Friday, September 20, 2013

Another year, another milestone -- and more

A lot happens when a guy doesn't update his blog for more than a year, especially if that blog is about horse racing.

Work and personal commitments might get in the way of a blogger, but the racing goes on. And for my 2-year-old sales class of 2010 -- now a bunch of 5-year-olds -- a few milestones were reached while I was "away."

One of the more significant markers of note happened only recently, as the class broke the 400-win barrier. The total now stands at 401 wins from 2,927 races worldwide, for a win rate of 13.7 percent.

Grabbing the milestone victories were a foreign runner and something of a surprise winner in the States.

Wild Shuffle (Hennessy-Shuffle Again, by Wild Again) has come into his own as an older horse in Trinidad & Tobago. The bay gelding, bred in Kentucky by Liberation Farm and Brandywine Farm, has a 3-8-11 record from 41 lifetime starts, but is 2-2-4 from 10 starts in 2013. His third lifetime win was victory No. 400 for the group of 187 2-year-olds I selected from various 2010 U.S. sales.

On Wednesday this week (Sept. 18), Knows How to Rock (Rockport Harbor-Unchained Princess, by Clever Trick) garnered his second lifetime win, and at a price at Kentucky Downs. Sent off at 13-1, the gray or roan gelding sat just off the pace in the mile-seventy race on grass, overtaking the leaders down the stretch and nosing out Alexander Thegreat at the wire.

Knows How to Rock was bred in Kentucky by Keene Ridge Racing LLC and is now owned and trained by Jose G. Castanon. The victory was his second -- he broke maiden among special weights at a mile on dirt at Mountaineer -- and he's had to fight for both of them, winning by a neck in his maiden-breaker and a nose on Wednesday. He has a 2-2-6 record from 22 starts for $47,319. I tabbed him one of my "steals" of the 2010 Keeneland April sale, where the horse sold for $13,000.

The sales class also boasts a new graded stakes winner and two new stakes-placers from the past 11 or so months. One has been a consistent winner throughout his career overseas, while the other found his stride when moved from dirt to turf in the States.

Previous stakes winner DELIGHTFUL MARY (Limehouse-Deputy's Delight, by French Deputy) was the sales-topper at the OBS April sale, bringing $500,000. She earned that back by the time she turned age 5, including a dead-heat for the win in the Ocala Stakes at Gulfstream as a 4-year-old and a win at age 3 in the OBS Championship Stakes. She was second in the G3 Mazarine Stakes at Woodbine and third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1 at Churchill as a 2-year-old.

Dropped back into the sprint ranks, where she performed brilliantly as a juvenile, she scorched the Woodbine Polytrack to victory in the Grade 3 Hendrie Stakes, covering 6.5 furlongs in 1:15.54. The victory bumped her earnings to $588,055.

Elsewhere, Viva Ace (Macho Uno-Dancing Lake, by Meadowlake) was just a $20,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training back in 2010, when I tabbed him among 48 prospects for a bargain-minded buyer. But he's compiled an 11-8-2 record from 27 lifetime starts over the Busan track in South Korea, earning a substantial $621,276 when converted to U.S. dollars.

On May 5, Viva Ace was one of two horses to upset an overwhelming favorite (G1-winning filly GAMDONGUIBADA, by Werblin) in the Gukje Sunmin S., aka the Gukje Newspaper S. The race was won by BEOLMAU KKUM (Put it Back), with Viva Ace a game second over the favorite.

Viva Ace was bred in Kentucky by Jim Gladwell, Martha Gladwell and Crossroads Farm LLC.

In the United States, Just Chillin Boss (Sweetsouthernsaint-Aleutian Gold, by Prospector's Gamble) came to life in 2012 when switched to the grass by new connections.

The chestnut gelding had one win and no placings from six starts on dirt in his native Florida when claimed by Bobby S. Dibona for $20,000 at Gulfstream Park March 16, 2012. But the horse never raced for Dibona, moving instead into the hands of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Investments and into the training barn of Ramon Moya.

Those connections moved Just Chillin Boss to the Northeast and entered him in a starter allowance at Meadowlands on May 5, going a mile on grass. Just Chillin Boss did all the work on the front end in that race and was game to the wire, beaten just a neck by Incisive Strike.

The performance convinced his connections that Just Chillin Boss should stay on the lawn, and it was a fortuitous decision. Over his next six starts, all at Monmouth Park, Just Chillin Boss would grab three wins and place third in the My Frenchman Stakes (to former Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint-G1 winner CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE and multiple stakes winner JU JITSU JAX). Just Chillin Boss would  also set two track records on the Monmouth Turf Course (24 feet from the hedge), covering about 5 1/2 furlongs in a blistering 1:01.12 in an allowance win on July 8, 2012, and blazing over 5 furlongs in 54:66 for an optional-claiming win on Aug. 24.

Just Chillin Boss was claimed from that record-setting Aug. 24 race, for $22,000 by new trainer Gregory D. Sacco for owner Elliot Mavorah. He managed one second place run from four starts for those connections before being shelved after a Dec. 7 race at Tampa.

The Class of 2010 has earned its keep at the racetrack. The 187 prospects sold or were RNAs for a combined $6,446,900 and now have justified those bids by earning $11,841,814 worldwide. That's an average earnings figure of $68,449.79 for horses that on average sold for just $36,016.20 -- about $20,000 less than the average 2-year-old to sell in 2010.

The class has 23 stakes-placers from 187 members (12.3 percent) and nine stakes winners (4.8 percent).

You can review all their statistics, updated through Sept. 19, 2013, at the bottom of this prior post.

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