(Masen / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)

From the NYRA Media Team:

Juddmonte homebred Masen garnered a 96 Beyer Speed Figure for his one-length score in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Poker, a one-mile turf test for older horses at Belmont Park.

Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown said Masen is now probable for the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave on August 13 at Saratoga Race Course.

The British homebred son of Kingman was headstrong from the gate, but settled down along the backstretch under Flavien Prat. He collared pacesetter Wolfie’s Dynaghost in upper stretch and was hand ridden in the final strides to the wire.

“The early portion of the race was a little slow. He had a tricky rail draw so we were trying to get him out in the clear and back in control of the race, and Flavien was able to do that effectively,” Brown said. “If the pace is slow, he’s going to tug on the bridle a bit, but we were just trying to reposition the horse.”

Masen entered the Poker off an easy score in the Seek Again on May 22 over the same surface and distance. He made his North American debut when a close second to Shirl’s Speight in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile in April at Keeneland.

Masen added to the list of graded stakes winning progeny by Kingman that have been trained by Brown, including Grade 1-winner Domestic Spending as well as Serve the King, Technical Analysis and Public Sector, who was third to Masen in the Poker.

“Most of them seem to be very willing training horses,” Brown said. “They have good turn of foot and they’re very athletic type of horses. Although I’ve had them run on all types of ground here, they seem to appreciate firmer ground. All around, he’s a fantastic stallion.”

Masen is out of the Smart Strike mare Continental Drift, an unraced daughter of 2005 Champion Turf Mare Intercontinental. Brown had hands-on experience with Intercontinental during his tenure as an assistant to her late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel.

“She was a headstrong horse,” Brown said. “She was a tough, light-mouthed horse, but she was a brilliant racehorse.”

The Fourstardave, a Breeders’ Cup “Win And You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland, also is likely to attract Peter Brant’s multiple Grade 1-winner Regal Glory, who most recently captured the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game for Brown on Belmont Stakes Day.

Brown secured another graded stakes win on Saturday when Sacred Life won the Grade 3 Monmouth at its New Jersey namesake oval.

The 7-year-old Siyouni ridgling bested 2021 Queen’s Plate winner Safe Conduct by 1 1/4 lengths in the nine-furlong test, registering a 94 Beyer. A Group 3 winner in his native France, Sacred Life won last year’s Grade 3 Knickerbocker at Belmont.

Brown said Sacred Life’s next start will likely take place at Saratoga.

“He’ll come back up to Saratoga where he was training and point towards the meet, but I’m not sure which race we’ll go to,” Brown said.

Brown had many of his top performers on Belmont’s Sunday morning work tab, including Grade 1 Preakness winner Early Voting, who went five furlongs in company with fellow Klaravich Stables color-bearer Efficiency. The pair completed their move in 1:00.62 over the fast main track.

Early Voting, a son of second crop sire and 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, earned a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure for his Preakness victory.

Brown indicated that the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy on July 30 at Saratoga and the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 23 at Monmouth are both under consideration for his next start.

Jeff Drown’s Zandon, who is targeting the Jim Dandy, went a half-mile solo in 48.62 seconds at Belmont on Sunday. The son of New York-bred Upstart was third in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby in his most recent effort.

John D. Gunther and Eurowest Bloodstock’s Pipeline went a half-mile in 48.46 seconds over the main track. The stakes-placed son of Speightstown defeated winners for the first time last out in a one mile first level allowance in April at Aqueduct, garnering a 104 Beyer for the effort.

“He had been training well so we were cautiously optimistic he would show up, and he did,” said Brown, who added that Pipeline would likely target a second-level allowance.

Following a fourth-out graduation at seven furlongs last September at Saratoga, Pipeline was a close third in the Perryville the following month at Keeneland.

Brown will saddle Peter Brant’s Napoleonic War for the Grade 1, $1 million Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational as well as Haughty, McKulick and Consumer Spending for the Grade 1, $700,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational.

Napoleonic War registered a half-mile move in 48.26 seconds over the inner turf Sunday in company with Highest Honors.

A homebred son of War Front, Napoleonic War was second to Emmanuel in the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge on June 4 last out. He is the first progeny out of the Street Cry mare Naples Parade, whose dam Treasure Trail is a half to multiple champion and Hall of Famer Zenyatta as well as three-time Grade 1-winner Balance.

Haughty and McKulick went a half-mile in company in 49.25 over the inner turf.

Haughty, by Empire Maker, won the listed Penn Oaks on June 3 at Penn National last out in her first start of the season. Never off the board in four starts, she rounded out the trifecta in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November at Del Mar in her previous race. She is owned by Bradley Thoroughbreds, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Cambron Equine and Team Hanley.

Klaravich Stables’ McKulick was previously second in both the Grade 2 Edgewood and Grade 3 Regret at Churchill Downs this year. The daughter of Frankel defeated Consumer Spending in her victorious career debut last August at Saratoga.

Brown said Juddmonte’s Artorius is possible to make his next start in the restricted $135,000 Curlin on July 29 at Saratoga. The homebred son of Arrogate and first progeny out of Grade 1-winner Paulassilverlining won at second asking on June 10 at Belmont.

On Friday, Brown saddled Contemporary Art to a second-out maiden victory for celebrity chef Bobby Flay, the owner and breeder of the Dubawi filly.

“She ran super. She had always trained well and she’s a well-bred, good looking horse, so it was nice to see her advance in her second start,” Brown said. “She seems to be a stakes-caliber horse.”

Contemporary Art is out of the graded stakes winning Fastnet Rock mare Cover Song, whose dam Misty For Me was a multiple Group 1-winner for the Coolmore partners in Ireland.


McGaughey runs one-two in G3 Eatontown with Stolen Holiday and Vigilantes Way; Limited Liability works for G1 Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational

Hall of Fame Trainer Shug McGaughey enjoyed a graded-stakes exacta as Annette Allen’s Stolen Holiday bested Phipps Stable’s Vigilantes Way by one length in Saturday’s Grade 3 Eatontown, a 1 1/16-mile turf test for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at Monmouth Park.

The 5-year-old War Front mare posted a gate-to-wire score under Jose Lezcano keeping Vigilante’s Way, the 2021 Eatontown winner under Paco Lopez, at bay. Stolen Holiday’s journey was assisted by the scratch of speed presence Por Que No as Lezcano guided the bay through splits of 50.61 and 1:14.22 over the firm going, stopping the clock in 1:43.30.

Stolen Holiday showed speed in an optional-claiming win in February at Tampa before off-the-pace efforts when second in the Sand Springs in April at Gulfstream and sixth in the Grade 3 Beaugay in May at Belmont.

“The speed scratched but she has speed, so I wasn’t surprised she was on the lead,” McGaughey said. “She was in front at Tampa. In the race here [at Belmont] she didn’t pick up her feet on the soft turf, and down at Gulfstream she was sort of jumbled up back in there. I think her best race is when she’s on the lead, but she can be behind.”

Vigilantes Way enjoyed a ground-saving trip from third position under Lopez, but couldn’t make up the necessary ground.

“She ran great. There was no pace and she just didn’t get there,” McGaughey said.

McGaughey said both mares would be outside chances to try the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana going nine furlongs over the Saratoga turf on July 16.

West Point Thoroughbreds, Siena Farm, Bobby Flay and Woodford Racing’s multiple graded-stakes winner First Captain will target the Grade 2, $400,000 Suburban Handicap, a 10-furlong test for older horses on July 9 at Belmont.

McGaughey said the long-term goal for the 4-year-old Curlin chestnut is the Grade 1, $1.25 million Jockey Club Gold Cup, a 1 1/4-mile test for 3-year-olds and up on September 3 at Saratoga that offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1, Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Keeneland.

Out of the graded-stakes winning A.P. Indy mare America, First Captain captured the Grade 3 Dwyer in July at Belmont to complete a hat trick of victories to launch his career. He made a winning seasonal debut in February at Gulfstream sprinting seven furlongs before fading to last-of-7 in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap in April at the Big A.

First Captain added blinkers last out and with jockey Luis Saez aboard for the first time, he closed from sixth to capture the 1 3/16-mile Grade 3 Pimlico Special by a head on May 20.

“He’s doing really well,” McGaughey said. “He was bred to run long on the dirt and with the Carter we got in the position of, ‘where are we going to run him’. That was a mistake and I felt like he maybe laid up a little close that day, which he probably doesn’t want. He got back in the Pimlico race and I think that’s what his running style is going to be.”

McGaughey said the addition of blinkers helped the talented chestnut.

“I galloped him in them at Saratoga last year and I liked what I saw then. We put them on after the Carter and it made a big difference,” McGaughey said.

McGaughey said Joseph Allen’s Radio Days, who was a closing third last out in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan on May 20 at Pimlico, could target Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Mother Goose for sophomore fillies traveling 1 1/16-miles over Big Sandy.

McGaughey, who won the 2005 Mother Goose with subsequent Champion 3-Year-old Filly Smuggler, said Radio Days is likely to breeze Monday at Belmont.

“I’ll see how she works and make a decision,” McGaughey said.

Andrew Rosen’s Skims, a multiple graded-stakes placed sophomore daughter of Frankel, has completed the trifecta in her last two outings, closing from seventh in the Grade 2 Appalachian in April at Keeneland and stalking from second in the Grade 2 Wonder Again on June 9 over yielding going at Belmont.

“She’s pretty tough. She comes out of her races pretty good,” McGaughey said.

The veteran conditioner said Skims could return in Saturday’s $100,000 Wild Applause at one-mile on the Belmont turf or wait for the Grade 3, $175,000 Lake George going the same distance on July 22 at the Spa.

McGaughey sent 11 horses to breeze over the Belmont inner turf Sunday, including Stuart S. Janney homebred Limited Liability, who worked in company with Courtlandt Farms’ Never Explain through a half-mile in 48.20.

“They both worked really well and I thought Limited Liability was exceptional,” McGaughey said.

Limited Liability is targeting the Grade 1, $1 million Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational, opening leg of the Caesars Turf Triple series on July 9 at Belmont.

The Kitten’s Joy grey has finished third in a trio of graded races, including the Grade 3 With Anticipation in September at Saratoga; the Grade 2 Pilgrim in October at Belmont; and the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge last out on June 4 at Belmont that was won gate-to-wire by Emmanuel.

McGaughey said Limited Liability will appreciate the stretch out to 10 furlongs in the Belmont Derby.

“He ran great last time to close into that kind of pace,” McGaughey said. “He’ll run as far as you want to run, I think.”

Never Explain, a 4-year-old Street Sense colt, will be pointed to an allowance event.

Allen Stable’s Stony Point covered a half-mile in 49 flat, closing behind stablemates Trending [49.65] and Flanigan’s Cove [49.65].

“She’d been trying to bear out a little bit by herself and that’s why I gave her a target, and she was perfect today,” McGaughey said of Stony Point. “She worked really well.”

Phipps Stable homebred Bakers Bay worked five-eighths in 1:02.02 in company with Joseph Allen’s homebred Celestial City.

Baker’s Bay, a 6-year-old More Than Ready gelding out of the multiple graded-stakes winning Giant’s Causeway mare Abaco, posted his last score in a 1 3/16-mile turf allowance in April 2021 at Keeneland. He made his last two starts traveling 12 furlongs over the Gulfstream turf, finishing sixth in the Grade 3 William L. McKnight in January, and fifth in the Grade 2 Pan American in April.

McGaughey said Bakers Bay could try the $150,000 Grand Couturier at 12 furlongs on July 4, while maiden winner Celestial City, who finished second last out in the Jersey Derby on May 29 at Monmouth, will point to an allowance race.

Allen Stable and Peter Brant’s Fort Washington breezed a half-mile in 49.40 in company with DATTT Stable’s Smokin’ T.

Fort Washington, a multiple stakes-placed sophomore son of War Front, finished fifth last out in the Grade 2 Penn Mile over soft turf at Penn National.

McGaughey said the dark bay may come back in an allowance, while keeping an eye on the Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, a one-mile turf test for sophomores on August 5 at the Spa.

“He caught a real soft turf at Penn National and didn’t like at all,” McGaughey said. “He came back and had a good work today.”

McGaughey said Smokin’ T, a 3-year-old War Front bay who finished second last out in the Audubon on June 4 at Churchill, also worked well.

Others on the turf work tab for McGaughey included multiple graded-stakes placed In a Hurry [48.80], who breezed a half-mile in company with allowance winner Champagne Lady [48.85].

McGaughey said Winngate Stables’ multiple graded-stakes winner Kathleen O. is expected to return to Belmont next week. The sophomore daughter of Upstart graduated on debut in November at Aqueduct before winning three consecutive stakes at Gulfstream, including the Cash Run in January, the Grade 2 Davona Dale in March and the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks in April.

Kathleen O. closed to finish fifth last out in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 6 at Churchill.

“She is turned out and she’ll be back here in a week or so,” McGaughey said. “Being turned out, she probably doesn’t lose much condition, but there’s no hurry. There’s a lot of good races out there.”


Homebred Mind Control a testament to Red Oak Stable’s breeding program

Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stable’s Mind Control was a determined winner of Saturday’s Grade 3 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. The 6-year-old Stay Thirsty bay found another gear along the rail after setting the pace and held off a late charge from multiple graded stakes winner Hot Rod Charlie to earn the victory.

“We’re just pleased and proud of the horse. He’s a competitor,” said Rick Sacco, racing manager for Red Oak Stable. “He’s a homebred and we own the whole family. He’s been such a fun horse to be around. It’s an incredible feeling. It was a big win yesterday. It was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed it.”

Mind Control broke sharply from post 1 under Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez and quickly established the lead in the one-mile affair for horses 3-years-old and upward. Velazquez asked him for more down the backstretch as Hot Rod Charlie pressed to his outside before briefly taking the advantage at the stretch call. But Mind Control would not be denied and dug in valiantly to retake the lead and fend off his foe by a head in a final time of 1:35.79.

“We knew he would show speed and we knew from the one hole that we had to go,” said Sacco. “He broke clean and going into the first turn, we had a comfortable lead. Down the backside, Johnny asked him for a little more just for a little separation of a couple lengths. At the half-mile pole, we knew it was our race to lose because when he gets engaged, he’s going to fight back. He’s not an easy horse to go by.”

Mind Control is the fourth foal out of the Lightnin N Thunder mare Feel That Fire, a half-sister to Red Oak’s homebred graded stakes-placed and New York sire King for a Day. Both King for a Day and Feel That Fire are out of the unraced French Deputy mare Ubetwereven, who has been a foundational broodmare for Red Oak and also produced stakes-winner Ima Jersey Girl.

Mind Control, initially trained by Gregg Sacco, has won graded events in each year of racing, including the Grade 1 Hopeful as a juvenile at Saratoga. He captured the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct and Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens at the Spa as a sophomore; and at 4-years-old at the Big A, he won the Grade 3 Toboggan and Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap.

Last year, after shifting to Pletcher’s barn, Mind Control added the Grade 2 John A. Nerud to his ledger at Belmont. Six of Mind Control’s 10 career wins have come by a winning margin of less than one length.

“This is a great line of mares that we’re proud of and we’re building this family with a bunch of runners,” Sacco said. “To see Mind Control win graded stakes every year; he’s a hickory horse who doesn’t lose these dog fights. I’m proud of the whole operation – the farm team, the breeding team, our trainers. Everyone involved.”

Sacco said it is likely Mind Control to make his next start at The Spa.

“We’re enjoying this win and we thought this was a good comeback win,” Sacco said. “We’ll send him up to Saratoga and we haven’t really decided on which race is next, but it will be something at Saratoga.”

Feel That Fire has also produced a Mineshaft half-sister to Mind Control named Goddess of Fire, who was a close runner-up in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds and the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks this spring for Pletcher before finishing a distant 11th in the Kentucky Oaks.

“We went to the Fair Grounds and lost a heartbreaker,” Sacco said. “The Oaks just wasn’t our day. She’ll run next in the [Grade 3] Monmouth Oaks [on July 31] and she’s up at Saratoga getting a freshening.”

With Feel That Fire now producing two graded stakes performers, Sacco said Mind Control and Goddess of Fire are the kinds of horses any breeding operation would dream of owning.

“It’s just gratifying. All of our horses, especially Mind Control, are special because we own the mares, we breed them, we break them,” said Sacco. “This horse has his own paddock and padded stall at Red Oak Farm in Ocala. Every year when he’s done racing, we let him tell us when he’s ready to go back to the track. He’s a very sound and honest horse. It’s really a testament to our breeding program.”

Feel That Fire delivered an Uncle Mo filly this year and was bred back to Uncle Mo for 2023.

G1 winner Maracuja breezes in prep for Lady Jacqueline at Thistledown

Beach Haven Thoroughbreds, Medallion Racing, Parkland Thoroughbreds and Barry Fowler’s Grade 1 winner Maracuja will be pointed to the nine-furlong $250,000 Lady Jacqueline on June 25 at Thistledown Racino after an off-the-board finish in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap last out on April 23 at Oaklawn Park.

Maracuja breezed a half-mile in 48.98 seconds Sunday over the Belmont main track in company with unraced 2-year-old War Prince, posting an easier work than her half-mile drill in 48.72 last week.

“She breezed well,” said trainer Rob Atras. “It was kind of just a maintenance breeze this weekend. She put in a pretty serious work last week, so we were just going easy today. We’re on target for the Lady Jacqueline. We missed a few spots we were targeting and this race came up – the timing is good. We thought we’d take a shot and try to get her back in form.”

Maracuja provided a stunning upset in last year’s Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga Race Course, defeating eventual Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Malathaat by a head at odds of 14-1 to give Atras his first career Grade 1 triumph.

The daughter of Honor Code finished her sophomore campaign with a pair of off-the-board finishes in Grade 1 company, finishing seventh the Alabama at the Spa and an even fourth in the Cotillion at Parx. She returned to winning ways in her 4-year-old debut with a two-length optional claiming score on April 1 at Oaklawn Park and followed with a distant fourth-place finish behind Champion Older Mare Letruska in the Apple Blossom.

“She was real flat that day and it was a pretty tough race. Those fillies all showed up,” Atras said. “She ran kind of unusually flat that day, so we gave her a little time after that to get straightened out and then brought her back to Belmont. She seems like with every work she’s gotten better and stronger. She’s coming around and is back to her old self again.”

Michael Dubb and Gandharvi Racing Stables’ Battle Bling finished a close second in the Obeah on June 8 at Delaware Park, the local prep for the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap for fillies and mares 3-year-old and up on July 9 at the Wilmington oval.

Battle Bling was claimed for $62,500 out of a close second-place effort on December 19 at Aqueduct Racetrack and has hit the board in all but one of her five starts since, including a win in the Ladies facing open company in January at Aqueduct and three close runner-up efforts in the Heavenly Prize Invitational, the Top Flight Invitational and the Obeah.

“She tries every time and has had some heartbreaking losses, but you can’t fault her. She runs good every time and we’re very happy with her,” Atras said. “[Dubb] has picked out some good ones and this is another one.”

The Obeah was a tough loss for the Vancouver filly, who stalked in fourth-of-6 before briefly taking command in the stretch and subsequently losing the lead to Claudio Gonzalez trainee Miss Leslie to be defeated a half-length. Miss Leslie had previously been defeated by Battle Bling by a neck in the Ladies.

“It was tough. I thought we had it turning for home, and that horse of Claudio’s came running down the lane and got us late at Aqueduct. We beat her by a neck, and this time she got us, so they’ve got a little rivalry going,” Atras said, with a laugh.

Atras said he’ll take his time in deciding if Battle Bling will try the Delaware Handicap.

“We’ll nominate her and kind of see how she comes along in the next couple weeks,” Atras said. “We like to keep our options open.”

Grade 3 winner Chateau finished a close third in a six-furlong optional claimer on Friday at Belmont after setting the pace and being collared by Happy Farm with a sixteenth to the finish.

The 7-year-old Flat Out gelding won the Gravesend in December at Aqueduct, where he also won the 2021 Grade 3 Tom Fool. He has finished in-the-money in his three starts this year, which include runner-up efforts in the Grade 3 Tom Fool at the Big A and Grade 3 Runhappy at Belmont.

“Chateau is good. He’s solid and shows up every time. He’s a nice horse to have,” said Atras. “He doesn’t always win, but he tries hard every time. We missed a little training with him through the winter, but he’s been on a regular schedule going into that last race. He ran tough.”

Atras said Chateau’s next race will likely come at Saratoga.

“As of right now, we don’t have a spot. Once the Saratoga book comes out, we’ll probably pick out a spot and point him towards that,” said Atras.

The Atras barn welcomed back Grade 3 winner American Power in May after the 7-year-old son of Power Broker enjoyed a winter vacation. Owned by Michael Dubb, Sanford J. Goldfarb and Michael J. Caruso, American Power won the Grade 3 Toboggan last year before finishing third to Firenze Fire in the Grade 2 True North. His season ended in September with a well-beaten fifth-place finish in an optional claimer at Saratoga that was won by subsequent Breeders’ Cup Sprint victor Aloha West.

“He had some time off and he’s back now. We’ll be looking for a race for him at Saratoga,” Atras said. “He had been going for a while and ran so hard, so we just decided to give him a little break to target the summer. The time off did him good, so

***

Belmont Park Week 9 stakes probables

Saturday, June 25

G2 Mother Goose

Probable: Favor (Todd Pletcher), Gerrymander (Chad Brown), Juju’s Map (Brad Cox), Nostalgic (Bill Mott), Shahama (Pletcher), Venti Valentine (Jorge Abreu)

Possible: Radio Days (Shug McGaughey), Republique (Saffie Joseph, Jr.)

$100K Wild Applause

Probable: Breeze Easy (Chirstophe Clement), Eminent Victor (Chad Brown), Lakota Spirit (Brown), Oakhurst (Brown), Sail By (Gyarmati)

Possible: Mac the Pee H Dee (Jorge Duarte), Skims (McGaughey)

Sunday, June 26

$100K Dancin Renee (NYB)

Probable: Bank Sting (John Terranova), Breakfastatbonnies (Danny Gargan), Byhubbyhellomoney (Bob Dunham), Letmetakethiscall (Keith O’Brien), Secret Love (John Kimmel), Snicket (David Duggan), Time Limit (Mike Maker)

Possible: Eloquent Speaker (Natalia Lynch), (Kept Waiting (Robert Falcone, Jr.)