Friday, July 17, 2015

New issue of North American Trainer

The latest issue of North American Trainer is now available online, with my features on King T. Leatherbury, who will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in August, and The Tetrarch, one of the most influential pedigree influences of the past 100 years.

Leatherbury, known as "KT" or "Leather" to his friends, has been training since 1959 and has a reputation as a conditioner of low-level claiming horses, but as number four on the list of all-time winning trainers, he's earned his way into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The  Hall of Fame nod was a long time in coming and one that Leatherbury, and many others, never thought would happen. If there's one thing I learned from spending a morning with Leatherbury, it is that his induction speech to be very entertaining!

His once-large stable is now down to 14 horses and currently has a big star in nine-year-old gelding Ben's Cat, a multiple Grade 3 winner and earner of over $2.4 million.

Ben's Cat.
The Tetrarch is a name that will be familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in Thoroughbred pedigrees, and after a visit to his stud home and final resting place, Ballylinch Stud in Ireland, I could have written volumes on "The Spotted Wonder."

The section addressing the colt's stamina, which has been long debated since the colt never raced beyond the age of two, didn't make the final cut for space reasons, but I think it's interesting enough to reproduce here. Steve Donoghue was The Tetrarch's jockey and regular work rider:

The Tetrarch and Stamina

The Tetrarch sired three St Leger winners, one Irish Oaks winner, and other distance horses. Royal Highness broke his maiden over 11 furlongs and won up to 12 furlongs on the flat; he was also a winning hurdler. Puttenden’s victory in the Ascot Gold Vase was over two miles, and his brother Old Rowley won the 11-furlong Ellesmere Stakes.

On this basis, it could be argued that The Tetrarch would have lasted the 12 furlongs of the Derby, but it could also be argued that the damsires of these progeny were stamina influences: Polymelus (broodmare sire of Polemarch) and St Frusquin (Salmon-Trout) were winners of the 12-furlong Prince of Wales’s Stakes; Perigord (Snow Maiden and Caligula) was by St Simon, who had won both the Ascot Gold and Goodwood Cups over 20 furlongs; Pietermaritzburg (Royal Highness) won the 14-furlong Jockey Club Stakes; and Ayrslave (Puttenden and Old Rowley) was by Derby winner Ayrshire.

For what it’s worth, Steve Donoghue had this to say: “…very few people know the truth, that in my humble opinion The Tetrarch, had he kept sound, would never have won the Derby…He would not have stayed the course…He did not like being held back or waited with, and he only gave of his best when allowed to go straight out in front of his field, lengths in front.”


Also in this issue, Frank Mitchell takes a look at the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association, Denise Steffanus describes her day with the racing stewards at Churchill Downs, and Sid Fernando has his regular column on the last page of the magazine.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Peeping Dan

Morton Fink's homebred Wise Dan -- U.S. Horse of the Year, champion older male, and champion turf male of 2012 and 2013 and the winner of 11 Grade 1 races throughout 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 -- has been back in very light training (i.e. jogging) since the final week of April, and he is due to be re-evaluated by Dr. Larry Bramlage of Lexington's Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital on May 26th. It is yet to be determined if the eight-year-old Wiseman's Ferry gelding out of Lisa Danielle, diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of his right front cannon bone in October, will return to the races.

Here is Wise Dan today, his last day of jogging before the re-evaluation, at trainer Charlie LoPresti's Keeneland base. The hugely popular chestnut has won 23-of-31 starts and $7,552,920. Wise Dan has not been worse than second in his 19 latest outings, dating back to the autumn of 2011, and was undefeated in 2014.

Wise Dan's stablemate/graded stakes-placed five-year-old half-sister Enchanting Lisa (by War Chant) runs in the Grade 3 Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs this afternoon. She's looking for her first stakes win. Go, Lisa!

Taking in some round pen time, feeling the sun on his back, before going to the track.

Wise Dan, Kelly Wheeler up.

Amy LoPresti and pony accompanied Wheeler and Wise Dan to the track.

Back at the barn, trainer Charlie LoPresti feels the gelding's legs post-jog.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Kentucky Derby 2015

It's Kentucky Derby time! Here is the field (with pedigrees) in post position order. Bonus photos of Four Star Sales grads Danzig Moon as a yearling and Keen Ice as a foal.

My horses? I am in love with DORTMUND. He is a stunning individual. Morning line favorite American Pharoah is gorgeous as well, but Dortmund is DORTMUND. Upstart and Danzig Moon have caught my eye to grab a piece of the prize.

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1. Ocho Ocho Ocho (Street Sense - Winner, Horse Chestnut)
    O-DP Racing; B-Siena Farms; T-James Cassidy

2. Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway - Rebridled Dreams, Unbridled's Song)
    O-WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Stables; B-Coffee Pot Stable; T-Todd Pletcher

3. Materiality (Afleet Alex - Wildwood Flower, Langfuhr)
    O-Alto Racing; B-John D. Gunther; T-Todd Pletcher

4. Tencendur (Warrior's Reward - Still Secret, Hennessy)
    O/B-Phil Birsh; T-George Weaver

5. Danzig Moon (Malibu Moon - Leaveminthedust, Danzig)
    O-John Oxley; B-William D. Graham; T-Mark Casse

6. Mubtaahij (Dubawi - Pennegale, Pennekamp)
    O-Essafinaat Limited; B-Dunmore Stud; T-Mike de Kock

7. El Kabeir (Scat Daddy - Great Venue, Unbridled's Song)
    O-Zayat Stables; B-Rustlewood Farm; T-John Terranova II

8. Dortmund (Big Brown - Our Josephina, Tale of the Cat)
    O-Kaleem Shah; B-Emilie Gerlinde Fojan; T-Bob Baffert

9. Bolo (Temple City - Aspen Mountain, Chief Seattle)
    O-Golden Pegasus Racing and Earle Mack; B-Spendthrift Farm; T-Carla Gaines

10. Firing Line (Line of David - Sister Girl Blues, Hold for Gold)
      O-Arnold Zetcher; B-Clearsky Farms; T-Simon Callaghan

11. *Stanford (Malibu Moon - Rosy Humor, Distorted Humor)
      O-Stonestreet Stables, Magnier, Tabor, and Smith; B-WinStar Farm; T-Todd Pletcher

12. International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus - Parlez, French Deputy)
      O-Ken and Sarah Ramsey; B-Katharine Voss and Robert Manfuso; T-Mike Maker

13. Itsaknockout (Lemon Drop Kid - Stormy B, Cherokee Run)
      O-Starlight Racing; B-Brookfield Stud; T-Todd Pletcher

14. Keen Ice (Curlin - Medomak, Awesome Again)
      O-Donegal Racing; B-Glencrest Farm; T-Dale Romans

15. Frosted (Tapit - Fast Cookie, Deputy Minister
      O-Godolphin Stable; B-Darley; T-Kiaran McLaughlin

16. War Story (Northern Afleet - Belle Watling, Pulpit)
      O-Loooch Racing Stables, Glenn Ellis, and Christopher Dunn; B-Jack Swain III; T-Tom Amoss

17. Mr. Z (Malibu Moon - Stormy Bear, Storm Cat)
      O-Zayat Stables; B-Richard D. Maynard; T-D. Wayne Lukas

18. American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile - Littleprincessemma, Yankee Gentleman)
      O/B-Zayat Stables; T-Bob Baffert

19. Upstart (Flatter - Party Silks, Touch Gold)
      O-Ralph Evans and WinStar Farm; B-Mrs. Gerald Nielsen; T-Rick Violette

20. Far Right (Notional - Zindi, Vindication)
      O-Robert LaPenta and Harry Rosenblum; B-Nossab and Patrick Crowley; T-Ron Moquett

Also Eligibles:

21. *Frammento (Midshipman - Ginger Bay, Golden Missile)
      O-Mossarosa; B-Mr. and Mrs. Olly Tait; T-Nick Zito
      *has drawn in to the Kentucky Derby

22. *Tale of Verve (Tale of Ekati - Verve, Unbridled)
      O/B-Charles Fipke; T-Dallas Stewart
      *needs a scratch by Friday to draw in