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Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby at The Downey Profile®

 


Preakness Horses

Last updated May 21 at 12:55 p.m. ET - Complete



 

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ALWAYS DREAMING
CLASSIC EMPIRE
CLOUD COMPUTING
CONQUEST MO MONEY
GUNNEVERA
HENCE
LOOKIN AT LEE
MULTIPLIER
SENIOR INVESTMENT
TERM OF ART

 

 

ALWAYS DREAMING (KY)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Viola Racing Stables, St. Elias Stables LLC, Siena Farm and West Point Thoroughbreds, et al.
Breeder:  Santa Rosa Partners
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Bodemeister (Empire Maker, Untouched Talent)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Above Perfection (In Excess (IRE), Something Perfect)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-5-4-0-0 (12) 5.00
Foal Date: Feb. 25

$350,000 Keeneland September 2015


In 2016, Always Dreaming failed to break his maiden sprinting once at Belmont Park in July and once at Saratoga in August. Blame Will beat him by only a neck in the race at the Spa. He took the rest of the year off.

Third time was the charm as Always Dreaming broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 25 in a one mile 40 yarder timed in 1:40.54. At 1-5 odds, he prevailed by 11 1/2 lengths. The chart says he "vied between rivals, raced inside on the far turn, drew off and was ridden out." John Velazquez was there to ride.

Next came a 1 1/8-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park on March 4, and Always Dreaming was sent off at 1-10. He won easily but the time was very slow. After setting dawdling fractions of 25.52, 51.65, 1:16.82 and 1:41.17, he crossed the finish line in 1:53.44. The second finisher was 83-1 Charlie the Greek, beaten four lengths.Unbridled Holiday was a head back in third. John Velazquez was up on Always Dreaming, and he put the horse under mild urging in the last 70 yards.

March 11 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher said, “We...talked about the Florida Derby with Always Dreaming, who came out of the allowance win well, but it’s not likely we would run the two of them (referring to Battalion Runner) against each other. But depending upon the size of the field, we might consider entering them both in case one of them drew an unfavorable post. But that’s for down the road, when we have more information about how many starters there might be.”

March 18 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher said, “Always Dreaming was coming into this work two weeks after a pretty easy win in a mile-and-an-eighth allowance race, so we weren’t looking for a really stern work from him this morning, though we got a very impressive work, I thought. He did it very effortlessly. He was moving very well. I was happy the way he did it and very happy with the way he galloped out. It seems like he’s continuing to improve throughout the winter.”

March 30 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher said, “We considered and thought enough of the way he was training and doing to run in the Fountain of Youth, but we just felt like continuing to bring him along methodically was the correct approach, and he seems to be responding by training exceptionally well. We’ll hope he continues to do that.”

In the April 1 Florida Derby, Always Dreaming won, State of Honor was second, favored Gunnevera was third, Impressive Edge was fourth and Three Rules was fifth. The race began with Three Rules setting splits of 23.38, 47.08 and 1:10.75 as State of Honor, then Always Dreaming, pursued him in second a length or two back. Always Dreaming was briefly steadied in the first turn. Gunnevera departed the far outside post and headed toward the rail to prepare for a late run. Rounding the second turn, Always Dreaming began to edge up the outside of Three Rules and obtained a narrow lead. At the furlong marker they had opened up by 2 1/2 lengths. Three Rules was still second, but State of Honor, who appeared to be retreating into the turn, rallied again and soon got past Three Rules for the place. Gunnevera was 15 lengths behind after the first quarter-mile and rallied to finish third, a length-and-a-half behind State of Honor. Impressive Edge was fourth or third at every call and finished fourth, beaten seven lengths and a nose in front of Three Rules in fifth. The final time was 1:47.47.

Todd Pletcher: “I think the whole program really helped today. We brought him along gradually, opted for the allowance race on Fountain of Youth day and I think all that paid off. The horse has been training exceptionally well, and we were confident he was going to run as well as he’s capable of, and thank fully he did. I have to be honest with you, he was training so well that I would have been disappointed had he not run well, but that was a very impressive performance. Certainly, that’s why we were here today to hopefully get the points to go on. With two mile and an eighth wins and the way he galloped out today, I’m confident he’ll get the trip. Like always, you want them to stay healthy and you have to have some good luck for the next five weeks.”

John Velazquez: "I thought, if he's coming, he's going to have to run really hard to catch us."

Anthony Bonomo (Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Co-owner: “Well, I don’t know what to say because it’s so exciting. All day you’re nervous leading up to the race and it’s your dream to run a race like this and to win. It is unbelievable. I don’t know what to feel like anymore except to know I’m elated. When we saw him making the turn we knew he had a lot of horse and we knew that’s how he likes to run. We thought he had enough to come home and win, and there’s nothing like watching your horse pass the finish line. It’s exciting. It’s really a great race. I’ll think about (the Kentucky Derby) in about nine hours. Right now, this was a great win and we’re just thrilled. He’s a good horse.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Pletcher said, “He’s excellent. It seemed like he recuperated quickly after the race, cooled out good, looked good this morning, settled back here into Palm Beach Downs and all is well. He seems to be in excellent form. I was really pleased with the way he came back to the winner’s circle. It just seemed like he recovered quickly from the race and cooled out quickly and was bright and alert and happy back in his stall. Initially he’s showing us all the signs you’re hoping for. I’ve got to kind of map out a schedule in terms of when we’ll ship to Churchill,” Pletcher said. We’ll look to have a breeze or possibly two breezes at Churchill, but we’ll kind of play it by ear and see what the shipping arrangements look like and see what the weather’s doing in Kentucky and take all those into consideration.”

April 14 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher said, “I thought he settled well considering the first part was a little on the slow side. He finished up strongly, galloped out impressively. Based from what we were seeing in the morning the track is not super-fast. The longer you’re here, the more you kind of get used to this track. It’s a little bit quirky in some ways, in can be a little inside bias, sometimes not produce real fast times. But we like it a lot. Knock on wood, it’s been a very safe surface for us. It seems like a lot of horses thrive through the winter here. He is one of the exceptions in terms of horses who consistently win breezes whether he’s on the inside or outside of horses. It was, I thought, a very good breeze. I liked the way he finished the last quarter in 23-and-change and seemed to cool out quickly and recover quickly.”

April 15 NOTE: Tentative arrival plan pushed back and week; now will arrive at Churchill Downs April 24 or 25.

April 21 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher said after a workout by Always Dreaming, “I thought it was excellent. We were looking for a nice, steady, solid stamina-building breeze. He was very relaxed, very happy, moving well, and galloped out great. I was very happy. He’s been training great, eating well, energy level has been good. We’re really excited about how he’s doing."

In the Kentucky Derby, Always Dreaming was first, Lookin at Lee second, Battle of Midway third and Classic Empire fourth. Always created a dream trip leading to a 2 3/4-length victory. He broke cleanly from post 5 and established a forward position down the stretch for the first time. He tracked State of Honor through the first quarter-mile in 22.70 and the first half in 46.53 leaving the first turn. Up the backstretch, Battle of Midway and Irish War Cry tracked the front two in third and fourth. As the field neared the far turn, six furlongs were gone in 1:11.12 and Always Dreaming had wrested the lead from a retreating State of Honor. As Always Dreaming rounded the turn in front, he was still under pressure to his outside from Battle of Midway and Irish War Cry. When heads turned for home, Always Dreaming had covered the mile in 1:37.27.

From there to the finish line, there were no more serious challenge to Always Dreaming as he ran to victory in a time of 2:03.59. Lookin at Lee, who broke from the dreaded post 1, made a very late rally to finish second after being 16th in the 20-horse field after the first half-mile. He bested third finisher Battle of Midway by five lengths. Classic Empire, the morning line favorite, was sent off at 6-1 odds and finished another length back in fourth after having a rough start and being placed 13th after the first half-mile.

Todd Pletcher: “I knew we had a big shot with this horse, and I was hoping it would happen. The trip unfolded not exactly the way we had planned. We knew for sure we didn’t want to be behind a wall of horses and that turned out OK. Johnny of course rode him great. This is so special to win this race with Johnny. We’ve been together for all these years and this is sweet. I’m sorry I don’t have a clue about my other two horses. I was so intense following Always Dreaming up front that I never did get a chance to pick them up.”

John Velazquez: “This is the best horse Todd and I have ever come to the Kentucky Derby with. Nothing against all the others, but this was the best horse. I got a good position with him early and then he relaxed. When we hit the quarter pole, I asked him and he responded. He did it himself from there.”

In the May 20 Preakness Stakes, Cloud Computing pulled the upset at 13-1, Classic Empire was second, Senior Investment was third and Lookin at Lee was fourth. Favored Always Dreaming faded to eighth. Always Dreaming and Classic Empire broke well and ran through the first turn, up the backstretch and into the far turn one-two in very close quarters with Classic Empire to the outside of the pair. The first six furlongs were timed in 23.16, 46.81 and 1:11.00. About midway through the turn, Always Dreaming began to lose ground, and Classic Empire emerged as the leader as the field turned for home. Meanwhile, Cloud Computing sat two and then three lengths off that dueling pair into the second turn. When Classic Empire was a furlong from the finish line, the race looked like it was his for the taking. But his three-length lead began to evaporate. As Javier Castellano urged him on, Cloud Computing came on outside of Classic Empire and got up in deep stretch to win by a head. The race was timed in 1:55.98 on a track that was rated fast. Senior Investment, who was last of 10 going into the far turn, finished third, another 4 3/4 lengths back and one-half length ahead of Looking at Lee, who was last in the early going.

Todd Pletcher: “No (the pace wasn't too fast). Classic Empire held on for second. He probably went pretty ambitiously at us and maybe cost himself the race. But we didn’t have an excuse. We were in the position we expected to be and I think the turnaround was a little too quick. He ran so hard in the Derby and today just wasn’t his day. He didn’t seem to relish the track, but I don’t really think that was it. It was just that he put so much into the Derby that it wasn’t meant to be.

“I was a little concerned coming by the wire the first time. He was there, but it wasn’t like he was dragging Johnny there, actually. It felt like he was on a loose rein by the time they turned up the backside, That’s kind of what we anticipated Classic Empire would do, take it to us, but he just didn’t have that reserve today.

“Initially, it looks like he came back well. We’ll savor the Derby victory.”

John Velazquez: “He just got beat. I didn't have it. That's it. Not much to say. I knew I was in trouble on the backstretch when the other horse got to him, almost head to head, and engaged him. I knew I didn't have it. That's horse racing. He didn't have it.

“Look at the horse that was next to me (when asked if the pace was too fast).”

WORKOUTS
Jan. 10, five in 1:01.80 Breezing 3/4 at PBD
Jan. 18, five in 1:01.60 Breezing 2/3 at PBD
Feb. 11, four in 47.80 Breezing 1/18 at PBD
Feb. 18, four in 49:20 Breezing 10/24 at PBD
Feb. 25, four in 47:80 Breezing 4/28 at PBD
March 18, four in 48:00 Breezing 1/20 at PBD
March 25, four in 48:40 Breezing 1/26 at PBD
April 14, four in 49:55 Breezing 5/18 at PBD
April 21, four in 1.01:40 Breezing 1/6 at PBD
April 28, five in 59:60 Breezing 1/35 at CD

 

 

CLASSIC EMPIRE (KY)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Owner: John C. Oxley
Breeder: Steven Nicholson & Brandi Nicholson
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Pioneerof the Nile (Empire Maker, Star of Goshen)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Sambuca Classica (Cat Thief, In Her Glory)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-4-4-0-0 (12) 5.00
Foal Date: March 21, 2014


$475,000 Keeneland September 2015

Classic Empire won his debut sprinting at Churchill Downs.

His next outing was the Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs on July 2. Odds-on favorite Recruiting Ready flashed speed from the gate on the outside and led the field of nine through fractions of 21.76 and 45.07. Tip Tap Tapizar attempted to keep up from the inside. Classic Empire, the 9-2 second choice, broke slowly from post 1 and was eighth in the early going. Recruiting Ready opened up a 1 1/2-length lead by mid-turn as Classic Empire began to hit his best stride. The latter one  found an opening along the inside rail at the head of the stretch. Recruiting Ready had a two-length lead with 100 yards left, but Classic Empire ran him down to win by three-quarters of a length.

Assistant trainer Norman Casse: “He broke bad the other day (too), I don’t know what was up with that, but any time that you’re in the one-hole with a 2-year-old, you’re apprehensive about it. I think he’s still a little shy at horses. You can tell when he broke that he broke in a little bit and kind of ducked out, but it ended up working out to his advantage a little bit. The pace set up for him and he was able to run down a very talented horse today. I really have a whole lot of respect for the horse that he beat, and this is something we can all look forward to. I think that the way that he breezes and trains in the morning, he is more effective when he’s able to go out and relax and settle into stride. Sprinting is obviously something where you aren’t able to do that so going forward, he’s going to be more effective around two turns. He’ll go up and train at Saratoga and we’ll look for a race up there for him.”

Trainer Casse looked back on the race on Dec. 7 and said, “He broke from the one hole and he tried to make the gap. He was probably 15, 16 lengths behind, and how he won just amazed me. So many horses can win when everything goes their way, but I think it takes a great horse to win when things don't go his way. He won in 1:09-and-change. When you figure out how much he lost, he probably won in 1:08-and-change. We felt like he was a nice horse, and after the Bashford Manor, I said, ‘I think this horse could be a great horse.’ ”

Julien Leparoux: “(Recruiting Ready) never quit, but I knew that my horse was running. At the quarter pole I knew he was going to run well, but I didn’t know if I was going to catch him or not. Being in the one-hole kind of hurt us today, but I’m glad that he could win today. The first time when he won at four-and-a-half, he was almost too quick and he still won, but today at six furlongs I liked it. He was useful, but we were down inside and he’s still a baby so when he broke slow he was kind of looking at all of the horses outside of him so he was a little green, but after that he was very professional.”

The Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga was a disaster. Classic Empire broke from the gate and wheeled, causing Jose Ortiz to fall off. It was the only time Ortiz was aboard Classic Empire as a juvenile.

In the Claiborne Breeders Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 8, blinkers were added to Classic Empire, and it helped. Ridden by Julien Leparoux, the colt swept past dueling leaders Wild Shot and Blame Will at the head of the stretch and then held off a late charge by Lookin At Lee to win by three lengths. Lookin at Lee was 12th of twelve early on, 14 lengths in arrears. Wild Shot finished third, beaten four lengths, after setting splits of 23.38, 46.63 and 1:11.17. No Dozing finished another head back in fourth after being fifth, 2 1/2 lengths off the lead, after a half-mile. They wee followed in order by Gunnevera, Singing Bullet, Bitumen, Tiz Trevor, Blame Will, Perro Rojo, Holiday Bonus and Honor Thy Father.  Twelve ran, and Classic Empire was favored at 3-2. He completed the 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.41.

Norman Casse: “This is a very, very talented horse. The day after the Hopeful, we got right to work on him. We put blinkers on him; we breezed him out of the gate several times. It paid dividends today. We’ll more forward from here. You’ve got to think this horse has plenty of room to improve.”

Trainer Casse said on Dec. 7: “The blinkers made a huge difference. He breaks much faster.”

Julien Leparoux: “Today he broke sharp and was all business. He ran a big race. I was a bit surprised to be where I was, but he did it easy and he was happy where he was. He got a little bit tired at the end, but he hasn’t been running for a while, so we expected that.”

In the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 5, Classic Empire disposed of Syndergaard at the head of the stretch and then held off a bid from 5-2 favorite Not This Time by a neck to win. Practical Joke finished third, 7 1/2 lengths behind the top two, followed by Lookin at Lee. Classic Empire covered the 1 1/16 mile in 1:42.60. It was Classic Empire's fourth win from five starts -- his sole loss came when he threw his rider leaving the gate. Under Julien Leparoux, who rode the colt for all four of his 2016 victories, Classic Empire broke well out of post 5 and sat just off the hip of pacesetter Syndergaard through fractions of :23.05 and :46.60. Leparoux let the reins out a notch coming into the final turn and then set his mount down for a sustained drive. Not This Time stalked the early pace just behind the front runners and appeared ready to collar Classic Empire, but the latter one dug in on the rail and refused to yield.

Mark Casse: “I thought at the top of the lane he was going to win easily. Then it got pretty close, but Dale said all along it was going to be us two and it was quite a deal. We have a lot of wonderful people that we work for and we have a great team. I have been doing this 37 years and I thought his race in the Bashford Manor was as good as any 2-year-old I've ever trained. Then his deal he did in the Hopeful up at Saratoga (throwing his rider), so this is maybe even a little more rewarding because it hasn't been easy. He'll try you.

Julien Leparoux: “He broke sharp and I put him in the race right away. He took second very nice. I tried to open up coming to the quarter pole, which he did and held off Not This Time. He is a nice colt. We really love him and we knew he was going to run good, so I’m glad we got the win.”

"He hasn't necessarily been easy. He's an extremely, extremely smart horse, and he tends to see things that maybe others don't, and you never know what he's going to kind of do. But we added blinkers. We had actually wanted -- we thought after his first two performances where he ran really great, it would have been nice to put some blinkers on him. But normally they don't allow you to put blinkers on horses that are winning. So after the Hopeful, Norman and I were watching him cool out, and we looked at each other and said I think we can put blinkers on him now."

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Casse said, “I think he’s a little tired, but he ran his butt off. Julien wanted to make sure we weren’t too far away. We broke running and he looked at the opportunity and saw it. I was extremely happy going into the first turn and thought ‘well we have no excuses from here.'" Casse said Classic Empire would winter in Florida.

Dec. 7 NOTE: Trainer Casse said, “He started back today. He’s back doing some exercise under tack. He just started. If everything went right, he’d run in the Holy Bull – that’s what we’d aim for. That’s the plan right now – the Holy Bull, the Fountain of Youth. We’ll worry about those two races, but there could be a chance to run in the Florida Derby. I love the way horses do in the spring in Kentucky, and I was kind of wanting to get him to Kentucky for that reason. We’ll see. With what’s going on, we may just stay in Florida for the Derby, but we’ll worry about the first two, first.

“He’s an extremely talented horse – without a doubt the most talented 2-year-old that I’ve ever training. I think that kind of goes without saying. He amazes me. He amazes me, one, how fast he is and, then, his ability to carry it.”

Jan. 8 NOTE: Trainer Casse said, “I would have said going into this breeze (second workout since Breeders' Cup) that he was 50-50 for the Holy Bull. Now, the chances have increased. Seeing him today, if he can continue to train that way he trained today, it’s a good shot he’ll make the Holy Bull. We couldn’t be happier. I thought he worked super. He handled it well and galloped out well."

Jan. 16 NOTE: Classic Empire breezed five furlongs, and trainer Casse said, “Norman was every enthusiastic about the breeze. When you look at it from a time standpoint, it is more about what he does after the breeze. He amazes us because you can’t get him tired. There’s been a lot of discussion about the Holy Bull between Mr. Oxley, Norman, and myself. I think we’re going to make it because I just think it’s good timing. I would say today is another step closer to the Holy Bull.

“He’s a bit of a bad boy, there is no doubt about that. I was talking to Mr. Oxley this morning and said to him, ‘He’s different than most horses. He’s absolutely brilliant, but what makes him so good, also makes his bad.’ The fact that he is tireless, makes him tough. Somebody the other day said he walks like a panther, and that’s what he does — he's always ready to pounce.”

Jan. 21 NOTE: Trainer Casse said, “He worked really well. We’re excited. He worked five-eighths from the gate. We got him in a minute and four fifths. He galloped out nice; all systems are go”

Feb. 1 NOTE: Ahead of the Holy Bull, trainer Casse said, “He’s such an athlete. What makes him so good is the way he moves. A really wise, one of the smartest horsemen I know in the world looked at him and said he looked like a panther. I think that’s the best way to describe him. I’m not going to say who it was, but he’s one of the best horsemen in the world, and he described him as a panther. He’s always ready to pounce. You just don’t know what he’s going to pounce on, but so far he’s pounced on the competition. You’re always anxious off a layoff to get going. We’re ready. All systems are ‘go.’ We’re excited to get going. It’s the first step. Last week we ran in a $12 million race, but there was no pressure. Saturday it’s a $350,000 race and there’ll be tons of pressure. We’ll definitely be feeling it for sure.”

Feb. 3 NOTE: Trainer Casse probably hopes he won't regret saying this. He trains Noble Bird and started thinking about the ease with which Arrogate passed the pacesetting Noble Bird in the Pegasus Stakes. “I had this conversation with Julien. Watching Mike Smith on Arrogate, it reminded me of Julien on Classic Empire. The difference was we were Noble Bird the other day (in the Pegasus Stakes). Noble Bird was running his rear off, and Mike Smith was looking at him just waiting to go. It reminded me of when Julien was on Classic Empire and John Velazquez was on Syndergaard (in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile). Syndergaard, who was a highly rated horse, was running his butt off and Julien was sitting there looking at him, saying, ‘OK.’

“That’s what happened the other day. Noble Bird was running his butt off and Mike Smith was just sitting there. At any point in time, he had us. That’s what sticks out in my mind about Classic Empire. They were flying; they were rolling in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Classic Empire was sitting in second gear waiting.”

On Feb. 4, Irish War Cry went to a dominating, front-running victory in the 1 1/16-mile Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. At 4-1 odds, he soundly defeated Gunnevera, 1-2 favorite Classic Empire and four others, timed in 1:42.52. Irish War Cry scored by 3 3/4 lengths over Gunnevera, who finished an astonishing five lengths ahead of Classic Empire, who showed very little after getting worked up before the race. Irish War Cry looked like he could go another lap after the race.

Classic Empire was a little reluctant to enter the starting gate and broke a step slow before quickly attaining a good stalking position under Julien Leparoux. Irish War Cry broke alertly under Joel Rosario and set fractions of 24.14 and 47.92. Talk Logistics, who briefly led, tracked Irish War Cry while saving ground along the backstretch under Paco Lopez, with Classic Empire to his outside. Gunnevera sat just behind those three. Leparoux sent Classic Empire after the pacesetter on the far turn, but Classic Empire soon weakened and Irish War Cry kicked clear by 3 1/2 lengths in mid-stretch. Gunnevera surged past Classic Empire and a fading Talk Logistics to finish a clear second, well clear of Classic Empire. Talk Logistics was another 5 1/4 lengths back in fourth, followed by Cavil and Perro Rojo. Shamsaan didn't finish.

Mark Casse: “He gets a little hot, but maybe hotter than normal, so I don't know. We will regroup. He had no excuse that way (as to where he was positioned); none whatsoever. They kind of tried to pin him in a little bit on the first turn and Julien used a little bit of him. We had a good trip.”

Julien Leparoux: “We had a good trip. I got in the clear on the first turn, and there was really no excuse. He came back good and we’ll see what happens. He got a little bit warm (on the track before the race) but after that we a good trip and every chance, and he just didn’t kick at the end.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Casse said Classic Empire probably won't run again at Gulfstream Park.

DETAILS: Trainer Casse said, “He’s fine today. Yesterday morning (at Palm Meadows), he was as happy and good as I’ve ever seen him. He just did not take the trip down there well. He’s run in the Bashford Manor with the crowd and the lights, and we flew him to the Breeders’ Cup, and those things didn’t bother him, but yesterday was the first time he ever had to ship and run (in the same day). He’s shipped all the time and never fretted before, but yesterday he really fretted. I don’t know what was going on with him. Yesterday was also the first time I ever saw him balk about going into the gate. This horse wasn’t happy yesterday, and we really don’t have a good answer. He ate last night. He’s happy as he can be now, standing in his stall.

“I would say more than likely you won’t see him back at Gulfstream again. We’re already thinking about where we want to go, but wherever it is it will be somewhere he will train a little bit there before he runs. Yesterday came as a complete surprise to us, but the battle is far from over.”

Feb. 9 NOTE: Trainer Casse told Bloodhorse.com today that the Fountain of Youth is back in the picture now. Earlier in the week, Classic Empire popped an abscess, and Casse said this is undoubtedly why he ran so poorly in the Fountain of Youth. Casse said, "This is not something that just popped up. It had to have been brewing. I wonder if that's why he got so upset and didn't run better. Julien said he felt okay running but even in the post parade, he said he was just a bundle of nerves. So honestly, it's a great relief. We knew that his race was too bad to be true. You start grasping at straws to come up with some reason why he ran so bad. Then we got the answer."

MORE: Casse said Classic Empire could return to track by the the following day, Feb. 10.

Feb. 19 NOTE: Classic Empire will have to miss the Fountain of Youth. Trainer Casse told Bloodhorse.com, "We thought if we were going to make the Fountain of Youth, we'd have to at least breeze tomorrow, and I'm not ready to breeze him. I talked to Oxley this morning and we're going to look elsewhere. My hopes are that this thing is cleared up by mid-week and we get to breeze him next week. If that's the case, and we get to, then, we'll start worrying about what's next. If need be, we could go with one more race into the Derby. He won the Breeders' Futurity off a layoff, really, considering he didn't run at all in the Hopeful, and then came back and won the Breeders' Cup. Our thought is, here we have this horse, who is one of the best 3-year-olds in the country. It would be foolish for us to not let him be 100% before we breezed him again."

Feb. 22 NOTE: Has been galloping since Feb. 13.

Feb. 25 NOTE: Non-subscription blurb at DRF.com says Classic Empire "tentatively" set to breeze middle of next week.

March 1 NOTE: Classic Empire didn't breeze the middle of this week. He's still galloping, though.

March 3 NOTE: Today Classic Empire was set to breeze with jockey Leparoux aboard, and he refused to break off for the work. Trainer Casse said he thinks his back is sore. Casse said his feet are fine. He'll be allowed to roll in a pen, and a chiropractor was called in.

March 6 NOTE: Bloodhorse.com reported yesterday, "Casse said an equine therapist was brought in to exam Classic Empire March 4 and that 'she went over his back, found a few issues and treated him.'" No word on what was done. Here's the full quote from trainer Casse speaking yesterday. "He was really sensitive when Julien (Leparoux) went to get off him the other day. When Julien put his hands on his withers, he almost dropped to the ground so it was really weird. This morning...our main vet went over him and he couldn't believe how much better he was today. The good news is there is nothing substantial. There is a very good shot the issue with his foot ended up causing the back issue. Anyone that has had any kind of injury, when you change your gait, it can hurt your back. So possibly the foot bruise and him being off and traveling different affected his back in some way. He's a work in progress. But the good news is we still have a lot of time and I wouldn't count us out yet."

March 7 NOTE: It has now been 31 days since Classic Empire last raced or breezed.

March 12 NOTE: Classic Empire breezed today. Assistant trainer Norm Casse tweeted, "Classic Empire stupendous today - 48.4, 101.3" and told Alicia Wincze Hughes at Bloodhorse.com that it was just what he wanted.

March 20 NOTE: Refused to work again yesterday and has been shipped to Ocala Training Center. Hard to see him going forward to the Kentucky Derby now.

March 22 NOTE: Assistant trainer Norm Casse told Bloodhorse.com after a workout today,  "The time is not flashy, the way he did it was not flashy, but the work got done so we are very encouraged. That's why we came up with this Ocala deal. We had decided that if he refused to work again that we would send him to Ocala just to give him a little bit of a change of pace. It seems like it has worked so far and going forward we will probably keep him here another week. We've always referred to this horse as a bad boy. He's never been the easiest horse to train, he's always throwing little tricks at you and you kind of got to stay ahead of him. So long as he's doing well, breeze him one more time there and then decide what would be the next best thing for him. We are just trying to go day-to-day and week-to-week with this horse."

March 28 NOTE: The Blue Grass is out and now connections are hoping he can make the Arkansas Derby.

March 29 NOTE: Trainer Casse said, “It’s well documented – we’ve had some bumps in the road. But, the good news is it doesn’t matter. As I said, it’s like a baseball game. Doesn’t matter how many runs you score in the early innings, it’s how many you score in the end.”

April 3 NOTE: From a DRF free post, trainer Casse said although the final time for today's workout in company with Airoforce was similar to his workout with Airoforce six days earlier, today's move was much better. "The track was much deeper today than last week because we had a lot of wind here overnight, it ws pretty loose out of the chute," said Casse. "He took a bit of a stumble out of the gate before he got his feet under him. Last week it was a little harder for him to dispose of Airoforce. This morning, he drew away by 6 or 7 lengths and his gallop out was awesome. He got a little tired last week, but Julien said he didn't take a deep breath today. I'm really glad we made the decision to come up here. He's a smart horse, something just set him off down there (at Palm Meadows), something bugged him. And sometimes you have to change things up with him or he gets bored. I'm confident when he gets to Oaklawn, he'll go out there and everything will be great."

April 7 NOTE: Classic Empire (Worth Watching) will ship from Ocala on Monday evening to Oaklawn Park for the Arkansas Derby, and he is expected to breeze Sunday or Monday morning at Winding Oaks Training Center.

On April 15, Classic Empire won the Arkansas Derby with Conquest Mo Money second, Lookin at Lee third, Sonneteer fourth, Malagacy fifth and Untrapped sixth. Petrov narrowly led the field into the first turn, closely accompanied by extreme longshot Grandpa's Dream and Conquest Mo Money. Malagacy, the post-time second choice, was less than two lengths back after breaking from post 12. As the field passed the next pole, Conquest Mo Money led after a first half-mile run in a sprightly 46.92. Under heavy pressure from Malagacy, Conquest Mo Money remained in charge of the field with six furlongs run in 1:11.16. Meanwhile, Classic Empire, who had been positioned in sixth or seventh place but only a couple of lengths back of the leader, encountered traffic in the turn and was taken three and four wide.

Into the stretch Conqest Mo Money and Malagacy ran one-two while heads apart and continued to engage in a battle to the wire that included some bumping. Suddenly Classic Empire appeared to their outside in third position with a fulong left to run. He outfinished them to win by a half-length. Conquest Mo Money was second. Lookin at Lee, who was 10th by five lengths after the first half-mile, got up late for third, beaten a length. Sonneteer, 11th in the early going, also closed well to finish fourth, another half-length back and a neck in front of Malagacy in fifth. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Untrapped in sixth. The 1 1/8-mile race was timed in 1:48.93.

Mark Casse: “He just has so much ability. I knew if we could get him here that he’d be tough. He’s been a challenge, but the last month and a half have been good — a lot of chapters to the book I’m writing (laughs). I was pretty nervous. We run a lot of places, but I was probably a little more nervous. I went and walked up and down inside, watched it on TV. About the eighth pole everybody around me started looking, because I was doing some yelling. I wasn’t sure he was going to get there. I was afraid that maybe late he’d get tired. But it was exciting. I’ll never forget it.

“(Louisville is) home for him. We’ll get him back there and come up with a game plan. I think the toughest deal is over, getting to this point. Now he won’t have to do too much going into the Derby.

"That thought went through my head about the eighth pole. I said, ‘He’s running well. If he runs 1-2-3, that’s OK, second or third.’ But I never gave up. I was still wanting him to win, but that thought did go through my head.”

Winning jockey Julien Leparoux: “He wasn’t 100% today, so I was expecting him to be a little tired. He is a nice horse. He did it today. I wanted to drive a nice race for him. Be in the Derby, so I knew I had to finish in top four. I think he is a special horse. Hopefully now there’s no more hiccups and we go to the Derby in a clear (path), and I think we can win it.”

“Much better (today than in the Holy Bull). He walked in the gate and relaxed. He took me to the race. Usually he is a little keen, and today he was, which is a good sign for him. In the Holy Bull he was just not himself, I was laying third, but I didn’t feel like I had too much horse at that time. So today I knew I was loaded. I just needed to get there.

“It was a tough winter, I am not going to lie. Come January we expected so much from him and after the Holy Bull he just went downhill from there. It was hard to see whenever we got off the wagon, but at the same time we were running out of time. Today was the last race we could get before the Derby, so it was very important for us to get in. Mark and his team did an awesome job, so the credit goes to them.

“He is a very professional animal. He was a little fresh today, pulling a little bit, but other than that he did very good.”

Owner John Oxley: “I did (have confidence) late last year because we’d just won the Juvenile and were 2-year-old champion. So there was a lot of confidence there. But we ran into a few issues, and thanks to the genius of Mark Casse — brilliant trainer — we found the solution. We had Julien aboard; he stayed with us of course. We found a rider named Martin (Rivera). I think he was the wild card. The horse respected him, he trained so well with him and here we are.

“I think people will probably stay with him. That makes it all the bigger challenge, because we sort of like to be behind the radar a little bit. But on the other hand, I’d rather win all the way into the Derby, and that’s the way we are right now.”

Owner Debby Oxley: “Oh, my knees were about ready to give out. I was standing on those stairs, watching the race and was like, ‘Oh gosh, I hope I don’t fall over and take six people with me.’ No, I was really, really nervous. We all agreed — and I think Mark said it perfectly in an interview earlier this week — everything has been done that could be done that could be done. He was either going to go out and perform, or he wasn’t. It was out of our control, our hands.”

THE NEXT DAY: Traine Casse said, "He's good, he's great this morning. What I feel good about is we were up front. We were telling everyone the truth of what was going on and so many people were like 'There is no way he will be ready.' But the key to it all is he's a really, really, really good horse. And really, really good horses can overcome a lot of things. And he was a gentleman yesterday.  We said all along how smart he is and now more than ever, I know what happened at Gulfstream was because of his foot because he was an entirely different horse yesterday. He never turned a hair. And there was plenty of reasons for him to turn hairs."

THE NEXT DAY: Confirmed that Julien Leparoux will have the Kentucky Derby mount.

April 21 NOTE: Classic Empire was on the track today at Churchill Downs for the first time this week. Assistant trainer Norm Casse said, “We brought Martin Rivera in from Florida to be Classic Empire’s main exercise rider. Martin works with a lot of our younger horses on the farm and got along well with Classic Empire when we sent him to Winding Oaks this winter.”

April 24 NOTE: Assistant trainer Norm Casse said, "Classic Empire did a little more serious gallop today and looks great following the Arkansas Derby.”

May 1 NOTE: It was reported today at DRF.com that Mark Casse said yesterday that Classic Empire has been wearing glue-on shoes since he recovered from a foot abscess that appeared on Feb. 6. He won the Arkansas Derby wearing glue-on shoes.

In the Kentucky Derby, Always Dreaming was first, Lookin at Lee second, Battle of Midway third and Classic Empire fourth. Classic Empire was bumped on each side leaving the gate. Always created a dream trip leading to a 2 3/4-length victory. He broke cleanly from post 5 and established a forward position down the stretch for the first time. He tracked State of Honor through the first quarter-mile in 22.70 and the first half in 46.53 leaving the first turn. Up the backstretch, Battle of Midway and Irish War Cry tracked the front two in third and fourth. As the field neared the far turn, six furlongs were gone in 1:11.12 and Always Dreaming had wrested the lead from a retreating State of Honor. As Always Dreaming rounded the turn in front, he was still under pressure to his outside from Battle of Midway and Irish War Cry. When heads turned for home, Always Dreaming had covered the mile in 1:37.27.

From there to the finish line, there were no more serious challenge to Always Dreaming as he ran to victory in a time of 2:03.59. Lookin at Lee, who broke from the dreaded post 1, made a very late rally to finish second after being 16th in the 20-horse field after the first half-mile. He bested third finisher Battle of Midway by five lengths. Classic Empire, the morning line favorite, was sent off at 6-1 odds and finished another length back in fourth after having a rough start and being placed 13th after the first half-mile.

Mark Casse: “We got wiped out at the start. That’s the problem with the auxiliary gate. McCraken came and nearly knocked us. Classic Empire really got clobbered. The track is impossible. Our horse ran extremely well, considering."

Julien Leparoux: “We got bumped around really hard at the start which put us in a very tough position early. He really only had one race before this, but we’ll get them next time.”

In the May 20 Preakness Stakes, Cloud Computing pulled the upset at 13-1, Classic Empire was second, Senior Investment was third and Lookin at Lee was fourth. Favored Always Dreaming faded to eighth. Always Dreaming and Classic Empire broke well and ran through the first turn, up the backstretch and into the far turn one-two in very close quarters with Classic Empire to the outside of the pair. The first six furlongs were timed in 23.16, 46.81 and 1:11.00. About midway through the turn, Always Dreaming began to lose ground, and Classic Empire emerged as the leader as the field turned for home. Meanwhile, Cloud Computing sat two and then three lengths off that dueling pair into the second turn. When Classic Empire was a furlong from the finish line, the race looked like it was his for the taking. But his three-length lead began to evaporate. As Javier Castellano urged him on, Cloud Computing came on outside of Classic Empire and got up in deep stretch to win by a head. The race was timed in 1:55.98 on a track that was rated fast. Senior Investment, who was last of 10 going into the far turn, finished third, another 4 3/4 lengths back and one-half length ahead of Looking at Lee, who was last in the early going.

Mark Casse: “I thought he ran outstanding. I always worry about him starting because he stumbles a little bit. He won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile going out after it and I said to Julien, ‘Second doesn’t mean anything.”’ I said, ‘Let’s go and try to win this thing.’ It ended up getting us in the end. We were going to be in it, and he said, ‘OK.” We were going to be aggressive and that’s what we did.

“I know his mind tends to wander and I was a little worried about that. I was hoping that horse came to him earlier. He tried to kick back, but we were second best today.”

Julien Leparoux: “We had a good trip. We got the trip we wanted, outside Always Dreaming. The only thing is, Always Dreaming backed out of the race early, so I got to the lead early, maybe too early. I got to the lead early, and the winner just came at us at the end. He ran a big, big race. No excuses.”

WORKOUTS
Jan. 8, four in 49.00 Breezing 14/22 at PMM
Jan. 16, five in 1:02.55 Breezing 8/11 at PMM
Jan. 21, five in 1:00.75 Breezing gate 3/18 at PMM
Jan. 28, five in 1:03.90 Breezing 25/28 at PMM
March 12, four in 48:95 Breezing 3/34 at PMM
March 22, five in 1.01:40 Breezing 1/2 at WND
March 28, five in 59:30 Breezing from gate 1/2 at WND
April 3, five in 59.80 Breezing from gate 1/4 at WND
April 8, four in 50.00 Breezing 1/2 at WND
April 28, four in 49:20 Breezing 45/82 at CD

 

 

CLOUD COMPUTING (KY)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Owner: Klaravich Stables Inc. & William Lawrence
Breeder: Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc. & Stretch Run Ventures
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Maclean's Music (Distorted Humor, Forest Music)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Quick Temper (A.P. Indy, Halo America)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 5-8-11-0-0 (24) 3.36
Foal Date: April 29, 2014


$200,000 Keeneland September 2015

NEXT RACE: Preakness Stakes

Cloud Computing was unraced at age two.

He debuted on Feb. 11 at Aqueduct in a six furlong maiden race in a field of five. Sent off at even-money odds, he was a dominant 1 3/4-length winner timed in 1:11.31. After being steadied after a horrible start, he was last, seven off the pace after a quarter-mile, began moving under Manny Franco, was within a length of the front with a furlong to go and edged away under urging.

In the Gotham Stakes on March 4, J Boys Echo came from off the pace to win, Cloud Computing did the same to finish second, and El Areeb led up the backstretch before finishing third. El Areeb and True Timber broke well and ran into the first turn together, with Cloud Computing and J Boys Echo chasing them. Those four went up the backstretch with El Areeb in front after a quarter-mile in 23.58 and a half in 47.70. The three chasing closest to El Areeb began closing the gap approaching the far turn and six furlongs was in the books in a moderate 1:13.59.

On the turn, True Timber was the first of the four to give way. Cloud Computing made a move at El Areeb in the latter part of the turn and briefly took command. J Boys Echo and Robby Albarado came on too and grabbed the lead in upper stretch. They went on by to win by 3 1/2 lengths, with Cloud Computing second and El Areeb a badly fading third, another 7 1/2 lengths back, and a half-length ahead of fourth-place finisher Action Everyday.

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Brown said, "I thought he ran very well/ Coming off a six-furlong maiden race and coming back to face winners in a graded stakes while stretching out to two turns, he handled it very well."

In the Wood Memorial on April 8, Irish War Cry won by open lengths, Battalion Runner was second, Cloud Computing third and True Timber fourth. Irish War Cry contended for third and fourth place into the first turn, then found himself in second position up the backstretch as Battalion Runner set a pace of 23.50, 47.34 and 1:11.83 to the second turn. True Timber was second early in the run up the backstretch but yielded to Irish War Cry further up and into the second turn. Cloud Computing, who broke slowly, was hustled up into fourth as the turn loomed. In the far turn, Irish War dueled with Battalion Runner to his outside and emerged as the narrow leader into the stretch before drawing away to win by 3 1/2 lengths. Battalion Runner finished easily second, and Cloud Computing was third, albeit beaten seven lengths. True Timber was another 3 1/2 lengths back in fourth.

Irad Ortiz, Jr.: "I got a very good trip, can't complain about it. He missed the break a little bit, but he got in a good position on the backside following the winner. I was waiting, waiting, waiting, they just got away from me. I got beat by two very good horses."

April 17 NOTE: DRF reports his camp is leaning against going in the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Brown said, “The horse looks great, but he is lightly raced. We haven’t made a final decision yet, but we’re leaning towards passing and pointing to the Preakness or even a summertime campaign. We’ll see what he’s ready for right now.”

In the May 20 Preakness Stakes, Cloud Computing pulled the upset at 13-1, Classic Empire was second, Senior Investment was third and Lookin at Lee was fourth. Favored Always Dreaming faded to eighth. Always Dreaming and Classic Empire broke well and ran through the first turn, up the backstretch and into the far turn one-two in very close quarters with Classic Empire to the outside of the pair. The first six furlongs were timed in 23.16, 46.81 and 1:11.00. About midway through the turn, Always Dreaming began to lose ground, and Classic Empire emerged as the leader as the field turned for home. Meanwhile, Cloud Computing sat two and then three lengths off that dueling pair into the second turn. When Classic Empire was a furlong from the finish line, the race looked like it was his for the taking. But his three-length lead began to evaporate. As Javier Castellano urged him on, Cloud Computing came on outside of Classic Empire and got up in deep stretch to win by a head. The race was timed in 1:55.98 on a track that was rated fast. Senior Investment, who was last of 10 going into the far turn, finished third, another 4 3/4 lengths back and one-half length ahead of Looking at Lee, who was last in the early going.

Chad Brown: “It’s unbelievable. A lot of teamwork. It couldn’t happen to greater clients than Seth Klarman and Bill Lawrence. Seth, he got into racing by coming to Pimlico. He was just telling me he remembers coming out as a kid to the infield. He grew up in Baltimore. They are very deserving owners. It’s just unbelievable.”

Javier Castellano: “I think I always had a lot of confidence in this horse but I didn’t have the opportunity to ride the horse. Then Mr. Brown gave me the opportunity to ride the horse in the Preakness.  It was a great combination, and I am blessed to have the opportunity and enjoy the ride.

“I spoke to Mr. Brown before the race. We had a plan and we were sticking to the plan and it worked out great.  We analyzed the race and handicapped the race together, we had a lot of thoughts and put them together and I think that is the most important thing in a relationship. We have a great communication together and I think that is the key to winning the race.”

WORKOUTS
Jan. 6, 49.56 Breezing training track 31/106 at BEL
Jan. 13, 48.05 Breezing from the gate training track 6/88 at BEL
Jan. 20, 1:00.10 Breezing training track 1/33 at BEL
Jan. 27, 48.11 Breezing training track 2/53 at BEL
Feb. 4, 49.49 Breezing training track 2/59 at BEL
Feb. 25, 48.11 Breezing training track 2/78 at BEL
March 18, four in 49:22 Breezing training track 26/85 at BEL
March 25, five in 1.00:50 Breezing training track 1/36 at BEL
April 2, four in 49:09 Breezing training track 40/108 at BEL
April 22, four in 48:54 Breezing training track 5/113 at BEL
April 29, five in 1.00:20 Breezing training track 1/30 at BEL
May 7, five in 1.00:20 Breezing good training track 1/23 at BEL
May 13, four in 48:85 Handily training track 2/32 at BEL

 

 

CONQUEST MO MONEY (NY)
Trainer: Miguel Hernandez
Owner:  Judge Lanier Racing (Tom and Sandy McKenna
Breeder: Twin Creeks Farm
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie, Playa Maya)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Stirring (Seeking the Gold, Daijin)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-0-6-0-0 (10) 2.33
Foal Date: Feb. 16, 2014

$180,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August 2015
$8,500 Keeneland November 2016


SUPPLEMENTED TO THE TRIPLE CROWN

Going into the Sunland Derby, local hero Conquest Mo Money represented the strongest chance for a locally-based horse since Song of Navarone won the race in 2007. He was unbeaten in three route races.

He won his debut on Jan. 6 at Sunland Park, going a mile in 1:39:23 and followed that up with impressive wins in the Riley Allison Stakes and the Mine That Bird Derby, turning away Irap in the latter race.

In the Sunland Derby on March 26, Hence laid off torrid early fractions, shot to the lead leaving the far turn, and eased away to win by 3 3/4 lengths. Conquest Mo Money stayed on for second, 4 1/2 lengths ahead of Hedge Fund, who was followed across the finish line a neck behind by Irap. Hedge Fund broke well and took the field through early fractions of 22.56 and 45.72 before slowing things up with six furlongs in 1:10.22. Bronze Age, who stumbled at the start, was in closest pursuit through the first half-mile but was suddenly pulled up in the backstretch. Irap, Balandeen and Shareholder Value were left vying to get to Hedge Fund, but Conquest Mo Money ran into second place going into the far turn and siezed the lead in the bend.  Hence, 10th of 11 in the early going, was also gaining momentum behind Conquest Mo Money and ran himself into fourth position going into the turn. He was first leaving it after looming wide and then opened up on the field. The race was finished in 1:48.10.

On April 15, Classic Empire won the Arkansas Derby with Conquest Mo Money second, Lookin at Lee third, Sonneteer fourth, Malagacy fifth and Untrapped sixth. Petrov narrowly led the field into the first turn, closely accompanied by extreme longshot Grandpa's Dream and Conquest Mo Money. Malagacy, the post-time second choice, was less than two lengths back after breaking from post 12. As the field passed the next pole, Conquest Mo Money led after a first half-mile run in a sprightly 46.92. Under heavy pressure from Malagacy, Conquest Mo Money remained in charge of the field with six furlongs run in 1:11.16. Meanwhile, Classic Empire, who had been positioned in sixth or seventh place but only a couple of lengths back of the leader, encountered traffic in the turn and was taken three and four wide.

Into the stretch Conqest Mo Money and Malagacy ran one-two while heads apart and continued to engage in a battle to the wire that included some bumping. Suddenly Classic Empire appeared to their outside in third position with a fulong left to run. He outfinished them to win by a half-length. Conquest Mo Money was second. Lookin at Lee, who was 10th by five lengths after the first half-mile, got up late for third, beaten a length. Sonneteer, 11th in the early going, also closed well to finish fourth, another half-length back and a neck in front of Malagacy in fifth. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Untrapped in sixth. The 1 1/8-mile race was timed in 1:48.93.

Miguel Hernandez: “Oh, my God, it's so exciting. I want to say 100 yards from the wire, I said, 'I got it, I got it, I got it.' It was exciting. Right by the three-quarter pole, I thought he was going to quit. He came back. I'm happy with the way he ran.”

Jorge Carreno: “I have been on that horse and that was the best he ever felt, I think he is going to get better and better. All I can say is he is a warrior, a fighter, he doesn’t give up. He gave me all he got to the end, same as he did in the Sunland Derby. This is a special horse, the best one I have ever been on since I started riding. And I fully believe he will keep getting better. I am just going to keep working and hope to get to the Kentucky Derby. I thought I had it.”

April 16 NOTE: Ships to Prairie Meadows today.

April 18 NOTE: Will skip the Kentucky Derby and supplement before the Preakness, it was announced today.

In the May 20 Preakness Stakes, Conquest Mo Money broke more slowly from post 10 than most people expected. He never really got into the race and finished seventh, beaten 6 1/2 lengths.

Miguel Hernandez: “I was a little disappointed with the race. I thought he would be more in the race, but it was a little too fast for him. He ran two times already from the outside post, so that didn’t bother him. My ride tried to put him in the race, but it didn’t work out. I think he could go to the Belmont.”

Jorge Carreno: “My horse broke a little slow. My horse just didn’t respond down the stretch. He did try but today wasn’t his day.”

WORKOUTS
Feb. 12, six in 1:16.80 Breezing 1/2 at SUN
March 12, six in 1:15.60 Breezing 2/4 at SUN
April 6, five in 1:03.20 Breezing 2/3 at SUN
Apri 27, five in 1:02.31 Breezing 4/12 at PM
May 5, six in 1:14.20 Breezing 1/1 at PM
May 12, four in 48.40 (11/34) at PM

 

 

GUNNEVERA (KY)
Trainer: Antonio Sano
Owner: Peacock Racing Stables LLC (Solomon Del-Valle and Guillermo Guerra)
Breeder: Brandywine Farm and Stephen Upchurch
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Dialed In (Mineshaft, Miss Doolittle)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Unbridled Rage (Unbridled, Suite)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 7-8-10-2-3 (30) 2.00
Foal Date: Feb. 28, 2014

$16,000 Keeneland September 2015

Trainer Sano has been the leading trainer in Venezuela 19 times.

He debuted on June 10 at Gulfstream Park going five furlongs with a solid late-running second, 3 1/2 lengths behind heavily favored first-time starter Three Rules. On July 2, he finished a troubled and fast-closing fourth behind Three Rules in the 5 1/2-furlong Birdonthewire Stakes. He graduated July 16 in his third career start with a six-wide surge from seventh in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden event at Gulfstream. He was shipped to Saratoga for bigger pickings.

Sent off at 9-1 in a field of only five, Gunnevera won the Aug. 15 Saratoga Special with a strong closing move after being last in the early going. He passed 1-2 favorite Recruiting Ready in the lane. Recruiting Ready was disqualified and placed fourth. Get Lit N Get Wild set a fast pace of 21.97 under pressure from Sonic Mule, Tip Tap Tapizar and Recruiting Ready. In the turn, the latter one gained the lead after soundly bumping Tip Tap Tapizar, who in turn bumped Sonic Mule. The half went in 45.04, and Recruiting Ready was 3 1/2 lengths clear approaching the furlong marker. Gunnevera hit the wire in 1:17.00 a length ahead of Recruiting Ready. There were 14 lengths back to the third finisher.

Antonio Sano: "I liked the race, but I told Castellano, 'he's slow but the last three furlongs are strong.' I liked this horse at a longer distance. We'll see you September 5 here. He just needed more distance. It was a good job from Castellano."

Javier Castellano: "My horse is a really good horse. We came from behind, in the clear and finished really well. I think he had a really good setup today and everything went the right way. Everything worked out great, we had a perfect trip. Long term, he is going to be a really nice horse."

August 17 NOTE: Trainer Sano said, "“Edgard Zayas worked him here at Gulfstream Park West and he told me he never had been on a horse as good as this. Coming from a jockey like Edgard, that meant a lot. Even though he had never been on the horse before – because Jesus Rios was his rider – I wanted him to work him, because I value his opinion a lot. When he told me that, it was a boost of confidence for us.”

Gunnevera was an uninspiring fifth in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 8.

Next was the Delta Jackpot with its million-dollar purse. A powerful move starting at the end of the backstretch put Gunnevera last to first by 5 3/4 lengths over Hot Sean. Ridden by Javier Castellano, Gunnevera paid $7.80 as the 2.90 favorite in the 10-horse field. He was timed in a modest 1:45.15 around the bullring track. Hot Sean, trained by Bob Baffert, led the field at the quarter pole and held the advantage to the top of the stretch, but was no match for the winner. Dangerfield, 18-1, finished third, followed in order by J Boys Echo, Balandeen, Pat On the Back, Thirstforlife, Tip Tap Tapizar, Line Judge and Our Stormin Norman.

Javier Castellano: “He’s a come from behind horse, and I wanted to see how the race unfolded in the first turn. I wanted to take advantage of the early speed and save ground and it worked out perfectly. When I asked him a little bit (on the backstretch) he responded with a beautiful stride. He’s a great developing horse and the way he finished I think will get better with more distance.”

Dec. 7 NOTE: Trainer Sano said, “I want to run him in the Holy Bull, and if he runs good, I’ll go in the Florida Derby. There’s no room for the Fountain of Youth. I’ll run in the Florida Derby, and then I hope Kentucky Derby. I was very happy (after the Delta Jackpot). I really liked the horse to win the race. Castellano did a nice job in the race.”

Feb. 1 NOTE: Trainer Sano said, “I’m very happy with him. He has trained very well. The race isn’t going to be easy, but I think he can win the race. Gunnevera is a special horse. He’s done everything I’ve wanted him to do. He’s 100 percent in condition.”

On Feb. 4, Irish War Cry went to a dominating, front-running victory in the 1 1/16-mile Lambholm South Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park. At 4-1 odds, he soundly defeated Gunnevera, 1-2 favorite Classic Empire and four others, timed in 1:42.52. Irish War Cry scored by 3 3/4 lengths over Gunnevera, who finished a surprising five lengths ahead of Classic Empire, who showed little after getting worked up before the race. Irish War Cry looked like he could go another lap after the race.

Classic Empire was a little reluctant to enter the starting gate and broke a step slow before quickly attaining a good stalking position under Julien Leparoux. Irish War Cry broke alertly under Joel Rosario and set fractions of 24.14 and 47.92. Talk Logistics, who briefly led, tracked Irish War Cry while saving ground along the backstretch under Paco Lopez, with Classic Empire to his outside. Gunnevera sat just behind those three. Leparoux sent Classic Empire after the pacesetter on the far turn, but Classic Empire soon weakened and Irish War Cry kicked clear by 3 1/2 lengths in mid-stretch. Gunnevera surged past Classic Empire and a fading Talk Logistics to finish a clear second, well clear of Classic Empire. Talk Logistics was another 5 1/4 lengths back in fourth, followed by Cavil and Perro Rojo. Shamsaan didn't finish.

Antonio Sano: “I think it was a very good race. I think the last two furlongs, Castellano had a little bump, but he ran good. I’m very happy with him.”

Javier Castellano: “Unfortunately, there was no speed in the race. It didn't set up for my horse. After Todd Pletcher scratched (Fact Finding), everything changed. You can say I put him close to try to get him in the race, but that's not his style. He needs to relax and make one big run. That's best for him.”

Feb. 18 NOTE: Trainer Sano said after a workout, “He’s a very happy horse. He went very easy, very handily. He went 1 minute, 1 second and galloped out in 1:14. I’m very excited about the horse. To me, (the Holy Bull) was a winning race. On the last turn my horse was bumped and it broke the action of my horse.”

Feb. 23 NOTE: Trainer Sano said today after a session schooling in the paddock, “He looks very good. I school him today because last time when they ran the Holy Bull it was very hard by the horses. Today he is very relaxed and it’s a big difference. He’s much better than when he ran in the Holy Bull. I hope he is better next time for the Fountain of Youth.”

Feb. 25 NOTE: Gunnevera breezed five furlongs at GP West, but it was so foggy clockers couldn't time him.

In the March 4 Fountain of Youth Stakes, Gunnevera closed on the early speed to win and become a millionaire. Practical Joke finished second after also coming from off the pace, and Three Rules was the only part of the early speed to hang around, finishing third. At 94-1 odds, Talk Logistics finished fourth. And at even-money odds, Irish War Cry was far out of camera range at the conclusion of the race.

Three Rules and Irish War Cry ran one-two, separated by a length, through splits of 23.43 and 47.18. Takaful wasn't far behind in third, and Made You Look was fourth. Three Rules edged away to lead Irish War Cry by two lengths with six furlongs gone in 1:12.37. Takaful was on his way to a retreat by then, and Made You Look was already in full idle. Meanwhile, Practical Joke, who laid seventh and sixth early on after being steadied on the first turn,  was now third, two lengths behind. Gunnevera, who was 10th and last after the first quarter-mile, had advanced to fifth. As the field rounded the bend, Irish War Cry waved the white flag, and Practical Joke boldly loomed up on the leader. No sooner than that happened Gunnevera, who had picked off horses going four wide, was past both of them in upper stretch in the blink of an eye, and the race for first place was over. He got home in 1:44.25 for the 1 1/6-mile. Gunnevera's winning margin was a gaping 5 3/4 lengths. Three Rules dug in gamely but couldn't quite stay with Practical Joke, who edged him by half a length for second. Talk Logistics was fourth, beaten 12 1/4 lengths.

Antonio Sano: “I feel very happy. The last race he lost the race because he got bumped. This was different – more horses, different speed. I thought 100 percent that he would win today. Castellano told me, he did it very easy. Castellano never win the Kentucky Derby. For me, it’s the first time, This is the year. I’m very proud for my team and Peacock Racing. I’m very emotional.” On to the Florida Derby.

Javier Castellano: “There was a lot of speed in the race, and the way it set up was perfect. That’s what I was looking for. He’s the kind of horse where you have to make one run. You can’t chase the pace, because you’re not going to finish. I tried to do that a little bit last time, but I learned my lesson. I was able to learn and move forward and it paid off today.

“I took my time with him. He’s a very professional horse. He’s a 3-year-old horse but he acts like a 6-year-old. He’s an old pro. The way he was in the post parade, he was very composed and he waited in the gate. He broke from the gate and I could have been a little closer to the pace and chased a little bit to secure my spot in the first turn, but I didn’t. I took my time with him. I let him follow the pace and he started picking it up little by little. Turning for home, I knew I had it. I knew because of the way he did it when I asked him, he responded very well.

“I was very lucky and very fortunate. Last time, it was another thing. I tried to save ground and unfortunately I was completely stopped at the three-eighths pole. He lost his momentum and came back again, but it was too late.”

Peacock Racing Stable's Solomon Del-Valle (through interpreter): "I am the happiness man on earth. I thank God, Antonio Sano and Javier Castellano. All three champions. This is my biggest win. I've been around horses since I was five years old. I've had as many as 40 horses in Venezuela. Antonio bought this horse for $16,000. Incredible. I love this horse. I get up every day at 4 a.m. to see the horse. I was 100-percent sure he would win today.

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Sano said, “He’s very good this morning, 100 percent sound. ALSO: Javier is a friend of mine. He’s very confident in the horse. He’s a very strong closer.” Sano said Gunnevera was "90 percent” to run next in the Florida Derby.

March 18 NOTE: Trainer Sano said after Gunnevera breezed, “I’m very happy. The horse is 100 percent. He’s very quiet, relaxed. He’s a very happy horse.”

March 25 NOTE: Trainer Sano said, “It was very good for me. The jockey did exactly as I asked him and it went perfect. He was very calm on my horse. The last two furlongs I got him in :10 4/5 and the gallop out was very good. Last week the horse worked very slow. He is ready for the race,” he added. “He didn’t need more for the Florida Derby, so I breezed him looking ahead to the next one. It’s exciting, and it’s pressure. More people come by the barn for the horse. The owners call me every day. I think it’s normal. I feel that my horse is a good horse.”

In the April 1 Florida Derby, Always Dreaming won, State of Honor was second, favored Gunnevera was third, Impressive Edge was fourth and Three Rules was fifth. The race began with Three Rules setting splits of 23.38, 47.08 and 1:10.75 as State of Honor, then Always Dreaming, pursued him in second a length or two back. Always Dreaming was briefly steadied in the first turn. Gunnevera departed the far outside post and headed toward the rail to prepare for a late run. Rounding the second turn, Always Dreaming began to edge up the outside of Three Rules and obtained a narrow lead. At the furlong marker they had opened up by 2 1/2 lengths. Three Rules was still second, but State of Honor, who appeared to be retreating into the turn, rallied again and soon got past Three Rules for the place. Gunnevera was 15 lengths behind after the first quarter-mile and rallied to finish third, a length-and-a-half behind State of Honor. Impressive Edge was fourth or third at every call and finished fourth, beaten seven lengths and a nose in front of Three Rules in fifth. The final time was 1:47.47.

Antonio Sano: “Castellano told me the post position was a little problem, but the horse wasn’t comfortable in the beginning. He finished strong, but the horses in the front weren’t stopping. I’m happy. This is an important race to win, but it was a good race for the next one.”

Javier Castellano:  “I had a good trip. I saved all the ground in the first turn and the way he ended up, I didn’t have it today. I was riding, riding all the way in the race. He never grabbed the bit, he never pulled like he always used to. Maybe he was affected by the track. The track was speed today. I saved all the ground. I did the right thing for the horse, and I tried to develop the horse. Unfortunately, he didn’t have it today.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Sano said Gunnevera is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on April 22 and, “Gunnevera is very good, very good. He was checked by the vet, and everything is very good. I’m very happy with my horse. Considering everything, it was a good race for my horse.”

APRIL 15 NOTE: Trainer Sano said Gunnevera was very relaxed during his workout today and that he is waiting for jockey Castellano to give him a decision about the Kentucky Derby after he rides Malagacy in the Arkansas Derby.

April 21 NOTE: A couple of days ago, Javier Castellano committed to stay on Gunnevera for the Kentucky Derby.

April 21 NOTE: Trainer Sano said, “The horse did it very easy. I’m very happy. He galloped out good. Never in my life have I had a horse that is like this after a race. He never breathes hard; no water. I’m nervous every day. I need to relax. I know the race won’t be easy with 20 horses, but my horse is very good. I think the mile and a quarter will be better. I think there will be a lot of speed in the race. The stretch is very long. I think it’s better for me.”

In the Kentucky Derby, Gunnevera was jammed up at the start and bumped. He finished seventh, beaten 13 1/4 lengths, after being in 14th or 15th the first six furlongs.

Antonio Sano: "He came back very well. We have no excuse."

Javier Castellano: “I didn’t think he handled the track at all. In the beginning, he was holding it together, but when asked him for speed and to pick it up, he struggled quite a bit. It was disappointing.”

In the May 20 Preakness Stakes, Gunnevera was a nose back of Lookin at Lee to finish fifth, beaten 5 1/2 lengths according to the Equibase chart. He reportedly bled and is being returned to Florida. He'll be pointed to the Saratoga meet.

Antonio Sano: “No excuses. It just wasn’t his race.”

Mike Smith: “I had a great trip. He lost his action at about the half-mile pole for some reason. Other than that I had a great trip.”

 

WORKOUTS
Dec. 31, five in 59.85 Breezing 1/29 at GPW
Jan. 8, five in 58.80 Breezing 1/22 at GPW
Jan. 14, five in 1:01.00 Breezing 5/30 at GPW
Jan. 21, five in 1:00.85 Breezing 3/30 at GPW
Jan. 28, five in 1:00.400 Breezing 4/21 at GPW
Feb. 18, five in 1.01:00 Breezing 3/20 at GPW
Feb. 25, five furlongs at GPW, too foggy to clock
March 18, five in 1.04:60 Breezing 22/24 at GPW
March 25, five in 1.01:80 Breezing 7/21 at GPW
April 15, five in 1.00:60 Breezing 3/13 at GPW
April 21, five in 1.01:00 Breezing 3/15 at GPW
April 28, five in 1.03:60 Breezing 35/35 at CD

 

 

HENCE (KY)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Owner: Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley)
Breeder: Calumet Farm
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Street Boss (Street Cry (IRE), Blushing Ogygian)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Floating Island (A.P. Indy, Ballerina Princess)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 9-6-13-0-0 (28) 3.31
Foal Date: March 28, 2014


Hence finished seventh, third and second in three starts as a juvenile.  He debuted in an Aug. 27 sprint at Saratoga, and the runner-up in that race, Mo Town, went on to win the Remsen Stakes. Second time out,  Hence ran third to Guest Suite in an Oct. 8 maiden race at Keeneland at 1 1/16 mile. Guest Suite went on to win the LeComte Stakes. Third time out, Greeley and Ben barely edged him in a one-mile maiden race at Churchill Downs when they dueled the entire race.

Hence broke his maiden in his fourth lifetime start on Jan. 16 at Oaklawn Park under Ramon Vazquez on a sloppy-sealed track. Hence, Asmussen’s 500th career Oaklawn winner, stumbled at the start and found himself in fifth, 4 1/2 lengths off the pace at the first and second calls. He recovered to regain the lead on the inside in the final 50 yards and finished three-quarters of a length ahead Horse Fly, also owned by Calumet. He ducked in sharply inside the furlong marker.

Ramon Vazquez: He said Hence ducked in after seeing a reflection from an infield video board.

Steve Asmussen: “He’s caught some good company. He’s got talent, and I think he’ll run great (in the Southwest Stakes).”

In the 1 1/16-mile Southwest Stakes on Feb. 20, Hence started out in eighth, advanced to fifth and finished seventh, beaten 13 lengths by One Liner and a time of 1:41.85 on a speed-favoring track.

Ridden for the first time by Alfredo Juarez, Jr. in the Sunland Derby on March 26, Hence laid off torrid early fractions, shot to the lead leaving the far turn, and eased away to win by 3 3/4 lengths. Conquest Mo Money stayed on for second, 4 1/2 lengths ahead of Hedge Fund, who was followed across the finish line a neck behind by Irap. Hedge Fund broke well and took the field through early fractions of 22.56 and 45.72 before slowing things up with six furlongs in 1:10.22. Bronze Age, who stumbled at the start, was in closest pursuit through the first half-mile but was suddenly pulled up in the backstretch. Irap, Balandeen and Shareholder Value were left vying to get to Hedge Fund, but local hero Conquest Mo Money ran into second place going into the far turn and siezed the lead in the bend.  Hence, 10th of 11 in the early going, was also gaining momentum behind Conquest Mo Money and ran himself into fourth position going into the turn. He was first leaving it after looming wide and then opened up on the field. The race was finished in 1:48.10.

March 30 NOTE: Hence will not get another start before the Kentucky Derby, per a report at espn.com.

March 30 NOTE: Trainer Asmussen said, "I liked this horse a lot going into the Oaklawn meet. I loved him going into the Southwest, thought we had something, but he threw in a bad race. Maybe he just needed more time. Maybe he chased the speed a little too much at Oaklawn. I liked the way he finished up when he came under the wire on Sunday."

April 17 NOTE: DRF reports that the Beyer Speed Figure for Hence in the Sunland Derby has been adjusted to 97 from its original 93. No word on whether the figures for Conquest Mo Money and Irap were revised.

April 24 NOTE: Trainer Asmussen said, “The race appears to be key, since the running of it. I think from our perspective the horse has always had a lot of talent, and he’s putting things together at the right time. (He) put in a great work this morning. I’m very comfortable with (him) being here at Churchill. I think the time (he) spent last year here shows.”

In the Kentucky Derby, Hence was 19th in the early going, was still far back going into the far turn after steadying off heels, and finished 11, beaten 18 1/2 lengths.

Steve Asmussen: "Hence didn't run into the mud hitting him."

Florent Geroux: “I just couldn’t keep up. I was trying to follow Lookin at Lee but I could never catch up.”

In the May 20 Preakness Stakes, Hence finished ninth, beaten 14 3/4 lengths, with no exuse.

Steve Asmussen: “You know, Hence disappoints. Maybe it’s the stage more than anything else."

Florent Geroux: “He ran even but he just didn’t have any punch in the end. I had a great trip, saved ground but did not have any run.”

WORKOUTS
Jan. 13, four in 52.00 Breezing 72/80 at OP
Feb. 1, five in 1:02.20 Breezing 8/23 at OP
Feb. 15, 50:00 Breezing on a muddy track 5/13 at FG
March 11, five in 1.02:00 Breezing 18/37 at OP
March 18, five in 1.01:00 Breezing 10/41 at OP
April 10, four in 47:80 6/17 at CD
April 17, five in 1.00:40 Breezing 1/16 at CD
April 24, four in 1.00:00 Breezing 3/31 at CD
May 1, four in 48:80 Breezing good track 8/22 at CD
May 15, four in 51:60 Breezing 23/23 at CD

 

 

LOOKIN AT LEE (KY)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Owner: L and N Racing
Breeder: Ray Hanson
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Lookin at Lucky (Smart Strike (CAN), Private Feeling)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Langara Lass (Langfuhr (CAN), Capilano)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 5-7-10-0-0 (22) 3.40
Foal Date: March 7, 2014

$70,000 Keeneland September 2015


Looking at Lee was a winner at second asking in a six-furlong race at Ellis Park. He returned to win the seven-furlong Ellis Park Juvenile in August before finishing second in the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs in September and Keeneland's Breeders’ Futurity in October. The winners of those races, respectively, were Not This Time and Classic Empire who would go on to complete the exacta in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the latter victorious.

In the Claiborne Breeders Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 8, blinkers were added to Classic Empire, and it helped. The colt swept past dueling leaders Wild Shot and Blame Will at the head of the stretch and then held off a late charge by Lookin At Lee to win by three lengths. Lookin at Lee was 12th of twelve early on, 14 lengths in arrears. Wild Shot finished third, beaten four lengths, after setting splits of 23.38, 46.63 and 1:11.17. No Dozing finished another head back in fourth after being fifth, 2 1/2 lengths off the lead, after a half-mile. They wee followed in order by Gunnevera, Singing Bullet, Bitumen, Tiz Trevor, Blame Will, Perro Rojo, Holiday Bonus and Honor Thy Father.  Twelve ran, and Classic Empire was favored at 3-2. . Meanwhile, Lookin at Lee outran his 18-1 odds. Classic Empire completed the 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.41.

Ricardo Santana Jr.: “He ran hard. He’s a really nice horse. He kept running. He tried. The track is really fast today, so that didn’t help us either.”

Lookin At Lee was a a respectable fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 5, Classic Empire disposed of Syndergaard at the head of the stretch and then held off a bid from 5-2 favorite Not This Time by a neck to win. Practical Joke finished third, 7 1/2 lengths behind the top two, followed by Lookin at Lee. Classic Empire covered the 1 1/16 mile in 1:42.60. It was Classic Empire's fourth win from five starts -- his sole loss came when he threw his rider leaving the gate. Under Julien Leparoux, who rode the colt for all four of his 2016 victories, Classic Empire broke well out of post 5 and sat just off the hip of pacesetter Syndergaard through fractions of :23.05 and :46.60. Leparoux let the reins out a notch coming into the final turn and then set his mount down for a sustained drive. Not This Time stalked the early pace just behind the front runners and appeared ready to collar Classic Empire, but the latter one dug in on the rail and refused to yield.

Steve Asmussen: “He tried. I thought he ran well. Two horses we've chased the last two times finished one-two, so he's been keeping good company. Obviously, he looks like a horse where more distance will help him. We'll evaluate how he's doing and try to figure out how to get a good 3-year-old.”

Lookin at Lee was shipped to Fair Grounds after Breeders' Cup.

Jan. 7 NOTE: Trainer Asmussen texted to the FG pressbox: "Nice horse. Doing well off of his freshening.” Asmussen said a February return is most likely. Likely targets could be the Southwest Stakes on Feb. 20 or the Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 25.

One Liner won the Southwest Stakes his first time going two turns. The 3 1/2-length victory was timed in 1:41.85, by far the fastest this race has been run since the distance was increased from a mile to 1 1/16 mile in 2013. Gun Runner won the Razorback Handicap, two races prior on the card, by three lengths in a time of 1:40.97. The track was speed-favoring. With John Velazquez in the irons, One Liner was fourth early, three lengths back, as even money favorite Uncontested set early fractions of 22.93, 46.55 and 1:10.98. Petrov tracked in second for six furlongs about a length or length and a half back and took over as the horses turned into the stretch. He opened up a 1 1/2-length advantage at the furlong marker before being collared by the winner. Petrov finished 8 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Lookin at Lee, who bobbled at the start and had to weave his way through traffic from 10th place. Silver Dust was another length back in fourth after running sixth or seventh at each previous call. They were followed by Dilettante, Uncontested, Hence, P C Cowboy, Rowdy the Warrior, Chief Know it All, Warrior’s Club and Cu Rahy. Cool Arrow scratched.

Steve Asmussen: "I think that's where we're at with him. At a mile and sixteenth, that's who he is. It's a good starting spot for the year."

In the March 18 Rebel Stakes, Malagacy won by two lengths, 112-1 Sonneteer was second, Untrapped third and Petrov fourth, the latter three separated by three noses. Lookin at Lee was sixth, beaten 3 3/4 lengths. He was last of 11 at the first three calls, almost 14, then 8 3/4 lengths off the lead. He made a strong bid into the speed the last 5/16 mile, making up five lengths in the process under Ricardo Santana, Jr.

Steve Asmussen: Lookin At Lee, I’ll weigh between the Arkansas Derby and the Blue Grass, with him having run well in the Breeders’ Futurity there last fall. (He has) been very durable and sound to this point. He just needs more ground.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Asmussen said, “We’re not out of the game, but...(he needs) to improve. ’m a little disappointed with Lookin At Lee’s race yesterday. I thought he would run sharper because he had trained well. Possibly, we’ll just change surfaces with him and go to the Blue Grass. I don’t think he’s shown his best. We might do that but we’ll see how we train out of this race."

March 30 NOTE: Trainer Asmussen said in an espn.com report, "I'm looking forward to running Lookin At Lee a mile and an eighth. He'll benefit more from going a mile and a sixteenth to a mile and an eighth (than) most of all of our 3-year-olds."

April 2 NOTE: Trainer Asmussen said, "That’s as good as Lookin At Lee’s ever worked. Laid-back horse. Maybe the timing is great.”

On April 15, Classic Empire won the Arkansas Derby with Conquest Mo Money second, Lookin at Lee third, Sonneteer fourth, Malagacy fifth and Untrapped sixth. Petrov narrowly led the field into the first turn, closely accompanied by extreme longshot Grandpa's Dream and Conquest Mo Money. Malagacy, the post-time second choice, was less than two lengths back after breaking from post 12. As the field passed the next pole, Conquest Mo Money led after a first half-mile run in a sprightly 46.92. Under heavy pressure from Malagacy, Conquest Mo Money remained in charge of the field with six furlongs run in 1:11.16. Meanwhile, Classic Empire, who had been positioned in sixth or seventh place but only a couple of lengths back of the leader, encountered traffic in the turn and was taken three and four wide.

Into the stretch Conqest Mo Money and Malagacy ran one-two while heads apart and continued to engage in a battle to the wire that included some bumping. Suddenly Classic Empire appeared to their outside in third position with a fulong left to run. He outfinished them to win by a half-length. Conquest Mo Money was second. Lookin at Lee, who was 10th by five lengths after the first half-mile, got up late for third, beaten a length. Sonneteer, 11th in the early going, also closed well to finish fourth, another half-length back and a neck in front of Malagacy in fifth. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Untrapped in sixth. The 1 1/8-mile race was timed in 1:48.93.

Steve Asmussen: “He’s a tremendous horse. He’s just been so fun. He just shows up. He’s sixth 70 yards from the wire. I mean, he never quits trying, and you’d love to see him rewarded for that effort. The good news is we’re stabled at Churchill. He will fly to Louisville on Monday.”

Luis Contreras: “Well yeah he got up perfectly so nice and comfortable. I swinged to the outside and I didn’t want to lose momentum so I didn’t drop inside.  I thought I was going to get to the inside but he was kind of dead.  I pulled outside and he started to run again, I don’t know. It was a perfect race, he tried so hard.”

In the Kentucky Derby, Always Dreaming was first, Lookin at Lee second, Battle of Midway third and Classic Empire fourth. Looking at Lee worked out a difficult, closing trip after breaking from post 1. Always created a dream trip leading to a 2 3/4-length victory. He broke cleanly from post 5 and established a forward position down the stretch for the first time. He tracked State of Honor through the first quarter-mile in 22.70 and the first half in 46.53 leaving the first turn. Up the backstretch, Battle of Midway and Irish War Cry tracked the front two in third and fourth. As the field neared the far turn, six furlongs were gone in 1:11.12 and Always Dreaming had wrested the lead from a retreating State of Honor. As Always Dreaming rounded the turn in front, he was still under pressure to his outside from Battle of Midway and Irish War Cry. When heads turned for home, Always Dreaming had covered the mile in 1:37.27.

From there to the finish line, there were no more serious challenge to Always Dreaming as he ran to victory in a time of 2:03.59. Lookin at Lee made a very late rally to finish second after being 16th in the 20-horse field after the first half-mile. He bested third finisher Battle of Midway by five lengths. Classic Empire, the morning line favorite, was sent off at 6-1 odds and finished another length back in fourth after having a rough start and being placed 13th after the first half-mile.

Steve Asmussen: "I'm definitely proud of 'Lee.' He just keeps coming. Drawing the one was tough. He's the first horse in 20 years to run in the top three from the one hole. A lot of credit goes to Corey for navigating a very good course from there. To me, the Kentucky Derby, everything about it is a thrill. I'm just proud of the effort of Lookin at Lee and the whole team. Hats off to the winner. He ran an incredible race."

Corey Lanerie: “My horse ran great. I’m caught with seconditis – second in the Preakness and now second in the Derby. I’m still very happy.”

In the May 20 Preakness Stakes, Cloud Computing pulled the upset at 13-1, Classic Empire was second, Senior Investment was third and Lookin at Lee was fourth. Favored Always Dreaming faded to eighth. Always Dreaming and Classic Empire broke well and ran through the first turn, up the backstretch and into the far turn one-two in very close quarters with Classic Empire to the outside of the pair. The first six furlongs were timed in 23.16, 46.81 and 1:11.00. About midway through the turn, Always Dreaming began to lose ground, and Classic Empire emerged as the leader as the field turned for home. Meanwhile, Cloud Computing sat two and then three lengths off that dueling pair into the second turn. When Classic Empire was a furlong from the finish line, the race looked like it was his for the taking. But his three-length lead began to evaporate. As Javier Castellano urged him on, Cloud Computing came on outside of Classic Empire and got up in deep stretch to win by a head. The race was timed in 1:55.98 on a track that was rated fast. Senior Investment, who was last of 10 going into the far turn, finished third, another 4 3/4 lengths back and one-half length ahead of Looking at Lee, who was last in the early going.

Steve Asmussen: "Lookin At Lee keeps trying. Fourth in the Preakness, second in the Derby, he’s still trying. I think the circumstances today were ideal for these (Derby) horses to come back, if at all possible, a beautifully cool day. Whether or not they relished the going, I was very glad to see the racetrack get in as good a shape as it did for the running of the Preakness, considering how it looked the last few races Friday.

“Watching the race today from Always Dreaming, I was surprised. I felt that, watching his performance in the Derby, that there was a better chance of beating him here in two weeks — because of him being lightly raced and the spacing — than in the Belmont. But just like horse racing always, it’s never about one horse. It’s about all of them.”

Corey Lanerie: “I thought the track suited him better for the Derby, being a little more sealed maybe. But I was back there where I thought I would be, and when I called on him, he was there. We just didn’t get it done. At the three-eighths pole, I was hoping to grind them down and that they would come back to me. I didn’t have the charge I had at Churchill. Even from the gate, to me, he just didn’t travel as well over the track.”

WORKOUTS
Dec. 24, four in 52.20 Breezing 129/146 at FG
Dec. 31, four in 50.00 Breezing 57/140 at FG
Jan. 6, five in 1:02.80 Breezing 18/27 at FG
Jan. 13, five in 1:01.60 Breezing 11/27 at FG
Jan. 20. five in 1:02.00 Breezing 9/34 at FG
Jan. 27, six in 1:13.40 Breezing 3/4 at FG
Feb. 3, five in 1.01:00 Breezing 3/53 at FG
Feb. 13, four in 50:20 Breezing 26/35 at OP
March 9, five in 1.01:00 Breezing 8/40 at OP
March 15, four in 50:00 Breezing 14/26 at OP
March 27, four in 52:00 Breezing good track 15/19 at OP
April 2, five in 1.00:40 Breezing 2/26 at OP
April 9, four in 51:00 Breezing34/39 at OP
April 24, four in 51:20 Breezing 48/51 at CD
May 1, four in 50:20 Breezing sloppy 15/22 at CD
May 15, four in 51:20 Breezing 22/23 at CD

 

 

MULTIPLIER (KY)
Trainer: Brendan Walsh
Owner: Gary Barber, Adam Wachtel and George Kerr
Breeder: Mark Stansell
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): The Factor (War Front, Greyciousness)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Trippi Street (Trippi, Ten Downing Street)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 5-3-6-0-0 (14) 3.67
Foal Date: April 24, 2014

$62,000 Keenelnad November 2014


Multiplier raced the first three times at Fair Grounds.

His debut came on Jan. 21, and he ran third by two lengths to Hollywood Handsome on a track rated muddy-sealed. He was the 5-2 favorite in a large field going a mile and 70 yards. Brian Hernandez, Jr. was aboard.

Going the same distance in his second start on Feb. 18, Multiplier finished second by a neck to Souper Tapit in a time of 1:43.59 on a track rated fast. Under Hernandez he was four wide on the far turn and came out of the turn even wider. The winner was 2-1, and Multiplier was 3-1.

Third time was the charm with Multiplier breaking his maiden while again ridden by Hernandez at a distance of a mile and 70 yards. At 8-5 odds, he won by 1 3/4 length with Combat Controller and Brookline second and third. As was the case in his previous races, Multiplier came from off the pace.

In the Illinois Derby on Aprl 22, Multiplier, ridden by James Graham, just got up for a narrow victory. It was the second-fastest running in the history of the race, timed in 1:47.98. Graham had Multiplier racing just out of striking distance in the early going in a ground-saving trip. They started making up ground around the far turn while continuing to run along the rail. As the field turned for home, Graham angled Multiplier to the outside and closed well to just nip Hedge Fund by a head. It was another 4 3/4 lengths back to It’s Your Nickel in third. Multiplier took the lead after fractions of 23.47, 47.24, 1:11.09 and 1:35.57.

James Graham: “Turning for home I was pretty sure we were going to get there. For a moment when Jose’s horse (Hedge Fund) spurted away, he kind of caught my horse flat, but Multiplier went right after him all the way to the wire and got up by maybe a neck. He might have settled a bit too well. He’s kind of lazy. But he has a great career ahead of him. Have you seen him? He’s gorgeous. All kidding aside, he’s a beautiful horse and Brendan has done a great job with him. I’m just happy to be a part of this."

In the May 20 Preakness Stakes, Multiplier finished sixth, beaten 5 3/4 lengths. He was hemmed in on the rail a bit and finally got loose to make a little run.

Brendan Walsh: “He finished good and he ran a decent race. He tried hard, so it’s hard to be disappointed with him. It looked like he needed more ground. He did get a little stuck down there (on the rail). He had a horse outside him. I thought there would be a lot more space with 10 runners, but there was a horse down on him the whole way and he never really got a break or really got a chance to get out of there. Joel said when he got rolling, he really rolled home for him and he said he finished up great.”

Joel Rosario: “It was a good trip, but I got stopped a little. I’m not saying I would have won the race, but maybe third.”

WORKOUTS
March 11, five in 1:02.20 Breezing 33/47 at FG
March 30, four in 49.20 Breezing 15/25 at KEE
April 8, five in 1:02.00 Breezing 24/50 at KEE
April 15, five in 1:03.20 Breezing 29/39 KEE
May 8, four in 50:60 Breezing 37/43 at KEE
May 14, five in 1.00:80 Breezing 8/20 at KEE

 

 

SENIOR INVESTMENT (KY)
Trainer: Ken McPeek
Owner: Fern Circle Stables
Breeder:  Dixiana Farms LLC
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Discreetly Mine (Mineshaft, Pretty Discreet)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Plaid (Deputy Commander, Sapphire Beads)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-3-6-0-0 (12) 3.00
Foal Date: March 21, 2014

$95,000 Keeneland September 2015

Senior Investment broke his maiden in his fourth start, a maiden race at a mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds on Dec. 26.

It’s Your Nickel was awarded victory on Jan. 27 when his stablemate Senior Investment was disqualified from first to last for interference with Bobby the Brain on the far turn.

Ken McPeek said in early February,“We’ll stick with the ‘a-other-than’ with him. There’s one coming back toward the end of the month. We also have Pat on the Back for that race. Our 3-year-olds are doing well right now. It’s a good problem to have.”

Senior Investment was doing well, so he was entered in a Feb. 18 allowance at Fair Grounds, and he was visually impressive coming from far off the pace to mow down rivals in the stretch. He was last of seven at the first call, over six lengths back of the pace, saved ground early under Channing Hill and rolled down the lane late to overtake the dueling Silver Bullion and 8-5 favorite Curtis. Those two finished second and third beaten three lengths and 4 3/4 lengths, respectively. Jerrid was fourth, beaten 5 1/4 lengths. Time for the 1 1/16-mile race was 1:45.11. The chart call: "Senior Investment,  last away, raced back off the pace, two path through the second turn, switched to the far outside to be widest in the drive, found another gear late, strongly clear."

March 25 NOTE: Trainer McPeek said, “I really want to run him a mile and an eighth. Fair Grounds having one of the longest stretches in the country will be good for him and already having finished first twice already (at the track) helps, as well. It’s kind of a no-brainer, if you think about it. He’s really doing well and started to figure it all out. As a baby he had some throat issues and once we got those fixed, he’s come long nicely. I feel confident that he could sneak his way into the (Kentucky Derby) picture. He and (It’s Your Nickel, starting next in the Blue Grass) have more to prove.”

In the April 1 Louisiana Derby, favored Girvin won with Patch second, Local Hero third and Hollywood Handsome fourth. Senior Investment was sixth, beaten 5 3/4 lengths, after running seventh or eighth of nine most of the way.
 
Channing Hill:  “Hopefully they don’t give up on this horse because I really think he has a good future. He really doesn’t get what he’s 100 percent doing yet. He was never super-clear, but he fought all the way to the wire. I had to step on the brakes on the turn a bit, but honestly I thought I had a real shot on the backside when I was behind the winner. He’s a Belmont kind of horse.”

The Stonestreet Lexington Stakes was won by longshot Senior Investment as he just got up at the wire to beat post-time favorite West Coast, with No Dozing third and Time to Travel fourth. No Dozing and Souper Tapit were in close quarters through the first turn, and Resiliency emerged with the lead going up the backstretch with Time to Travel in closest pursuit, the first quarter-mile gone in 24.16. After a half-mile in 47.71 and six furlongs in 1:12.44, Resiliency was still in charge and Souper Tapit had moved up to second. Those two waved the white flag, and Time to Travel seized the lead in the turn while West Coast mounted a charge, and they came into the stretch in that order with space separating the pair from the rest of the field. No Dozing mounted a late challenge to West Coast and Time to Travel. But none of those three would win. Instead, Senior Investment and Channing Hill, who were 11 1/4 lengths behind after a half-mile and four lengths back with one furlong left in the race,  came flying wide to run them all down and win by a head. West Coast finished a neck ahead of No Dozing, who was 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Time to Travel.

Ken McPeek: “I was pretty confident. I’ve been trying to find a mile and an eighth race, and I had the option of taking him out of town. But I really felt like OK, we’re here. He trained really good here this week. So do we work him or do we run him? So, let’s say we run him. I really felt like a mile and an eighth would have been great for him. I think Churchill ought to add more points to this race immediately, but that’s the way the ball bounced. Preakness? Maybe, we’ll see. We have a really good horse and we’re going to have some fun.”

Channing Hill: “He timed it right. Once I got him tipped out where he could really stretch his legs out, he came home nice. At the eighth pole, I wasn’t 100 percent sure I was going to get there, but he was really running on. This is a really nice colt – really special. When I won on him at Oaklawn, he showed a lot, showed a turn of foot, too. Today, he was the best one.”

In the May 20 Preakness Stakes, Cloud Computing pulled the upset at 13-1, Classic Empire was second, Senior Investment was third and Lookin at Lee was fourth. Favored Always Dreaming faded to eighth. Always Dreaming and Classic Empire broke well and ran through the first turn, up the backstretch and into the far turn one-two in very close quarters with Classic Empire to the outside of the pair. The first six furlongs were timed in 23.16, 46.81 and 1:11.00. About midway through the turn, Always Dreaming began to lose ground, and Classic Empire emerged as the leader as the field turned for home. Meanwhile, Cloud Computing sat two and then three lengths off that dueling pair into the second turn. When Classic Empire was a furlong from the finish line, the race looked like it was his for the taking. But his three-length lead began to evaporate. As Javier Castellano urged him on, Cloud Computing came on outside of Classic Empire and got up in deep stretch to win by a head. The race was timed in 1:55.98 on a track that was rated fast. Senior Investment, who was last of 10 going into the far turn, finished third, another 4 3/4 lengths back and one-half length ahead of Looking at Lee, who was last in the early going.

Ken McPeek: “It was a great race. I was happy with him. He showed me he could compete against these kind and has continued to improve. He’s a really good horse with a huge future and I think we’re just getting started with him. A mile and a half and the Belmont is going to be really up his alley. The two who finished in front of him are obviously really good horses, but maybe if we would have had a little cleaner trip, we maybe could have finished closer. He’s such a big horse, it was pretty obvious he was going to need time to develop, so it's not a big surprise that he’s come along. He’s a really, really smart horse.

Channing Hill:: “The race went the way I expected. I got a little stopped around the first turn when Asmussen’s horse (Hence) got the jump on me. I had to step on the brakes a little bit. Halfway down the lane, he showed his heart. I couldn’t be happier with this colt. He’s got a legitimate chance to win the Belmont. See you in New York.”

WORKOUTS
Feb. 11, three in 38:40 Breezing 15/16 at OP
March 4, five in 1:03.80 Breezing 33/38 at FG
March 13, four in 48:60 Breezing 6/45 at FG
March 20, five in 1.00:60 Breezing 4/22 at FG
March 26, four in 48:80 Breezing good track 5/44 at FG
May 8, five in 1.00:40 Breezing 1/23 at KEE
May 14, five in 1.00:80 Breezing 8/20 at KEE

 

 

TERM OF ART (KY)
Trainer: Doug O'Neill
Owner: Calumet Farm
Breeder: Whisper Hill Farm, LLC
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Tiznow (Cee's Tizzy, Cee's Song)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Miles of Style (Storm Cat, Tomisue's Delight)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 5-3-10-0-0 (18) 2.60
Foal Date: April 17, 2014

$220,000 Keeneland September 2015


As a juvenile, he won two races from five starts with one second and one third. His first win came in his third start going a mile at Santa Anita -- he won by a nose --  and his other win was in the one-mile Cecil B. DeMille on a track rated good at Del Mar.

Term of Art's worst race of 2016 came in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He ran ninth of 11, beaten 19 lengths. It wasn't the best of trips. The chart call: "Term of Art, brushed at the break, steadied when in close heading towards the first turn, lagged off the pace and failed to menace."

His first start of 2017 was in the one-mile Sham Stakes at Santa Anita, but he didn't fire at all and finished fifth of seven, beaten 17 lengths by Gormley. The track was sloppy/sealed.

On Feb. 4 Royal Mo went out and won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 3-2 odds. Only five ran, but he was never threatened. Royal Mo broke well from the rail and dictated fractions of 23.86, 47.37, 1:11.50 and 1:36.84 before winning by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:43.38. Irap, one of three Doug O'Neill trainees in the race, pressed the winner through much of the race and held off favored Sheer Flattery by a neck for second money. Sheer Flattery, sent off at 4-5 from post 5, was four wide into the first turn and came under pressure by Mike Smith relatively early in the race. Third turning for home, Sheer Flattery never threatened the winner. He finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Term of Art who was fourth or fifth at each call. Dangerfield tried to mount a far turn rally but faded to last. The chart call: "Term of Art angled in and settled off the pace inside, came out on the second turn and three wide into the stretch and lacked the needed rally."

Doug O'Neill: “Royal Mo just ran lights out. I think pace makes the race, and the first half wasn’t overly quick. When you give a horse like Royal Mo an uncontested lead you’re going to be in trouble. With Term of Art, it was the first time that Tyler has been on him and he suggested that he would be better with blinkers, so we’ll put them back on...."

Mastery was super impressive winning the San Felipe Stakes on March 11 only to be pulled up about 10 jumps past the wire injured. Iliad gave chase but finished second. Term of Art came on late to get third, and Gormley, who pressed Mastery early, faded to fourth. Mastery set the pace and turned back heavy pressure from Gormley and Iliad up the backstretch and the far turn before separating himself from the field in the stretch. He galloped home under a hand ride in 1:42.38 in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe. Mastery set fractions of 23.50, 46.79 and 1:10.48. In the run toward the far turn, Mastery, Gormley and Iliad separated themselves from the pack, and they stayed that way for a while, but Mastery stayed in front and cut the corner into the stretch and began to get loose while Gormley went in the opposite direction. Iliad continued to give chase, but it was to be in vain. Smith and Mastery hit the finish line 6 3/4 lengths ahead of Iliad. Term of Art came on late to get third, another 1 3/4 length back and 1 1/4 length ahead of Gormley. It was another dozen lengths back to Ann Arbor Eddie, followed by Bluegrass Envy and Vending Machine.

In the Santa Anita Derby on April 8, Term of Art was 23-1 and last of 13 after the first half-mile. He finished seventh, beaten 6 1/4 lengths by Gormley. He was swung six wide in the stretch but had no closing kick.

In the May 20 Preakness Stakes, Term of Art finished last of 10, beaten 16 lengths with no excuse.

Doug O’Neill: “I thought Jose had him in a perfect spot and then around the 3/8ths pole he said a horse came over on him a little bit and Term of Art overreacted a little bit, sucked out of it and dropped out of the race; then he came on a little bit in the end. He’s still a champ in our mind. I love this horse. He’s a talented horse and one of these days he is going to put everything together and he is going to be a big-time horse.”

Jose Ortiz: “I put him in the race. I was sitting great right behind the horse that won the race. He didn’t give me any kick.”

WORKOUTS
Feb. 16, four in 49:00 Handily 73/133 at SA
Feb. 24, six in 1.14:80 Handily 8/18 at SA
March 3, six in 1.15:20 Handily 24/33 at SA
March 24, five in 1.01:80 Handily 43/75 at SA
March 31, five in 1.03:40 Handily 41/43 at SA
On April 22, five in 59.80 Handily 3/75 at SA
On April 29, six in 1:13.80 Handily 10/14 at SA
On May 6, six in 1:14.60 Handily 9/17 as SA
May 13, six in 1.13:80 Handily 2/6 at SA

 

 

 

 

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