- Pletcher reflects on first G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic triumph
- G2 Remsen ‘on the radar’ but not definite for Independence Hall
- Bal Harbour targets G1 Cigar Mile
- Tiz the Law still on target for G2 Kentucky Jockey Club
- G2 Remsen a possibility for Enforceable
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – On Saturday, the seven-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner Todd Pletcher scored his first win in the Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park with Vino Rosso.
The victory was a redeeming one for the team, who suffered a tough beat when Vino Rosso was disqualified to second after crossing the wire first in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 28 at Belmont Park.
Pletcher said he was confident in the 4-year-old Curlin chestnut heading into the Classic.
“We sensed early on that he was an improved 4-year-old. Really, in the last two months, and especially the five weeks after the Jockey Club Gold Cup, he was just thriving,” Pletcher said. “We were very excited about the way he trained up to the race. It seemed like everything went according to plan. He shipped there great and trained great over the track when he was there. The trip unfolded exactly how we envisioned it and it was one of those times where everything just came together and the horse was peaking. The conditions were good for him. It was just great to experience, great to see.”
The Breeders’ Cup Classic was a second Grade 1 victory for Vino Rosso, who shipped to southern California in May to take the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, also conteseted at the 1 ¼-mile distance. Following that effort he was a distant third behind eventual Classic runner-up McKinzie in the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga. According to Pletcher, Vino Rosso didn’t show as much enthusiasm in training over the Spa that he does at Belmont Park.
“I think the one thing that we kind of felt was that he wasn’t at his very best over the Saratoga surface,” Pletcher said. “He didn’t run horribly there but he didn’t seem to relish it and that’s why we didn’t go in the Woodward. I do think he likes Belmont, and he performed well here. He seemed to take to the Santa Anita surface and of course the mile and a quarter suits him as well.”
Vino Rosso gave his sire Curlin his first victor in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, making them the second father-son duo to win the Classic since 1998 winner Awesome Again sired Ghostzapper – the winner in 2004.
Following the Classic, Vino Rosso was sent to B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Kentucky where he will stand for a $30,000 stud fee. Spendthrift also stands notable Pletcher alumni in Cross Traffic, Race Day and recently retired Coal Front, who finished sixth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Pletcher believes that Vino Rosso has what it takes to become a top-level stallion.
“I think he’s got a big future. He’s a very good looking horse. He resembles Curlin a lot,” said Pletcher. “He was able to win at 2,3 and 4 and is a classy type of horse which is what the people are looking for. He has a great disposition, he’s healthy and sound and has all the attributes you look for in a stallion.”
Bred in Kentucky by John and Tanya Gunther’s Glenwood Farm, Vino Rosso is out of the Street Cry broodmare Mythical Bride, who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner and first crop sire Commissioner. Vino Rosso, who was purchased for $410,000 from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2016, retired with lifetime earnings of over $4.8 million and with three of his six career wins taking place against graded stakes company.
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G2 Remsen ‘on the radar’ but not definite for Independence Hall
The Grade 2, $300,000 Remsen on December 7 at Aqueduct Racetrack remains a possibility for Independence Hall after a 12 ¼-length romp in Sunday’s Grade 3 Nashua, trainer Michael Trombetta said.
Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partnership, Twin Creeks Racing Stables, Kathleen Verratti and Robert Verratti, the dark bay son of leading first crop sire Constitution became the juvenile to record a triple digit Beyer Speed Figure this year garnering a 101 from his stunning triumph.
“That’s on the radar, but I still need to speak with all the owners,” Trombetta said of the Remsen. “I just want to see what all of our options are. No definite plans have been made yet. He seems to have come out of it in good order.”
Independence Hall arrived at the Nashua off of a first out maiden victory at Parx Racing on September 21, which he won by 4 ¾ lengths. Trombetta was pleased with what he saw on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s great. You go up and run in a race like that and you don’t really know where you belong. For him to go up there and do what he did was incredible,” Trombetta said.
Bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Independence Hall is out of the Cape Town broodmare Kalahari Cat.
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Bal Harbour targets G1 Cigar Mile
Following five straight placings against graded stakes company, Bal Harbour will point to the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile presented by NYRA Bets according to trainer Todd Pletcher.
Owned by Red Oak Stable, the gelded 4-year-old son of First Samurai was third to Tom’s d’Etat in the Grade 2 Fayette on October 26 at Keeneland last out, which came after a narrow runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Woodward presented by NYRA Bets at Saratoga behind Preservationist.
A three-time stakes winner, Bal Harbour would be targeting his first graded stakes triumph in the Cigar Mile. His last win took place in the off-the-turf Gio Ponti last November at Aqueduct going the one-turn mile, which he won by 2 ¼ lengths over stable mate Life’s a Parlay.
“He’s a very solid campaigner,” Pletcher said. “He shows up and runs hard every time. Last fall he was able to win at a one turn mile race at Aqueduct, which wasn’t as competitive as the Cigar Mile will be, but it was a good trip for him.”
Pletcher, who already owns the record for most wins by a trainer in the Cigar Mile, will be targeting a fifth win in the event, having saddled Left Bank (2001), Lion Tamer (2004), Purge (2005) and Stay Thirsty (2012) to victory.
Bred in Kentucky by his owners, Bal Harbour is out of the stakes winning Carson City broodmare Casino Transaction.
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Tiz the Law still on target for G2 Kentucky Jockey Club
Sixteen years after the gutsy New York-bred gelding Funny Cide’s memorable victories in the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, trainer Barclay Tagg and Sackatoga Stables were back in the spotlight when Tiz the Law glided home under a hand ride to win the Grade 1 Champagne on October 5 at Belmont Park.
By Constitution, Tiz the Law will make his next start at Churchill Downs in the Grade 2, $300,000 Kentucky Jockey Club on November 30.
“We’ve been lucky so far so maybe it’ll work out. He’s doing really well. He’s a lovely horse to train and do things with. He seems to enjoy it,” Tagg said.
Tagg is relishing having top level success with Sackatoga Stables, which is headed by Jack Knowlton.
“They’re pretty good about buying horses,” Tagg said. “They let you pick out the horses and we keep in mind how to keep the price down a bit but there’s only so much you can do sometimes.”
Tagg recalled looking at Tiz the Law at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-Bred Yearling Sale last August, where he was acquired for $110,000.
“Everything about him stood out. He was just an outstanding looking colt,” Tagg said. “We look in the catalog first for about a month and know what we can or can’t live with off the catalog page. Then I go from there and go off of conformation and their breeding.”
Unbeaten in two starts, Tiz the Law broke his maiden against his Empire State bred counterpart by 4 ¼ lengths at Saratoga before winning the Champagne. Bred by Twin Creeks Farm, Tiz the Law is out of the Tiznow broodmare Tizfiz and is a three-quarter sibling to stakes winner Awestruck.
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G2 Remsen a possibility for Enforceable
Trainer Mark Casse has the Grade 2, $300,000 Remsen on December 7 in mind for regally-bred Enforceable, who made his stakes debut last time out in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity on October 6 at Keeneland, where he finished third, beaten six lengths to Maxfield.
Owned by John C. Oxley, Enforceable broke his maiden at fourth asking going the Remsen’s 1 1/8-mile distance at Saratoga on August 22.
“That’s one thing that intrigued us about the Remsen,” Casse said. “He’s still just a possibility for the Remsen, we haven’t decided yet. He’s trained really well since [the Breeders’ Futurity].”
Bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms, Enforceable is by Tapit out of dual graded stakes winner Justwhistledixie, making him a full-brother to four-time graded stakes winner Mohaymen, who won the Remsen in 2015, as well as Kingly – a graded stakes winner on turf. He also is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner and producer New Year’s Day.
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Stidham looking for redemption with Embolden
Following a third-place effort in the Grade 3 Futurity over Belmont’s Widener turf course, Embolden will seek his first stakes victory against open company in Saturday’s $100,000 Atlantic Beach for juveniles over the Aqueduct Racetrack outer turf.
Owned by Dare to Dream Stable and trained by Michael Stidham, the gray or roan son of The Factor was off-the-pace last time out in the Futurity, which was won by subsequent Grade 2 Breeders; Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint victor Four Wheel Drive.
“We’d like to see him closer to the front,” Stidham said. “We added blinkers for that reason. He’s training great, we’re very happy with where we’re at with him. He’s put in some nice works since his last race.”
Prior to the Futurity, Embolden was a second-out maiden winner over the turf at Colonial Downs before beating his Virginia-bred counterpart in the Jamestown over the New Kent oval.
Embolden was purchased for $95,000 from the April Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2-Year-Old in Training Sale. Bred in Virginia by Nancy L. Terhune and Ernest Frohboese, Embolden is out of the multiple West Virginia-bred stakes winner Silver Heart.