Louisiana Breds Excel in Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) held its fourth annual Thoroughbred Makeover this past week, October 4-7, 2018 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The 2018 RRP Thoroughbred Makeover had 23 Louisiana breds entered in the competition, more than double the number that competed in the 2017 event. This year Louisiana breds competed in Barrel Racing, Competitive Trail, Dressage, Eventing, Field Hunter, Freestyle, Ranch Work, Show Hunter, and Show Jumper disciplines.

 

Retired Louisiana bred thoroughbred racehorses showed up in the top ranks in many of the ten different disciplines represented with Interactif Spy earning the number one spot in the Show Jumper category.  Interactif Spy, a 2013 gelding (Interactif—Runaway Spy, Mt. Livermore), was bred in Louisiana by D&F Horse Farms LLC, and ridden by Morgan Boyer, a professional from Stokesdale, North Carolina. On the racetrack, Interactif Spy started three times as a three-year-old, with one victory and a second place finish. He retired with racetrack earnings of $9,305.

 

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Interactif Spy

While this year was Boyer’s first time competing at the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover, she has competed in the Eventing discipline up to the intermediate level on a thoroughbred. She now works as a professional alongside her mother at Blue Line Farm, with plenty of customers who own off-the-track horses in training.

 

“Honestly I don’t think they’re for everyone because they’re very forward thinking, but that translates very well to a working horse,” Boyer said of off-the-track thoroughbreds. “It translates incredibly well to eventing. They’re catty and athletic; they’re cooperative. They just have the brain to try really hard. They’re so, so smart.”

 

Another Louisiana bred, Delightfully, a 2014 mare (Redding Colliery—Like a Lover, Pleasant Tap), earned third place in the Freesytle discipline. Delightfully was bred in Louisiana by Columbine Stable, LLC, and ridden by Amy Lent, a professional from Versailles, Kentucky. Delightfully was unsuccessful in her one bid on the racetrack and retired with earnings of $1,230.

 

An unplaced Louisiana bred gelding Bazillion Bells (Calibrachoa-Zada Rae, by Unbridled’s Song), earned sixth place in the Eventing discipline for professional competitor Kaitlin Hartford of Callahan, Florida. Bazillion Bells was bred by Joseph Adcock.

 

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Brooke Miller aboard Classy Clown

Two competitors from Louisiana also made the trip to the Kentucky Horse Park. Brooke Miller, head trainer at Woodland Hills Equestrian Center in Carencro, La, competed Classy Clown in Show Jumping and Eventing. Classy Clown is a  2014 gelding by TenpinsLady Button Eyesby Belong to Me. He was bred by Ada K. White.

 

Sarah Alexis Rouse competed as a Junior on her Pirate Island in Show Jumping and Barrel Racing. Pirate Island is by Storm DayJaycor Pass, by Pikepass. The 2008 gelding’s breeder is Maurice W. Smith.

 

 

The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) sponsored a $2,500 cash prize for the top-placed Louisiana-bred at the competition.

 

“The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association continues to make an investment in the future of our thoroughbreds by helping our former runners secure a beautiful life after their time on the racetrack is done,” said Roger Heitzmann III, secretary-treasurer of LTBA. “We believe that by assisting the Retired Racehorse Project, former racers have the ability to show to others the true beauty of the Thoroughbred, as well as their continued usefulness.”

 

 

Equine Sales Company Posts Big Gains for Consignor Select Sale

Equine Sales Company’s Consignor Select Yearling Sale, held Thursday, September 6, in Opelousas, Louisiana, recorded significant increases in gross sales and average price compared to last year’s auction, which itself posted big increases over the prior year. All told, 150 of 206 yearlings sold this year for a total of $1,949,900 with an average of $12,999 and median of $6,000. A total of 138 of 193 head sold last year.
This year’s figures marked an 19.2% increase in gross sales from last year’s $1,636,400 and a 9.6% jump in average from $11,858. This year’s median of $6,000 was down from last year’s $7,000, and this year’s buyback rate was 27.2% compared to 28.5% last year.
“We had a very strong sale last year, so we were extremely pleased to exceed those numbers this year,” said Foster Bridewell, sales director. “The fact that we had 10 horses go for $50,000 or more proves that our consignors really brought some quality stock and that our buyers stepped up to get those individuals.
“There’s a lot of money to run for in Louisiana, and Louisiana-breds have proven again and again that they can win anywhere, most recently with Classy John, who sold here as a 2-year-old for $12,000, winning an $85,000 maiden special at Saratoga last month by daylight.”
The sale was highlighted by two Louisiana-bred colts who hit six figures, topped by a February foal from the first crop of multiple Grade 1 winner Palace. Consigned by 4M Ranch, agent, the colt went to J. Stevens Bloodstock, agent, for $105,000. He is out of the winning Kafwain mare Sheer Speed, whose first starter, by Redding Colliery, is a two-time winner.
Close behind the sale-topper was a March foal by Grade 1 winner and first-crop sire Lea who sold for $100,000 from Red River Farm, agent, to Carl Moore Management LLC. The colt is out the unraced Corinthian daughter Beat the Street, who is the dam of four winners from as many to race including stakes winner Kylie’s Cutie and stakes-placed Blue Ribbon Girl.
Full results of the sale are available at www.equinesalescompany.com.

Battle At Sea Impressive in the $60,000 A. L. (Red) Erwin

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Battle At Sea ridden by Colby Hernandez wins the Red Erwin Stakes. Hodges Photography

A.L. (Red) Erwin Stakes
Louisiana Downs, 9-2-18, 8.32 furlongs, $60,000
Three Year Old Accredited Louisiana Bred Colts or Geldings

BATTLE AT SEA
Into Mischief–Mystery At Sea
Breeder: Clear Creek Stud Llc
Owner: Three Diamonds Farm
Trainer: Michael J. Make
Jockey: Colby J. Hernandez

2nd
Big Boy Dave Rex
Ruler’s Court–Dream Day
Breeder: J. E. Nichols
Owner: Beverly Burress
Trainer: Beverly Burress
Jockey: Juan A. Larrosa

3rd
Greeley Went West
El Corredor–So Well Read
Breeder: Tom Curtis & Wayne Simpson
Owner: Phyllis J. Hodges and Randolph Schneider
Trainer: James E. Hodges
Jockey: Gerardo Mora

Louisiana-bred 3-year-old colts and geldings competed in the $60,000 A. L. (Red) Erwin. The feature was moved to the main track after heavy rainfall hit Bossier City at 2:25 pm this afternoon.

Trainer Mike Maker sent in Battle At Sea a son of Into Mischief for Three Diamonds Farm. This was the fifth stakes of the year for the bay colt, who made his last start in the Ellis Park Derby on August 12.

Assistant Miguel Castellanos gave jockey Colby Hernandez a leg up, and he prevailed as the heavy favorite, covering a mile and 70 yards on the sloppy track in 1:44.07

“First off, I want to thank Mike and the owners for giving me the opportunity to ride this horse,” said Hernandez. “He broke sharp and is a pretty tough horse. I didn’t want to get in his way. I called on him at the quarter-pole and he went on with it.”

Longshot Big Boy Dave Rex ran second under Juan Larrosa, followed by Greeley Went West and General Tone.

Battle At Sea returned $3.20 for the win. This was the third career win for the Louisiana-bred  colt, and his second on an off track.

Yes Gorgeous Tops Louisiana-Bred Fillies in the $60,000 Elge Rasberry

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Undaunted by sudden downpour Yes Gorgeous and jockey Diego Saenz win the $60,000 Elge Rasberry Stakes at Louisiana Downs. Hodges Photography / Ann Switalski

Elge Rasberry Stakes
Louisiana Downs, 9-2-18, 8 furlongs, turf, $60,000
Three Year Old Accredited Louisiana Bred Fillies

YES GORGEOUS
Mass Media–Isn’t She Gorgeous
Breeder: J. Adcock & Montgomery Equine Center
Owner: Scott Gelner
Trainer: Scott Gelner
Jockey: Diego Saenz

2nd
Savvy Shipman
Midshipman–Fresh
Breeder: Scrivener Stables
Owner: Scrivener Stables
Trainer: Michael J. Maker
Jockey: Colby J. Hernandez

3rd
Bionic Butterfly
Custom for Carlos–Pentatonic
Breeder: Relentless Racing LLC
Owner: Whispering Oaks Farm LLC
Trainer: Steven B. Flint
Jockey: Florent Geroux

The 24th running of the $60,000 Elge Rasberry drew a field of ten Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies. The heavy rainfall, which had been expected in Sunday’s forecast, hit as the field headed into the starting gate. Fortunately, it did not deter Yes Gorgeous, who handled the adverse conditions with little difficulty.

Owned and trained by Scott Gelner, the filly by Mass Media has been a model of consistency. Other than her first two career efforts, she has never missed a check.  She was unpressured under jockey Diego Saenz, covering the first quarter in :24.17 and the half-mile in :48.94 and finishing in 1:37.54.

“She is just a blessing from God for me and my family,” stated Gelner. “She has handled everything we have ever asked: turf, dirt, even running against the boys. I never have to tell Diego what to do; he always knows, and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Scrivener Stables’ Savvy Shipman, ran second by two lengths for trainer Mike Maker and rider Colby Hernandez. Bionic Butterfly, trained by Steve Flint, who has been a solid allowance level performer at Evangeline Downs for Whispering Oaks Farm, LLC, was third under Florent Geroux with Fleet Halo completing the superfecta.

Yes Gorgeous paid $6.40 for the victory; her fourth in 17 starts.  Her career bankroll now stands at $208,455. Gelner reported that they will give her a break and she is slated to return on Louisiana Champions Day at Fair Grounds.

Bermuda Star Wins Her Second Stake of the Meet, the $60,000 River Cities

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Bermuda Star with jockey Diego Saenz gets a head in front of Hachi and jockey Florent Geroux to capture the 33rd running of the River Cities Stakes at Louisiana Downs. Hodges Photography / Ann Switalski

River Cities Stakes
Louisiana Downs, 9-2-18, 8.5 furlongs, turf, $60,000
Three Year Olds and Upwards, Fillies and Mares

BERMUDA STAR
Star Guitar–Bermuda Bride
Breeder: Tom Curtis & Wayne Simpson (LA)
Owner: Brittlyn Stable, Inc.
Trainer: Victor Arceneaux
Jockey: Diego Saenz

2nd
Hachi (CHI)
Seeking the Dia–Habibti (CHI)
Breeder: Haras Don Alberto (CHI)
Owner: Don Alberto Stable
Trainer: Brad H. Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux

3rd
Holiday’s Angel
Harlan’s Holiday–Senorita Corredora
Breeder: Elm Racing, LLC (KY)
Owner: Keene Thoroughbreds LLC
Trainer: Allen Milligan
Jockey: Eguard A. Tejera

 

It was another rousing finish by Bermuda Star, owned by Brittlyn Stable, Inc.to take the 33rd running of the $60,000 River Cities.

The daughter of Star Guitar won the $60,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff, run here on August 4.That race was run over a firm turf course, but due to a major downpour, the turf condition was changed to yielding.  Rider Diego Saenz has the return call for trainer Victor Arceneaux, dueling with  Hachi (CHI) and winning in a final time of 1:44.35. 

“I was really concerned with the condition of the turf course,” said Arceneaux. “I told Diego if she was not comfortable to pull her up, but all of the sudden, she went to running and the rest was history. I want to thank Wayne Simpson and Tom Curtis for breeding this horse.”

Hachi (CHI), a 5-year-old stakes-placed mare ran second under jockey Florent Geroux as the 7-5 morning-line choice.  Brad Cox trains the Chilean import for breeder and owner Don Alberto Stable.  Holiday’s Angel with Eguard Tejera up, ran third. Completing the superfecta was Calumet Farms’ Susie Bee.

This was the sixth career win for Bermuda Star ($8.40), who was sent off as the second choice in the wagering.

Limation Lights up the Toteboard in the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

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Limation with jockey Diego Saenz wins the 39th running of the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs. Hodges Photography / Ann Switalski

Jockey Diego Saenz Wins Four Stakes on the Card

Bossier City, LA There were two very pleasant surprises this afternoon at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.  First was the super effort by Michael Lankford’s Limation powering to victory in Super Derby 39 at odds of 26-1. Secondly, an ominous weather forecast of thunderstorms throughout the entire afternoon, did not come to fruition. Although a downpour hit the Shreveport area just before 2:30 p.m., the richest race of the 2018 Thoroughbred season went off under sunny skies.

Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen sent in two quality 3-year-olds: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Willis Horton Racing LLC’s Lionite and Limation, for owner Michael Langford.  It was Limation, who delivered the winning effort at a big price! Sired by Alternation, he had won two of his seven career starts and shipped to Louisiana Downs off an eighth-place finish in the Ellis Park Derby on August 12. 

But today, he was a different horse and jockey Diego Saenz made easy work of his eight rivals. Forwardly placed in the early stages of the race, he got clear at the top of the lane, crossing the wire in 1:43.91, by a margin of 5 ¾ lengths over Lone Sailor.

Asmussen, who had never won an edition of the Super Derby before, was reached on the phone after the race. He was very pleased with the effort by Limation.

“We knew he was a talented colt and were very disappointed in his loss at Ellis,” explained Asmussen. “Every move we made in in that race was wrong. “That’s why we brought him back so soon. Today, the race set up perfectly and I am pleased for Michael Langford.”

Asmussen’s longtime assistant Darren Fleming saddled the dark bay colt and felt Limation was primed for today’s test.

“He’s been doing really well, said Fleming.  “He’d been at Remington Park and when he came down here, he seemed to come alive and know what his job was. He got a great ride. Diego and I talked in the paddock; we were hoping for a pace to run at and that’s what happened.”

“It was the first time I had been on him, but that’s the pace we wanted,” said Saenz. “As far as his finish, it’s like when you push the pedal and you’ve got gas!”

Lone Sailor who finished eighth in this year’s Run for the Roses for owner Gayle Benson’s GMB Racing.  Trained by Tom Amoss, the bay colt has faced the nation’s top three-year-olds, including Triple Crown winner Justify in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Lone Sailor ran second by a nose in the Grade 3, Ohio Derby and most recently finished a respectable third in the Grade 1, Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. Jockey James Graham had the mount and closed gamely as the runner-up. Amoss was hoping to win his first Super Derby, but was gracious in praise for the winner.

“He broke sharp and we had a very good trip,” said Amoss. “My fear is that we would not get the pace set-up we needed. We just couldn’t catch the winner, who is a very good horse.”

High North ran third under Florent Geroux for trainer Brad Cox, who won last year’s Super Derby with Mr. Misunderstood.  Lionite completed the superfecta with David Cabrera up, followed by G’s Turn, Bode’s Maker, McFeely, Autumn Warrior and the early pacesetter, Charlie’s Schiller.

Dismissed by the betting public, Limation rewarded his backers with a win payout of $54.80. With the winner’s share of $180,000, he boosted his career bankroll to $272,958 with three wins from eight starts.

Taylor’s Spirit Conquers Turf in the $60,000 Happy Ticket

The stakes action got underway in the second race of the card, with a field of six fillies and mares in the 33rd running of the $60,000 Happy Ticket.  

Norman Stables, LLC’s Taylor’s Spirit won her first two career races at Prairie Meadows, and was seeking her second stakes win while making her turf debut for trainer Scott Gelner.  She was forwardly placed in the early stages under jockey Florent Geroux, easily drawing clear by a margin of 3 ¼ lengths. 

Scott had her well prepared and even though this was her first time on the turf, at the quarter pole it was all over,” he said. 

Gelner credited his association with the Norman family and felt confident that she would handle the turf.

“She’s a nice filly,” said Gelner. “She worked five-eighths of a mile in company the other day and was very relaxed.”

Flatoutandfoxy ran second under Kerwin Clark with Navy Regatta completing the trifecta.  Miss Perdito Key ran fourth, followed by Given Grace.  Noble Love ran yesterday at Kentucky Downs and was scratched from the Happy Ticket.

Taylor’s Spirit ($2.20) completed the mile feature over a firm turf course in 1:37.91. Gelner said his filly will make her next start in Kentucky.

Bermuda Star Wins Her Second Stake of the Meet,  the $60,000 River Cities

It was another rousing finish by Bermuda Star, owned by Brittlyn Stable, Inc.to take the 33rd running of the $60,000 River Cities.

The daughter of Star Guitar won the $60,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff, run here on August 4. That race was run over a firm turf course, but due to a major downpour, the turf condition was changed to yielding.  Rider Diego Saenz has the return call for trainer Victor Arceneaux, dueling with  Hachi (CHI) and winning in a final time of 1:44.35. 

“I was really concerned with the condition of the turf course,” said Arceneaux. “I told Diego if she was not comfortable to pull her up, but all of the sudden, she went to running and the rest was history. I want to thank Wayne Simpson and Tom Curtis for breeding this horse.”

Hachi (CHI), a 5-year-old stakes-placed mare ran second under jockey Florent Geroux as the 7-5 morning-line choice.  Brad Cox trains the Chilean import for breeder and owner Don Alberto Stable.  Holiday’s Angel with Eguard Tejera up, ran third. Completing the superfecta was Calumet Farms’ Susie Bee.

This was the sixth career win for Bermuda Star ($8.40), who was sent off as the second choice in the wagering.

Ice City Ghost Springs the Upset in the $60,000 Sunday Silence 

The 15th running of the $60,000 Sunday Silence produced the first upset of the afternoon with Ice City Ghost breaking his maiden and winning the first stakes of his career. 

Bred and owned by Dream Walkin Farms, Inc., the gelded son of Ice Box was making just his second start and Diego Saenz, who won the Sunday Silence last year with Budro Talking, kept his mount on the lead, and finished in 1:37.63, a margin of 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Cabo’s Rumor.

Ice City Ghost ran fourth on August 10 at Evangeline Downs and trainer Carl Deville, Jr. felt his charge would improve in his next outing.

“The colt had a little trouble in his first race, but he’s been doing really well,” said Deville. “I was looking at the race and today he proved he could run.”

Cabo’s Rumor, winner of the $60,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile here on August 4, finished second for Northpointe Thoroughbreds. The son of Amanecer de Oro was making his first start on turf for trainer Steven Duke. Big Bobby Brown closed for third and American Gem, at 28-1, completed the superfecta.

Ice City Ghost rewarded his supporters with a win payout of $42.20, and earned $36,000 for the victory.  Deville was unsure of his next start.

Big Changes Prevails in the $60,000 Unbridled 

Trainer Brad Cox sent Big Changes to Louisiana Downs last year and today he returned a winner in the 40th running of the $60,000 Unbridled.  The Florida-bred son of Shipman owned by Steve Landers Racing, LLC was in pursuit of his fourth consecutive stakes race in the mile and one-sixteenth turf feature. He won the $50,000 John Henry at Evangeline Downs and followed that with a three-length victory in the West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker’s Cup Stakes at Mountaineer Park on August 4. The chestnut gelding was the favorite in last year’s Unbridled, running second to Net Gain, 

But with a confident rider by jockey Florent Geroux, he prevailed this year as the strong favorite in the 10- horse field.

“He showed a lot of grit today,” said assistant trainer Ricky Giannini.  “Florent had to move a little early to shake off the competition. He was challenged all the way down the backside, but got clear and fought on down the lane,”

Mocito Rojo under Filemon Rodriguez ran second followed by Potomac River and Magic Vow. 

This was the fourth win in a row for Big Changes ($2.80) who increased his career earnings to $381,550 with today’s score.

Yes Gorgeous Tops Louisiana-Bred Fillies in the $60,000 Elge Rasberry

The 24th running of the $60,000 Elge Rasberry drew a field of ten Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies. The heavy rainfall, which had been expected in Sunday’s forecast, hit as the field headed into the starting gate. Fortunately, it did not deter Yes Gorgeous, who handled the adverse conditions with little difficulty.

Owned and trained by Scott Gelner, the filly by Mass Media has been a model of consistency. Other than her first two career efforts, she has never missed a check.  She was unpressured under jockey Diego Saenz, covering the first quarter in :24.17 and the half-mile in :48.94 and finishing in 1:37.54.

“She is just a blessing from God for me and my family,” stated Gelner. “She has handled everything we have ever asked: turf, dirt, even running against the boys. I never have to tell Diego what to do; he always knows, and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Scrivener Stables’ Savvy Shipman, ran second by two lengths for trainer Mike Maker and rider Colby Hernandez. Bionic Butterfly, trained by Steve Flint, who has been a solid allowance level performer at Evangeline Downs for Whispering Oaks Farm, LLC, was third under Florent Geroux with Fleet Halo completing the superfecta.

Yes Gorgeous paid $6.40 for the victory; her fourth in 17 starts.  Her career bankroll now stands at $208,455. Gelner reported that they will give her a break and she is slated to return on Louisiana Champions Day at Fair Grounds.

Battle At Sea Impressive in the $60,000 A. L. (Red) Erwin

Louisiana-bred 3-year-old colts and geldings competed in the $60,000 A. L. (Red) Erwin. The feature was moved to the main track after heavy rainfall hit Bossier City at 2:25 pm this afternoon.

Trainer Mike Maker sent in Battle At Sea a son of Into Mischief for Three Diamonds Farm. This was the fifth stakes of the year for the bay colt, who made his last start in the Ellis Park Derby on August 12.

Assistant Miguel Castellanos gave jockey Colby Hernandez a leg up, and he prevailed as the heavy favorite, covering a mile and 70 yards on the sloppy track in 1:44.07

“First off, I want to thank Mike and the owners for giving me the opportunity to ride this horse,” said Hernandez. “He broke sharp and is a pretty tough horse. I didn’t want to get in his way. I called on him at the quarter-pole and he went on with it.”

Longshot Big Boy Dave Rex ran second under Juan Larrosa, followed by Greeley Went West and General Tone.

Battle At Sea returned $3.20 for the win. This was the third career win for the Louisiana-bred  colt, and his second on an off track.

Classy John the Definition of a Happy Accident

By Brian DiDonato

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Classy John & Dallas Stewart. Sarah K Andrew photo

The story of 2-year-old colt Classy John (Songandaprayer) looks like a pretty interesting one on paper, but is even more so than meets the eye. A $12,000 Equine Sales of Louisiana purchase in May off of just a gallop, the Valene Farms-owned Dallas Stewart trainee shipped up to Saratoga last Saturday to romp by six lengths at 12-1 odds in a typically tough GI Travers S. day maiden special weight (video replay).

The Louisiana-bred beat a pricey group in the process, defeating the likes of an $850,000 2-year-old acquisition and a $650,000 yearling as well as several fashionably pedigreed homebreds.

Classy John was an excellent value purchase to be sure, but as it turns out, he wasn’t an intentional one.

“We got a little confused. I was on the phone, and I thought I was bidding on 15, but it was 14,” owner Murray Valene revealed. “But it turned out to be a pretty good buy, huh? We didn’t have any idea what the horse looked like, but that’s the way it goes. You never do know. It turned out to be a really nice little horse, with some decent pedigree.”

Classy John is the third foal and first to race out of Kitty’s Got Class (Old Forester), who handily won her first three races, including two stakes, as a Woodbine-based juvenile.

After looking at the colt’s page, and him as an individual, Valene began to come around to his purchase.

“I took one look at him when he got in and said, ‘Boy, I like the looks of this colt.’ So we sent him up to Dallas because he looked like he was above average. He was just a good-looking horse.”

Hip 15, an Eskendereya filly who went for $9,000, has not yet started or been credited with an official work.

Once in Stewart’s program, Classy John gave some indication that he was a nice horse, but he really caught his trainer’s attention after blazing through five panels in a bullet :58.60 from the gate at the Churchill Downs Training Center Aug. 17.

“Two or three weeks before [the race, on Aug. 9,] he worked in [1:01 4/5], but in the last work, he worked in :58 3/5 from the gate,” Stewart noted. “So I called the clocker to make sure that was legit–I was up here [in Saratoga]. The clocker said he might have even gone a little faster than that–it was unreal. So I talked to Murray and told him there was a race on Travers Day. Murray’s always game for anything, so he said, ‘Let’s go for it.’”

Valene and Stewart already had another runner for the card in last year’s local GI Hopeful S. third Givemeaminit (Star Guitar), who checked in eighth in the GI H. Allen Jerkens.

Stewart admitted to wondering before the race if his decision to ship Classy John up to the Spa was the right one.

“I got to thinking that maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do with the crowd and everything,” he said. “We’d have to fly him up on Wednesday, gallop him Thursday and Friday and then run Saturday. So I was a little concerned about that, but it looked like it would be the first race of the day, so we went with it and he handled it great.”

A fast work doesn’t necessarily mean a fast race, but Stewart was confident in Classy John’s ability.

“He worked so good, and we had the video of the work, so I saw it,” he said. “Plus, I talked to [jockey] Jack Gilligan who worked him and he said, ‘He is really, really nice.’ So we just got him up here and that’s how it went–he just slaughtered ’em.”

Classy John shipped back to Kentucky Sunday morning, but will likely return to New York for the Oct. 6 GI Champagne S. He is not Breeders’ Cup nominated.

What made the performance even more special was that Classy John is named for Valene’s father, John Valene, who passed away last Tuesday at the age of 100.

“My father passed away on Tuesday, and I flew up on Friday to watch the races,” Valene said. “So, just given the name and the circumstances and everything else, it’s extra special and I think he’s going to be a nice little horse. Hopefully, he stays healthy, because in this game you never know, but I think he’s for real.”

John Valene, who had attended the races at Canterbury Park just a couple weeks ago, first got the family involved in racing in the early 1960s when he claimed a horse who Murray Valene says subsequently won his next seven starts.

Murray Valene’s racing interests later grew significantly, and at one point Valene Farms had around 140 horses in training. He now has about a dozen on the track. Valene is also associated with Louisiana’s Clear Creek Stud, of which he jointly owns the property that it stands on. Valene has mostly campaigned Louisiana-bred or sired horses, including champions in Minnesota and Illinois.

But this wasn’t by any means his first win up at Saratoga.

Valene Farms took the 1993 GII Adirondack S. with $7,000 purchase Astas Foxy Lady (Zuppardo’s Prince), and doubled up in the same race (via DQ) exactly 20 years later with the Stewart-trained Designer Legs (Graeme Hall). The latter was a $10,000 yearling acquisition.

“It just goes to show you–you never know based on what you paid for a horse what you’ve got,” Valene said. “It’s all about the heart and what’s on the inside. Nobody knows that until they run.”

Louisiana Bred Songandaprayer Filly Tops Texas Yearling and Mixed Sale

Hip 83 (Photo courtesy Clear Creek Stud)

A Louisiana-bred filly by Songandaprayer topped the yearling session of Monday’s Texas Summer Yearling and Mixed Sale at Lone Star Park. Held jointly by the Texas Thoroughbred Association and the track, the auction reported 44 of 82 yearlings sold for a total of $414,300. The median jumped 72.2 percent from last year’s mark of $4,500, and the average dropped from $11,556 to $9,415 this year. The buy-back rate this year was 46.3 percent.

Last year the yearling session grossed $681,800 with 59 of 90 sold.

Susan Naylor signed the ticket on the sale-topper with a price of $30,000 on hip 83. The March filly from the consignment of Clear Creek Stud, agent, is out of the stakes-placed Lion Heart mare Those Lion Eyes, whose one foal to race is a winner.

“Obviously we would have liked to see some bigger numbers today, but overall the middle and lower-end of the market seemed fine,” said Tim Boyce, sales director. “We just didn’t have the really exceptional individuals we had last year, so the average was down a bit but it’s encouraging that the median jumped almost 75 percent. It was also good to see the mixed session numbers jump compared to last year.”

In the mixed session this year, 18 of 24 head sold for $93,100 with an average of $5,172 and a median of $2,350. Those numbers compared favorably to last year’s mixed session that grossed $30,000 with 13 of 36 head sold for an average of $2,357 and median of $1,400.

The highest-priced horse in the mixed session was a weanling filly by Too Much Bling who sold for $19,000 to Naylor from the consignment of Benchmark Training Center, agent for the Estate of Ed Few. A good portion of the mixed session was composed of horses from Few, one of the state’s leading breeders and owners who passed away in April.

The Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale is next up on the sale calendar at Lone Star and will be held April 9.

For hip-by-hip results, click here for the yearling results or click here for the mixed results.

FAT CLEMENZA TAKES DOWN THE $50,000 EVANGELINE DOWNS PRINCE

STAKES VICTORY IS ONE OF THREE WINS ON THE CLOSING NIGHT CARD FOR JOCKEY COLBY HERNANDEZ

 

FAT CLEMENZA
Fat Clemenza wins the Evangeline Downs Prince Stakes, August 25, 2018. Coady Photography

 

Evangeline Downs Prince Stakes
Evangeline Downs, 8-25-18, 6 furlongs, $50,000
Two-Year-Old Colts and Geldings

FAT CLEMENZA
Closing Argument–Bronze Abe
Breeder: Chrislin LLC, (LA)
Owner: Darrah Wentworth
Trainer: Harvey Lourd, III
Jockey: Colby J. Hernandez

2nd
Wakefield
Munnings–Proudtobeajones
Breeder: Nathan Wallis (TX)
Owner: Jerry Namy
Trainer: Karl Broberg
Jockey: Timothy Thornton

3rd
Geauxcro
Unbridledsensation–Holy Vision R. N.
Breeder: Carrol J. Castille (LA)
Owner: Whispering Oaks Farm LLC
Trainer: Steven B. Flint
Jockey: Kerwin D. Clark

OPELOUSAS, LA – Darrah Wentworth’s Fat Clemenza was an impressive maiden-breaking winner at Evangeline Downs on August 3, winning that first start by seven lengths. The gelding made it two in a row here this season by overcoming traffic trouble in the stretch to claim a victory in the $50,000 Evangeline Downs Prince on Saturday night.

The early fractions were carved out nicely by B W P Express, who led through a quarter-mile of 22.02 seconds and a half-mile of 45.68. Fat Clemenza was pinned in at the rail through the early stages and was still fighting for racing room as the field entered the stretch. Meanwhile, the 2-5 betting favorite, Wakefield, had made a nifty move on the far turn while running three-wide and made the lead at the 3/16 pole. Fat Clemenza was angled out by jockey Colby Hernandez and moved to the outside of Wakefield to make a challenge. The grey gelding wore down the leader in the stretch to prevail by one length in a final time of 1:12.07 for six furlongs over the fast track.

Fat Clemenza returned $8 to win, $2.60 to place and $2.60 to show. Wakefield paid $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show. A 46-1 longshot, Geauxcro, came in third and paid $8 to show.

Fat Clemenza was bred in Louisiana by Chrislin, LLC and he is trained by Harvey Lourd III. The 2-year-old gelding is by Closing Argument, and is out of the Two Punch mare, Bronze Abe. He is now 2-for-2 in his career and the $30,000 first-place purse increases his lifetime earnings to $45,300.

Live racing at Evangeline Downs will resume on Wednesday, October 3 when the 2018 American Quarter Horse season begins with a 46-night racing season. Post time for that season will be 5:35 pm Central Time.

For more information on the upcoming season, visit the track’s website at www.evdracing.com. Evangeline Downs’ Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EvangelineDownsRacing.

 

Mobile Bay Retires to Breeding Shed

Mobile Bay_9-12-2015-F
Mobile Bay with jockey Edgar Prado aboard wins the 36th running of the Grade II $400,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

 

After an outstanding racing career, Mobile Bay, two-time Accredited Louisiana Bred Horse of the Year, has been retired from the track.   He will soon take up residence at Carrol Castille’s showcase breeding facility, Whispering Oaks Thoroughbred Farm in Carencro, Louisiana.  There he will begin preparation for his stud career for the 2019 breeding season.  Mobile Bay is owned by Irwin Olian’s Tigertail Ranch and was trained for his entire career by popular local favorite Victor Arceneaux. 

Mobile Bay, a 2012 dark bay or brown son of Lone Star Special out of Tranquility Bay,  ran from ages three to six, hitting the board in 21 of 29 lifetime starts. He won eleven stakes, often showing speed in route races of 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles, including the G2 Super Derby, open company stakes such as the Sunland Park Handicap, the Maxxam Gold Cup and the Zia Park Derby, as well Louisiana Bred Stakes including the Louisiana Champions Day Classic at the Fair Grounds twice.  He placed in another five stakes including the G3 Oklahoma Derby.  His Lifetime earnings of $1,246,440 rank him 4th among all-time Leading Accredited Louisiana Bred Runners. A multiple Accredited Louisiana Bred Champion, Mobile Bay was named 2015 3YO Colt or Gelding and Horse of the Year, 2016 Older Male and Horse of the Year, and 2017 Older Male.

Mobile Bay was a tremendous, durable competitor, shipping to win stakes at half a dozen different racetracks across the South and Southwest, while showing amazing heart and athleticism. Good bone, conformation and intelligent mind have enabled him to stay sound and compete at very high levels into his 6 y.o campaign. “He is a gorgeous, imposing individual standing 17 hands, weighing 1300 pounds, with textbook conformation.” says Olian. 

Tigertail Ranch will be offering free breeding service to approved mares for the 2019 season, with only a modest $350 booking fee. Olian wants to attract a large book of mares to enable Mobile Bay to compete as a sire at the national level.  At the same time, he appreciates the great thrills and excitement that Mobile Bay has given him and the horse’s many fans in Louisiana and elsewhere.  He wants to give something back to breeders in the Louisiana breeding program in gratitude for all the benefits he received as well as to attract mares from breeders in other states such as New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas.

“He is a remarkable individual, an outstanding and durable athlete and specimen with text book conformation,” says Olian. “Mobile Bay has the capacity to hold his own physically against any stallion in the country. His sire Lone Star Special has the rare quality of moving up his mares. I expect Mobile Bay will move up his mares significantly as well. Both represent the best of the Unbridled sire line and I believe will serve to establish a new branch of that line.”