The first Thursday program of the season unfortunately gave us cloudy skies and rain throughout the morning which led to the first ‘off track ‘ for the participants competing in the eight race card today.

The opener was for two year olds going three and a half furlongs and the debutante LITTLE BLACK DRESS under jockey Alex Marti absolutely destroyed her rivals winning off by almost six lengths in a rapid 39.23. The daughter of local stallion Lent broke sharply and was never in danger. Her stable mate BAKFIRE BABY was very good as well and completed a healthy Steve Henson trained Exactor of $126.90.


The Swift Thoroughbreds WILSON took full advantage of a big class drop and proved best winning with Amadeo Perez in the irons. The son of Pop Artist broker alertly and disputed the pace with the favourite GOTTCHA COWBOY and while things didn’t look promising on the final bend he dug in gamely and held all comers at bay. The Dino Condilenios runner paid $5.90 to win and PASSING NOTES closed through the stretch to catch GOTTCHA COWBOY for the runner-up spot.


The main event was the $50,000 Lieutenant Governors which featured the heavily favoured FIVE STAR GENERAL who was undefeated in his three starts at Hastings. The script did not go well for the favourite as there was pace presence throughout the opening half-mile which made him vulnerable. Roy and Dixie Jacobson’s COULTERBERRY ($13.70) was the one that benefited and swept by the leaders in the stretch for trainer Mark Cloutier. Amadeo Perez had the winner behind the leaders early but quickly engaged the pace on the final turn and drew off to an impressive victory in 1:16.80. Don Danard and Mel Snow’s DRILLER turned in a much  improved performance and drove up the rail to beat FIVE STAR GENERAL for second. FIVE STAR GENERAL obviously didn’t have his best day and had to settle third.


Harold and Sandra Barroby’s IT’S IN COMMAND ($7.30) broke like a rocket as usual and sped through early fractions of 22.42 and 45.98 and had plenty left to hold the closers in the stretch under the clever handing of Jeff Burningham in 1:18.60. The battle for second went to a very game longshot ELWOOD J who held off a fast closing ALWAYS SUNNY.


The 3-5 favourite FRANKIE MACHINE did not disappoint his supporters in his first try going long here at Hastings. The Willow Creek Farms runner was always well placed under Scott Williams sitting off of comfortable early splits and was strong through the lane to hold off a stubborn RAK CITY. The win gave trainer Steve Henson a training double. Rob and Vicky Gilker’s RAK CITY battled hard but had to settle for second. The Maybin’s MASTER EWEN was impressive to be third in his first start of he season.



Alison Dube, Carl and Christine Ammann’s ILHABELA ($4.40) took command early and never relinquished the lead and proved to be a worthy 6-5 favourite. The BC bred daughter of Flat Out was always under pressure on the lead but denied them all while drifting out through the final stages. The second spot was earned by the Jackson’s LA BELLE FLEUR who was impressive in her career debut after encountering a tough wide trip she still managed to stay on for second.


The Saturna Syndicate’s SATURNA ($34.90) took home the top prize after settling behind contested fractions of 22.06 and 46.21 and when the pace setters were exhausted she then cruised by with Scott Williams in the tack for the win. The Pat Jarvis pupil took 1:19.55 to complete the six and half furlongs. MAKIN IT UP fought on well down on the inside and secured second money while BACKSEAT RIDER rallied for third from her outside post.


The final dash saw a speed duel materialize between HONK, CHOREOGRAPHY and THE ODDS R GOOD as they blistered through early splits of 22.24 and 45.92 which played out perfectly for Dawn Tom and John Snow’s SARGENT RICK who was reserved early and looped the field at the head of the lane for the win. It was a well timed ride by Lenny Seecharan to gain to win on the son of Rosberg. The Elphinstone Stable’s HONK was the survivor of the wicked early pace duel and did well to hold the PLACE spot under Romario Saunders.

Of note:

BC breds won 7 of the 8 races.

Steve Henson won 2 to join Glen Todd and Barbara Heads atop the trainers standings.

Amadeo Perez won 2 to take narrow lead in the jockeys standings over Efrain Hernandez, Scott Williams and Silvino Morales.

Racing resumes this Sunday with a first post of 4:30 pm

Patience paying off for Runhappy Travers contender Uncle Chuck

News Image

  • G2 Peter Pan runner-up Caracaro looking to continue progression in G1 Travers
  • Jacks or Better’s Shivaree carrying the Florida banner in G1 Runhappy Travers
  • McGaughey looking to extend G1 Ballerina record with Pink Sands
  • Bellafina looks to become Grade 1 winner at age 2 ,3 and 4
  • Connections hope lightning strikes twice for Victim of Love in G1 Ballerina
  • Rookie Report: Ward to saddle two promising runners; Trombetta debuts half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Awesome Slew
  • Saratoga Week 5 stakes probables

Barry Eisaman boasts more than three decades of experience in training thoroughbreds under saddle and when it came time to hand off Saturday’s Grade 1 Runhappy Travers contender Uncle Chuck to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, he suggested it best to take things slow with the sizable colt.

After not racing as a 2-year-old, the dark bay Uncle Mo colt is undefeated in two starts including a last-out score on July 4 in the Grade 3 Los Alamitos Derby. He enters Saturday’s 151st running of the $1 million Runhappy Travers as the 5-2 second choice on the morning line behind even-money favorite Tiz the Law.

Uncle Chuck was sent to Eisaman Equine in Williston, Florida after being purchased for $250,000 by owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman from the Summerfield consignment at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Baffert has sent many of his yearlings with promise to Eisaman including 2016 Champion Sprinter Drefong, as well as 2011 Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty and fellow Grade 1 winners McKinzie, The Factor, Midnight Lucky, and Lord Nelson among others.

Uncle Chuck spent just over a year with Eisaman following the September sale and did not ship out to southern California until that following November, he began breezing at Los Alamitos.

“He was one of the later horses of last year’s crop to leave the farm,” Eisaman said. “He had various aches and pains during the breaking process that required some time off, but nothing serious. He was just a big, young guy that needed the time. He went to Los Alamitos to [assistant trainer] Mike Marlow, who picks up the baton and gets them ready to go to Bob at Santa Anita.

“Uncle Chuck needed the time and Bob was willing to give him the time,” continued Eisaman. “In a perfect world, one would hope that he had more experience under his belt before facing what he must face on Saturday, but Bob wouldn’t be sending him out there if he didn’t have a legitimate shot.”

Uncle Chuck is the most lightly raced horse in the field. However, Baffert sent Arrogate to Saratoga for a track record-setting performance in the 2016 Travers with only four starts under his belt.

Eisaman said any qualms he had regarding Uncle Chuck during the training-under-saddle process were physical rather than mental and noted that he was both well-behaved and quick to learn.

“He always was a big, beautiful Uncle Mo colt,” Eisaman said. “The breaking process went along nice and smooth. I’ve gotten horses ready for Bob for many years. He knows when they’re here, we don’t need to talk about every horse, every week. Those that need a slow track get a slow track and those that are ready get sent out sooner.

“He was very well behaved,” Eisaman added. “You could take him home for dinner and not have trouble with him at the table. He was easy to work with under tack, and he would learn things we would introduce to him at an above average rate.”

Eisaman said the strapping Uncle Chuck has a remarkable stride.

“When you watch him work or in his races, you don’t get the impression he goes all that fast, but he covers ground like a creature of some sort,” said Eisaman.

Having worked with numerous progeny of Uncle Mo, Eisaman said the champion-producing stallion has the tendency to stamp his offspring and added that the same could be said for Uncle Mo’s sire, Indian Charlie.

“They are usually dark bay or brown horses with a good body, good bone, good mind,” Eisaman said. “Sometimes, Uncle Mo can get people to think that his offspring can be on the fragile side. In the thoroughbred horse world, there are young horses that really just need to develop more slowly. If you give them the time and let them get their act together and get sound, you can be well rewarded for it. The Uncle Mo offspring look like Indian Charlies and that stallion stamped his offspring, too. It’s a strong line through the male lineage.”

Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Uncle Chuck is out of the graded stakes-winning Unbridled’s Song broodmare Forest Music, who produced graded stakes winner Electric Forest as well as American classic producing stallion Maclean’s Music.

Uncle Chuck is not the only Eisaman Equine alumni in the Runhappy Travers as Max Player, third in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, was also shown the ropes by Eisaman.

Eisaman has a long history with co-owner and breeder George Hall, who owns the son of second crop stallion Honor Code in partnership with SportBLX Thoroughbreds.

“We broke numerous Derby starters for George, like Pants On Fire [ninth in 2011 Kentucky Derby] who won the Louisiana Derby that year, so we’ve had a long relationship with him,” Eisaman said. “This one was a bit of a sleeper. He seemed more like a good, large, hunter prospect than a racehorse prospect when he trained. He was so quiet. He stayed on the pretty laid-back side.

Max Player was a second-out maiden winner at Parx in December before winning the Grade 3 Withers on February 1 at Aqueduct for trainer Linda Rice.

“She’s an excellent horsewoman,” Eisaman said of the 2009 leading trainer at the Spa. “Up to the first time she ran him, he was hard to gauge. He wasn’t one to advertise himself in the morning. He’s got a lot of closing capability and it seems like Uncle Chuck would be closer to the front than Max Player. But if there’s a pace up front, he’s capable of picking up the pieces.”

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Peter Pan (G2) runner-up Caracaro looking to continue progression in Runhappy Travers (G1)

Global Thoroughbred and Top Racing’s Caracaro has alternated wins and losses in his brief career, and trainer Gustavo Delgado is hoping that pattern continues as he points the lightly-raced colt to Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers.

Caracaro ran second in his unveiling last December at Gulfstream Park, returning to the South Florida track with an impressive six-length maiden triumph four weeks later. He exited that race with a minor injury that needed time, and he went unraced until finishing second by a neck to fellow Travers aspirant Country Grammer in the Grade 2 Peter Pan on Saratoga’s opening day July 16.

For the first time this year, the Travers will offer 100-40-20-10 qualifying points to the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, postponed from May 2 to September 5. Caracaro earned 20 points for his Peter Pan effort, and Delgado is looking to ensure the son of champion Uncle Mo’s spot in the Run for the Roses.

“We have the chance to run in the Derby. He came here to win,” Delgado said. “It’s only three weeks back from the Peter Pan but we have to take the chance. The horse is doing very good. He came back very good, and he likes the track. The horse is very talented, but we need to have good luck.”

Delgado’s 31-year-old son and assistant, Gustavo Delgado, Jr., has been with Caracaro since they arrived in Saratoga from South Florida last month. His father, one of Venezuela’s most successful trainers who won his country’s Triple Crown a remarkable four times before moving to the U.S. in 2014, joined him this week.

Delgado Jr. said the turnaround from the Peter Pan to the Travers is a concern, particularly with their main goal, the Derby, looming in another four weeks. The final leg of the Triple Crown, the Grade 1 Preakness, will be run October 3 at Pimlico Race Course.

“He’s doing really good, actually. After the last race we were concerned about running him back after three weeks, but we went easy on him. We only made him gallop,” Delgado, Jr. said. “We did a couple open gallops, nothing with time, and he seems to have accepted that. I think he’s ready to run a nice race. We like what we see. The last couple of days he’s doing really good. We always wanted to get the points. The horse is good, we’re here in Saratoga and he likes the track, so let’s do it.”

Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, aboard in the Peter Pan, gets the return call in the 1 ¼-mile Travers, a race the fellow Venezuelan has won a record six times, most recently with Catholic Boy in 2018. They will break from post 7 in a field of eight led by even-money program favorite Tiz the Law.

The Delgados were entered to run once before in the Travers, but Majesto had to be scratched after spiking a fever the morning before the 2016 race. They have been to the Derby twice, running 18th with Majesto and 13th with Bodexpress in 2019, and are looking forward to making a third trip.

“The only good thing about the virus is that we have a shot now to make the Derby,” Delgado, Jr. said. “Since he got in the barn last year, we always considered him a nice horse. We’re not a big barn where we get a quantity of nice babies every year. We went to the Derby with Majesto and Bodexpress, and you can tell this horse is doing things that the other two didn’t do. He’s in another category than them.”

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Jacks or Better’s Shivaree carrying the Florida banner in Runhappy Travers (G1)

Jacks or Better Farm has made far more than its fair share of noise on the Florida circuit over the past 20 years, but on Saturday the Ocala-based operation seeks its first graded stakes triumph at Saratoga when Shivaree competes in the Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers.

Trained by Ralph Nicks, Shivaree is the most seasoned horse in the “Mid-Summer Derby” field with a dozen starts under his belt, including a runner-up finish behind Runhappy Travers favorite Tiz the Law in the Grade 1 Florida Derby in March. The son of Awesome of Course has maintained consistent form throughout his 12 starts with a 3-3-2 record, but arrives at the Runhappy Travers a distant 11th in the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland.

Fred Brei, proprietor of Jacks or Better Farm, said the Blue Grass effort was puzzling and he is hoping for a return to form with Shivaree charting a course toward the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.

“We have no idea what happened in his last race. That was the first time he hadn’t shown up for us in a long time,” said Brei. “At this point, he’ll let us know whether he likes a mile and a quarter. That’s one of the reasons we’re here.”

Shivaree was foaled and raised at Jacks or Better Farm, and Brei said Shivaree was a bit of a handful as a 2-year-old.

“As a yearling he was rather normal for a colt. No more energetic and no less energetic than the others,” Brei said. “But as a 2-year-old he was ornery. He did whatever he pleased, whether you liked it or not. It wasn’t until our fifth start before he broke his maiden. Not because he didn’t have the ability, he just wouldn’t center his brain on running was all. That’s just the way he was for basically most of his 2-year-old year.”

Shivaree graduated by besting fellow Florida-breds by 9 ½ lengths at Gulfstream Park West. His full brother Garter and Tie, who ran ninth in last year’s Grade 2 Amsterdam at the Spa, didn’t break his maiden until his fourth start but subsequently became a three-time stakes winner. Both are out of two-time stakes winner Garter Belt.

“I would say they’re all hardheaded,” Brei said of the family which includes three other six-digit earners. “Garter Belt was the same way. The mare gives you those horses that have to get racing in their brain, and you get it there from running not from training. Shivaree just took a fairly long time. We race 2-year-olds and we have for 20 years. For us to have a 2-year-old take four times to show you they can win a race is uncommon.”

With 40 qualifying points from a runner-up effort in the Florida Derby, Shivaree is 14th on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard. His upcoming effort in the Runhappy Travers, which offers 100-40-20-10 qualifying points to the top four finishers, will be telling for his connections.

A win in the Travers would be a first Grade 1 victory for the farm since Awesome Feather won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs.

“The Travers would be a fantastic race for us to win,” Brei said. “It would show us that we belong in the Derby. Also, it would be the first big race winner since Feather.”

Shivaree has had some time to get acclimated to the Saratoga main track, having breezed five furlongs in 1:03.20 on August 1.

“He’s been up there for a week and he seems to be taking to it well. Ralph sent me pictures Wednesday morning and Shivaree seems to be enjoying himself,” Brei said.

Shivaree is from the same family as many of Jacks or Better’s most notable runners including millionaire Jackson Bend, who was third in the 2010 Preakness, and multiple graded stakes winner Fort Loudon.

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McGaughey looking to extend Ballerina (G1) record with Pink Sands

When it comes to Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Ballerina presented by NYRA Bets, no one has done it better than Shug McGaughey.

No trainer has won the seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3 and older more than McGaughey, who counts five victories on his Hall of Fame resume, one more than fellow Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas.

The first came with Lass Trump in 1984, when the Ballerina was a Grade 2. When it was promoted to Grade 1 status in 1988, McGaughey won it with Cadillacing. He did it again with Queena in 1991, the first of three consecutive Grade 1 victories during her Champion Older Mare campaign. Roamin Rachel followed for McGaughey in 1994, as did Furlough in 1999.

Four of the wins came for different owners. Cadillacing and Furlough were Phipps Stable homebreds, Queena was a homebred of Emory Hamilton, Lass Trump was campaigned by Alan Samford and Roamin Rachel by Tri-Honors Stable.

“They’re all pretty nice fillies,” McGaughey said. “Lass Trump was the first one. I remember Cadillacing. [Angel] Cordero [Jr.] came up and won it on the inside. Queena, she was a champion. I didn’t remember that Roamin Rachel won it. Obviously, the race has been very good to us.”

Gainesway Stable and Andrew Rosen’s Pink Sands can continue McGaughey’s record of success in the Ballerina, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 7 at Keeneland. The 5-year-old Tapit mare became a graded-stakes winner over the winter at Gulfstream Park, taking the Grade 3 Rampart and Grade 2 Inside Information in back-to-back starts.

“The owners want to try a Grade 1,” McGaughey said. “She’s won a three and a two, so maybe we’ll go three, two, one.”

Though Pink Sands has won going longer and shorter, McGaughey believes she is at her best going seven furlongs, where she owns a record of 2-1-3 from eight starts, the most recent coming in her Inside Information triumph on Jan. 25. Pink Sands didn’t run again until the Grade 1, 1 1/16-mile Ogden Phipps on June 13 at Belmont, where she was never in contention and wound up fifth.

“I think seven-eighths is really good for her. She’s a come-from-behind sprinter type. Her two races at Gulfstream were really good,” McGaughey said. “I don’t know what happened to her in the Phipps. She ran terrible, but we gave her some time and freshened her up. I might have liked to have had one more work into her, but I don’t. They’re anxious to run in a Grade 1. There’s plenty of speed in there and we’ve got a good rider, so we’ll give it a try.”

Two-time defending Eclipse Award champion Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride Pink Sands for the first time from post 6 in a seven-horse field that includes defending champion Come Dancing and Grade 1 winners Serengeti Empress and Bellafina.

Meanwhile, McGaughey remains mystified by the performance of W. S. Farish’s Code of Honor, last seen running fourth to Improbable in the Grade 1 Whitney on August 1. The two-time Grade 1 winner including last year’s Runhappy Travers and earner of more than $2.2 million in purses remains with the trainer’s string in Saratoga.

“He’s here and he’s doing fine,” McGaughey said. “He came out of it fine. We’ll kind of give him a week here and try and figure out what went wrong and kind of start over again with him.”

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Bellafina looks to become Grade 1 winner at age 2, 3 and 4

Kaleem Shah Inc., Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Bellafina will look to become a Grade 1 winner at age 2, 3 and 4 if she can topple a talented field led by returning race winner Come Dancing in Saturday’s Grade 1 Ballerina presented by NYRA Bets.

Trained by Simon Callaghan, the experienced Bellafina brings a record of 16-7-4-1 and purse earnings in excess of $1.5 million into the seven-furlong sprint, which offers a berth in the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 7 at Keeneland.

The 4-year-old Quality Road bay, bred in Kentucky by JSM Equine, captured the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante at Del Mar and Grade 1 Chandelier at Santa Anita in a productive juvenile campaign. She added the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks to her ledger last season.

Callaghan said he would love to see Bellafina secure another top-flight win.

“We’re hopeful that can be the case,” said Callaghan. “We’re happy with the way she’s been training and we’re looking forward to the race.”

Bellafina has made three starts this season including a win in the Grade 1 Desert Stormer in May at Santa Anita and a last-out second in the Grade 2 Great Lady M on July 4 at Los Alamitos.

Bellafina has breezed three times on the Del Mar main track since the 6 ½-furlong Great Lady M, including a sharp half-mile effort in 47.60 Sunday. The veteran conditioner, who saddled American Gal to a score in the 2017 Grade 1 Test at the Spa, said Bellafina’s starts have been nicely spaced out thus far in 2020.

“Everything has gone smoothly with her and her races have been timed out nicely,” said Callaghan. “This race fits perfectly for where she’s at right now.”

Last year, Bellafina was off a step slow in the Grade 1 Test before rallying belatedly to finish third in a race won by eventual Champion 3-Year-Old Filly and Champion Female Sprinter Covfefe with the 2019 Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress in second.

Bellafina will again have to overcome Seregeti Empress to capture Saturday’s event and Callaghan said he is hopeful of a stalking trip.

“I don’t think you’ll see her on the lead come Saturday, but we have post 4 and there’s some speed around her, so I’d see her being mid-pack early and hopefully finish the race well,” said Callaghan.

Bellafina, who shipped in to the care of trainer Tom Morley at Saratoga, visited the gate on the Oklahoma training track on Thursday morning and on Friday will be ridden through the paddock and then jog a mile and a quarter on the main track.

Callaghan said he expects Bellafina to enjoy racing over the new surface.

“I don’t think the track will be any issue for her,” said Callaghan. “I’ve watched several races at Saratoga since they’ve resurfaced it and I think the track should be to her liking.”

Jose Ortiz, in search of his first Ballerina win, will pilot Bellafina for the first time on Saturday.

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Connections hope lightning strikes twice for Victim of Love in Ballerina (G1)

Fresh off her surprise victory at odds of 27-1 in the Grade 2 Vagrancy last out, Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ Victim of Love will attempt to pull off another upset when she makes her Saratoga debut in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Ballerina presented by NYRA Bets.

One of five graded-stakes on a 12-race Travers Day program anchored by the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers for 3-year-olds, the Ballerina is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 7 at Keeneland.

A 4-year-old daughter of champion sprinter Speightstown based at Penn National with trainer Todd Beattie, Victim of Love was making her first start in more than three months in the 6 ½-furlong Vagrancy. Beattie, a winner of more than 1,700 career races best known for his work with Grade 1-winning sprinter Fabulous Strike, is experiencing similar feelings heading into the Ballerina.

“She was doing like this and doing good then [before the Vagrancy], and I don’t want to say I felt confident, but I felt there was a good chance she was going to really run well and make a good attempt. Whether it was enough I didn’t know for sure and then she stepped up there,” Beattie said. “For that reason is why I’m here, to see if she can go ahead and do it again.”

Beattie pointed to Victim of Love’s development over the fall and winter, when she made five consecutive starts at Laurel Park with two wins including the 6 ½-furlong What A Summer on January 18. She followed up with a game second in the Grade 3, seven-furlong Barbara Fritchie on February 15.

“I could see a lot of things behind the scenes that were really coming together and really going right for her,” Beattie said. “I could see things at the barn that she was doing that was going to improve her, and then she went ahead and went on the track and showed it to us, too. Things were really going right to help move her forward a little bit, and I’m still thinking that same way.”

In her last start before the coronavirus pandemic shuttered most racing across the country, Victim of Love stalked the pace along the inside in the one-mile Nellie Morse on March 14 at Laurel before tiring to fifth. She has continued to train forwardly over her home track as she looks to give Beattie his second career graded-stakes triumph at Saratoga. Fabulous Strike won the then-Grade 2 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap in 2009.

“At the barn I could really start to see she was getting her ducks in order and she was coming out of her races good and eating good and all the little things behind the scenes that were all coming together for her,” Beattie said. “She’s a young foal, too, so a little age and maturity is finally starting to get on her side a little bit now. All of that is good, too.”

Jockey Jose Lezcano, up for the first time in the Vagrancy triumph, will climb back aboard in the Ballerina from post 3 in a field of seven led by defending champion Come Dancing and Grade 1 winners Serengeti Empress and Bellafina.

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Rookie Report: Ward to saddle two promising runners; Trombetta debuts half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Awesome Slew

A field of nine juvenile fillies, plus two main-track only entrants will assemble for Friday’s sixth race at Saratoga Race Course, a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight over the Mellon turf.

Trainer Wesley Ward will send out two fillies for the event, one of which already has two starts under her belt, including an international endeavor at Royal Ascot.

Three Chimneys Farm’s Royal Approval was second on debut as the beaten favorite to stablemate Campanelle over the Gulfstream Park turf. The homebred daughter of Tiznow subsequently was soundly beaten by her stablemate once more in the Grade 2 Queen Mary on June 20 at Ascot.

“When we went to Ascot, the problem was that she doesn’t like soft ground,” Ward said. “We knew that, and we were there, but we decided to go for it. The other filly liked the soft ground, so she went on as the best horse in the race. [Jockey] Silvestre De Sousa got off her after the race and said she was just floundering, and she just couldn’t handle the soft ground.”

Royal Approval is out of the Malibu Moon mare Touch the Moon and comes from the same family as 2005 Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly.

Royal Approval will break from post 5 under Tyler Gaffalione.

Ward also will debut CJ Thoroughbreds’ Factoire, a bay filly by The Factor out of the Songandaprayer mare Galetoire.

Bred in Kentucky by Pegasus Stud, Factoire was acquired for $65,000 from last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency.

“She’s a nice filly. She’s been much better on turf than dirt in her two works here, so we’re looking forward to that,” Ward said.

Jockey Dylan Davis will ride from post 2.

Trainer Mike Trombetta sends out Tappingintosuccess for Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation. The bay daughter of Tapit is a half-sister to three-time graded stakes winning millionaire Awesome Slew and dual turf stakes winner He’s Bankable.

“I think five and a half is probably going to be a little shorter than what she ultimately wants, but she didn’t strike me as one that I should try a mile and a sixteenth first out with,” Trombetta said. “I don’t think that’s going to be tremendously in her wheelhouse, but I would like for her to show up, run a good race and get some kind of placing as a steppingstone to something further.”

A Florida homebred, Tappingintosucess will be ridden by Luis Saez from post 3.

Trainer Doug O’Neill will be represented by Leia Marie, a Louisiana-bred daughter of first crop sire Exaggerator, who was purchased for $400,000 from the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale last August.

Owned by George Bolton, Peter Liedel and Barry Lipman and bred by Couteau Grove Farms, the gray or roan filly is out of the Macho Uno broodmare Elitism – a full sister to two-time stakes winner Harlem Rocker.

“We have some confidence in her. You never know first time on the grass, but we’ve galloped her a couple of times on the grass and she looked good. We hope she runs big,” said O’Neill’s assistant, Sabas Rivera. “She’s doing well and looking good. She has a long and tall body. She has good size.”

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will guide Leia Marie to her career debut from post 4.




The C.T.H.S is pleased to announce that Direct Livestock Marketing Systems (DLMS) will be providing online bidding for all of the 2020 C.T.H.S. Sales. DLMS is an internet marketing company specializing in real time internet auction sales and is part of the largest livestock marketing network in Canada. DLMS offers instant bidding, streaming live audio and video; creating a live auction experience from the safety of purchasers’ computer, tablet or mobile device. Purchasers may establish an account through the DLMS website or through the C.T.H.S. Divisions. Account holders will then be eligible to view and purchase at any of the upcoming C.T.H.S. Sales. http://dlms.ca/Account/Register

The C.T.H.S is concerned with the health and welfare of members and sale attendees. All C.T.H.S. Sale sites have limitations on the number of people able to attend on the sale day and having online bidding available will allow for more people to be a part of the sales without having to be on the actual sale site. Viewing days will still be held prior to the sale date which will allow for interested purchasers to view consignments under COVID-19 guidelines. Those purchasers who are not able to attend viewing days will be able to view consignments through online videos and photos posted on both C.T.H.S. and DLMS websites.

C.T.H.S. Sale Dates: Manitoba Division – Sunday, August 23 Ontario Division – Wednesday, September 2 B.C. Division – Tuesday, September 8 Alberta Division – Friday, September, 18

The C.T.H.S would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support. Their assistance in providing funding so that the C.T.H.S is able to deliver this service through DLMS is greatly appreciated.

Our thanks to:

  • National; C.T.H.S. National Office, Jockey Club of Canada
  • Alberta; Century Mile Racetrack and Casino, Highfield Investment Group, Westana Ranches
  • B.C.: The Derby Bar & Grill, HBPA BC, BCTOBA
  • Manitoba; Manitoba Jockey Club
  • Ontario: HBPA Ontario, Hill’n’Dale, Dermot Carty Bloodstock


Caitlin Grguric B-J Davidson National Secretary Regional General Manager British Columbia Division cgrguric@cthsnational.com cthsbc@cthsbc.org 416-675-1370 604-534-0145

The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (C.T.H.S.) was incorporated in 1906 under the federal Live Stock Pedigree Act (presently called the Animal Pedigree Act – 1988) as a national breed organization to assist breeders of Thoroughbred horses in Canada. The National Office is located in Toronto. The National Office determines the requirements for Canadian-bred status of foals, maintains the breeder membership roster for Canada, compiles statistics and represents Canadian Thoroughbred breeders nationally and internationally.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 172, Rexdale, Ontario M9W 5L1 Courier Address: Sales Pavilion Woodbine Racetrack 555 Rexdale Boulevard, Rexdale, Ontario M9W 7G3 Contact Info: Tel: (416) 675-1370 Fax: (416) 675-9405 Email:info@cthsnational.com

The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society



Emerald Downs Wrap-Thursday, August 6

Unmachable (No. 2) surges past Gold Crusher in the Seattle Slew Stakes


AUBURN, Wash. (August 6, 2020) – Unmachable collared Gold Crusher in the final strides for a half-length victory Thursday in the $40,000 Seattle Slew Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings at Emerald Downs.

Earlier on the card, heavily favored Daffodil Sweet remained unbeaten with a dominating victory in the $40,000 Coca-Cola Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

In the Seattle Slew, Unmachable passed the entire field in the stretch for the second stakes victory of his young career.

Ridden by Javier Matias at 120 lbs, Unmachable ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:15.84 and paid $5.60 as the betting choice. Jack McCartney is the winning trainer for owner Tawnja Elison of Eagle, Idaho.

A Washington-bred by Macho Uno, Unmachable is 2-1-2 in five lifetime starts with earnings of $71,065, including $22,000 for Thursday’s victory. The gelding debuted last September with a victory in the Washington Cup Juvenile, followed by a second in the Gottstein Futurity. He traveled to Phoenix and finished third in a stakes late last year and was third while making his 2020 debut in an allowance test here last month.

Unmachable settled about 10 lengths off the pace as Tig and Vroysky dueled through fractions of :22.14 and :44.52, gathered momentum into the lane and surged in the final furlong to tag Gold Crusher in the shadow of the wire.

Gold Crusher, ridden by Eddie Martinez at 121 lbs, powered past Tig into the lane and appeared home free for the victory, but Unmachable’s late rally was too much to withstand.

Muncey, with Jennifer Whitaker riding, closed ground to finish third, while Wilson to Lockett, Tig, Mosquito Fleet and Vroysky rounded out the order of finish.

The $40,000 Muckleshoot Derby at 1 1/16 miles is next for 3-year-olds, tentatively scheduled for September 5.

Daffodil Sweet and jockey Juan Gutierrez


Undefeated and still unchallenged, Daffodil Sweet powered to a six-length victory over For You Only in the $40,000 Coca-Cola Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

With Juan Gutierrez riding at 121 lbs, Daffodil Sweet covered 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.86 and paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Chris Stenslie is the winning trainer for owners Jody Peetz of Issaquah and Steve Shimizu of Bellevue.

It was the third consecutive dominating performance and first stakes victory for Daffodil Sweet, who joins Omache Kid as three-time winners at the meeting.

Breaking from the No. 1 post-position, Daffodil Sweet gradually gained command into the turn, opened a commanding lead into the stretch and rolled home as much the best. She set fractions of :22.42, :4515 and 1:10.12.

Daffodil Sweet has three victories in 37 days, all at different distances. She debuted July 2 with an 8 ¾ length victory at 5 ½ furlongs, followed by a 7 ¾-length allowance score at six furlongs on July 23, and capped by Wednesday’s six-length triumph in the Coca-Cola.

A California-bred by Ministers Wildcat, Daffodil Sweet earned $22,240 to boost her career total to $42,590.

For You Only, longest price on the board at 20 to 1, held second and paid $9.40 and $3.60, and Windy Point finished third and paid $2.60. Pearl Dragon and On Purpose rounded out the order of finish.

Gutierrez, who celebrated his 51st birthday Thursday, is No. 3 all-time with 65 stakes wins at Emerald Downs. Stenslie is tied with Terry Gillihan for No. 13 all-time with 16 stakes wins apiece.

The $40,000 Washington Oaks at 1 1/16 miles is next for 3-year-old fillies tentatively scheduled for September 6.

Total mutuel handle was $2,099,778 on the 11-race program.

NOTES: After a payoff of over $32,000 in Wednesday’s $0.50 Pick 5, Thursday’s Pick 5 produced a payoff of $22,434.80. . .Jockey Alex Cruz and trainer Jose Navarro combined for two wins including the second victory of the season for 11-year-old gelding Doctor Bruce S. ($14.20). . .Cruz, Jake Samuels and Juan Gutierrez rode two winners each Thursday. . .Through 14 days of racing, Cruz and Gutierrez are tied for first with 21 wins apiece while Gary Wales is third with 20 wins . . .Jack McCartney also had two training wins Thursdays. . .Javier Matias is No. 5 all-time with 37 stakes wins at Emerald Downs, including two this year. . .Coulterberry ($13.70) prevailed in the $50,000 Lieutenant Governors’ Handicap at Hastings Racecourse. Winner of last year’s Muckleshoot Tribal Classic, the 7-year-old Finality gelding ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.80 and is 11 for 26 lifetime. . .Early birthday wishes to former jockeys Russell Baze and Joe Steiner, who celebrate No. 62 and 56 respectively on Friday. . .Live racing resumes Wednesday, August 12 with first post 2:15 p.m. Next weeks’ action features the $40,000 Boeing Stakes for older fillies and mares and $40,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes for older horses, both at 6 ½ furlongs on Thursday, August 13.

Emerald Downs Daily Results and Activity


Thursday, August 6
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $8,000 $8,600 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Coca-Cola S. $40,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Maiden Claiming – $5,000 $6,400 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Maiden Claiming – $8,000 $7,800 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Maiden Special Weight $18,500 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Claiming – $5,000 $8,800 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Starter Optional Claiming – $7,500 $9,500 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Claiming – $2,500 $6,100 Overnight Overnight
Race 9 Seattle Slew S. $40,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 10 Claiming – $3,500 $6,800 Overnight Overnight
Race 11 Claiming – $2,500 $6,400 Overnight Overnight



Mario Gutierrez
August 7 – Del Mar

Queen Stormborn Wgt-121 Race 2 Maiden Claiming $40,000
Freedom Lass Wgt-122 Race 7 Starter Allowance $50,000
Get On the Bus Wgt-118 Race 8 Sorrento S. (Gr 2)
Miss Carousel Wgt-120 Race 9 Maiden Special Weight
August 8 – Del Mar

Caerulean Wgt-120 Race 3 Maiden Special Weight
Going to Vegas Wgt-120 Race 5 Allowance Optional Claiming $80,000
Ambivalent Wgt-118 Race 6 Best Pal S. (Gr 2)
Frose Wgt-120 Race 11 Maiden Special Weight
August 9 – Del Mar

Vanna Wgt-120 Race 1 Maiden Claiming $32,000
Where’s Frankie Wgt-122 Race 4 Maiden Special Weight
Rookie Mistake Wgt-118 Race 5 Allowance Optional Claiming $20,000
Hammering Lemon Wgt-120 Race 6 Maiden Special Weight

Can You Spot an Unhappy Horse?

Study: Most horse people miss the signs of negative emotional states in horses, even in those trained with “natural horsemanship” techniques.

Can You Spot an Unhappy Horse?
Would you recognize an unhappy horse in a video?You might be surprised. According to U.K. and Danish researchers, most horse people misunderstand horses’ expressions of negative emotions.

Such misunderstandings could lead to confusion and disagreements around training videos on social media. But more importantly, they’re concerning  horses’ welfare, said Catherine Bell, PhD, of the Equine Behaviour and Training Association (EBTA) near London, England.

“Perhaps the most common problems I find in my behavior work are those associated with a horse being pushed too far and the owner being unaware that the horse is too anxious or stressed to comply,” Bell said. “It’s the classic, ‘He’s not scared; he’s just being naughty or stupid.’ Owners commonly tend to wait for a horse to engage in dangerous behaviors, such as bucking, biting, or bolting, before they recognize there’s a problem. And by that point, it is a big problem.”

Analyzing Horses in Training videos online: a survey

Having noted this issue repeatedly, Bell decided to run a scientific survey of horse people online. She and her fellow researchers designed a Facebook-based questionnaire based on six videos of horses working in different disciplines, including ridden dressage, in-hand dressage, natural horsemanship, bridleless riding, Western reining, and behavioral rehabilitation.

Nearly 200 participants responded to questions related to horses’ affective states. For each video, they were asked if they’d like their horse to be treated that way and to choose from a list of 13 emotions the ones they believed applied to that horse. Those emotions included being angry, anxious, conflicted, excited, fearful, frustrated, playful, relaxed, stressed, stubborn, submissive, switched off or resigned, and enjoying what was happening.

Survey respondents also scored themselves—on a scale of 1 to 4—on how well they thought they could recognize fear, stress, and anxiety in horses. In addition, they had the opportunity to comment on behavioral signs of equine emotions and about the horses in the videos.

Meanwhile, the researchers also requested the participation of six certified equine behavior specialists, who evaluated the affective state of the horses in the videos.

85% of Respondents Misinterpreted Signs of Negative Emotions

The equine behavior specialists agreed that all six horses in the videos were experiencing clear signs of negative affective state, Bell said. However, only a small percentage of survey respondents came to the same conclusion. More than 85% misinterpreted signs of negative emotions in at least one video.

In particular, respondents were more likely to incorrectly gauge the emotional state of horses in the natural horsemanship and bridleless riding videos, said Bell, which could be due to those disciplines’ general image.

“I think natural horsemanship and bridleless riding carry a sort of romantic image that many of us aspire to, with minimal tack, an absence of overt punishment, the horse appearing to choose to engage in behaviors with us, and an apparently lovely, playful relationship,” Bell said. “There’s also a lot of euphemistic language associated with the teaching of such methods that masks some of the more subtle, but nonetheless aversive and highly controlling, techniques that are involved.”

Age, Experience, Profession, and Confidence Didn’t Affect Results

Interestingly, said Bell, age, experience, self-scoring, and professional or amateur status had little bearing on the results. In fact, out of 40 professionals who took the survey, only 10 gave responses that were in line with the experts.

Likewise, having higher levels of experience made respondents less likely to recognize negative affective state in some of the videos, the researchers reported.

The only clear association with “right” answers was with respondents who identified themselves as clicker trainers, Bell said. Generally speaking, people selecting “clicker trainer” as their main equestrian activity tended to pick up on the negative affective states better than the average. However, those results need further investigation, she explained, as very few people identified as clicker trainers, and it’s possible that other clicker trainers were in the population but chose a different activity (because in the survey they could only choose one main equestrian activity).

Future Research and Self-Training Opportunities

This survey only looked at people’s ability to recognize negative affective state, but future studies might investigate their ability to recognize positive emotions in horses, Bell added.

The EBTA provides a “Ladder of Fear” webpage to help owners identify subtle signs of stress in annotated videos, she said.

In general, horse people should learn to be watchful for the kinds of “hints” horses give about negative emotions, said Bell. “Please pay attention to those little signs that your horse demonstrates to show that he is anxious/fearful/stressed about something,” she explained. “It is not ‘too soft’ if you allow him extra time to deal with stressors, and the horse is not ‘being dominant’ if he shows strong opinions about something stressful.”


Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.


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