Triple Crown News & Notes
WinStar buys into Upstart; Velazquez commits to Carpe Diem
As a two-year-old, Upstart began his career with an impressive 5 1/4-length debut win last August at Saratoga, and the talented colt returned just nine days later to also capture Saratoga's $200,000 Funny Cide S. with a 106 Brisnet Speed rating. Upstart turned in a good runner-up performance behind Daredevil (More Than Ready) in the prestigious Champagne S. (G1) at Belmont in his next start, earning a trip to the Breeders' Cup as one of the favorites for the $2 million Juvenile (G1).
The dark bay overcame some trouble before finishing third behind Texas Red (Afleet Alex) and Carpe Diem in the Breeders' Cup, closing out a two-year-old campaign with a record of 2-1-1 from four starts and earnings of $463,800. Wintering in Florida, Upstart began a promising three-year-old campaign in January in Gulfstream's Holy Bull S. (G2), drawing off in the stretch to a 5 1/2-length victory over Frosted and earning a 105 BRIS Speed rating in the 1 1/16-mile event. The win stamped him as one of the leading three-year-olds in the country.
Upstart crossed the line first in his next start in Gulfstream's Fountain of Youth in February, but was disqualified after a controversial inquiry and placed second. He returned as the favorite in the $1 million Florida Derby last month and finished a valiant second to Materiality in his final prep for the Kentucky Derby.
Bold Conquest works at Churchill; Mubtaahij takes tour of Arlington
Philip Birsh's Tencendur (Warrior's Reward) arrived at Churchill Downs at 5 a.m. (EDT) Monday morning after vanning from Belmont Park. According to Daily Racing Form's David Grening, Manny Franco will get the mount in the Derby.
Meanwhile at Arlington Park, Dubai shipper Mubtaahij (Dubawi) had a two-lap spin over the Polytrack surface Monday morning under regular work rider Lisa Moncrieff.
The first was just a jog the wrong way after which he turned and did one lap in an easy canter. He went in company with stablemate and anticipated Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) starter Umgiyo (Danehill Dancer).
"We were very happy with both our horses today. They were perky and bright eyed and appear to have suffered no ill effects from the long travel," assistant trainer Trevor Brown said. "They have settled well and are eating up."
Brown advised that, after consultation with trainer Mike de Kock, still in South Africa and due to arrive stateside this weekend, Mubtaahij likely will work a half-mile on Tuesday.
"He will likely go very easy in the first furlong and pick it up from there," Brown said.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum's colorbearer secured a Kentucky Derby berth by romping in the March 28 U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2).
Antley, Leatherbury lead 2015 Hall of Fame class
On October 31, 1987, Antley won nine races when he had four victories at Aqueduct and five at the Meadowlands. He also had a streak of 64 consecutive days with at least one win in 1989.
Leatherbury, 82, who was born in Baltimore, won his first race at Florida's Sunshine Park (now Tampa Bay Downs) in 1959 and currently ranks fourth all time with 6,454 wins. He has won 52 training titles in Maryland (26 each at Pimlico and Laurel) and four at Delaware Park with career purse earnings of $62,910,371. Leatherbury led all North American trainers in wins in 1977 and 1978 and won 300 or more races each year from 1975 through 1978. He ranked in the top three in North American wins each year from 1975 through 1980 and has finished in the top 10 nationally in wins 18 times and in earnings four times. Leatherbury has won 23 graded stakes races and 153 overall stakes.
In 1987, Leatherbury won the Hempstead H. (G1) with Catatonic and in 1994 he won the Philip H. Iselin H. (G1) with Taking Risks. Leatherbury also bred, owns and trains Ben's Cat, a winner of $2.3 million. Ben's Cat has won 22 stakes to date, including four graded events.
"This is quite an honor. This is the top honor in our industry," said Leatherbury on Monday at Pimlico. "I've had many honors and awards, which is more than anyone could ever dream of in their profession but, of course, this is the top one. I'm truly very honored by it."
Lava Man was bred in California by Lonnie Arterburn, Eve Kuhlmann and Kim Kuhlmann. Arterburn trained Lava Man until he was claimed during his three-year-old season for $50,000 by trainer Doug O'Neill for STD Racing Stable and partner Jason Wood.
A winner of seven Grade 1 races -- more than any other California-bred in history -- Lava Man posted a career record of 17-8-5 from 47 starts with earnings of $5,268,706. Among California-bred horses, only Hall of Famers Tiznow and Best Pal and 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome have higher career earnings. Lava Man won three consecutive editions of the Hollywood Gold Cup ([G1] 2005-07), matching a feat Hall of Famer Native Diver accomplished from 1965 through 1967. Lava Man also won back-to-back runnings of the Santa Anita H. (G1) in 2006 and 2007.
Lava Man's other significant wins included the Pacific Classic (G1), Californian (G2), Charles Whittingham Memorial H. (G1), and Goodwood H. (G1). In his first Hollywood Gold Cup victory, Lava Man won by a record eight lengths. With his victory in the Whittingham in 2006, Lava Man became the first horse since Vanlandingham 21 years earlier to win a Grade 1 race on both dirt and turf in the same year. Lava Man was also the first horse to win the Hollywood Gold Cup, Santa Anita H. and Pacific Classic (G1) in the same year (a feat since equaled by Game On Dude).
Xtra Heat was bred in Kentucky by Pope McLean's Crestwood Farm and sold as a two-year-old for $5,000 at Maryland's Timonium sale to trainer John Salzman Sr. and partners Ken Taylor and Harry Deitchman.
The champion three-year-old filly in 2001, Xtra Heat compiled a career record of 26-5-2 from 35 starts and earnings of $2,389,635. Xtra Heat won a total of 25 stakes races, 11 of which were graded events. She registered two six-race win streaks and had two victories in the Barbara Fritchie H. (G2) and Endine S. (G3). Xtra Heat's wins included the Prioress ([G1] setting a stakes record of 1:08.26), as well as the Vagrancy (G2) and Genuine Risk (G2) handicaps and the Astarita (G2) and Beaumont (G2).
The contemporary electees were chosen from a nationwide voting panel comprised of 180 racing writers, broadcasters, industry officials and historians from a group of 10 finalists selected by the Hall of Fame's Nominating Committee. The top four vote-getters among the finalists are elected.
Results of the Hall of Fame's Historic Review and Pillars of the Turf committees will be announced in May.
Hootenanny, Sunset Glow eye Royal Ascot
Trainer Wesley Ward will aim Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) hero Hootenanny (Quality Road) and Del Mar Debutante S. (G1) heroine Sunset Glow (Exchange Rate) at Royal Ascot after scratching them from their respective Guineas engagements. Both horses could now take their chance in the Commonwealth Cup, the new Group 1 sprint at the big June meeting.
Hootenanny was an impressive winner of the Windsor Castle S. at Royal Ascot last summer while Sunset Glow was second to subsequent Group 1 winner Cursory Glance (Distorted Humor) in the Albany S. (Eng-G3) also at that meeting. The pair were in action recently with Hootenanny making mincemeat of his three rivals in a Keeneland allowance over 5 1/2 furlongs Saturday while Sunset Glow was third in the Appalachian S. (G3) over a mile on the same course a week earlier.
"It's just the races at Newmarket are a bit too close to their last run," Ward said of the May 2 and 3 classics. "I like to give my horses some time between starts. If Sunset Glow had won her race, then the Guineas would have been something we'd look at but unfortunately she got beat. There were no excuses so that's the reason we are not bringing them to Newmarket.
"For Hootenanny I've been looking at 30 days from race-to-race or train him straight for the Commonwealth Cup, the new Group 1. I think he's going to want to go further, but the way he ran at Ascot last year and on Saturday he's going to be a demon going shorter. He loves the course so we're trying to go on the same lines. I like to run sprinters fresh in their races and I think he can go right from his last race here and just tear the barn down and be ready to roll.
"I just hope my jockey (Frankie Dettori) is free and not needed by Sheikh Joann al Thani."
"I've got Sunset Glow nominated as well for the Commonwealth," the trainer continued. "The owner (David Mowat of Ten Broeck Farm) is very keen to get to Ascot. He had a wonderful experience last year when she was second. She's doing really well and I'm looking forward to taking her back. I'm expecting big things from her as well."
So dominant in the mud when storming to a seven-length success in the March 28 Prix Francois Mathet over 10 1/2 furlongs at Saint-Cloud, Karaktar (High Chaparral) took a supposed stiffer test, Monday's Prix Noailles (Fr-G3) at Longchamp, on much livelier ground in his impressive stride to advertise his versatility as well as his abundant class. Stalking the leading trio early under Christophe Soumillon, Karaktar cruised to the front out wide passing the quarter pole and with a shake of the reins drew clear to outclass his rivals. "He is a proper horse with a very good attitude who does everything we ask of him," trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre commented. "We now have to think about the Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-G1) and we have two ways of getting there. We either run beforehand in the Prix Hocquart (Fr-G2) here or go straight there and at this stage my preference is for the second option." Keeping esteemed company from the outset, the bay was third on debut behind the subsequent Criterium de Saint-Cloud (Fr-G1) winner Epicuris (Rail Link) over a mile at Longchamp at the start of September before scoring over that distance at Maisons-Laffitte later in the month. Racing among the majority who stayed far side as the filly Alea Iacta (Invincible Spirit) went up the other fence when third in the Prix Thomas Bryon (Fr-G3) at Saint-Cloud in October, the colt had returned an entirely different proposition upped in trip for the Francois Mathet...
Four-time Group 1 winner Elusive Kate (Elusive Quality) died Saturday after producing her first foal, a colt by Dansili. She was six. Trained by John Gosden for Magnolia Racing and Gosden's wife Rachel Hood, Elusive Kate made her first five starts for them, winning the Prix Marcel Boussac (Fr-G1) as well as the Prix du Calvados (Fr-G3). Purchased by Teruya Yoshida prior to her eighth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2), the bay would go on to take two editions of the Prix Rothschild (Fr-G1) as well as the Falmouth S. (Eng-G1) in a 17-start career with earnings of $1,319,154. She was retired in the autumn of 2013 after finishing fifth behind Olympic Glory in the Queen Elizabeth II S. (Eng-G1) on Champions Day at Ascot. Gosden paid tribute to Elusive Kate after the high-class mare died while giving birth to her first foal. Gosden told the Times, "She was a lovely filly with a great pedigree. It's very sad for Mr Yoshida."...
Santa Anita's 2014-15 Winter Meet drew to a close Sunday, with the track posting a three percent increase in overall pari-mutuel handle and a four percent hike in on-track attendance. For the second year in a row, Santa Anita will conduct a 39-day Spring Meeting, which will kick off on Friday and run through June 28. First post time on Friday will be at 1 p.m. (PDT), and first post each weekend, with the exception of Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes Days, will be at 12:30 p.m. Santa Anita will again offer fans free Infield admission and parking, via Gate 6 on the track's northern perimeter. Shared Belief (Candy Ride), who captured the Malibu (G1), San Antonio (G2), and Santa Anita H. (G1), was named Horse of the Meet. Rafael Bejarano, 33, notched his sixth Winter Meet riding title as he finished with 76wins, 18 better than runner-up Tyler Baze. In the trainers race, Jerry Hollendorfer defeated Peter Miller in a photo finish, 34-33. It was Hollendorfer's second consecutive Winter Meet title. In the owners division, Hronis Racing LLC led the way with 13 wins, two more than runner-up Rockingham Ranch.
BRIS TRAINER STATS FROM PAST 60 DAYS
BRIS TRAINER/JOCKEY STATS FROM PAST 60 DAYS
HANDICAPPER'S EDGE is compiled by Bloodstock Research Information Services. This newsletter may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Copyright 2011, Bloodstock Research Information Services. Information as to the races, race results and earnings was obtained from Equibase Company LLC and is utilized herein with the permission of the copyright owner, Equibase Company LLC.
A horse racing website is currently hiring for part-time positions as a Customer Service Representative in Lexington, Kentucky. Must be available nights and weekends. Some weekdays may also be available. Computer literacy required, horse racing knowledge and customer service experience a plus. To schedule an interview, email or send your résumé to the following: Nancy.Kanaval@brisnet.com, P.O. Box 4097, Lexington, KY 40544.