April 25, 2013
Golden State Series is growing and helping California breeders
By Steve Andersen
Last spring, owner-breeder Terry Lovingier faced a pivotal decision with Willa B Awesome, the winner of the 2012 Santa Anita Oaks.
Lovingier and his partners debated whether to run Willa B Awesome in the prestigious Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs or take a slightly unconventional approach with a Grade 1 winner and stay in California for the $300,000 Melair Stakes for state-breds at Betfair Hollywood Park.
In a decision based on economics and competition, they opted to keep the filly at home and watched her record her fourth and final career stakes win.
”I think we made the right decision and picked up a nice paycheck,” Lovingier said recently.
Before 2012, the filly may well have been bound for Kentucky.
The Melair Stakes for 3-year-old fillies is part of the Golden State Series of stakes for California-breds, a program launched in 2012. The program gives California-breds an opportunity to race within the division throughout the year for six-figure purses.
The Melair has been a beneficiary. The race existed before 2012, but was never worth more than $200,000. It will be run on Saturday for $250,000.
Now in its second year, the Golden State Series program is growing. In its first full year, through January of this year, the program featured 27 races statewide worth $4.65 million. For the current year, from February of this year through February 2014, the series will have 33 races worth $5.175 million.
There are four Gold Rush series races on Saturday’s Hollywood Park program: Two races are for 3-year-olds, the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes and the Melair Stakes for fillies, and two are races for 4-year-olds and up, the $125,000 Tiznow Stakes and the $125,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes for fillies and mares.
Aside from keeping Willa B Awesome in California last spring, the Golden State Series is providing a boost for California breeding. Farms in the state report several leading stallions have been well supported during the current breeding season, leading to hope that the state can reverse years of declines in the number of foals produced.
“It’s been a busy year,” said Jeanne Davis, the sales manager at Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, Calif. “We’re up overall. We’ll breed around 250 to 260 total [mares].”
According to the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, the 2012 foal crop in the state was 1,725, down from 1,900 from 2010. In 2007, there were 3,085 foals in the state. Doug Burge, the CTBA’s executive vice president, said that the number of mares bred this year will be equal to 2012, “if not up from last year.”
While the foal crop has decreased, nominations for the Golden State Series have risen. There were 839 nominations from the 2010 foal crop for the first year of the series in 2012, and 913 nominations from the 2011 foal crop. Horses foaled in 2009 or earlier were grandfathered into the program, which stresses prize money for 2- and 3-year-olds.
Race programs such as the Golden State Series, and a bonus paid to California-breds who win maiden special weight races throughout the state, are tools to reverse the trend of smaller foal crops and boost the breeding of better quality stock.
Ballena Vista is expected to have a busy year. Through April 23, Tribal Rule was the leading California-based stallion by progeny earnings in 2013, with $1,294,613.
Davis expects Ballena Vista stallions Tribal Rule and Dixie Chatter to each cover approximately 90 mares this year. First-year stallion Calimonco will be bred to about 50 mares.
“When we see 75 or more, it’s a pretty good year,” Davis said.
Davis said the Golden State Series can be effective in keeping owners from shipping mares out of state.
“Owners that have horses of racing age see a benefit to it,” she said. “I know at the sales that we’ve attended it’s a selling point.”
Lovingier operates Lovacres Farm, near Warner Springs, Calif. His farm is most active with the stallion Awesome Gambler, who he estimates will cover 75 to 80 mares this breeding season.
“I think we’ll do better than expected [this year],” Lovingier said. “We’ll breed 10 to 20 percent [more] than I thought we would.”
Lovingier has horses with trainers Walther Solis and Gary Sherlock.
Last week, Sherlock said he has focused on acquiring California-bred 2-year-olds for this racing season because of the Golden State Series and maiden bonus. Sometimes, he said, the competition in those stakes is not fierce.
“There is so much good money in the California-bred races,” Sherlock said. “You can run for $150,000, $250,000, or $300,000, and they’re [like] one other-than [allowance races] except for one horse here and there.”
Dave McGlothlin, the farm manager at Harris Farms, said that Heatseeker will be bred to more than 60 mares and that Lucky Pulpit will have a book of approximately 70 mares this year.
Lucky Pulpit’s oldest foals are 4-year-olds this year. He was bred to 114 mares last year, McGlothlin said.
“We anticipated that there would be a reduction in number of mares to Lucky Pulpit,” McGlothlin said. “He’s got a large crop of yearlings and last year he covered 114 mares. He’s got a bright future.”
McGlothlin said that Harris Farm will have the same number of mares bred this year but that the mares are a higher quality.
“Our end product will be better,” he said. “The bonus program and the Golden State Series are instrumental in creating some interest and enthusiasm for California-breds.”
April 21, 2013
Warren's Amber targets B. Thoughtful Stakes
By Steve Andersen
Warren’s Amber, the winner of the Evening Jewel Stakes at Santa Anita in 2012, has had five workouts in recent weeks, preparing for an expected 2013 debut in the $125,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Saturday.
For some trainers, five workouts would not be enough to have a 4-year-old filly ready for the B. Thoughtful, which is run over 7 1/2 furlongs for California-bred fillies and mares. But trainer Jorge Gutierrez thinks Warren’s Amber has gained enough from the workouts, and he is willing to try the race with the filly, owned and bred by Ben Warren.
“She might be a little short, but she is a late-running sprinter,” he said. “Where else am I going to go?”
Warren’s Amber has not started since a ninth-place finish in an allowance race at Santa Anita last November.
After winning the Evening Jewel for 3-year-old fillies over 6 1/2 furlongs in March 2012, Warren’s Amber started in five more stakes in 2012, finishing third in the Campanile Stakes over a mile on turf at Golden Gate Fields in June and second in the Fleet Treat Stakes over seven furlongs at Del Mar in August.
Gutierrez will be a busy trainer in the paddock before the B. Thoughtful. He has four nominees to the race owned and bred by Warren – Warren’s Blossom, Warren’s Gussie and Warren’s Internet – and all but Warren’s Gussie may run.
The B. Thoughtful is one of four races worth $125,000 or more on Saturday’s California Gold Rush program at Hollywood Park. The race is expected to include Bench Glory, the winner of the Irish O’Brien Stakes for California-breds at Santa Anita in March.
The $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles is the top race on the program. Tiz a Minister, fourth in the Santa Anita Derby, heads the nominations.
Unusual Way, second to Kentucky Oaks hopeful Midnight Lucky in the Sunland Park Oaks on March 24, is a leading contender in the $250,000 Melair Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles.
The $125,000 Tiznow Stakes over 7 1/2 furlongs will mark the stakes debut of Mel’s Game, who won three consecutive races at Santa Anita during the winter-spring meeting that ended Sunday.
April 9, 2013
New stud Acclamation might return to racing
By Steve Andersen
In recent years, Acclamation’s life has changed every few months.
When he was not based at the track with trainer Don Warren, amassing a career record of 11 wins in 30 starts, six Grade 1 victories, and earnings of $1,958,048, he was resting at owner Bud Johnston’s farm in Sanger, Calif.
Last fall, Acclamation, the Eclipse Award winner as the champion older male of 2011, was sent back to the farm with a different objective for 2013. He began a stud career earlier this year for a fee of $20,000, which equals the highest price in California.
That may not be Acclamation’s last career move. A 7-year-old, Acclamation could return to training this spring, with the goal of starting in major stakes in the second half of the year. A decision is likely to be made in the next month, Johnston said.
“I think we’ll look at it,” Johnston said in a recent interview. “It gives us an option to consider. Right now, we’re concentrating on the breeding season. We will know something by mid-April or the end of April.”
Acclamation is by far the most prominent new stallion in California for 2013. The decision to send him to stud was finalized last fall. He left the racetrack at the height of his career, having won his last seven starts, all stakes, including the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar last July in his most recent race. He was taken out of training last summer when he strained a ligament in advance of the $1 million, Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar, a race he won in 2011.
If Acclamation returns to training this spring, there may be time to make the Pacific Classic on Aug. 25, although that has not been foremost on Johnston’s mind in recent weeks.
The goal for the breeding season is a book of approximately 40 mares. Johnston said his Old English Rancho farm will provide about 10 of those mares.
“He’s doing very well,” Johnston said. “We think it will be 35 to 40 mares. We did get a good response. It’s difficult to stand a new horse in California. People thought he would be sold out of state. I think we’ll do better next year.”
Prominent California breeder John Harris has supported Acclamation this year. He has sent mares such as Henlopen, the dam of stakes winners John Scott and Distant Victory; Super High, the California-bred champion 3-year-old filly of 2002; Hotlantic, a stakes winner at Louisiana Downs and Lone Star Park in 2009; and Lucky C. H., the dam of the graded stakes winner and Harris Farms stallion Lucky J. H.
Unusual Heat, the sire of Acclamation, stands at Harris Farms in Coalinga, Calif., for $20,000. He has been California’s leading stallion by progeny earnings the past five years.
“John Harris sent over some beautiful mares,” Johnston said. “I think that’s the important part. I’d rather get quality than quantity to find out how good he will be. We’re happy with the quality of mares. I wanted to get a good start. Of the ones we bred, almost all of those are in foal. He’s very fertile, like his father.”
Regarding a potential comeback to racing, Acclamation’s physical condition will be assessed in the coming weeks. He has been in light exercise at the farm.
“He’s on a lunge line,” Johnston said. “We have a covered round pen, and we jog him.”
In his championship year of 2011, Acclamation was a contender for the Horse of the Year title before being sidelined with a bruised foot in the weeks before the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. Johnston and Warren had hoped to start Acclamation in the Breeders’ Cup Turf that year.
The 2013 Breeders’ Cup is at Santa Anita in November, and trying to make it there would be the goal of a potential comeback, Johnston said.
“I think he deserves it and deserves a shot at Horse of the Year, if we could get him ready in time to do something like that,” Johnston said. “That’s in the back of our minds.”
April 7, 2013
California stallion Michael’s Flyer dies at 27
By DRF Breeding Staff
Michael’s Flyer, a stakes-placed winner and pensioned stallion, was euthanized due to the infirmities of old age April 4 at Ellen Jackson’s Victory Rose Thoroughbreds in Vacaville, Calif. He was 27.
A son of Flying Paster, Michael’s Flyer won four of 29 starts over four seasons and earned $117,087. He finished second in the 1992 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.
As a stallion, Michael’s Flyer sired 110 foals in 17 crops before being pensioned in 2010. Thirty of those were winners, led by four-time stakes winner Vaca City Flyer, who set a course record of :55.25 for five furlongs on turf at Golden Gate in 2006. He also sired stakes winners O. K. Mikie and Louisiana Lawyer.
Bred in Kentucky by Allen E. Paulson, Michael’s Flyer was out of the Bold Bidder mare Dancing Bidder. He was a half-brother to champion and stakes producer Eliza, Grade 1 winner Dinard, and stakes winner Power Bidder.
February 17, 2013
Ministers Wild Cat takes early lead on California’s sire list
By Steve Andersen
Early season stakes results have left Ministers Wild Cat as the top-ranked stallion in California, and one very much in demand at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds in Santa Ynez, Calif., this breeding season.
Through Thursday, Ministers Wild Cat led the state’s stallions with $494,298 in 2013 progeny earnings, leading a top five that includes Bertrando, Unusual Heat, Tribal Rule and Benchmark. Unusual Heat and Tribal Rule were the top two stallions of 2012.
While the season may be quite young, the success has given Ministers Wild Cat a higher profile with mare owners, Tommy Town farm manager Mike Allen said on Thursday.
“We have 42 mares booked and we hope to be around 60 or 65,” Allen said. “I’m hopeful. It’s been consistent in the last few weeks, booking one or two mares a day.”
The stallion’s position at the top of the standings can be attributed to 3-year-old Tiz a Minister’s score in the $300,500 California Breeders’ Champion Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 26. Tiz a Minister earned $165,000 for the win, and is Ministers Wild Cat’s leading earner so far this year, with $171,000.
Ministers Wild Cat’s profile could grow in stature if Tiz a Minister runs well in his next scheduled start, the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes, a Grade 2 over 1 1/16 miles on March 9. The San Felipe is a pivotal prep race for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6.
A winner of two of nine starts and $246,780 overall, Tiz a Minister races for Stephen Young and is trained by Paul Aguirre.
Bred by Dahlberg Farms, the colt was claimed for $40,000 from a maiden race at Del Mar last summer after finishing second in his second career start. For his first two starts, Tiz a Minister raced for Simon Hudy, who bought the colt for $6,500 at the 2011 Barretts October yearling sale.
Ministers Wild Cat, a 13-year-old by Deputy Minister, won six of 20 starts and two stakes races for earnings of $368,729 while racing from 2002 to 2005. He is out of the Kris S. mare Hollywood Wildcat, voted champion 3-year-old filly in 1993. Hollywood Wildcat, who died last summer, was also the dam of Breeders’ Cup Mile winner and Three Chimneys Farm stallion War Chant, by Danzig, and Group 2 winner and Grade/Group 1-placed Ivan Denisovich, by Danehill.
Last year, Ministers Wild Cat was bred to 28 mares. His current group of top racehorses includes Going for a Spin, a 5-year-old mare who won the Cat’s Cradle Handicap at Betfair Hollywood in November; and Doinghardtimeagain, a 3-year-old filly who won the Soviet Problem Stakes at Hollywood in December.
Going for a Spin was entered for Saturday’s $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita, while Doinghardtimeagain was entered for the $75,000 Sweet Life Stakes on the same day. They have contributed to interest in Ministers Wild Cat as well.
“We’ve gotten a lot more calls and people are coming out to see him more than in the last three years,” Allen said. “The big races certainly help. I don’t think there is anything better than that.”
Ministers Wild Cat has other promising horses on the horizon.
Allen said that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has two unraced 3-year-olds by Ministers Wild Cat in training at Golden Gate Fields that will start later this winter or in early spring—the filly Trust in Tebow and the colt Tebows Big Play.
Allen said he has seen support for the other stallions at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, which is owned by Tom and Debra Stull. Over the course of the breeding season, which begins in earnest this weekend, Allen is hopeful that Ministers Wild Cat and the other stallions—Kafwain and Old Topper—will gain further support.
“Old Topper has more [mares] this year than last year,” Allen said. “Kafwain has 50 mares. All three have gotten quite a lot of interest. Tom always supports his stallions and we’re getting outside mares.”
February 10, 2013
Willa B Awesome retired, will be bred to Medaglia d'Oro
By Steve Andersen
ARCADIA, Calif. – Willa B Awesome, winner of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in 2012, has been retired, breeder and co-owner Terry Lovingier said Thursday.
Willa B Awesome was recently sent to Kentucky and will be bred to Medaglia d’Oro, Lovingier said.
A 4-year-old, Willa B Awesome won 5 of 19 starts and $648,896, all for Lovingier, Phil Daniels, Patsy London, and John Winters. Aside from the Santa Anita Oaks, Willa B Awesome won three other stakes, including the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita in January 2012.
In the Santa Anita Oaks, Willa B Awesome finished a nose in front of Reneesgotzip as a 13-1 outsider.
“It was one of those wins that we weren’t really expecting,” Lovingier said. “We would have been happy to be second or third. What really makes it special was raising her. Anybody can go buy a racehorse.”
Trained by Walther Solis, Willa B Awesome, a California-bred by Awesome Gambler, finished third in her final start, the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 20.
“She’s in good shape,” Lovingier said. “We think she’s s a better dirt horse. If we keep her going this year, she’d have to run quite a bit on synthetic. She’s probably got more value as a broodmare. The plan is to breed her, and we’ll run her through the November sale unless the partners change their minds.”
Lovingier said that River’s Kiss, the runner-up in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar in 2011, has been retired, sent to Kentucky, and will be bred to Hard Spun.
Lovingier said that a 2-year-old full brother to Willa B Awesome will be at the track this spring with Solis. His name is Willie B Awesome.
February 3, 2013
Stallion managers from each region face unique challenges
– Steve Andersen
Getting mares to stallions today may be as hard as ever. The number of mares bred has fallen 39 percent from 2006 to 2011, and the foal crop in North America is at levels not seen since 1972.
Books for the most popular stallions have risen over the past several decades, negatively impacting many mid-level and lower stallions, and the pressure to get large books for any stallion is high. Without a lot of mares – and of high quality – the chance for a stallion to become successful diminishes greatly.
Stallion managers in each state have their own challenges as the quality of mares and number of mares available varies. Pricing is a key, as stallion owners try to set a stud fee that will lure as many mares as possible while at the same time maximizing revenues.
We asked a number of stallion managers from around the country how they deal with the present economics and diminishing mare pools as they try to get mares to their young, yet-to-be proven sires in that very important first year at stud.
California: Acclamation starts big
Acclamation may be the easiest new stallion to pitch to California’s mare owners this winter and spring. Eclipse Award champions such as Acclamation are rare at the state’s stud farms. As a result, the foals from Acclamation’s first crop may wind up in high demand.
Bud Johnston, who led the partnership that owns Acclamation, said the stallion will be bred to a book of approximately 40 mares.
“We’ve gotten a good response so far,” Johnston said. “I don’t want a real big book. I don’t want to breed too many mares this year. I want to get a good percentage” in foal.
Acclamation won 11 of 30 starts and earned $1,958,048. A nine-time stakes winner, he won the Eclipse Award as outstanding older male of 2011. For the 2013 breeding season, Acclamation is standing at Johnston’s Old English Rancho in Sanger, Calif., for an advertised fee of $20,000. He will start stud duty as co-highest-priced stallion in the state, tied with his sire, Unusual Heat.
“We’ve had almost all stakes mares” so far, Johnston said. “We’ve given consideration on the stakes mares.”
Johnston said the 40-mare book is not a firm limit for the 7-year-old Acclamation.
“If we get farther along, we could take a few more,” Johnston said.
While Acclamation is a familiar name to owners and breeders, Johnston said that more sales work is required to attract mare owners to Old English Rancho’s other four stallions: Big Bad Leroybrown, Cyclotron, Surf Cat, and Vronsky.
Vronsky stands for $3,500, Big Bad Leroybrown for $1,500, while Cyclotron and Surf Cat are private treaty. Last year, Cyclotron was bred to 37 mares, Vronsky to 28, Big Bad Leroybrown to seven, and Surf Cat to six, according to Jockey Club statistics.
Getting those numbers higher takes a constant effort to work with mare owners on potential matings, particularly showing statistics on them.
“Cyclotron and Vronsky have done very well,” Johnston said. “People see the statistics. We have a lot of people that have done business with us in the past. We have a good group of mares of our own.”
January 27, 2013
California Cup moved to early 2014 as part of revamped Golden State series
By Steve Andersen
The California Cup will not be run in 2013, but will be moved to a date in January or early February at Santa Anita in 2014 as part of a revamped Golden State series for California-breds over the next 12 months.
The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association released its 2013-2014 Golden State series schedule on Thursday, and the revised date for the Cal Cup is the most significant of several changes.
Formed in 1990, the California Cup has been run each fall since its inception. The move to a mid-winter date is designed to boost an event that had struggled in recent years to draw attendance and handle support.
The new Cal Cup program will feature a $250,000 Cal Cup Classic, worth $75,000 more than in 2012. The race has been switched from turf to dirt, while the distance remains 1 1/8 miles. Instead of the previously run Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies, the races for the foals of 2011 in 2014 will be a Derby and Oaks. The purses remain the same, at $250,000.
Four other races are scheduled to be run on the proposed program: the $125,000 Distaff for fillies and mares over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course; the $100,000 Sprint over six furlongs on dirt; the $100,000 Valentine Dancer Stakes for females over a mile on turf; and the $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes over a mile on turf.
The Sunshine Millions was run on Saturday at Santa Anita, consisting of four stakes for California-breds: two $300,000 divisions of the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes as well as the Valentine Dancer and Crystal Water Stakes.
There were also two graded stakes: the Grade 2 $250,000 Santa Monica Stakes for female sprinters and the Grade 3 $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
The move to a January or February date is designed to revive the event, according to organizers.
“We wanted to merge the Sunshine Millions with the Cal Cup races and offer more what we used to offer of just stakes on Cal Cup Day,” said Doug Burge, the executive director of the CTBA.
“The Cal Cup has suffered in the fall from an attendance and handle standpoint. We wanted to find a way to revitalize that.”
The Golden State series was launched in 2012, featuring 27 races, primarily for 2 and 3-year-olds, between February 2012 and Saturday’s program at Santa Anita. The calendar of Golden State series races for 2013 and the first two months of 2014 features 33 races.
The new races include five stakes for older horses that were on the racing calendar in 2012 or early this year, but were not part of the Golden State program. Three of those races—the Fran’s Valentine Stakes for fillies and mares at Betfair Hollywood Park in May, and the On Trust Handicap and Cat’s Cradle Handicap (for female sprinters) at Hollywood Park in the fall—have had their purses enhanced from $75,000 to $100,000.
The Valentine Dancer and Crystal Water are part of the Golden State series for the first time in early 2014. The newly created race is the $100,000 California Flag on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita in the fall.
Two turf races at Del Mar have had purses increased by $50,000, to $150,000: the California Dreamin’ and the Solana Beach for fillies and mares. The Melair Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park in April has been cut by $50,000, to $250,000.
January 13, 2013
Coil brings versatile record to California's Magali Farms
By Steve Andersen
On Jan. 7, Coil was vanned 135 miles from Santa Anita Park to Magali Farms in Santa Ynez, Calif., for the first day of his new life as a stallion at the prominent California farm.
It was a day that Magali general manager Tom Hudson had sought for several months.
“I’ve been trying to get him for a long, long time,” Hudson said of the multiple Grade 1 stakes winner.
Now, Hudson has to find the mares. He has started promoting the stallion to California-based breeders with the hope of giving Coil a major boost in his first year at stud.
“I’d be extremely disappointed to not get 50 or 60 [mares to him], but in California you never know,” Hudson said. “We got a lot of calls to congratulate us.”
Coil comes off the track as a hot prospect with an attractive race record. He won his final start, the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 5, after successful 3- and 4-year-old seasons in 2011 and 2012. Racing for Mike Pegram, Paul Weitman, and Karl Watson and trained by Bob Baffert, Coil won seven of 14 starts and earned $1,154,360.
Coil is by Point Given, the 2001 Horse of the Year, and is out of Eversmile, a 12-year-old Theatrical mare who is a half-sister to Possibly Perfect, a millionaire and multiple Grade 1 winner who raced from 1992 to 1995.
At 3, Coil won the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at 1 1/8 miles at Monmouth Park in a season that included a second in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes and a third in the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes against older horses.
As a 4-year-old in 2012, Coil’s best performances came in sprints, with a win in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes at six furlongs in October. He was also second in the Grade 1 Pat O’Brien Stakes at seven furlongs in August and third in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct in November.
Coil’s successful regression in distance after his 3-year-old season left Hudson impressed.
“This horse won the Grade 1 Haskell and won the Grade 1 [Santa Anita Sprint],” he said. “Not a lot of horses can do that. They can do the six [furlongs] and the mile and an eighth, but not go backward like that.”
In the Cigar Mile, Coil was beaten two lengths by Stay Thirsty and Groupie Doll, the outstanding sprint female.
The retirement of Coil was announced in late December. “They got him out of here before I changed my mind,” Baffert said a few days after the horse shipped.
Coil is part of a six-stallion roster at Magali that includes Atticus, Decarchy, Good Journey, Mr. Broad Blade, and Roi Charmant.
Global Hunter, who stood at Magali last year, has been sold for stud duty in Argentina. Giacomo, the winner of the 1995 Kentucky Derby, stood at Magali Farms for one season in 2012 and has been sent back to Adena Springs Farm in Paris, Ky.
“He’ll replace Giacomo in a second, in my opinion,” Hudson said of Coil. “We couldn’t have asked for a better horse to stand here.”
December 30, 2012
Cal-bred Weewinnin ready to take next step for Koriner after upset win
By Steve Andersen
ARCADIA, Calif. – Any respect afforded to the 2-year-old California-bred Weewinnin in early 2013 is going to come grudgingly.
Such is life for a young horse best known for winning the $200,000 King Glorious Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 16 and paying $122.
“Until he comes back, it’s a fluke, right?” trainer Brian Koriner said.
Koriner has plans in January to reverse those opinions. Weewinnin will make his next start in the $300,000 California Breeders’ Champion Stakes over a mile at Santa Anita on Jan. 26. If he runs well in that race, Koriner said he will have no hesitation in trying Weewinnin in a graded stakes for 3-year-olds, keeping an eye on the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6.
“You get pumped up,” he said. “That’s why everyone is in this game.”
Weewinnin won his first stakes in the King Glorious over seven furlongs, closing from fourth in a field of 11 to win by a half-length. The King Glorious was Weewinnin’s first start since finishing fourth in the Graduation Stakes for California-breds at Del Mar on Aug. 1. He was sidelined with sore shins following that race, requiring a late summer break.
Koriner began training Weewinnin in late June, shortly after the colt was purchased privately following his debut. He was owned at the time by breeders Bill and Jill Gray, who sold shares to current owners E-Racing.com, Janet Lyons, and Jeremy Peskoff. Koriner recalled earlier this month that the purchase price was $100,000. Weewinnin won his debut in a $32,000 claiming race for maidens at Golden Gate Fields on June 16 for trainer Greg James.
The purchase price seemed more like a bargain after Weewinnin earned $110,000 for the win in the King Glorious, which was part of the inaugural season of the Golden State Series of stakes for California-breds.
“We were upset because we paid pretty good money for the horse,” Koriner said after the King Glorious. “My owners had me on the line for overpaying.”
Regardless of whether Weewinnin can make the transition to compete in graded stakes, there is ample money in the California-bred division for 3-year-olds. The 2013 schedule for the Golden State Series has not been announced, but the purse of the California Breeders Champion Stakes has been doubled from the 2011 running, the last year the race was held.
Other stakes, such as the Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park in April and the Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar in August, will provide lucrative opportunities in restricted company.
The colt is by Comic Strip out of Honoree Lady, an unraced 7-year-old mare by Roman Dancer. Honoree Lady is a half-sister to Iced Out, also by Comic Strip, who finished a close second in both the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes in 2004, then held at seven furlongs, and in the one-mile San Rafael Stakes in 2005.
Honoree Lady also has produced Handfull, a 3-year-old filly who has won 6 of 12 starts and $100,745 for the Grays and James. Handfull won four consecutive races earlier this year at a mile or 1 1/16 miles at Golden Gate Fields earlier this year, but was fifth in her most recent start.
With such a pedigree, Koriner said he is “not at all” worried that Weewinnin can extend beyond seven furlongs. The colt’s chance to prove just that, and to gain further respect, arrives Jan. 26.
December 23, 2012
Acclamation tops new California sires in 2013
By Steve Andersen
Acclamation is starting his stud career in 2013 at the top.
The soon-to-be 7-year-old is the first Eclipse Award winner to retire to stand his first year at stud in California since Bertrando, the champion older male of 1993. When Acclamation, the champion older male of 2011, is bred to his first mares at Old English Rancho in Sanger, Calif., in mid-February, he will command a stud fee of $20,000, which equals the highest in the state.
Unusual Heat, the sire of Acclamation who has led the state’s stallions in progeny earnings annually since 2008, stands for $20,000 at Harris Farms in Coalinga, Calif.
Bud Johnston, who campaigned Acclamation and owns Old English Rancho, is hopeful that California breeders will embrace his champion, who has won 11 of 30 starts, $1,958,048, and six Grade 1 races.
“It’s a great opportunity for California breeders to breed to a champion,” Johnston said. “This horse won a couple of million dollars. There is no reason to think he won’t pick up where his father left off. I sure hope so. We don’t get to breed to Eclipse Award winners too often.”
Acclamation, who is out of the Silveyville mare Winning in Style, won the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar in July and was preparing for a defense of his title in the Pacific Classic Stakes in August when a strained ligament in a foreleg was detected. He did not start in the fall.
Acclamation was sent to Old English Rancho in early December. Johnston has not ruled out putting Acclamation back in training in the spring, depending on veterinary reports. For now, Johnston is focused on the upcoming breeding season, hoping to attract a 40-mare book for his stallion.
“We’re getting quite a few calls and inquiries,” Johnston said. “I’m not interested in breeding to too many mares. I’d like to breed 40 if I can.
“He’s at the farm. He looks wonderful. He seems to be settling in fine. The first couple of days he was excited, but he’s settled down.”
Acclamation is by far the most prominent stallion among first-year sires to stand in California in 2013. Here is a glance at other first-year and relocated stallions new to the state for the upcoming breeding season.
A King’s Life: Owned by Brazeau Thoroughbred Farms, the 4-year-old by Silic won claiming races at Golden Gate Fields and Pleasanton in a 12-race career that featured two wins. He made his final start in late August. He is a half-brother to Overextended, a 7-year-old by Monarchos who was second in the 2007 Real Quiet Stakes and seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Monmouth Park that year. Silic, who also stands in California, was a six-time stakes winner in France and the United States and is best known for winning the 1999 Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Calimonco: The son of Storm Cat is arguably the best-bred horse going to stud in California in 2013. Sweet Catomine, his full sister, was champion 2-year-old filly of 2004, and a half-sister, Life Is Sweet, won the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. His dam was the 2009 Broodmare of the Year in Kentucky. There were discussions about retiring this well-bred 6-year-old for the 2012 breeding season, but he was kept in training and won the Sidd Finch Stakes at Santa Anita in April and was second in the Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar, a race he won in 2011. In 2011, he was third in two Grade 2 races, the Del Mar Mile and the Citation Handicap.
Empire Way: The 3-year-old son of Empire Maker was second in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 1 1/16 miles to eventual Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I’ll Have Another at Santa Anita in February. A winner of 1 of 12 starts and $119,170, his victory came in a maiden special weight race at 6 1/2 furlongs for 2-year-olds at Hollywood Park in November 2011 in his debut. The colt has strong bloodlines, being by a leading sire and out of a well-bred mare who was a multiple graded stakes winner. He is a full brother to Royal Delta, champion 3-year-old filly of 2011 and the leading contender for the title of champion older female of 2012.
Northern Indy: The winner of the marathon Hasta La Vista Handicap at Turf Paradise in May, the 4-year-old son of A.P. Indy enters stud after an 18-race career that included three wins and earnings of $133,407. He was a winner in each of his three seasons on the track, including a maiden race for 2-year-olds at a mile at Golden Gate Fields. At 3, he placed in two stakes, finishing second in the Canadian Derby at Northlands Park and third in the Seattle Slew Handicap at Emerald Downs. He is by two-time champion sire A.P. Indy, and the best runner produced by his dam, Polish Nana.
The Black: Stakes-placed at Santa Anita in March, the 3-year-old by Cherokee Run enters stud with 2 wins in 10 starts and earnings of $102,429. Trained by Doug O’Neill, he made his final start at Hollywood Park in May, finishing second in an allowance race. He was second in the Echo Eddie Stakes for California-breds at Santa Anita in March. His dam, Connie’s Spirit, is out of Tersa, champion 2-year-old filly in France and the dam of the notable American sire Rock Hard Ten, who was a multiple stakes winner in California.
Impeachment: Third in the 2000 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Arkansas Derby, the 15-year-old son of Deputy Minister is coming from Rockin River Ranch in Iowa, where he stood for a fee of $2,500 in 2012. On the track, he earned $350,450 and won his lone start at 2, a maiden race at seven furlongs at Calder. Impeachment has sired three stakes winners, including Calder stakes winner Scooter Girl, and has progeny earnings of more than $2.6 million. He is the sire of Aziza Emira, a champion in the Dominican Republic. His dam, Misconduct, is a half-sister to Stick to Beauty, who produced the 1982 champion sprinter Gold Beauty, dam of English Horse of the Year Dayjur.
Unbridled Energy: Stakes placed in Canada and the United States, in the Grade 2 San Fernando Breeders’ Cup Stakes in 2006, Unbridled Energy relocates from Pin Oak Lane Farm in Pennsylvania, where he stood for $2,500. Through Dec. 20, the 10-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song had 2012 progeny earnings of $1,587,271, ranking him first among third-crop sires in California. His leading money earner this year is Cosmic Energy, a 3-year-old filly who won a maiden special weight race at Saratoga and an allowance race at Belmont. He is the sire of the New Mexico stakes winner It’s My Party, Iowa stakes winner Sterling Madame, and Arizona stakes winner Miss Buxley.
November 25, 2012
Re-claims pay off with stakes victories
By Steve Andersen
INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The fastest way to win a stakes for older California-breds this month is through the claim box.
On the weekend of Nov. 17-18 at Betfair Hollywood Park, the former claimers Killer Bear and Going for a Spin won stakes months after being claimed by owners who were previously involved in their careers.
Killer Bear, a 5-year-old horse by Northern Devil won the $78,200 On Trust Handicap over 7 1/2 furlongs on Nov. 17, his 47th start and first stakes win. He was claimed three times earlier this year, including twice by his current owners – a partnership led by Selman Shaby.
Going for a Spin, a 4-year-old filly by Ministers Wild Cat, won the $78,200 Cat’s Cradle Handicap for fillies and mares over 7 1/2 furlongs on Nov. 18. Bred by Tom and Debbie Stull, Going for a Spin was claimed away from them in January for $40,000 and then taken back for the same price here in May.
Shaby and a few partners claimed Killer Bear with trainer Jeff Mullilns for $25,000 from a fourth-place finish in an optional claimer here in June. They had an immediate return on their investment when he won a similar race at Del Mar on July 18, earning a purse of $42,600.
But previous trainer Steve Knapp claimed Killer Bear for $25,000 that day only to lose the horse for $32,000 to Shaby and partners BG Stable, Louis Giardano, Scott Rudolph, and Joe Thomas at Del Mar on Aug. 4.
Killer Bear was later ninth in an optional claimer in September and fourth in a $40,000 claimer in October – with no claims submitted – before he ran in the On Trust.
The quirky distance of the race was in Killer’s Bear advantage, Shaby said.
“We’d been eye-balling this race,” he said. “The horse needed 7 1/2 furlongs.”
Killer Bear earned $48,200 from the On Trust win. He could start in a variety of races in coming months – a high-priced claimer, an optional claimer, or even a stakes such as the $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Jan. 26.
Killer Bear is the first stakes winner for his dam, Tennis C. Waltz, a 19-year-old by Seattle Dancer.
With the On Trust stakes win, Shaby can claim success as the leader of the partnership, even if he does poke fun at himself.
“I feel like a genius, but I am an idiot,” he said.
The Stulls own Tommy Town Thoroughbreds in Santa Ynez, Calif., one of the state’s leading farms.
Going for a Spin is by Ministers Wild Cat, who stands at Tommy Town.
Going for a Spin is out of Gender Motors, a 15-year-old mare by Mr. Greeley who earned $159,374 racing in claiming and allowance races in the Midwest.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Going for a Spin won her second stakes in the Cat’s Cradle. She won the E.B. Johnston Stakes at Fairplex Park in September and was later third in the Las Madrinas Handicap there and third in the Miss America Stakes at Golden Gate Fields in October.
Going for a Spin has earned $146,400 this year, her best season on the track. Tom Stull said that Going for a Spin’s success will result in a 5-year-old season in 2013.
“If she runs like this, I’ll have to,” he said while leaving the winner’s circle. “She’s only 4. She’s got a good year to go.”
Unbridled Energy, winner of the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita in 2006, will stand the 2013 breeding season at Golden Eagle Farms, the farm announced last week. Unbridled Energy, 10, will stand for $2,500 and will be the property of a syndicate that includes Golden Eagle Farms. By Unbridled’s Song, Unbridled Energy previously stood for $3,500 at Pin Oak Lane Farm in Pennsylvania. Unbridled Energy is the sire of the Prairie Meadows stakes winner Sterling Madame.
October 7, 2012
Golden State Series expected to give lift to Barretts October yearling sale
By Steve Andersen
Last fall, the formation of the Golden State Series for 2- and 3-year-old California-breds was announced days before the Barretts October yearling sale in Pomona, Calif.
The new series, which was launched in March of this year, has greatly enhanced purses for young California-breds. When the 2011 yearling sale started, the impact of the new series had not been felt in the sport.
A year later, the situation appears to be different. For Tuesday’s yearling sale, the California-breds will be extensively scrutinized as potential candidates for the 2013 Golden State Series – and beyond.
The latest proof that the purses of the Golden State Series are having an impact on California-bred stakes is evident in the California Cup races at Santa Anita next Saturday. The richest of the five stakes are the two races for 2-year-olds – the $250,000 Juvenile and $250,000 Juvenile Fillies. Last year, they were worth $100,000 each. The California Cup Classic for 3-year-olds and up, which had been the richest Cal Cup race since the series started in 1990, is worth $175,000 this year.
Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd contends that the Golden State Series has already affected the commercial bloodstock market in the state through higher demand for California-breds at 2-year-olds in training sales earlier this year and at a horses of racing age sale held at Del Mar in July.
“People were looking for Cal-breds to run,” Lloyd said. “Those bonuses will have an effect.”
The California breeding industry could use a boost. Last month, the Jockey Club announced that the projected foal crop for 2012 in California will be 1,600 foals, an alarming decline of 9.2 percent from the 2011 crop of 1,762.
“Supply is down and demand is up,” Lloyd said.
Tuesday’s yearling sale has 236 yearlings. There are 199 Cal-breds in the catalog.
In 2011, the yearling sale averaged $16,881 after 154 horses sold for a gross of $2,599,700. The average increased 19.4 percent over the 2010 mark of $14,128. The 2011 sale was a two-day event, but this year’s sale will be held only on Tuesday, beginning at 1 p.m.
“I think we’ll see a bump in average and median,” Lloyd said.
In 2011, the sale-toppers were two colts who sold for $100,000.
Predicting a sale-topper can be tricky, but there are expectations that two California-breds by Tapit, a colt and a filly, could attract attention, along with a California-bred colt by Dixie Union.
“We looked at them in June,” Lloyd said of the selection process for all the yearlings.
“It’s how they develop by October; that ones that develop will sell.”
Among notable California-based stallions represented in the sale, there are 17 yearlings by Tribal Rule, 11 by Stormin Fever and Unusual Heat, nine by Bertrando, eight by Papa Clem, seven by Dixie Chatter, and five by Kafwain.
Unusual Heat, Tribal Rule, and Kafwain are the top three stallions in the state by progeny earnings this year. Heatseeker, the leading freshman stallion by progeny earnings, has one yearling colt in the sale.
September 30, 2012
Cindago's death leaves Legacy in need of another stallion
By Steve Andersen
The recent death of Cindago has left Legacy Ranch in Clements Calif., with just one Thoroughbred stallion and preliminary plans to add to that roster for the 2013 breeding season.
Cindago died on Monday after suffering a seizure, farm owner Pete Parrella said on Friday. Cindago was 9.
“He had some problems with his neck in the last three or four years and I guess it got to him,” he said. “He just had a seizure. We took him to a clinic and we couldn’t save him.”
Cindago, by Indian Charlie, won the 2006 El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar during a brief racing career. From his first three crops to race, his most prominent runner to date has been Courtside, who won the 2011 California Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. Courtside is nominated to the same race at Santa Anita on Oct. 13.
Cindago stood for $2,500. He raced for owners Lee and Susan Searing, who retained ownership during his stallion career and supported the stallion. The Searings own Monument, a Cindago colt who won twice at Del Mar this year and was second in the C.B. Afflerbaugh Stakes at Fairplex Park on Sept. 12.
Monument is a candidate for the $250,000 California Cup Juvenile on Oct. 13.
There are four yearlings – three colts and a filly – by Cindago in the Barretts October Yearling Sale in Pomona, Calif., on Oct. 9. One of the colts is a half-brother to Tammys Luck, who was second in the 2008 Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar.
Parrella said that a stallion could be added at Legacy Ranch this fall, after the Breeders’ Cup races are run at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.
“We’ve got room for another stallion,” he said. “We’ll wait and see what happens after the Breeders’ Cup and see if there is something for California that would make sense.
“It’s a tough business to prove a stallion. It’s a long process and it takes a lot of money and a long commitment.”
Papa Clem is represented by eight yearlings at the Barretts sale – seven colts and a filly.
One of the colts, named Mondai Mondai, is out of the Unusual Heat mare Mama Rosa, who was a winner at Del Mar in 2009. Mama Rosa is a sister to the millionaire Unusual Suspect, the Grade 1 stakes winner Golden Doc A (2008 Las Virgenes Stakes) and the stakes-placed Rushen Heat.
Rematch on tap in Cal Cup Classic
The 3-year-olds Unusual Heatwave and Rousing Sermon, one-two in the Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 3, are on schedule for a start in the $175,000 California Cup Classic.
The conditions of the California Cup Classic have been changed to 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Last year, the race was run over 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Unusual Heatwave won his second stakes of 2012 in the Real Good Deal Stakes over seven furlongs, having won the Snow Chief Stakes over 1 1/8 miles at Betfair Hollywood Park in April.
Rousing Sermon, the winner of the 2011 California Cup Juvenile, is winless in seven starts this year. He was fourth in the Grade 2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 8 and eighth in the Kentucky Derby in May.
September 2, 2012
Dancing in Silks retired from racing once again
By Steve Andersen
DEL MAR, Calif. – Dancing in Silks, winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita, has been retired – again.
Winless in 12 starts since the 2009 BC Sprint, Dancing in Silks made his final start at the Betfair Hollywood Park meeting, finishing eighth in the Robert Kerlan Handicap for turf sprinters on July 1. In recent months, he has resided at trainer Anthony Saavedra’s home near Santa Anita, where he is expected to spend the winter.
“No more racing,” Saavedra said of Dancing in Silks earlier this week.
“He’ll layup at our house,” Saavedra said. “He’ll probably spend the winter with us.”
A California-bred by Black Minnaloushe, Dancing in Silks won 7 of 25 starts and $1,500,401.
Saavedra said that owner Ken Kinakin is planning to move Dancing in Silks closer to his home in British Columbia in future summers when the weather is nicer in that part of the continent. Saavedra was Dancing in Silks’s third trainer in the last three years.
Carla Gaines trained Dancing in Silks for his win in the BC Sprint and through 2010. In the winter of 2010-11, Dancing in Silks was transferred to trainer Kathy Walsh.
The gelding made three starts for Walsh in early 2011 before it was announced that he was retired after a series of disappointing performances. The decision was reversed last December when Dancing in Silks joined Saavedra’s stable.
For Saavedra, Dancing in Silks made four starts, with his best finish a fourth in the Joe Hernandez Stakes at Santa Anita in March.
Since his retirement, Dancing in Silks has shared a paddock with another California-bred stakes winner, Shadow of Illinois, 12, who was retired in 2011.
“They’re kicking it at the house right now,” Saavedra said.
Barretts has 236 yearlings for October sale
Barretts announced earlier this week that 236 yearlings will be offered at the company’s annual October sale on Oct. 9.
The catalog is slightly lower than the 253 that were in the catalog for the 2011 October yearling sale. That sale had an average of $16,881 for 154 sold, compared to an average of $14,128 in 2010.
Of the 236 horses in the 2012 catalog, 200 are California-breds.
At least two yearlings from the 2011 sale, both colts by Tribal Rule, are among the expected starters for Monday’s $150,000 I’m Smokin Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds at Del Mar.
Strong Wind, purchased for $24,000 by trainer Steve Knapp, and The Humancomplaint, sold twice at Barretts in the last year, are among the entrants for the six-furlong race.
Strong Wind won the division’s first stakes at Del Mar, the $100,000 Graduation Stakes on Aug. 1.
The Humancomplaint has started once, finishing a fast-closing second in a maiden race for California-breds on Aug. 4. Trained by Ben Cecil for Paul Reddam, The Humancomplaint was sold for $37,000 at the 2011 yearling sale and then pinhooked at the March 2-year-olds in training sale, where he was sold for $105,000.
Two other I’m Smokin candidates were sold at Barretts as weanlings in 2010 as part of a breeding stock dispersal by Pam and Marty Wygod.
Native Treasure, by Tribal Rule, was sold for $2,200 to trainer Ed Moger Jr., who is part of a partnership that owns the colt. Native Treasure placed in two minor stakes in Northern California earlier this year.
Life a Riley, by Bertrando, was sold for $18,000 to Narvick International in 2010, but was eventually retained by the Wygods. The colt won a maiden race at Del Mar on Aug. 19.
August 19, 2012
Halo Dolly’s versatility gives her good shot to repeat in Solana Beach
By Steve Andersen
DEL MAR, Calif. – The ability to race as a pacesetter, stalker, or closer is a big reason why Halo Dolly has won 11 of 20 career starts, and why she will be favored to defend her title in Sunday’s $100,000 Solana Beach Handicap at Del Mar.
In 2011, Halo Dolly won the Solana Beach from off the pace. She won two stakes earlier this year from the front. Regardless of how Sunday’s race unfolds, Halo Dolly can adapt, according to Dan Ward, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s assistant.
“You used to have to cover her up and get behind horses,” Ward said.
“Now, she’s relaxing.”
The presence of a confirmed front-runner in A Jealous Woman in the Solana Beach enhances Halo Dolly’s chances. “It helps,” Ward said.
Owned by a partnership, Halo Dolly, 4, has won 4 of 7 starts this year.
She was third, beaten a half-length in the restricted Osunitas Handicap here on July 21, racing near the front throughout and finishing just behind Broken Dreams.
In the Solana Beach, run over a mile on turf for California-bred fillies and mares, Halo Dolly has drawn the outside post in a field of nine. Joe Talamo rides Halo Dolly. He was aboard for her win in the Fran’s Valentine Stakes on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park in May and her loss in the Osunitas.
Halo Dolly is not the only multiple stakes winner in the field. Antares World, a 5-year-old mare who has won eight races and $434,328, makes her first start for trainer Jeff Mullins. Antares World joined Mullins’s stable in the spring.
She was pointed for an additional race at Hollywood Park earlier this summer, but did not start when Mullins said he was not pleased with her condition. In recent weeks, Antares World has worked steadily on Del Mar’s turf course. She was third in the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap at Hollywood Park in late April in her last start.
Two entrants in the Solana Beach have won at this meeting. Unusual Hottie won an allowance race against open company on Aug. 5 and makes her stakes debut. A Jealous Woman won an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles on turf against open company on July 29.
August 6, 2012
Barretts purchase pays off for Knapp
By Steve Andersen
DEL MAR, Calif. – For a $24,000 investment last fall, trainer Steve Knapp bought a stakes winner.
Knapp was at the Barretts October yearling sale when he spotted a full brother to Tribal Face, an ornery colt who was stakes placed for Knapp at Del Mar in 2009. The yearling colt seemed worth a gamble, Knapp thought at the time.
“I had his brother,” Knapp said. “That’s why I bought him.”
Knapp bought the yearling and later sold shares to Gino Roncelli and Bill and Sue Tomasic. In his fifth start, the $l00,000 Graduation Stakes at Del Mar last Wednesday, the colt, named Strong Wind, had his breakthrough performance, winning by 4 1/4 lengths.
He has earned $106,360, and is well-mannered, unlike his brother Tribal Face.
“Tribal Face always wanted to run off,” Knapp said. “This horse waits for you to tell him what to do.”
Strong Wind has turned out to be a bargain, and could produce even larger payoffs in coming months. With the launch of the Golden State Series of stakes for California-breds this year, stakes purses have soared for 2- and 3-year-old statebreds.
Strong Wind’s next start will be the $150,000 I’m Smokin Stakes over six furlongs on Sept. 3. Last year, the race was worth $100,000.
The opportunities are even more lucrative later this year. The purse for the California Cup Juvenile over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita on Oct. 13 has been raised from $100,000 to $250,000. The King Glorious Stakes at Hollywood Park in December is a $200,000 newly created race in the Golden State Series.
Later that month at Santa Anita, the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes will be run over a mile for $300,000. Last year, the race was worth $100,000 and was run over seven furlongs.
With those races on the horizon, Strong Wind is highly unlikely to be challenging the division’s best.
“Because there is so much money in the California division, this is no reason to go against open company,” Knapp said. “He’s developing. His body is developing, and he’s starting to figure it out.”
Strong Wind is by Tribal Rule out of Chalk Face, a mare by Memo. Strong Wind is Chalk Face’s most successful foal. Chalk Face, a two-time winner, is a sister to the multiple-stakes-winning California-bred La Feminn, who earned $366,430.
Strong Wind’s victory was Knapp’s first stakes win since Christiana’s Heat won the 2009 Irish O’Brien Stakes at Santa Anita. He won two $35,000 starter handicaps at Santa Anita in 2010 and earlier this year.
He said recent investment by his clients has boosted his stable.
“I haven’t had anyone buying horses,” he said. “We’ve got some nice 2-year-olds in the barn. If you don’t have people buying horses, you can’t win races.”
Bob Black Jack headed to stud duty
Bob Black Jack, who won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes in 2008 and three other stakes, will enter stud in 2013.
A 7-year-old by Stormy Jack, Bob Black Jack won 5 of 13 starts and $704,925, all for Jeff Harmon and Tim Kasparoff and trainer Jim Kasparoff.
Friday, Jim Kasparoff said that discussions have been held with a breeder in Pennsylvania about possible stud duty but that nothing has been finalized.
Bob Black Jack set the six-furlong world record of 1:06.53 in the Sunshine Millions Dash at Santa Anita in 2008. The record has since been broken.
July 29, 2012
Del Mar: Lakerville sets sights on Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint
By Steve Andersen
DEL MAR, Calif. – The rapid ascension of Lakerville through allowance-class company has Madeline Auerbach and trainer Barry Abrams aiming high this fall.
Lakerville became the first two-time winner of the Del Mar meeting with a convincing victory in an optional claimer over five furlongs on turf Wednesday. He won an optional claimer over five furlongs on turf July 18, opening day of the meeting.
Those wins will lead to a start in the $85,000 Green Flash Handicap over five furlongs on turf Aug. 15, the meeting’s lone turf stakes for male sprinters.
“He’s a good horse,” Abrams said.
The Green Flash is the start of an expected series of stakes for Lakerville, a California-bred by top stallion Unusual Heat. Abrams would like to start the 4-year-old colt in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.
A prep race could be the $100,000 Eddie D. Stakes on the hillside turf course Sept. 28. The race was formerly known as the Morvich Handicap.
“After the Breeders’ Cup, I’ll stretch him out,” Abrams said.
Lakerville has made one start on the hillside, winning a maiden special weight race in his career debut last October. After winning an allowance race for California-breds at Hollywood Park last November, Lakerville did not start again until June 24, finishing second in an allowance race on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The second-place finish is Lakerville’s only loss in his five-race career, which has resulted in earnings of $189,740.
Part of Lakerville’s success can be attributed to his running style. A closer, he tends to lag behind the runners and make a furious run through the final three furlongs.
“He doesn’t do a lot of running,” Auerbach said.
Such a style often does well on the hillside turf course.
$200K sale-topper at paddock sale
The paddock sale at Del Mar was held for the first time July 22 and is expected to become an annual event, according to organizers.
The evening sale’s final figures saw 26 horses sell for an average of $48,980. A 2-year-old filly named Fightin Mean Mad, a winner at Arlington Park in June, topped the sale for $200,000. She is a candidate for the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 8.
“It did what we wanted,” Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd said. “It exposed new people to the game. It’s something we can build on.
“We had horses at all levels. An hour before the sale, we had new people asking for credit.”
A majority of the 45 horses in the catalog had previously raced outside of California and are eligible for bonuses paid to new horses that run at the Del Mar meeting.
The sale was a joint effort between Barretts sales company, based in Pomona, Calif., and the Del Mar racetrack. It was the first sale to be held at the racetrack since a yearling sale in 2004.
The sale has the support of consignor Cash Asmussen, who sold eight horses for an average of $12,063.
“We’ll learn from it and see what we can do better,” he said. “If a few purchases come out of the sale and do well, the results will do the talking.”
Lloyd said that a similar event will be scheduled for 2013, with possibly a larger catalog.
McCann’s Mojave gets first winner
McCann’s Mojave, a multiple stakes winners who stands at Rancho San Miguel in San Miguel, Calif., was represented by his first American winner when Biltmore Boogie won a $25,000 claiming race for maidens at Santa Rosa on Wednesday.
Biltmore Boogie is owned and trained by Steve Specht, who trained McCann’s Mojave for Santa Anita publicity director Mike Willman.
McCann’s Mojave, 12, won 12 of 35 starts and $1,513,565. He stands for $3,000, live foal. His oldest foals are 2-year-olds.
July 22, 2012
Del Mar Paddock Sale out to attract new owners
By Steve Andersen
DEL MAR, Calif. – The gross and average prices of Sunday’s Paddock Sale at Del Mar will provide conventional barometers for the 44-horse sale.
Another assessment of the Sunday evening event will be its long-term impact through the number of horses who remain active in Southern California, and whether the first-year event can attract new owners to the sport.
The sale, which begins in the paddock after the last race, is a joint venture between the Barretts sale company of Pomona, Calif., and Del Mar management.
“We want to provide new opportunities to get into the game,” said Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd.
There are horses in the catalog who fit nearly every potential price bracket.
Two of the most prominent prospects had recent success at the Betfair Hollywood Park meeting. Mega Dream won the Great Lady M Stakes in May and was second the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes on July 7. Zafeen’s Pearl, a British-bred mare, was third in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap on June 16 in her U.S. debut.
There are also unraced 2- and 3-year-olds, and horses who have run for a wide range of claiming prices.
The 2-year-old filly Fightin Mean Mad, an Illinois-bred by the Indian Charlie stallion Lifestyle, is certain to attract attention. She won her debut at Arlington Park by 3 3/4 lengths on June 20 on a Polytrack synthetic surface. Del Mar also has a Polytrack synthetic surface on its main track.
Prominent owner Ahmed Zayat has a small consignment, including the 6-year-old horse Soul Warrior, who won the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park in 2009. Soul Warrior is winless in seven subsequent starts.
A majority of the horses made their last starts outside of California, and are eligible for a two-tiered bonus if they start at the Del Mar meeting, which runs through Sept. 5.
All horses shipping from out of state who have not raced in California in the last six months are eligible for a $1,000 starting bonus at Del Mar this summer. Horses from out of state who run in overnight races earn a 25 percent bonus of prize money earned in their first starts at the meeting.
Lloyd said the 44-horse catalog exceeded expectations. He said Barretts and Del Mar plan to make the sale an annual event. One measure of success will be if the horses sold on Sunday compete in Southern California in coming months.
“We’ll learn from this one to the next,” he said. “If they’re running at different meets [on this circuit], then the sale will be a win for the industry.”
The sale begins on a charitable note. The former racehorse True Swither, a 4-year-old gelding, sells as a prospect being retrained for other disciplines. Revenue from the sale of True Swither will be donated to two horse charities – Remember Me Rescue and the California Retirement Management Account.