Street Cry put down due to neurological condition
Street Cry, one of the world's most successful stallions and a cornerstone of Sheikh Mohammed's racing and breeding operations for the past 14 years, has been put to sleep at the age of 16 after succumbing to complications relating to a neurological condition.
The runaway winner of the Dubai World Cup and Stephen Foster Handicap for Godolphin in 2002, Street Cry was retired to stand at Darley's Jonabell Farm in Kentucky in 2003 and has been a headline stallion ever since. His first crop included the incomparable Zenyatta and Street Sense -- still the only horse to win both the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the Kentucky Derby.
Street Cry has made a similar impact in Australia, siring two Caulfield Guineas winners in Long John and Whobegotyou and Melbourne Cup winner Shocking. In all, Street Cry has sired 15 Grade/Group 1 winners and almost 150 black type performers worldwide to date.
His legacy as a sire of sires is already well established. Three of his young stallion sons have sired Grade 1 winners.
"Street Cry epitomized everything that Darley and Godolphin aim to achieve -- he was bred by Sheikh Mohammed in Ireland, excelled at the very highest level on the racecourse in Dubai and the United States, and then became the lynchpin of our stallion operations in both America and Australia," said Sheikh Mohammed's Bloodstock Advisor, John Ferguson. "His contribution to the breed has been significant and we have been so fortunate to have him. He will be sorely missed by everyone."
Fair Grounds releases 2014-15 stakes schedule
A report in the Louisville Courier-Journal on Wednesday reports that daily average purses would be reduced by 17 percent and that stakes purses would decline 30 percent.
Fair Grounds told the Courier-Journal that an ongoing dispute with Quarter Horse horsemen, who have a lawsuit pending against the track claiming money from video slots has not been used to increase Quarter Horse purses, is the reason behind the Thoroughbred purse cuts, which total $2.7 million.
Churchill Downs Inc., the parent company of Fair Grounds, reportedly will restore the purses if the lawsuit is resolved in time.
The Fair Grounds meet will again be highlighted by the Louisiana Derby Day program on March 28, 2015. The $600,000 Louisiana Derby, the $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks, the $300,000 New Orleans Handicap, and the $200,000 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap -- all Grade 2 -- events will be run that day.
The Louisiana Derby prep series also includes the Grade 2, $300,000 Risen Star on February 21 and Grade 3, $150,000 Lecomte on January 17.
Other Grade 3 events held at the track are the $100,000 Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap on January 17, and the $150,000 Rachel Alexandra, $100,000 Mineshaft Handicap, and $100,000 Fair Grounds Handicap on February 21.
California Chrome arrives at Parx
California Chrome has already vanquished three of his main rivals Saturday -- Bayern, Candy Boy and Tapiture -- but those wins came earlier in the year.
Bayern improved following a dismal ninth in the Preakness, producing convincing wins in the Haskell Invitational and Woody Stephens, and the Bob Baffert-trained colt should appreciate the cut back to 1 1/8 miles following the Travers. And Tapiture appears more formidable now, stringing together a pair of nice performances since a 15th in the Kentucky Derby, including a commendable victory in the August 2 West Virginia Derby in which he overcame tight quarters during the stretch drive.
Tapiture's owner and breeder, Ron Winchell, questioned the decision to run California Chrome cross-country in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby during the national teleconference.
"Really, where does he want us to run, in the Awesome Again (on September 27 at Santa Anita)? I guess they don't believe in Shared Belief," Sherman said.
Shared Belief, who extended his perfect mark to six with a stirring 2 3/4-length victory over older rivals in the August 24 Pacific Classic, is California Chrome's top challenger in the race for champion three-year-old male. He heads the prospective Awesome Again field, and the two rivals are scheduled to match up in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on November 1.
"I want to be in the best shape possible when I meet him," Sherman said of Shared Belief. "He's a terrific horse."
Sherman isn't the only one looking ahead, but he wants to win the Pennsylvania Derby first.
"I don't like making excuses," Sherman said. "If he gets outrun, he gets outrun. But I look for him to run a big race. I look for him to be right on."
German star Sea the Moon retired
Niko Lafrentz, husband of the owner Heike Bischoff of Gestut Gorlsdorf, told the Racing Post: "He is injured and we have taken the decision to retire him and will start looking for a suitable home for him as a stallion. He is in Newmarket's Equine Hospital and my wife is over there with him. We won't have a complete diagnosis for a while, but it is clear that he will not be able to run again."
From the second crop of Sea the Stars, Sea the Moon hails from a deep German family. Unraced dam Sanwa is a half-sibling to German heighweights Schiaparelli. Bred by Gestut Gorlsdorf, he RNA'd for 230,000 guineas at the Tattersalls October Sale in 2012 and was campaigned by them.
The Grey Gatsby doing well after Irish Champion
Irish Champion Stakes winner The Grey Gatsby could be headed to the Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 18.
"He's come back absolutely fantastic, very fresh and well," said trainer Kevin Ryan. "He only lost six kilos all weekend which is quite incredible when you think about it, the race obviously took very little out of him.
"I've decided from now on I'm going to let the horse do the talking, he doesn't need me to talk him up any more. It's not a given that he runs at Ascot, the ground could have gone soft by then. He's getting better with every race and I'd love to go to Ascot, but it's all about next year with him.
"I'm convinced he'll get a mile and a half next year, the French Derby is nearly 11 furlongs anyway. If he doesn't run at Ascot, that will be it and he'll start off next year in the Dubai Duty Free."
Simcock plots next starts for Woodbine winners
Trainer David Simcock is looking toward the future with Sheikhzayedroad and Trade Storm, winner of last weekend's Northern Dancer Turf and Woodbine Mile, respectively.
The former could head to the Champion Stakes at Ascot or the Canadian International at Woodbine the following day. Trade Storm could possibly contest the Breeders' Cup Mile or voyage to Australia's Cox Plate.
"They are two good old boys aren't they?" Simcock told www.davidsimcock.co.uk. "Trade Storm has been frustrating, but even when he gets beaten, he is one of those horses you don't get disappointed with -- he is just a lovely horse to be around. Sheikh Fahad will decide whether Trade Storm goes to America (for the Breeders' Cup Mile) or Australia for his next run -- he is entered in the Cox Plate."
"Sheikhzayedroad will either go to Ascot -- but only if it came up very soft -- or probably back to Canada for the International."
Dolniya possible for Arc
After a solid third-place effort in Sunday's Prix Vermeille, The Aga Khan's Dolniya is a possible contender for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
"Dolniya is still a possibility for the Arc," Georges Rimaud, the Aga Khan's racing manager said of the Prix de Malleret winner. "As she has only come on the scene quite recently we need to discuss things. We'll see how she comes out of this first. She will have other options, but the Arc is still one of them.
"Zarshana is still a possibility for Ascot, nothing has been ruled out. Several options are open to her and nothing has been ruled out.
"Shamkala could also go to Ascot but she won't run in the Arc. She will run again this season but over a shorter distance than a mile and a half. She wasn't beaten far in the Prix Diane. I don't think it was stamina which beat her last time, though, it was a combination of the course itself (Deauville) and the ground at the time."
Suffolk Downs faces finish line after vote
Thoroughbred racing at Suffolk Downs is likely to cease this fall after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Tuesday voted 3-1 to approve a $1.6 billion Wynn Resorts casino north of the Boston-area track.
Suffolk Downs had aligned itself with Mohegan Sun, whose proposed $1.3 billion casino would have been located on racetrack property. The owners of Suffolk Downs made commitments to the continuation of live racing at the track if the Mohegan Sun plan were approved.
"We are extraordinarily disappointed as this action is likely to cost the Commonwealth (of Massachusetts) thousands of jobs, small business and family farms," said Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer of Suffolk Downs.
"We will be meeting with employees and horsemen over the next several days to talk about how we wind down racing operations as a 79-year legacy of Thoroughbred racing in Massachusetts will be coming to an end, resulting in unemployment and uncertainty for many hard-working people," Tuttle said.
The 2014 Suffolk Downs meet is scheduled to conclude September 29.
California Chrome, Untapable star in Philadelphia
The colt's chances at a Triple Crown sweep, the first since 1978, were effectively dashed at the start of the 1 1/2-mile classic, when California Chrome stumbled and grabbed a quarter. Although in contention until the final furlong or so, the minor injury and the overall rigors of the classic campaign finally caught up with the modestly-bred chestnut owned by breeders Steve Coburn and Perry Martin.
Widely considered the leader of the division despite his summertime absence, California Chrome will attempt to regain some momentum in the championship race on Saturday. Shared Belief, last year's unbeaten juvenile champion who missed the Triple Crown due to injury, has come back with sterling performances in the Los Alamitos Derby and Pacific Classic, the latter against older horses. Shared Belief is not in the Pennsylvania Derby, but several other top three-year-olds are.
Bayern, whose 7 1/4-length tour de force in the Haskell Invitational remains one of the top efforts turned in by this year's three-year-old class, figures to be a primary target for the rail-drawn California Chrome. The son of Offlee Wild failed badly in his attempt to steal the 1 1/4-mile Travers over a less speed-friendly course last time, but should appreciate the cutback in distance. Bayern previously took on California Chrome in the May 17 Preakness, but was never in contention after a rough trip in the early stages kept him from being closer to the lead.
The local prep for the Pennsylvania Derby, the Smarty Jones contested on Labor Day, has yielded two starters. Protonico, exiting a photo-finish third to subsequent Travers winner V. E. Day in a Saratoga stakes, overcame traffic to take the Smarty Jones by three-quarters over Classic Giacnroll. Those two are also joined by Noble Moon, who beat Classic Giacnroll in the Jerome at Aqueduct in early January and was most recently fourth in the seven-furlong King's Bishop at Saratoga following a layoff of more than four months.
The field is rounded out by C J's Awesome, a first-level allowance winner at Saratoga who might apply early pressure on Bayern.
Untapable, who is undefeated against her own sex in four starts this season, is so far in the driver's seat for divisional honors entering the 1 1/16-mile Cotillion. The Steve Asmussen trainee swept the Rachel Alexandra, Fair Grounds Oaks, Kentucky Oaks, and Mother Goose by an average margin of 7 3/4 lengths, which convinced her connections to roll the dice against males in the Haskell Invitational.
Likely to show speed in the Cotillion, thus setting the race up for all three major contenders, are Monmouth Oaks heroine Cassatt and the California-based Jojo Warrior, who enters off back-to-back wins in the Summertime Oaks and Torrey Pines.
Also of note are the multiple Grade 2-placed House Rules; Alabama and Delaware Oaks runner-up Joint Return; and Test third-placer Little Alexis.
Fast Anna, who just missed preserving his undefeated streak in the King's Bishop last out, is one of several fast three-year-olds in the Grade 3, $300,000 Gallant Bob over six furlongs. The Kathy Ritvo charge, who blew away maiden and allowance company at Gulfstream prior to his neck loss at Saratoga, will race without blinkers for the first time on Saturday.
Prudhoe Bay and Favorite Tale, one-two in last month's Jersey Shore at Monmouth Park, are the other main contenders in a field of seven.
Demonstrative the top weight in Lonesome Glory
Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard will have a three-horse entry consisting of the aforementioned Barnstorming, 2013 divisional champion Divine Fortune, and Bluegrass Summer. While Barnstorming remains in search of his first top-level win, the venerable Divine Fortune will attempt to get back to the form that saw him win the three-mile Iroquois by 3 1/4 lengths back in May. The 11-year-old left the course prior to the ninth fence in the Smithwick last time.
Bluegrass Summer, meanwhile, steps up in class after securing minor checks in the Jonathan Kiser and Michael G. Walsh -- a pair of novice stakes at Saratoga.
All Together, runner-up last year in the New York Turf Writers Cup and Lonesome Glory, enters this race off fourth-place finishes in the Smithwick and Turf Writers Cup. The field is rounded out by For Non Stop, Spy in the Sky, and Parker's Project.
The $75,000 Entenmann Memorial, for novices over 2 1/4 miles, features a field of nine, including Schoodic and Address Unknown, the one-two finishers from the August 14 Michael G. Walsh. Syros, a five-length allowance winner at Saratoga last month, also figures to attract support.
An interesting entrant is One Giant Step, who returns to action off a three-year layoff for Sheppard. He was the distant runner-up behind Demonstrative in the 2011 edition of the race.
Fiftyshadesofgold's the one to beat in Dogwood
Milam, who came up a half-length short of upsetting Fiftyshadesofgold in the Eight Belles, has been a fairly consistent performer for Eddie Kenneally. Since her fourth to Untapable in the 1 1/16-mile Pocahontas here a year ago, the daughter of Street Sense has stuck to sprinting. She rebounded from a rare clunker in the January 4 Old Hat to crush the February 22 Pica Slew at Calder by eight lengths, and most recently finished a closing third in the June 29 Victory Ride. Corey Lanerie rode her to a Churchill allowance win last fall, and regains the mount.
Tom Amoss sends out Kiss to Remember, successful in a course-and-distance allowance on June 22. The Maggi Moss colorbearer rolled in the grassy Battle of New Orleans at Fair Grounds earlier this season, and two starts ago, she was second in the off-the-turf Indiana Grand.
Henny Jenney, the winner of the Inaugural at Presque Isle Downs May 11, has been predominantly a turf and synthetic type so far. Although she was a poor fourth in the Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies at Penn National in her only previous try on dirt, and still has something to prove on the surface, the William Connelly pupil has been training forwardly at Churchill.
Rounding out the 10-filly field are Enjoy the Family, Platinum Lady, Mizzen Miss and Honey's Ryan, who are moving up considerably in class from their last outings in allowances.
Fred Hutton, currently the Director of Racing at Zia Park, will seek to make his mark in Texas as the new Racing Secretary at Sam Houston Race Park. A longtime racing official and former jockey and trainer, Hutton has previously served in Racing Secretary roles at Zia Park, Prairie Meadows and Remington Park. "Having Fred join our team is another step forward in our continued efforts to enhance our racing program," said Sam Houston Race Park President Andrea Young. "Fred brings a great deal of enthusiasm and energy with him. I have high expectations for our program and believe he will help us achieve our long term goals." Hutton first began his career in horse racing as a jockey and then trainer, spending more than 30 years on that side of the business. He moved to the racetrack side of the business in the early 1990s at Thistledown as a racing official and later a member of the starting gate crew. In 2000 he joined Remington Park and held several management positions over the next ten years including Director of Racing/Racing Secretary and Stakes Coordinator as well as Director of Simulcasting. Hutton has been at Zia Park since 2011. Hutton, who will continue to serve in his current role at Zia Park, will begin his new role at Sam Houston immediately. Sam Houston's 32-day meet begins January 16, 2015...
The Meadowlands kicks off the first of 14-all turf race cards on Thursday with 53 horses entered across the six-race program. The Monmouth-at-Meadowlands meet will race on Thursdays and Fridays from September 18-26. Beginning in October the track will offer live cards on Fridays and Saturdays through November 1. First post nightly will be 7:00 p.m. (EDT), except for October 31 (Breeders' Cup Friday) and November 1 (Breeders' Cup Saturday), when post time will be 1:00 p.m. and noon, respectively. A full slate of activities and dining options will be available throughout the Monmouth-at-Meadowlands meet, including fireworks on September 19 following the night's live racing action; Scotch-n-Smoke on October 4 with unique scotches and hand-rolled cigars; and, the Oktoberfest Food Truck Mash-Up on October 11. On the food side, Pink, the main restaurant at the New Meadowlands will be in full swing (reservations 201-460-4079), as will The Victory Sports Bar and The Lounge. There's free parking, free admission and free seating, both inside and out at the Meadowlands. Live programs will be $2, simulcast books $4. Valet parking will be offered for $5.
For Wednesday or Next Raceday
SEPTEMBER 17, 2014
by John Mucciolo
A pair of grassy graded stakes topped the second week of racing of the fall meet at Belmont Park.
Sands Point S. (G2): Farish and Mooney's BALL DANCING (Exchange Rate) swung five-wide into the lane, outdueled the eventual runner-up inside the final furlong and won going away by a half-length for trainer Chad Brown. The talented sophomore filly went nine panels on the firm lawn in 1:50 with Joe Bravo in the silks.
Noble Damsel S. (G3): Bolton and Leidel's ANNECDOTE (Lucky Story) tracked near the back of the pack to the top of the lane, picked up nice momentum to get in range nearing midstretch and blew past her foes late en route to a 2 3/4-length romp beneath Irad Ortiz Jr. The Christophe Clement-conditioned import completed the mile in 1:35 on the firm lawn.
A total of 47 races were held at Elmont, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 34 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 65 percent of the wins during the week. From 21 races on the main oval, eight animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (38 percent), while three of the 26 races on the lawn were taken all the way on the front (12 percent).
Speed was pretty good on the main oval eight leading at every call on the way to victory, but a handful of those came in maiden dashes, which are often run in this manner. The dirt oval is playing fairly, with a slight edge to runners in the mix somewhat early on.
Inside posts did most of the damage on the dirt once again this week with no horse breaking outside of slot six coming home a winner from 21 races. If the trend continues, we will make more of it.
From a trio of wire jobs on the lawn, two came in route runs and one in a dash. Closing types are preferred somewhat right now, and even more so on the outer turf course.
HORSES TO WATCH
1ST -- The nine-year-old ITALIAN RULES (Tribal Rule) made pretty short work of this field and shows no signs of aging at this point. The Cal-bred came home in a blistering :23 2/5 and should be a fine claim for Jeremiah Englehart.
6TH -- TIZ A CHANCE (Tiz Wonderful) stalked near midpack and closed with good energy in a solid runner-up showing at first asking for Graham Motion. The juvenile colt took a ton of money and appeared to have something left past the wire, so he looks a logical candidate to win next time out, possibly with a bit more ground to work with.
6TH -- The Kelly Breen-trained CALAMITY KATE (Yes It's True) took a short lead approaching the turn for home and poured it on late in a fine maiden tally under Paco Lopez. The Monmouth shipper made easy work of a field that may have had some quality to it, and we likely won't get 19-1 odds on her in her return, sadly.
8TH -- DEMANDER (Yes It's True) had little chance of rallying into the dawdling pace set by the wire-to-wire winner, but is was a decent effort and we still have some hopes for the Ian Wilkes trainee. A move to the lawn might be something to consider for the sophomore.
1ST -- Kenny McPeek might have a good one after THE TRUTH OR ELSE (Yes It's True) drove home an impressive winner in a swift final time over a field with a pair of solid prospects. The well-bred colt should run long through his dam and he is one we will surely keep an eye on going forward, with his next likely run at Keeneland.
3RD -- PARIS BIKINI (Bernardini) took command early and held the 2-5 favorite at bay late in a sharp debut score for trainer Todd Pletcher. The juvenile filly is kin to the twice graded stakes-placed sophomore America, and this miss has a lot more early foot than that capable filly. She is interesting prospect going forward.
5TH -- RED GUARD (Bernardini) was last at the top of the lane but finished with fine energy in a very good fourth-place run in this grassy debut for trainer Shug McGaughey. The juvenile colt is bred to be a good one, and this was a nice start to his career for a barn that doesn't put much into their juveniles.
9TH -- DAREDEVIL (More Than Ready) sent notice as a juvenile colt to watch with this powerful debut win, leading at every call. The Pletcher pupil is a half-brother to 2009 Donn H. (G1) star Albertus Maximus and his pedigree suggests that he will run longer for sure.
10TH -- ODE TO THE HUNT (Artie Schiller) was never getting to the winner but did offer a nice turn of foot to be second in this turf debut for trainer Rick Violette. The two-year-old colt will be tough right back with expected improvement from a good barn with juveniles.
A Look Ahead
Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap is the lone graded race this weekend at Belmont Park.
Top Speed/Class ratings
TOP BRIS CLASS RATINGS
(through September 15, 2014)
Note: Figures are for North American-based racing
At a Glance
AT A GLANCE SCHEDULE
*all times Eastern
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