Archive for August 2015


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Taking advantage of an ideal setup in front of her, Sheer Drama recorded her second consecutive Grade 1 victory and earned a bid into the Breeders’ Cup Distaff later this
year with 1 1/4-length victory Saturday in the $750,000 Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga.

Sheer Drama, who won the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap on July 18, won for the sixth time in 19 starts, and the $450,000 purse earnings pushed her over the $1 million mark in career earnings with $1,368,840.

The Personal Ensign was part of the Breeders’ Cup’s Win and You’re In program, which means Sheer Drama earned a fees-paid berth into the $2 million BC Distaff on Oct. 30 at Keeneland.

“Hopefully, we’re on our way to Keeneland,” trainer David Fawkes said.

Fawkes could only hope Sheer Drama gets a similar trip in that race to what she got in the Personal Ensign.

Stopcharingmaria, the 6-5 favorite under Javier Castellano, and Untapable, the 2-1 second choice under John Velazquez, were inseparable through modest fractions of 24.06 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.72 for the half-mile, and 1:11.51 for six furlongs.

Joe Bravo had Sheer Drama just behind that pair before moving to the outside entering the far turn. She stayed in a tracking position before tipping her out wide turning for home, and she struck the front in midstretch.

While Untapable and Stopchargingmaria faded, Sheer Drama drew away and easily held Got Lucky at bay. Got Lucky was second by a neck over Untapable, who was 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Stopchargingmaria. America and Tiz Windy completed the order of finish.

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“That’s how I hoped it would go,” said Fawkes, who trains Sheer Drama for owner-breeder Harold Queen. “I told Joe, ‘Try to sit behind those two,’ and it worked out perfect.”

Sheer Drama covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.05 and returned $8.80 as the third choice.

“I think we pretty much had a garden trip all the way around there, and I was just thankful for the
setup,” Bravo said.

Todd Pletcher was happy Got Lucky got Grade 1 placed but naturally was disappointed Stopchargingmaria, winner of the Grade 3 Shuvee four weeks ago, faded to fourth. It was the first time in six starts at Saratoga that Stopchargingmaria finished worse than second.

“Her and Untapable kind of went at it a little bit, even though the fractions were reasonable,” Pletcher said. “Javier said he was never able to get a breather along the way. I thought she fought very hard ’til the end, just a touch flat today from where she was four weeks ago.”

Trainer Steve Asmussen was happy to see Untapable, last year’s champion 3-year-old filly, break well for the second straight race and simply is hoping his filly just doesn’t like Saratoga.

“The fractions were by no means too much for who she’s supposed to be,” Asmussen said. “She
just hasn’t run her best races here.”


Middleburg1CliffHangerS2015EPTaylorEjdys298Even-money Favorite Middleburg Middleburg had been knocking at the door of graded stakes success in his three previous starts and finally broke through Aug. 23 at Monmouth Monmouth
Park in the $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes Cliff Hanger Stakes (gr. IIIT). Joe Bravo kept the winner close to the pace throughout on the fence, and the son of Lemon Drop Kid Lemon Drop Kid was moved out to rally in early stretch. Driving strongly between battling frontrunners Special Envoy Special Envoy and Lochte in the final furlong, he was up in
time to get the win by a neck.

Special Envoy, who stalked pacesetter Inchcape Inchcape from second before leading off the turn, hung on for second in a one-two finish for homebreds campaigned by Mr. and Mrs. Bert Firestone.
Lochte, who tracked from third early, held for the show spot another neck back. Middleburg, trained by Christophe Clement, finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.52 on firm turf. Runner-up Special Envoy
is trained for the Firestones by Arnaud Delacour.

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“I talked to Christophe this morning and he said, win or lose, to ride a patient race and sit the pocket, and that’s exactly what I did,” Bravo said. “We were confident he had the best turn of foot of any horse in the race, and when you ride for Christophe, you always ride with confidence.

“I was able to sit patient and just wait for a seam to open, and when it did, he ran past those horses in three or four strides.”

Middleburg was a two-time turf allowance winner prior to three placings in graded stakes. He came into to Sunday’s race with a runner-up finish in the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) in July, was a nose second in the Monmouth Cup Stakes (gr. IIT) in June, and was third in the Fort Marcy (gr. IIIT) in May at Belmont Park Belmont Park. His record stands at 5-7-3 from 16 career starts, with a $349,360 bankroll. A Virginia-bred, Middleburg is out of Irish group III winner Rum Charger (Spectrum), who also produced multiple grade I winner Winchester Winchester (Theatrical).

Middleburg paid $4, $2.80, $2.20, and Special Envoy returned $8.20, $4.80. Lochte brought $3.80 to show. Inchcape was fourth, followed by Glenard Glenard and Make it Gold Make it Gold to complete the order of finish.


DelightfulJoyMonmouthOaks2015EP298Delightful Joy Delightful Joy brought smiles to the faces of her connections in her stakes debut on Saturday, Aug. 22, using a powerful stretch run to score a 1 3/4-length victory in the
$100,000 Monmouth Oaks (gr. III) Monmouth Oaks (gr. III) at Monmouth Park Monmouth Park.

After winning two of her first four starts, including a one-mile allowance race in her most recent start July 16 at Belmont Park Belmont Park, trainer Chad Brown shipped her to Monmouth for her stakes debut. Running for Sheep Pond Partners, Robert LaPenta, and Bradley Thoroughbreds, the 3-year-old filly proved up to the challenge, surging past three others just past the eighth pole to complete a rally from ninth to win the 11/16-mile race. Delightful Joy is the latest graded stakes winner for leading sire Tapit , who began the day with 42 group/graded stakes winners.

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In Saturday’s race, White Clover White Clover moved up between horses in the backstretch to take the lead from High Dollar High Dollar Woman, who completed a half-mile in :46.91. In the turn White Cover held off the still-energized High Dollar High Dollar Woman, but the winner and several other fillies were starting their rallies. At the eighth pole, Delightful Joy rallied four wide under Paco Lopez, with four horses across the track—including grade II-placed Eskenformoney Eskenformoney, White Clover, and Tiger Ride Tiger Ride—shortly after the eighth pole. Delightful Joy was moving best of all and drew clear late, completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.74 on a fast track.

“I was told to get a good start and see where I was after the break. I wanted to be comfortable and I tucked in a little behind,” Lopez said. “I knew that feeling with her from the first time I rode her. I just started to get her going and was looking for a hole. When I asked her, she gave me everything she had. She is a really nice filly.” Delightful Joy, the second betting choice at 3-1, returned $8.20 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.20 to show. Eskenformoney, favored at 5-2, returned $4 and $3 while White Clover returned $5.20 to show. Bred in Kentucky by Besilu Stables, Delightful Joy is out of the grade III-winning Graeme Hall mare Graeme Six Graeme Six, who has produced three winners from as many starters including stakes-placed Cali Star Cali Star.


For jockey Jamie Spencer, another apparent top-level victory at Arlington Arlington International Racecourse International Racecourse vanished when Secret Gesture Secret Gesture was disqualified from first to third in the $700,000 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) Saturday, Aug. 15.

WatsdachancesBeverlyDStakes2015FF298The disqualification resulted in Michael Kisber, Nelson McMakin, and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Watsdachances Watsdachances, who rallied late to get second, being declared winner of the 1 3/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares 3-years-old and older. The victory gives the daughter of Diamond Green her first grade I score. Qatar Racing and Newsells Park Stud’s Secret Gesture was placed third after drifting out several lanes in deep stretch, impeding the late run of Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Stephanie’s Kitten Stephanie’s Kitten, who would be placed second. In 2004, Spencer and Powerscourt reached the wire first in the Arlington Million Stakes (gr. IT) but they’d be placed fourth for interference in deep stretch.

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After Saturday’s disqualification, Spencer refused comment. Irad Ortiz Jr., who was aboard Stephanie’s Kitten, said Secret Gesture’s drifting out definitely cost him second. Watsdachances passed Stephanie’s Kitten while Ortiz was taking evasive action to avoid the drifting Secret Gesture. After Saturday’s race was made official, Chad Brown had reason to celebrate as trainer of the top two finishers.

Jockey Joe Bravo helped create some luck by finding a clear path to rally Watsdachances into second. Before the wild finish, last year’s Beverly D. winner Euro Charline Euro Charline, the 5-2 favorite, led the field through a halfmile in :47.67 and six furlongs in 1:13.04 as rain fell on the yielding turf. She was tracked by Secret Gesture
through the turn. Secret Gesture would seize the lead in the stretch, while Stephanie’s Kitten attempted to rally late on the outside. Watsdachances found room inside those two. Euro Charline faded to fourth.

“You can’t make this game up,” Bravo said. “With the rainstorm we got, and they had her ready to run and she just loved the distance.” Final time for the 1 3/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares was 1:57.36. Watsdachances returned $19.80 to win, $7.20 to place, and $5.20 to show. Stephanie’s Kitten returned $4.40 and $3.40, while Secret Gesture returned $4.40.

Because the Beverly D. is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race, Watsdachances earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I). Watsdachances was bred in Ireland by P. G. Lyons. She is the first stakes winner out of the winning Entrepreneur mare High Finance.


Untitled-1OCEANPORT, N.J. – It took more than a year, but Wildcat Red finally found his way back to the winner’s circle on Sunday when he prevailed narrowly in a three-horse photo to take the $111,000
Teddy Drone Stakes for older sprinters at Monmouth Park.

Wildcat Red won the Fountain of Youth Stakes and just missed in the Florida Derby in 2014, but attempts to make him a two-turn horse on tracks that didn’t carry his speed as effectively as
Gulfstream Park proved difficult. His connections returned him to a sprint last time following a layoff of nearly six months. He ran well that day in what is proving to be a key race, and was set for his best on Sunday.

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Wildcat Red, third after a quarter-mile in the six-furlong race, bravely split horses in deep stretch to beat Stallwalkin’ Dude by a nose, with Delta Bluesman another nose farther back in third. Brothersofthetime was three-quarters of a length away in fourth. Uptown Boy finished fifth, but was disqualified back to sixth for severely impeding the rallying Loverbil in deep stretch. Catron, the 9-5 favorite, finished seventh of eight in a dull effort. Wildcat Red covered six furlongs on the fast main track in 1:09.01. Normally one to make the top, Wildcat Red
($9.40) was outrun early as Delta Bluesman rocketed out of the gate and sped through an opening quarter in 21.44 seconds, with Uptown Boy the closest pursuer.

Jockey Paco Lopez after the race said he “wanted to break good,” and expected to be forwardly placed, but had to be patient when the early pace proved so scalding. “Too fast,” he said.
Stallwalkin Dude ranged up four paths wide entering the lane and moved as a team with Wildcat Red as they tried to run down Delta Bluesman after Uptown Boy began to tire. Wildcat Red, trained by Jose Garoffalo for Honors Stable Corp., was winning for the sixth time in 16 starts, and the $60,000 he earned put him over the $1 million mark. He was coming off a second-place finish in the Smile Sprint at Gulfstream on July 5, a race from which runner-up Work All Week returned to win the Sen. Robert Byrd Memorial Stakes at Mountaineer on Saturday.


Untitled-1Got Lucky continued to thrive at Monmouth Park, scoring her second consecutive stakes victory at the track in the $100,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes on Sunday. Got Lucky, who is trained by Todd Pletcher and was ridden by Paco Lopez, made her first trip to the track in May, finishing second to Stiffed in the Monmouth Beach Stakes in her first start in
three months. She then turned the tables on Stiffed with a 5 1/2-length romp in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes last month.

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With the Lady’s Secret score, Got Lucky, a 4-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy, has now won 5 of 14 career starts and pushed her career bankroll past half a million. Got Lucky ($3) finished 4 1/2 lengths clear of Stiffed, covering a mile and 70 yards in 1:40.16. Montana Native was third in a field of five fillies and mares. Got Lucky delivers as favorite in Lady’s Secret | Daily Racing Form.


Untitled-1Madefromlucky bounced back from his sixth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes by rallying wide under Joe Bravo to defeat Souper Colossal by 1 1/2 lengths Saturday in the Grade 2 West
Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Racetrack.

Madefromlucky was the second stakes win for trainer Todd Pletcher within a span of eight minutes as he had won a tight decision with Rock Fall in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt Stakes as the horses for the West Virginia Derby were on the track at Mountaineer. He would go on to win the Grade 2 Bowling Green at Saratoga 20 minutes later.
The racing surface at Mountaineer was slanted toward outside runners Saturday, and Bravo kept Madefromlucky far out from the inner rail the entire 1 1/8 miles of the $750,000 West Virginia

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Alliseeisgold set the early pace at 40-1 while being tracked by the 5-1 shot Bent on Bourbon and the 70-1 Thirtysilverpieces. Souper Colossal, who raced wide throughout, was unhurried early while racing in fourth. On the far turn, Souper Colossal readily advanced under Paco Lopez to challenge outside of the three frontrunners. Madefromlucky, who had lagged well back early, commenced his bid widest of all. Souper Colossal took a short-lived lead in upper stretch but could not keep pace with the winner, who edged away in the final furlong. War Story, who broke poorly, finished with a belated bid for third, a half-length behind Souper Colossal.

California shipper Iron Fist, the 5-2 second choice, finished fourth, three-quarters of a length behind War Story, while racing down along the inside in the stretch. Madefromlucky, who broke from post 8 in the nine-horse field, paid $7.20 as the favorite. He was timed in 1:51.40 after early splits of 24.19 seconds, 48.67, 1:13.01, and 1:38.66.

“He broke away from there nicely, and everybody knew the middle of the track was maybe a little better today,” Bravo said. “We were lucky to draw the post position that we did, and I tried to take advantage of it. When we got to the top of the lane I knew I could pick up the horses in front of me. He’s just a cool relaxed horse.” Madefromlucky, a son of Lookin At Lucky, was a $150,000 2-year-old purchase at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales in March 2014 by Mac Nichol. He made his first four starts for New Jersey-based trainer John Mazza, then was transferred to Pletcher after Cheyenne Stables bought into the horse. Madefromlucky now is 4 for 10 with earnings of $875,200.

Madefromlucky now has won graded stakes in two of his last three starts. He won the Grade 2 Peter Pan in his start prior to the Belmont Stakes.

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