Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Three Amigos pays $775,000 . . .

    Hip No. 199, a daughter of Caracaro consigned by Global Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent, was sold to Three Amigos for $775,000 top the first session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2024 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The bay filly, whose quarter in :20 2/5 was fastest at Monday’s Under Tack session, is a half sister to stakes placed Twirled out of Key d’Oro, by Medaglia d’Oro, from the family of graded one stakes winner Key Phrase.

    Hip No. 291, a son of Global Campaign consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, was sold to  Pedro Lanz, Agent for KAS Stables for $650,000. The bay colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat, is out of Maid in Heaven, by Yes It’s True, a full sister to graded stakes-winner Yesbyjimminy.

    Hip No. 166, a daughter of Uncle Mo consigned by Tom McCrocklin, Agent, was sold to Justin Casse for M. V. Magnier for $600,000. The bay filly, whose Under Tack quarter in :20 3/5 was co-fastest at Sunday’s Under Tack session, is a half sister to grade one stakes placed Be You out of graded stakes winner Jacaranda, by Congrats, a half sister to grade one stakes winner Constitution.

    Hip No. 125, a son of Nyquist consigned by Thorostock LLC, Agent, was sold to Spendthrift Farm / MKW Racing and Breeding LLC for $550,000. The dark bay or brown colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat, is a half brother to graded stakes placed stakes winner Monday Morning QB out of How My Heart Works, by Not For Love, from the family of graded stakes winner Cyberknife. 

    Hip No. 153, a son of Nyquist consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, was purchased by James Divito, Agent, for $460,000. The dark bay or brown colt, who breezed an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat, is a half brother to stakes placed Elle’s Town out of graded stakes placed stakes winner Irish Presence, by champion OBS graduate Midnight Lute.

    Hip No. 295, a daughter of Bolt d’Oro consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, was sold for $460,000 to Bregman Family Racing LLC. The bay filly, who breezed an eighth in :9 4/5, is out of Major Z, by Candy Ride (ARG), from the family of champion Shared Belief.

    Woodford Thoroughbreds went to $390,000 for Hip No. 127, a daughter of Omaha Beach consigned by JVC Training and Sales, Agent. The bay filly, who worked an eighth in :10 flat, is out of Humor Me Dixie, by Distorted Humor, a daughter of graded stakes winner Dixie City.

    Hip No. 302, a son of Not This Time consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, went to D. J. Stable LLC for $380,000. The bay colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5, is a half brother to stakes winner Balandeen out of graded stakes winner Mama Kimbo, by Discreet Cat.

    Hip No. 143, a daughter of Quality Road consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, was sold to Bradley Thoroughbreds LLC for $370,000. The bay filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5, is a half sister to graded stakes winner Lovely Bernadette out of Inlovewithlove, by Bernstein.

    Hip No. 136, a son of Street Sense who breezed an Under Tack quarter in :21 flat, went to Taproot Bloodstock, Agent, for $340,000. Consigned by Pick View LLC, Agent, the bay colt is out of In a Snit, by Lookin At Lucky, a half sister to graded stakes winner Blind Date.

    Hip No. 109, a son  Vekoma consigned by Kinsman Farm, went to Reeves Thoroughbred Racing for $325,000. The bay colt, who breezed an Undeofr Tack eighth in :10 flat, is out of Hidden Facts, by The Factor, a daughter of stakes winner Mystic City.

    Hip No. 106, a daughter of Win Win Win consigned by Ocala Stud, was sold for $310,000 to Champion Equine LLC. The bay filly, who worked a quarter in :21 1/5, is out of Hello Juliet, by Adios Charlie, a half sister to stakes winner Lisa’s Booby Trap.

    Speedway Stables also paid $300,000 for Hip No. 16, daughter of Good Magic consigned by Hartley / DeRenzo Thoroughbreds.

Saturday, April 13, 2024
He adds No. 2,501 later on program . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Longtime South Florida trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. notched win No. 2,500 at Gulfstream Park when Raging Fury scored by four lengths in Race 6 of a 10-race program.

    The highly-respected 74-year-old trainer watched the milestone victory in Ocala, where he will attend next week’s OBS April Spring Sale. “I feel very fortunate. I’ve been very blessed in this game. I’ve been blessed with great owners. I’ve been blessed with great support, especially from my wife and family,” said Plesa, whose wife, Laurie, owns Racing Fury with longtime client Donald Mensh. “Laurie just asked me, ‘How do you feel?’ I said, ‘Who would have thought I would ever win 2,500 races?’”

    Plesa, the son of highly-respected trainer Eddie Plesa Sr., has been based in South Florida throughout his career but has enjoyed Gr. 1 success out of town. He saddled Itsmyluckyday for a victory in the 2014 Woodward at Belmont following a second-place finish in the 2013 Preakness Stakes. Plesa-trained Three Ring, winner of the 1999 Davona Dale (G2) and Bonnie Miss (G2) at Gulfstream, captured the Acorn (G1) at Belmont Park.

    Raging Fury ($10.20) took command at the top of the stretch under Edgard Zayas and drew off to win the $35,000 claiming race. Just two races later, Epona’s Hope ($32.20) awarded Plesa with Win No. 2,501 with an upset victory in the Race 8 feature, a five-furlong optional claiming allowance for 3-year-old fillies on turf.

    Plesa, obviously, hasn’t grown tired of winning. “I’m up here for a reason. I’m not up here for the weather,” Plesa said. “I’m not quite ready to hang it up. We bought a couple of 2-year-olds earlier in the year. I’m going to see if I can buy a couple more right now.”

    NOTES: Ralph Nicks visited the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle Saturday, a day before he will step away from training. Nicks-trained Fast Chad ($7.60) scored a dominating win in Race 1, a maiden claiming race for 3-year-olds. The 57-year-old horseman, who assisted Hall of Famer Bill Mott during the Cigar years before going out on his own to win 722 races, plans to travel throughout the U.S. following Sunday’s program, for which he has entered three horses.

Saturday, April 13, 2024
Pair of Neolithics score in impressive fashion . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - D. J. Stable LLC’s Mensa registered a professional three-length debut victory Friday at Gulfstream Park, becoming the first winning offspring of first-year sire Complexity in the Royal Palm Meet’s first race for 2-year-olds.

    Mensa ($10) broke alertly from his inside stall to quickly open up a clear lead on his six rivals and rolled to an impressive triumph under Patrick Husbands. The $135,000 2023 OBS October purchase ran 4 ½ furlongs in :51.86 seconds in Race 2.

    “He’s been extremely professional from Day 1,” said Nick Tomlinson, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse. “He’s a beautiful horse. A lot of the credit goes to the guys in the barn. They did a lot of gate schooling with him. They’re the reason a lot of these babies are ready to roll. He’s far more advanced than anyone else. Hopefully, he continues to progress from here.”

    Mensa is only the second offspring of Complexity to run in a race. Chad Brown-trained Complexity, a son of Maclean’s Music, won the 2018 Gr. I Champagne and the 2020 Gr. II Kelso.

    Trainer Patrick Biancone’s Unchained Elaine, a homebred daughter of American Pharoah, finished second, 11 lengths clear of third-place finisher Tank. Wesley Ward-trained Delightful Flame, the 7-10 favorite, broke slowly and was never a factor.

    Catalytic Breezes  - Tami Bobo, Julie Davies and George Isaac’s Catalytic breezed four furlongs in :49.25 seconds Friday morning at in preparation for a start in the May 4 Kentucky Derby. The workout was the son of Catalina Cruiser’s first since his distant runner-up finish behind Fierceness in the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby on March 30.

    “He went well. It was his first breeze back. It was an easy half in 49-and-1,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “He’ll work back here once more, most likely next Friday, and then he’ll ship and have his last work at Churchill.” Catalytic made only his third career start while making his stakes debut in the Florida Derby, in which he chased Fierceness throughout, holding on to finish second, 13 ½ lengths back and 2 ½ lengths over Grand Mo the First.

    “He bounced out of the race well for a horse that was only making his third start, second start in three weeks,” Joseph said. “He was a distant second behind a deserving favorite, but I feel like he’s a horse that can improve again, which he should.”

Trumpets a Heaven-Sent Filly for Owner/Trainer Joe Catanese III - Trumpets overcame a slow start to follow up an impressive maiden score with an even more eye-catching victory Friday. Catanese inherited the 3-year-old daughter of Neolithic upon the passing of lifelong friend and beloved South Florida horseman Larry Bates last year.

    “I just thank Larry. This is all for Larry,” Catanese said in the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle following Trumpet’s four-length score in Race 6, a five-furlong optional claiming allowance for 3-year-old Florida-bred fillies on Tapeta.

    Trumpets broke last from her inside stall in the starting gate but took over the lead midway through the backstretch during a first-quarter of a mile in 21.73 seconds. The Florida-bred filly was never threatened thereafter, completing the five-furlong distance in 57.58 seconds. “I was a little surprised because the filly is usually fast from the gate,” jockey Edgar Perez said. “My filly is a very classy filly. After she broke slow, I push and push and push to put her on the lead and from the three-eighths pole, it was an easy way home.”

    The daughter of Neolithic was coming off a dazzling 5 ¾ length victory in a Feb. 14 maiden special weight event on the all-weather surface, over which she ran five-furlongs in :56.36 seconds. Trumpets previously finished second in her Dec. 23 debut, in which she was beaten three-quarters of a length by 3-5 favorite Karaya, who came right back to win an optional claiming allowance before finishing second in the March 24 Melody of Colors.

    In Race 7, a mile optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds on turf, BC Racing’s Prevent, a multiple stakes-placed son of Neolithic, held on to score by a nose over Ninja Star. The Juan Alvarado-trained 2-1 favorite provided Edgard Zayas with his second winning ride on Friday.

Thursday, April 11, 2024
Hopesndreams scores for 4th time at the meeting . . .

    OLDSMAR – After beginning her career 0-for-4, 3-year-old Florida-bred filly Hopesndreams has turned Tampa Bay Downs into her own personal playground this season.

    The daughter of former Pleasant Acres stallion Ride On Curlin-Exchangeable, by Exchange Rate, won for the fourth time from five starts at the meet in yesterday’s sixth race, holding off a belated rally by Glorious Lady in the $25,000 starter/optional claiming event to prevail by three-quarters of a length under jockey Jesus Castanon.

    Hopesndreams’ only defeat here came on March 24, when she finished third in the Florida Cup Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies Stakes.

    Bred by Helen and Joe Barbazon, and owned and trained by Mike Dini, Hopesndreams sped the 6-furlong distance on a fast track in 1:09.78, 1.11 seconds off the Oldsmar track record. With less than four weeks remaining in the meet, she trails only Paper Mansion (5-for-5) in victories.

    Surprisingly, Hopesndreams’ time was only second-best on the card. Ritabook, who was running for a claiming price of $25,000, drew away through the stretch under apprentice jockey Gabriel Maldonado in the stretch to win the second race by 3 ¼ lengths from D’ tiger Lily. Ritabook’s winning time was 1:09.73.

    The 5-year-old Florida-bred mare (Uncaptured-Four White Legs, by Albertus Maximus) won for the third time in 21 starts, with eight seconds. She is owned by Monarch Stables and trained by John Rigattieri

    Maldonado, who is third in the Oldsmar standings with 41 winners, won the first three races on the card, followed by two seconds. He scored in the first race on Tiz a Beast, a 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by TCBR Stable and trained by Jennifer Paragallo. Maldonado added the third on the turf with Lucky Girl Coco, a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Coco Ranch and trained by Guillermo Morales Jr. Maldonado had previously ridden three winners here on Feb. 9.

    Dini sent out two winners as an owner and trainer. He won the seventh race, a 1-mile turf claiming event, with 3-year-old Florida-bred filly Platinum Diva, who raced past the leaders late to post a length-and-a-half victory under Charlie Marquez. Trendy finished second.

    A Florida-bred daughter of another Pleasant Acres stallion, Treasure Beach-Platinumplus, by Mizzen Mast, Platinum Diva was also bred by Helen and Joe Barbazon. Platinum Diva was claimed from the race for $20,000 by trainer Renaldo Richards for new owner Paula S. Capestro.

    Tim Hamm notched two training victories, as well. Both came on the turf. He won the fifth race with E Minor, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Blazing Meadows Farm and ridden by Angel Arroyo. Hamm added the ninth with Harrow, a 6-year-old gelding owned by Ruth Pelfrey, Gerard Nicoletta, Ella D Racing Stable and Blazing Meadows Farm and ridden by Pablo Morales.

Around the oval - Racing continues Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:20 p.m. 

Monday, April 8, 2024
She's the all-time leading female trainer . . .
    OLDSMAR - Kathleen O’Connell moved ever closer to her third Tampa Bay Downs training title, winning the sixth race on Saturday with her 3-year-old Florida-bred filly Bucchanera.

    Winning for the first time in four career starts, the winner paid $37.40 in defeating 11 other maiden sophomore fillies. Angel Moreno rode Bucchanera for O’Connell and owner Fabian Garcia. Bucchanera and runner-up Grand Lady Indy both withstood claims of foul lodged by jockey Scott Spieth aboard fifth-place finisher Miss Claudette for alleged interference at the start. The stewards disallowed both claims.

  O’Connell, North America’s all-time leading woman trainer in career victories with 2,470, has sent out 41 winners this season, 11 more than Oldsmar newcomer Jose Francisco D’Angelo. Gerald Bennett, who has won the previous eight titles, is third with 26.

    A Detroit product, O’Connell captured titles here in 1998-1999 and 2009-2010, tying with Jamie Ness that season. With 16 days remaining in the meet, the odds against her closest pursuers catching “K.O.” are remote, but the cake is still in the oven.