Fair Grounds Barn Notes: Amoss To Race Both Lone Sailor, Serengeti Empress Here After a Short Break

(Serengeti Empress  / By Holly M. Smith)

(Lone Sailor in the Churchill Downs paddock / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From Ryan Martin, Fair Grounds Media Team:


Trainer Tom Amoss sent graded stakes winners and Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships contenders Serengeti Empress and Lone Sailor to GoldMark Farm in Ocala, Fla. for some downtime during the remainder of the year, but has still made plans for their early 2019 campaign.

A runaway 19½-length winner of the Grade II Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs on September 15, Serengeti Empress last raced in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 2. The 2-year-old daughter of Alternation was in a little tight going around the first turn and sat just off the pace led by eventual winner Jaywalk, but began giving way as the field approached the far turn and faded to seventh.

Amoss stated that she would return to his barn at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots at the beginning of the New Year with the long term goal being the Grade II $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks on March 23, which is the final of three local preps on Churchill Downs’ Road to The Kentucky Oaks.

“She didn’t have a good trip,” Amoss said of Serengeti Empress’s effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. “She got stopped at the first turn, lost her position and that hurt us a lot. She’s a young horse and it was a learning experience for her. We feel strongly that at age three she is going to be just as good.”

Owned by Joel Politi, Serengeti Empress is a two-time stakes winner having taken the Pocahontas Stakes as well as the Ellis Park Debutante Stakes on August 19 by an astonishing 13½ lengths.

G M B Racing’s Lone Sailor will arrive at Fair Grounds around the same time as his stable mate and will target the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap on March 23.

The 3-year-old son of Majestic Warrior had been knocking on the door in some of the most prestigious races for sophomores all season long but finally got a well-deserved graded stakes victory in the Grade III Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park on September 30. Amoss ran Lone Sailor back against elders in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 3 at Churchill Downs where he was sixth behind Accelerate.

“I think that he’s a horse that’s finding his way,” Amoss said. “It took him a long time to understand what racing is about and he’s took a big step forward when he showed how competitive he can be in the Oklahoma Derby. Off of that race we really thought that he was finally figuring out competition. The Breeders’ Cup Classic had the best horses in the world and for him to be in the top six in that race was something that we’re very proud of.”

Lone Sailor’s 3-year-old campaign also included a respective eighth and fifth behind eventual Triple Crown winner Justify in the Grade I Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 5 and the Grade I Preakness Stakes on May 19.

Amoss pointed out that both horses would likely have one prep before their respective long term targets at the end of the Fair Grounds meet.


The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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