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Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby at The Downey Profile®

 


Belmont Stakes Horses

Last updated June 11 at 9:18 a.m. ET

Concluded

 

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EPICHARIS (JPN)
Trainer: Kiyoshi Hagiwara
Owner: U Carrot Farm
Breeder:  Masatsugu Kamada
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Gold Allure (JPN) (Sunday Silence, Nikiya)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Stapes Mitsuko (JPN) (Carnegie (IRE), Martin Miyuki (JPN))
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-1-14-3-0 (22) 1.20
Foal Date: March 22, 2014

$256,100 JHRA 2015


He was three-for-three in Japan in 2016. He broke his maiden at Niigata on August 14, going nine furlongs in 1:54.40, then winning an allowance at Tokyo on Oct. 15 timed in 1:37.70 for the mile.

That led him to the nine-furlong, Grade 3 Hokkaido Nisai Yushun at Mombetsu to cap off the year in November. He won and was timed in 1:54.60. Christophe-Patrice Lemaire rode him for the third time in three starts, and he won by about a dozen lengths. Video: http://keiba-lv-st.jp/movie/player?track=monbetsu&date=20161101&race=10

Jan. 20 NOTE: @Hochi_horse_en tweeted, "Epicharis has registered UAE Derby and American triple crown. Will run in Hyacinth Stakes on 19th Feb at Tokyo. Ridden by @christo68914587"

Jan. 26 NOTE: Dan Illman wrote at DRF.com: "My Japanese is non-existent, but from the bits and pieces I've picked up from various sources, it appeared that Epicharis skipped the Cattleya Sho and the Grade 1 Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun last month due to body and leg soreness." However, Illman noted that the colt was back in training.

On Feb. 19, Epicharis won the Hyacinth Stakes at 4-5 odds in a field of 15, timed in 1:37.80. Under Lemaire, he saved ground throughout after breaking from post 2 while Adirato led the way. In deep stretch, it appeared Adirato might get the win, but Lemaire was just waiting to pull the trigger, and when he did, Epicharis ran past Adirato on the rail to prevail over that one by about a length. Mont Saint Legame was unplaced.

The win secured Epicharis 50 points on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby, surpassing the 40 points that Mont Saint Legame secured in the Cattleya Sho Stakes in November. Adirato was awarded 20 points for finishing second in the Hyacinth.

One position in the Kentucky Derby is awarded to the horse that accrues the most points and accepts an invitation to compete. An invitation will go to Epicharis. Should the connections of Epicharis decline, connections of Mont Saint Legame may accept. If that is declined, Adirato's connections may accept. No other invitation will be extended beyond the top three point earners.

The ultimate goal this spring for Epicharis might be the Belmont Stakes, much like it was last year for Lani, who finished fifth in the Hyacinth before winning the UAE Derby. Lani competed in all three legs of the Triple Crown series.

One question is what happens if connections of Epicharis accept the "Japan Road" invitation to compete in the Kentucky Derby but then get enough points in the UAE Derby to make the Derby starting gate anyway? Could they keep Adirato or Mont Saint Legame out of the Kentucky Derby using this strategy? Would they? It might turn out to be a moot point in part because Adirato could also show up in the UAE Derby. Mont Saint Legame wasn't nominated to that race.

March 22 NOTE: Trainer Kiyoshi Hagiwara said, “He had a good work, breezed 800 meters today and he is moving smoothly. He is right where we want him." Jockey Christophe Lemaire said, "He has a beautiful conformation and is in good form. The trainer is also pleased with him. He will run for the first time...here, so the suitability is an unknown factor, but he is a very talented horse, so I'm very looking forward to his race. Hopefully he will win the race and be qualified to run in the Kentucky Derby."

In the UAE Derby on March 25, Thunder Snow got by Epicharis at the wire by a short head after a thrilling stretch duel, with Master Plan third and Lancaster Bomber fourth. Epicharis broke from post 10, ran 150 meters to the first turn, and led Adirato and Qatar Man into the bend. Heading up the backstretch, those same three were on top. Thunder Snow, who wasn't as quick as the pacesetter breaking from post 13, and Fawree vied for fourth. The first half-mile was timed in 48 2/5. Up the backstretch, Epicharis and Adirato still controlled the pace, and Thunder Snow was fully engaged in third, with Qatar Man still going along in fourth. As the field rounded the far turn, Adirato began to fade, and Thunder Snow threw down the gauntlet to a stubborn Epicharis. Qatar Man was still third but about to be surpassed. With Thunder Snow to the outside of Epicharis, the outcome was in doubt until the last jump. Master Plan, who was eighth and wide leaving the turn, got by five horses in the stretch to finish third, beaten 1 1/4 length. Lancaster Bomber, who was fifth out of the turn, got by Qatar Man for fourth. The final time for the 1,900 meter UAE Derby, which is about 1 3/16 mile by U.S. standards, was 1:57.76. The track record for the distance is 1:56:51.

Christophe Lemaire: “He was very brave. It was the first time he had been on this dirt but he answered very well and showed a lot of ability. It was a very close race but the winner was very strong and must have held some advantage at a home ground. He was very relaxed during the trip and showed his best run. It was defeat today but you would have to be happy.”

May 3 NOTE: Announced today that Epicharis will be shipped to Belmont Park on June 1 to compete in the Belmont Stakes.

May 25 NOTE: He is expected to be shipped in on June 1.  Trainer Hagiwara said, "I am pleased with his work (yesterday). He looks fine, and he moved sharply. He has been doing well. Considering the long trip to Belmont via Anchorage and Chicago, I will give him one more timed work in Japan at the same course on Sunday, and the last one will be at Belmont on Tuesday or Wednesday the week of the race."

June 10: After 2 1/2 days of suspense, Epicharis is scratched by stewards. He is lame in his right front foot.

WORKOUTS
May 25, five in 1:05.20 Breezing at MTC
Epicharis, five in  1.06:06 Breezing training track 14/14 at BEL

 

 

GORMLEY (KY)
Trainer: John Shirreffs
Owner: Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss
Breeder: Castleton Lyons & Kilboy Estate
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Malibu Moon (A.P. Indy, Macoumba)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Race to Urga (Bernstein, Miss Mambo)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 7-5-12-2-0 (26) 2.25
Foal Date: March 20, 2016


$150,000 RNA Keeneland September 2015

Gormley won his debut for a trainer not known to crank them up for their first start.

In his second career start, Gormley went wire-to-wire to win the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct 1. He galloped home and did it rather easily. Klimt, the favorite, was at the back of the field in the backstretch and rallied to finish second, beaten three lengths while never challenging the winner. Fractions were 23.72, 47.18, 1:11.48, 1:36.79 and a final time of 1:43.57.

Victor Esponoza: “I was really surprised. Like anything you go into it with a plan, but when that gate opens, everything can change. I originally wanted to take back a little bit and let him run in the end but next thing I know, something happened to the three horse (Secret House, who broke from the gate without rider Santiago Gonzalez and declared a non-starter.) I was on the rail and didn’t want to take him back then, so I let him run. This horse can run well wherever he runs. He’s a very talented young horse and he’s going to improve for the future.”

John Shirreffs: “You know, it’s always a surprise as you well know. You train in the morning and you hope they can improve in the afternoon. You don’t ever know until the afternoon. After you’ve won your first race you settle in and you just move on. He’s a young horse, he’s learning. He needs to focus a little bit and once he gets focused he’s got it handled. He looks like a million bucks, he’s a beautiful horse and he’s doing really well. I like that when he got into that big gear he has, he didn’t get too excited for a young horse and today he was all business.”

Gormley didn't spring from the gate to the lead in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, instead finding himself mid-pack running into the first turn. He didn't improve his position. Fifth at the first three calls, he was seventh at the final two calls, beaten 16 1/4 lengths.

Dec. 19 NOTE: Trainer Shirreffs said Gormley is set to make his three-year-old debut in the Sham Stakes at on Jan. 7.

Jan. 6 NOTE: Trainer Shirreffs said, “Condition-wise and weather-wise, it’s a go. He’s trained very well. He came out of the Breeders’ Cup in great shape and has trained well since. As to strategy, we’ll let Victor make that decision once the gates open. There’s enough speed in the race that maybe he doesn’t need the lead; I don’t know. He’s still kind of new at developing a style. Hopefully, he’ll pick a style that works.”

The Sham Stakes on Jan. 7 turned into a sloppy-track duel won by Gormley over American Anthem, the latter horse going two turns for the first time. A short head separated Gormley and American Anthem at the wire. Victor Espinoza was on the winner, who got the mile in 1:35.89. Gormley was the second betting choice, and American Anthem was favored. Mike Smith gunned American Anthem from the rail, and Espinoza sat a close second just off the leader’s right hip into and around the clubhouse turn. As the field made its way into the far turn, the top two separated themselves from the field and battled to the finish. Fractions were 22.54, 45.46, 1:10.13 and 1:22.70.

John Shirreffs: “That was a great race. He’s still young. You never know what they’re going to do so it’s always interesting. We’re very proud of him. He’s quick. He starts quick, he gets away quickly. But then he checks himself as he gets into the race and he relaxes. It was great to see him pick it back up again and get it done. Chantal (Sutherland who has been working him in the mornings) has given me a lot of confidence in how he’s doing. She’s a rider who really understands what is going on underneath her and is very expressive about it, so she’s been a big help.”

Jerry Moss: “This type of thing never gets old. He’s got a lot of heart, and I know he’ll go further than this. John’s doing all the right things as usual. This was a beautiful horse race and the fans got a thriller. No idea where we’ll run next.”

Victor Espinoza: “It was nice yes. I expected him to run the way he ran today. I know he’s still improving, but I think he only gets better and better. Hopefully, he gets a lot better, but with this race and his next, he has a lot of potential to keep growing. It didn’t surprise me how well he broke out of there today. When he’s feeling good, he breaks quickly and already running. In the Breeders’ Cup he broke slow, but today he came into the race in really good shape and got into it right away.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Shirreffs said, "He looked really good this morning. I’m extremely proud of the way he ran and battled it out. It was a great duel down the stretch with both horses. Two great jockeys going at it, two promising young horses going at it. That’s what racing is all about.”

Feb. 22 NOTE: Weather interfered with the normal workout pattern between Feb. 10-20, trainer Shirreffs said.

March 9 NOTE: Trainer Shirreffs said about running Gormley this Saturday instead of going out of town, “The big thing was how well Gormley worked here when he went in 1:11 and change."

Mastery was super impressive winning the San Felipe Stakes on March 11 only to be pulled up about 10 jumps past the wire by a worried Mike Smith and later diagnosed with a condylar fracture. 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, with Mastery just ahead of Gormley and Iliad going into the far turn. Gormley was between horses. Iliad moved on Gormley in the turn, 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.

Victor Espinoza, aboard Gormley: “You know, Gormley was good all the way around. He kind of surprised me at the three-eighths pole where he kind of dropped the bridle and just kept moving along with the winner and I thought he’d finish second. It seems like he’s okay, but these young horses, they’re still figuring it out. Race by race, they’re seeing what exactly they like and some little thing may not being going their way and they won’t race at their best, but he’ll recover and do better in the next one.”

In the Santa Anita Derby on April 8, Gormley won, Battle of Midway was second, Royal Mo third and Reach the World fourth. Set down while a few lengths off the pace leaving the half mile pole, Gormley kept to his task through the lane and got the nine furlongs in 1:51.16. Gormley was sent off at 6-1 in a field of 13. Battle of Midway, American Anthem and Royal Mo fought for the early lead heads apart through six furlongs timed in 22.66, 46.55 and 1:10.92. Battle of Midway stayed on stubbornly to finish second by a half-length, and Royal Mo finished third, beaten a length. Reach the World, who was 10 lengths off the pace after the first half-mile, closed well to finish another half-length back in fourth, and Iliad, who finished fifth, was beaten only two lengths.

John Shirreffs: I think the key was Espinoza rating Gormley and then making his big move. This is very exciting. Gormley is an evolving horse.He’s very precocious and very excitable. I just need to turn that energy of his into positive use. It’s a lot of growing pains with a talented horse. I think using the tongue tie certainly helped us today. We’ll see how this shakes out. We’ll see how he comes out of this race in the morning and if all is well, we’ll point to the Kentucky Derby.”

Victor Espinoza: “Today the big difference is that he was ready. Something went wrong last time, he was good but not quite where I wanted. I was a little bit disappointed, but it seems like today he was on his toes, on his game and I was really ready for it. All it takes is having a lot of confidence in him against the other horses and with John we were hoping he chose the right one.

“He’s really quick out of the gate, and today the plan was to take him back and make him run because it seemed like there was a little bit of speed in the race. I had a little bit of a hard time taking him back, but all I had to do was jerk him one time, a bit harder than I wanted, and that’s all it took. He relaxed very nice.

"Down the backside, I started laughing to myself because I knew I was in a good position, and I knew all the horses in front of me were going to stop. He showed me he’s capable of going the distance. The only problem is his size; he’s not very big but he’s tough, and that’s what I like about him. He works really hard, and that’s what it takes.”

April 15 NOTE: May not arrive at Churchill Downs until Derby week.

April 23 NOTE: Will arrive at Churchill on May 1. Here's what trainer Shirreffs said to Bloodhorse.com of Gormley's slow-early, fast-late work yesterday: "The nice thing about it was he wasn't even pulling. Before, when he'd leave the pony, he'd get right into it. Now he doesn't rush. I think that's important for high-end horses. He has so much energy; we want to tone down the speed and finish."

April 24 NOTE: Jockey Espinoza said, “I’m really looking forward to the Derby this year. I’m excited, because every year that I have a horse in the Derby, I feel I have a chance. I feel the same this year. The race is wide open, Gormley is doing well and ran a big race to win the Santa Anita Derby. Hopefully, he’ll run his race in Kentucky and I think I’ll be in good shape.”

In the Kentucky Derby, Gormley finished ninth, beaten 14 1/4 lengths, after advancing from ninth early to fourth at the top of the stretch. He was bumped by Practical Joke in mid-stretch but really had no excuse.

John Shirreffs: “Gormley came back fine. I’d really prefer not to comment on his race until I have a chance to watch the replay.”

Victor Espinoza: “I had a great trip, but not enough horse.  He never really picked up the bridle.”

The Belmont Stakes on June 10 was won by Tapwrit, with Irish War Cry second, Patch third and Gormley fourth. Gormley was fourth or fifth early on, advanced to third, was passed by Patch in the stretch and was beaten 12 lengths. After breaking from post 2, Tapwrit saved ground in fourth while as Irish War Cry ran a moderate first quarter-mile in 23.88 and the half in 48.66. He slowed it down and waltzed through six furlongs 1:14.01, all but guaranteeing that the closers in the race would have no shot. He got a mile in 1:38.95. Irish War Cry was up by a length over Tapwrit in upper stretch. Ortiz urged Tapwrit on with his left hand, and they took over with about 100 yards left and won by two lengths. Irish War Cry finished 5 3/4 lengths head of Patch, a stable mate of Tapwit. Gormley was another 4 1/4 lengths back in fourth.

John Shirreffs: "I thought he ran really well. I'm pleased with the effort he made. He bobbled a little out of the gate but he recovered nicely. I thought he ran a very creditable race. Victor said he started looking around a little bit, so we probably can improve on that. This is the first time he's gone the mile-and-a-half, and they are young 3-year-olds. I didn't think the distance was a problem for him. When the horse came back he wasn't breathing all that hard. We'll take him back to California, and we may come back east with him. It depends upon how things are going. If they're going well, there's a possibility of Saratoga."

Victor Espinoza: "I think he ran a great race. He missed the break. He stumbled a little bit because he was moving around and the other two horses (next to him) squeezed me just a little, but he's quick, so I thought I could get out of that mess and sit just off the speed. I had an excellent trip, but down the lane he was still just a little immature. He really didn't help me to go forward. I have to believe that blinkers would help him. As he gets older, I believe that he's going to improve."


WORKOUTS
Jan. 2, five in 1:00.60 Handily good track 3/9 at SA
Jan. 18, four in 51.20 Handily 112/115 at SA
Jan. 26, five in 1:00.80 Handily 30/87 at SA
Feb. 2 four in 49:60 Handily 43/73 at SA
Feb. 10, five in 1.02:40 Handily 78/101 at SA
Feb. 20, four in 47:80 Handily 8/49 at SA
Feb. 27, six in 1.11:00 Handily 1/14 at SA
March 6, five in 1.02:40 Handily 30/37 at SA
March 21, four in 48:80 Handily 21/41 at SA
March 25, three in 37:00 Handily 9/21 at SA
March 27, five in 1.02:00 Handily 32/53 at SA
April 2, six in 1.14:00 Handily 3/10 at SA
April 15, three in 37.80 Handily 14/16 at SA
April 22, six in 1.15:80 Handily 10/11 at SA
April 29, seven in 1.26:20 Handily 1/2 at SA
May 20, four in 50:00 Handily 37/52 at SAR
May 27, six in 1.14:00 Handily 7/16 at SA
June 3, seven in 1.26:20 Handily 1/1 at SA

 

 

HOLLYWOOD HANDSOME (KY)
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Owner: Mark H. Stanley, Nancy W. Stanley
Breeder: North Hanover Bloodstock
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Tapizar (Tapit, Winning Call)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Ladyflickerflacker (Forestry, Harbor Blues)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 1-6-3-0-0 (10) 5.67
Foal Date: Feb. 17, 2014

$200,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October 2015


His maiden win came on Jan. 21 in his fifth career start. It was at Fair Grounds on a track rated muddy-sealed. Third by two lengths that day was Multiplier. The race at a mile and 70 yards was timed in 1:45.20.

Facing winners for the first time, he finished a close third to Total Tap and Society Beau going a mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds. The time was 1:43.55.

In the April 1 Louisiana Derby, favored Girvin won with Patch second, Local Hero third and Hollywood Handsome fourth, beaten three lengths. He was nosed out for third. He was last of nine, almost 10 lengths behind, after a half-mile.

Next out was the Illinois Derby, and Hollywood Handsome, finished fifth of seven, beaten 8 1/2 lengths by Multiplier. He was last of seven, 10 lengths behind, after the first half-mile.

Those two stakes losses were followed by a return to allowance ranks, and he won at Churchill Downs on May 14. Fourth of six early and only 2 1/2 lengths off the pace after the first half-mile, he won by a neck in 1:42.33. He was even money under Florent Geroux.

June 4 NOTE: Trainer Stewart said, “I’m so excited to get this horse to the Belmont Stakes. We originally toyed with the idea of keeping him at Churchill prior to the Kentucky Derby to see if we could sneak in with 10 points. We eventually decided to run in the Illinois Derby and forego the Kentucky Derby. In hindsight it wouldn’t have worked out with the Derby. I’m glad we got back to the winner’s circle the other week in the allowance race.”

In the Belmont Stakes on June 10, Hollywood Handsome, was eased after Florent Geroux lost his irons early in the race after clipping heels with Twisted Tom.

WORKOUTS
April 15, four in 49.00 Breezing 39/95 at CD
May 8, four in 48.00 Breezing 2/24 at CD
May 26, four in 48.20 Breezing 10/43 at CD
June 2, five in 1.00:60 Breezing 7/20 at CD

 

 

IRISH WAR CRY (NJ)
Trainer: Graham Motion
Owner: Isabelle de Tomaso
Breeder: Isabelle de Tomaso
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Curlin (Smart Strike (CAN), Sherriff's Deputy)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Irish Sovereign (Polish Numbers, Irish Genius)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 5-7-12-0-0 (24) 3.00
Foal Date: May 2, 2014

Irish War Cry turned heads when he rallied from far back to win his Nov. 11 debut by 4 1/2 lengths going six furlongs at Laurel. He returned with a gutsy, front-running nose win over O Dionysus in the seven-furlong Marylander Stakes on Dec. 31, also at Laurel. Both races came under Feargal Lynch

After heading to Florida from Fair Hill Training Center in January, Irish War Cry and Painter’s Rags breezed, in company, for the first time this year on Jan. 22 at Palm Beach Downs, going in lockstep in 48.95.

Jan. 22 NOTE: Trainer Motion said he would point Irish War Cry to the Gulfstream Park series of stakes races and added, “I’m excited about both of them, for sure. I couldn’t have predicted how easily Irish War Cry would have won first time out. Certainly they seem to be my two best colts. Irish War Cry, we’ll look at the next round of 3-year-old preps around two turns. I’m a little reluctant to throw him in the deep end at Gulfstream off of two races, but we’ll see.”

Feb. 2 NOTES: Trainer Motion considered the Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 11 for Irish War Cry’s seasonal bow but opted for the Holy Bull. He said, “This is a big step up for him, stretching out and running against these kinds of horses. I felt like both races were coming up very competitive, and I couldn’t really see any advantage to waiting another week, to be honest. He’s doing well, and he’s there. It’s not all about Saturday. I realize it’s a big step for him.

“Certainly I thought he had some talent, but I couldn’t have imagined he’d win the way he did first time out. Visually it was a very impressive win. He was pretty sharp (in the Marylander), and he kind of surprised me how he came out running, and I think he kind of surprised Feargal a little bit, but I thought he was very tenacious in the way he won. He was inexperienced and coming back in just his second start, and I thought he was very game that day. He’s a neat colt. Let’s hope he’s that good.”

On Feb. 4, Irish War Cry remained undefeated in three starts with 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 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.

Graham Motion: “There’s nothing quite like being involved in these 3-year-old races. It’s a great atmosphere here today. It’s what we all like to do. It’s pretty exciting. He’s a really nice horse, and I was obviously really high on him, but when you’re running against the juvenile champion, you have reservations. I was torn. I was toying with the idea of running in the Sam Davis. I thought it might be a little easier race, because he’s so lightly raced. But the more I looked at it, the way he was working, I just thought we had to take a shot today.

“I kind of thought we’d inherit the lead. I told Joel I wanted him to settle. I didn’t want to get to telling him what to do. I had a feeling we’d end up on the lead. I thought the favorite might be on the lead, but he inherited the lead and he was very confident. I really haven’t gotten beyond today. I don’t know if I want to run in every race. It will be hard enough to run back in one of them, obviously, but we’ll figure it out.”

Joel Rosario: “I had a good trip. He broke sharp, very nice, and he decided he wanted to go on and I just let him be happy where he was. He ran a big race. Graham is a very good trainer. He always wants to keep his horses happy and do whatever they want, and that’s what I tried to do. It looked like he was happy where he was. He was cruising along nicely, and he took them all the way. He broke very nice. I thought the favorite was going to show some speed, but it looked like he didn’t come out of there well and I came out of there very well, so I just kept hold of my spot where I was. Actually he really kicked on again. He was in the lead and very comfortable and turning for home I asked him a little bit and he responded. I was very happy with that.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Motion said, “We have to decide if we run in both races down here and how we go about it. I think there is a good shot that he will do both; I guess we’ll see how things go. I just feel like I’ve thrown a lot at this horse in a short period of time, and that is the only reason that I have some reservations about both races. But we’ll keep him in Florida because it makes sense. We’re not going to get too clever about it, and I see no reason to go anywhere else. You always hope you can win, but you don’t necessarily expect to win like that, especially when you’re running against the 2-year-old champion."

Feb. 25 NOTE: “It’s going to be a little different this time,” trainer Motion said ahead of the Fountain of Youth. “We didn’t have a target on our back last time. I couldn’t believe how comfortably he beat the 2-year-old champion (Classic Empire). That was exciting. This time it’s going to be a little bit different because people will have expectations, as they should. Look, I just would like to see him run a similar race. He’s doing great, and I see no reason not to run in the Fountain of Youth. We’re looking forward to it.”

In the March 4 Fountain of Youth Stakes, Irish War Cry was far out of camera range at the conclusion of the race, beaten 21 3/4 lengths. 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, who was beaten 12 1/4 lengths.

Graham Motion: “He felt he was in a good enough spot. I wish he had maybe settled a little more off the pace perhaps, but I don’t want to make excuses. He looked like he was going pretty nicely. I can’t really say what happened, whether he bounced or not. He ran an awfully big race last time. He looks fine. My instincts and first reaction is that possibly I ran him back too quick. It’s hard to know. He’s done so well between races.”

Joel Rosario: “I had a good trip. He broke very sharp like he did last time. I was trying to stay away from the horse that was on the lead for a little bit, and he looked very good. He looked very relaxed after that, and when I went to go get him he went for a little bit and came up a little empty in the end.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Motion said, “Really, he seems fine. I have no issues with him. He seemed to cool out fine and he looked good this morning. It’s a real head-scratcher. The one thing I blame myself for perhaps is not telling Joel he should have taken a hold of him and taken him back. I think to compete in these races, at some point you’ve got to be able to be adaptable to different scenarios. This horse, if he’s going to compete at this level, he’s got to be able to relax. I think it was a combination of maybe laying a little too close to a pretty good pace on what was a drying-out, cuppy racetrack and maybe just regressing off his last race when he ran such a big race.

“I certainly considered not running him yesterday. From a handicapping point of view, he jumped so far forward in the Holy Bull there was every opportunity he was going to regress in this race, but I felt that his regression would still be good enough to be very competitive, and he certainly trained so well I had no reason to think that he couldn’t run on Saturday. He was in such great form in everything he’d done since the Holy Bull.

“I’ve got to sit on him for a couple of weeks and see where we’re at. My instant gut reaction is I would have a hard time running this horse back in four weeks off of that kind of a race,” he said. “I don’t want to make a hasty decision. Whatever the decision, he’s not going anywhere for a couple of weeks. I’ll keep him down here while we try to figure out the next step.”

March 28 NOTE: Saw on Twitter that Rajiv Maragh has picked up the mount on Irish War Cry for the Wood Memorial.

April 2 NOTE: Trainer Motion said, “I wanted to get him home and give him the extra week. I just didn’t feel like I could run back in the Florida Derby off that performance. For me it was getting him home and getting him relaxed. The biggest factor was probably the extra week, to be honest. It’s also running in a grade two as opposed to a grade one. That was a solid group, and the winner looked very impressive, I thought.”

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.

Graham Motion: "I think it's so good that Rajiv came to the barn and has been on him the last few mornings to see how he is. He's not a difficult horse. He's not a rank horse; he's a very classy horse. We both thought it was a good idea for Rajiv to get on him in the mornings. I thought he won pretty comfortably, and it doesn't seem like distance of the Derby will be an issue.

"I haven't spoken to Rajiv yet, but he looked like he was pretty confident. He probably could have waited a little longer, if he had needed to. It seemed like he had a lot of horse. I think the equipment change (to a figure 8 bridle) probably helped. It gives you a little more control. But he had the perfect trip today. I don't know what happened last time. It's just a complete puzzle to me.

"It's extremely gratifying to get this horse back on track. That was huge. I don't remember having a situation like this, when I felt so much was on the line. I think Rajiv must have felt like he had a lot of horse because he moved to the leaders so confidently. It's also gratifying to win this race for Mrs. de Tomaso."

Rajiv Maragh: "The race went well. We had a great post. He broke good out of the gate. He was sharp into the first turn. There was a little pace in front of him, which is what we were hoping for to get in a good tracking positon. He was always in a smooth rhythm.
 
"He relaxed real easily. He did everything I wanted him to do without a lot of effort. He did it all in rhythm. He wasn't rank at all. He settled beautifully. By getting on him in the mornings, I didn't think I'd have a hard time getting him to settle because he goes so easy and comfortable. We ran good together today.

"When I was down and out (from a serious injury), these are the days I dreamed about. These are the days that made me feel I wanted to ride. You never know if you'll get them again after being off so long. I can't be more thankful for everyone who has been there for my recovery and supporting me now that I'm back. I've never been so emotional after a race in my life as I was after this."

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Motion said, "He seems good this morning. He's obviously a little tired. It was a long day, shipping back last night and everything. He didn't eat up everything last night, but otherwise he seems absolutely fine. He's perky and looks nice. Things pretty much went as we hoped they would go. He settled just off the pace, and I guess I was a bit concerned on the backside because he kind of moved up quite early to the leader and, from what Rajiv told me, he felt like he had so much horse underneath him. My big question for him was how he thought about how he won, and he said he felt like he did it pretty comfortably really.

"I think it's going to be advantageous to him to keep him (at Fair Hill) as long as I can. Right now, that's my gut feeling. I can certainly change my mind, but I'd probably keep him at Fair Hill and give him his one work before the Derby there."

In the Kentucky Derby, Irish War Cry bore in at the start and created a chain reaction of problems. He finished 10th, beaten 16 1/2 lengths, after closely pursuing winner Always Dreaming during the first mile of the race.

Graham Motion: “Rajiv said he was cruising at the top of the stretch. He said he kind of went from having a lot of horse to not having a lot of horse in three strides. Could it be the mile and a quarter? Maybe, but I think it’s too early to say. He just didn’t finish up. Rajiv thought he was really traveling at the top of the stretch.”

Rajiv Maragh: “My trip was ideal, what I was hoping for.  He broke well out of the gate and got a good position. He relaxed beautifully off the pace. Going into the turn, I seemingly had a lot of horse. I was ready to engage the five horse, he just kind of quit running on me.”

June 4 NOTE: Trainer Motion reaffirmed the intent of he and the owner to go in the Belmont. "That's definitely what we intend to do, as long as things go well the next couple of days. She's very much on board with taking a chance. Obviously, we feel like he didn't run his race on Derby day. If we were going to consider running him he needed to have a solid work, and I think he did. I thought he looked good this morning. We weighed him and he's put on 10 pounds since the Derby. We're very pleased with him.

"I think sometimes we overthink these things a little bit. Right after the Derby, I was just so discouraged that I didn't even want to think about another Triple Crown race. Watching him train and seeing how well he's doing being back at Fair Hill and then seeing the result of the Preakness, obviously he's run well with those horses before. It made me think more about it. It's a Classic, it only comes around once in a horse's lifetime and I think he deserves another chance."

Motion said Irish War Cry would van to Belmont following training Wednesday morning at Fair Hill Training Center.

The Belmont Stakes on June 10 was won by Tapwrit, with Irish War Cry second, Patch third and Gormley fourth. After breaking from post 2, Tapwrit and Jose Ortiz saved ground in fourth while as Rajiv Maragh and Irish War Cry ran a moderate first quarter-mile in 23.88 and the half in 48.66. Maragh slowed it down and waltzed through six furlongs 1:14.01, all but guaranteeing that the closers in the race would have no shot. He got a mile in 1:38.95. Irish War Cry was up by a length over Tapwrit in upper stretch. Ortiz urged Tapwrit on with his left hand, and they took over with about 100 yards left and won by two lengths. Irish War Cry finished 5 3/4 lengths head of Patch, a stable mate of Tapwit. Gormley was another 4 1/4 lengths back in fourth.

Graham Motion: "It actually wasn't our plan to be on the lead. We kind of hoped that somebody else would go for it, but he had to go to Plan B and Rajiv did a great job. At the eighth pole, I thought we might be home free, but it's the Belmont. It's a tough race. I'm very proud of how he ran. I thought he ran a very game race. Yes, it's very vindicating - for the horse and for me and the owners and everyone. I thought he ran very game, honestly. He went three-quarters in 14. Turning for home, I thought we might have it, but it's a long way home."

Rajiv Maragh: "He ran a real good race. He tried hard to the end. When I straightened up I had horse left and I knew it was going to take a really big run from another hose to catch me. I was pretty confident turning for home. I saw the other horse coming and obviously a race of this magnitude I'm going to ride hard to the wire, and even when I was ahead you know they're going to be coming at you, but my horse never really gave up. He ran hard to the end he just got a little bit overpowered late in the race, but I'm proud of his effort.

"I was more disappointed in the Kentucky Derby, but I felt like I had a good shot at winning turning for home. I didn't want to get any emotions come and cloud my judgment so I kind of just rode my race. It was a little bittersweet. When you get that close to winning the Belmont stakes, and finishing second, but the horse came back and showed his true colors, and I'm glad he showed up and ran this race today. He ran hard."


WORKOUTS
Dec. 8 five in 1:01.60 Breezing 4/5 at FAI
Dec. 14, five in 1:02.40 Breezing 1/4 at FAI
Dec. 23, six in 1:15.60 Breezing 1/1 at FAI
Jan. 22, four in 48.95 Breezing 4/28 at PMM
Jan. 28, five in 1:01.00 Breezing 3/28 at PMM
Feb. 25, five in 1.01:65 Breezing 14/17 at PMM
March 25, five in 1.01:10 Breezing 14/34 at PMM
April 2, six in 1.13:40 Breezing 1/3 at FAI
April 30, six in 1.13:20 Breezing 1/2 at FAI
May 27, five in 1.01:20 Breezing 3/9 at FAI
June 3, six in 1:14.00 Breezing 1/2 at FAI

 

 

J BOYS ECHO (KY)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Owner: Albaugh Family Stable, J Boys Echo
Breeder: Betz/Blackburn/J. Betz/Ramsby/CNHHNK
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Mineshaft (A.P. Indy, Prospector's Delite)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Letgomyecho (Menifee, Echo Echo Echo)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 8-9-11-0-0 (28) 4.09
Foal Date: April 21, 2014


$485,000 Keeneland September 2015

J Boys Echo raced three times in 2016, winning once.

He debuted on Oct. 2 sprinting at Chuurchill Downs and lost by less than two lengths to Totality after starting slowly, swerving around and being 10th of 11 in the early running. Robby Albarado was up.

Second time out was on Oct. 27, and he broke much better going two turns at Keeneland. Timed in 1:45.37 for the 1 1/16 mile, he blew away a field of 12 with a 5 1/2-length margin at the finish despite a rough trip under Albarado. The chart call: J Boys Echo stalked the pace early, angled off the rail entering the lane, was bothered and steadied sharply, altered to the rail and drew away late in the stretch under a steady drive."

On Nov. 19, J Boys Echo was shipped to Cajun country for the Delta Jackpot and was ridden by Kent Desormeaux. He finished fourth of 10, beaten 10 lengths. He was right in the mix early, lost ground on the last turn of the bullring, dropping back to seventh, and then passed three horses in the final furlong. Gunnevera won, followed by Hot Sean and Dangerfield. The chart call isn't exactly on target because he lost a half-length against the pace in the final furlong. "J Boys Echo pressed the early pace from the outside, dropped back, responded and was gaining late."

The Feb. 4 Withers Stakes was the first start of 2017 for J Boys Echo, and Robby Albarado was back aboard. After running in sixth place early, he finshed with interest to get third behind El Areeb and True Timber, beaten 4 3/4 lengths. He was third, five lengths behind, at the furlong marker.

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.

Dale Romans: "Last time, he drew the ten-hole here, and everyone was bunched up and not spreading out. He was wide all the way around and still ran a nice starter race. We took it as the first step and he came back today and was very impressive. This horse hasn't been the easiest of horses. He's been a project for Tammy,and she's done a great job getting him around and getting us here.
 
"I think it's great to win in New York. If you can do it here, you can do it anywhere. I said that one time and got me a song out of it. This was a lot of fun to come up here. Doesn't matter if it's winter or summer, New York drives the whole racing world, and it's great to come in here and win a big race like this, a very prestigious race. Anybody who's a racing fan loves this race and knows it from a long time ago and I wanted it on my resume.
 
"We'll have to talk about where we go next. It's hard for me to skip the Blue Grass and both races (referring to the Wood Memorial) unjustly downgraded to Grade 2's. Whoever did that doesn't know the history of horse racing, but we'll get into one of the two obviously.
 
"I wasn't paying attention up front as much as my horse was moving down the backside. I was just focused on him and when we got the gap between both groups just sitting open and I knew Robbie could go around or inside whatever he felt like doing and he looked like he was moving comfortable at the half-mile pole we just started gaining on them and I knew he wasn't going to back up.

"I felt pretty good going into the last turn. He geared down, it was a pretty good move and he saved a little more for the next spot. He's coming around at the right time and the right way.... (Tammy has) been on him every day since we've had him and done a great job bringing him around. He just needed to grow up. He was a big clown and fun to be around but he just never figured out what racing was about until late. His race at Keeneland was huge and he still didn't know at Delta but you could see him coming around when he ran here. His numbers from last time put him in contention with all the best horses. It was a big jump forward, and that's what we were waiting on to see. We have to jump one more hurdle and we don't have to win it now so a little bit of pressure is off so we need a performance worthy of going to the Derby next out and keep him together for a couple more months."
 
Robby Albarado: "They were moving pretty quick up on the back side. I swung him out and he took off and I hand-rode him home. He was really impressive. "He was a good horse today. It was only his second start of the year. There's room for him to be better. I don't want to say too much, but he's a nice horse. He's a good colt."

THE NEXT DAY: "He came back really good," said co-owner Loutsch. "He's on his way back to Florida now. We're obviously really thrilled with the result and very proud of him. It's really humbling. We didn't know if we could beat the 4 horse yesterday and fortunately we got a good set up and he ran the race we thought he could. We've been waiting for that race for him to break out and kind of grow up, and he did that yesterday and we're thrilled. We love New York and we love what we did up there. The good news is that we're not under pressure to win the next race, so we want to get a good out and wherever we feel is best for him is the one we'll probably point to."

March 18 NOTE: J Boys Echo breezed today, but track publicity, which had information about other 3-year-old works today, either didn't or couldn't get a quote from trainer Romans. Note the slow time.

March 21 NOTE: He isn't the best work horse when going solo. Connections are thinking about the Florida Derby.

March 31 NOTE: J Boys Echo is set to arrive at Churchill Downs on April 2, becoming along wiith Hence the first Kentucky Derby prospect of the year on the grounds.

The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes was won by maiden Irap with Practical Joke second, McCraken third, J Boys Echo fourth and Tapwrit fifth. Irap sat in second early, overtook early pacesetter Wild Shot a little under six furlongs into the race, and held off Practical Joke to win the nine-furlong race at Keeneland in 1:50.39. Wild Shot struck the early lead and cut out reasonable fractions of 23.79 and 48.34, but with six furlongs gone in 1:12.36, Irap held a one-length lead and Wild Shot was second by a length and about to fade badly. At that point, Practical Joke was only a half-length off of Wild Shot, McCraken was three lengths back of the lead, J Boys Echo was seventh but in touch with the field and Tapwrit was just in front of him. Irap forgot to quit running and prevailed over Practical Joke by three parts of a length. McCraken's usual rally didn't materialize, and he fell short of Irap by 3 3/4 lengths. J Boys Echo finished fourth, beaten 6 1/4 lengths and was followed past the finish line by Tapwrit, It's Your Nickel and Wild Shot.

Dale Romans:  “I thought we’d win the race, but he ran a credible race. You can go back in history and look at horses that run third or fourth in this race and come back and do well. I was hoping he would move forward off the other race. We’re gonna go. He’s a good horse, and we’ll see what happens. Twenty horses in a mile and a quarter race; a lot of stuff can go right.”

Robby Albarado:  “He got bumped around some, but he ran a decent race.”

THE NEXT DAY: Back at Churchill Downs.

April 23 NOTE: Trainer Romans said, “It was a really solid work. We’ll come back next Saturday and go a little faster. Only one hurdle left until the first Saturday in May."

April 23 NOTE: Robby Albarado took a hard spill in the 8th race at Keeneland and broke his left ankle. He had feared a broken leg. Albarado will miss the Kentucky Derby.

In the Kentucky Derby, J Boys Echo finished 15th, beaten 23 lengths. He was jostled at the start but otherwise had an uneventful trip.

Dale Romans: "He just had an awfully rough trip. I came back to the barn to check on him and he seems to be walking fine."

Luis Saez: “Everybody came from the outside and killed us. I tried to rush him and see what we got, but by the half-mile everybody’s gone.”

In the Belmont Stakes on June 10, J Boys Echo was sixth or eighth the first four calls and finished ninth, beaten 29 lengths.

WORKOUTS
Jan. 7, five in 1:01.20 Breezing 7/51 at GP
Jan. 14, five in 59.60 Breezing 8/48 at GP
Jan. 21, four in 50.60 Breezing 63/80 at GP
Jan. 31, four in 51.60 Breezing 32/34 at GP
Feb. 19, four in 51:95 Breezing 42/43 at GP
Feb. 25, five in 1.01:82 Breezing 4/21 at GP
March 18, four in 52:51 Breezing 66/66 at GP
March 25, five in 1.02:89 Breezing 19/24 at GP
April 1, five in 1.00:69 Breezing 7/20 at GP
April 17, four in 49:20 Breezing 6/10 at CD
April 23, five in 1.02:20 Breezing 26/38 at CD
April 29, five in 1.01:00 Breezing good track 5/21 at CD
May 27, five in 1.00:80 Breezing 4/27at CD
June 3, five in 1.00:00 Breezing 4/29 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.”

In the Belmont Stakes on June 10, Lookin at Lee lagged well behind early, 10th of 11 after the first half mile, about five lengths behind the pace. He finished seventh, beaten 28 1/4 lengths.

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
June 4, four in 48:33 Breezing 8/51 at BEL

 

 

MEANTIME (KY)
Trainer: Brian Lynch
Owner: Silverton Hill LLC
Breeder:  Brent Harris & Beth Harris
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Shackleford (Forestry, Oatsee)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Livermore Leslie (Mt. Livermore, Whitesburg Express)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-5-3-0-0 (12) 7.00
Foal Date: May 5, 2014

$230,000 Keeneland September 2015


Meantime debuted on Feb. 18 at Gulfstream Park and, at 53-1 odds, finished second to Patch, beaten 1 3/4 length to a time of 1:37.82 under Emisael Jaramillo. He dueled with Stone Mountain through early splits of 23.68, 46.31 and 1:11.30 before putting that one away. Patch sat right behind them in third and took the lead inside the furlong marker.

Next out was a seven-furlong affair at Gulfstream on April 1, and Meantime finished third to Time to Travel and Caviar Czar, beaten 5 1/4 lengths at 4-5 odds. The winner was clocked in 1:21.84. Meantime tracked in second while the first half-mile went in 45.79.

Third time out, Meantime graduated at Keeneland on April 22 with a 7 1/2-length win at 4-5 odds going 1 1/18 mile in 1:51.98 on a muddy-sealed track. With Joel Rosario up, he led at each call in splits of 24.16, 47.61, 1:12.01 and 1:38.21. Seven ran.

In the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on May 13, Meantime finished second, and Timeline won for the third time in three starts after leaving the gate as the 2-5 favorite. Breaking a step slow with Javier Castellano aboard, Timeline moved into second position as 6-1 third-choice while Meantime went to the front of the field of six. Meantime set fractions of 24.07 and 47.68. At the quarter-pole, Timeline was set down for the drive and got past Meantime at the top of the stretch. He was ridden out to win by 3 1/2 lengths. Timeline was timed in 1:51.62 for the nine furlongs on a sloppy-sealed track. Behind Meantime another 3 1/2 lengths back in third was Impressive Edge, followed by Take Your Guns, Master Plan and Looking At Blessing. Master Plan, who was on the also-eligible list for the Kentucky Derby, lost by 20 1/2 lengths.

In the Belmont Stakes on June 10, Meantime prompted the pace and was second by a length after a mile, then faded to finish eighth, beaten 28 1/2 lengths.

WORKOUTS
March 25, five in 1:02.00  Breezing 33/34 at PMM
April 15, four in 46.60 Breezing 1/80 at KEE
May 27, five in 59:98 Breezing 4/17 at BEL
June 3, five in 1.01:66 Breezing 6/24 at BEL

 

 

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
$220,000 RNA Keeneland September 2015
$120,000 RNA OBS April 2016

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.”

In the Belmont Stakes on June 10, Multiplier finished 10th, beaten 47 1/2 lengths.

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
June 3, to be reported by KEE
June 3, four in 48.60 Breezing 12/56 at KEE

 

 

PATCH (KY)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley)
Breeder: Calumet Farm
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Union Rags (Dixie Union, Tempo)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Windyindy (A.P. Indy, Unbridled Wind)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 6-10-13-1-0 (30) 3.00
Foal Date: March 18, 2014

Patch debuted on Jan. 15 at Gulfstream Park and finished second to Impressive Edge, who wasn't early-nominated to the Triple Crown, by 4 3/4 lengths after showing no early speed. In this six-furlong race, he was 10th of 12, 11 lengths off the pace, after a half-mile and finished the the last quarter-mile in about 23 and 4. The winner was timed in 1:11.01.

On Feb. 18, Patch broke his maiden in a one-mile race at Gulfstream. This time he was in contention early, never more than a couple of lengths back, and seized command in deep stretch. Johnny V was on board. The time was 1:37.82, Patch was the 3-1 second choice in a field of 14. The chart call: "Patch was close up early toward the inside, came out three wide nearing the stretch to go after the leaders, caught Meantime in deep stretch and drove clear."

March 31 NOTE: Assistant trainer Adele Bellinger said,  “The first day they (Patch and Monaco) were both a little nervous, but they have trained well. Today they have settled in beautifully and I couldn’t ask for more. Patch has a nice turn of foot and a lot of talent. It’s not easy to jump up into a Grade II out of a maiden race, but I feel like we have a sound, happy horse and that gives me confidence going into the race. This is both horses’ first time shipping far from home and they’re both doing well, especially (Friday) morning.”

In the April 1 Louisiana Derby, favored Girvin won with Patch second, Local Hero third and Hollywood Handsome fourth. Trainer Joe Sharp entered Girvin's stablemate Hotfoot to help ensure an honest pace. Hotfoot shot to the lead and set fractions of 23.46 of 47.00 as Monaco, Local Hero, Girvin and Patch pursued him around the first turn and up the backstretch. As the far turn approached, Local Hero, who is prone to run on the lead, couldn't wait any longer and was in front into the bend.  Meanwhile, Girvin was fourth, five lengths off the pace. Six furlongs were run in 1:11.15. Brian Hernandez, Jr. pulled the trigger for real going around the far turn, and Girvin, who was three and four wide, began a steady advance. Hotfoot was done, and Local Hero's lead was short-lived as Girvin was on top by a head with a furlong remaining in the race. He won by 1 1/4 length, timed in 1:49.44 after switching back to his left lead late.  Patch made a nice stretch run up the rail to get second, and Local Hero hung for third, another 1 3/4 length back, and just a nose ahead of the fourth finisher, longshot Hollywood Handsome.

Tyler Gaffalione: “We had a great trip. He’s still young and learning, but today he really ran a big race. There was a lot of traffic out there. Once we dove inside and found a path, he really accelerated and finished up really good. He’s pretty handy, and you can do whatever you want with him. He listens very well.”

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 Patch, “He’s not as impressive a work horse as Always Dreaming. He’s more of a workmanlike breeze horse. I thought it was a good, steady five-eighths, typical of what we saw from him all winter and spring. I was very pleased for him to go to Fair Grounds and finish a good quality second, closing ground at the end and galloping out in front. I don’t think with his pedigree, being by a Belmont winner (Union Rags) and out of an A.P. Indy mare (Windyindy), that distance should be an issue. I’m a little concerned about his lack of experience, lack of seasoning, but so far he’s handled everything really, really well.”

In the Kentucky Derby, Patch broke from post 20, was bounced around in the far turn and finished 14th, beaten 21 lengths.

Tyler Gaffalione: “We had a good trip. We came into the stretch and got behind a couple of tiring horses, but he came back well and move on to the next race.”

The Belmont Stakes on June 10 was won by Tapwrit, with Irish War Cry second, Patch third and Gormley fourth. Patch was fourth or fifth at each call and was beaten 7 3/4 lengths. After breaking from post 2, Tapwrit saved ground in fourth while as Irish War Cry ran a moderate first quarter-mile in 23.88 and the half in 48.66. He slowed it down and waltzed through six furlongs 1:14.01, all but guaranteeing that the closers in the race would have no shot. He got a mile in 1:38.95. Irish War Cry was up by a length over Tapwrit in upper stretch. Ortiz urged Tapwrit on with his left hand, and they took over with about 100 yards left and won by two lengths. Irish War Cry finished 5 3/4 lengths head of Patch, a stable mate of Tapwit. Gormley was another 4 1/4 lengths back in fourth.

John Velazquez: "He ran a very good race, good trip. The whole race, that's where we broke and where we were, I thought he ran a god race. He finished up really well. He can run with a good kick."


WORKOUTS
Jan. 1, five in 1:04.00 Breezing 3/4 at PBD
Jan. 9, four in 49.80 Breezing gate 4/16 at PBD
Feb. 4, four in 48.00 Breezing 1/14 at PBD
Feb. 11, four in 48.00 Breezing 2/18 at PBD
March 4, four in 49:00 Breezing 1/20 at PBD
March 11, five in 1.02:00 Breezing 2/4 at PBD
March 18, five in 1.01:00 Breezing 1/8 at PBD
March 25, four in 49:20 Breezing 5/26 at PBD
April 14, four in 49:45 Breezing 3/18 at PBD
April 21, five in 1.01:45 Breezing 2/6 at PBD
April 28, four in 1.00:20 Breezing 3/35 at CD
May 27, four in 50:24 Breezing training track 30/82 at BEL
June 2, five i 1.01:45 Breezing 4/11 at BEL

 

 

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.”

In the Belmont Stakes on June 10, Senior Investment lagged well behind a slow six-furlong pace and finished a dull fifth, beaten 19 3/4 lengths. After the first half-mile he was last of 11, about six lengths off the pace.

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
May 31, four in 49:13 Breezing 24/58 at BEL
June 6, four in 50:19 Breezing 8/13 at BEL

 

 

TAPWRIT (KY)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Robert LaPenta
Breeder: My Meadowview LLC
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Tapit (Pulpit, Tap Your Heels)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Appealing Zophie (Successful Appeal, Zophie)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 6-9-12-1-0 (28) 3.00
Foal Date: March 28, 2014

$1,200,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August 2015


Tapwrit debuted amidst fanfare but with a 10th-place finish at Saratoga on Sept. 3.

He returned to break his maiden at Gulfstream Park West while equipped with blinkers for the first time on Nov. 6.

Tapwrit and Master Plan finished one-two in the one-mile, off-the-turf, one-mile Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 10. Tapwrit, the 3-2 favorite, was a main-track-only entrant. He stalked a contested pace involving Hey Mike and Salute With Honor along the backstretch before sweeping three-wide on the far turn to easily take the lead under Eddie Castro. He opened up a five-length lead in mid-stretch and held on to win by a length over closing stable mate Master Plan. Master Plan finished 12 1/4 lengths clear of Hey Mike. The winner was timed in 1:37.65. NOTE: Tapwrit outgalloped McCraken past the wire.

Todd Pletcher: “I think everything is in play now. We’ll see how he comes out of it. He’s seems to be going the right way. We’ll target one of these stakes. I’m not sure which one yet. He’s suited to two turns, but we didn’t have too many options. So we took a shot in a main-track-only and it worked out well for him. He’s certainly improved off his first start. He didn’t behave well in his first start. He kind of missed the break and didn’t know what to do after that. Subsequently, he’s trained well and has become much more professional. I think the blinkers have helped. We’re very pleased with his last two runs.”

Feb. 10 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher texted to the Tampa press office:  “The Sam F. Davis has been a good launching pad for a number of our horses on the Derby trail. The timing of the race, the distance and the surface are attractive to bringing a good 3-year-old along. Tapwrit continues to develop and mature. He tends to idle on the lead, but we think there could be more in the tank.”

On Feb. 11 at 3-2 odds, McCraken set a track record winning the Sam F. Davis Stakes in 1:42.45. Tapwrit was second by 1 1/2 length, followed another length back by State of Honor and another length to Wild Shot. State of Honor set fractions of 23.63, 47.15 and 1:10.90 and led into the stretch. Wild Shot, never more than three lengths back and to the outside of the ground-saving Tapwrit, was asked going four wide on the far turn and briefly seized the lead at the furlong marker. Seventh of nine after a half-mile, and sixth after six furlongs, McCraken started his closing run four wide on the far turn and passed State of Honor and Wild Shot in the stretch to win. Tapwrit finished best of the others to get second, and State of Honor came back on Wild Shot to get the show. The fifth finisher, Fact Finding, was beaten nine lengths, followed by No Dozing, Six Gun Salute, Chance of Luck and King and His Court.

Jose Ortiz told DRF.com, “It was a great effort. I got into a little bit of trouble at the quarter pole, trying to get out, but as soon as I put him in the clear, he gave me a great run.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Trainer Pletcher texted track publicity, saying Tapwrit could return for the Tampa Bay Derby: “He’s improving all the time. I will get with the connections.”

March 9 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher said, “Tapwrit has done very well physically since the Sam Davis. For him, I think the most important thing he got from that race was the experience and education. He got hemmed up inside and had to wait for room, but when he got clear he closed well and galloped out strongly. I think he and Jose both learned enough to hopefully bring forth an improved effort.... Sonic Mule might be more of a pace presence, but Tapwrit has tactical speed, so I’ll let the jocks sort it out and see how the race develops as they come out of the first turn.”

In the Tampa Bay Derby on March 11, Tapwrit made a devastating turn move to win, pacesetter State of Honor was second, a closing Wild Shot was third and a stalking No Dozing was fourth. Beasley was a nose back in fifth. Tapwrit broke mid-pack from post 5, was three wide on the first turn and found himself eighth after the first quarter-mile, six lengths off a 23.42 pace set by State of Honor. State of Honor continued to lead through a half-mile gone in 46.65, with Tapwrit five lengths behind, and three furlongs in 1:10.57. State of Honor had a two-length lead over a tracking No Dozing entering the far turn, but Tapwrit had already begun advancing and was fourth, 3 1/2 lengths back. Running in the clear three wide under Jose Ortiz, Tapwrit made quick work of his remaining rivals and was three lengths ahead at the furlong marker. He kept extending with Ortiz applying the whip and won by 4 1/2 lengths over State of Honor.  Wild Shot, who was ninth in the early going and sixth after six furlongs, finished third, another 1 1/2 length back. No Dozing faded a bit to finish a half-length back in fourth, only a nose in front of Beasley. The time of 1:42.36 for the 1 1/16-mile is a new stakes record, eclipsing the mark of 1:42.82 set last year by Destin. A track record was set earlier in the day by 5-year-old Stanford.

Todd Pletcher: “We were looking for a big effort from him, and this was everything we could hope for. He won pretty convincingly, and we’re very pleased. He had kind of a rough trip around the first turn and got shuffled around a little, but he handled it professionally and steadied himself and got in good stride up the backstretch/. After he made the lead, Jose kept him occupied down the lane because he has a tendency to idle when he gets ahead. This was everything we could have hoped for.”

Jose Ortiz: “When I asked him between the half-mile and 3/8 poles, he let me know he was going to win the race right away. He’s really scary, and I think he is going to keep improving. I really like him a lot, and I think he can go a mile-and-an-eighth and a mile-and-a-quarter. If he has competition beside him, I think he is going to get much and much better.”

Aron Wellman, President of co-owner Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. “He just exploded. That was what we were hoping for, and he delivered.”

Robert LaPenta: “This was a breakout race for him. I really felt he stepped up today. This is such a tough sport, and a win like this brings you to the moon.”

THE NEXT DAY: Tapwrit is doing well today. Trainer Pletcher said, “It just depends on the horse, and Tapwrit is getting better with each race. He’s still learning how to compete and how to win, and the experience of a mile-and-an-eighth race might give him a better chance moving forward. We’ll see how he bounces out of it and see how he trains and evaluate our options."

March 16 NOTE: Wood Memorial or Toyota Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby is next.

March 27 NOTE: It's going to be the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. Jose Ortiz will be back up.

The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes was won by maiden Irap with Practical Joke second, McCraken third, J Boys Echo fourth and Tapwrit fifth. Irap sat in second early, overtook early pacesetter Wild Shot a little under six furlongs into the race, and held off Practical Joke to win the nine-furlong race at Keeneland in 1:50.39. Wild Shot struck the early lead and cut out reasonable fractions of 23.79 and 48.34, but with six furlongs gone in 1:12.36, Irap held a one-length lead and Wild Shot was second by a length and about to fade badly. At that point, Practical Joke was only a half-length off of Wild Shot, McCraken was three lengths back of the lead, J Boys Echo was seventh but in touch with the field and Tapwrit was just in front of him. Irap forgot to quit running and prevailed over Practical Joke by three parts of a length. McCraken's usual rally didn't materialize, and he fell short of Irap by 3 3/4 lengths. J Boys Echo finished fourth, beaten 6 1/4 lengths and was followed past the finish line by Tapwrit, It's Your Nickel and Wild Shot.

Todd Pletcher: “He seemed to run kind of flat. I thought he saddled beautifully and behaved really well in the post parade and the gate. He had his head in the air a little bit and missed the break a touch. Then he got stuck four or five wide all the way around there. It seemed like he struggled with the race track a little bit. He just ran kind of evenly and flat the whole way. We'll see how he comes out of it and talk to everyone, but we feel like he's that caliber of horse. As long as we don’t find any major reasons, we'll certainly take him to Churchill and see how he trains there.”

Jose Ortiz: “He broke well, maybe a step behind. Going into the first turn I was in a good spot behind Rosario (on Practical Joke), so I tried to follow him the whole way. When I tried to keep up with a half-mile remaining, I didn't have too much horse. I don’t think he liked the track too much. When I hit the backside I was kind of nervous already.”

THE NEXT DAY: “He is good this morning and will stay here for awhile,” said Todd Pletcher assistant trainer Ginny DePasquale. “He may go over to Churchill Downs; I don’t envision him going back to Florida. He just didn’t show up yesterday. He was totally different compared to Tampa where he was on the muscle.”

APRIL 15 NOTE: Tapwrit was scheduled to move to Churchill Downs Sunday but will remain at Keeneland a little longer. “Todd has some horses flying in here Monday from Arkansas, and Tapwrit will go to Louisville with the horses that are going there,” assistant Ginny DePasquale said.

April 21 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher said, “He got hung out pretty wide on the turn (in the Blue Grass) and ran kind of a flat race, but he seemed to come out well. Hopefully, he trains accordingly and comes back to his Tampa form."

April 21 NOTE: Todd Pletcher assistant Ginny DePasquale said: “We were looking for a good maintenance drill. He galloped out very well and Jose was very pleased. He had to keep him focused a little bit, but that is just him. That is why he was tapping him at the end. He has come a long way, but you have to tell him, ‘This is what we are doing today.’ You have to keep him focused.”

In the Kentucky Derby, Tapwrit was 14th or 15th during the first six furlongs after being in tight during the early going. He continued to run to finish sixth, beaten 10 1/4 lengths.

Jose Ortiz: “In the beginning the 17 hole (Irish War Cry) came over on me. I got in good position behind Classic Empire, but he didn’t respond today.”

The Belmont Stakes on June 10 was won by Tapwrit, with Irish War Cry second, Patch third and Gormley fourth. After breaking from post 2, Tapwrit and Jose Ortiz saved ground in fourth while as Rajiv Maragh and Irish War Cry ran a moderate first quarter-mile in 23.88 and the half in 48.66. Maragh slowed it down and waltzed through six furlongs 1:14.01, all but guaranteeing that the closers in the race would have no shot. He got a mile in 1:38.95. Irish War Cry was up by a length over Tapwrit in upper stretch. Ortiz urged Tapwrit on with his left hand, and they took over with about 100 yards left and won by two lengths. Irish War Cry finished 5 3/4 lengths head of Patch, a stable mate of Tapwit. Gormley was another 4 1/4 lengths back in fourth.

Todd Pletcher: "Tapwrit was getting a beautiful trip. It was everything we talked about in the paddock before the race. We were hoping he had enough when it came to crunch time. It looked like Irish War Cry still had a little something left, but the last sixteenth, he dug down deep.

"It's our home base, and I think that's always an advantage. We felt like with the five weeks in between, and with the way this horse had trained, that he had a legitimate chance."
 
Jose Ortiz: "It's an unbelievable feeling that I can't explain. I'm very happy right now. I'm happy for the owners and for Todd for giving me the opportunity. The distance, I was sure he could handle it. It was a great training job by Todd. I always liked him and we always had a lot of faith in him. Today he showed up. I'm very happy."


WORKOUTS
Dec. 31, four in 48.60 Breezing 1/30 at PBD
Jan. 7, four in 48.60 Breezing 1/25 at PBD
Jan. 14, five in 1:03.20 Breezing 19/20 at PBD
Jan. 21, five in 1:01.40 Breezing 3/8 at PBD
Jan. 28, five in 1:01.80 Breezing 5/9 at PBD
Feb. 4, four in 48.60 Breezing 3/14 at PBD
Feb. 25, four in 47:80 Breezing 4/28 at PBD
March 4, four in 50:80 Breezing 17/20 at PBD
March 25, four in 49:20 Breezing 5/26 at PBD
April 21, five in 1.01:40 Breezing 7/14 at KEE
April 28, four in 1.00:20 Breezing 3/35 at CD
May 20, four in 50:25 Breezing training track 14/41 at BEL
May 27, five in 1.02:25 Breezing training track 8/28 at BEL
June 2, five in 1.01:45 Breezing 4/11 at BEL

 

 

TWISTED TOM (NY)
Trainer:Chad Brown
Owner: Cobra Farm Inc.
Breeder: Dr. William B. Wilmot & Dr. Joan M. Taylor
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Creative Cause (Giant's Causeway, Dream of Summer)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Tiffany Twisted (Thunder Gulch, Miss Turlington)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-0-11-1-1 (16) 1.13
Foal Date: April 1, 2014

$22,000 RNA Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August 2015
$22,000 RNA Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October 2015


A gelding.

NOT NOMINATED TO THE TRIPLE CROWN

Twisted Tom started his racing career owned by Thomas Brockley and trained by George Weaver.

He was fourth, beaten 9 1/2 lengths, in an off-the-turf, seven-furlong maiden special weight in his Saratoga debut.

Twisted Tom broke his maiden in his second start on Sept. 22 at Belmont Park going a mile on the turf against 10 others in another maiden special weight. The 2-1 favorite, he was timed in 1:36.18 under Joel Rosario after sitting 10th, five lengths off the pace, after the first half mile timed in 46.88. He went wide on the second turn and was fanned into the eight-path in the stretch to get up by a neck over The Great Samurai. Cespedes was third, beaten 2 1/2 lengths.

After that win, the current owner purchased Twisted Tom privately and turned him over to trainer Brown.

He was given a little time and then faced winners for the first time. He ran sixth, beaten 3 3/4 lengths, going a mile on the turf at Aqueduct on Nov. 25. He was lightly bumped at the start and was inside during the early going.

On Jan. 28, he was switched to dirt in his next start and gamely won by a half-length going a mile at Aqueduct in 1:39.89. Early in the race he was second and never more than one length off the pace. Seven ran. Manny Franco rode.

That win on dirt led to the March 18 Private Terms Stakes at Laurel, and he won by a nose over O Dionysus. Twisted Tom, at 4-1, hit the wire in 1:45.68 for 1 1/16 mile. Twisted Tom was unhurried racing in fourth as High Roller took the field of seven through splits of  24.11 and 48.97, tracked closely by Hashtag Alex and Dharmaster. O Dionysus lagged behind them in last. Dharmaster assumed the lead as the group rounded the far turn while O Dionysus began to make his bid three wide and loomed a threat straightening for home, taking over after six furlongs in 1:14.08. Twisted Tom and Feargal Lynch followed with their own move on the far outside and set down for the drive at the head of the lane. At the furlong marker, Twisted Tom was still four lengths behind. O Dionysus began to edge clear of a stubborn Dharmaster along the rail in mid-stretch, but didn’t have enough left to hold off Twisted Tom.

Chad Brown by text from Gulfstream Park: “I was very pleased with his performance. It was also a great ride. He never gave up on him.”

Feargal Lynch: “It was very close, but my horse was finishing fast. Mr. Brown said, ‘Listen, he’s not going to make up six lengths' but luckily there was enough pace and they came back to us. When he switched leads and I got him to the outside and there was no kickback, he got it rolling.”

On April 22 in the Xpressbet.com Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park, Twisted Tom, O Dionysus and Action Everyday ran one-two-three. Twisted Tom raced in contention from the start, took command on the far turn and got away from a challenge by O Dionysus in mid-stretch before pulling away to a 2 1/4-length win. Twisted Tom was settled by Feargal Lynch in the clear, racing three wide. He stalked 23-1 longshot pacesetter Hashtag Alex through a quarter-mile in 24.39 and a half in 48.08. Twisted Tom wrested the lead from Action Everyday after running six furlongs in 1:13.27 as O Dionysus rolled up on the far outside to launch his bid under Jevian Toledo. The two raced on even terms to the eighth pole until Twisted Tom dug in and edged away to win in 1:53.60 for the 1 1/8-mile over a sloppy-sealed track. O Dionysus was a clear second, 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Action Everyday. Six ran.

Chad Brown: “He ran terrific and Feargal really rode him well once again. They’re a great team, those two. The horse showed a lot of heart again. He’s a long-winded, hard-trying horse that obviously showed he has a tremendous amount of stamina and will to win. He’s a horse that continually is improving, which we love to see. We’re just really proud of his effort today. He showed a new dimension today, and dealing with an off track he handled it fine. Feargal deserves a lot of credit for using good judgment in keeping him out of trouble. He’s a big horse, and although he was losing some ground he picked a good spot to let him relax and find his rhythm. When that horse came to him on the outside, he showed his heart.

“Because he’s not nominated, it certainly complicates things, so I’ll speak to the ownership group. Right now we’ll just enjoy this win. We’ll see how the horse comes out of the race physically, and then we’ll all probably speak about it next week sometime and come up with a plan.”

Feargal Lynch: “He broke sharper today. I just got into a nice rhythm all the way. I thought O Dionysus might struggle to stay and I knew from my horse’s gallop-out last time that he would like the distance. Today he had no kickback and a small field. He’s a turfer and a mudder and a very adaptable, huge horse who should get better.”

May 26 NOTE: Trainer Brown told the Albany Times-Union yesterday, "He is probable for the Belmont. I think he needs to get faster, and he is stepping way up in class."

In the Belmont Stakes on June 10, Twisted Tom finished sixth, beaten 27 3/4 lengths. He ran evenly vis a vis his position but steadily lost ground after the initial mile.

WORKOUTS
April 2, five in 1;01.17 Breezing dirt training at SAR
April 8, four in 48.20 Breezing 1/19 at SAR
April 15, four in 48.79 Breezing dirt training 14/36 at SAR
May 8, four in 49.24 Breezing dirt training 46/150 at BEL
May 15, four in 49.55 Breezing dirt training 63/112 at BEL
May 21, four in 48.45 Breezing dirt training 20/110 at BEL
May 28, five in 1.01:16 Breezing 4/27 at BEL
June 3, five in 1.01:13 Breezing 2/24 at BEL

 

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