Declaration of War wins Queen Anne as Animal Kingdom disappoints
The Royal meeting at Ascot kicked off Tuesday with a rousing success from Declaration of War, who garnered his first Group 1 win by taking the Queen Anne Stakes for trainer Aidan O'Brien and his jockey son Joseph.
Animal Kingdom, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner and 5-4 Queen Anne favorite following his convincing two-length score in the Dubai World Cup, never fired in the one-mile straightaway, weakening to 11th of 13 runners in his likely career finale.
Declaration of War's victory was a stunning triumph for part-owner Joseph Allen, who bred the three-year-old son of War Front and now owns 40 percent of him in a Coolmore partnership involving Messrs Magnier, Tabor and Smith.
"I'm in bliss! It's my first win at Ascot, it's a wonderful day, my wife's here and I could not be happier," Allen said. "And I have great partners.
"I bred the sire of this horse, War Front, and I still have this colt's dam, Tempo West, who has a filly foal full-sister to this horse at foot. She is now back in front to War Front.
"This is a very difficult game to really sustain yourself. As I was once told, to stay ahead you need great partners, and these guys (Magnier, Tabor and Smith) have been in the game a long time and add so much to it. I think this horse now has a great future at stud, but where he stands I will leave to John Magnier, who knows so much more than I do."
Winner of the Group 3 Diamond at Dundalk in his juvenile finale, Declaration of War opened 2013 with an easy tally in the April 14 Heritage at Leopardstown, but the bay colt was only fifth in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 18.
"We always thought the world of this horse," Aidan O'Brien explained. "He had a very easy run the first time at Leopardstown and we thought he was ready for a Group 1, but obviously he wasn't. I hadn't trained him hard enough for it. He is a big powerhouse capable of taking training and I didn't get that right. Joseph found out in the Lockinge he had a lot of speed, and we rode him that way today."
"I was going very well and I went into the gap -- it got a little bit tight but I was going exceptionally well," Joseph O'Brien said. "He quickened up and idled when he got there.
"We thought that he was a very good horse going into Newbury, when we were a little bit disappointed, but we had a few things and Dean, who rides him out, and all of the lads in the yard have done a great job. I have a few nice rides for the week and it's nice to start off on a good foot."
Asked if the winner might take in the Eclipse Stakes next over 10 furlongs, O'Brien said: "No, I would rather see him go back in trip, rather than up in trip. He traveled very strongly today."
Aljamaaheer finished about a length behind the winner in second, and it was another half-length to Gregorian in third.
Next under the wire came Elusive Kate, Trade Storm, Libranno, Chil the Kite, Penitent, Sovereign Debut, Trumpet Major, Animal Kingdom, Monsieur Chevalier and Gabrial.
Graham Motion expressed his frustrations with Animal Kingdom's performance.
"I am disappointed obviously," the conditioner stated. "Johnny (Velazquez) had to fight him a little bit early, which made me worry, and said at the half-mile pole he started to ask him to run and there wasn't much there. He said it rode a bit softer than it walked but I cannot really use that as an excuse.
"I would say that is probably it for the horse (last run). I think the experience has been tremendous and if I ever had the opportunity to do it again then I would absolutely. Animal Kingdom trained great -- I was really happy with him. This is what I always cautioned. It is so different -- the fact that he was keen early and he did not really have any cover. He is used to being tucked in and when you are out in the open like that, it is a different ball-game.
"He was keen and just didn't relax. When I let him down, he gave me no run at all," Velazquez added. "He just didn't have it at all today."
Animal Kingdom broke from the far outside post.
"I think the draw (13) made it very awkward for him to be honest," Motion said. "I didn't anticipate it would be but I think in hindsight it was. I am sorry it did not work out -- it is disappointing for everyone. There was such a good reception for him. It would have been great to see him do his stuff but he clearly didn't today.
"I always had reservations about what we were dealing with -- it became a very awkward post (draw) and Johnny had difficulty getting him to settle early. I think that it is probably what hurt Animal Kingdom the most. If he had been drawn in the middle it would have been easier.
"I don't want to offer too many excuses. I am sorry it has ended this way, we are deflated. A lot of effort has gone into this -- David Lanigan and his crew and our crew -- it has been a lot of work. That's racing; everyone was predicting him to win but they have to run the race."
Dawn Approach rebounds in roughly-run St James's Palace
Dawn Approach is trained by his breeder, Jim Bolger, and is part-owned by him and Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation. Asked if he was surprised when Bolger announced he wanted to run the chestnut colt in today's race so soon after Epsom, Sheikh Mohammed said, "Yes, but Jim bred the horse and knows him very well, so when he said he wanted to run the owner was happy to support him. The biggest risk is not taking any risk. Today has proved to me that this horse is the best miler in the world."
Bolger said, "It's the nature of the sport to take chances and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. Sheikh Mohammed was a very willing risk taker and I'm delighted he was."
A stewards' inquiry looked into an incident between the two- and one-furlong marker when several horses were knocked sideways, including the first two, and Bolger said, "He was fortunate to survive that, but he did and the rest is history. He's very tough and hardy. I'm very happy, and relief plays a part in it, but I knew he wouldn't let me down."
Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, reacted to Dawn Approach's gutsy win over Toronado.
"It is fantastic. Jim (Bolger) called every shot there and got it absolutely right. It was a magnificent call on his part because it is the big race of the week," Crisford said. "It was a high-risk strategy and he pulled it off.
"Dawn Approach has achieved a phenomenal amount as a racehorse -- an unbeaten champion two-year-old, a Guineas win and success in the St James's Palace Stakes. He is now destined for great things ahead at stud. I hear he got a hefty bump and knew that the stewards' inquiry did not involve him.
"I am sure we will stick to this trip with Dawn Approach and we will look at the championship mile races around Europe and farther afield."
"When I pulled him out, I have gone there with plenty of horse but received a serious knock from the inside," jockey Kevin Manning said. "There was then some contact with the horse on the outside. I thought I had everything very much covered when I pulled him out. He got to the front and was not headed all the way to the line. He is a very gutsy and determined horse."
Toronado had to settle for second place after Dawn Approach was announced the short-head victor. This was after interference inside the last two furlongs when Glory Awaits drifted to the stands side forcing Magician, Mars, Dawn Approach and Toronado wide.
Richard Hannon, who trains the High Chaparral colt, commented afterwards, "That's racing. At least he's back! He's a very good horse.
"It was a shame really that there was that interference otherwise I think we would have got it. The winner went on to us and knocked us into the middle of the track. I don't think it was the winner's fault he got a knock and it concertinaed onto us."
Toronado is entered for the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on July 6 and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood July 31, as is Dawn Approach, and Hannon added all options are open.
Sole Power edges Shea Shea in King's Stand
Ireland's Sole Power, an 8-1 chance in Tuesday's Group 1 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, vanquished raiders from farther afield, the 11-4 favorite Shea Shea from South Africa whom he caught close home and beat a neck, while Australia's Shamexpress finished ninth, 4 1/4 lengths adrift of the winner.
Johnny Murtagh came with a late run which was timed to perfection on Sole Power, who is trained by Edward Lynam.
"I am very proud of Sole Power," Lynam said. "If he could beat Shea Shea, he was going to win but I didn't think he could beat Shea Shea. Johnny Murtagh is the best trainer riding!"
Johnny Murtagh, who started combining training and riding earlier this year, added, "Forty winners at Royal Ascot -- I am really proud of it. It's brilliant meeting and, as a jockey, this is where you want to be performing -- it makes the Monday to Fridays a lot easier, when you can come to a meeting like this and ride great horses for good people. I have just been one of the lucky ones.
"I get on well with this horse and I know what he likes. Eddie told me to ride him like I normally ride him -- 'ride him like you own him!' he said. Sole Power has a great turn of foot but he is very willing and, if he gets going too early, he runs out of steam so you have to time it to the best.
"Sole Power has had a lot of seconds but he deserved this victory -- it was a top-class field. He is more relaxed than he has been before -- he gives me the impression he is really enjoying his racing.
"Eddie knows how to get Sole Power spot on for these big days. There was always an excuse with his seconds last year. He has run a lot of good races but when you are a 100-1 winner of Group 1 you are kind of put in a pigeon hole but he showed what he can do today."
Paddy Power, whose mother Sabena owns Sole Power, commented, "It's amazing and a very special day. What a ride Johnny Murtagh gave him, to win his side by as far as he did. I have to say that we did kind of fancy Sole Power but it's so special to have it actually happen.
"It's so special for Mum especially, Dad as well and the Lynams, who did such a great job getting him here in great nick. I can't tell you how good it is -- it's amazing, so it is!"
Sole Power's late blitz landed the King's Stand, but the teams behind runner-up Shea Shea and Pearl Secret had no reason to feel crestfallen.
Shea Shea was saddled by trainer Mike de Kock who felt his horse would have been helped had he been given company in the closing stages of the race -- he and the winner finished on opposite sides of the track.
"I was on the wrong side behind the wrong horses," jockey Christophe Soumillon said.
"After all he's been through, there's no disgrace in being beaten," de Kock said. "It's disappointing to be beaten, but our horse has acquitted himself well and I'm very proud of him and the team that prepared him. "We all like to win, but we didn't and that's that."
Shea Shea is entered in Saturday's Golden Jubilee Stakes, and de Kock did not rule out a challenge.
"We'll see how he pulls out in the morning and may take our place on Saturday, but the door's still open," he said. "Christophe said he didn't have a hard race -- he hit the front and was idling, that's why I say it would have been great to have a horse take him on in front."
David Barron trains Pearl Secret for Qatar Racing, although the horse had not run since last year's Nunthorpe Stakes. Barron said, "To say I'm quite happy with him is an understatement. He's a horse who needs decent ground with a bit of give and doesn't want rattling ground. The two races we could have gone for before this race at Sandown and Haydock were not suitable because of the ground. He doesn't need soft ground, just a bit of ease.
"He looked good last year (when winning four races), but he wasn't taking on the class of horses he was taking on here. To have run as well as he has is very pleasing, and he's done well physically, so I hope he keeps going that way. He'll be unlucky not to win one of these.
"He's entered in the Golden Jubilee, but personally I wouldn't be in favor -- he's just had his first run of the season and he didn't have an easy race. The decision will be left to Sheikh Fahad. The horse is in all the Group 1 sprints over five and six furlongs."
Danny O'Brien, trainer of Shamexpress, said, "He was only average today. He has not been beaten out of sight -- three or four lengths. He was probably a bit soft in the last 100 (meters).
"He chased Shea Shea but was just average in the last furlong. We will probably stay -- we are here now and the horse seems in good order -- and try him over six furlongs in the July Cup at Newmarket.
War Command romps in Coventry
A stunning performance by runaway winner War Command in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes made it four wins for Irish trainers on the opening day of Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
The son of War Front was completing a double on the day for the team behind Queen Anne Stakes winner Declaration of War, namely trainer Aidan O'Brien, part/owner and breeder Joseph Allen, and the Coolmore triumvirate of Messrs Magnier, Tabor and Smith. However, O'Brien's son Joseph finished unplaced this time on favorite Stubbs, and it was another Ballydoyle stalwart, Seamie Heffernan, who rode the winner. In third was another O'Brien runner, Sir John Hawkins, the mount of Ryan Moore.
Allen, who lives in Florida, but is visiting Royal Ascot with his wife Annette, said, "This is surreal -- it could not get better than this. I did not expect the first winner (Declaration of War) because he was so disappointing on his previous run in the Lockinge Stakes, but this is a horse I have always liked.
"He's had a few issues -- he had a splint at one point -- but he's come around and what he did today was scary. His dam, Wandering Star, has a US Ranger filly foal at foot -- I bred and raced US Ranger with the same team."
"I've been involved with horses for 35 years, and this is the highlight. To win two major races on the first day of Royal Ascot is a dream."
War Command was given quotes of 5-1 for next year's Two Thousand Guineas, and 10-1 by Ladbrokes.
"The winner went too fast," said Richard Fahey as his second-placed charge, Parbold. "We wouldn't have beaten the winner anyway but (jockey) Tony (Hamilton) thought he was better for another two or three lengths. In race riding you make a decision and decide who the fancied ones are and you go that way Today it didn't happen.
"He is entered in several large two-year-old sales races and it would be hard not to run him in them."
Olly Stevens and his wife Hetta trained their first Royal Ascot winner in their debut season when Extortionist landed the £60,000 Windsor Forest Stakes for two-year-olds.
The victory completed a 152-1 double for jockey Johnny Murtagh, who had won the King's Stand Stakes on Sole Power earlier on the card. On this occasion, Murtagh wore the colors of Qatar Racing, a partnership involving the Al Thani brothers of Qatar. They own Robins Farm, which is the Stevens' base near Chiddingfold in Sussex.
The winner, a 16-1 shot, is a son of Dandy Man, a first-season sire.
"It feels fantastic -- Hetta and I have dreamed of this all our lives, but this win is testament to David Redvers (who is piloting the Qatar Racing project with Sheikh Fahad Al Thani), to Sheikh Fahad and all the team. It was David who picked out the horse as a yearling and I'm so glad we can repay Sheikh Fahad's faith in us," Stevens said.
Extortionist won his first race, but was only fourth at York next time out. Stevens said, "He came back from Nottingham with a sore shin and I had to swim him in to his race at York, where he was four lengths below his best. I was furious with myself that day, but put him away after that and we've known he was always a fast horse. Next could be the July Stakes and we'll work away from there."
"It worked out well and I got a nice tow into the race the horse did very well -- he went to the start very well and behaved well in the stalls," Murtagh said. "He was a little bit keen for the first half a furlong but as soon as I got in behind Kieren Fallon (on board Haikbidac) he settled lovely and he was always going to win when I pulled him out with a furlong and a half to go. He responded well and was very generous -- it was a good win for the team. I think he will improve for this. He was impressive on his first start but blew up on his second but he will improve again for this."
There was a sting in the tail for Murtagh, who received a two-day ban for use of the whip when winning on Extortionist. The stewards found he used his whip above the permitted level. His ban is on July 2-3.
Al Kazeem, Camelot highlight Prince of Wales's
Few would have expected the four-year-old campaign of Camelot to have suffered so early a setback, but there was no fluke in the way Al Kazeem brushed him aside in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh on May 26. The two will renew their rivalry in Wednesday's Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Al Kazeem's defeat of Camelot could be viewed as an upset, but the five-year-old son of Dubawi was not winning out of turn last time, having impressed in his two prior starts. Sidelined since winning the Group 2 Jockey Club at Newmarket in May 2012, Al Kazeem returned to the races this year with an easy tally in Sandown's Group 3 Gordon Richards on April 27.
"He came out of the Curragh race in great nick and showed everyone how exciting this season could be," jockey James Doyle said. "He's always been pretty good, but he improved massively from three to four and I think he has done again. His mentality is fantastic and the way he relaxes in his races makes my job easier."
Aidan O'Brien revealed after Camelot's latest reversal that he had taken it easy with last year's English Two Thousand Guineas and English and Irish Derby hero so far this season and he has applied some extra pressure in the interim.
"We've been looking forward to him and this will be his big test, mid-summer," the trainer commented. "We've been very happy with him since the Curragh and this is the main target. He had a setback in the winter and we've been taking him along gently and slowly building him up.
"We're happy that Al Kazeem is running again, because we can gauge Camelot then and whether he is making the progression we hope he is going to."
Like Elusive Kate in the Queen Anne Tuesday, John Gosden is pitching another filly into the deep end on her seasonal comeback in The Fugue. Winner of the Group 1 Nassau S. at Goodwood in August, the four-year-old filly will be making her first start since a troubled third in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Maxios arrives in the Prince of Wales's on the back of a career-best success in the Group 1Prix d'Isaphan at Longchamp May 26 and the half-brother to Bago has hit a rich vein of form of late, having won the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt on April 7 and finished second in the Group 1 Prix Ganay on April 28.
No Godolphin representative can be safely ignored in the race in which they hold the record of five wins, but last year's Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club runner-up and Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano scorer Saint Baudolino has major improvement to find following a fourth in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 on Meydan's Tapeta surface.
Chigun represents Cecil's wishes in Duke of Cambridge
Sir Henry Cecil's midas touch with fillies is the stuff of folklore and the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes would have been the type of race he would have excelled in had it existed during his pomp. As a parting shot, the maestro of Warren Place requested that the highly progressive Chigun be supplemented for Wednesday's renewal and it would be a fitting tribute if she can prevail.
Although she was beaten a short head by Dank when in receipt of three pounds on her return in the Group 3 Dahlia going nine furlongs at Newmarket on May 5, Chigun won The Curragh's Group 3 Ridgewood Pearl as she liked over the one-mile Duke of Cambridge distance 20 days later.
"The filly has been in great form since the Curragh and we think she has taken a step forward since then," Rob Speers, racing manager for the four-year-old Chigun, told PA Sport. "She is still lightly raced and still on an upward curve. It goes without saying if she could go and win tomorrow, it would be fantastic for the whole team at Warren Place. I think recent events put horse racing into perspective and Chigun is an absolute testimony to Sir Henry's ability to bring out the very best in his fillies.
"This race has been in the book for a while. She wasn't entered originally, but Henry was keen to come here after she ran so well in the Dahlia S. at Newmarket. We didn't take the decision to supplement lightly as it costs a lot of money, but she's in really good form and we're delighted to be carrying Sir Henry's plan through. She'll love the ground, she's a course-and-distance winner and, on official figures, she's the highest-rated filly in the race.
"We're going there very hopeful and after what has been a very trying time for Lady Cecil and everyone at Warren Place, it would be amazing if the dream comes true and this filly can go and win"
Dank belongs in the yard of Cecil's great rival Sir Michael Stoute, who has won this three times since its inception in 2004, and James Wigan's homebred was building on last year's promise in the Dahlia. The penalty she carried in that race was earned when winning Sandown's Group 3 Atalanta over this trip in September and she is another on the rise.
Duntle invades from Ireland for Flaxman Stables. The filly scaled the heights quickly last season when annexing Leopardstown's Group 3 Desmond in August and the Group 1 Matron the following month only to lose the latter race in the stewards' room. Returning to that venue to take the Group 3 Amethyst on May 12, Duntle has conditions to suit.
Multiple South African Group 1 winner Dancewiththedevil is now with Roger Varian after failing to shine in her last two starts, most recently when eighth in the April 28 President's Champion Challenge, and her new conditioner is hoping that the rain arrives.
"She took a while to acclimatize when she arrived, but she has been training very well over the last few weeks," Varian said. "I expect her to run well, to show she is up to this level in this country, but whatever she does on Wednesday I think she will improve on. Her best form is with cut in the ground, so I hope it is not too fast on Wednesday."
In the Group 3 Jersey for three-year-olds on Wednesday, Gale Force Ten will cut back in trip to seven furlongs for his Coolmore/Aidan O'Brien connections following a runner-up finish in the Irish Two Thousand Guineas. O'Brien shortened up the classic-placed Mozart to win the same event in 2001 at Royal Ascot.
Fourth in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Longchamp on May 12, the 2012 Group 2 Norfolk runner-up returned 13 days later to finish second to Magician at The Curragh, recording the same finish in the classic event as Mozart.
"(Gale Force Ten) ran a big race in the Middle Park last year (when finishing a close third) and he surprised us a little bit how well he got the mile at The Curragh," O'Brien commented. "You'd imagine going back to seven furlongs would suit and he's in good form."
Leading the opposition is Garswood, another who raced over sprint trips at two before returning to try further this term. Impressive in Newmarket's European Free over this distance on April 17, the bay was never a factor when seventh in the English Two Thousand Guineas back there last time but trainer Richard Fahey is keen to draw a line under that effort.
"When the stalls opened, he was half in the air and got turned sideways and never got into the race," Fahey said. "It was one of those races you'd have liked to have done again and was frustrating, as he's a horse we think an awful lot of. He's very talented and has a lot of gears, but is still learning his trade."
Richard Hannon puts forward a trio headed by the May 30 Heron scorer Montiridge, who is the choice of Richard Hughes over the May 1 Pavilion winner Ninjago.
"Montiridge' s listed (win) was a mile on easy ground and it remains to be seen whether he will be as effective over this seven furlongs," Hannon stated. "Though all his four wins have been over six furlongs, (Ninjago) gets the seven well."
Interestingly, Jean-Claude Rouget sends across a duo in Joseph Allen's Prix Sigy winner The Brothers War and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum's unbeaten Mutin.
Qatar Racing will be disappointed if they go through the Royal meeting without a win and if it has not arrived by the time Wednesday's Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes comes around it could be that Beldale Memory provides the desired result. The juvenile filly is the likely favorite in the five-furlong test.
Beldale Memory brings black-type experience to the mix, improving her mark to two-for-two in York's Marygate over five furlongs on May 17, and the Clive Cox trainee may be tested most by fellow listed scorer Rizeena. Compared with Sayyedati and Pebbles by trainer Clive Brittain after she had beaten the colts in the National S. at Sandown May 30, Rizeena is worthy of maximum respect.
Interestingly, Richard Hughes has opted to ride Oriel even though Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's color bearer is still a maiden after meeting Rizeena at Ascot on May 10, and another of Qatar Racing's representatives in Alutiq at Newbury on May 17.
"Hughesie has opted for Oriel, taking the view that the filly should be going
there with a one next to her name," trainer Richard Hannon said. "He held his
hands up after Newbury, where she
Kay named president and CEO of NYRA
Christopher Kay was named president and CEO of The New York Racing Association Inc. (NYRA) following unanimous approval by its Board of Directors at a meeting on Tuesday. The appointment is effective as of July 1.
Kay, 60, most recently served as COO for The Trust for Public Land, where he oversaw the operations of the land conservation organization's headquarters and 37 field offices. Prior to that, Kay was a consultant to Universal Parks & Resorts, serving as its Managing Director of International Business Development.
From 2001-2006, Kay served as the Chief Operating Officer for Toys 'R' Us, a Fortune 200 international company, and prior to that he was the retailer's Executive Vice President of Operations and General Counsel. Kay was also a minority owner of Orlando's AA baseball team and a member of the ownership group that sought to obtain the first MLB franchise in Florida.
Kay is a graduate of the University of Missouri and of the Duke University School of Law.
"After a careful search involving many highly qualified candidates, we are delighted to select Chris as our new president and CEO," NYRA Chair David J. Skorton said. "His wide range of expertise and skills -- including experience in the legal, regulatory and corporate governance environments -- will serve him extremely well in his new position at NYRA."
"Chris's unique blend of experience in retail, theme parks, sports and legal helped set him apart during this extensive search," NYRA Board member and Chair of the Nominations and Governance Committee Michael Del Giudice said. "We look forward to working with him as NYRA moves forward in the months and years ahead."
"I am confident that we have found the right person to lead NYRA forward," said Board Member Stuart S. Janney III, who was also a member of the search committee for the vacant CEO position.
"Throughout his career, Chris has demonstrated the type of leadership and strategic vision so crucial to NYRA's future success."
"Chris has a thorough understanding of the need to develop and drive brand strategies in a competitive and ever-changing environment," said Board member Jane Rosenthal, who was also a member of the CEO search committee. "He supported and enhanced the Toys ‘R' Us brand in every country in which it did business and sought to introduce the Universal Studios theme park brand to new countries as its Managing Director."
"Though he has had no direct involvement with Thoroughbred racing, Chris is familiar with the sport and will make great use of the outstanding team in place that has successfully guided NYRA through the past month and a half -- a period that included the 145th Belmont Stakes," Board and search committee member Bobby Flay said. "Chris's arrival will bring new ideas and synergies to our organization that will benefit NYRA, horsemen and fans, alike."
"We were fortunate to choose from an abundance of fine candidates, but Chris's business and leadership skills stamped him as our first preference," Board and search committee member Earle Mack said. "I know the Board and others will enjoy working with Chris once he takes over."
"I'm honored by the confidence expressed in me today by the NYRA Board," Kay said. "Thoroughbred racing is an important part of the lives of so many -- including the hundreds of thousands of fans who have loyally supported us through the years. I will work hard to earn their trust and respect as we embark upon an extremely important chapter of NYRA's history. Working with the talented professionals at NYRA and its dedicated and experienced Board, I anticipate an exciting and successful future for our sport."
The NYRA Board retained the services of the executive search firm RSR Partners to assist in the filling of the president and CEO position.
Attendance was up slightly for Tuesday's opening day of Royal Ascot at 46,359, just ahead of the 46,297 that attended in 2012. Clerk of the Course Chris Stickels was delighted with the way the ground rode on the first day of Royal Ascot and will keep the going description at "Good" overnight. He said of Wednesday's forecast, "There is a possibility of a shower or two but if we miss them and the dry conditions we had today prevail once again, then good to firm could enter the going description sometime tomorrow."...
Unbeaten Albany (Eng-G3) hopeful Sandiva (Footstepsinthesand) will carry the colors of Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani in Friday's six-furlong contest having being sold by Middleham Park Racing for an undisclosed sum in a private deal. The chestnut, who cost a bargain £18,000 as a Doncaster August yearling, has emerged as a leading early-season distaffer after bagging a May 10 Nottingham maiden by six lengths and then impressing when doubling up in the June 3 Fillies' Sprint at Naas. "Sandiva has just been sold to Sheikh Al Thani and won't be running for Middleham Park in the Albany," revealed Middleham Park's Nick Bradley. "We do wish her new connections all the best, but unfortunately in horse racing we are a business and we have to look after our owners' interests. We sold one or two of our horses last year, we've hopefully used the money wisely, and we'd like to do the same with the sale of Sandiva. It's disappointing Middleham Park won't get a winner at Royal Ascot, but I think she will win. That's just the position we are in the market at the moment."...
The Aga Khan's Group 1 winner Ridasiyna (Motivator) has been retired after suffering a minor setback, according to Tweets from the Aga Khans Studs. Trained in France by Mikel Delzangles, the four-year-old filly hit a career high when winning last year's Group 1 Prix de l'Opera, becoming the first Group 1 winner for sire Motivator. She finished fourth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, by Zagora in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf to round out her season, and was sixth in the Group 1 Prix Ganay in her lone 2013 outing on April 28. Ridasiyna will join the Aga Khan's broodmare band...
Lane's End has named Lexington-based Cornett-IMS to assume the lead on marketing and communications for their operations as of July 22, 2013. "We enjoyed a successful relationship with Baker Communications for many years," said William S. Farish, owner of the prominent Thoroughbred breeding farm. "They developed many great campaigns for us and we did not take making this change lightly. Our team was impressed by what Cornett could offer Lane's End in terms of depth of services and experience with Thoroughbred commerce." Cornett represents clients both inside and outside the Thoroughbred industry. "Lane's End is a leader in an industry that we love and know quite well," agency President/CEO Kip Cornett said. "It's an honor to work with this iconic brand, the Farish family and their team." Joyce Fogleman, a 24-year employee of Lane's End, continues in her role as Director of Marketing for the farm. For more information, contact Fogleman (859-873-7300) or Cornett (859-281-7878).
On the California worktab
Multiple Grade 1 hero Game on Dude (Awesome Again), who notched his fourth consecutive victory and pushed his earnings past $4.7 million in the April 20 Charles Town Classic (G2), worked six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 over the fast track at Santa Anita on Tuesday. The six-year-old gelding will make a title defense in the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6.
Grade 1 winner Liaison (Indian Charlie), second as the favorite in the Californian (G2) on June 1, drilled the bullet in 1:13 in advance of the Gold Cup.
Grade 2 winner Fed Biz (Giant's Causeway), fifth when shipping to Belmont for the Metropolitan Handicap, clocked his move in 1:13 3/5.
Grade 3 scorer Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute), who will look to rebound from an eighth in the Preakness next time, exercised in 1:13 4/5.
Black-Eyed Susan (G2) winner Fiftyshadesofhay (Pulpit) recorded a half-mile in :48 1/5.
Grade 3 queen Rumor (Indian Charlie), fifth in the Humana Distaff (G1) on the Kentucky Derby undercard, sauntered five furlongs in 1:04 2/5.
Multiple Grade 2 winner Tres Borrachos (Ecton Park), trailer in the May 27 All American (G3), logged five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 on the Cushion Track at Hollywood.
On the New York worktab
Once-beaten Tapicat (Tapit), unraced since a convincing win in the February 2 Florida Oaks (G3), breezed three furlongs in :39 2/5 on the fast Oklahoma training track at Saratoga on Tuesday.
Grade 3 winner Hessonite (Freud), sixth as the favorite in the May 25 Sheepshead Bay (G2), stepped five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 on the fast training track at Belmont Park.
On the Kentucky worktab
Grade 3-placed Redwood Kitten (Kitten's Joy), winner of the James W. Murphy on the Preakness undercard, traveled six furlongs in 1:13 over the Polytrack at Keeneland on Tuesday.
For Wednesday or Next Raceday
JUNE 19, 2013
by John Mucciolo
There was a single Grade 1 affair over the weekend at Hollywood Park.
Vanity H. (G1): Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' BYRAMA (Byron) tracked in second behind a clear leader, took the lead in early stretch and rolled home to an impressive 3 1/2-length score in this one under Gary Stevens. The four-year-old filly earned her initial Grade 1 win for John Sadler, running 1 1/8 miles on the main oval in 1:51 2/5.
From a total of 35 races held at the Inglewood, California, racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 26 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 46 percent of the wins. From 24 frays contested on the Cushion Track oval, four animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (16 percent), while two horses went all the way on the lead from 11 turf events (18 percent).
Of the pair of turf wires on the lawn this past week, one came in a route by a favorite, and the other resulted in a long shot leading throughout in a sprint.
Speed was not especially great on the Cushion, but we though the oval played mostly fair with a possible slight edge to late runners who were at least a few paths off the rail.
We witnessed a handful of really fine performances this week and we hope to see the same going forward in the final spring/summer meeting at this historic venue.
HORSES TO WATCH
1ST -- AMAZING HEARTED (Lion Hearted) ran a big one and got up late in defeating what we thought was a very good maiden claiming field today. It took a while for the five-year-old gelding to make his debut, but it looks like the patience was worth it.
8TH – SUANCES LUCK (Suances) cleared the field in a matter of a few jumps and never looked back in dominating this field at overlaid odds. The four-year-old filly is a tough customer when she's on her toes in the early going and we were a bit surprised nobody put a claim in on the lass.
2ND -- SOUTH SOUND (Stroll) really looked the part in a facile debut win and the Doug O'Neill pupil will likely be stakes bound following this triumph. The juvenile filly cost a lot and it looks like money well spent, so far.
3RD -- STREETS OF HEAVEN (Street Cry) was last early on but began to pass horses with virtually each stride on the backside and strode home a fine winner once again in here. Trainer Jorge Periban claimed the consistent elder out of this and the gelding should be a factor right back in a similar spot.
4TH -- JOEANDBETTY'SBABY (Yes It's True) had no chance with the winner in this turf dash, but we really liked the way this one rallied to be a nice second today for conditioner Mike Puype. We'll tab this one for a tally next time if placed in a similar spot, or even a small class drop.
6TH -- TOP KISSER (Old Trieste) went slow to the half, accelerated approaching the final turn and stayed on well in what we thought was a powerful tally in here under Rafael Bejarano. The Jerry Hollendorfer continues to impress and will be stakes bound next time out.
7TH -- PAYNTER (Awesome Again) toyed with a decent little field in here in capping an amazing comeback to the races for conditioner Bob Baffert, who did a superb job of having this one ready. The Grade 1 winner, who battled for his life not very long ago, is an inspirational story and easy to root for.
7TH -- GLORIOUS LUCK (Lucky J H) rolled home a most impressive winner at first asking in this turf dash and could evolve into a very nice one for trainer Carla Gaines.
8TH -- KOBE'S BACK (Flatter) surely left some kind of impression in winning his debut in this stakes spot for Sadler. The $480,000 juvenile purchase went last to first in a flash and was pulling away with ease late like a real nice one. We have no idea this colt can be, but we think he might be a potential juvenile star as the season unfolds.
8TH -- Multiple Grade 1 queen INCLUDE ME OUT (Include) made a fine 2013 debut in this spot when defeating a fine field of sprinters in a race that was just used as a prep for a longer race down the road. The five-year-old could be set for a monster second half of this season for conditioner Ron Ellis.
A Look Ahead
Saturday will play host to the Grade 2, $150,000 Hollywood Oaks, the lone graded race this weekend at Hollywood.
Top Speed/Class ratings
TOP BRIS CLASS RATINGS
(through June 17, 2013)
Note: Figures are for North American-based racing
At a Glance
AT A GLANCE SCHEDULE
*all times Eastern
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