(Trainer Mark Casse / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

From the NYRA Media Team:

Trainer Mark Casse swept both turf stakes races on Saturday’s card at the Big A with 4-year-old Curlin’s Honor winning the $150,000 Artie Shiller and juvenile Jack and Noah one race later in the $100,000 Atlantic Beach.

Casse said he was proud of the way in which each of his trainees got the job done.

“I thought Joel Rosario gave a tremendous ride on Curlin’s Honor,” said Casse.

Rosario confidently guided Curlin’s Honor along the rail at the top of the stretch, where he met and outfought a game Caribou Club in the final yards to earn the victory by a neck.

Making his 16th career start for owners John Oxley and Breeze Easy, the $1.5 million yearling purchase entered the Artie Schiller off a 1 ¾ length optional-claiming victory on October 6 at Woodbine.

The son of Curlin is multiple graded-stakes placed including a pair of third place finishes in the Grade 3 Bold Venture and Grade 2 Play the King at Woodbine. The Artie Schiller score was his first stakes win since capturing the Woodstock in May 2018 at Woodbine.

“We had been high in him for a very long time,” said Casse. “I’m glad he got the trip where he was able to show his ability and just how good he can be. Hopefully he can continue to progress from here down the road.”

One race later in the Atlantic Beach, Jack and Noah, piloted by Jose Ortiz for owner Gary Barber went straight to the lead and never relinquished to pick up his first stakes victory making only his third career start.

“I had talked to Jose before the race and we wanted to get him to settle,” said Casse. “He’s an extremely fast colt and despite getting up to the lead early, I thought Jose did do a good job of getting him to relax.”

Bred in France and sired by British-bred Bated Breath, Jack and Noah won his debut by 1 ¼ lengths on September 27 at Belmont Park and followed with a fourth-place running to eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner Four Wheel Drive on October 6 in the Grade 3 Futurity at Belmont.

“He’s come out of the race well and we’ll look to try to continue to get him to settle,” said Casse. “If not, we know we’ll have one of the fastest 3-year-old turf sprinters in the country next year, so it’s a good position to be in.”

Casse also reported Grade 1 Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston is a possibility to make his first start since his Belmont triumph trying turf for the first time in the $75,000 Woodchopper facing fellow 3-year-olds on December 28 at Fair Grounds Racecourse.

“Right now, I’m considering giving him a shot on the turf in the Woodchopper at Fair Grounds,” said Casse. “It’s a chance for us to face straight 3-year-olds and we feel it might be a good spot for him to make a return as he wouldn’t have to be fully cranked and we can work our way from there.”

Casse also reported multiple graded-stakes winner War of Will received a full physical following his ninth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic and appeared fine while multiple graded-stakes winner Got Stormy would next be pointed to the Grade 1 Matriarch on December 1 at Del Mar following her second-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile.


Saguaro Row on target for Garland of Roses; Embolden looking to return to dirt

Newton Anner Stud and Mark Breen’s Saguaro Row successfully rallied from off the pace to win her first stakes race in her 11th career start in Saturday’s $100,000 Pumpkin Pie on Saturday at the Big A.

Reporting the 4-year-old Union Rags filly is in fine fettle following her victory, conditioner Michael Stidham said he was pleased with her performance.

“She came out of the race in good shape,” said Stidham. “She really got a great ride from Joel [Rosario] and when things opened up for her, she really did some serious running to get to the wire and win.”

Reaching the winner’s circle for the third time this year and first since taking a second-level optional-claiming allowance race last May at Belmont, Stidham said he would most likely next point Saguaro Row to the $100,000 Garland of Roses on December 8 at Aqueduct.

“Coming off that performance we’d certainly keep the Garland of Roses as an option on the table for her,” said Stidham.

Two races later in the $100,000 Atlantic Beach, Dare to Dream Stable’s Embolden put up a game fight to finish second making his first start since running third in the Grade 3 Futurity in October at Belmont.

“Watching the race I thought he gave a good effort,” said Stidham. “He had to encounter some traffic coming for home getting off the rail, if he could have stayed closer it might have been a little closer but we’ll look to move forward with him off that performance.

Purchased for $95,000 in April at the Ocala Breeders’ 2-year-olds in training sale, the son of Factor began his career on the dirt where he ran second in his debut at Monmouth Park in July before impressively winning back-to-back turf starts including a 3 ¾ length win in the Jamestown on September 7 at Colonial Downs before running third in the Grade 3 Futurity. Exiting Saturday’s race in good order, Stidham said a return to dirt may be next on the horizon for Embolden.

“We’re looking to possibly bring him back on the dirt in a race like the Springboard Mile [December 15] at Remington Park,” said Stidham. “He started his career on the dirt and is no stranger to the surface, so we think stretching him out on the dirt might benefit him as an option for us going forward.”

(Recruiting Ready / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Hough pointing Scars Are Cool, Recruiting Ready to Big A graded stakes

Following their respective recent victories over the main track at Churchill Downs, trainer Stanley Hough plans on sending allowance winner Scars Are Cool and five-time stakes winner Recruiting Ready to Aqueduct Racetrack for graded stakes action.

Scars Are Cool, a chestnut sophomore son of Malibu Moon, will point towards the Grade 3, $200,000 Discovery set for November 30 at the Big A after a victory over a sloppy Churchill Downs main track, where he was bumped at the start, sat three lengths off of a slow pace, lacked racing room at the top of the stretch but was good enough to overcome the negative circumstance and notch a victory against winners.

“I do plan on bringing him up there. We just hope it all works out,” Hough said.

Owned by Sagamore Farm, Scars Are Cool broke his maiden over the Louisville oval going the Discovery’s 1 1/8-mile distance before finishing a distant ninth in the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers to Code of Honor.

Recruiting Ready, who won last Saturday’s Bet On Sunshine at Churchill Downs, will point towards the Grade 3, $200,000 Fall Highweight at the Big A on Thanksgiving Day, November 28.

Also owned by Sagamore, the 5-year-old Algorithms bay led at every point of call in last Saturday’s stakes triumph. Despite producing swift fractions up front, he managed to draw off by 3 ¾ lengths while registering a Beyer Speed Figure of 101 – his fourth triple digit figure this year.

“It’s coming back a little quick but we’re keeping our fingers crossed,” Hough said.

Recruiting Ready is no stranger to stakes success at Aqueduct having won last year’s Gravesend in frontrunning fashion. He will be targeting his second graded stakes win in the Fall Highweight having won the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint on March 2 in South Florida.

Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm, Recruiting Ready is out of the unraced Strong Hope broodmare Need and comes from the same family as graded stakes winners Bolt d’Oro and Global Campaign, the latter of which is also owned by Sagamore.


Unraced royally-bred Queens Empire continues to train for Mott; Forza Di Oro targets G2 Remsen

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott continues to prepare royally-bred juvenile Queens Empire for his anticipated debut.

The bay son of Empire Maker is out of Grade 1 turf winner Crown Queen, who is a half-sister to three-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta, both of which are out of the prolific broodmare Delta Princess who also produced Grade 1 turf winner Delta Prince and first crop sire Khozan.

Owned by Besilu Stable, who also owned Royal Delta and Crown Queen, Queens Empire has trained with Mott’s string at Saratoga in October before shipping downstate to Belmont Park, where he recently worked a half-mile in 50.04 seconds over the Belmont training track.

Mott was unsure as to when Queens Empire would make his career debut but expects him to develop as a 3-year-old.

“He’s quite a way along in his training. He’s a bit of a slow developing type. I think next year is going to be better for him than this year,” Mott said. “We might get him started, but I’d like to get a race into him just for some experience and that might help him come along a little bit. His works have been okay but very workmanlike.”

Mott said Queens Empire mimics his sire more so than his female relatives.

“He’s more of an Empire Maker type. Maybe not as much as the female family,” Mott said. “His mother was a Smart Strike and he has a little bit of Smart Strike in him I suppose. He’s a big, rangy looking horse.”

Mott said recent maiden winner Forza Di Oro will likely target the Grade 2, $300,000 Remsen on December 7 at Aqueduct. Owned by Don Alberto Stable, the son of Speightstown came from well of the pace to win second time out by three-quarters of a length going 1 1/16 miles over the main track at Belmont Park on October 26.

Bred in Kentucky by his owner, Forza Di Oro is out of the stakes winning Hard Spun broodmare Filare d’Oro who also produced dual graded stakes winner Silver Dust.


Juddmonte unleashes talented juvenile Toledo

Juddmonte Farms’ well-bred Toledo showed promise in the Saturday finale at Aqueduct when sliding up the rail to break his maiden second time out for trainer Chad Brown.

The Kentucky homebred by Into Mischief is out of the Bernardini broodmare Endless Chat, who also produced dual turf stakes winner Seismic Wave.

“He did it easily. Chad said that he seems to run much better in the afternoon than he does in the morning,” said Juddmonte Farms’ general manager Garrett O’Rourke. “He’ll be one of these horses that we just have to keep running to see where we are with him. I like the way that he came up the rail yesterday and found his next gear.”

O’Rourke said Toledo’s next start will be up to Brown, but that the colt will likely join his conditioner’s winter string at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Florida.

“I’ll leave it entirely in his hands but he’ll probably just take him to Florida now,” said O’Rourke. “There’s not much pressure. If he were to call me back and decide to go to the Remsen, I wouldn’t have a problem with that either.”

O’Rourke said Hidden Scroll, who broke his maiden by 14 lengths at Gulfstream Park in January, is rounding back into form.. The son of Hard Spun finished off-the-board in his two starts on the Kentucky Derby trail in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Hidden Scroll finished third last out against allowance company at Churchill Downs on May 4 and has been training alongside Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s string at Payson Park in Indiantown, Florida.

“We gave him a break after it seemed like he was going in the wrong direction. He looks magnificent now and is doing super. Bill said, ‘so far, so good’,” O’Rourke said.

Dual graded stakes winner Tacitus is getting a freshening before making a return to the races as a 4-year-old where he will prepare for the inaugural running of the $20 million Saudi Cup on February 29 at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh. O’Rourke said the son of Tapit would possibly target an allowance event in January prior to the Saudi Cup.


Week 3 stakes probables

Saturday, November 16, 2019
$100,000 Key Cents
Probable: All Over The Map (Ray Handal); Big Q (Gary Gullo); My Sassy Sarah (Michelle Nevin); Playtone (George Weaver); Time Limit (Mike Maker)
Possible: Light In the Sky (Linda Rice)

Sunday, November 17, 2019
Probable: Bank of Shea (Jason Servis); Dream Bigger (Rudy Rodriguez); Mission Wrapitup (Bruce Brown); Moonachie (Jeremiah Englehart); Scilly Cay (Rice); Three Jokers (John Terranova)
Possible: Harris Bay (John Kimmel); Prince of Pharoahs (Rice)