NY Final Furlong’s Glory Gold Has Two Showcase Winners

By Bill Heller

More than a decade after committing to only race and breed New York-breds, NY Final Furlong Racing Stable had an afternoon to remember on New York-bred Showcase Day at Saratoga Sunday. Thanks to their 18-year-old foundation mare Glory Gold, who had already given them half-million-dollar earner Espresso Shot, NYFFRS co-bred two of the six Showcase Day stakes winners with Mespath Stable, the five-year-old mare Venti Valentine and the three-year-old filly Landed.

“We made a commitment years ago, and that’s what we’ve been doing,” NYFFRS managing partner Vince Roth, a private wealth manager for Wells Fargo, said. His friend and co-managing partner Dan Zanetta, a market credit manager at the New York division of TD Bank, added, “Obviously, we love the economics of the New York program.”

It shows. All 25 of its racehorses, weanlings, yearlings, pinhook projects and broodmares are New York-breds. None are more precious to them than Glory Gold. On the track, she was one-for-15 with earnings of nearly $50,000. She was purchased by NYFFRS for just $13,000 at the 2018 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale when she was in foal to Firing Line.

At the time, her Espresso Shot had just finished second in the Key Cents Stakes for New York-breds. “After the Key Cents, our bloodstock agent, Mike Recio, called me up and said, `I’m buying you a mare today,’” Roth said. “He said `Espresso Shot’s dam is for sale, and I can get her, and it shouldn’t cost much.’”

Roth approved the decision and has been enjoying the results ever since. NYFFRS decided to keep Venti Valentine, that daughter of Firing Line. “We were going to sell the baby, but we said, `Why don’t we keep the homebred?’” Roth said.

Good choice. Venti Valetine has now earned nearly $900,000. Co-owned by Zanetta’s father-in law Steve Weston’s Parkland Thoroughbreds, she captured the $200,000 Critical Eye Stakes for trainer Jorge Abreu Sunday.

Venti Valentine / Photo: Susie Raisher

Just ninety minutes later, Lael Stable’s three-year-old filly Landed landed the $125,000 Bouwerie Stakes for trainer Wesley Ward. NYFFRS had decided not to keep her, and the daughter of Omaha Beach sold for $220,000 as a weanling, then for $500,000 as a yearling to Lael Stable. The Bouwerie was her first stakes victory.

“Obviously, it’s great for the pedigree,” Zanetta said. “It’s great for us financially, but we were upset a little because we sold her.”

Landed now has three victories and two seconds in five starts. Her future is unlimited. She may turn out as good as her older half-sister.

Landed / Photo: Janet Garaguso

In the last two years, Venti Valentine has three victories, three seconds and four thirds in 11 starts, allowing her to near $900,000 in earnings. Earlier in her career, she won her maiden debut by a nose and the Maid of the Mist Stakes for New York-breds by 3 ¾ lengths. She then was second by a neck to superstar Nest in the Grade 2 Demoiselle.

She captured the open $242,000 Busher Stakes by seven lengths, three years after Espresso Shot did.

Upping the ante, NYFFRS entered Venti Valentine in the Grade 3 Gazelle Stakes. Sent off the even-money favorite, Venti Valentine led most of the way before finishing second by a length and a quarter.

Her next start was in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. “Our goal was to win the Kentucky Oaks with a New York-bred,” Roth said. It didn’t happen with Venti Valentine. As the Daily Racing Form notes, she was “checked hard on the far turn” and tired to finish last in the field of 14. “It was disappointing for sure, but it was unbelievable, just walking over to the track with more than 100,000 people there,” Roth said.

The disappointment didn’t last long, and Venti Valentine is as good as a five-year-old as she’s ever been.

“She seems to be getting better with age,” Weston said. He’s delighted to be along for the ride. About a month after Venti Valentine was born, he checked her out at the farm she was on. “I liked what I saw,” he said. “We bought 25 percent for $60,000 when she was a baby. I’ve owned her from the start.”

Obviously, Weston is a fan of the New York-bred program. “I think the New York program is outstanding,” he said. “It’s a big advantage. You have a better chance.”

Asked if Venti Valentine’s success has been even sweeter with his father-in-law involved, Zanetta laughed. “It makes it more stressful,” he said. “He’s tough. He’s my biggest critic. Seriously, the partnership we have with Steve makes it extra special.”

Zanetta grew up riding horses with his dad. “As I got a little older, I would always watch the Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup,” he said.

While in college, Zanetta had an internship with Merril Lynch and met his NYFFRS partner Vince Roth, who now works with Wells Fargo Wealth Management. “He owned horses in various partnerships,” Zanetta said. “He introduced me to horse racing.”

Roth, who grew up in Valley Stream 15 minutes from Belmont Park, watched undefeated Smarty Jones win the 2004 Kentucky Derby in an Irish pub, then got more interested in the Triple Crown when Smarty Jones added the Preakness. “I had been to Belmont once or twice, but I decided I wanted to go to the Belmont Stakes,” he said. “I got there at six in the morning. I didn’t have any connections to the horse, but I was so upset that this horse I didn’t know existed a month ago had lost. I said, `If I can get this excited about this, I needed to get into horse racing.’”

Roth had success and failure with a handful of partnership groups, then teamed up with Zanetta in other various partnerships. “I was friendly with Dan at the time, and we said, `Let’s just try it on our own,’” Roth said. They formed New York Final Furlong Racing Stable in early 2012.

“We progressed into focusing solely on New York-bred horses,” Roth said. “We said we’re only going to buy New York-bred fillies. We saw the value of running restricted horses in New York. Selfishly, we wanted to race near where we live. Dan was in New Hyde Park and I was in East Rockaway.”

That meant in New York. And that’s where they campaigned their first star out of Glory Gold, Espresso Shot, who won more than a half million dollars thanks to five victories, two seconds and four thirds in 24 starts racing from 2018 through 2021. She captured three New York-bred stakes as well as the open $257,000 Busher Stakes. “I did not expect that,” Roth said. “That was everything we thought this horse could be. When she went past the finish line, we just went nuts.

Odds are Roth and Zanetta will have more occasions to celebrate as they continue their vision of New York-breds only.

And they still have Gold Glory. Roth said, “We’ve got the golden goose.”

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