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Updated: 16 hours 49 min ago

Clarkland’s Nancy Mitchell Dies at 83

Thu, 2021-11-04 12:58

Nancy Mitchell of Clarkland Farm died peacefully Nov. 3 at the Kentucky homestead that has been in her family since 1774. She was 83.

Blood-Horse first reported Mitchell's passing. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations in Mitchell's honor to the Alzheimer's Association or Central Kentucky Riding for Hope.

Running Clarkland for nearly a half-century alongside her husband, Fred, and daughter, Marty Buckner, Nancy and the team have been major consignors at Kentucky sales for decades.

Clarkland has bred, raised and sold many top-class runners, including the two-time champion sprinter Housebuster, the champion older mare North Sider, and the English champion 2-year old Wind and Wuthering.

But it was the 2006 buy of a mare called Leslie's Lady for $100,000 who was carrying a foal by Orientate at the Keeneland November sale that turned out to be Clarkland's most memorable bloodstock move during the Mitchells' tenure.

“She is the best mare we will probably ever have,” Fred Mitchell told TDN in 2018. “Nancy picked her out.”

Although Leslie's Lady's top accomplishment on the racetrack was winning a stakes at Hoosier Park and none of her four foals were standouts at the time, the colt she produced in 2005, the year before Clarkland purchased her, turned into the Grade I winner and now-prolific stallion Into Mischief.

Leslie's Lady in 2010 produced four-time Eclipse Award winner and three-time Breeders' Cup heroine Beholder. In 2015, she foaled Mendelssohn, who topped the 2016 Keeneland September sale at $3 million and later won the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and G2 UAE Derby.

Leslie's Lady's last foal to be offered at auction, America's Joy, set a new price record for a filly when she hammered for $8.2 million at the 2019 KEESEP sale. Unraced, the 3-year-old was euthanized in August 2021 after suffering a career-ending injury in a workout.

Now 25, Leslie's Lady was retired from breeding this past spring. Her penultimate foal, Marr Time (Not This Time), was retained to race by Clarkland, and upon winning her debut at Keeneland Oct. 28, she was named a 'TDN Rising Star'.

Marr Time was named with a nod to Nancy Mitchell's ancestor, John Wesley Marr.

“He was an old guy that never changed his clocks,” Fred Mitchell told TDN back in June. “He stayed on Central Standard Time year-round. He would say, 'When the sun changes and my horses and I know that the time changed, I'll change. But not 'til then.'”

Nancy Mitchell grew up at Clarkland. The 400-acre farm northeast of Lexington had been granted to her ancestor, Lt. James Clark, for his service in the mid-18th Century French and Indian War. The present ownership of Clarkland is descended from James Clark to Nancy Mitchell and two sisters.

In addition to success as breeders and sales consignors, Clarkland has prided itself in being good stewards of the land, being among the Kentucky Thoroughbred farms that have joined in the Development Rights Program that preserves Bluegrass farmland.

The post Clarkland’s Nancy Mitchell Dies at 83 appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

TERF Grants $16,000 to PA’s Wilson College

Thu, 2021-11-04 10:18

The Thoroughbred Education and Research Foundation (TERF) has awarded $16,000 to Pennsylvania's Wilson College for four $4,000 scholarships for students with equine and animal-related majors. The recipients are Kaylee Bill (veterinary nursing); Drew Stevens (equestrian studies); Natalie Cowdrick (equestrian studies); and Rebekka Visniesky (veterinary nursing).

Since 2015, 22 students have been awarded TERF scholarships based on student need, scholastic achievement, and equine-related aspirations. For more information, visit terfusa.org.

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Wesley Ward Joins Writers’ Room Breeders’ Cup Preview Show

Wed, 2021-11-03 21:03

The TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland produced its third annual comprehensive Breeders' Cup preview show Wednesday, analyzing and handicapping all 14 World Championships races in depth, and welcomed trainer Wesley Ward later as the Green Group Guest of the Week to discuss his five combined Breeders' Cup starters in the GI Turf Sprint and GII Juvenile Turf Sprint and future goals for his barn.

Asked whether he's happy with the niche he's carved out for himself as mainly an elite 2-year-old and turf sprint trainer or if he has bigger goals to win Classic races, Ward said with a laugh, “I'm glad I'm good at something. I'm fortunate that I have a good number of owners who are backing me with these types of horses. But obviously, I'd like to get into different categories and Classic distances. I had my first [Kentucky] Derby starter this year [Like the King]; ultimately he was a grass horse, but it sure was a lot of fun getting over there and I would like to get back with a really good chance.”

Elsewhere on the Breeders' Cup preview extravaganza, which is also sponsored by Coolmore, XBTV, West Point Thoroughbreds, Lane's End, the New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund and Legacy Bloodstock, Joe Bianca, Bill Finley and Jon Green gave out longshots to watch this weekend, explained which favorites they think are vulnerable and broke down all the pace scenarios in a potential Breeders' Cup Classic for the ages. Click here to watch the podcast; click here for the audio-only version or find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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Gemma Blumenshine Recipient of INS Scholarship From Gerry Dilger Equine Scholarship Foundation

Wed, 2021-11-03 18:15

Gemma Blumenshine is the recipient of the Gerry Dilger Equine Scholarship Foundation's annual scholarship to the Irish National Stud in conjunction with the Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI), the board announced on Wednesday. Blumenshine's profile and strong work ethic impressed the board as the candidate who was most deserving of the unique experience and opportunity to be a part of the Irish National Stud program in 2022.

Blumenshine, who grew up in Clovis, California, majored in Animal Science and minored in Diary Industries at California Polytechnic State University. She started riding and competing in hunters and equitation from the age of 11 and had already gained experience in training, schooling and lessons. In addition, Blumenshine trains off-track thoroughbreds to jump. She most recently gained more work experience in the thoroughbred industry through her KEMI placement at Castleton Lyons.

Claire Dilger said, “We are so proud of Gemma and excited to see all she will accomplish! Thank you to all our donors, and those who help keep my dad's memory alive.”

Blumenshine said, “I am so lucky to be a part of KEMI and to be recognized with the Gerry Dilger Irish National Stud Scholarship and am so grateful to his family.”

The post Gemma Blumenshine Recipient of INS Scholarship From Gerry Dilger Equine Scholarship Foundation appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Breeders’ Cup Report: Stars Emerge Through the Del Mar Fog

Wed, 2021-11-03 17:33

DEL MAR, CA – With trainer Peter Miller looking on–and sporting a hoodie from his two-win performance at the 2018 Championships at Churchill Downs–streaking GI Breeders' Cup Mile contender Mo Forza (Uncle Mo) took a stroll through the Del Mar paddock on a brisk and cloudy Wednesday morning just before 7 a.m.

Del Mar President and General Manager Joe Harper made his way to the well-attended WinStar and Fasig-Tipton Trackside Breakfast Marquee as GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies co-second choice Juju's Map (Liam's Map) galloped strongly with her neck arched.

The imposing Wesley Ward-trained duo of last year's GII Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Golden Pal (Uncle Mo) and unbeaten filly Averly Jane (Midshipman), meanwhile, jogged the wrong way along the outer rail. Both speedsters are favored on the morning-line for their respective engagements in the GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint and Juvenile Turf Sprint.

With the turf course open for action just before 7:30 a.m., defending GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare victress Audarya (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) and Breeders' Cup Mile morning-line favorite Space Blues (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) were among the headliners strutting their stuff.

Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) and legendary former Doug O'Neill-trained three-time GI Hollywood Gold Cup winner turned stable pony Lava Man exited the barn area at 7:55 a.m. as the main track was being harrowed during the break. Co-owner Bill Strauss was on hand to watch the GI Pennsylvania Derby winner prepare for his first attempt against older horses in Saturday's GI Breeders' Cup Classic.

Globetrotting reinsman Frankie Dettori, riding crop in hand, talked all things Breeders' Cup with TVG's Michelle Yu as the cloud cover and accompanying fog intensified with temperatures hovering in only the high 50s.

With the action fast and furious from here on out, there was no shortage of talent on display.

Looking to catch a closer glimpse at some of the Classic contenders? In addition to the aforementioned Hot Rod Charlie, fellow standout sophomores such as champion and GI Belmont S. winner Essential Quality (Tapit) and controversial GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonico) were also out during this window.

With Hall of Famer Bill Mott handling ponying duties once again, 4-year-old Art Collector (Bernardini) also looks to be heading into the main event in top form off a career-best win in the GI Woodward S. There were some anxious moments, however, as a loose horse shortened the Bruce Lunsford homebred's gallop some.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien looked on as his troops–including Love (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) (F/M Turf), Mother Earth (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) (Mile) and Japan (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) (Turf)–marched down the outer rail single file, much to the delight of media assembled on the clubhouse turn.

Aidan's army warming up pic.twitter.com/515jaP6k0A

— Steve Sherack (@SteveSherackTDN) November 3, 2021

This was also a good time to see the leading GI Breeders' Cup Distaffers, headed by the last two GI Kentucky Oaks winners and a four-time Grade I winner this season.

There may not be a horse on the grounds that exudes more class or presence than the brilliant Malathaat (Curlin). What a treat to watch her train.

Fellow Oaks heroine Shedaresthedevil (Daredevil), last year Distaff third Dunbar Road (Quality Road) and Clairiere (Curlin) all filled the frame quite nicely as well.

And that aforementioned division leader with all those Grade I wins this year?

Letruska (Super Saver), wearing a red shadow roll, put an exclamation point on the morning, gliding down the Del Mar stretch during her 1 1/2-mile gallop shortly after 9:00 a.m.

Distaff favorite Letruska pic.twitter.com/jO9spFudTj

— Steve Sherack (@SteveSherackTDN) November 3, 2021

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Legislation Introduced to Ease Tax Burden

Wed, 2021-11-03 17:01

U.S. Congressman Andy Barr, a Kentucky Republican who represents Lexington, has reintroduced the Equine Tax Fairness Act, which, if passed would make changes to the tax laws favorable to horse owners and breeders, it was announced by his office Wednesday.

The bill calls for new regulations that would make the three-year depreciation schedule permanent for racehorses, no matter their age when put into service. Currently, Congress must reauthorize this provision in the tax law on an annual basis.

The legislation would also reduce the holding period for equine assets to be considered long term capital gains, putting them on a level playing field with other similar assets.

“Permanently delivering tax incentives for owners and breeders will strengthen investment in our signature equine industry,” Congressman Barr, who serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Horse Caucus, said in a statement. “I want to continue the momentum started with the enactment of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act to push another key industry initiative across the finish line that will help solidify the sport for decades to come.”

Barr's bill has been endorsed by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, the Jockey Club, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Keeneland, and the American Horse Council.

“The three-year depreciation of racehorses (similar to other investment assets) is critically important to encourage robust investment in Thoroughbred horses and to maintain the vibrant economy and trade we have seen throughout this Thoroughbred sales cycle and consistently over the past 85 years at Keeneland,” Shannon Arvin, President and CEO of Keeneland said in a statement. “We appreciate Congressman Barr's consistent support of this legislation and the entire Thoroughbred industry.”

“The Jockey Club wholeheartedly supports the Equine Tax Fairness Act, introduced by Congressman Andy Barr,” Jockey Club President & CEO Jim Gagliano said in a statement. “This bill will put horse ownership on par with other investment assets. The bill addresses two key deficiencies of the tax code. First, the bill will decrease the depreciation schedule eligible to racehorses from seven years to three, permanently rescheduling racehorses that are put into service before the age of two into the three-year depreciation asset class. The three-year depreciation schedule accurately reflects the typical career of a racehorse since nearly three-quarters of foals that race have a career of four years or less. This change has been enacted by Congress on a temporary, year-to-year basis since 2008, and needs to be permanent law.

“Second, the Equine Tax Fairness Act will reduce the holding period required for equine assets to be considered long-term capital assets from 24 months to 12 months, putting them in line with other investments, such as homes, stocks and bonds.”

Along with Congressman Paul Tonko, Barr was the original sponsor in the House of Representatives of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

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Texas 2YO in Training Sale Set for Apr. 6

Wed, 2021-11-03 15:31

The Texas Thoroughbred Association and Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie have scheduled the 2022 Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale for Wednesday, Apr. 6. The breeze show will be held at the Dallas-area racetrack Monday, Apr. 4.

“Based on what we saw with the Texas Summer Yearling Sale, I think there's a lot of anticipation for the upcoming Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in April,” TTA Sales Director Foster Bridewell said. “I think we're uniquely positioned in the 2-year-old sales landscape to provide a quality sale for our owners, trainers, and breeders and still attract out of region buyers and sellers.”

Lone Star Park kicks off its 2022 Thoroughbred meet with 48 days of racing Apr. 28. The Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity, for TTA Sales graduates and Accredited Texas-breds made eligible through consignor or buyer berths, will be held on closing weekend at Lone Star with two divisions, each at $150,000 guaranteed. Graduates of the Texas Yearling or 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale will also be eligible for the new Texas Thoroughbred Association Derby and Oaks for 3-year-olds. Both races will be held at Sam Houston Race Park in 2023.

“The expanded stakes program for Texas Thoroughbred Association sales graduates certainly gives buyers something extra to think about when they're bidding on horses,” Bridewell said. “Also, thanks to the passage of HB 2460 in 2019, the Texas horse industry benefits from the infusion of $25 million per year, increasing purses and Accredited Texas-bred incentive awards,” Bridewell added. “It really does pay to breed, sell and race in Texas.”

The Entry Deadline for the Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale is Jan. 17, and consignment forms are now available at www.ttasales.com.

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Breeders’ Cup Outlines Championships Protocols

Wed, 2021-11-03 14:24

The Breeders' Cup outlines health and safety protocols for the 2021 World Championships, which take place Nov. 5-6 at Del Mar.

EQUINE SAFETY, TESTING AND SECURITY

All Breeders' Cup runners are subject to:

  • Randomized out-of-competition (OOC) testing (beginning internationally in June and concluded Nov. 1, resulting in the collection of over 300 blood and hair samples
  • Expanded veterinary scrutiny in-stall and during training at Del Mar, Santa Anita and San Luis Rey Training Center
  • Mandatory trot up observations of every horse prior to being permitted to enter a racing surface
  • Comprehensive veterinary exams including diagnostics, if required, beginning Oct. 25
  • Surveillance following a mandatory equine security check-in Nov. 2
  • An additional round of testing for performance enhancing medications and prohibited substances on all horses entered starting Nov. 2, along with additional randomized onsite testing over the following days for a total of approximately 500 blood, hair and urine samples collected from all Breeders' Cup runners prior to the World Championships
  • Extensive post-race testing of the first four finishers as well as any other runner that did not perform as expected and others designated by the Stewards.

The Breeders' Cup's veterinary team includes Dr. Will Farmer, Dr. Deborah Lamparater and CHRB Equine Medical Director Dr. Jeff Blea. Veterinary protocols include observing all potential Breeders' Cup runners in the stabling area, on the track and in their stalls leading up to the event in addition to a mandatory pre-race evaluation Nov. 2 to ensure every runner is fit to race.

TRACK SURFACE SAFETY

Breeders' Cup has retained a panel of racing surface experts, including Racetrack Safety Program Director Mick Peterson, Del Mar turf course superintendent Leif Dickinson and Del Mar racetrack superintendent Dennis Moore, to oversee testing and track maintenance in conjunction with Del Mar's racing surface team. Together, they will ensure consistency in both surfaces, measuring moisture content and footing across the surfaces and providing participants with real-time updates on track and turf conditions.

COVID-19 MITIGATION

The Breeders' Cup and Del Mar have worked closely with local public health officials and infectious disease experts to implement health and safety protocols to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 during the World Championships. Among the experts enlisted to provide effective protocols have been set in place include Dr. Richard Greenberg–former Chief of Infectious Disease of the University of Kentucky and former employee of the Center for Disease Control; Scripps Health's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ghazala Sharieff; Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten and Chief Resiliency Officer Gary Johnston.

Protocols for attending this year's event include:

  • Unvaccinated individuals must wear face coverings indoors and outdoors when in close proximity to others. Face coverings should fully cover the mouth and nose and fit snugly against the sides of the face so there are no gaps.
  • Guests entering the facility or placing a bet are to practice physical distancing.
  • Guests are to refrain from congregating inside the grandstand and follow all posted signage and floor decals as well as any direction from Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Breeders' Cup staff.
  • Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Breeders' Cup staff have implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitization procedures throughout the facility.
  • Hand-sanitizing stations have been placed throughout the grandstand and additional staff will be on-site for cleaning high-touch areas.
  • Media and guests with tickets located on the 6th Floor (Il Palio Restaurant and Skyroom Suite Dining) will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours.

For complete resources detailing Breeders' Cup's health and safety protocols for the 2021 World Championships, click here.

The post Breeders’ Cup Outlines Championships Protocols appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Nine More Supplemented to KEENOV HRA Section

Wed, 2021-11-03 12:47

Nine more supplements have been added to the Keeneland November Sale's Horses of Racing Age portion. The sale begins Wednesday, Nov. 10 with HRA offerings selling on the final day, Nov. 19. Keeneland will continue to accept Book 1 supplements until the auction begins and will accept HRA supplements through mid-November. The latest round of supplements, which include a half-sister to Friday's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf contender and GIII Matron S. winner Bubble Rock (More Than Ready), are as follows:

  • Aragon, a 2-year-old filly by Street Boss who is a half-sister to Grade II-placed Caldee. From the family of Grade II winners Stanley Park and Paid Up Subscriber, she is consigned by Stone Farm as hip
  • Believing, a 3-year-old Street Sense filly from the family of Grade I winner I Believe in You consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent.
  • Catalan, a 3-year-old daughter of Street Boss whose half-sister Bubble Rock is entered in Friday's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar. Consigned by Stone Farm, agent, Catalan also is from the family of Grade II winners Dixie City and Unified and millionaire and GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile-placed Blue Chipper.
  • Lumberjack, a winning 3-year-old gelding by Declaration of War from the family of champion Jewel Princess, Grade I winner Dancing Rags and Grade II winner Coup de Grace. He is consigned by Paramount Sales, agent.
  • Magical Soul, a winning 3-year-old filly by More Than Ready from the family of Canadian champion Perfect Soul (Ire). Consigned by Paramount Sales, agent, she is out of Perfect Soul's full sister, the Sadler's Wells mare Secretariat's Soul (Ire).
  • Mun Luv, a 3-year-old filly by Munnings who is a half-sister to 2021 stakes winner Xanthique. Consigned by Denali Stud, agent, she is from the family of Grade III winner Vesta.
  • Poronui, a 2-year-old daughter of Pioneerof the Nile whose dam is the Grade II-winning Pure Prize mare Dothraki Queen, third in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Consigned by Bluewater Sales, agent, she is from the family of Canadian champion Ambitious Cat and GI Kentucky Oaks winner Blushing K. D.
  • Risky Reward, a multiple stakes-placed winning 3-year-old filly by Mshawish. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, she is from the family of European champion Nathaniel and Grade III winner Changing Skies (IRE).
  • Rome, a 2-year-old colt by Empire Maker out of stakes winner Gracer, by Exchange Rate. Consigned by WinStar Racing, agent, he is from the family of Grade II winners Strike a Deal and Pacific Wind and 2021 Grade III winner Yes This Time.

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Ontario’s Breeding Industry Shows 2021 Growth

Wed, 2021-11-03 11:14

Statistics for Ontario's part in the North American breeding industry were among The Jockey Club (TJC)'s annual reports released recently, with Ontario showing positive gains across the board.

The number of Ontario-sired live foals reported to TJC through Oct. 4 was up 2.6% from last year, while the number of stallions registered in the province increased by 12.5% and the number of mares reported bred through Oct. 18 was up 13.9%. Ontario was the only jurisdiction with positive gains in all three categories.

“Ontario, in terms of growth on the breeding side, is the number one jurisdiction in North America,” said David Anderson, breeder representative on the board of Ontario Racing and member of the Thoroughbred Improvement Program (TIP) Committee. “I just got back from the fall sales and quite honestly that's all everyone wants to talk about, are our programs. I think they are innovative and they are forward thinking, and we're going to bolster our numbers and bolster our quality going forward.”

Among Ontario's programs are the 2021-22 Mare Recruitment (MRP) and Purchase Programs (MPP), as well as the Ontario Sire Heritage Series and Sales Credit Program. For more information, visit tip.ontarioracing.com or contact tbprogram@ontarioracing.com.

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Tuesday’s Breeders’ Cup Report: Cox Classic Duo Bookend Star-Studded Morning

Tue, 2021-11-02 17:25

DEL MAR, CA – With no sign of the sun under a dense cloud cover at daybreak, champion Essential Quality (Tapit) set the stage for this weekend's 38th Breeders' Cup World Championships jogging the wrong way along the outer rail on a cool and comfortable Tuesday morning at Del Mar.

Last year's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner is the second choice on the morning-line at 3-1 for Saturday's GI Breeders' Cup Classic trailing only his Brad Cox-trained stablemate Knicks Go (Paynter) at 5-2. More on the latter gray in a bit.

War Like Goddess (English Channel), sporting four white wraps, turned in a strong gallop as she leads the way into the GI Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

The unbeaten and black-blinkered One Timer (Trappe Shot) was feeling good during his exercise as he looks to light the lamp in the GII Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Flashy Japanese raider Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn})–decked out in matching red-and-white wraps, blinkers, ear muffs, reins, you name it–took a spin over the turf course just before 7:30 a.m. along with the Charlie Appleby contingent led by GI Breeders' Cup Mile morning-line favorite Space Blues (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}).

Japan's Loves Only You (F/M Turf) heading out to train pic.twitter.com/4R9TDx6n7A

— Steve Sherack (@SteveSherackTDN) November 2, 2021

There was still plenty more to come following the renovation break as well.

Controversial GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonico) left the pony with good energy while fellow sophomore Classic contender Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), sporting a red shadow roll, was also out for a spin.

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez had his hands full aboard his GI Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare sprint contender Bella Sofia (Awesome Patriot) as she passed a line of photographers by the winner's circle.

Fellow Filly and Mare sprint runner and MGISW Ce Ce (Elusive Quality) couldn't be looking any better in the flesh and gave off plenty of good vibes during her morning exercise.

The field for the Filly and Mare Sprint will be down to just five following the defection of the Fasig-Tipton November-bound GSW & MGISP Estilo Talentoso (Maclean's Music). “She came out of her gallop a tick off on her right front,” a Tweet from co-owner Medallion Racing read.

California Angel (California Chrome) (GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf), one of the feel-good stories of the Breeders' Cup after bringing just $5,500 as a OBS June 2-year-old, was easy to spot with a pair of white blinkers as was her affable cowboy-hat wearing trainer George Leonard, III.

Defending GI Breeders' Cup Turf winner Tarnawa (Ire) (Shamardal) stood out amongst a group of Euros while trainer Leah Gyarmati waited with the lead shank as Sail By (Astern {Aus}) did just that ahead of the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

After watching his Ballydoyle troops march down the main track from the clubhouse stands, including the talented Love (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) (F/M Turf), trainer Aidan O'Brien graciously stopped for a photo and exchanged pleasantries with an adoring fan. All class.

Looking for a third win in the main event, Hall of Famer Bill Mott ponied Art Collector (Bernardini) through the purpled-out Del Mar paddock for a quick schooling session at 8:48 a.m.

With training hours winding down, Knicks Go fired a warning shot for his Classic rivals, powering down the stretch for his first attempt at 1 1/4 miles approximately two hours after his aforementioned stablemate got his first look at the seaside oval.

Classic ML favorite Knicks Go pic.twitter.com/TJak9414uS

— Steve Sherack (@SteveSherackTDN) November 2, 2021

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Cox on Knicks Go: Catch Him If You Can

Tue, 2021-11-02 16:49

When Knicks Go (Paynter) arrived in Brad Cox's barn late in 2019 the trainer didn't know what to expect. The Maryland-bred had won the 2019 GI Breeders' Futurity and was second in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile in his next start. But his recent form for trainer Ben Colebrook had not been good. He had lost 10 straight and finished in the money only three times during that span. There was even talk of retiring him.

Some two years later, Knicks Go is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic and the leading contender for Horse of the Year. It's been a remarkable transition, but not an inexplicable one. Under Cox, Knicks Go has been a horse allowed to use what is clearly his most potent weapon, his early speed.

“I think it has been huge,” Cox said of the change in tactics. “He's an aggressive horse who likes to go.”

He'll be asked to do it again Saturday in the Classic. Knicks Go is all but certain to go straight for the lead and if he wins, it will have meant that nobody could catch him.

After finishing a well-beaten third in the 2019 Arlington Washington Futurity, Knicks Go scored a stunning upset in the Breeders' Futurity at odds of 70-1. He won wire-to-wire that day, but reverted back to old habits in his next several starts. The Knicks Go who struggled throughout his 3-year-old year, going 0-for-8, was a horse that normally could be found stalking the early leaders. In the handful of races where he did go to the lead, he was never able to open up on the field early. After Knicks Go finished 10th in the GIII Commonwealth Turf S., his owners, the Korea Racing Authority, made the switch to Cox.

The trainer sensed early on that Knicks Go needed to be handled a certain way.

“I walked him off the van last night at 10:30 and he was pulling my guts out,” Cox said. “He's just a very aggressive horse. He's forward. He wants to go. He trains like that. He walks around the shedrow like that. He's really cool and laid back in the stall, but when he comes out of the stall, it's all go.”

Knicks Go made his debut for Cox last year in a Feb. 20 allowance race at Oaklawn. With Joe Talamo aboard, he shot to the early lead and drew off to win by 7 1/2 lengths. The horse that had struggled so often a year earlier was nowhere to be found. He's gone six for eight since, including a win in last year's GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and the GI Whitney S. His two losses came in the only one-turn races he has competed in for Cox. Joel Rosario has been the rider in each of his last eight starts.

“The biggest thing when it came to getting this horse right and getting his form back was just getting him into some races where he could get his confidence,” Cox said. “We needed to find out what he wanted to do. He's a horse who wants to be on the lead. I really think Rosario fits him well. When the rider holds him together and lets him tote them around there, he's able to run them off their feet. That's what he does.”

Cox has left no doubt what the strategy will be Saturday, but that doesn't mean that Knicks Go will have an easy time of things. The race is loaded with speed and, like Knicks Go, Medina Spirit (Protonico) is a horse who has been thriving on the lead. Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) and Art Collector (Bernardini) also have speed. Could there be a pace meltdown?

“I'm not worried about that,” Cox said. “I see Knicks Go breaking and probably having to be asked to establish position down the frontside. Then, hopefully, he can clear off going into the first turn. We'll see. I don't know what the game plan is for the other jocks and trainers. I'm not sure he can clear off, but hopefully he can. That would give him his best opportunity to win. They're going to be going quick. It just depends on how quick they are going and how much pressure he is getting when he goes quick.”

Riding Medina Spirit, John Velazquez will have some choices to make. If he goes after Knicks Go from the start that could prove to be a problem for both. If he allows Knicks Go to get away from him then Knicks Go probably won't get caught.

A rapid early pace could benefit Cox's other Classic starter, Essential Quality (Tapit). He is the second choice in the morning line and another Horse of the Year candidate. Max Player (Honor Code) is another who could benefit from a pace battle.

Then again, Knicks Go may just be too good and too fast for his rivals.

“That's just the way he runs,” Cox said. “That normally leads to the best result for him and for us. That's what we are going to do. We're going to send him away from there running and see how it works out.”

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Hall of Fame Jockey Hugo Dittfach Passes Away

Tue, 2021-11-02 15:51

Canadian Hall of Fame jockey Hugo Dittfach passed away at the age of 85. A refugee from East Germany, Dittfach spent three years in a Russian concentration camp in Poland during World War II before emigrating to Canada. He began his riding career in 1956 and was a leading rider in Western Canada before relocating to Ontario.

Dittfach won the 1961 Queen's Plate aboard 20-1 longshot Blue Light. The pair just edged the world's leading race-winning jockey Johnny Longden and race-favorite Just Don't Shove in one of the closest finishes in the Classic race's history.

Dittfach remained a fixture and leading rider at Woodbine, Greenwood and Fort Erie for many years, winning numerous stakes, including the Prince of Wales S. a record five times. He retired from riding in 1989 to become a trainer.

“So many individuals in our racing industry, including myself, are lucky to have cherished memories of Hugo,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. “Hugo was a hard-working, earnest man, that gave his all every time he got on the back of a horse. Hugo rode regularly for Jim Dandy Stable and I fondly remember his ride on Ruthie's Run to win the Princess Elizabeth S. in 1974.

“A true gentleman, Hugo made an incredible contribution to our sport in Ontario and will be missed by all.”

'Hustlin' Hugo won the Sovereign Award as Canada's Outstanding Jockey in 1975, was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1983 and received the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award in 1991 for his contributions to the sport.

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‘Welcome to Derbyville’ Exhibit Opens Nov. 19 at Kentucky Derby Museum

Tue, 2021-11-02 11:55

Visitors can explore the wild stories and unique culture of the GI Kentucky Derby at a new exhibit, Welcome to Derbyville, opening Nov. 19 at Kentucky Derby Museum.

The exhibit was born from the idea that most years on Derby Day, Churchill Downs transforms into the state's third-largest city, drawing its temporary residents into a remarkable cultural experience that is unique to other sporting events. The horses, the people-watching, the fashion–this new exhibit explores this 147-acre city, Derbyville, and who comes to stay and why.

The unique culture of the Kentucky Derby will come to life through pictures, videos, artwork and artifacts, plus interactive components where visitors can leave their own Derbyville stories.

Additionally, the exhibit will take a deep dive into journalist Hunter S. Thompson and artist Ralph Steadman's raucous commentary, “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved,” featuring some familiar–and new–artifacts from their trip to the 1970 Derby. For more information, visit DerbyMuseum.org.

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Appropriately Named Howling Time Wins Street Sense on Halloween

Sun, 2021-10-31 18:46

STREET SENSE S., $200,000, Churchill Downs, 10-31, 2yo, 1 1/16m, 1:44.68, ft.
1–HOWLING TIME, 122, c, 2, by Not This Time
               1st Dam: Werewolf, by Arch
               2nd Dam: She's Justa Friend, by Hussonet
               3rd Dam: Sage Cat, by Tabasco Cat
($200,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP). 1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O-Albaugh Family Stables LLC; B-Springhouse Farm (KY); T-Dale L. Romans; J-Joseph Talamo. $121,140. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $190,600.
2–Red Danger, 122, c, 2, Orb–Forget It, by Distorted Humor. ($17,000 Wlg '19 KEENOV). O-Silverton Hill LLC; B-Dattt
Farm LLC (KY); T-Brian A. Lynch. $39,400.
3–Red Knobs, 122, c, 2, Union Rags–Hokey Okey, by Lonhro
(Aus). ($75,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP). O-Jim Bakke & Gerald
Isbister; B-Caldara Farm Inc. & Flaxman Holdings Limited
(KY); T-Dale L. Romans. $19,700.
Margins: 3 1/4, 4, 5HF. Odds: 1.90, 3.30, 4.50.
Also Ran: Skippylongstocking, Guntown, Sport Pepper, Luni Sima. Scratched: Kiss the Sky, Lucky Boss.

Hunch players the world over had to delight in a colt named Howling Time–out of a mare named Werewolf–winning the Street Sense S. at Churchill on Halloween. The 9-5 choice appeared to hesitate for a fraction of a second leaving the gate, but was swiftly up to a joint third while in the clear on the outside. He stayed in striking range through reasonable :24.65 and :49.31 fractions, inched up on the turn, and emerged from the fray with the lead. Rider Joe Talamo threw a few crosses and kept Howling Time's mind on business in early stretch, but turned it into a hand ride in late stretch once it was apparent the dark bay had the win secure. He crossed the wire 3 1/4 lengths on top.

“It's pretty fitting a horse with a Halloween theme wins today,” said winning trainer Dale Romans. “I'm just glad it was ours. He won impressively in his debut last month. He's shown us in his training and his pedigree that he should like stretching out in distance. So, winning at six furlongs on debut was very impressive. Then, to come back and do that today showed how talented he is.”

Howling Time came into the Street Sense with a debut win Sept. 25 over this track at 2 1/2 furlongs shorter than Sunday's race. In a similar trip, he had tracked while wide that day, then wore down the leaders to score by 1 1/2 lengths, getting an 81 Beyer for the effort. The Street Sense marked his first black-type win and the juvenile remained undefeated in two starts.

Werewolf hails from the same family as $2.1-million Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old Desert Party (Street Cry {Ire}), who would go on to be a GSW in the U.S. and a MGSW in the U.A.E. Werewolf has a colt by Air Force Blue, born in February, and has been bred back to Bolt d'Oro. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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Street Sense Filly Romps in Rags to Riches

Sun, 2021-10-31 15:46

Sandstone earned her second straight open-lengths win under the Twin Spires with a wire-to-wire victory in the Rags to Riches S. at Churchill Sunday. The dark bay filly  took the lead early was shadowed by favorite Yuugiri through an opening quarter in :24.51. Favored Yuugiri rolled up to challenge the pacesetter after a half in :48.55 and appeared to gain a slim advantage in upper stretch, but Sandstone battled back and powered clear to an authoritative victory.

Freshened up after finishing a well-beaten fifth in her 5 1/2-furlong debut at Churchill May 28, Sandstone returned with a romping nine-length victory over one mile in Louisville Oct. 3.

RAGS TO RICHES S., $197,500, Churchill Downs, 10-31, 2yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:44.18, ft.
1–SANDSTONE, 122, f, 2, by Street Sense
                1st Dam: Seattle Shimmer, by Seattle Slew
                2nd Dam: Golden Gale, by Summer Squall
                3rd Dam: Gold Whirl, by Mr. Prospector
($165,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP). 1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN. O-Susan
Moulton; B-Mark & Cindy Stansell (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek;
J-Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr. $127,500. Lifetime Record:
3-2-0-0, $199,960. *1/2 to Sway Away (Afleet Alex), MGSP,
$206,800.
2–Yuugiri, 122, f, 2, Shackleford–Yuzuru, by Medaglia d'Oro.
O/B-Sekie & Tsunebumi Yoshihara (KY); T-Rodolphe Brisset.
$40,000.
3–Mama Rina, 122, f, 2, Gormley–Honky Tonk Rose, by Forest
Wildcat. ($31,000 Ylg '20 KEEJAN; $65,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP).
O-Harold Lerner LLC, AWC Stables, Scott Akman, Nehoc
Stables, Paul Braverman & Magdalena Racing; B-Lee McMillin,
Randy Faulkner & Joe Travelsted (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek.
$20,000.
Margins: 10 3/4, 15 1/4, 5 3/4. Odds: 2.70, 0.60, 3.80.
Also Ran: Manasota Sunset. Scratched: Dressed.
Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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Breeders’ Cup Breeze Report for Oct. 31: Cox Contingent on Track at Churchill

Sun, 2021-10-31 13:36

Three of trainer Brad Cox's Breeders' Cup hopefuls turned in their final works ahead of championship weekend Sunday at Churchill Downs, a day later than originally planned due to rain in the Louisville area Saturday. Aiming for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, Essential Quality (Tapit) went five furlongs in a bullet :59.40 (1/22) and Knicks Go (Paynter) covered the same distance in 1:01.20 (9/22). GI Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff contender Shedaresthedevil (Daredevil) went her five furlongs in 1:00.80 (2/22).

“It was a great morning and all three horses put in great works,” Cox said. “It was exactly what we were looking for heading into the Breeders' Cup next week. All three of these horses were scheduled to work [Saturday], but we got a lot of rain in the area, so we moved them all to [Sunday]. Overall, it worked out really well. I thought it was a good track. It was still a little wet, but it was drying out as the morning was going on.”

Essential Quality, with jockey Florent Geroux in the saddle, breezed outside of 3-year-old allowance winner Colonel Bowman (Curlin). Last year's champion juvenile started one length back of his workmate and finished five lengths in front through splits of :23.40 and :47. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.

“Essential really loved the track this morning and it was probably the Tapit coming out of him a little bit,” Cox said. “There was a set of horses slowing down in front of them and I told Florent on the radio to gallop out by them. It was a really, really good move. A lot of people scratch their heads the way he trains in the morning compared to running in a race. That's just who he is, but I think he's really developing at the right time.”

Essential Quality, whose lone career loss was a fourth-place finish in the GI Kentucky Derby, won the GI Belmont S. and GII Jim Dandy S. and makes his first start since winning the Aug. 28 GI Runhappy Travers S. in Saturday's Classic.

Likely Classic favorite Knicks Go, with regular exercise rider Hugo Garcia up, clipped through fractions of :24.40, 36.40 and :48.60 with a six-furlong gallop out in 1:13.80 and seven furlongs in 1:27.60.

“He's just a really cool horse,” Cox said. “He's very kind when he's in his stall, but he's very aggressive, in a good way, outside of the barn. He knows his job and puts a lot into his training and works. I don't see anything from his previous races than he can't get the extra eighth-mile distance in the Classic. In the Whitney, against a field of really good horses, I thought he showed he could get an extra quarter-mile. He seems to clear off around the turn from his competition and is able to go fast and kick on.”

Korea Racing Authority's Knicks Go, winner of last year's GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, comes into the Classic off wins in the July 2 GIII Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H., Aug. 7 GI Whitney S. and Oct. 2 GIII Lukas Classic S.

Shedaresthedevil worked with Geroux aboard through early fractions of :24 and :48.20.

“She always gets into a good rhythm in her training and races,” Cox said. “We saw that again today. Florent worked her and she was just cruising around there. She always seems to be under the radar, even going back to when she won the Kentucky Oaks. I thought I ran her a little too quickly back in the GI Spinster S. last year. She's gotten the job done in three out of four starts this year. She doesn't run bigger figures than some of the older mares, but she is a racehorse through and through. When she gets in a battle, she shows all heart and determination to get the job done.”

Shedaresthedevil defeated likely Distaff favorite Letruska (Super Saver) when winning the GII Azeri S. in March. She comes into the Breeders' Cup off wins in the Aug. 1 GI Clement L Hirsch S. and  Sept. 18 GIII Locust Grove S.

Cox has six Breeders' Cup contenders training at Churchill Downs. Along with the trio who worked Sunday, he'll also target the GI Juvenile Fillies with Juju's Map (Liam's Map), the GI Juvenile Turf with Ready to Purrform (Kitten's Joy) and the GI Juvenile Fillies Turf with Turnerloose (Nyquist).

All of the Churchill Downs-based Breeders' Cup hopefuls are scheduled to van to Indianapolis Monday at noon for a 4 p.m. flight to California.

Art Collector Tunes Up

Bruce Lunsford's Art Collector (Bernardini) tuned up for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic with a four-furlong move in :48.40 (9/29) at Del Mar Sunday.

Art Collector, winner of the GI Woodward S., was one of three Breeders' Cup horses to work at the oceanside oval Sunday for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Neil Poznansky was aboard the trio that included Casa Creed (Jimmy Creed) (Mile) going four in :47.60 (4/29) and War Like Goddess (English Channel) (Filly & Mare Turf) going a half-mile in :48.20 (8/29).

“They were all useful works, nothing blazing fast,” said Mott. “I never have a problem working good grass horses on dirt and this track looks safe and very forgiving.”

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez was aboard Bella Sofia (Awesome Patriot) as she covered a half-mile in :48.40 in preparation for the Filly & Mare Sprint.

“She's a happy girl and she loves to just go about her business,” Rodriguez said of Bella Sofia. “She handled the track well and was very comfortable on it.”

Bella Sofia, a winner of four of five career starts, is coming off wins in the Aug. 7 GI Test S. and Sept. 26 GII Gallant Bloom H.

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen worked four of his six Breeders' Cup contenders Sunday at Del Mar, with likely GI Qatar Racing Sprint favorite Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music) going three furlongs in :36.80. Working half-miles for Asmussen Sunday were Clairiere (Curlin) (Longines Distaff) in :49.20, Echo Zulu (Gun Runner) (NetJets Juvenile Fillies) in :50.40 and Silver State (Hard Spun) (Dirt Mile) in :48.60.

Other Del Mar dirt workers included C Z Rocket (City Zip) (Qatar Racing Sprint) going 3f in :35.80, Commander (Fr) (War Command) (Turf Sprint also-eligible) a half-mile in :48.80, Giant Game (Giant's Causeway) (TVG Juvenile) a half-mile in :48.60, and the Richard Mandella-trained duo of Dogtag (War Front) (Maker's Mark Filly & Mare Turf) and Bombard (War Front) (Turf Sprint also-eligible) working five furlongs in :58.20 and :58.40, respectively, in company.

Working over the Del Mar turf Sunday were: Mo Forza (Uncle Mo), a two-time winner of the GII Del Mar Mile, worked a half-mile in :49.40 for the FanDuel Mile for trainer Peter Miller. Shortly after Mo Forza finished his work, Going to Vegas (Goldencents) worked a half-mile in :49.20 for trainer Richard Baltas in preparation for the Maker's Mark Filly & Mare Turf.

Also working on the turf were Time to Party (Kantharos) (Juvenile Turf Sprint) going three furlongs in :38.20, Charmaine's Mia (The Factor) (Turf Sprint) going a half-mile in :50.20, Extravagant Kid (Kiss the Kid) (Turf Sprint) a half-mile in :49.40 in company with Zofelle (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}); and Cairo Memories (Cairo Prince) (Juvenile Fillies Turf) going five furlongs in 1:04.40.

In other Breeders' Cup works Sunday, GII Zenyatta S. winner Private Mission (Into Mischief) worked five furlongs in a bullet :58.80 (1/44) for trainer Bob Baffert at Santa Anita.

Breeders' Cup Defections

Trainer Richard Baltas withdrew Idol (Curlin) from consideration forthe GI Breeders' Cup Classic after the GI Santa Anita H. winner worked five furlongs in company in 1:02.40. Baltas told Breeders' Cup officials that he did not feel Idol was 100%.

Also Sunday, trainer Ken McPeek reported that GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity winner Rattle N Roll (Connect) would not be entered in the GI TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

“He came out of his workout with what looks like a left hind foot abcess,” McPeek tweeted Sunday.

Two other horses were withdrawn from Breeders' Cup consideration by their connections Sunday morning: Flagstaff (Speightstown) from the Qatar Racing Sprint and Reina de Mollendo (Arg) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) from the Maker's Mark Filly & Mare Turf.

Breeders' Cup Draw Live on TVG & Streamed

The Rood & Riddle Breeders' Cup Post-Position Draw for the 2021 Breeders' Cup World Championships will be shown live on Monday from Del Mar, beginning at 2:30pm PT/5:30pm ET.

All 14 races will be drawn and announced live on TVG, along with BreedersCup.com, the Breeders' Cup mobile app, and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages.

The Rood & Riddle Breeders' Cup Post-Position Draw will be hosted by Britney Eurton and Nick Luck.

 

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Keeneland Fall Meet Closes With Record Wagering

Sat, 2021-10-30 20:09

The 2021 Fall Meet at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, closed Oct. 30, with record all-sources wagering of better than $181 million over the course of 17 days of live racing at the historic facility.

When the dust had settled Saturday afternoon, all-sources wagering (not including whole-card simulcasting at Keeneland) totaled $181,009,626, obliterating the previous record of $164,680,229 established during this year's Spring Meet and the previous Fall Meet record of $160,207,916 set in 2019. This year's all-sources wagering numbers represented a 22% increase over last fall's $148,229,708. Keeneland offered a beefed-up stakes schedule worth $6 million across 22 black-type races.

On Saturday, Oct. 9, the second of the three programs that comprise 'FallStars' weekend, Keeneland established a new Fall record for single-day all-source wagering of $20,926,640, surpassing the prior record of $18,392,756 set in 2019. A new benchmark was also set for Pick 5 Wagering, as a sequence consisting of only stakes races attracted $1,255,080 in wagers, besting the previous record last fall by about 50%.

Keeneland also instituted for the first time an 'All-Turf' Pick 3 wager, that offered a low 15% takeout. The wager handled an average of $112,233 per day, with an average payout of over $1,300 for the base $3 wager.

“We are so appreciative of the tremendous support from our fans, our horsemen, the Central Kentucky community, our horseplayers and our corporate partners,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “Welcoming fans back to Keeneland this fall, along with the return of our special events and tailgating on The Hill, felt like a breath of fresh air after the restrictions of the past year and a half. It was a terrific way to mark our 85th year of racing and to celebrate the important role Keeneland plays in our community and the horse industry.”

On the racing side, Keeneland hosted 10 races in the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, offering the winners of those races fees-paid berths into a variety of Breeders' Cup races. A dozen of the aforementioned 22 stakes events were held on the grass. Keeneland added a pair of juvenile sprint stakes–the Myrtlewood and the Bowman Mill S.–at the back end of the meet and revived the Perryville S. and Bryan Station S. for 3-year-olds.

Tyler Gaffalione ran away with the jockeys' title, booting home no fewer than 29 winners, while Brad Cox won the final race of the meet with new 'TDN Rising Star' Famed (Uncle Mo) to clinch a second consecutive fall title. Godolphin and Calumet Farm finished in a tie for leading owner with four wins. Sheikh Mohammed's operation, along with prominent owner/breeder G. Watts Humphrey, Jr. were each recipients of a prestigious Keeneland Tray, emblematic of having won their eighth graded stakes at Keeneland.

Keeneland hosted their annual 'Make a Wish' day, a charitable undertaking that was the brainchild of the late John Greely IV, on Oct. 14, benefiting 10 children; College Scholarship Day Oct. 15; and Heroes Day, presented by Rubicon, Oct. 24, further demonstrating the Keeneland Association's commitment to philanthropic efforts in the broader community.

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Essential Quality Half-Sis Splashes to ‘Rising Star’ Honors

Sat, 2021-10-30 18:57

A half-sister to 'TDN Rising Star' and GI Breeders' Cup Classic hopeful Essential Quality (Tapit), Ch. 2yo Colt, MGISW, $4,215,144, Famed (Uncle Mo) followed in the latter's hoofprints with a 'Rising Star'-worthy romp of her own in the fall meet finale from Keeneland Saturday afternoon.

The dark bay was bet down to 90 cents on the dollar for her much-anticipated debut at Churchill Sept. 26 and was in the thick of it from the start, but ultimately dropped a one-length decision to Sweet Dani Girl (Jess's Dream), who franked the form of the race with a 3/4-length success in Friday's Myrtlewood S. at Keeneland.

Getting blinkers off for this second go, Famed jumped alertly beneath Florent Geroux and showed the way from Bunduki (Gun Runner) through an opening couple of furlongs in :22.54. Left alone up front when Bunduki bolted approaching the five-sixteenths, tossing Brian Hernandez, Jr. in the process, Famed cornered a touch wide into the stretch while firmly in front, raced on her incorrect lead into the final 100 yards and was wrapped up late. Hernandez, Jr. was uninjured in the incident. Famed is the eighth 'TDN Rising Star' for Uncle Mo.

The victory allowed trainer Brad Cox to drop his nose down on the wire just ahead of Wesley Ward in the fall meet's trainers' premiership, prevailing by a count of 14 winners to 13. It also got Godolphin even with Calumet Farm for meet-leading owner honors with four wins apiece.

On behalf of Sheikh Mohammed's operation, John Ferguson parted with $3 million for Famed's second dam Contrive at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton November Sale a matter of days after her daughter Folklore (Tiznow) won the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park. Contrive's fifth foal was Delightful Quality, a two-time winner at the races who placed in seven black-type events for trainer Tom Albertrani, including the GIII Bed 'O Roses H. Delightful Quality's first three foals made a grand total of one trip to the races, but Eclipse Award winner Essential Quality has done his part to ensure the family's longevity, with eight wins from nine starts, including last year's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the GI Belmont S. and GI Runhappy Travers S. this season. He figures a strong second favorite in next Saturday's GI Longines Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar. Contrive is also the second dam of Japanese Triple Crown winner Contrail (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), who is expected to start favorite for Sunday's G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) at Tokyo Racecourse.

Delightful Quality was barren to Uncle Mo for 2020 and to Nyquist for this season and was most recently bred back to Tapit.

10th-Keeneland, $83,921, Msw, 10-30, 2yo, f, 7f, 1:28.42, sy, 7 3/4 lengths.
FAMED, f, 2, by Uncle Mo
1st Dam: Delightful Quality (GSP, $253,900), by Elusive Quality
2nd Dam: Contrive, by Storm Cat
3rd Dam: Jeano, by Fappiano
Lifetime Record: 2-1-1-0, $74,400. O-Godolphin LLC; B-Godolphin (KY); T-Brad H Cox. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG. Click for the free Equineline.com catalog-style pedigree.

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Independence Hall Back on Top in Fayette

Sat, 2021-10-30 18:53

Independence Hall (Constitution) capped a highly productive 20 minutes or so for his sire Saturday afternoon, splashing home a decisive winner of Keeneland's GII Hagyard Fayette S. shortly after fellow WinStar Farm co-owned colt Americanrevolution dominated his elders by nearly a dozen in Belmont's Empire Classic H. A dominant winner of both the GIII Nashua S. as a late season juvenile and the Jerome S. as newly turned sophomore last New Year's Day, Independence Hall was eventually transferred from Mike Trombetta to Michael McCarthy ahead of an optional claiming sprint win last November at Santa Anita. He could only manage fifth in the GI Malibu S. Dec. 26, but earned a career-best 104 Beyer Speed Figure when third to Knicks Go (Paynter) in the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. in January. Fourth in the Mar. 6 GI Santa Anita H. and third in the Apr. 17 GII Californian S., he was fifth in the GI TVG Pacific Classic S. Aug. 21 and most recently proved second best to divisional leader Knicks Go in Churchill's GIII Lukas Classic S. Oct. 2.

Saturday, Keeneland
HAGYARD FAYETTE S.-GII, $200,000, Keeneland, 10-30, 3yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:50.30, sy.
1–INDEPENDENCE HALL, 121, c, 4, by Constitution
                1st Dam: Kalahari Cat, by Cape Town
                2nd Dam: Desert Stormette, by Storm Cat
                3rd Dam: Breezy Stories, by Damascus
($100,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP; $200,000 RNA 2yo '19 FTFMAR).
O-Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Twin Creeks Racing Stables,
LLC, WinStar Farm, LLC, Kathleen & Robert Verratti;
B-Woodford Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Michael W. McCarthy;
J-Javier Castellano. $120,000. Lifetime Record: GISP, 13-5-2-2,
$874,000. *1/2 to Francois (Smarty Jones), SW & GSP,
$381,485; Black Onyx (Rock Hard Ten), GSW, $418,860; and
Quality Council (Elusive Quality), GSP, $248,743. Werk Nick
Rating: C. Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Code of Honor, 121, h, 5, Noble Mission (GB)–Reunited, by
Dixie Union. ($70,000 RNA Ylg '17 KEESEP). O/B-W. S. Farish
(KY); T-Claude R. McGaughey III. $40,000.
3–King Fury, 120, c, 3, Curlin–Taris, by Flatter. ($950,000 Ylg '19
FTSAUG). O-Fern Circle Stables & Three Chimneys Farm, LLC;
B-Heider Family Stables, LLC (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek.
$20,000.
Margins: 7 1/4, 1, 2 3/4. Odds: 3.50, 2.30, 1.80.
Also Ran: Night Ops, Militarist, Manhattan Up, Major Fed, Fort Peck. Scratched: Sleepy Eyes Todd. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

Hard ridden from the blocks by Javier Castellano to seize the early advantage, Independence Hall clicked off splits of :24.24 :48.38 with Code of Honor applying token pressure. That pair traveled on even terms to the top of the stretch, and Code of Honor briefly looking like he was going better of the two, but Independence Hall found plenty more in the tank and widened at will at the head of the lane to run up the score.

“Everything changed today from the way I handicapped the race [before Sleepy Eyes Todd {Paddy O'Prado} was scratched],” Castellano said. “I didn't see too much speed in the race. I made the adjustment myself [thinking] if you can put him in a good position, a forward position, he can carry himself all the way around the track. I think the key today was breaking good out of the gate.

“I didn't see much speed, so [I wanted to] dictate the pace and go wire to wire. I had to encourage him a little bit [nearing the wire], but the more you ask him, the more he gives you. He's a really nice horse. The slop helped a lot, too; he loved it, he splashed along and he carried himself. I'm very grateful, very thankful to be here and to be on him. I really appreciate the opportunity.”

Independence Hall is now a perfect three-for-three over tracks rated less than fast, but this was his first outing over a sloppy surface. His victory was the 100th stakes win for co-owner Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.

Pedigree Notes:
Independence Hall is one of 26 stakes winners (15 graded/group, including six highest-level winners in South America) for the fast-starting WinStar inmate Constitution. Castellano also rode juvenile filly Freedom Rose (Constitution) to an 8 1/2-length victory in a rained-off maiden special weight going the same distance earlier on the card.

Dam Kalahari Cat was a $600,000 KEENOV '06 purchase before she was represented by her four black-type-earning foals. Her dam was a full to GI Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Desert Stormer and produced the SW/GSP dam of English Group 1 winner White Moonstone (Dynaformer). Cape Town is the broodmare sire of 21 stakes winners, six of them graded, including the Grade I winner Competitive Edge (Super Saver).

Kalahari Cat has an unraced 2-year-old daughter named Respectful (Frosted) who brought $270,000 from Twin Creeks Racing at last year's Keeneland September sale. Barren to fellow McCarthy trainee City of Light for 2020, she produced a full sister to Independence Hall Feb. 15 before being bred back to the ill-fated Bernardini.

 

Could not be more proud & honored to notch @EclipseTBP 100th Stakes win in our 10 year history. It's been a year of milestones and I'm so grateful for our partners, every horsewoman & man who devote their lives to our horses and to the HORSES, the HORSES the HORSES! #BelieveBig https://t.co/LflNN2ge0H

— Aron Wellman (@AronWellman7) October 30, 2021

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