HOLY HELENA returns to racing and wins!
Queen’s Plate champ takes to turf
HOLY HELENA, the 2017 Queen’s Plate winner, wins her 4-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park on Sunday Feb 4. GULFSTREAM PARK PHOTO
Stronach Stables’ HOLY HELENA, who has not raced since she was second in the Ontario Derby (Grade 3) last summer to Tiz a Slam, came off a 3 1/2 month layoff and won her grass debut on Feb 4 at Gulfstream Park.
Holy Helena ($4.80) earned a hard-fought victory in her 2018 debut at Gulfstream Park in Sunday’s fifth race, a mile optional claiming allowance on turf.
The 4-year-old homebred daughter of Ghostzapper’s 2017 campaign was highlighted by a 3 ½-length triumph over the boys in the $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine after beating the girls in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks.
Holy Helena, whose career-best races have come over Woodbine’s synthetic surface, made her turf debut Sunday, stalking the pace before launching a strong stretch drive to prevail by a neck over pacesetter Kylla Instinct.
“There were a lot of questions marks, that’s for sure, but she was doing good and we just wanted to get her going somewhere. She’s not eligible for a whole lot. We thought it was a good time to try the turf to get a race into her and see if she liked it,” trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. “Who knows, we might try something later on but it also sets her up nicely if we want to run her back on the dirt.”
Holy Helena, who had gone winless in two starts wince winning the Queen’s Plate, ran a mile over a firm turf course in 1:38.05 under Jose Ortiz.
FIELD OF COURAGE CLAIMED, Canadians elsewhere
Less than four months after his stunning win in the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes on the grass last fall at Woodbine, Field of Courage was claimed from a last place finish at Aqueduct on the dirt on Feb. 2.
The son of Marchfield, owned by Quintessential Racing of Tina Casse and trained by Mark Casse, was taken for $80,000 by trainer Rudy Rodriquez. The 6-year-old gelding had finished 6th in the Tenacious Stakes on dirt at Fair Grounds in his previous race. Field of Courage has won 6 of 21 races and $430,000.
NORM MCKNIGHT, who has his first string of horses at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, ARK this winter, won another race. THE CRAIC was up in time to win a $77,000 allowance/optional claiming event on Feb 4 as part of an odds-on entry. Owned by Gary McMaster, Racer’s Edge and Trinity racing Stables, the 4-year-old Kentucky bred by Sidney’s Candy was making her first start on dirt and first start since she won at Woodbine on Dec. 2. She is a 6 time winner.
WILLIE ARMATA won two races on Jan. 31 at Penn National with horses owned by Hugh Blackmore. MISS MEW, a homebred for Blackmore by Judith’s Wild Rush, won a $10,000 claiming race at 4 to 1.
Later, WINGAWAY, a grey mare by Birdstone, won a $5,000 claiming race in her first strat since she was at Woodbine in the fall. Wingaway was claimed.
WINDWAYS and MIKE AMBLER won with Ontario bred TENACITY ZIP at Gulfstream on Feb. 2 for $25,000 claiming, The flashy gelding, bred by Sienna Farms and trained by Nick Gonzalez, won the 6 furlong sprint in 1:11.96 and was claimed by Brunon Schickedanz.
THE BABIES ARE COMING!
Foals galore! Canadian breeders are beginning to welcome the new faces for 2018 so send along your photos!
Here is a colt by McLean’s Music – Druidess, for Bernard and Karen McCormack. Nicknamed Blue Moon, as he was born on the night of the blue moon, this colt is a looker!
Photo courtesy Bernard McCormack
PLETHORA OF ONTARIO-BREDS IN FASIG TIPTON MIXED SALE
QUEENSTON STAKES winner SPEIGHTSONG is among the horses bred in Ontario in the Fasig Tipton Mixed sale that begins today in Kentucky. The 7-year-old, who recently raced at Fair Ground for $40,000 claiming, is offered as a racing or stallion prospect.
There are plenty of mares and yearlings bred locally in the auction.
Hip – Sex – Sold As – Name – Sire – Dam – Dam Sire – Covering Sire – State/Country Foaled – Consignor
310 – M – BM – MIDNIGHT SEARCH – VYING VICTOR – THESEARCHASENDED – CHIEF’S CROWN – CROSS TRAFFIC – BRITISH COLUMBIA – BRANDYWINE FARM (JIM & PAM
1 – F – R/BMP – ULTRALIGHT BEAM – GIANT’S CAUSEWAY – FLEET OF FOOT – GONE WEST – N/A – ONTARIO – PARAMOUNT SALES AGENT X
4 – F – Y – TAPITURE – VICTORY WITH CLASS – STORM VICTORY – N/A – ONTARIO – VINERY SALES AGENT VI
47 – M – BM – ATLANTIC RAINBOW – STORMY ATLANTIC – RAINBOW’S CLASSIC – REGAL CLASSIC – N/A – ONTARIO – SHAWHAN PLACE LLC AGENT FOR HOUSATONIC STABLES
55 – M – BM – BEAM REACH – STORMY ATLANTIC – QUIET REWARD – SEEKING THE GOLD – PALACE MALICE – ONTARIO – SELECT SALES AGENT XX
57 – M – BMP – BEAR’S PRIDE – KENTUCKY BEAR – MOLLY’S PRIDE – MARIA’S MON – N/A – ONTARIO – SOUTH POINT SALES AGENCY AGENT VI
67 – M – BM – BLINDSIDEHIT – BLUEGRASS CAT – HEART LAKE – UNBRIDLED – PALACE MALICE – ONTARIO – STUART MORRIS AGENT I
70 – M – BM – BLUES DANCING – SURVIVALIST – LA BELLE BLEU – BEAU GENIUS SHACKLEFORD – ONTARIO – SOUTH POINT SALES AGENCY AGENT VII
74 – F – BM – BOURBON’S RECOLETA – NOT BOURBON – RECOLETA – WILD AGAIN – JERSEY TOWN – ONTARIO – HUNTER VALLEY FARM AGENT
112 – F – Y – MR SPEAKER – CLOUDLINE – CHEROKEE RUN – N/A – ONTARIO – SOUTH POINT SALES AGENCY AGENT VII
131 – M – BM – DENE COURT – CITY ZIP OPERETTA – ASCOT KNIGHT – N/A – ONTARIO – SHAWHAN PLACE LLC AGENT II
132 – C – Y – TEMPLE CITY – DENE COURT – CITY ZIP – N/A – ONTARIO – SHAWHAN PLACE LLC AGENT II
179 – C – Y – GOLDENCENTS – FREDERICKA LA ROSE – FUSAICHI PEGASUS – N/A – ONTARIO – SOUTH POINT SALES AGENCY AGENT VII
204 – F – Y – GIROLAMO – GOT SMARTS – SMART STRIKE – ONTARIO – SOUTH POINT SALES AGENCY AGENT VII
277 – C – Y – SUMMER FRONT – KRISTA’S QUIK CHIC- FORESTRY – N/A – ONTARIO – SHAWHAN PLACE LLC AGENT II
299 – C – Y – TAPITURE – MACHO WOMAN – MACHO UNO – N/A – ONTARIO – VINERY SALES AGENT VI
303 – C – Y – SUMMER FRONT – MAGIC SCHOOL – IN EXCESS (IRE) – N/A – ONTARIO – SHAWHAN PLACE LLC AGENT II
321 – M – BM – MONEY MY HONEY – RED BULLET – COLLECT THE CASH – DYNAFORMER – NYQUIST – ONTARIO – HUNTER VALLEY FARM AGENT
358 – M – BM – PERFECT WILDCAT – PERFECT SOUL (IRE) – DANISH WILDCAT – DANEHILL – ALGORITHMS – ONTARIO – VINERY SALES AGENT XIII
375 – F – Y – MAGICIAN (IRE) – PROXIMITY (GB) – NAYEF – N/A – ONTARIO – SHAWHAN PLACE LLC AGENT II
433 – M – BM – SIBONET CONGRATS – SWEET QUEENS CAT – TALE OF THE CAT – FED BIZ – ONTARIO – HILL ‘N’ DALE SALES AGENCY AGENT
445 – F – R/BMP – SOCIAL CIRCLE – STAY THIRSTY – PERSONALLY YOURS – HARLAN’S HOLIDAY – N/A – ONTARIO – BROOKDALE SALES AGENT FOR ESTATE OF
TOMMY G. LIGON
497 – M – BM – TREE POSE – OLD FORESTER – ALPHA ANGEL – ALPHABET SOUP – MILWAUKEE BREW – ONTARIO – TAYLOR MADE SALES AGENCY AGENT
504 – G – HORA – BOURBON – EXTENSION – NOT BOURBON – EXTEND – UNBRIDLED’S SONG – N/A – ONTARIO – PARAMOUNT SALES AGENT XIII
517 – H – R/S – SPEIGHTSONG – SPEIGHTSTOWN – SONG OF THE LARK – SEEKING THE GOLD – N/A – ONTARIO – ROYAL BLOODSTOCK AGENT V
524 – F – R/BMP – SCAT JOY – SCAT DADDY – JOYCE JENKINS – AFLEET ALEX – N/A – ONTARIO – BLUEWATER SALES LLC AGENT XIX
533 – M – BM – CONQUESTADORY – SPEIGHTSTOWN – CHRISTIE VILLAGE – DEPUTY MINISTER – AMERICAN PHAROAH – ONTARIO – DARBY DAN FARM
BIGGEST WAGERING PAYOFFS LAST WEEK
courtesy Ken Richards
Feb. 4 Santa Anita 2.00 Pick 6 $274,653.80
Feb. 1 Santa Anita .50cPick 5 $ 53,045.60
Feb. 3 Gulfstream 1.00 High 5 $ 42,847.30
Feb. 4 Gulfstream .20cPick 6 $ 41,723.22
Feb. 2 Gulfstream .50cPick 5 $ 36,673.75
Feb. 2 Gulfstream .20cPick 6 $ 32,540.12
Feb. 4 Santa Anita .50cPick 5 $ 28,528.30
Jan. 31 Tampa 1.00 SFC $ 27,742.40
Feb. 2 Oaklawn .50cPick 4 $ 21,465.80
CANADIAN BRED PRIVATE ZONE DIES
Multiple grade 1 winner Private Zone was euthanized today at Park Equine Hospital at Woodford in Versailles, KY.
According to Park’s attending veterinarian, Dr. Bryan Waldridge, the cause of death was complications of duodenitis/proximal jejunitis (anterior enteritis).
“This is a small intestinal colic characterized by inactivity of the small intestine and large amounts of reflux from the stomach,” said Dr. Waldridge.
A full necropsy report is pending.
The 9-year-old gelded son of Macho Uno had been pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility in Georgetown, KY, since last April.
Bred is Ontario by Adena Springs, Private Zone (Macho Uno – Auburn Beauty, by Siphon (BRZ)) made his first nine starts in Panama where he became a group 1 winner.
A temperamental colt, he was purchased by former jockey Rene Douglas and was campaigned by his Good Friends partnership under several conditioners, including Doug O’Neill, Alfredo Velazquez, Jorge Navarro, and Brian Lynch.
After losing his first eight starts in North America, Private Zone went on to become a four-time grade 1 winner with his breakthrough coming in the 2013 grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational Stakes.
He counted the 2014 grade 1 Cigar Mile and 2015 grade 1 Forego Stakes among his victories.
Private Zone retired with 10 wins from 33 starts and $2,924,620 in earnings.
“We were so grateful when the owners of Private Zone retired him to us, and that only increases our sadness that he died this morning,” said Old Friends President Michael Blowen. “He was a marvelous animal, and we are thankful to everyone who cared for him at Park Equine Hospital for the last two weeks trying to help him overcome this difficult illness. Private Zone was a fighter to the end, trying to help us help him.”
KENTUCKY DERBY PREP WINNERS FROM WEEKEND
CALLING AN AUDIBLE
$500,000 colt had to switch New York plans to Florida
Audible registered a resounding victory in Saturday’s $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park, stamping himself as a prime prospect on the Road to the Florida Derby (G1) and the Triple Crown.
Making his stakes debut in the 29th running of the Holy Bull, which headlined a 12-race program offering five stakes for 3-year-olds, Audible earned 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points with his 5 ½-length triumph over Free Drop Billy.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Audible ($8.40) entered the 1 1/16-mile Triple Crown prep off three starts, two against fellow New York-bred rivals. After finishing third in his Sept. 27 debut at Belmont, Audible graduated against state-bred company Nov. 15 at Aqueduct before going on to win an open optional claiming allowance Dec. 6. His two wins came at the one-turn mile distance.
“We felt like he wanted more ground and he kind of showed that in his first race when he didn’t get away real quickly and retreated when the dirt hit him in the face and then rallied with a pretty strong effort,” Pletcher said. “Then he came back and won two pretty impressive races after that, so we felt like more distance was definitely what he was looking for.”
In his first start around two turns, Audible broke alertly under jockey Javier Castellano to closely stalk the pace set by 30-1 longshot Master Manipulator, who set fractions of 23.59 (seconds), 47.14 into the far turn before tiring. Audible took over the lead on the turn leaving the backstretch and was challenged by Free Drop Billy into the stretch before drawing away to a commanding and comfortable margin of victory in 1:41.92. He earned a 99 Beyer Figure.
“It’s only a mile and sixteenths today, but the way he galloped out was amazing,” Castellano said. “I look forward to the next race.”
Free Drop Billy finished second under Luis Saez, 7 ¼ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Tiz Mischief and jockey Robby Albarado.
“He ran hard. He tried hard. The winner was tough,” Saez said. “Maybe after the layoff he got a little tired, but he tried. I think he’ll be ready for his next start.”
Enticed, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Joel Rosario, finished another 1 ½ lengths back in fourth after saving round behind the pacesetters and failing to offer a stretch kick.
“I got a good trip. He just didn’t give me a run,” Rosario said.
Audible, who was purchased for $500,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale for 2-year-olds in training at Gulfstream Park last March, had been scheduled to run in a stakes for New York-breds that was cancelled due to poor weather in New York. The decision was made to ship the colt owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing Stable to Pletcher’s Palm Beach Downs training base earlier than scheduled.
“Maybe it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The original plan was to run him in the New York-bred stake and then bring him down, but when all the bad weather hit, we came up with a different strategy and it seemed to work out well today.”
The next stop on Gulfstream Park’s Road to the March 31 $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby is the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) March 3.
BLUE DEVIL BEL, raced by Oak Cliff Stables, won 7 races in her career and $118,000. She ended her career with 4 straight wins at Mountaineer racing for $5,000 and $6,250 claiming.
This is her 3rd foal.
AVERY ISLAND – Withers 87
Street Sense – Kinda Spicy by A.P. Indy
Third foal of the mare who was 2 for 2 in her career
Godolphin Racing’s homebred Avery Island got his sophomore campaign off to an impressive start, picking up 10 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby with a two-length victory in the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by regular jockey Joe Bravo, Avery Island took up position at the head of the five-horse field, where he was quickly joined by Coltandmississippi, one of three entrants from the Todd Pletcher barn. After an opening quarter-mile in 23.32 seconds, Bravo took an easy hold on the bay colt by Street Sense, leaving Coltandmississippi about two lengths in front to lead the half in 47.08 and six furlongs in 1:11.57.
Mr. Amore Stable’s Firenze Fire, winner of the Grade 1 Champagne in October and Jerome last month, began his move from fourth while talented maiden winner Marconi rallied from last as the field rounded the far turn.
Avery Island was soon reengaged with the pacesetter, briefly meeting Coltandmississippi at the three-eighths pole before putting him away to turn for home 2 ½ lengths ahead of Firenze Fire and Marconi. Avery Island held clear down the lane to complete the 1 1/8-mile route in 1:51.01.
Firenze Fire was second, a half-length ahead of Pletcher trainee Marconi, making his stakes debut. It was another 18 ¾ lengths back to Coltandmississippi in fourth. Bal Harbour was fifth. California Night was scratched.
“The best horse won today,” said Bravo. “Avery has all the tools to be a good horse. He’s just learning to enjoy himself out there. He just relaxed. He just got better and stronger going down the lane. I opened up early around the turn. The quicker he goes, the better he is, but I didn’t want to turn it into a sprint, so if they are going to beat us, they’re going to have to outrun us from the top. Today, he did it nicely.”
Sent off as the even-money favorite, Avery Island returned $4.30 for a $2 win wager.
The win was Avery Island’s second at the Big A, following a 4 ¾-length score in the Grade 2 Nashua at a one-turn mile in November. The colt stretched out to two turns in the 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 Remsen on December 2, where he tracked the early pace and kicked on late to finish an encouraging second behind the late-running Catholic Boy.
Avery Island, whose Remsen effort earned him four qualifying points to the Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs, picked up another 10 points for the Withers, a designated race in the Kentucky Derby prep series for a total of 14. Firenze Fire earned four additional Derby points in the Withers to bring his total to 24, while Marconi picked up two points and Coltandmississippi got one.
The win was the third overall for Avery Island, who boosted his lifetime earnings to $365,332.
ROBERT LEWIS STAKES SANTA ANITA
LOMBO – 86
Graydar – Burg Berg, Johannesburg
With Flavien Prat calling the signals on the lead, a new Derby contender emerged today at Santa Anita as longshot Lombo scored an impressive two length victory in the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes. A Kentucky-bred colt by Graydar, Lombo is trained by Mike Pender and he got a mile and one sixteenth in 1:45.41.
A 3 ½ length maiden winner going six furlongs here on Jan. 20, Lombo was making his fourth career start today and his first added money appearance.
“He ran a big race,” said Prat, who picked up the mount when Kent Desromeaux opted to ride eventual runner-up Ayacara. “They put a little pressure on him down the backside, but he was nice and relaxed. I worked him last week and he’s got a lot of speed. I was concerned he might want to go, but he was relaxed. That was my main concern, but he releaxed and then he went on.”
Off at 8-1 in a field of nine sophomores, Lombo paid $19.40, $10.40 and $7.20.
Owned by Michael V. Lombardi, Lombo was purchased for $75,000 at an Ocala, Fla. 2-year-old in training sale this past March. Out of the Johannesburg mare Burg Berg, Lombo is now 4-2-0-1. With the winner’s share of $90,000, Lombo increased his earnings to $129,225.
“He’s definitely a high octane horse,” said Pender. “Apparently, Graydar had some of the same characteristics and Unbridled’s Song (Graydar’s sire) as well. He’s just a big kid and has a little (Attention Deficit Disorder) to him, but he’s starting to figure it out. When he does…I think he’ll be really dangerous.”
Along with the purse money, Lombo picked up 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.
Well back early, Ayacara ran on very well late for the place under Kent Desormeaux, finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of longshot Dark Vadar.
Off at 9-2, Ayacara paid $6.00 and $4.40.
Ridden by Stewart Elliott, Dark Vadar was in an all-out drive around the far turn and finished third, 3 ½ lengths in front of Regulate. Off at 36-1, Dark Vadar paid $13.60 to show.
The disappointment in the Lewis was 2-1 favorite Peace, who added blinker but turned in a dull effort, finishing seventh under Mike Smith.
Fractions on the race were 23.40, 47.26, 1:12.20 and 1:38.34.
KENTUCKY DERBY POINTS
Rank Horse Points Owner(s) Trainer Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Good Magic 24 e Five Racing Thoroughbreds (Bob, Kristine, Cassidy, Riley & Delaney Edwards) & Stonestreet Stables LLC (Barbara Banke)
Chad Brown $1,200,000
2. Firenze Fire 24 Mr. Amore Stable (Ron Lombardi) Jason Servis $567,500
3. McKinzie 20 Karl Watson, Michael E. Pegram & Paul Weitman Bob Baffert $240,000
4. Bolt d’Oro 14 Ruis Racing (Mick Ruis) Mick Ruis $540,000
5. Free Drop Billy 14 Albaugh Family Stables LLC (Dennis Albaugh & Jason Loustch) Dale Romans $467,200
6. Solomini 14 Zayat Stables LLC (Ahmed Zayat) Bob Baffert $436,000
7. Avery Island 14 Godolphin Racing LLC (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum et al) Kiaran McLaughlin $320,000
8. Instilled Regard 14 Oxo Equine LLC (Lawrence Best) Jerry Hollendorfer $180,000
9. Enticed 13 Godolphin Racing LLC (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al aktoum et al) Kiaran McLaughlin $180,880
10. Greyvitos 10 Triple B Farms (Michelle Boghossian) Adam Kitchingman $300,000
11. Catholic Boy 10 Robert V. LaPenta Jonathan Thomas $290,000
12. Audible 10 WinStar Farm LLC (Kenny Troutt), China Horse Club International Ltd. (Ah Khing Teo) & SF Racing LLC (Gavin Murphy) Todd Pletcher $208,320
13. Mourinho 10 Phoenix Thoroughbred III (Amer Abdulaziz) Bob Baffert $124,360
14. Lombo 10 Michael V. Lombardi Mike Pender $90,000
15. Combatant 8 Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (Ron Winchell) & Willis Horton Racing LLC Steve Asmussen $110,000
16. Tiz Mischief 6 Frank L. Jones Jr. Dale Romans $70,400
Second barrier trial complete, where will the amazing mare race?