07.05.2015

Ghostzapper's Shaman Ghost Delivers Stronach Family 3rd Queen's Plate

Shaman Ghost ended a long wait for multiple Eclipse and Sovereign Award-winning owner-breeder......

Shaman Ghost ended a long wait for multiple Eclipse and Sovereign Award-winning owner-breeder Frank Stronach when he rallied in deep stretch to win the $1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes Sunday, July 5 atWoodbine.

In a race that seemed to change complexion several times, Shaman Ghost landed the final punch to post a victory over Charles Fipke homebred Danish Dynaformer, who entered off a victory in the Plate Trial Stakes, was bumped early in Sunday's race, took command off the final turn, but yielded late to the winner.

With the victory in the season’s first Canadian classic, Shaman Ghost gave Stronach Stables its first Queen’s Plate victory since Awesome Again   won the 1 1/4-mile race for 3-year-olds in 1997. It’s the third Queen’s Plate win for Stronach, who claimed the 1994 edition with Basqueian.

Bred in Ontario at Adena Springs, Shaman Ghost is a son of Stronach homebred Ghostzapper  , a Horse of the Year and Racing Hall of Famer. Shaman Ghost is the first stakes winner from three starters, two winners, out of the stakes-placed Gilded Time mare Getback Time. 

"Just as I was walking in the grass near the saddling area I looked down and saw a four-leaf clover," Stronach said. "That's usually a good sign. But I had a good feeling all day long because the horse beat every horse in the race before in better times. I think this time we got a real good horse and he was hardly breathing when he came over here (to the winner's circle)."

Shaman Ghost secured his fourth straight victory while giving both trainer Brian Lynch and regular rider Rafael Hernandez their first Queen’s Plate scores in the 156th edition of the race.

Lynch said Shaman Ghost had been improving this spring. Entered off a half-length victory in the May 16 Marine Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine, where Danish Dynaformer finished third, Shaman Ghost put it all together Sunday to top a dozen rivals.

"We'll certainly have a good night. It's a prestigious race. But to win it for the Stronachs (it's great)," Lynch said. "I thought it was a great ride, very patient. I thought a few jocks panicked at the quarter-pole, but you can see him (Hernandez) sort of sitting. We had the best horse on the day.

"I could just see Rafael's red cap moving forward, moving forward, trying to get himself in a good position. I knew this horse would have some finish to him and I knew I had the right rider. He is very patient and would give this horse a fabulous ride."

As expected, Woodbine Oaks presented by Budweiser winnerAcademic seized the lead early, but she was pressed by a restrainedSweet Grass Creek the first time under the wire. In the first turn, jockey Jesse Campbell could hold back Sweet Grass Creek no more and he opened a clear advantage on Academic through a half-mile in :45.76. The second-place filly enjoyed a 4 1/2-length advantage on every other horse at that point. The eventual winner raced seventh at that point, 11 lengths behind the early leader.

Those two early leaders would soon give way after six furlongs in 1:10.82 and maiden winner Billy's Star would open a clear advantage through one mile in 1:37.54. Perfect Timber Partnership's Billy's Star would lead into the stretch but yield to stablemate Danish Dynaformer in midstretch. Just as the latter appeared poised to give trainer Roger Attfield his ninth Queen's Plate win, Shaman Ghost found another gear.

Shaman Ghost, who had rallied four wide, surged to the lead late and drew off to the clear advantage. He completed the 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.45 on the Polytrack.

"He (Danish Dynaformer) made a move too early, I let him pass me," Hernandez said. "I know my horse always got a kick. So he did his thing. He made his kick down the lane."

- edited from www.bloodhorse.com

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07.05.2015

Macho Uno's Private Zone Coasts to 7th Graded Win

Macho Uno's Private Zone aced the $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship (gr. III) July 4 at Belmont......

Macho Uno's Private Zone aced the $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship (gr. III) July 4 at Belmont Park, sprinting gate to wire in an easy 3 1/4-length triumph.

Watch the Belmont Sprint Championship

No worse than third in his six previous starts, Private Zone struck for his second graded stakes win of the year and seventh of his career. He scored emphatically in the Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) on May 2 and was subsequently third to Honor Code after setting the pace in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) June 6, but there was no catching him Saturday.

Private Zone lengthened stride on the turn en route to his comfortable win, leaving last year's Belmont Sprint victor Clearly Now and Stallwalkin' Dude tussling through the stretch for the runner-up spot. Clearly Now edged away in the late stages, while Stallwalkin' Dude held for third, 2 1/4 lengths back.

Keen to race out of the gate, Private Zone clocked fast opening fractions of :22.40 with Green Gratto in closest pursuit of four rivals, 3 1/2 lengths back through a half mile in :44.64. With six furlongs going in 1:09.16, Private Zone maintained his advantage to the finish line, covering seven furlongs in 1:22.57 on a fast track.

"He broke so well. He always does, he's such a good gate horse," winning rider Martin Pedroza said. "As soon as he feels the competition, he just keeps going. Usually, if I go to the (left-handed stick), he'll give me even more. But today, I didn't even have to go to the left. (Trainer) Jorge (Navarro) has done a great job because when this horse opens up on horses, he can have the tendency to wait. Today, he just took off."

The winner, a 6-year-old Macho Uno gelding who has a 9-8-3 record from 29 career starts and earnings of $2,233,120, was a $15,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase from the Adena Springs consignment in 2010 and is campaigned by Good Friends Stable, a partnership that includes former jockey Rene Douglas. His record includes a trio of grade I wins: back-to-back editions of the Vosburgh in 2013 and 2014, and the Cigar Mile Handicap in 2014.

Canadian-bred Private Zone, whose dam is the Siphon mare Auburn Beauty, is a product of Adena Springs Ontario.

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