Archive for November 2014

Take Charge Brandi”Wins $400,000 Delta Princess

VINTON, La. – Breeders’ Cup winner Take Charge Brandi furthered her case for an Eclipse Award for champion 2-year-old filly Saturday, when she drove to a 1 1/2-length win over Skipalute in the
Grade 3, $400,000 Delta Downs Princess. It was another length back in third to Majestic Presence.
The Princess was one of eight stakes on a card worth $2.3 million. The program also included the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot that Ocho Ocho Ocho ($7.20) won in a photo over Mr. Z.
Take Charge Brandi ($6.40) sat just off Vivian Da Bling in the early stages of the Princess, pressing that rival through fractions of 22.34 seconds for the opening quarter and 46.44 for the half-mile. Take Charge Brandi then engaged the leader into the final turn, withstood a bid from Skipalute, and after turning the latter back was diligent to the wire. Take Charge Brandi covered the mile on a fast track in 1:39.60.
“I think she’s getting more seasoned,” said winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas. “I don’t think she
handled the racetrack as well as I thought [she would].
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Her class carried her a little bit.”
Paco Lopez was aboard Take Charge Brandi for
owner Willis Horton.
The talk after the Princess turned to the filly’s
bid for an Eclipse Award.
“We think it sure moved us in the right
direction,” Lukas said of the Princess
performance from Take Charge Brandi.
Lukas said there is a chance Take Charge
Brandi could run again this year in the Starlet
at Los Alamitos.
With the Princess win, Take Charge Brandi
earned 10 preference points toward the
Kentucky Oaks. The runner-u p Skipalute
picked up four points; the third-place finisher
Majestic Presence earned two; and the fourthplace
finisher Danessa Deluxe earned one. Take
Charge Brandi also earned 10 points for her win
in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Take Charge Brandi now has won 3 of 7 starts. She earned $240,000 for her win in the Princess to
push her earnings to $1,410,126. She is a daughter of Giant’s Causeway, and she was bred in
Kentucky by Charming Syndicate.

Speechify wins the Kenny Noe

Speechify, making just his second start since January, wins the Kenny Noe Jr. under Paco Lopez.

Speechify, making just his second start since January, wins the Kenny Noe Jr. under Paco Lopez.

MIAMI – What he lacked in experience,
Speechify made up for in talent and
perseverance, becoming a stakes winner for
the first time with a convincing 3 3/4-length
decision over Grande Shores in Sunday’s
$90,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Stakes at Gulfstream Park West.
With only six previous starts under his belt,
and only one since Jan. 23, Speechify gave
away a lot of seasoning to his seven rivals in
the six- furlong Kenny Noe. But with jockey
Paco Lopez taking advantage of the speedfavoring
racetrack, Speechify was able to stalk the early pace of Mongolian Saturday,
readily gained the lead on the final turn, and
then asserted his dominance through the stretch.

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Grande Shores, who trailed after the opening quarter-mile, did well to rally between horses near the
inside to finish second against the grain of a fast main track that favored speed throughout the card.
Mongolian Saturday held on to finish third.
Risk Factor, the 2-1 favorite, surprisingly dropped off the early pace when steadied in traffic after
the opening furlong. He made a mild run at the winner entering the stretch but could not sustain
his bid, ultimately fading to finish fourth, six lengths behind Speechify.
The victory was the fourth in just seven career starts for Speechify, a son of Harlan’s Holiday who is
owned by Team Valor International. Speechify has to be delicately handled by trainer Ralph Nicks
due to a restriction in his esophagus which limits his diet on a daily basis.
Speechify completed the distance in 1:10.52 and paid $8.80.
“He’s awesome,” said Nicks. “It’s a shame he has the restriction in his throat because he could be
something special.”

Stonetastic Wins Prioress-2014

Paco Rides For Lukas In Rich Delta Races

It’s not a hop, skip and a jump to get toBreeders' width=
Delta Downs in the small southwestern
Louisiana town of Vinton.
“The last two hours are by stagecoach,”
trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.
Lukas on Wednesday confirmed he intends
to send Breeder’s Cup winner Take Charge
Brandi for the Grade 3, $400,000 Delta
Downs Princess on Nov. 22.

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It is not a simple trek to get to Delta. Horses
flying in must land in either Houston or
New Orleans, then van several hours to the
Louisiana-Texas border track, nestled under mile-high pine trees.
The journey can be well worth the effort. Delta is putting on eight stakes worth $2.3 million on the
afternoon of Nov. 22. The Princess, for 2-year-old fillies at a mile, and the Grade 3, $1 million Delta
Downs Jackpot, for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, anchor the card.
Lukas is targeting both races. He pre-entered Take Charge Brandi, winner of the BC Juvenile Fillies,
in the Princess on Tuesday, and also made Mr. Z, fifth-place finisher in the BC Juvenile, eligible for
the Jackpot. Lukas was just starting to work on shipping arrangements for both Churchill Downsbased
horses Wednesday.
“We’re starting to firm up plans,” he said. “We’re trying to get there by [next] Wednesday. I don’t
know how it’s going to shake out with the flights. We’re looking at all options.”
Lukas said Paco Lopez will ride Take Charge Brandi because Victor Espinoza, who was aboard for
her BC win, has commitments in Japan. Lopez will also ride Mr. Z.
Lukas said the graded status and large purse of the Princess were among a number of reasons to
send Take Charge Brandi. He also feels her natural speed will work well on the six-furlong track at Delta.
“She came out of the California race great, absolutely bouncing,” Lukas said. “When they’re good,
we run them.”
There were 17 horses pre-entered in the Princess, but the field will be capped at 10.
Final entries for the Princess and the Jackpot will be taken on Nov. 18. There were 13 horses preentered
in the Jackpot, including Wake Up Nick and Conquest Tsunami.
Take Charge Brandi races for Willis Horton. Mr. Z is owned by Zayat Stables.


Plesa to ‘Keep Going Forward’ With Mr. Jordan

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. reported that Mr. Jordan was “100 percent” Sunday morning following his dazzling three-length romp at Gulfstream Park West in Saturday’s $100,000 Juvenile Sprint Stakes, one of seven $100,000 stakes on Sunshine Millions Preview Day.

Plesa to 'Keep Going Forward' With Mr. Jordan

In the 6 ½-furlong stakes for Florida-bred 2-year-olds, Mr. Jordan won handily under a motionless Paco Lopez, following up his 6 ¼-length debut victory at Monmouth Park to establish himself as an exciting prospect in the 2015 class of 3-year-olds.

“Needless to say, if you have a 2-year-old this time of year that shows you that talent, you’ve got to have it in the back of your mind, looking at the 3-year-old year,” Plesa said.

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Mr. Jordan, a flashy gray son of Kantharos, had always been highly regarded by his trainer, who also conditions Souper Colossal, a multiple-stakes winner who finished a troubled seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita.

“(Mr. Jordan) has only run twice. He’s different than my other 2-year-old, Souper Colossal, who started from the get-go. I’m going to send Souper Colossal back to Live Oak for 30 days to give him a little freshening. This horse doesn’t need it. He’s a fresh horse right now,” Plesa said. “We’re going to keep going forward with him. He could be similar to Itsmyluckday. Itsmyluckyday had a few more races than this horse, but he never needed a break. We kept going forward him.”

Plesa, who saddled Itsmyluckyday for a second-place finish in the 2013 Preakness Stakes as well as multiple stakes wins, said he’d look for a two-turn race in about a month’s time for Mr. Jordan’s return to action.

Mr. Jordan was purchased for $155,000 at the OBS April 2-year-olds-in-training sale by Plesa for his wife, Laurie, David Melin and Leon Ellman. “He’s correct. He doesn’t have any flaws, conformation-wise. He’s just a nice-sized athletic horse that’s really grown into his body from the time I got him to now,” Plesa said. “He’s a bigger, stronger horse than when I bought him. He’s just gone the right way, not just from what he’s done on the racetrack, but from a physical standpoint.” Meanwhile, Plesa is pointing Itsmyluckyday to the $500,000 Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct on Nov. 29.

“He’s going to run in the Cigar Mile on the 29th of November. Then, he’ll probably go to Spendthrift,” said Plesa, whose 4-year-old trainee is scheduled to stand at stud at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky. in 2015.

Itsmyluckyday, who captured the 2013 Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3), earned Grade 1 credentials while winning the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 30.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I can’t think of a horse race that’s been more gratifying to me for all the reasons you can imagine,” Plesa said. “He’s an unbelievable horse as far as I’m concerned. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do at stud. He’s certainly brought my family, my partners and myself and the people who work with him an unbelievable amount of excitement. We’re really, really going to miss him.”

“Mr. Jordan” Wins Juvenile Sprint

Mr. Jordan, with Paco Lopez aboard, delivers as the 4-5 favorite in the Juvenile SprintMr. Jordan lived up to all the hype, overcoming an unlucky trip to register an impressive three length victory over Morgans Harbour and seven other overmatched 2-year-olds in Saturday’s $100,000 Juvenile Sprint at Gulfstream Park West.

Mr. Jordan, a Florida-bred son of Kantharos, was an easy 6 3/4-length winner of his only previous start late this summer at Monmouth Park. Despite his lack of experience in a field that included a pair of stakes winners, Mr. Jordan went off the 4-5 choice for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. in the 6 1/2-furlong Sprint.

With regular rider Paco Lopez aboard, Mr. Jordan broke a step slow and then rated behind the early leaders while forced to steady along a couple of times near the inside on the turn. Lopez angled

Mr. Jordan out for clearance leaving the bend and once settling into the stretch, the favorite asserted his superiority, readily drawing well clear in the final furlong. Morgans Harbour, who like the winner had captured his only previous start, prompted the early pace, dropped back a bit on the turn, and then rallied belatedly to easily be second best, finishing 4 1/4 lengths in front of the three-time stakes winner Sing Praises.

Mr. Jordan completed the distance in 1:18.32 and paid $3.80. “You have to have luck to win races,” said Plesa. “He overcame a bad start and horses in front of him. He proved today he didn’t need the lead, he could sit great. I thought Paco rode an outstanding horse. He was just the best horse.”

Plesa said he’s looking forward to stretching out Mr. Jordan around two turns in the future. “We’ll sit down and map out a plan,” said Plesa. “But Paco said before this horse even ran he thought he’d go two turns, which is a little surprising considering his pedigree. But I think he’ll go two turns as well, and I’m looking forward to trying it.”

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Leap Year Luck enables Gold to avoid shutout

It’s hard to imagine a day of statebred stakes racing in south Florida, especially one that includes 2- year-old races, without a victory by the team of owner-breeder Fred Brei’s Jacks or

Better Farm and trainer Stanley Gold. But it took until the final event on Saturday’s Sunshine Millions Preview card for the potent pair to finally strike, the duo combining to win the finale, the $100,000 Juvenile Filly

Sprint, with Leap Year Luck. Leap Year Luck, a homebred daughter of Hear No Evil, finished full of run down the center of the track to catch Savingtime in the final sixteenth of the 6 1/2-furlong Juvenile Filly Sprint, edging off to a 2 1/4-length victory under jockey Jesus Rio. Savingtime weakened late but held on for second over Moment of Delight.

Leap Year Luck, an easy winner of the Desert Vixen Stakes, the opening leg of the Florida Sire Series, nearly four months earlier at Gulfstream Park, paid $17.20.

Bad Debt Wins Million Turf Preview

Bad Debt defended his title Saturday in the Sunshine Millions Turf Preview at Gulfstream Park WestNo matter what they call the race or where they run it, Bad Debt is simply unbeatable when it comes to racing against statebreds on the turf during the fall of the year in south Florida.

For the fourth time in the last four seasons, Bad Debt shipped to south Florida to win a restricted stakes on the grass during the tail end of the season. In 2011 and 2012, it was the Bonnie Heath Turf Championship at Calder. Last year, it was the inaugural Sunshine Millions Turf Preview at Gulfstream Park. And on Saturday, Bad Debt successfully defended that title, doing so over familiar ground at Gulfstream Park West (formerly known as Calder) when rallying to a hard-fought and popular half-length decision over Tryer in the $100,000 Sunshine Millions Turf Preview.

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The victory was the first for Bad Debt, a 7-year-old son of Grand Reward, since his even more impressive 6 1 /2-length triumph in the 2013 Florida Millions Turf Preview. He had finished third in both the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap to close out his 2013 campaign and Sunshine Millions Turf to kick off the current season.

Trainer David Jacobson claimed Bad Debt away from owner Robert Leibner and trainer Michael Trombetta for $80,000 out of a fourth-place finish early this summer at Belmont Park. But Bad Debt’s former owner and trainer were fortunate to win a five-way shake to get him back again for $62,500 six weeks later at Saratoga.

“It was like losing the family dog,” Trombetta said of losing Bad Debt via the claim box four months earlier. “We had him for a long time, and we were glad to get him back. This has been our target each season. He’s won it now each of the last four years.”

Bad Debt, who was ridden to victory by Paco Lopez, rated six lengths off the early pace set by Breitling Flyer in the 1 1/16-mile Turf Preview, rallied widest to challenge the leaders entering the stretch, gained command leaving the furlong grounds then withstood a final surge from Tryer.

The latter, making his stakes debut, nearly returned quick dividends for owner-trainer Milt Wolfson, who haltered Tryer for $30,000 just five weeks earlier. Breitling Flyer finished a tiring third in a scratch reduced field of seven older turf specialists.

Bad Debt paid $3.20 after completing the distance in 1:41.92 over the firm course. “They were playing a little cat and mouse up front, and it made me a little nervous, but he got it done,” Trombetta said when asked about the trip.

Swinger’s Party wins Distaff Preview Stakes

Swinger’s Party kicked off Saturday’s rich Sunshine Millions Preview program with a three quarter length triumph over the 16-1 Flutterby in the $100,000 Distaff Preview Stakes. Don’tcallmecharley finished nearly four lengths further back in third.

Devil’s Cave, one of two horses saddled in the race along with the winner by trainer Marty Wolfson, finished a tiring and well-beaten fifth as the 7-5 choice.

Swinger’s Party, a 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, had been idle since finishing far back after setting the pace in the Grade 3 Shuvee Handicap on July 27 at Saratoga. She had won two of her three previous starts over the Gulfstream Park West strip with her lone loss a second-place finish in the Nancy’s Glitter Handicap in June.

Swinger’s Party raced a mile in 1:40.59 over the fast track and returned $10.40.

Paco Lopez back in Florida

Paco Lopez returned to Florida after successful stints at Monmouth Park over the summer and at Keeneland this fallAfter an extraordinarily successful summer and fall in New Jersey and Kentucky, jockey Paco Lopez has come home to Florida. Lopez dominated the standings at Monmouth Park this summer, winning 120 races at the meet, more than twice as many as runner-up Gabriel Saez. Lopez set a record for victories in a day at Monmouth, winning seven races on a card not once but twice.

The title was the third at Monmouth for Lopez, who also led the standings in 2013 and 2010. He was second at Monmouth in both 2011 and 2012. Lopez also had a good Keeneland fall meet, finishing fifth in the standings with 12 wins from 71 mounts.

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After riding in four Breeders’ Cup races last Friday and Saturday and at Aqueduct on Sunday, Lopez began riding at Gulfstream Park West on Monday. Through Friday morning, his record at the meet was 9-2-2-2.

Lopez is named to ride six races at Gulfstream Park West on Sunday for trainers Eddie Plesa Jr.,
Jason Servis, Jose Garoffalo, David Jacobson, Sal Santoro, and Antonio Sano.

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