Bill Heller’s New York-Breds at the Races: January 4 to 10

Battle of Saratoga Draws Off to Break Maiden Thursday

By Bill Heller

Earle Mack’s lightly raced, idle homebred, the five-year-old new gelding Battle of Saratoga, eased to the lead three-wide around the far turn and then opened up to win a mile-and-an-eighth $60,000 New York-bred maiden special weight by 12 lengths to give jockey Junior Alvarado an easy sweep of Thursday’s daily double at Aqueduct after he won the opener by three lengths on New Year’s Wish. Sent off the 6-5 favorite in a field of five, Battle of Saratoga won in a final time of 1:57.10.

The gray Golconda, who went off at odds of 9-1 under Rajiv Maragh, finished second, nearly two lengths clear of Killala Bay, the 3-2 second choice ridden by seven-pound apprentice Benjamin Hernandez. Scrutinize, sent off at 14-1 odds from the rail with Mike Luzzi up, finished another half-length back in fourth.

Graham Motion trains Battle of Saratoga, a son of Union Rags out of Joyful by Distorted Humor who was making just his third dirt start and fourth overall after finishing sixth in his turf debut on April 21st. Motion had him ready to roll for his return to dirt Thursday.

Riding Battle of Saratoga for the first time, Alvarado settled him in third, a couple lengths off the lead, as Killala Bay set the pace and Golconda chased in second through a half-mile in :50.35. When Golconda went up to challenge for the lead, Battle of Saratoga moved up three-wide to join them.

Battle of Saratoga continued to advance around the far turn and then took over at the top of the stretch. He opened a huge lead and won by himself.

With a victory and a pair of thirds in three dirt starts, Battle of Saratoga has earned more than $40,000.

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Racing at Aqueduct was cancelled following Thursday’s sixth race due to high winds.

 

Shipper Fiery Opal Scores vs. New York-Breds Sunday

Silvino Ramirez’s five-year-old gelding Fiery Opal, an amazingly consistent shipper from Parx, attended the early pace on the far outside, took the lead readily when asked by Edwin Rivera and captured a seven-furlong $67,000 New York-bred allowance/optional $40,000 claimer by 4 ½ lengths Sunday afternoon at Aqueduct. Sent off at 5-1 odds from the outside post in a field of nine, Fiery Opal won in a final time of 1:25.66 on the “muddy” track.

Speightful Kitten, who went off at odds of 9-2 from the rail under Junior Alvarado, finished second, nearly two lengths clear of Tribecca, the 2-1 favorite ridden by Manny Franco, in third. Three-quarters of a length further back in fourther were 12-1 Sicilia Mike and Eric Cancel.

SF Racing bred Fiery Opal, a son of Gemologist out of Impending Storm by Mineshaft who is trained by Antonio Arriaga and was coming off a third-place finish in an open allowance at Parx under Rivera at 3-1 odds on December 29th. That was Fiery Opal’s eighth consecutive finish in the money and 12th in his prior 13 starts. He ran fourth in his lone miss.

Fiery Opal broke first but Rivera took him back to fourth, allowing 7-2 Arthur’s Hope and five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez to duel on the front end with Speightful Kitten through a first quarter-mile in :22.60 and a half-mile in :46.09. Tribecca tracked the top pair from third.

Fiery Opal moved up four-wide around the far turn, cleared the lead in early stretch and drew away to win handily.

Fiery Opal improved his dirt record to five-for-18 with four seconds, four thirds and earnings of more than $185,000.

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Riding the rail under seven-pound apprentice Joey Martinez, Marc Keller’s Quietude, the 60-1 longshot on the rail in a field of six, ran down front-running My Best Friend, the even-money favorite ridden by five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez, to win a $64,000 New York-bred allowance/optional $75,000 claimer for three-year-old fillies by two lengths Sunday. She covered the six-furlong distance in 1:13.71.

My Best Friend salvaged second, almost two lengths clear of Diamond Princess, the 6-5 second choice ridden by Junior Alvarado. Mary’s Girl, sent off at odds of 7-1 under Manny Franco, reported home a length and a quarter back in fourth.

Dixie Farm bred Quietude, a daughter of Tapizar out of Free as Tristan by Crafty Friend who sold for $130,000 as a yearling at Saratoga in August 2017 and is trained by Bobby Ribaudo. Quietude finished a distant fifth under Dylan Davis at 21-1 odds in his previous start on December 7th.

Martinez settled Quietude in fifth as My Best Friend took the field to a first quarter-mile in :22.85 with a one-length lead. She stretched her advantage to two lengths by running a half-mile in :47.49. By then, Quietude had rallied into third on the inside.

My Best Friend stretched her cushion to four lengths in mid-stretch, but Quietude closed in quickly and went right on past the front-running favorite to win going away.

Quietude is now two-for-five on dirt, with earnings of more than $65,000.

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Wise Racing’s freshened five-year-old New York-bred mare Sweet August Lady, the 6-5 favorite in a field of six, took charge in early stretch and rolled to a six-length victory in a 6 ½-furlong $36,000 conditional $25,000 claimer, giving jockey Manny Franco his third win of the afternoon in Sunday’s sixth race.

New York-bred Parlapiano, sent off at odds of 5-1 with Eric Cancel up, finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of 10-1 New York-bred gray Zecha and Hector Diaz Jr.

My Meadowview LLC bred Sweet August Lady, a daughter of City Zip out of Indy Summer by A.P. Indy who is trained by Chad Brown. Sweet August Lady was dropping off a fourth-place finish in a $40,000 claimer on October 25th under Javier Castellano.

Franco settled Sweet August Lady in fourth as 8-1 New York-bred Third Card Down and Dylan Davis set the pace under pressure from 7-2 New York-bred Tayler’s the Boss and Luis Reyes through an opening quarter-mile in :23.70 and a half-mile in :48.46.

Then the front end collapsed and six horses strung across the track in early stretch. The one moving fastest of all between horses was Sweet August Lady, who quickly turned a close race into a rout. She won in a final time of 1:19.86.

Sweet August Lady is now one-for-two on dirt with one third. She also has a victory, two seconds and a third from nine turf starts, for total earnings topping $100,000.

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In an incredibly game effort under Mike Luzzi, Our Sugar Bear Stable’s gelding Oh K Funnybone held off favored Poker Game and Manny Franco by a desperate nose in a $35,000 New York-bred maiden $30,000 claimer. He completed the one-mile distance in 1:43.32. Oh K Funnybone was sent off at odds of 6-1 and Poker Game was the 8-5 favorite on the rail in the field of eight.

Awesome Adversary, who went off at 10-1 odds under Hector Diaz Jr., finished just a half-length behind Poker Game in third. There was a two-length gap back to 20-1 Dash for Dollars and Andre Worrie in fourth.

Tony and Elizabeth Everard bred Oh K Funnybone, a son of D’ Funnybone out of Shocking Dunn by Wheaton who sold for $13,000 as a two-year-old and is trained by Bruce Brown. Oh K Funnybone began his career with a fifth, a third and fourth, with Luzzi aboard for all three races.

He sent Oh K Funnybone to the lead Sunday but he had plenty of company with 3-1 first-time starter My Amanjena, ridden by Eric Cancel, two-wide and 8-1 gray Tazmonian Devil, with Harry Hernandez up, three-wide.

My Amanjena took a narrow lead on the outside of Oh K Funnybone without clearing him through an opening quarter-mile in :24.37 and a half-mile in :48.85.

Luzzi kept Oh K Funnybone close enough on the rail to protect his position, and that turned out to be a huge plus when My Amanjena and Tazmonian Devil both tired.

Oh K Funnybone surged to take the lead as Poker Game rallied strongly on the outside into second. The two horses hit the wire in tandem in a tight photo finish. The camera revealed Oh K Funnybone had held on by inches.

Oh K Funnybone has earned more than $25,000 in his first four starts.

 

Kathryn the Wise Romps in the Slop in the La Verdad Stakes Saturday

Photo: Chelsea Durand

Showing utter contempt for her competition, Lawrence Goichman’s lightly raced homebred, the six-year-old mare Kathryn the Wise, turned Saturday’s second running of the seven-furlong $100,000 La Verdad Stakes for New York-breds into a showcase under Manny Franco, winning coast-to-coast by 10 ¾ lengths on the sloppy track. Sent off as the slight 8-5 favorite in a field of eight, Kathryn the Wise won in a final time of 1:25.22.

Playinwiththeboys, sent off at odds of 22-1 under Reylu Gutierrez, finished second, a neck ahead of 9-5 Pauseforthecause and Rajiv Maragh. Starlite Mission, who went off at 24-1 odds under Chris DeCarlo, reported home a distant fourth.

Chad Brown trains Kathryn the Wise, a daughter of Uncle Mo out of Shea d’ Lady by Crafty Prospector who was making just her sixth lifetime start. She won a maiden special weight by 5 ½ lengths in her only start as a three-year-old, then won an allowance race by 12 lengths and the $200,000 Critical Eye Stakes for New York-breds by 8 ¼ lengths in two starts at four. Last year, she raced twice in open allowance company, finishing fourth and second. Irad Ortiz Jr. rode Kathryn the Wise in all of those starts.

Franco picked up the mount Saturday and he sent Kathryn the Wise to the lead immediately. She led Pauseforthecause by one length after an opening quarter-mile in :22.10, then by three-quarters of a length through a :46.74 half-mile.

Then Franco let Kathryn the Wise loose and she zipped three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.24 with a four-length lead, one she quickly stretched to double digits in an absolutely powerful performance.

“She was ready,” Franco said after the race. “I talked to Chad and he told me to go for it. I just asked her one time, and she just took off.”

With four victories and one second from six starts, Kathryn the Wise has earned more than $260,000.

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Michael Dubb’s talented, freshened eight-year-old New-York-bred gelding Eye Luv Lulu wore down front-running Reed Kan and seven-pound apprentice Benjamin Hernandez, then drew off under Jose Lezcano to take a $75,000 allowance/optional $62,500 claimer by nearly four lengths Saturday. Sent off at 3-1 odds as the only New York-bred in a field of six, Eye Luv Lulu won in a final time of 1:19.17.

Almithmaar, sent off at odds of 9-1 from the rail under Dylan Davis, rallied to finish second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Preservationist, the 6-5 favorite ridden by Junior Alvarado.

Donald Newman bred Eye Luv Lulu, a son of Pollard’s Vision out of Honky Tonk Trick by Phone Trick who is trained by Jason Servis. Eye Luv Lulu was dropping into open company off a fourth-place finish in the $150,000 Hudson Handicap for New York-breds under Irad Ortiz Jr. on October 20th. Servis gave him plenty of time to recover, and he returned running.

Lezcano got him out of the gate first, then settled him in second as Reed Kan, who went off at 5-2 odds, set the pace: a quarter-mile in :22.15 and a half-mile in :46.72.

Eye Luv Lulu then took charge and opened up on the field with a powerful move, winning easily.

Eye Luv Lulu is now 11-for-48 on dirt with 11 seconds, six thirds and earnings topping $810,000.

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Rallying from far back under Manny Franco, Kildare Stud’s three-year-old filly Intoxicologist made a sensational debut Saturday, blowing past heavily favored Delta Gamma and Junior Alvarado to win a one-mile $60,000 New York-bred maiden special weight by one length in a final time of 1:44.09. Intoxicologist was sent off at odds of 5-1 and Delta Gamma was the 6-5 favorite from the outside post in a field of six.

Cornetta’s Choice, who went off at 5-1 odds with Jose Lezcano riding, finished third, 3 ½ lengths behind Delta Gamma. Bee’snbee’s, sent off at 9-1 odds under Hector Diaz Jr., finished fourth, 8 ¼ lengths behind Cornetta’s Choice.

Michelle Nevin trains Intoxicologist, a daughter of Central Banker out of You Call That Art by Royal Academy who had 10 works for her debut, the last seven at Aqueduct.

She settled in fifth early as Winfred J, sent off at 9-5 odds from the rail under Dylan Davis, took the field to a first quarter-mile in :24.25, a half-mile in :49.86 and three-quarters of a mile in 1:16.29 before tiring badly.

Intoxicologist, a distant fifth until the far turn, made a huge rally on the rail before Franco angled him to the far outside for a clean shot at Delta Gamma, who had taken the front with a flourish.

Delta Gamma still had a two-length lead past mid-stretch, but Intoxicologist came flying at him and then past him, winning going away in an impressive debut performance.

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Shaking off a 13 ½-month layoff, Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred four-year-old filly Turn and Bern powered to the lead at the top of the stretch, opened a five-length cushion and cruised home under Dylan Davis to win a 6 ½-furlong $60,000 New York-bred maiden special weight by 3 ¼ lengths Saturday. Sent off at 5-1 odds from the outside post in a field of eight, Turn and Bern won in a final time of 1:22.18.

The 6-1 gray Dreamers and Me, who went off at odds of 7-2 under David Cohen, finished second, almost two lengths ahead of the 29-1 gray Bourbon High and Samuel Jiminez. First-time starter Joule, sent off at 17-1 odds with Rajiv Maragh up, finished another length back in fourth.

Credit trainer Kiaran McLaughlin for an incredible job preparing Turn and Bern for her first start since November 18th, 2017, when she finished a distant seventh in her second career race. She had been fourth in her debut.

Davis kept her clear on the far outside in second, shadowing 7-2 front-running Overtime Olivia and Manny Franco through an opening quarter-mile in :23.09 and a half-mile in :48.20.

Then Turn and Bern surged to the front and began to open up, leading by five lengths past mid-stretch. Dreamers and Me closed well for second as Turn and Bern won handily.

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NRB Racing Stable’s gray gelding Hushion, named for retired trainer Mike Hushion, worked his way to the lead under Mike Luzzi, opened a gaping led in mid-stretch, ducked in briefly but still won a 5 ½-furlong $60,000 New York-bred maiden special weight for three-year-olds by 3 ½ lengths, prompting announcer John Imbriale to call “This one’s for Mike.” Sent off at 7-2 odds in the field of nine, Hushion won in a final time of 1:06.62.

First-time starter Castle Casanova, the 4-5 favorite ridden by Junior Alvarado, came flying late to finish second, a half-length ahead of 16-1 firster Top of the Mint and Rajiv Maragh. Yet another firster, 7-2 Smooth Tales and Manny Franco, finished another half-length back in fourth.

Trainer Bruce Brown bred Hushion, a son of The Lumber Guy out of Australis Princess by Werblin who finished second, fourth and then, with Lasix added, third in his first three starts, all with Luzzi aboard.

On Saturday, Luzzi got Hushion away sharply and he worked his way to the lead. He was two lengths ahead after a first quarter-mile in :22.87, and he maintained that margin by running a half-mile in :47.44. He then extended the lead, despite briefly ducking in, and won by himself.

Hushion has now earned more than $55,000 in his first four starts.

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Delehanty Stock Farm’s four-year-old gray homebred filly Needs No Ice and Rajiv Maragh needed nearly the whole mile to finally subdue Promise Me Roses and Manny Franco, but she did, winning Saturday’s opener, a $33,000 New York-bred maiden $25,000 claimer, by three-quarters of a length. She completed the one-mile distance in 1:44.67. Both Needs No Ice and Promise Me Roses, who was adding blinkers, went off at 2-1 odds in the field of six.

Low Is Laine, sent off at odds of 27-1 under seven-pound apprentice Joey Martinez, finished a distant third, 13 ½ lengths behind Promise Me Roses, and 5-1 Got the Gist, ridden by Eric Cancel, reported home fourth.

John Morrison trains Needs No Ice, a daughter of Polar Coordinate out of Bauhaus Bourbon by Behrens who had finished second in her two previous starts.

She broke sharply from the outside post Saturday and hooked up immediately with Promise Me Roses, who broke from the three post. Promise Me Roses nursed a narrow lead on Needs No Ice through splits of :25.72, :51.07 and 1:17.89, but Needs No Ice maintained her pressure as the pair separated themselves from the rest of the field.

Needs No Ice poked a head in front past the sixteenth pole, and edged away late.

Needs No Ice is now one-for-six on dirt with a pair of seconds and earnings of more than $35,000.

 

Gio d’Oro Wins Allowance Race Wire-to-Wire Friday

Beautifully rated on the front end by Eric Cancel, Red Diamond Stable’s homebred four-year-old gelding Gio d’Oro won a mile-and-an-eighth $67,000 New York-bred allowance/optional $40,000 claimer by three lengths Friday afternoon at Aqueduct. Sent off as the 9-5 co-favorite in a field of six, Gio d’Oro won in a final time of 1:52.83.

Blugrascat’s Smile, who went off at odds of 7-1 from the rail under Rajiv Maragh, finished second, a half-length ahead of 3-1 Storm Prophet and Junior Alvarado. There was a length-and-three-quarter gap back to 20-1 Cause I’m Alex and Andre Worrie in fourth.

Brad Cox trains Gio d’Oro, a son of Gio Ponti out of La Java by Medaglia d’Oro who has never finished out of the money in nine starts. He was a front-running second by a length in his previous start, with Cancel aboard for the first time, on December 16th.

Cancel sent him right to the lead again on Friday, and he led the gray Singapore Trader, the 9-5 co-favorite ridden by Manny Franco, by nearly a length through an opening quarter-mile in :24.37, a half-mile in :48.47 and three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.86.

Gio d’Oro then spurted away to a three-length cushion as Singapore Trader called it a day and Blugrascat’s Smile rallied into second. Gio d’Oro couldn’t have cared less, maintaining that three-length advantage all the way to the finish line.

Gio d’Oro is now three-for-eight on dirt with four seconds and one third. He also finished third in his only turf try, for total earnings topping $180,000.

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Alex Kazdan’s four-year-old New York-bred filly Speed Khaleesi took control at the start under Harry Hernandez and never lost it, scoring coast-to-coast by two lengths in a six-furlong $28,000 conditional $16,000 claimer. Sent off at 7-2 odds in the field of six, Speed Khaleesi won in a final time of 1:14.52.

In a tight photo for second, 8-1 New York-bred Stay Good and Manny Franco nosed 2-1 New York-bred Caitriona and Junior Alvarado. Gray New York-bred Diamond Jen Brady, the 3-2 favorite ridden by Jose Lezcano, finished another length back in fourth.

McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds bred Speed Khaleesi, a daughter of Emcee out of Last Oasis by Tale of the Cat who is trained by Alejandro Maymo. Speed Khaleesi finished a sharply improved, front-running second with Hernandez aboard for the first time in her previous start on December 21st in a $40,000 claimer on a sloppy track at 30-1 odds.

Hernandez gunned her to the front Friday and she took a narrow lead on Diamond Jen Brady through a quick opening quarter-mile in :22.66. Speed Khaleesi stretched her lead to a length by running a half-mile in :47.13. She widened her cushion in mid-stretch and remained strong to the wire.

Speed Khaleesi improved her dirt record to two-for-eight with two seconds. She also has four grass starts, for combined earnings of more than $55,000.

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