Friday, September 30, 2011

Tricky Break new winner in head-knocker at Calder

When a bay son of Sunday Break crossed the wire first by a neck in Race 3 at Calder Thursday, there was nothing "tricky" about it. The effort was sheer willpower.

That horse, Tricky Break, has apparently overcome a lot to reach the winner's circle for the first time in his life. The latest test was the final sixteenth of that $16,000 maiden-claiming event on Thursday afternoon, when favored Country Home came charging down the lane and erased a length-and-a-half deficit, but Tricky Break refused to lose.

I tipped Tricky Break out of last year's OBS April sale, when he was bought by Robert Smith -- who trains him today -- for a mere $6,500. Through a seemingly well-informed grapevine I learned that the horse had a physical issue that needed addressing and would keep him from being resold in this case and returned to New York, the state of his foaling.

Tricky Break went to the track in Florida instead and his 2-year-old and early 3-year-old results were poor -- seven starts at Calder and Tampa, no finish better than fifth.

Laid-off from February to July this year, I began to doubt that Tricky Break would return to the races at all, let alone crack the ranks of the winners. But he made a comeback on grass at Colonial Downs, where under the care of conditioner Patrick Schmid and running in cheap claiming company, he hit the board in his third start off the layoff (and first in 10 lifetime starts), finishing third.

Sent back to Calder and the barn of Smith, Tricky Break finished a clear-cut second on Sept. 1, then second again by only a half (with a nose advantage over third in a three-horse photo) in a determined performance at the $12,500 level on Sept. 15.

Maybe there was hope after all.

Smith certainly thought so, and stepped the gelding up in class again Thursday, all the way to the $16,000 level, (relative) heights Tricky Break hadn't seen since his debut at "Maiden 20" on Oct. 17, 2010.

The horse didn't let him (or me) down.

Tricky Break and rider David Boraco pressed leader Sir Philip in the early going, took over the lead after a half-mile, then slogged home in the rain over a sealed track, refusing to relinquish the advantage although Country Home (himself now second three times in a row) had reduced the margin to all but nothing. Tricky Break stopped the timer in 1:42.65 for a mile, won by a neck, and made me almost as proud as some of the stakes winners on my sales-tip list.

Just as some horses might have done on Thursday when the favorite came charging at them in the stretch, this horse could have quit a long time ago, but he didn't.

For the record, Tricky Break was (as aforementioned) bred in the state of New York, by Thomas-Narlinger LLC and Dennis Repp. His ownership at present is listed as "Smith, Drake and George, Richard Kingston." He has earned $13,714 from a win, two places and a show in 13 lifetime starts.

I selected Tricky Break from that Ocala sale because I was pretty sure he would be inexpensive (I was right about that beyond doubt) and equally certain he'd make a racehorse someday, for somebody. After all, his dam, TRICKY MOVE (Tricky Creek-Sensitive Annie, by Sensitive Prince), won a pair of stakes races and earned $112,956. And, she's produced several winners, including the curious stakes pair MULTIPLICATION (who died of a heart attack while breezing shortly after winning the Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont in his fourth lifetime start) and SNEAKIN UP (who broke maiden in a stakes race at 2 and hasn't won since, with 24 lifetime tries).

I'd still like to see Tricky Break move back home to New York, because his earnings potential should be higher among state-breds in that lucrative jurisdiction. But he's already added a win (and a big grin) to my sales-pick list by breaking through, even if it was among fairly modest company at Calder.

With the victory, Tricky Break becomes the 112th winner among my 187 juvenile sales selections of 2010; that's precariously close to six-in-ten at 59.9 percent.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bessie M gets elusive stakes trophy

Two starts after settling for second by a desperate head in stakes company at Calder Race Course, BESSIE M assured her name will appear in all-caps on catalog pages for decades to come by taking the Dolly Jo Stakes at Calder on Sunday by a comfortable 2 1/4 lengths.

The 3-year-old filly by Medallist-Catalita, by Mountain Cat, has proved to be a fantastic claim by Platinum Equestrian Corp. and trainer Antonio Sano. After taking her for $25,000 from a NW2L claiming event at Gulfstream in January, Bessie M's new connections have never seen her finish off the board. After a third and a second-place finish, she posted back-to-back wins for them at Calder in April and May, then hit the board in the Regal Gal Stakes (third) and Leave Me Alone Stakes (second a head) before winning in optional-claiming company her last out at Calder, on Aug. 20.

On Sunday, Bessie M and Daniel Centeno rated in fifth, 6 1/2 lengths off a blistering 21.13 opening quarter set by Orlando Bocachica and Afleet Lass, then blew by the rest of the field and wore down the game leader in the stretch to draw clear by the wire. Max Speed and Juan Leyva finished third by 6 1/4 lengths. Final time for six furlongs was 1:10.81.

Bessie M was bred in Maryland by Mr. & Mrs. Charles McGinnes, and I had hoped her connections might prep her for the $100,000 Maryland Million Distaff at seven furlongs this coming weekend at Laurel. No complaints, however, about her scoring a stakes win, wherever it might be.

I shortlisted Bessie M as a Priority 2 prospect for a bargain-seeking client at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. She sold to William H. Harris for $35,000 as Hip 59 and presented him with a win photo from a dead-heat victory at Delaware Park as a 2-year-old. Harris would lose her on that January day at Gulfstream for $25,000, and Platinum Equestrian has been well-rewarded for its claim ever since.

I actually questioned the price Harris paid at the sale, but then again, we were there looking to buy a horse for even less than $35,000 -- which was already at least 25 percent below the sale average. But I stated here that: "This girl oughta be a decent racehorse for someone (though) she only rated Priority 2 status for me primarily because of the very slow start by her sophomore sire, who has just 10 winners so far from his freshman crop of 59 foals. ... (It) was hard to deny the fleetness of her 22 2/5 quarter over a slow track."

With the stakes score, Bessie M becomes the first stakes-winner from that bargain-basement list of 48 horses, whose average bid (sold or RNA) at the sale was under $24,000 and less than half the sale average. She is among four horses stakes-placed or better from that group of 48.

Bibblesman, who sold for $22,000 as Hip 337, has two wins and placed second in the Peppy Addy Stakes at Parx for $90,860. Spring Jump, a $19,000 purchase as Hip 234, is 3-for-11 with a second-place finish in the White Clay Creek Stakes at Delaware Park as a 2-year-old, for $80,700.

The real tragedy from the group is Rough Sailing, a $40,000 buy as Hip 250, who broke maiden on Arlington's grass at first asking and was second in the Arlington-Washington Futurity-G3 for $37,534, but slipped entering the first turn of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and was euthanized after breaking his shoulder in the fall.

Of the 48 bargain prospects, there are 43 starters (89.6 percent), 25 winners (52.1 percent) and 13 multiple-winners (27.1 percent).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gelding with fine family wins in style at Seoul

When Hidden Lake Farm LLC and Gary F. Mottola bred Shannon Memories in New York, they probably had visions of the blue-blood colt drawing off to win in the stretch at Belmont Park or Saratoga.

Seoul, Korea, probably never crossed their minds.

But on Sunday at Seoul, the now-gelded chestnut son of Yes It's True-Charleston, by High Yield, trained by Hong Dae You and ridden by Park Tae Jong, hammered a Class IV field by eight lengths to clear the maiden hurdle in his fourth lifetime start. He's earned about $22,234 since being shipped to Korea in October at age 2 after failing to sell on a $32,000 top bid at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training at Timonium, Md.

I shortlisted the prospect at that May Maryland sale on a 48-horse list prepared for a bargain-seeking client. I listed Hip 66, the Yes It's True-Charleston colt, as a Priority 2 prospect based on his dam's status as a half-sister to G3 millionaire WEST VIRGINIA, and despite a topline that dipped rather more than I'd like and a 23-flat breeze that wasn't awe-inspiring.

Despite some flaws, the horse was athletic, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the winner's circle again at Seoul, particularly after an eight-length score.

With the win, Shannon Memories becomes the 111th prospect to break maiden from the 187 I recommended on this blog from selected 2-year-old sales of 2010. That's 59.4 percent.

Monday, September 26, 2011

'Silver' filly 'Speeds' to first win through Laurel muck

Silver Speed overcame a sloppy track and a slow early pace that might have discouraged many closers to log her first lifetime win in the maiden-claiming ranks on Saturday at Laurel Park.

Next Level and rider Gerry Bacchas had it all their way in the early going, building a five-length margin through an opening quarter run in 24.33 and extending the advantage to seven lengths over Silver Speed and Sarah Rook in a half-mile covered in 48.17.

Though Silver Speed took the four-path on the turn for home and never switched from her left lead in the stretch, she not only overtook a tiring Next Level but maintained enough momentum to hold off 5/2 shot All About Her and Richard Monterrey by a half-length at the wire. Race-favorite Nightswimming, also sent off at about 5/2, finished fourth under Malcom Franklin. Final time for the muddy mile was 1:41.22.

Silver Speed, a gray or roan filly by Suave out of the Miesque's Son mare Boggs Eyes was bred in New York (where she's never run) by Hidden Point Farm Inc. She is owned by Glen Mar LLC and trained by Jessica Campitelli. With her win for a $16,000 tag on Saturday, the filly has a victory and a second-place finish from five lifetime starts for $13,674.

I recommended Silver Speed prior to her selling for $60,000 as Hip 812 at the 2010 OBS April sale of 2-year-olds in training. I thought the New York-bred "made 33 3/5 for three furlongs look easy, convincing me to ignore the freshman sire." Her dam was a minor Arlington stakes winner who produced a stakes-placer in Behavioral Finance, and the second dam won 10 times, four in stakes company, and produced 15-win stakes-mare TORCH, in turn dam of 20-race winner MORINE'S VICTORY.

Silver Speed became the 110th runner to break maiden off my 187-horse list of 2010 juvenile prospects; that was (temporarily) 58.8 percent of all to race.

A year later, Benecia wins again, for the first time

A filly who in her second lifetime start became the 30th of my 187 juvenile sales selections to break her maiden -- but lost the win to a post-race drug screen -- has done so again nearly a year later, at the scene of her prior victory.

Benecia is now officially (barring another drug screen, I suppose), the 109th winner of that 187-member Sales-Tip Class of 2010. She scored last Thursday (Sept. 22, 2011) at Fairplex for the same connections that put her in the winner's circle there on Sept. 26, 2010, trainer Michael Pender, jockey Martin Pedroza and owners Robin Christensen, Michael Hudok, Jim Murray and MVP Racing Stable.

Sent off as the second-favorite Thursday at about 7/5 odds, Benecia "inhaled" race-favorite and leader Miss Mystic in the stretch to win by a widening 3 1/2 lengths. Energia Solaria at 47/1 sneaked into the exacta as the even-money favorite faded. Final time for 6 1/2 furlongs on the bullring was 1:20.34.

Benecia (More Than Ready-Empty Portrait, by Coronado's Quest) was bred in Kentucky by Fares Farms LLC. She has now posted a win and a third-place finish (in starter-allowance company before being stripped of her prior victory) from eight starts, for $15,070.

I tabbed the dark bay filly as one of my top, mostly bargain-minded prospects from Ocala's April sale of 2-year-olds in training, where she sold for $30,000 as Hip 998. "This filly breezed 10.2 and looked pretty fair doing it," I wrote then. Her dam "wasn't much of a runner," but her second dam was the G3-winning ILLERIA who produced seven stakes horses, including, well, INCLUDE, MAGIC BROAD, ENCAUSTIC, MAGICAL BROAD, Implicit, Loaded Brush and Invent.

With the 109th winner, the 187-member sales class boasted 58.3 percent winners. But that number soon would change -- this time for the better.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lady's early speed 'Rewarded' with third victory

Reward the Lady grabbed the race by the throat and refused to let go Tuesday night at Presque Isle Downs, leading gate to wire on her way to a third lifetime victory.

Sent off as the second favorite at about 7/2 odds, the 3-year-old filly bolted to an early lead under Scott Spieth and got away with sensible fractions of 23.34 and 46.63, chased a length-and-a-half back by 4/5 favorite Draw a Blank, piloted by Robert Allen Jr. As the field straightened for home, Reward the Lady had plenty in reserve to win by a driving 2 1/4 lengths over late-closing 9/1 shot Lady in the Park, with Doublenodouble taking third by a neck over the short-price favorite.

Final time for 6 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta was 1:18.33.

Reward the Lady (Grand Reward-You're a Lady, by Youmadeyourpoint) was bred in Pennsylvania by E&D Enterprises and Grand Reward Syndicate. She is owned by Touchdown Stable and trained by J. Michael Rogers.

I shortlisted the dark bay or brown filly on a 48-horse chart of prospects for a bargain-minded client at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-year-olds in training at Timonium, Md. Her dam won a dozen races for about $180,000, including the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper and had produced several winners. Though she wasn't the strongest horse on my list conformationally (hence her "Priority 4" status), Reward the Lady had no major flaws, she breezed a credible 10.4 over a slow Timonium track, and she is from the female family of G3 winner WHERE'S TAYLOR and G1 record-setter PASS THE LINE.

She sold for just $6,000 as the first horse through the ring, Hip 1. With her win Tuesday night, Reward the Lady has three wins, two places and a show from 10 starts for $56,050.

Click here and scroll down to see the records of all 187 sales selections I made in 2010.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Florida filly earns black type at Belmont

When I used this blog to tip a trio horses from the same (very) immediate family from last year's Ocala April sale of 2-year-olds in training, I expected all three to be successful racehorses. That all are now stakes horses is icing on the cake.

On Sunday at Belmont Park, Decennial was second-favored at 3-1 had a chance to win the Queen Tutta Stakes on the turf, but was out-kicked in the stretch and settled for third place. It was the Florida-bred filly's sixth on-the-board finish in seven starts on New York lawns, and her first among stakes company. She finished off the board in a stakes race at Saratoga her last out.

Decennial and Ramon Dominguez were well-positioned to win on Sunday, but 5-1 In Step with Jose Lezcano was the best finisher, with 10.5-1 Button Girl and Cornelio Velasquez 3 1/4 behind her and only a neck ahead of Decennial in third. Favored Cascadilla Falls (2-1) could only manage sixth place. Final time for seven furlongs on turf was 1:21.34.

Decennial is owned by Blue Devil Racing Stable and trained by Carlos F. Martin. She was bred in Florida by Ocala Stud. With four wins and two shows from eight starts, all at age 3, (her only dirt effort was unplaced), Decennial has earned $87,500.

I tipped the chestnut filly by Trippi-Romantic Dinner, by Who's For Dinner, as Hip 349 at OBS April, where she sold for just $26,000 despite a 22-flat quarter and her status as a half-sister to stakes winners SEA OF GREEN and LADY GIN.

From that same sale I also selected RIGOLETTA (who sold for $35,000 went on to win the Oak Leaf S.-G1 at 2 and earn $184,070) and GOURMET DINNER (a $40,000 sale who has three stakes wins including the Delta Downs Jackpot-G3 and has banked $989,660).

The dams of those two -- Almost Aprom Queen, by Montbrook, in the first case and Potluck Dinner, by Pentelicus, in the latter -- are half-sisters to Decennial. The Sunday stakes-placer and her "nephew," Gourmet Dinner, are bred on the same cross, both being sired by Trippi.

The family trio were purchased for a combined $105,000 and now have 10 wins (four in stakes, including a G1 and a G3), more than $1.25 million in earnings, and two solid broodmare prospects among them.

Decennial becomes the 21st horse stakes-placed or better (20 in black-type races) from my 187-member class of 2010 sales prospect; that's 11.2 percent.

I hope the connections of Decennial keep in mind that she's a Florida-bred and might find some opportunities for her back home in the Sunshine State over the winter.

First turf, first win: Ravello Storm follows family lead

After two unplaced efforts on dirt at Delaware Park, the connections of Ravello Storm sent him to Belmont Park and a date with $20,000 maiden-claimers on the grass.

Sent off at 11-1, the horse won in good style, and perhaps should have been expected to. After all, the son of Stormy Atlantic-Wave On, by Caveat, had five prior turf winners among his elder siblings, including Colonial Turf Cup-G3 and Poker S.-G3 victor SAILOR'S CAP and La Habra Stakes-placed Royal Wave. (Sailor's Cap was one of my favored horses of the past few years, and tragically died of Colitis-X as a 4-year-old.)

On Saturday at Belmont, Ravello Storm was treated by bettors like an outsider in a field that appeared to be wide-open. But unlike his dirt efforts, when Ravello Storm was never really in contention, on this day he bolted to the lead straight from the gate beneath Cornelio Velasquez. Tracked by 5/2 favorite Knockout through tepid opening fractions of 26.25 and 48.41.

Ravello Storm briefly surrendered the lead to 29-1 long-shot Pernice after a quickened six furlongs run in 1:09.90, disposed of that rival by the top of the stretch, then found another gear to discourage all others. He won in 1:44.78 for a mile and a sixteenth, 2 3/4 lengths clear of of Allen's Star.

Ravello Storm is owned by Lee Lewis and trained by Mark Hennig. He was bred in Kentucky by Lanni Bloodstock LLC, John Zolezzi, Westport Management and J. Smithwick. With a win from three starts, he has earned $13,330.

I shortlisted Ravello Storm as a Priority 1 horse when seeking bargain-minded prospects for a client at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-year-olds in training at Timonium, Md. The horse breezed 11-flat at a sale where that was at least average, and my biggest complaint about him upon visual inspection at the barn was that he just didn't seem very alert. Run through the ring as Hip 388, the dark bay colt didn't meet his reserve price, but sold privately before leaving the grounds for a reported $35,000.

Ravello Storm becomes the 108th prospect to break maiden from my 187-horse list of 2-year-old prospects in 2010. That's 57.8 percent. Those Maryland prospects from which Ravello Storm emerged as a group cost (or were RNAs) for about half the price of the sales average, but 42 have now started (87.5 percent) and he is the 26th to win (54.2 percent of all EASMAY selections, 61.9 percent of those to race).

Cat finally 'Claws' her way to victory

When Cat Has Claws missed second by a neck in her debut at age 2, about four lengths back from victory among special weights at Arlington, I figured it was only a matter of time before she broke her maiden. And I suppose I was right.

The Illinois-bred filly who I tipped on this blog as a 2-year-old prospect at the sales didn't start again until she was 3. A fourth-place finish among special weights in June sent her into maiden-claiming company. In her second start for a tag, Cat Has Claws finished third again, this time beaten a neck and a nose by Hawk's Girl and Lindseytothemax. She also finished fourth in her most recent start, behind another sales selection of mine, Sea Why.

On Saturday, the filly who likes to get her photo snapped for the placing judges, finally had her picture taken in the winner's circle. Again, after a photo-finish was sorted out for the order of finish.

Sent off (to my great surprise) as the 4/5 favorite, Cat Has Claws was the only filly able to close into the glacial pace set by 34-1 long-shot Bob's Hilda, who got away to a six-length lead despite meandering around the Arlington Park Polytrack in 23.45 and 47.58. Cat Has Claws got up by a nose after a long and determined drive under Jesus Castanon. Lindseytothemax was another three-quarters back in third.

Cat Has Claws is owned by Joseph W. and Betty Woit, and trained by Roger Brueggemann. The bay filly by Harlan's Holiday-Summertime Blues, by Chimes Band, was bred in Illinois by Carson Springs Farm and Scott Goldsher. With a win and two shows from six starts, she has now earned $14,523.

I selected Cat Has Claws as Hip 517 from the 2010 Ocala April sale of 2-year-olds in training. The filly breezed 10.1 and two of her three elder siblings were solid performers: Chillin Villian (Good and Tough) has now won seven of 57 and was stakes-placed among IL-breds at 2 for $172,231; Jitterburg Blues has five wins and 10 seconds from 24 lifetime starts and hit the board in IL-bred stakes company last year at age 5, for $212,741. Though only a modest winner of two races from nine starts, Summertime Blues was a half-sister to nine-time stakes-winner TIC N TIN ($771,570) and two-time Illinois-bred champion PRETTY JENNY ($534,262).

Cat Has Claws failed to sell at OBSAPR when the top bid of $37,000 failed to meet the reserve price set by consignor Wavertree Stables.

With her win Saturday, Cat Has Claws became the 107th prospect to break maiden worldwide from my 187-horse list of sales tips. That's 57.2 percent of all selections, a figure that shortly after would rise.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Not much of a surprise, but he finally strikes

A year and six days after nearly posting a shocking upset in his debut effort at 2, Surprise Strike returned for the third time to Presque Isle Downs and finally broke through for his first lifetime win, this time as the favorite.

Surprise Strike becomes the 106th winner from 187 juveniles I selected on this blog from various auctions in 2010.

On Sept. 10, 2010, the bay gelding by Stormy Atlantic-Unbridled Femme, by Unbridled, was sent off at 20/1 in maiden special weight company at Presque. Running sixth early, rider Scott Spieth sneaked the horse through on the rail and he rallied to within a half-length of defeating 3/1 second-choice Goodtimehadbyall (who has now earned nearly $158,000).

It was a promising, second-place debut. So promising that Surprise Strike's connections, owner Orlando Dirienzo and trainer Jeremiah Englehart, aimed higher. The horse was sent to Woodbine for his next two starts, where he finished second in a Polytrack route to Bluegrass Dreamer, then fifth in his last effort at 2.

Shelved for the winter, Surprise Strike returned to Presque Isle for his 3-year-old debut on June 29, and was reunited with Spieth. He finished second that day to Phipps Stable's Surreptitiously. Then, it was off to Saratoga, for a pair of unplaced efforts in tough maiden special company on grass.

Back at the scene of his nearest successes, but without his partnership with Spieth renewed (rather, with Paul Nicol Jr. in the irons), Surprise Strike overcame an awkward break to dispose of a maiden special weight field at Presque Isle on Friday evening. He came home a confident two lengths in front at about even money. Spieth came home second aboard Alfarooq.

Surprise Strike was bred in Kentucky by Duzee Stable. He now has a win and three seconds from seven lifetime starts in Dirienzo's colors, for $57,949.

I shortlisted Surprise Strike as a Priority 2 horse on a 48-horse shortlist of prospects for a bargain-minded client at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale. While bidding for the horse went higher than we came to spend (a $34,000 RNA), that bid was still more than $10,000 below the sales average.

The horse breezed 23 flat over a slow Timonium track at the Maryland sale, and according to consignor True South LLC he did it after being medicated for throat swelling due to a possible snakebite. His dam was a stakes-winner; his second dam a G3-placer who was by Deputy Minister. And considering my first impression of the front end of the horse as they led him from his stall into the daylight was "Holy ..." I was a bit surprised he didn't bring more than that $34,000 bid in the ring as Hip 380, which wasn't enough to buy him.

Ultimately, I decided Surprise Strike's hindquarters weren't as impressive as his shoulder, neck and chest, but not so much that I wouldn't have wanted him. His pastern angle was good, albeit perhaps just a tad longer than I'd prefer. He looks splendid at speed, though, especially when finishing in front.

With 106 winners, 56.7 percent of my 187 selections now have broken maiden. He is the 25th winner from that 48-horse EASMAY shortlist (52.1 percent), which isn't too bad considering the horses I selected were sold or were RNAs for an average bid that was less than half the sale average. That group happens to include four stakes-placers, bought for an average of $29,000.

I need to update the full records and earnings at home, but I believe the 187-member class has now equaled in earnings -- or nearly so -- the roughly $6.44 million bid on them at the sales. Earnings from the EASMAY class exceeded the approximately $1.13 million bid on them some weeks ago.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pair clear NW3L condition, continents apart

Scoring with relative ease, two 3-year-olds from my juvenile sales selections of 2010 garnered their third lifetime victories in races thousands of miles apart.

Lime Rock Revenge scored on Wednesday at Fairplex Park in California. On Friday, Sand Hi stormed home in front at Busan in Korea.

Dropped to the $8,000 level, Lime Rock Revenge won for fun at Fairplex. Lime Rock Revenge and all-time Fairplex leading jockey Martin Pedroza stalked Kayla Stra aboard San Darino through fractions of 22.63 and 47.08 before finishing off the early leader in the stretch to win by 4 1/4 lengths as the 9/5 favorite. San Darino hung on for second. Final time for 6 1/2 furlongs on the fair meet bullring was 1:17.97.

Bred in Kentucky by A. Clare Silva, Lime Rock Revenge is now owned by S.A.Y. Racing LLC and trained by Doug O'Neill. He won for the third time in eight starts, running his bankroll to $47,564.

I recommended the son of Limehouse-Genie's Flight, by Silver Hawk, out of the 2010 Ocala April sale, where he failed to meet reserve on a bid of $16,000 as Hip 1080.

After missing the break and going largely unasked in his debut at 2 over the synthetic strip last summer at Hollywood Park, O'Neill wheeled Lime Rock Revenge back in four days to break the horse's maiden for a $40,000 tag. Laid-up for the winter, Lime Rock Revenge returned for a $50,000 tag at Santa Anita on Tax Day this year, April 15, and scored impressively, setting withering fractions of 21.23 and 43.70 on his way to finishing on top in 1:15.86 for 6 1/2 furlongs. After a series of fifth- and sixth-place finishes among higher claiming levels on dirt, turf and synth, he was dropped in for the win Wednesday.

On Friday at Busan, Sand Hi won for the third time in 10 Korean starts, running his bank account to a U.S. equivalent of $91,014 for owner Kim Pyung Kap. He scored by a fairly comfortable two lengths in Class III competition, covering 1,400 meters in 1:29.

The bay gelding by Stormy Atlantic-Hay Lauren, by Hay Halo, was on my shortlist of 48 bargain-minded prospects for a client at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale in May. He went for $20,000 as Hip 171 to the Korean Racing Authority (KOID), which resells U.S. 2-year-olds at auction to connections in that country.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Consider her included

I've been remiss in reporting a maiden-breaking win for a member of my 2010 juvenile sales selections, which is particularly surprising considering her name is one that begs for your attention.

Include Me Sir, unplaced in eight prior starts, managed to collect a victory at Delaware Park on Wednesday when what was to be an 11-horse field scratched down to three when the race washed off the turf. She was sent off as the third-favored in the trio, as well, paying $5.80 to win in a race with (obviously) no place or show wagering.

Ricardo Santana Jr. and Include Me Sir pressed the pace set by race-favorite Assignation, nosed in front after three-quarters run in 1:14 and change, then finished the sloppy mile-seventy in 1:45.93. Sweet Somthings was third all the way around.

Include Me Sir was bred in Kentucky by Robert W. Sanford. She is the property of Fairview Enterprises LLC and was trained for the win by Randy Nunley. With a win from nine starts, she has earned $13,635.

I selected Include Me Sir (Include-Sir Harriett, by Sir Harry Lewis) as Hip 444 at Ocala April, where she failed to sell at a $37,000 bid. While that price now appears to have been not enough, yet too much, Include Me Sir has some talent down there somewhere. She breezed 34-flat and had seven winning older siblings from eight foals, including two stakes victors, OVERPASS (Slavic) and SIR FIVE STAR (Five Star Day). I really like her sire, Include, and loved his daddy, Broad Brush.

With the victory, the 187-member sales-tip class now numbers 105 winners, for 56.2 percent.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sales pair clear NW2L conditions in claimers

Saturday racing in the States saw a pair of inexpensive 2010 2-year-olds collect their second lifetime wins as 3-year-olds while racing in claiming company at Ellis Park in Kentucky and at Timonium in Maryland.

Lion's Reign was booted home by Roberto Morales in Race 1 at Ellis Saturday, splitting foes in the late-going and scoring by a length over the aptly named Turf Warrior in a first-turf effort for the winner. Final time was a respectable 1:03.93 for $7,500 claimers, and the winner paid $10.80 to his backers, me among them.

I tabbed Lion's Reign among my "steals" of the 2010 Keeneland April sale after the son of Lion Heart-Turtle Creek, by Sky Classic, sold for just $17,000 as Hip 128. The chestnut gelding, bred in Kentucky by Denny Andrews, is now owned by Alan Tennenbaum and trained by Brian Michael.

Lion's Reign has two wins, three seconds and one third from 13 starts for $35,707. He broke maiden Feb. 27 on Polytrack among special weights at Turfway, twice has placed in claiming company on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs, is allowance-placed on dirt at Mountaineer, and has now won on turf at Ellis. ... A versatile, pretty useful racehorse for $17,000.

Later on Saturday, No Biggie collected his second lifetime win, scoring at the Maryland State Fair meeting at Timonium while likewise running in $7,500 claiming company. Sent off as the 7/10 favorite, he lagged the leaders by 10 lengths after a quarter run in just 24.81, but made a four-wide move on the turn to roll by 'em all, winning by 4 1/2 under Sarah Rook in a bullring mile run in 1:43.30.

Bred in Kentucky by Kidder, Cole, Robenalt, and J & J Mamakos, No Biggie is now owned and trained by Carl Doran. I shortlisted the gray gelding by Consolidator-Sixy Chic, by Saratoga Six, on a 48-animal list of bargain-minded prospects for a client at the May 2010 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale at that very track in Timonium. He sold there for just $8,000 as Hip 330. Breaking his maiden on March 17 for a $25,000 tag at Laurel Park, No Biggie now has two wins, a place and a show from eight lifetime starts for $26,960.

Elsewhere, it was a near-miss day for other sales selections of mine. Another EASMAY cheapie, $6,000 Wild Alley Cat, was second in claiming company at Presque Isle Downs in his effort to also clear the NW2L condition. A $75,000 OBSAPR graduate, Herecomeseveryman, was literally beaten a nostril by Repole Stable's Dahess in a maiden-claimer on turf at Saratoga. Two-time winner Sultry Gibson, withdrawn from that EASMAY sale, was second in claiming company at Charles Town. And, an Ocala April RNA who won a Zia Park stakes race at 2, PULGARCITO, was second in allowance company at Canada's Assiniboia Downs.

Sand Kahn another Korean addition to winner list

Scoring on Saturday at Seoul in his 10th lifetime start, Sand Kahn became the 104th worldwide winner from my 187 sales selections at various juvenile sales in the States.

The Korean Racing Authority Web site is down, so updated earnings for the horse aren't yet available. But with the win and one prior placing, I'm guesstimating his bankroll at between $25,000 and $30,000 U.S.

I shortlisted the colt by Dehere-Population(IRE), by General Assembly for a client seeking a bargain prospect out of last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training at Timonium, Md. The dark bay sold for $20,000 to the KOID, Korea's racing authority, and was exported for resale and racing. He's knocked heads in Class IV competition (races that often include older horses and minor winners) at Korea's premier track, nabbing at best lesser awards until finally getting up for the win on Friday in a 1,300-meter race.

He is at least the 10th winner foaled by his dam, who retired a maiden after six starts. The most notable of her offspring is English Group 1 winner SARATOGA SPRINGS (El Gran Senor).

With 104 maiden-breakers, the 187 selections now have 55.6 winners among their number. Sand Kahn's victory also brings to 50 percent the number of winners out of that 48-horse EASMAY short-list, horses which on average brought bids of less than half the sale average. Among the best from that sale (and among seven of 13 from the 187-horse list to win in Korea) is Viva Ace, a $20,000 purchase who has six wins and three seconds from 10 starts at Busan for about $209,000 U.S.

The KOID is restricted from spending more than $20,000 on a colt and more than $40,000 on a filly at the U.S. sales, though the animals often bring much more than that when resold at auction in Korea.