Monday, October 4, 2010

R Canadian Academy is R Thirty-Third Winner

Talk about a step down in class.

But, like most people in the horse racing realm -- be they owners, trainers or bettors -- we'll take a winner, wherever we can get her.

After spending Sunday night reveling in the upset win by my 2010 juvenile sales-tip Rigoletta in the Oak Leaf Stakes at Hollywood Park (becoming my list's first graded winner and first Grade 1 winner in the process), my focus shifted to the upper Midwest, and a bit down the ladder in the racing world. On Monday afternoon at Thistledown in Cleveland, R Canadian Academy became the sales-tip Class of 2010's 33rd member to break her maiden.

The filly scored in her fourth lifetime start, which have been divided between "Thistle" and Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania. R Canadian Academy broke alertly, a sign of some experience perhaps, and pressed the pace along the rail before running into trouble at the five-sixteenths pole. There, she had to be checked and then angled out three wide to find running room. Still, the filly made the lead by the eighth pole and was two lengths clear on the wire.

R Canadian Academy won the $25,000 maiden-claimer in a time of 1:07.38 for five furlongs over a dirt track rated as "good." She was trained for the win by Jeffrey Radosevich and ridden by Scott Spieth.

The filly was bred in Florida by Donald R. Dizney, and was purchased as Hip 1109 by Bruno Schickedanz at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April auction of 2-year-olds in training for the bargain-basement price of $5,000. At the time, I was excited for the filly, as Schickedanz in the past has won owners' titles both at Woodbine in his native Canada, and while wintering with his horses in Florida. I hoped R Canadian Academy might get a chance to run on the lawn -- which she's undoubtedly bred to handle (more on that in a bit) -- or on synthetic at Woodbine. She breezed a promising 10.2 on synthetic at the under-tack show, and I felt she'd improve on turf, which she's yet to get.

That lack of a start on grass might in part be influenced by Schickedanz's fall from grace among the racing community in Canada earlier this year. The owner made an ill-advised decision to send his long-retired stallion Wake at Noon back to the track at the age of 13, when the former Canadian Horse of the Year's stud career was obviously sputtering, and the champion died on the track at Woodbine when he broke a leg in a workout mishap. Schickedanz and trainer Tom Marino were both ordered off the grounds at Woodbine, and are yet to be allowed a return.

So, whether or not this was the original intent, R Canadian Academy filtered her way into Radosevich's barn at Thistledown, where there is no turf course.

That's a crying shame, because R Canadian Academy is a daughter of Royal Academy, who won the Breeders' Cup Mile-G1 on grass. Her dam, Good Intentions (Anet-Orena, by Runaway Groom), was a juvenile stakes winner around two turns on turf at Calder in Florida. (A stakes winner in the strangest way, as well, dead-heating for second with Survicat and then both were elevated to first when Mia's Reflection, who crossed the wire first, was taken down to third.)

Additional immediate family includes second dam Orena's full sister RUNAWAY CHOICE, a turf-sprint stakes winner who won six times from ages 2 to 6 for $254,950; Orena's half-sister, GUESS, a Suffolk dirt-stakes winner of $130K; and stakes-winning third dam Diamond Sunjet's half-brother, millionaire WEKIVA SPRINGS.

That's a lot of female family and a pretty decent breeze for a filly who only brought $5,000.

Here's hoping Schickedanz ships her south for the winter, where she can run among fellow Florida-breds -- hopefully at least a few times on grass, and for better purses -- at Tampa or even Gulfstream.

Ninety-one of my 187 sales picks have made starts thus far at age 2; that's 48.7 percent. With the 33rd maiden-breaker, 17.7 percent of all selections and 36.3 percent of those to race, are now winners. The Class of 2010 has won 42 of 230 starts for a strike rate of 18.3 percent, placed a like number of times (that is, 42) for an in-the-exacta mark of 36.5 percent, and added 22 third-place finishes for a total of 46.1 percent on-the-board.

Total earnings for the 91 runners have now reached $1,427,242. That's $6,205 per start and $15,684 average earnings per runner.

Track the class in its entirety via the list at the bottom of this former post.

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