WONDER GADOT contests Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra
One of Canada’s top 2-year-olds of 2017, WONDER GADOT is a Canadian-bred with the Woodbine Oaks, perhaps the Queen’s Plate on her radar but right now, the Ontario-bred is trying to make a case for a run at the KENTUCKY OAKS on the first Friday in May.
Bred by Anderson Farms (Ontario) and owned by Gary Barber, Wonder Gadot meets the fancied Tapizar filly Monomoy Girl, who is the 8 to 5 favourite.
The Mark Casse-trained pair of Wonder Gadot and Heavenly Love will run against one another for the third time in their career. In the Silverbulletday Stakes, they finished a respective second and fifth which was the most recent start for both fillies. They also ran sixth and 11th respectively in the Gr. I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar.
Breaking from post four as the 4-1 second-choice, Wonder Gadot currently sits at No. 3 on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard and has earned 14 points. The Ontario-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro acquired four points when finishing second in the Silverbulletday Stakes behind 33-1 longshot Stronger Than Ever and was awarded 10 when she won the Gr. II Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct on Dec. 2 by 3¾ lengths.
“There’s going to be some serious pace on Saturday and we’ll sit right behind it,” Casse said. “We’re not going to let (trainer) Brad (Cox’s) filly get too far away.”
Wonder Gadot won her career debut in her native Canada over the Woodbine turf against allowance company by four lengths and returned to the Toronto oval in her next start to finish third in the Gr. I Natalma Stakes on Sept. 17, where she was beaten three-quarters of a length. Next out, she switched surfaces to run over Woodbine’s Polytrack in the Gr. III Mazarine Stakes, which she won by six lengths before a sixth-place finish in the Gr. I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar. Wonder Gadot was ridden by John Velazquez in her last two outings and will receive the riding services from the Hall of Fame jockey on Saturday.
Owned by Debby Oxley, Heavenly Love was beaten 7¼ lengths in the Silverbulletday Stakes. As a 2-year-old, she broke her maiden at second asking over the turf at Kentucky Downs. She followed her grass win with a victory in the Gr. I Darley Alcibiades Stakes over the main track at Keeneland. In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, she was a disappointing 11th and was beaten 25 lengths.
“My thoughts are she didn’t get enough out of the Breeders’ Cup,” Casse said. “The track was funny that day and there was a serious track bias. I thought that she’d run a little better last time but she ran into some traffic trouble. After the race, (jockey) Julien (Leparoux) said that he couldn’t get her going again. She may just have a great affinity for Keeneland, but she’s ready.”
Julien Leparoux has ridden Heavenly Love in all five of her career starts with the exception of her career debut and will return to the saddle for Saturday’s race. She breaks from post six at odds of 6-1.
The Daily Racing Form has a feature on Wonder Gadot this week:
Saturday, Fair Grounds, post time: 5:05 p.m. EST
RACHEL ALEXANDRA S.-GII, $200,000, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m
PP HORSE SIRE OWNER TRAINER JOCKEY ML
1 Actress On Board Langfuhr Margaret Keach Bennett Pedroza 20-1
2 Testing One Two Star Guitar Brittlyn Stable, Inc. Arceneaux Saenz 6-1
3 Classy Act Into Mischief Carl R. Moore Management LLC Calhoun Castellano 6-1
4 Wonder Gadot Medaglia d’Oro Gary Barber Casse Velazquez 4-1
5 She’s a Julie Elusive Quality Whispering Oaks Farm LLC Asmussen Lanerie 12-1
6 Heavenly Love Malibu Moon Debby M. Oxley Casse Leparoux 6-1
7 Patrona Margarita Special Rate Craig D. Upham Calhoun Hernandez, Jr. 6-1
8 Monomoy Girl Tapizar Dubb, Monomoy Stables, LLC, The Elkstone Cox Geroux 8-5
Group LLC & Bethlehem Stables LL
Breeders: 1-Margaret Keach, 2-Brittlyn, Inc., 3-George Krikorian, 4-Anderson Farms Ont. Inc., 5-Godolphin, 6-Debby Oxley, 7-Craig D. Upham, 8-FPF LLC
& Highfield Ranch
Also, TIZ A SLAM, a finalist for Champion 3-year-old male in Canada, is out in New Orleans for the Fair Grounds Handicap on the grass, a Grade 3 event.
Saturday, Fair Grounds, post time: 5:35 p.m. EST
FAIR GROUNDS H.-GIII, $150,000, 4yo/up, 1 1/8mT
PP HORSE SIRE OWNER TRAINER JOCKEY ML
1 Thatcher Street Street Sense Bloch, Randall L., Milner, Phil, Seiler, John Wilkes Hernandez, Jr. 12-1
and Amtietan, LLC
2 Zulu Alpha Street Cry (Ire) Calumet Farm Howard Mena 20-1
3 Galton Offlee Wild Michael M. Hui Maker Castellano 5-1
4 One Mean Man Mizzen Mast Hillerich Racing, Inc. and Flint, Bernard S. Flint Albarado 12-1
5 Granny’s Kitten Kitten’s Joy Ramsey, Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Maker Leparoux 8-1
6 Mr. Misunderstood Archarcharch Flurry Racing Stables LLC Cox Geroux 3-1
7 Applicator Henrythenavigator Olympia Star, Inc. Yanakov Gilligan 12-1
8 Synchrony Tapit Pin Oak Stable Stidham Bravo 9-2
9 High Noon RiderK Distorted Humor GenStar Thoroughbreds Cox Bridgmohan 6-1
10 Tiz a Slam Tiznow Chiefswood Stable Attfield Lanerie 20-1
11 Great Wide Open (Ire) Starspangledbanner (Aus) M and J Thoroughbreds LLC and Murphy Beschizza 20-1
Riverside Bloodstock, LLC
12 Catcho En Die (Arg) Catcher In The Rye (Ire) Mack, Earle I. and Wachtel, Adam Mott Velazquez 8-1
Breeders: 1-Randy Bloch, et al, 2-Calumet Farm, 3-Flaxman Holdings Limited, 4-Bernard Flint & Ron Hillerich, 5-Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey,
6-Athens Woods, 7-Mikhail Yanakov, 8-Pin Oak Stud, LLC, 9-Flaxman Holdings Limited, 10-Chiefswood Stables Limited, 11-Newtown Anner Stud,
12-Livschitz, Jorge Eduardo
At Laurel Park, Ontario bred SOMETHING AWESOME, owned by Stronach Stables, will try for a graded stakes win in the General George:
Saturday, Laurel Park, post time: 4:30 p.m. EST
GENERAL GEORGE S.-GIII, $250,000, 4yo/up, 7f
PP HORSE SIRE OWNER TRAINER JOCKEY WT
1 Cowboy Mz Friesan Fire Morris E. Kernan, Jr. Zulueta Sanchez 118
2 Awesome Banner Awesome of Course Jacks or Better Farm, Inc. Decker Acosta 118
3 Sonny Inspired Artie Schiller D Hatman Thoroughbreds Schoenthal Quinones 118
4 It’s the Journey Mineshaft R. Larry Johnson Trombetta Pimentel 118
5 Ballivor Hard Spun Michael Scheffres Mancilla Hamilton 118
6 Something Awesome Awesome Again Stronach Stables Corrales Trujillo 118
7 Fellowship Awesome of Course Jacks or Better Farm, Inc. Decker Hamilton 118
8 Grasshoppin Cat Thief Michael W. Jester Gonzalez Russell 118
9 Great StuffK Quality Road Bruce Golden Racing Jacobson Davis 118
10 Do Share Candy Ride (Arg) The Estate of Anthony Miuccio Rice Franco 118
KENTUCKY DERBY WATCH – RISEN STAR STAKES AT FAIR GROUNDS
Following a victory in the Grade III Lecomte Stakes, OXO Equine LLC’s Instilled Regard is set for his return to the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots when he faces nine other 3-year-olds in the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford, which is the second of three local preps on Churchill Downs’ Road to The Kentucky Derby and awards the Top 4 finishers points based off of a 50-20-10-5 scale.
Slated as the 8-5 morning line favorite by Fair Grounds clocker and odds maker Mike Diliberto, the 3-year-old son of Arch will break from post five under Javier Castellano, who guided Instilled Regard to his Lecomte triumph. He was purchased for $1,050,000 from the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in March 2017 and is out of Enhancing, a daughter of Eclipse Award winner and multiple graded stakes winning producer Heavenly Prize. Trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Jerry Hollendorfer, Instilled Regard has never finished off the board in five career starts.
At Tampa Bay Downs on Thursday, the exciting colt MAGNUM MOON just missed the track record for 1 mile and 40 yards when winning an allowance race in 1:39, good for an 87 Beyer Speed Figure. The son of Malibu Moon – Dazzling Song by Unbridled’s Song ran a 95 Beyer Figure when he won his debut at Gulfstream and is on the Kentucky Derby ‘prep race’ trail:
Time will tell if racing fans at Tampa Bay Downs saw the next Always Dreaming today, but they were visibly impressed with the professional victory by Magnum Moon.
Making his second start and first around two turns, the Kentucky-bred colt moved to the lead in the stretch and powered away to a two-length victory from Hyndford, with Vouch a nose back in third in the five-horse field.
The top two finishers are trained by Todd Pletcher, who used a maiden special weight victory by Always Dreaming in January of 2017 as a springboard to that colt’s Kentucky Derby victory.
Luis Saez rode the winner, who paid $2.20 as a huge betting favorite.
Magnum Moon, who is owned by Lawana L. and Robert E. Low, had won his career debut sprinting 6 furlongs on Jan. 13 at Gulfstream Park in 1:10.03.
“I thought it was everything we hoped it would be,” said Pletcher, who watched the race from south Florida. “We’ve had high hopes for him from the beginning, since my dad (J.J. Pletcher) and Gerard Butler had him at Payton Training Center in Ocala. He was impressive in his training and just seemed to get better and better.”
Magnum Moon appeared to take another step forward today. After rating behind the leaders for the first 6 furlongs, Magnum Moon challenged on the turn and pulled away with little urging.
Saez, who rode him in his first start, said he turned in a push-button performance today.
“He did everything perfect. When we came into the stretch, I put him in the clear and he took off,” Saez said. “I had so much horse, I could do whatever I wanted at that point. I never really asked him; he just did it by himself.
“He was more comfortable today than the first time,” Saez added.
Pletcher said Magnum Moon’s next start could be in the Grade III Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 17.
“I think he made a lot of progress today. Luis gave him a good ride, was able to sit off the pace and get him to rate behind horses, get some dirt in his face and educate him in the process,” Pletcher said.
“We have the Apollo jinx working against us,” added Pletcher, referring to the fact that no horse has won the Kentucky Derby after being unraced as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882. “But I think he has put himself on the Derby prep trail.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: SILENT STING, the Miracle baby
Queen’s Plate contender SILENT STING (Silent Name (Jpn) has had an eventful life so far – and he’s ridden in the backseat of a Lexus and a pickup truck!
Read about him here:
(Photo – Corey Coulings and a very young SILENT STING on the road – courtesy Deb Holmes)
DAME JUDI DENCH HAS ENTRANT IN AINTREE’S GRAND NATIONAL
The queen of the big screen is taking on the toughest challenge in the sport of kings.
Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench is set to have her first runner in the Grand National, the world’s most grueling steeplechase, after entering As De Mee in the race at Aintree in April.
Dench is also well known for retiring racehorsesand is a supporter of horse therapy for the disbaled:
Canadian owner, breeder and racing executive Donald Amos passed away on Feb. 8 in Mississauga.
Don was prominent in racing in the 1980s and 90s and this writer met him as a teenager on one of my first visits to Woodbine. Don gave me my first job at the track as a ticket runner at the Woodbine yearling sale and more than once took myself and my Dad to the races.
Courtesy Toronto Star:
Don was well known for his athletic ability. In his younger days, he played tennis, soccer, baseball, football and golf. He was a member of Barrie Country Club for several years. An avid competitor, his favourite sport was hockey, which he played continuously from a young boy into his golden years in the Old Timer’s League.
Don was a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University in Honours Business Administration (1968). He had a long and distinguished career beginning at Bell Canada and transitioning to the Ontario Jockey Club as Vice President of Woodbine Sales where he led the thoroughbred horse sales program.
He joined Magna International in 1984 progressing through various executive positions. He was later appointed as Chief Operating Officer of Magna Entertainment before retiring in 2006. Don was able to fulfill his lifelong dream by becoming an owner and breeder of standardbred and thoroughbred horses garnering wins across Canada and the United States. He raced and bred Grade 3 stakes winner Swingin On Ice.
His family wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks to the caring staff of the 4th floor at Sheridan Villa for their support and special care provided to Don. Private funeral and celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Memorial donations to Sheridan Villa on Truscott Rd. (Mississauga), the Long Run Thoroughbred Adoption Society, or the Alzheimer Society would be appreciated. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at www.lynnstonefuneralhome.com
13 STARTER ALLOWANCE STAKES RACES AT GULFSTREAM SATURDAY
Trainer Jorge Navarro has 12 entrants
Celebrating current and former claiming horses, Gulfstream Park is holding an all, starter stakes race day of racing on Saturday. Horses who raced for a claiming price from anywhere from 412,500 up to $50,000 will contest a variety of events for purses totalling $680,000.
The card of racing kicks off a busy President’s Day weekend which includes racing on Monday.
Trainer Jorge Navarro, as expected, will be a very active participant in the showcase for horses that have competed in claiming races during their careers.
“I’m going to have two horses in a lot of races. One is going to the lead and the other is going to come from out of it,” Navarro said. “I had a conversation with my owners. I said, ‘One of you is going to be a loser and one of you is going to be a winner. I need you guys. I want to win those races.’ This is what we do it for – the claiming game.”
Navarro is scheduled to saddle 12 horses in seven races Saturday. His multiple entrants include graded-stakes winner Delta Bluesman, Shaft of Life and He’s Got Talent in the $60,000 Rail Splitter; a 6 ½-furlong sprint for horses that started for a $35,000 claiming tag or less; Aztec Sense and Solve in the $50,000 Rough and Ready, a mile race for horses that started for a claiming price of $12,500 or less; graded-stakes winner Singanothersong and Fire Mission in the $50,000 Trust Buster, a six-furlong sprint for horses that ran for a $12,500 tag or less; and Sinatra and Racings My Game in the $50,000 Little Magician, a mile turf stakes for horses that started for a claiming price of $12,500 or less.
“We want to have fun that day and hopefully win a couple races,” Navarro said.
Delta Bluesman, who was claimed for $25,000 in October 2014, achieved his career highlight while winning the 2016 Smile Sprint (G2) at Gulfstream to earn a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), in which he finished fifth after a troubled start. Navarro has saddled the 8-year-old son of Wagon Limit for 10 victories, including a 2 ¼-length optional claiming allowance win off a six-month layoff Jan. 12 at Gulfstream Park.
“He came out of his last race really good. He’s really training well for the race,” said Navarro, who gave the return mount to Irad Ortiz Jr. “I gave him a little time off, because I had him three years and he didn’t take much time off.”
Canadian-bred Shaft of Light, the 2016 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit winner, recently rebounded from a subpar showing in his Claiming Crown title defense to score by four lengths in a $30,000 claiming race at Gulfstream. He’s Got Talent has won 11 of 31 career starts.
The Navarro-trained trio are scheduled to clash with multiple-stakes winner Mo Cash, a debut winner for a $35,000 claiming tag who returned to win the American Fabius, a starter stakes for 3-year-olds that will be renewed Saturday. The Ron Spatz-trained 4-year-old most recently finished second behind the Navarro-trained X Y Jet in the Sunshine Millions Sprint.
Aztec Sense, who was claimed for $12,500 at Parx in August, enters the Rough and Ready off a 9 ½-length romp in a seven-furlong starter optional claimer at Gulfstream Jan. 12. The 5-year-old son of Street Sense won at first asking for Navarro, capturing an Oct. 17 entry-level allowance at Parx by 8 ¾ lengths under Paco Lopez.
“The first time I worked him, I said, ‘Whoa!’” Navarro said. “Paco loves him. He rode him the first time at Parx and said, ‘Jorge, he’s a nice horse.”
Lopez, whose easy victory aboard Aztec Sense prompted him to make a comparison to Navarro’s Grade 1 winner Sharp Azteca, didn’t have a smooth trip their second trip to post Dec. 2 in the $110,000 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit, in which he was bumped at the start before closing from 14th to finish fourth. Lopez has been named to ride Aztec Sense.
Solve is scheduled to make his first start for Navarro in the Rough and Ready after being claiming out of a winning effort in a $12,500 claiming race at Gulfstream Jan. 18.
Singanothersong and Fire Mission give Navarro a solid 1-2 punch in the Trust Buster. Singanothersong, who won the 2013 Mr. Prospector (G3), won off the claim for Navarro last time out, scoring by 8 ½ lengths in a $16,000 claiming race. Fire Mission had won four straight races before stepping up to graded-stakes company to finishing sixth behind his stablemate and multiple graded-stakes winner X Y Jet in the Mr. Prospector (G3) last time out.
“They’re old class horses,” Navarro said. “They train themselves.”