Sunday, April 28, 2013

Oaks fillies and tidbits

On the heels of yesterdays post with photos of the Kentucky Derby point leaders at Churchill Downs, here are some of the eleven fillies in contention for the Kentucky Oaks. (These pictures are from Friday, when it was sunny and beautiful in Louisville.)

Two-year-old champ Beholder arrived from California late yesterday afternoon so there are no photos of her, or of Todd Pletcher’s fillies Dreaming of Julia, Princess of Sylmar, or Silsita, all of whom were on the track when it was still dark. Seaneen Girl, trained by Bernie Flint, is the other Oaks contender missing.

The gals are shown in order of their Oaks points, although with such a small field expected, the points are irrelevant.

Rose to Gold, trained by Sal Santoro, galloping under newly elected Hall of Famer Calvin Borel.
Unlimited Budget, trained by Todd Pletcher.
Close Hatches, one of two for Bill Mott.
Mott's other Oaks filly, Flashy Gray.
Midnight Lucky, out for trainer Bob Baffert.
Pure Fun, trained by Kenny McPeek.
Itsmyluckyday arrived from Florida early yesterday afternoon, stepping off the van from the 18-hour journey that he shared with three other horses -- all fillies, including Grade 1 winner Emma’s Encore and Grade 2 winner Aubby K -- relaxed and looking very well.

I spent a morning at Calder Race Course with Itsmyluckydays trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. in March for North American Trainer magazine. You can read the entire Triple Crown issue of the magazine here.

Itsmyluckyday and assistant trainer Frankie Perez. 
Itsmyluckyday surveys the scene before checking out his new temporary digs in barn 41 at Churchill.
Weather-wise, Saturday wasn’t a great day for taking pictures, but here are a few:

Orb was drinking the water splashing off his leg.
Wayne Lukas grazing Will Take Charge.
Oxbow looks like a strawberry roan but is registered as a bay.
The undefeated Gold Medal Dancer, trained by Donnie K. Von Hemel. I expect we'll be hearing about this nice filly in stakes races soon.
Above and below, Grade 2 winner Air Support.

One more from Friday: This horse caught my eye while I was walking through the barn area. After I took some photos, I read his halter and discovered that this gorgeous guy is 19-year-old Chindi, a multiple graded stakes-winning son of El Prado who retired from racing in 2005 with a record of 81-18-13-23 and earnings of $1,000,838. He is trainer Steve Hobby’s stable pony.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Did somebody say...Derby?

Yup! Its that time of the year again...and here are some of the Kentucky Derby contenders stretching their legs over the Churchill Downs surface on Friday, eight days before the big race. The colts (and gelding Vyjack) are shown in the order in which they are eligible to compete in the May 4 classic race.

Above and below, Orb (#1 Derby qualifier). Held here by trainer Shug McGaughey.

Above and below, Verrazano (#2 qualifier), trained by Todd Pletcher.

Java's War (#4), trained by Kenny McPeek.
Overanalyze (#5), trained by Todd Pletcher.
Revolutionary (#6), trained by Todd Pletcher.
Vyjack (#8), with trainer Rudy Rodriguez aboard.
Above and below, Will Take Charge (#9), trained by Wayne Lukas.

Black Onxy (#12), trained by Kelly Breen.
Black Onyx (right) and Oxbow.
Palace Malice (#13), trained by Todd Pletcher.
Normandy Invasion (#14), trained by Chad Brown.
Above and below, Frac Daddy (#15), trained by Kenny McPeek.

Above and below, Oxbow (#17), being led by trainer Wayne Lukas on the pony.

Falling Sky (#18), trained by John Terranova.
Golden Soul (#23), trained by Dallas Stewart.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Sovereign for Uncaptured

This dark bay or brown colt -- consigned by Four Star Sales as hip number 631 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale (catalogue page) for Ontario-based breeder William D. Graham -- was a handsome, 18-month-old son of Lion Heart.

Canadian Horse of the Year Uncaptured as a yearling in the Four Star Sales consignment.

In the few days that he was on the sales grounds walking (...and walking...and walking...) and showing to prospective bidders, this guy’s attitude never soured. He was all class, the type that makes your job selling horses easy, and you’d bring him out for people you knew, whether they had asked to see him or not because he was just that nice.

And clearly he was; he caught the right people’s eyes and even I tweeted before he sold that the son of Lion Heart and Captivating was a super” colt and a VERY nice Coeur de Lion” (playing with Lion Heart’s name in French). This sucker is gorgeous, I wrote. “If he were by a more commercial stud he’d raise the roof here today. He sold for the hefty price of $290,000 -- well above his sire’s 2011 yearling median of $25,000 for 77 sold -- and was the most expensive Lion Heart yearling from the stallion’s 2010 crop of foals.

Bought by trainer Mark Casse on behalf of John C. Oxley, yesterday evening this handsome fellow now known as Uncaptured became the ninth two-year-old to receive Canada’s Horse of the Year award as a juvenile. Uncaptured has some esteemed predecessors: Canadiana (1952; filly); King Maple (1953); Viceregal (1968); La Prevoyante (1972; filly); L’Enjoleur (1975; he repeated as Horse of the Year at three in 1976); L’Alezane (1977; filly); Deputy Minister, a son of Viceregal’s full brother Vice Regent (1981); and most recently, Dauphin Fabuleux (1984). L’Enjoleur was the first of these to win it as a Sovereign Award, which was instituted in 1975.

(As a side note, two of the three juvenile filly Horses of the Year -- L’Alezane and La Prevoyante -- died on the track as four-year-olds.)

Of course, Uncaptured was awarded the Sovereign for champion two-year-old male as well. His  11-year-old dam Captivating (an unplaced daughter of Arch who is also the dam of multiple stakes winner Dancing Raven) was in the running for 2012 Canadian Broodmare of the Year. She didnt win, but otherwise, it was a very good night at the Sovereigns for her son’s connections: Breeder Graham, owner Oxley, and trainer Casse each garnered top honors in their respective categories. Oxley and Casse also teamed up for the champion two-year-old filly award with Spring in the Air.

Uncaptured is the third champion sold as a yearling by Four Star, after Uncle Mo (2010 champion two-year-old male in the U.S.) and Slip Away (2010 champion steeplechaser in the U.S.).

Besides Uncaptured and Dancing Raven, Captivating has an unraced four-year-old Badge of Silver daughter named Penelope Plum; a yearling filly by Majestic Warrior; and she was bred to Uncle Mo for a foal of 2013. Her 2011 colt by Badge of Silver died last year.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sky America

Here is today’s debut maiden special weight winner Sky America as a yearling, consigned to the Keeneland September sale by Four Star Sales as agent for breeder John C. Oxley. The filly is by Oxley’s Grade 1-winning stallion Sky Mesa out of Chalmette (by Quiet American). (See her catalogue page.)

The two-year-old full sister to Listed stakes winner Third Dawn -- who was Grade 1 placed -- won a 4 1/2-furlong contest at Keeneland by 3 lengths (see the chart) for Oxley, trainer Mark Casse, and jockey Patrick Husbands.

Sky America as a yearling.
Oxley purchased Blue Grass S.-G1 morning line favorite Uncaptured, also trained by Casse, from the Four Star consignment as a yearling. Here’s hoping that Sky America’s success on Thursday is a good omen for Oxley and Four Star in the big race at Keeneland this Saturday!

Cell phone snap of Uncaptured shortly before he sold as a yearling, tweeted with the caption: "Our super Lion Heart 631."

Monday, April 8, 2013

Keeneland April 2yo sale horses

Sale-topping, $700,000 Unbridled's Song - Eden's Causeway half-sister to Grade 1 winner Eden's Moon.
While directing traffic at the Wavertree Stables consignment at the Keeneland April sale, I was able to sneak in occasional shots of their horses as they were out showing to prospective buyers. Cards in one hand, camera in the other...and with 25 two-year-olds in the barn, there was a lot of traffic to direct, so the pictures are what they are...

Wavertree had a well-prepped group and ended up with six of the top ten most expensive horses of the venue, including the sale-topping Unbridleds Song filly and a pretty special Broken Vow filly out of Kootenai.

The sale-topping two-year-old, purchased by John McCormack.

Todd Pletcher purchased this Bernardini - Jaramar Rain colt on behalf of Mike Repole for $500,000, third highest price of the sale.

'11 Jaramar Rain.

The Jaramar Rain colt, after his braids were taken out.

Trainer Bob Hess Jr. signed for this $400,000 Stormy Atlantic - Forest Lady colt. Fourth highest price of the sale.

Bernardini filly out of Motivated Sreva. She sold for $390,000 (co-fith highest of sale) to Patti Miller of EQB.

Gorgeous $375,000 Broken Vow daughter of Kootenai.

Green Hills bought the Kootenai filly, who will go to Todd Pletcher.

This Pioneerof the Nile colt out of Kettle's Sister sold for $340,000 to Twin Creeks Racing.

The Kettle's Sister is the second most expensive sales two-year-old by first crop sire Pioneerof the Nile.

Empire Maker, whose daughter Emollient won the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland on Saturday, sired this filly out of Palais Versailles (a daughter of Versailles Treaty). She sold for $325,000 to Lane Seliger as Baumann Stable.

Meerkat Miss' son of Distorted Humor, sold to Reddam Racing for $300,000.

A lovely and flashy Sky Mesa filly out of Tortuga Lady, dam of stakes winners Princess Arabella and Dyna's Lassie. Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners bought her.