the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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Federal Trade Commission Approves HISA Rule Changes

Fri, 2024-06-07 18:53

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved the proposed rule changes to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA)'s Racetrack Safety Program and the changes will take effect starting July 8, the organization announced Friday via presser.

The 30-day window before the official start day allows for an educational campaign so as to prepare the industry for the changes, an effort which will include handbooks, webinars, posters, HISA portal messaging and social media outreach. The revisions come after extensive dialogue and feedback from industry participants, including from the Horsemen's Advisory Group.

Some highlights include an updated void claim rule; a second waiver claiming option; changes to certain intra-articular injection standdown times; updates to prohibited practices and qualifications for placement on, or removal from, the vet list; and enhanced safety protocols required at race meets.

The newly approved rules are available in full here.

In addition to the racetrack safety rule, the FTC also approved changes to HISA's registration rules, which will go into effect July 1. Those can be found here.

“The approval of these rule changes marks a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to enhance the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred horse racing,” said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. “We are committed to working closely with all industry participants during this transition period and beyond to ensure these new standards are fully understood and effectively implemented.”

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Didia Goes One Better from 2023 Running, Takes New York in Style

Fri, 2024-06-07 18:40

She might have been the bridesmaid in last year's running, but no one was taking her 'New York moment' in 2024.

Didia (Arg) (m, 6, Orpen–Delambre {Brz}, by Rainbow Corner {GB}) broke well to briefly see open air in the GI New York S.  before eager pacesetters to her outside, namely Royalty Interest (Fr) (Le Havre {Fr}) and Surprisingly (Mastery), stepped out to dispute who would lead the large field of 13. The former ended up at the head of affairs and rolled along through :23.18 and :47.74 fractions as Fev Rover (Ire) (Gutaifan {Ire}) joined them despite some pre-race antics which left Javier Castellano off her back and her briefly loose.

In no hurry as she neatly tucked into cover from fourth, Didia raced well on the fence behind that leading flight and was picking up steam as the field swung through the final bend. Four wide for her rally but rolling with all the momentum, the 9-1 shot inhaled the leaders outside of the eighth pole and kicked away to a clear advantage as Neecie Marie (Cross Traffic) ran on for second with War Like Goddess (English Channel) getting up for third in her seasonal bow.

“She was like a monster. It's a great feeling,” said trainer Ignacio Correas, IV. “I targeted this race for months and months. It was really hard for me to lose this race last year [when Didia ran second]. I never expected to lose it last year. I was disappointed.”

Correas added jokingly, “Probably the secret today was that Chad [Brown] only had two in there, usually he has four.”

Jose Ortiz similarly had glowing praise for his charge's effort en route to capturing her first North American Grade I victory. “I think she leveled up her performance today. The trainer, Ignacio [Correas, IV], does an amazing job with this horse and all his horses. He had this filly doing unbelievable for a long time, which is remarkable.”

“I mean I won [the GI New York S.] last year [on Marketsegmentation], but [Didia} was very deserving. She is a nice filly. Hopefully, she goes and keeps getting better, or stays at this level because she is very nice.”

A Group 1 winner in her native Argentina, Didia has only been off the board three times in her career, and at once point rode a seven-race win streak that spanned two continents, and four different track across them. Said win streak was ironically snapped in last year's edition of the GI New York S., but she quickly returned to the winner's enclosure in October when taking the GII Rodeo Drive S. at Santa Anita Park. She would finish 10th in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf but would again bounce back to form with a game victory over Surprisingly in the GII Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf Invitational Jan. 27. She was last seen Apr. 13 at Keeneland running third in the GI Jenny Wiley S.


DIDIA wins the Grade 1 New York Stakes Presented by @RiversCasino_NY under @jose93_ortiz for trainer Ignacio Correas, IV.

— Belmont Stakes (@BelmontStakes) June 7, 2024

Pedigree Notes:

Didia hails from a dam who has produced a fleet of accomplished runners in addition to being on herself. Delambre was Group 1-placed in Brazil in her time on the track and has found great acclaim in the shed as well being the dam or granddam to no less than four Group/Grade I horses.

Her first offspring was a filly who did not make the races, but did go on to produce a Group runner in Argentine. Her second was Didia's elder full-brother Dedini (Arg), who would twice be Group 1 placed in their homeland before retiring to the shed and the third was another full-brother who would later become Singaporean champion all-weather horse SW Davide (Arg).

Didia's full-sister Delirada (Arg) was a winner as well, but her greatest claim to fame came in the form of her son, Argentinian Horse of the Year MG1SW-Arg Tetaze (Arg) (Equal Stripes {Arg}) and his half-brother G1SP-Arg Hacer Un Puente (Arg) (Cosmic Tiger {Arg}). Didia is the last for her dam–there are no living foals or covers on record since 2019–and arguably her most accomplished.

Orpen is among leading sires in both Argentina and Slovakia, and counts 15 champions from his 21 crops of racing age. In a fascinating side bar, one of his sons, Invincible Son, dominated in Eastern Europe as an eight-time Turkish champion.

Friday, Saratoga
NEW YORK S. PRESENTED BY RIVERS CASINO-GI, $750,000, Saratoga, 6-7, 4yo/up, f/m, 1 3/16mT, 1:52.29, fm.
1–DIDIA (ARG), 122, m, 6, by Orpen
           1st Dam: Delambre (Brz) (G1SP-Brz), by Rainbow Corner (GB)
           2nd Dam: Diya, by Ariosto (Arg)
           3rd Dam: Sevilla (Arg), by Ringaro
O-Merriebelle Stables and Resolute Racing; B-La Manija (ARG); T-Ignacio Correas, IV; J-Jose L. Ortiz. $412,500. Lifetime Record: Ch. 3-year-old Filly-Arg, MG1SW-Arg, 17-11-2-1, $1,533,484. *Full to Davide (Arg), Ch. All-weather Horse-Sin, SW-Sin, $549,642; 1/2 to Desvelo (Arg) (Sunray Spirit), MSP, $181,511; Full to Dedini (Arg), MG1SP-Arg. Werk Nick Rating: C+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Neecie Marie, 120, f, 4, by Cross Traffic
           1st Dam: Lode Lady, by Posse
           2nd Dam: Gold Strike, by Smart Strike
           3rd Dam: Brassy Gold, by Dixieland Brass
1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. ($25,000 Ylg '21 EASOCT). O-Michael Milam; B-Jon A. Marshall (PA); T-Robert E. Reid, Jr. $150,000.
3–War Like Goddess, 124, m, 7, by English Channel
           1st Dam: Misty North, by North Light (Ire)
           2nd Dam: Misty Gallop, by Victory Gallop
           3rd Dam: Romanette, by Alleged
($1,200 Wlg '17 KEENOV; $1,000 RNA Ylg '18 KEESEP; $30,000 2yo '19 OBSOPN). O-George Krikorian; B-Calumet Farm (KY); T-William I. Mott. $90,000.
Margins: 1HF, 1 3/4, 3/4. Odds: 9.30, 25.75, 4.60.
Also Ran: Surprisingly, McKulick (GB), Fev Rover (Ire), Aspen Grove (Ire), American Sonja (GB), Sparkle Blue, Royalty Interest (Fr), Star Fortress (Ire), English Rose (Ire), Be Your Best (Ire).
Click for the chart and the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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Julie Krone Documentary Planned by SI Studios And Spyglass

Thu, 2024-06-06 14:04

Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone will be the subject of a new documentary produced by Sports Illustrated Studios, a division of Authentic Studios, and Spyglass Media Group, that organization said in a press release on Friday.

The documentary, which will highlight Krone's racing accolades, will be helmed by Larissa Bills, director/producer of Apple TV+'s The Super Models.

“Not only is Julie one of the greatest jockeys in horse racing, she also shattered expectations and broke down barriers for all women in Thoroughbred racing,” said Gary Barber, Chairman & CEO, Spyglass. “We are lucky to have Larissa at the helm, as a passionate horse enthusiast herself, to illuminate Julie's story for the world.”

Details concerning production time and a release date are forthcoming.

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May Economic Indicators; Wagering And Purses Continue To Rise

Thu, 2024-06-06 12:55

Wagering on U.S. races, plus available and paid purses, all saw increases to varying degrees when compared to a year ago in May, while the number of races declined during the month, according to information released by Equibase on Friday.

Total wagering of over $1.4 million on races during the month represented a 0.57% increase over the same period from 2023, while available purses of $124.6 million were up by 2.86%. The figure of over $119.9 million for paid purses in May was up 2.44%. However, the total number of race days dropped from 370 to 359 (-2.97%) and the number of U.S. races was down from 3,025 in May 2023 to last month's tally of 2,958.

Average field size in May was down slightly from over a year ago when it was 7.16, and checked in at an average of 7.10 runners, a decrease of 0.82%. Average daily wagering increased by 3.65% to $3,907,361 and the average available purse number per race day was up 9.78% to $347,292 from the figure of $316,351 in 2023.

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Post Time Answers The Bell In The GI Met Mile

Thu, 2024-06-06 11:15

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY — When Hillwood Stable's Post Time (Frosted) blossomed this year, trainer Brittany Russell began the normal process of testing him in tougher races. Each time, he proved to be up to the task, leading the Maryland-bred to the biggest challenge of his career in the 131st GI Metropolitan H. Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

Post Time drew Post 3 in the field of six led by GI Breeders Cup Classic and GI Whitney S. winner White Abarrio (Race Day) and GI Pegasus World Cup and GI Preakness winner National Treasure (Quality Road). He is the 7-2 third choice on the morning line. The lineup includes Castle Chaos (Palace Malice), Blazing Sevens (Good Magic) and Hoist the Gold (Mineshaft).

Commonly called the Met Mile, the prestigious race has long been a showcase for champions and Hall of Fame-bound runners. It debuted as a 1 1/16 miles test at Morris Park in 1891 and was shortened to a mile in 1897. It is being run at Saratoga this year and next in the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival while Belmont Park is undergoing a massive makeover.

The $1 million Met Mile will start in the Wilson Chute, a straight which meets the main track in the first turn. With a 1 1/8 miles oval, Saratoga was unable to run races between seven and nine furlongs on dirt after the original Wilson Chute was closed following the 1972 season and the space used for parking. There was an experiment with one-mile races in 1992 that was deemed unfair to horses that drew inside. The New York Racing Association rebuilt the Wilson Chute prior to the 2022 season.

Post Time | Sarah Andrew

As Post Time climbed the competitive ladder–he is 8-1-1 in 10 starts–Russell and Hillwood Stable owner Ellen Charles began to consider the Met Mile for the 4-year-old's debut at the top level.

“We had it on our radar,” Russell said. “It's a short field, but it's a quality field, and what are you going to expect? It's a Grade I for a million dollars. It's the Met Mile. You're not going to get an easy spot, but there's a lot of good things for us, if you look at it.

“Our horse, now, he has some seasoning under him. He's had some really good runs. We've learned some things along the way. Look, there's good horses in there, but who says that those horses are going to run their best race that day? Those horses have done a lot of travelling and we're sitting here with a horse that I feel like we kind of brought into this race the way we wanted. So, we feel good about him and that gives us confidence.”

White Abarrio and National Treasure will be making their first starts since the GI Saudi Cup on Feb. 24. National Treasure ended up fourth, 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner, late-running Senor Buscador (Mineshaft). White Abarrio, the 6-5 favorite in the Met Mile,  checked in 10th, beaten 15 lengths. Blazing Sevens was away from racing for nine months before his winning return Apr. 20.

While White Abarrio and National Treasure were competing in the Middle East, Post Time was emerging as a capable late- running stakes runner for Russell, 34, the leading trainer in Maryland last year. After he won his first four career starts, she took him to Keeneland in October for the Perryville S. He was third by 1 1/4 lengths.

“That was the turning point for us to say, 'OK, we need to kind of dip our toes outside Maryland, for sure,'” Russell said. “I wouldn't say that I had him as good as I could going there, but we thought it was a good stepping stone. I think he showed up and he showed that he can run outside Maryland.

To start this year, Russell sent Post Time out for a 6 1/2-length victory in the Jennings S. Jan. 29 and a three-length success in the GIII General George S. Feb. 17.

“The Jennings was the state-bred race. It was his first time going a mile,” she said. “That wasn't the easiest group in Maryland-breds you've ever seen. There were some well-seasoned, good, old racehorses that he destroyed on that day. That was a performance for me where it's like 'yeah, it's at home, and it's against Maryland-breds, but the way he did it.' He followed that big race up three weeks later, which you don't like to do sometimes with these better horses, but I had to. My hands are kind of tied to run him back there, and he did it again. Those two races there, that's when we're like, 'Alright, cool.'  We're sitting here looking at the Carter and it just seemed like it was time to get him back on the road.”

Post Time won the GII Carter S. at Aqueduct Apr. 6 by a neck over Castle Chaos and finished second by three-quarters of a length in the GIII Westchester S. May 3.

Brittany Russell and Ellen Charles | Sarah Andrew

Charles, the granddaughter of Marjorie Merriweather Post, owner of General Foods, has raced as Hillwood Stable since 2004. Her family has been deeply involved in Maryland racing for many decades and her father was a longtime steward.

Charles purchased Post Time, a son of 2016 Met Mile winner Frosted, who holds the stakes records for fastest time, 1:32.73 and margin of victory, 14 1/4 lengths, for $85,000 as a yearling. Among the reasons she was attracted to the colt is that his second dam is named Merriweather. His name came from her family. Russell and Charles became acquainted when she trained the Hello Beautiful (Golden Lad), a very successful filly Charles had bred and Russell bought at auction.

Russell's husband, Sheldon, is the regular rider for Post Time and will be seeking his first Grade I victory against a seasoned crew.

“Against a group like this with the speed that these kinds of horses are going to show, for what he's faced, I expect Sheldon is going to have to use him a little bit away from there, put him in a little bit of a handier spot,” Russell said. “Going a mile you think, 'Oh, he's going to be able to break and settle.'  You don't really. He's going to have to use him a bit and get him traveling. And he's going to have to be calling on him sooner, too. It's definitely going to be a test to what this horse is made of.”

Russell has plenty of experience at Saratoga as an assistant and since opening her own stable in 2018 and said she appreciates competing in the Met Mile during the historic Belmont-at-Saratoga festival.

“To have a horse that I feel like has a legit shot to show up on a day like that, in a race like this, and especially at kind of a special year at Saratoga, it's pretty exciting.”

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Heavy Overnight Rain Forces Delaware Park To Cancel Thursday Racing

Thu, 2024-06-06 10:06

Due to the heavy rain in the area on Wednesday evening, the live racing card at Delaware Park was cancelled, the track said in a release Thursday morning.

Live racing is scheduled to resume Friday, June 7 with post time set for 12:30 p.m. ET.

Live racing has been cancelled @DelParkRacing today Thursday June 6 due to the heavy rain overnight. Live racing is scheduled to resume tomorrow Friday June 7.

— Delaware Park (@DelParkRacing) June 6, 2024

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Stewart Transfers Pricey Australian Purchase To U.S.

Thu, 2024-06-06 09:22

On Thursday, Resolute Racing's John Stewart confirmed to TTR AusNZ that his A$3.2 million acquisition from the Inglis Chairman's Sale, MG1SP Tutta La Vita (The Autumn Sun), will continue her career in America under the care of trainer Ignacio Correas.

Stewart, who ventured into the Australian market by spending A$5.44 million on six yearlings at Inglis Easter, said that the Southern Hemisphere 3-year-old filly would compete in some of the feature American turf events under her new trainer.

“We're going to bring her [Tutta La Vita] up here and prepare her for some of the turf races in the summer and also a fall campaign to try to go to the Breeders' Cup,” said Stewart. “We currently have Didia (Arg) (Orpen) running at Saratoga this weekend with Ignacio Correas. Ignacio has experience bringing South American horses into North America, so it was a logical choice.

Tutta La Vita was last seen finishing a well-beaten eighth behind Scarlet Oak (Kermadec {NZ}) in the G2 The Roses S. at Doomben (Aus) May 25.

“We think bringing her up here to the U.S. could be really interesting and cause some international excitement for people,” said Stewart. “I have some horses in the U.S. that I want to send down to Australia for the spring.

“We're trying to get some international competition going and generate some interest and try to get some of the bloodlines moving back and forth between geographies. We currently have a few accomplished turf horses that we believe would perform well down there. We plan to evaluate some of them over the summer and then send a select few for the spring.”

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Louisiana Horses Will Go On the Vets’ List When They Ship Out

Wed, 2024-06-05 18:14

One day after the Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) rolled back changes set to go into place on June 8 to allow more permissive use of Clenbuterol and Depo-Medrol, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) sent a memo to owners, trainers, regulatory veterinarians, and track management advising that horses coming out of Louisiana must be placed on the vets' list.

While the LSRC did go back to the ARCI model rules on those two drugs, they did not make changes to tens of others where guidelines for their usage deviated widely from the ARCI rules after an “emergency meeting” established the new, more lax rules.

“The Louisiana State Racing Commission recently approved an emergency update to their controlled medication schedule for thoroughbred racing by adding additional medications and changing allowable dosage and/or withdrawal times (the “Emergency Rule”),” wrote HISA in the memo. “The Emergency Rule, which was modified in part during an emergency public meeting held on June 4, 2024, will reportedly take effect in Louisiana on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

“HISA has reviewed the Emergency Rule (as modified during the public meeting on June 4, 2024) and HISA's Veterinary Team has determined that it poses significant risks to both equine welfare and the integrity of Thoroughbred racing. Some of the changes contemplated in the Emergency Rule contradict the weight of scientific evidence and long-established industry standards for medication controls. For example, the 50 ng/ml threshold (24 hours) for Flunixin is permissive of administration at less than 24 hours prior to a race, which can produce a systemic effect that would mask unsoundness and jeopardize the safety and welfare of the horse. Moreover, the Emergency Rule's dosage specification for Betamethasone deviates significantly from existing ARCI Guidelines developed based on studies funded by the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium and others. These are only two of the serious concerns presented by the Emergency Rule.”

As such, beginning June 8, the memo says, any horse shipping to another track from Louisiana will be considered “medically compromised and unfit to race.”

This includes, but is not limited to, Covered Horses that:

  1. Shipped in directly from Louisiana;
  2. Since June 8, 2024, have performed a workout at a training facility or racetrack located in Louisiana; and/or
  3. Since June 8, 2024, have competed in a race at a racetrack located in Louisiana.

Louisiana shippers will remain on the vets' list until the horse performs a workout under the supervision of the regulatory veterinarian and demonstrates to the satisfaction of the vet that the horse is sound to race, and until a blood sample is collected from the horse at the owner's expense following the workout and the sample has been reported as negative, the memo says. 

“HISA understands some of the horses covered by this memorandum will not be flagged until they have entered a race in your jurisdiction,” the memo continues. “These horses must be scratched unless they have already completed the requirements set forth in the preceding paragraph. Upon leaving Louisiana, trainers may immediately initiate the vets' list protocol set forth in this memorandum by notifying the regulatory veterinarian in the applicable jurisdiction who will then place the Covered Horse on the Vets' List.”

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Tiz the Law Filly Sets the Mark at OBS Wednesday

Wed, 2024-06-05 16:32

Consignor Tom McCrocklin had already sold the sale-topping daughter of Tiz the Law at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring sale when he decided to purchase another daughter of the GI Belmont S. winner after watching her fail to meet her reserve at that same auction two months ago. The filly (hip 187) went a ways in proving it was a wise decision when she worked a quarter-mile in a bullet :20 2/5 during Wednesday's second session of the under-tack show for next week's OBS June Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training in Ocala.

“I thought it was a beautiful work,” McCrocklin said. “I thought it was efficient, effortless and fast. She did everything right. She was just like a car cruising down the highway.”

The filly is out of Southern Silence (Dixie Union) and is a half to stakes winners Liberate (Gemologist) and Esplanade (Daredevil), who was second in the 2020 GI Spinaway S. The dark bay juvenile was purchased for $80,000 by Mustang Farms out of last year's Keeneland September sale. She worked a furlong in :10 flat before RNA'ing for $190,000 at the Spring sale.

“She is fast and balanced and athletic,” McCrocklin said when asked about his decision to purchase the filly in April. “We had had some success with the other filly and thought it might be a good idea. It's a little risky, but she was mentally and physically very sound. So far, it is working out well.”

Asked if the plan had always been to send the filly to the June sale, McCrocklin said, “I try not to paint myself into a corner. She didn't make her reserve in April and I thought the stallion, and this filly in particular, had a big upside. I think there are opportunities in every sale, whether you are buying or selling. There are horses that are overlooked in every sale and there are horses that bring way more then maybe they deserve to.”

McCrocklin admitted he hasn't had to do a lot of work with the youngster.

“I haven't had her that long,” he said. “She is solid, professional and sound. She really didn't need to change a whole lot. My job in this kind of situation is to just keep the horse happy and healthy and with plenty of flesh. I am a big believer in keeping horses happy with plenty of flesh, feed them well and pay attention. They will talk to you if you pay attention. Just try basic horsemanship. Nothing exotic or fancy.”

McCrocklin purchased a daughter of Tiz the Law out of Moonlight Sky (Sky Mesa) for $170,000 at the Keeneland September sale last fall. The filly blitzed a quarter-mile in :20 1/5 before selling for a sale-topping $1.9 million to Michael Lund Petersen at the Spring sale. The bay worked three times at Los Alamitos in May and had her first work at Santa Anita last Saturday when she went four furlongs in :51.80.

Asked to compare the two fillies, McCrocklin said, “The breezes are eerily similar. They are fast, but they are smooth and effortless. Both fillies are really efficient movers and they cover a lot of ground. The filly in April that we sold was a big, strong and masculine filly. This filly doesn't have that substance. She's not a big, raw filly like that filly was in April, but she is deceptively long in her movement. She has a really big stride and covers a lot of ground with not much effort.”

During Wednesday's under-tack show session, 15 horses shared the day's fastest furlong time of :10 flat: hip 181, a filly by Mr. Money consigned by Whitman Sales; hip 203, a filly by Dosificado (Chi) consigned by Triple J Equine Sales; hip 232, a colt by Thousand Words consigned by Centofanti Thoroughbreds; hip 252, a filly by Gun Runner consigned by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds; hip 275, a colt by Vino Rosso consigned by Top Line Sales; hip 284, a colt by Maximum Security consigned by Ordonez Thoroughbreds; hip 289, a filly by Liam's Map consigned by Cardozo's Brothers; f2hip 291, a filly by Dominus consigned by Marcial Galan; hip 305, a filly by Justify consigned by Pick View; hip 314, a colt by Unified consigned by Dynasty Thoroughbreds; hip 319, a filly by Twirling Candy consigned by CM Thoroughbreds; hip 334, a colt by Practical Joke consigned by Scanlon Training & Sales; hip 337, a filly by McKinzie consigned by de Meric Sales; hip 343, a colt by Speightster consigned by Sugar Hill; and hip 350, a colt by Gift Box consigned by RiceHorse Stable (Brandon & Ali Rice).

The under-tack show continues through Sunday with sessions beginning each day at 7:30 a.m. The June sale will be held next Wednesday through Friday, with bidding commencing each day at 10 a.m.

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Daughter Of Tepin Off The Mark At The Curragh

Wed, 2024-06-05 16:10

3rd-Curragh, €20,000, Mdn, 6-5, 3yo/up, 12fT, 2:35.75, gd.
GRATEFUL (IRE) (f, 3, Galileo {Ire}–Tepin {GISW-Can, G1SW-Eng, MGISW-US, $4,437,918}, by Bernstein), the third foal out of the six-times top-level-winning dual champion turf mare, had not been seen since finishing ninth in this track's seven-furlong conditions race in August in which A Lilac Rolla (Ire) (Harry Angel {Ire}) and Opera Singer (Justify) were first and second.

Racing in mid-pack early, the 13-2 shot stayed on strongly to reel in stablemate Mother Nature (Ire) (Justify) in the final strides and prevail by a short head. “She has an unbelievable pedigree. She got a little setback last year and we didn't get to run her,” Aidan O'Brien said. “She just took a bit of time to come and Wayne said there is a lot to come from her. We'll let her step up and progress away and he said she'd be very happy to step back in trip.”

Tepin was famously purchased by M.V. Magnier for $8 million at Fasig-Tipton November in 2017. She has a 2-year-old colt Delacroix (Ire) by Dubawi (Ire) and is kin to the four-times graded-stakes scorer Vyjack (Into Mischief). Lifetime Record: 2-1-0-0, $13,055.

O-Mrs J Magnier/M Tabor/D Smith/Westerberg; B-Tepin Syndicate (IRE); T-Aidan O'Brien.

Bred for the job!

Grateful, by Galileo out of Queen Anne winner and top-class US mare Tepin, beats better-fancied stablemate Mother Nature in an exciting finish for @waynemlordan and Aidan O'Brien at @curraghrace

— Racing TV (@RacingTV) June 5, 2024


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American Queen Mary Winner Crimson Advocate to Race in Europe

Wed, 2024-06-05 16:04

Crimson Advocate (Nyquist), who flew in from the U.S. to defeat 25 European fillies in the G2 Queen Mary S. at Royal Ascot last year, will be back in England to contest the five-furlong G1 King Charles III S. (formerly the Kings Stand S.) at Ascot June 19. She will be saddled by John and Thady Gosden and stay on at their Clarehaven Stables for a European campaign.

The three-year-old daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist ran sixth, beaten just 2 1/2 lengths in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, leading Big Evs (Blue Point {Ire}) into the final furlong, on her first run in the peacock blue and old gold colors of her owners Wathnan Racing, who purchased her before that race. She returned this season with a one-length win over five furlongs on the turf at Gulfstream Park in the Roar S. in her final start for trainer George Weaver on May 18.

Case Clay, Wathnan Racing's America representative, said, 'Crimson Advocate is all about speed and we're very hopeful she can give Wathnan lots of fun in the big European sprints. George and his team have done a fantastic job training her for a second crack at a big Royal Ascot prize, and we are really looking forward to seeing her in action in England this summer.'

A $100,000 OBS October graduate, Crimson Advocate has won three of her five lifetime starts, breaking her maiden in the Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies S. in May of her two-year-old year.

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Hernandez Continues To Enjoy The Ride Of His Life

Wed, 2024-06-05 16:00

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Brian Hernandez had a huge weekend on the first weekend in May.

The 38-year-old jockey is hoping for another big one on the second weekend in June.

Hernandez is the pilot of the best 3-year-old filly in the country in Thorpedo Anna (Fast Anna). He also is the teammate of one of the best 3-year-old colts in the land in Mystik Dan (Goldencents).

Both horses are trained by Kenny McPeek and they gave Hernandez the biggest thrill of his 21-year career last month. Thorpedo Anna won the GI Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 4; the next day, Mystik Dan won the GI Kentucky Derby. Hernandez became just the ninth rider in history to win both in the same year.

“It's been crazy, it's been life changing,” Hernandez said by phone from Louisville, Ky. “We have worked so long to be able to ride horses like this … to be able to show up on the big stage is an incredible feeling.”

The magic ride could continue when Thorpedo Anna runs in the GI DK Acorn S. at Saratoga Race Course on Friday and Mystik Dan takes on the GI Belmont Stakes Saturday.

“(Mystik Dan) is a horse that doesn't mind being in some battles and tight spots,” Hernandez said. “He is not the biggest horse in the world, but he is full of heart. (Thorpedo Anna) has done everything we have asked of her so far. She has answered every question.”

Thorpedo Anna, with Brian Hernandez aboard | Horsephotos

Hernandez splashed onto the national scene when he rode Fort Larned to victory in the 2012 GI Breeders' Cup Classic.

Winning the major races in Kentucky have been the pinnacle. He and his wife, Jamie accepted an invitation to visit Louisiana (his home state) Governor Jeff Landry.

“I have gotten a lot of attention,” he said. “Anytime someone asks me for an autograph, I sign. There will be a time when no one knows who you are, and no is going to want it. You have to enjoy the spotlight when it's on you.”

Hernandez, a mainstay in the Kentucky jockey colony, has had a good relationship with McPeek–who became the first trainer to win the Oaks and Derby in the same year since 1952–as he gets first call on the barn's top horses.

When asked if Hernandez is an underrated rider, McPeek doesn't hesitate.

“Very,” he said. “The key to him is that gets a horse to travel underneath him. How a rider gets a horse to flow during the middle of the race can be more important than the finish. He has real soft hands and never checks a horse–ever–unless someone takes him out. That's a big deal because he does not cost them any lost motion.”

Hernandez has heard the underrated tag put on him but shrugs it off.

“It's horse racing, it's not jockey racing,” he said. “Most of the time, a good rider can get a good horse there. You need the stock. The biggest thing is to have the people behind you.”


Contessa Hopes For A Couple More Big Runs

Last summer, trainer Gary Contessa opened the Saratoga Race meet with a bang when Becky's Joker (Practical Joke) won the GIII Schuylerville S. at 21-1 odds.

He would have to wait until closing day before he got his second win and he did that with a sonic boom when Nutella Fella (Runhappy) pulled a shocker in the GI Hopeful, winning at 54-1.

Nutella Fella | Sarah Andrew

“That was amazing, considering I didn't expect it,” Contessa said along the rail at the Oklahoma Training Track.

Both are coming back in the Belmont Racing Festival. Becky's Joker, owned by Lee Pokoik, is 8-1 on the morning line in Thursday's six-furlong Jersey Girl S. and Nutella Fella 15-1 in the GI Woody Stephens for Bell Gable Stable LLC.

Both have been off since last year's improbable results.

Nutella Fella has fully recovered, Contessa said, from a non-displaced fracture of his left hind ankle. That forced him to miss the GI Champagne S.

“I knew we would get him back, was I going to get him back for the Woody Stephens? That was going to be up to him,” Contessa said. “He is ready for this race.”

Becky's Joker, seventh in the GIII Adirondack S. last summer, had to be turned out shortly after that.

“She lost her mind, she was a mental case at the end of the meet,” Contessa said. “No physical issues.”

She has returned and has a solid work tab–as does Nutella Fella–and Contessa says she is ready.

Becky's Joker was also entered in the 1 1/8-mile DK Acorn on Friday but Contessa and Pokoik opted for the shorter race. She had drawn the rail in the Acorn; she has the three in the Jersey Girl S.

Becky's Joker | Sarah Andrew

“The sprint made the most sense,” Contessa said. “She is so big (17.2 hands) that when she goes in the starting gate, her nose is touching the front and her butt is touching the back. She doesn't get the push off that smaller horses get.”

A slow break in the Acorn could compromise her chances and she won't have to face GI Kentucky Oaks winner Thorpedo Anna.

Contessa is just glad to have both horses back in the barn. And, perhaps, provide another surprise. Or two.


Weather Forecast Not Great

If you're going to attend any of the four days of the Belmont S. Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course, bring the rain coat.

According to the National Weather Service in Albany, rain is in the forecast from Thursday-Sunday.

“We are going to see a chance for showers and thunderstorms each day, that's the bad part,” NWS meteorologist Brian Frugis said. “The good part is it won't be raining the entire time for any of these days.”

According to Frugis, the worst day of the week figures to be Thursday when he said there is an 80 percent chance of rain, with the heaviest coming in the late afternoon and evening hours. He said a good portion of the afternoon should be dry.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the chance of rain is 60 percent, Frugis said.

“Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it will be more lighter showers,” he said.

When asked to rank the weekend on a one-to-10 scale with 10 being the best, Frugis could only come up with a four.

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Richard Migliore Joins the TDN Writers’ Room

Wed, 2024-06-05 15:49

It was a first-of-its-kind TDN Writers' Room this week as the crew gathered to discuss the first GI Belmont S. to run at Saratoga Race Course. To get started on their handicapping ahead of a jam-packed weekend of racing at the Spa, the team brought in Green Group Guest of the Week Richard Migliore, an on-air racing analyst for NYRA who will be part of the FOX Sports coverage of the Belmont on Saturday.

Calling into the show–which is presented by Keeneland–from the famed picnic tables of Saratoga, Migliore said there is already an air of excitement even days before racing is set to begin.

“I can already feel the energy in town,” he said. “Saratoga always holds that kind of energy and you feel the charm of it, the mystique of Saratoga, but it's amped up even more. I don't want to say it's going to be a madhouse, but it's going to be on the edge of chaos. I'm excited about it. Saratoga, to me, is America's classic racetrack. Obviously it's home to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. You can feel the history. It's palpable. And now we're having an American Classic here.”

An Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey, Migliore has spent plenty of time on the racetrack and in the winner's circle at Saratoga. He explained that there is a lot for the ten jockeys riding in Saturday's Belmont to consider as they prepare for the third leg of the Triple Crown to run at a mile and a quarter instead of the traditional mile and a half.

“I think going a mile and a half, which is not a distance that is common in North America particularly on the dirt, riders ride it much more carefully,” Migliore said. “They're much more inclined to worry about a horse getting the distance at a mile and a quarter. You know, a lot of these horses obviously have run in the Derby. They're not going to be as concerned about the mile and a quarter, so I do believe they'll ride it a bit differently. I do think you'll see more of a legitimate pace, particularly in this Belmont because there are three or four horses that I think are forward-type horses.”

Morning-line favorite Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) has a lot going for him coming into Saturday's race, but there are also a lot of question marks surrounding the Kentucky Derby runner-up as trainer Chad Brown has opted to change the colt's bit in the hopes that he will be easier to keep straight coming down the stretch for his new jockey, Flavien Prat.

“Sierra Leone has always shown that propensity to want to lug in,” Migliore explained. “He did it in his first start. I think it cost him the GII Remsen S. because he lugged in on top of Dornoch (Good Magic) and it emboldened Dornoch. If you go back and look at his GI Blue Grass S., he's not running straight on his own volition. He's having to be corrected. If you look at some of the still shots of the Derby, he has a snaffle bit, which is a very mild bit in the horse's mouth. It's basically pulled all the way through his mouth by Tyler Gaffalione, who is trying to keep him straight off of Forever Young (Jpn) (Real Steel {Jpn}) and go forward. [Chad Brown] said they had experimented previously with that bit and were not thrilled with how he reacted to it, but since the Derby he's worked in it three times. I was here for the last work and it looks like it's having the desired effect.”

Migliore acknowledged that Sierra Leone is the horse to beat in the Belmont, but pointed out that Seize the Grey (Arrogate), who is coming in off a win in the GI Preakness S., may be flying a bit under the radar.

Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by the WinStar stallion Constitution, Pennsylvania Horse Breeders' Association, 1/ST Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds, the Alameda County Fair and, the team of Randy Moss, Bill Finley and Zoe Cadman took a look at all the Grade I racing at Saratoga this weekend and discussed the latest with Louisiana Racing Commission's drug regulation.

Click here to listen to the audio version of the show.

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Mystik Dan and Seize the Grey Face the Freshness Factor in the Belmont

Wed, 2024-06-05 15:03

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY-Five weeks ago, Mystik Dan (Goldencents) took down the GI Kentucky Derby in thrilling fashion, garnering the Run for the Roses by a mere nose. Also landing in Churchill's winner's circle that day, albeit in an entirely different race, Seize the Grey (Arrogate) recorded a confident win over 'TDN Rising Star' and SW Nash (Medaglia d'Oro) in the GII Pat Day Mile. Two weeks later, the duo faced off, and it was the grey horse who proved best on a grey day to take the GI Preakness at Pimlico. Now, all eyes turn on Saratoga for the rematch in Saturday's GI Belmont, however, a slew of fresh challengers await to take on the Classic-winning pair.

Both stationed on the Oklahoma side of the track, Mystik Dan and Seize the Grey ventured to the track at about the same time Wednesday, between 5:30-5:45 a.m. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas was quoted previously as saying that people would largely ignore his colt in the lead up to the Belmont. However, it appeared that nobody told the group of media who followed The Coach and the grey, in an ant-like procession, as they made their way to the training track. For a horse that has already run two big efforts over the past five weeks, the son of Arrogate carried good flesh and appeared in fine spirits, looking as stout and strong as he was two weeks earlier.

On the other hand, the Derby winner continued to manifest the calm and steady state-both physically and mentally–that Kenny McPeek has been raving about all along. Mystik Dan shipped to Saratoga two days after the Preakness, and since his arrival in upstate New York, he worked five furlongs–in company with stablemate Gould's Gold (Goldencents]-in 1:01 2/5 June 1.

“We only scheduled one work in between [the Preakness and Belmont],” said McPeek. “He worked with Gould's Gold, second in the [May 18] Sir Barton S., who is a pretty nice horse. Gould's Gold gave him a little bit of a workout, and [Mystik Dan] galloped out 15 lengths in front. He seems to be continuing on.”

McPeek once again underscored the superpower that the colt has displayed all winter and throughout the Triple Crown.

“He's a lovely horse to be around,” he said. “He's very uncomplicated and he likes his work. He also likes to get his peppermints in the morning and some carrots in the afternoon. And he gets grazed a lot. He's happy.”

Also making appearances on the Oklahoma track Wednesday, the Todd Pletcher-trained 'TDN Rising Star' Mindframe (Constitution) and GIII Peter Pan S. winner Antiquarian (Preservationist) went to the track after the 7:30a.m. break. With the latter getting a brief schooling at the gate, the duo posted easy maintenance moves Wednesday. Repole Stable, who owns Mindframe in partnership with St Elias Stables, also owns maiden Protective (Medaglia d'Oro), who also came out later in the morning.

Also turning a few heads Wednesday morning, GII Wood Memorial winner Resilience (Into Mischief) enjoyed a nice and easy gallop on the Oklahoma track as trainer Bill Mott, who was assuming his customary place astride his pony, looked on. With his ears pricked and gliding over the surface as if it were a conveyer belt, the colt gave every indication that he will improve upon a sixth=place effort in the Kentucky Derby.

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