The giant Ontario bred colt STATE OF HONOR (10) just missed in the Mucho Mach Man Stakes at GUlfstream to Todd Pletcher trainee Sonic Mule – Gulfstream Park photo






STATE OF HONOR 2nd in Mucho Macho Man, 85 Beyer Speed Figure


Ontario-bred STATE OF HONOR, from the first crop of To Honor and Serve from the mare State Cup, by Elusive Quality, battled hard to the wire in Saturday’s MUCHO MAN MAN STAKES worth $100,000 and just missed the victory.

The giant bay colt is owned and was bred by Manfred and Penny Conrad from Waterloo, ON and the col was coming off a 2nd place finish to King and His Court in the Coronation Futurity,

State of Honor is the 6th foal to race for State Cup who produced one of the Conrad’s first winners, Amethea.

State of Honor also made news late October when his groom Gary Sutherland won Groom of the Year from the television show TALKIN’ HORSES ( – Manfred and Penny Conrad were also featured on an episode of Talkin Horses when their top 3yo of last year, Leavem in Malibu was pointing to the Breeders’ Stakes.

Check out their interview here:




Race recap from Gulfstream media – Given a last-minute chance to stretch his talent beyond sprint distances, Calumet Farm’s Sonic Mule stubbornly held off a stretch-long challenge from State of Honor to win Saturday’s $100,000 Mucho Macho Man for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park.

The sixth running of the one-mile Mucho Macho Man was the last of four stakes worth $400,000 in purses on the 11-race card, following wins by Made You Look in the $100,000 Dania Beach (G3), Wildcat Kate in the $100,000 Old Hat and Bellavais in the $100,000 Ginger Brew.

It was the third straight victory and second stakes in a row for Sonic Mule ($11.40), who trainer Todd Pletcher had planned to run in the seven-furlong Hutcheson (G3), also scheduled for Saturday, which failed to fill.

Sonic Mule, a bay son of Distorted Humor, had run twice at a mile as a 2-year-old, finishing third in the Sapling on dirt and second in the Armed Forces on the Gulfstream turf Oct. 1. He completed the distance Saturday in 1:37.52 over a fast main track.

“I was a little concerned how he would handle the mile. We tried to stretch him out a little bit earlier,” Pletcher said, “but the one thing I did feel good about was he breezed really well the other day and seemed like he was coming into any race, whatever it would be, in good form. It was just a matter of working out a trip and seeing if he could get the distance.”

Multiple graded-stakes placed Recruiting Ready broke sharply from Post 9, one spot outside of Sonic Mule, and was keen through an opening quarter-mile in 23.14 seconds, chased by Sonic Mule, Han Sense and Cavil.

Recruiting Ready was still in front after a half-mile in 45.85 as jockey Javier Castellano moved up Sonic Mule to his right flank and State of Honor began to roll into contention on the far outside. The top two sailed in tandem past the tiring leader and hit the top of the stretch together after going six furlongs in 1:11.54.

“Todd and I discussed the race a little bit. Usually, Todd doesn’t say too much about the race. He told me it was up to me,” Castellano said. “We knew there was a lot of speed in the race. He put me in a good spot. We let the other horse dictate the pace and I followed the speed. It worked out great. He was motivated and encouraged to go forward when the other horse came to him. He fought all the way to the wire.”

Sonic Mule had the advantage on the inside after straightening for home with State of Honor to his right, and they began to separate from the field as they dueled down the stretch with Sonic Mule prevailing by a neck.

It was 1 ¼ lengths back to late-running Talk Logistics in third, followed by stakes winner Sweetontheladies, who entered the Mucho Macho Man 3-0 in dirt races, fourth by another 4 ¼ lengths.

“He’s a fighter, no question about it. You could tell he was getting tired and he didn’t gallop out real far past the wire so I think he was giving Javier everything he had,” Pletcher said. “He’s shown to be that kind of horse. He’s got a lot of determination and a lot of fight. He’s a cool horse to be around.”

It was the second stakes win of the day for Pletcher and Castellano, who teamed up to win the Dania Beach by 2 ½ lengths with Made You Look. Pletcher now has nine stakes wins and Castellano has four at the Championship Meet, which began Dec. 3.




ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 7, 2017)–In what quickly developed into a two-horse race, a short head separated Gormley and American Anthem in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes, with Gormley prevailing under Victor Espinoza in 2017’s first graded prep to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 8. Trained by John Shirreffs and owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Gormley, a Kentucky-bred colt by Malibu Moon, got a flat mile in 1:35.89 on Santa Anita’s sloppy main track.

The winning Beyer Speed Figure was 94.

With Mike Smith gunning favored American Anthem from the rail, Espinoza sat a close second just off the leader’s right hip into and around the Club House turn. As the field made its way into the far turn, the top two separated themselves and “threw down” the final quarter mile in a thriller that looked like it could go either way.

“That was a great race,” said Shirreffs, who sent Gormley out to win the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes here two starts back on Oct. 1. “We’re very proud of him. He’s quick. He starts quick, he gets away quickly, but then he checks himself as he gets into the race and he relaxes. It was great to see him pick it back up again and get it done.”

Although favored on the morning line, Gormley, who came off a disappointing run in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 5, was the 8-5 second choice and paid $5.20, $2.80 and $2.40.

A first-out maiden winner going 6 ½ furlongs on Sept. 4 at Del Mar, he now has three wins from four starts. In addition to the winner’s share of $60,000, he also picked up 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

“This type of thing never gets old,” said co-owner Jerry Moss, who also won the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Giacomo. “He’s got a lot of heart and I know he’ll go further than this.”

“I expected him to run the way he ran today,” said Espinoza, who’s ridden Gormley in all four of his races. “I know he’s still improving but I think he only gets better and better. Hopefully, he gets a lot better…In the Breeders’ Cup he broke slow but today, he came into the race in really good shape and got into it right away.”

A gutty first-out maiden winner at six furlongs on Dec. 3 at Del Mar, American Anthem was faced with a tall order stretching out against the likes of Gormley in only his second start. Ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Bob Baffert, American Anthem got hammered late to even money and paid $2.60 and $2.20.

“For only his second time out, that was pretty impressive,” said Smith. “If we’d been on the outside…I think that probably would’ve helped out a little bit getting beat a half a nose.”


Just 20 days to the big race, the $12 million Pegasus World Cup and Todd Pletcerh trainees NEOLITHIC and KEEN ICE worked out together on Saturday at Palm Beach can watch it here: