Archive for November 2016


miss-skyArlene’s Sun Star Stable’s Miss Sky Warrior continues to find new gears during her steps up in class, turning back at late bid from favorite Jamyson ‘n Ginger to capture the $300,000 Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-old fillies Nov. 26 by half-length at Aqueduct Race Course.

Click here to read article from Blood-Horse.

Miss Sky Warrior was stepping into the 1 1/8 miles Demoiselle having already cleared her first stakes hurdle in the form of a three-quarter length victory in the Nov. 5 Tempted Stakes (gr. III) going one mile at Aqueduct. The early speed the daughter of First Samurai has shown in her burgeoning career was on display again, as she led her eight challengers through opening fractions of :23.65 and :48.82 under Paco Lopez, with Libby’s Tail applying mild pressure just to her outside.

As 9-5 pick Jamyson ‘n Ginger rolled up three wide and put in her bid coming off the final turn, Miss Sky Warrior found more and opened up a handful of lengths in midstretch. She got leg weary late, but had just enough mettle in reserve to hit the wire in 1:53.34 for her third victory in four starts.

“Two turns was key for her, as opposed to the one-turn mile last time, where she had a right to get tired,” said trainer Kelly Breen. “After this, we’re going to give her some (rest and relaxation) and hope to have her back at Gulfstream Park in February.

“She’s a game filly. If I have a thought in the back of my head of trying to get her to the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), I’ll start mapping it out. It would be great to go with a horse that’s legit.”

As an official prep race on the Road to the Longines Kentucky Oaks, the Demoiselle awards 10-4-2-1 qualifying points to the top four finishers.

Bred by Arlene London, Miss Sky Warrior finished fourth behind eventual Frizette Stakes (gr. I) winner Yellow Agate in her debut at Belmont Park Sept. 11, but broke her maiden by an eye-catching seven lengths next time out Oct. 15 at Parx Racing.

“I knew she was a nice filly from when she ran at Belmont Park,” Lopez said. “I made the lead briefly going into the first turn and heading into the second quarter we were going a bit slow, but I thought she was in a perfect position. I just waited.”

Miss Sky Warrior paid $13.20, $6.20, and $4.40 across the board. Bonita Bianca came up for third with Libby’s Tail, Majestic Bonnie, Elandess, Romantic Music, Spirituality, and Ladies Day completing the order of finish.


lubashHaving amassed 17 victories and $1.4 million in earnings during a 50-race career, Lubash was the most experienced and accomplished horse that went to post Nov. 26 for the 100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park West.

Click here to read article from Blood-Horse.

A veteran of seven racing seasons, winning races has become old hat for Aliyu Ben J Stables’ 9-year-old turf star, but the son of Freud actually experienced something new in Saturday’s 1 1/16 turf event. After finishing second, 1 1/4 lengths behind Rose Brier, Lubash was placed first after stewards determined that the first-place finisher interfered with his stretch run.

“I really don’t like to win a race that way. … Nevertheless, I’m thrilled for the horse. He’s a wonderful horse. He’s 9 years old. He overcame me for many years, which is great,” trainer Christophe Clement said. “I don’t like to win a race that way, but we’ll take it.”

Lubash, the 9-2 fourth betting choice, settled in seventh under jockey Joe Bravo as Rose Brier stalked pacesetter Applicator around the first turn and along the backstretch. Rose Brier, the 5-2 favorite ridden by Trevor McCarthy, moved alongside the tiring pacesetter leaving the turn into the homestretch while Lubash was making a five-wide move.

Midway through the stretch, Rose Brier came out into the path of the oncoming Lubash, whom Bravo had to check to avoid clipping heels with the favorite. The Jane Cibelli-trained Rose Brier drew away in deep stretch, while Lubash held on to finish second, a length ahead of Coalport and jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

Lubash, who captured the 2014 Tropical Turf, was subsequently awarded his 18th victory after the stewards reviewed the stretch incident that occurred as the field passed the hedge at the end of the turf-course chute.

“What a pretty classy old horse. You’ve got to love this guy. I don’t know if Trevor’s horse spooked from the inside or what, but he came out a long way and we were impeded,” Bravo said. “I’m glad everything worked out today. Lubash is a classy old warrior. He’s a New York-bred, but he wins anywhere.”

It had been a great day for the Maryland-based McCarthy, who rode two winners, including Rainbow Heir in the $75,000 Gin Rummy Champ.

“He was running for me and he just leaned in a little bit. I saw the chute coming and I said, ‘OK, let me hit him left-handed just so he knows.’ I hit him once and I hit him twice, and he just ducked. It just seemed like something spooked him and caught him off guard and he just ducked out,” McCarthy said. “He was probably much the best today, and it’s a shame that it really cost him.”

Rose Brier completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.47 while finishing first, although Lubash picked up the $60,140 winner’s share of the purse to push his earnings within $12,000 of the $1.5 million mark. It’s hasn’t been determined if he will be given an opportunity to surpass that milestone.

“I’m not sure (what’s next). The idea was to retire him, but it’s hard to retire a horse that just won a grade III,” Clement said. “It will be up to the owner.”


verveAfter taking eight starts to secure her maiden win, Verve’s Tale didn’t waste any time claiming her first stakes victory.

After chasing 3-5 favorite Lewis Bay through the stretch, longshot Verve’s Tale surged late to catch Lewis Bay in the final strides to score by about a neck in the $250,000 Comely Stakes (gr. III) Nov. 26 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Click here to read article from Blood-Horse.

A hombered for Charles Fipke, Verve’s Tale entered Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-old fillies off a 2 3/4-length score in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight race Oct. 16 at Keeneland. While that victory came in the eighth career start for the 3-year-old daughter of Tale of Ekati, Verve’s Tale raced consistently, finishing second or third in her previous seven races.

In fact, in her career debut Verve’s Tale finished third to Lewis Bay.

With Paco Lopez in the irons, Verve’s Tale settled in fourth early Saturday as Mo d’Amour led through a quarter-mile in :23.93 and a half-mile in :48.47 with Lewis Bay staying close. A two-time grade II winner at Aqueduct who finished third in this year’s Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), Lewis Bay took over in the far turn and opened a clear lead into the stretch with only Verve’s Tale sustaining the chase.

“I got carried wide on both turns,” Lopez said. “In the first turn, everybody came over and I waited, waited. Then I started picking up horses outside at the three-eighths pole. I didn’t have much pace to run at. In the stretch, she gave me a lot. She’s a very nice filly and she tried really hard today.”

Carrying eight fewer pounds than Lewis Bay, Verve’s Tale used her late surge to complete the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.89 on a fast track.

“I wasn’t quite sure she was where she should be for these type of horses, but she was doing so well, I couldn’t hold her down, so I put her in there,” said winning trainer Barclay Tagg. “She loves to run. She’s nice and sound. She’s gone through all kinds of stuff, but she’s been doing quite well. I wasn’t afraid to bring her over.”

Verve’s Tale returned $43.60, $10.40, and $4.80 across the board while Lewis Bay paid $2.50 to place and $2.10 to show. Grade I-placed Going for Broke picked up third and returned $2.80 to show. Trainer Chad Brown trains the runner-up and third-place finisher.

Bred in Kentucky out of the Unbridled mare Verve, Verve’s Tale is a full sister to classic-placed Tale of Verve.


sunshine-millionsWith a trio of stakes victories, Paco Lopez shined on Sunshine Millions Preview Day and was named Shuffle Bean Coffee Jockey of the Week for the week of November 7-13, 2016. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.

Click here to read article from Paulick Report.

Lopez had a mount in five of the seven stakes on the Millions Preview Day at Gulfstream Park West on Saturday, November 12th. The seven stakes on the card are prep races for the expected runners on Sunshine Millions Day at Gulfstream on January 21, 2017.

His wins on the card included the $100,000 Juvenile Filly Turf aboard Compelled and the $100,000 Juvenile Filly Sprint aboard R Angel Katelyn. In the $100,000 Millions Classic Preview, Lopez rode heavy favorite Mr. Jordan to a 3 ¾ length victory and set a new track record.

Lopez’s stakes wins vaulted him to the top of the weekly standings for stakes earnings and he was the fourth leading rider by overall earnings for the week. The winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in 2008, Lopez has earned $8.6 million in his 984 starts of 2016 and is ranked 15th by annual earnings among all North American jockeys.


mr-jordanMIAMI, Fla. – Mr. Jordan asserted his superiority over seven overmatched rivals and set a course record as he rallied to a 3 3/4-length victory over Piloting in the $100,000 Sunshine Millions Classic, the main event on Saturday’s Sunshine Millions Preview card at Gulfstream Park West.

Click here to read article from DRF.

With jockey Paco Lopez riding confidently from the outset, Mr. Jordan stalked the early leaders for the opening six furlongs of the 1 1/16-mile Classic Preview before moving three wide and taking control into the stretch. He then gradually widened his advantage to the wire, his final time of 1:42.52 eclipsing the track record of 1:42.55 established by Castlebrook 15 years earlier.

Piloting set the pace and was easily second best, finishing 2 1/4 lengths in front of Saraguaro. Hy Riverside, J S Bach, Aces for John, Joshua’s Comprise, and Norman’s Hero completed the order of finish.

Mr. Jordan, a 4-year-old son of Kantharos trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., is now perfect in three starts at Gulfstream Park West, having also won two stakes here at 2. Mr. Jordan returned $3.00 while giving Lopez his third stakes win on the program.

“He’s matured as he’s gotten older and learned to rate behind horses,” Plesa said. “He was gelded earlier this summer, and I think it made a difference. Foot issues forced me to run him in races where he wasn’t a dead-fit horse earlier this year, but we finally got it resolved, and I felt he was as good as he could be, from a fitness and soundness level, for his last three starts.”

Plesa was also proud of the fact Mr. Jordan set a course record.

“It means a lot to me, as you can imagine, having been at Calder and supported Calder for all those years,” he said.

As expected, Plesa indicated that the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Classic would be the next major objective for Mr. Jordan, at Gulfstream Park, on Jan. 21.

“Paco Lopez wins three stakes on Million Prevue Day”

three-stakesJockey Paco Lopez swept Gulfstream Park West’s Sunshine Millions Preview Day stakes for 2-year-old fillies on Saturday, when he guided Compelled to a 6 1/2-length win in the $100,000 Juvenile Filly Turf and R Angel Katelyn to a mild upset in the $100,000 Juvenile Filly Sprint.

Click here to read article from DRF.

The races were among seven stakes on a card expected to produce starters for the Sunshine Millions program Jan. 21 at Gulfstream.

Compelled ($4.80) settled in third early in the Juvenile Filly Turf for Florida-breds, as Southern Sis and Magalie dueled through fractions of 24.30 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 48.02 for the half-mile. Compelled advanced on the final turn, kicked into high gear in the stretch, and quickly dew clear of the field while covering a mile on firm ground in 1:38.47.

Earlier on the card, the $100,000 Juvenile Turf featuring colts and geldings went in 1:39.59.

Tom Proctor trains Compelled for her breeder, Glen Hill Farm. She is a daughter of War Front. In her previous start, Compelled won a maiden special weight race going 1 1/16 miles on turf Oct. 14 at Laurel Park.

Sarah Sis finished second in the Juvenile Filly Turf, a neck in front of third-place finisher Majestic Gale.

R Angel Katelyn ($18.20) ran down favorite Wildcat Kate nearing the wire for a half-length win in the Juvenile Filly Sprint. It was another 3 3/4 lengths back in third to Rashette.

R Angel Katelyn tracked the pace in second as Wildcat Kate took the field through fractions of 21.81 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.67 for the half-mile. The pacesetter seemed home free in the stretch, but R Angel Katelyn came rolling late, covering the 6 1/2 furlongs for Florida-breds in 1:17.30.

Gerald Bennett trains R Angel Kately, a daughter of High Cotton, for the partnership of Averill Acing and CCF Racing.


miss-sky-warrior OZONE PARK, N.Y. – As the career of his star sprinter Stonetastic is winding down, trainer Kelly Breen has another talented filly starting out. On Saturday at Aqueduct, Miss Sky Warrior won her second straight race in the Grade 3 Tempted, a mile race for 2-year-old fillies.

Click here to read article from DRF.

Although Miss Sky Warrior has a long ways to go to reach the level of Stonetastic, a multiple Grade 2 winner of $846,000, she is off to a good beginning. Miss Sky Warrior finished fourth to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies starter Yellow Agate in her debut, and then came back to win a maiden race at Parx Racing by seven lengths.

Miss Sky Warrior and jockey Paco Lopez pressed the early pace of Sky Gesture in the $200,000 Tempted. She took control of the race nearing the stretch, and then held off the late run of Berned to win by three-quarters of a length.

“Paco said he held her as long as he could and then let her go,” Breen said. “I was a little surprised because she’s so kind in the morning but I guess after two races she’s starting to get the knack of being a racehorse and wanting to go, go, go. In the stretch, she got in the front and got a little green but Paco said her stride never shortened.”

Miss Sky Warrior races for the Arlene’s Sun Star Stable of Arlene London, who bred the daughter of First Samurai. Breen said he would discuss future plans with London and Miss Sky Warrior would likely either stay in New York for the winner or go to Florida.

Miss Sky Warrior pressed fractions of 23.73 seconds, 47.55, and 1:12.69 before drawing away to complete the mile in 1:38.62. She paid $6.20 as the favorite in the seven-horse field.

Berned, trained by Tom Albertrani, raced in last position early, checked behind a rival nearing the stretch, and then finished well to overtake Eloquent Riddle for second by 1 1/4 lengths. Eloquent Riddle was forwardly placed throughout. Sky Gesture tired to finish sixth.

Last Sunday, Breen won the $100,000 Pumpkin Pie with Stonetastic, who at age 5 is completing her fourth season of competition. Breen said Stonetastic will likely be sent to Florida and make her final career start at Gulfstream Park in the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl on Dec. 17, a race she won last year.

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