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Ghostzapper's Lift Up Rockets to First Graded Win in Maple Leaf S. (G3)


Rallying through the pack from last to first, Lift Up delivered on her pari-mutuel promise with a masterful ride from Patrick Husbands in the $125,000 Maple Leaf Stakes (G3) for trainer Michael Dickinson on Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack.

Owned and bred by Augustin Stables, Lift Up is a 5-year-old filly by Ghostzapper and earned her eighth career win from 19 starts and lifted her bankroll over the $400,000 mark.

Dickinson trainees Lift Up and Theodora B. (also by Ghostzapper) finished first and third in the 1-1/4-mile main track feature, with the Mark Casse-conditioned She’s the Berries picking up second-place honors.


Lift Up trailed the field of nine distaffers by four lengths out of the gate while Theodora B. crossed to command early and set fractions of :24.83, :50.20 and 1:14.83 before the other Casse trainee, Miss Mo Mentum, laid on the pressure and drew even with the front-runner on the final turn.

Theodora B. managed to shake off that challenger past the mile mark in 1:39.07, but the late-closers were coming.

She’s the Berries, fresh off a late September stakes win in the Classy ‘N Smart, angled outside off a ground-saving trip while early trailer Lift Up threaded rivals down the lane and drew 1-1/4 lengths clear to score in a final time of 2:04.23. She’s the Berries nosed out Theodora B. in a photo for place.

“Just looking in the Racing Form, there’s enough speed in there and she’s the type of filly that you’ve got to get shut off at the start,” said Husbands. “She shut off and I was just watching those guys the whole way. And when you’re coming, you’ve got to come. You’ve got to try to get through the crowd, you don’t want to go around. So, I saved all the ground and kept my eyes on the horses who were stopping in front and I just found my way through.”

Lift Up was a close runner-up in last year’s edition of the Maple Leaf with Husbands aboard and had capped off a summer stakes double in the Belle Mahone at Woodbine on September 8, defeating She’s the Berries by a neck.

Back on Woodbine’s Tapeta course, Lift Up was the public’s choice at 9-5, and Husbands’ pick of the two stablemates.

“Patrick rode Theodora last time,” said Dickinson, referring to Theodora’s third-place finish in the HBPA Stakes on Oct. 17 over Presque Isle Downs. “I gave him the choice and I said, ‘In the mornings at home, Theodora is way better than Lift Up… way better.’ So, I said, ‘Do you want to ride Theodora?’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘Lift Up, Lift Up and Lift Up.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re making a big mistake, you know, because Theodora is the best.’ But he rode her beautifully, didn’t he? He’s an artist.

“You’ve got so many good jockeys here at Woodbine,” continued the Tapeta inventor. “We like coming here because you have good tracks and you have good jockeys – a great jockey colony. The only problem is your trainers are pretty good and they’re tough to beat.”

Ghostzapper is the sire of 11 blacktype winners in 2019, the 7th straight year he's reached double figures in that category. Lift Up is his 39th career graded winner.

- edited from www.woodbine.com

Ghostzapper's Final Frontier Emerges as Breeders' Cup Contender In Belmont Turf Sprint Inv.


Making his first start since finishing second to Shekky Shebaz in the Lucky Coin this summer at Saratoga Race Course, Godolphin homebred Final Frontier turned the tables on his rival to capture the fourth running of the $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational on Saturday at Belmont Park.

The 4-year-old Ghostzapper colt boosted his career earnings to $240,010, picking up his second win of the year from four starts and first stakes win. He's a full brother to Godolphin's Grade 1 winner and Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint runner up Better Lucky.

 Breaking alertly from post 3 with Jose Lezcano aboard, Final Frontier stalked favorite Shekky Shebaz from third position as the favorite led the seven-horse field through swift fractions of 22.46 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half in 44.29 under pressure from Fully Vested.

At the quarter-pole, Final Frontier moved four-wide and quickly passed stablemate Fully Vested and engaged the leader at the sixteenth-pole before extending away from Shekky Shebaz to win by 1 ¾ lengths.

He completed the six-furlong distance in a final time of 1:07.39 over a firm Widener turf course.

 “He broke real good today,” said Lezcano. “He was right there. The two horses [Shekky Shebaz and Fully Vested] were going head to head, and I was sitting third outside of them. When I asked him, he gave me a really good race. He finished really well.”

Winning trainer Tom Albertrani said the Lucky Coin was a touch short for the improving Final Frontier last out.

“Five and a half [furlongs] is just a little too short because he [Final Frontier] has the stamina to go a little bit longer,” said Albertrani. “He showed that he can win at a mile in the past but since we shortened him up it's really made a different horse out of him. He's a much better sprinter.”

Albertrani said the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in November at Santa Anita may be in the cards for Final Frontier depending on how he comes out of the race.

“It is a concern,” said Albertrani. “I thought about that, but it is the Breeders' Cup. Might have to take a shot in there.”

Final Frontier is Ghostzapper's 11th Northern Hemisphere blacktype winner of 2019 and his 74th lifetime (11% starters). He's the sire of double digit stakes winners in each of the past seven seasons.

Leading Canadian Sires Milwaukee Brew & Sligo Bay Retired


Adena Springs has announced the retirement of Grade 1 winners Milwaukee Brew and Sligo Bay who had previously stood at Adena Springs North in Ontario, Canada. Both have been relocated to Kentucky.

Adena Springs' Ken Wilkins said a combination of the sires' ages—Milwaukee Brew is 22 and Sligo Bay is 21—and a shrinking mare population made their retirements necessary.

"It was a combination of age and demand, with the market in Canada shrinking like it is here. It didn't make sense to keep going with them. They both have done enough," Wilkins said.

Milwaukee Brew, a son of Wild Again, capped his achievements on the track with consecutive victories in the 2002 and 2003 Santa Anita Handicap (G1). He retired with an 8-4-5 record out of 24 starts and earned $2,879,612.

As a stallion, Milwaukee Brew was a 2-time Champion Sire in Canada. He has sired 24 black-type winners, which include three graded stakes winners and five champions. His top runners include Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Milwaukee Appeal, who won the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser and was runner-up in the Canadian classic Prince of Wales Stakes; Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Ginger Brew, another Woodbine Oaks winner and runner-up in the 2008 Queen's Plate; and 2014 Prince of Wales winner and Panamanian champion Coltimus Prime , who is entering stud next year at Beau Valley Stable in Alberta. 

Sligo Bay, a son of Sadler's Wells, earned grade 1 status in the 2002 Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (G1T). His performances in France, Ireland, and the U.S. produced a 4-6-2 record out of 17 starts and earnings of $484,695. 

As a stallion, Sligo Bay has sired 13 black-type winners, including six graded stakes winners and three champions. His best performer by far was four-time Canadian champion Lexie Lou, who swept the Queen's Plate, Woodbine Oaks, and Wonder Where Stakes and was runner-up to California Chrome  in the Hollywood Derby (G1T) on her way to capturing Canada's Horse of the Year, champion grass 3-year-old filly, and champion grass mare honors in 2014. Lexie Lou earned a Canadian champion grass mare title again in 2016.

Adena Spring also announced the retirement of 1998 Breeders' Cup Classic hero and leading sire Awesome Again.

- edited from www.bloodhorse.com 

Adena Springs Legend Awesome Again Retired From Stud Duty


Frank Stronach's homebred Canadian classic winner and sire of multiple champions, Awesome Again, has been retired from stud duty.

Retirement of the Kentucky farm's marquee sire coincides with two other stallion retirements: Grade 1 winners Milwaukee Brew  and Sligo Bay who had previously stood at Adena Springs' farm in Ontario. Milwaukee Brew and Sligo Bay have been relocated to Kentucky.

Among the three stallions, Awesome Again made the largest impact on Stronach's breeding and racing operation. The 25-year-old son of Deputy Minister has 18 crops to race that have earned more than $95.4 million in purses and include 66 black-type winners and 38 graded/group winners worldwide. He has sired three champions including the Stronach Stables homebreds Ghostzapper, the 2004 Horse of the Year and champion older horse and Ginger Punch, named the 2007 champion older mare after her victory in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.  His 14 grade 1 winners won a combined 32 grade 1 stakes, led by another Adena Springs-bred, Game On Dude, who captured eight graded stakes at the highest level and 14 graded stakes throughout his racing career.

Proving his longevity, Awesome Again was represented in the American classics this year by Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) winner Sir Winston.

On the track, Awesome Again got his first win at Hollywood Park in June of his 3-year-old year and in his next start won the Queen's Plate Stakes at Woodbine, becoming Stronach's second homebred winner of the Canadian classic. The colt was then sent back to the United States, where he won the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) and was third in the Travers Stakes (G1). At 4, he strung together an undefeated season that produced five graded stakes victories, including one of the most memorable editions of the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) in 1998 at Churchill Downs. At the top of the stretch, Awesome Again and jockey Pat Day seemed beaten by a formidable trio in front of them: dual classic winner Silver Charm and dual grade 1 winners Coronado's Quest and Swain. Then in midstretch, the frontrunners spread apart and Awesome Again flew down the middle of the track to win by three-quarters of a length.

"I don't think you'll ever see as strong a field that he beat in 1998 in the Breeders' Cup Classic, with eight grade 1 winners and six of those multiple grade 1 winners," said Bill Drury, Adena Springs Kentucky's stallion manager. "He is still my signature horse and will continue to be treated like the champion he is. Any time people come by for shows, he is the first one we bring out, and they still marvel at his condition even though he is 25 years old."

As a sire, Awesome Again was not only a steady source of elite runners—he's sired four Breeders' Cup World Championship winners (all grade 1) with Ghostzapper (Classic), Ginger Punch and Round Pond (both in the Distaff), and Wilko (Juvenile)—but he's been a source of future stallions, too.

"People don't seem to develop mares like they used to, but we have certainly done that here with stallions," said Ken Wilkins, Adena Springs' stallion sales manager. "We've seen it with Ghostzapper, and, hopefully, we'll watch Shaman Ghost  (a son of Ghostzapper) become the next important stallion."

"He is a little grayer than he used to be, but he is still a draw," added Donald Wells, farm director at Adena Springs. "When people come to the farm, it is so great to bring him out, and then Ghostzapper and then Shaman Ghost because you see Awesome Again in both of them. This horse has been everything, really. He started the stallion barn and helped fill it up."

Awesome Again has made an equally big impact on the Thoroughbred breed as a broodmare sire. His daughters have produced 72 (5%) black-type winners to date, which include 22 graded stakes winners and eight champions. He is the broodmare sire of last year's Breeders' Cup Classic winner and Eclipse champion older dirt male Accelerate.

Among Awesome Again's final 20 foals, all born this year, is a filly Adena Springs bred out of its champion grass mare Perfect Sting, who won the 2000 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1T). 

"We are fortunate to get that filly out of two of our great champions," Wells said. "She is good-looking and a typical Awesome Again, fast-looking with a nice big hip and shoulder. We are excited to have her as part of our racing stable and then as an addition to the broodmare band, eventually."

Awesome Again will be represented by 27 broodmares cataloged in the upcoming Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. He also is the sire of four weanlings in the catalog. 

-edited from www.bloodhorse.com

Ghostzapper's Zestful Cleans Up In Los Al Special


A stretch to 1 ¼ miles proved no problem for Zestful as he dominated four opponents in the $100,000 Los Alamitos Special Sunday.

A 4-year-old Ghostzapper gelding changed hands at last year's Fasig-Tipton Horses of Racing Age auction. He's now won his sixth race in a row and for the seventh time in 10 appearances in 2019.

“He's so cool,'' said Talamo, who also won the inaugural Los Alamitos Special with the Bob Baffert-trained Dabster a year ago. “He'll do whatever you want. I kept him two or three paths off the rail and gave him a breather on the far turn. He just took off at the quarter pole.''

The victory was the second for the Zestful in the colors of the partnership that includes Danny Haramoto, Sheldon Kawahara, Steven Sobel and Mark Glatt.

The chestnut is Ghostzapper's third stakes winner out of a mare by Smoke Glacken from just 13 starters. Stronach Stables homebred champion Hunters Bay is among the others.

Able to make the early lead, Zestful surrendered the advantage when 11-1 shot Soul Beam made an inside move to take over, but, after being given a breather by jockey Joe Talamo, the 3-2 second choice Sunday kicked away in the stretch to score by six lengths.
The win was the ninth in 24 lifetime starts for Zestful and the $60,000 payday pushed his bankroll to $209,941.

-edited from www.paulickreport.com

Ghostzapper's Lift Up Earns 2nd Straight Stakes Trophy


Lift Up, finishing strongly under rider Patrick Husbands, was along in time to score by a neck over She’s the Berries as the 9-5 favorite in Sunday’s $100,000 Belle Mahone Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack.

Maryland-based trainer Michael Dickinson was on hand to send out Lift Up for the Belle Mahone, a 1 1/16 mile race for fillies and mares on the Tapeta which attracted a field of six.

Lift Up, a five-year-old Augustin Stable homebred by Ghostzapper, was recording her third career stakes win after taking the Miss Liberty over 1 1/16 miles of grass at Monmouth last June and the mile and 70 yard West Virginia President’s Cup on the Mountaineer Park turf course last time out.

“We think she’s going to be better going longer,” said Dickinson, who was sending out his second stakes winner of the meeting after watching Pamina win the Ontario Matron in July. “Now that we’ve got her to relax, she’ll go as long as we want. She’s bred to go a mile and a half.”

“I got a nice trip,” said Patrick Husbands, who was recording his meet-leading 12th stakes win and his third career score in the Belle Mahone following successes with Stars to Shine in 2011 and Uchenna in 2016.

“She was so relaxed, throughout the whole backside, and that was the key riding her today. Michael says she’s very aggressive. I galloped her yesterday morning, and she was pretty aggressive.”

Lift Up, breaking from the inside post, was eased back and moved off the rail heading down the backstretch as Lunar Garden led through opening fractions of :24.24 and :49.45.

Ladies Night was chasing in second as the others bunched up heading into the far turn, and the early leaders remained in place as the six furlongs went by in 1:13.51.

Lift Up was moving on the far outside at that point and looked a major danger. She’s the Berries, meanwhile, had saved ground throughout and was hitting her stride on the inside as they turned for home.

The outcome was in doubt until the final yards but Lift Up was good enough for the fractional victory over the 2-1 second choice in a final time of 1:43.57.

-edited from www.woodbine.com

Ghostzapper's 2YO Nucky Scores in Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity


In an eventful renewal of the Grade 1 Runhappy $300,000 Del Mar Futurity Monday at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Nucky scored by 2 3/4 lengths.

Nucky, with Norberto Arroyo, Jr., went to the lead in the upper stretch and steadily increased his margin to record a clear triumph. Wrecking Crew was second, a half-length in front of Defense Wins, with Ginobili fourth in the field of eight two-year-olds.

Richard Baltas, trainer of fourth-place Ginobili, lodged an objection against the winner, alleging interference in upper stretch. However, the Del Mar stewards, after viewing videotape, disallowed the claim.

Nucky, a son of Ghostzapper owned by the Rockingham Ranch of Gary Hartunian of Sherman Oaks, Ca., and trained by Peter Miller, was timed returned $72, $26 and $13.40 after his second win in five starts. First money of $180,000 increased his earnings to $217,750.

Bred in Kentucky by Barry and Judith Becker, Nucky is the first foal out of the Rock Hard Ten mare Lady Ten. He wasconsigned by Havens Bloodstock Agency to the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

He is the 12th Grade 1 winner for his sire who is in the midst of another stellar season with 9 blacktype winners and 21 blacktype horses. Among the others is the unbeaten dual Grade 1 winner Guarana, the leading 3-year-old filly in North America. 

-edited from www.bloodhorse.com and www.paulickreport.com

Giant Gizmo's Cooler Mike Leads Parade of Adena Springs North SWs on Canadian Millions Card


Adena Springs North stallions were represented by a trio of stakes winners and three additional stakes-placed runners on the 2019 Canadian Millions program at Woodbine Racecourse. 

Cooler Mike and jockey Luis Contreras kicked off the stakes action with a 2-1/4-length victory over 1-1/2 miles on the grass in the Halton Stakes for three-year-olds and up.

Cooler Mike took the lead heading down the backstretch and shook clear of stalkers Eskiminzin and Ethical Funds with a half-mile to go. He completed the route in 2:27.77 over firm turf.

The four-year-old Giant Gizmo-Executive Affair gelding, who was a runner-up in the Simcoe Stake as a juvenile and hit the board in both the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes, broke through for his first stakes win.

Cooler Mike was cross-entered in the Elgin Stakes, but his connections ultimately opted for the E.P. Taylor Turf test tonight and that decision proved to be a winning one.

“We changed our mind about 50 times in the last week,” said trainer Nick Nosowenko, who co-owns and bred the chestnut gelding with his father Mike. “It really came down to if we got rain last night. It’s been so hard and I wasn’t going to run him if it was very hard like it’s been all week so I think we got lucky and he ran a huge race. He loved it out there.”

Sent postward as the 2-1 second choice, Cooler Mike paid $6.70 to his backers. Progeny of his barnmates at Adena Springs North filled out the trifecta with Sligo Bay's Full Extreme finishing second ahead of the Milwaukee Brew gelding Prideofdistinction.

A few races later, Piano Bar Racing’s Red Cabernet followed up her Eternal Search Stakes victory two weeks ago with another winning performance in the Algoma for fillies and mares over 1-1/16 miles on the Tapeta.

Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson was able to get Red Cabernet into a nice rhythm stalking pacesetter Crumlin Queen through comfortable early fractions before winning a four-way stretch duel into steady wind. Joined on the outside by Bear Paw and a drifting Alice’s War, Red Cabernet forged 1-1/4 lengths ahead as the wire approached to win in 1:45.45 for trainer Ian Black.

“I think she a good horse. She’s versatile, she does the best every time she comes out to play,” said Wilson. “My biggest concern was what the pace structure was going to be like early. I was hoping to have a little more in front of me to cover her up, but she stalked the pace happy, you know, outside of cover, and she was confident and gained the whole way down the lane.”

Bred by Paul Buttigieg, the five-year-old Signature Red-Gold Leaf Rose mare now has seven wins from 24 starts.


Defending champion Kingsport earned his 11th stakes victory winning a three-horse tussle in the Elgin Stakes under Patrick Husbands for trainer Sid Attard and owners Goldmart Farms and Royal Laser Racing Inc.

Thor’s Rocket led briefly out of the gate before Aheadbyacentury took control with Kingsport stalking closely in third throughout the 1-1/16-mile contest on the Tapeta. The tight trio then duked it out down the lane with Kingsport ultimately coming out on top by a head in a final time of 1:44.18. Thor’s Rocket bested Aheadbyacentury by three-quarters of a length.

Kingsport paid $3.40 to win as the race favourite.

Kingsport is two-for-two this year having also won the Steady Growth Stakes in mid-June. Lifetime, the seven-year-old Milwaukee Brew-Green Jewel gelding has compiled a record reading 13-7-3 from 33 starts with the lion’s share of the purse pushing his bankroll just over the million-dollar mark in Canadian earnings. He was bred by Richard Moylan.


A Record-Setting 'Play' by Stronach Stables Silent Name Son Silent Poet


Stronach Stables’ homebred Silent Poet turned in a track record performance under jockey Gary Boulanger, winning the $175,000 Play The King Stakes (Grade 2) on Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack.

Trained by Nicholas Gonzalez, the four-year-old Silent Name gelding out of the Ghostzapper daughter Cara Bella, set a new E.P. Taylor Turf Course record of 1:19.22 for seven furlongs. Soaring Free’s former record of 1:19.38 stood for 15 years.

With the impressive victory in the prep for the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile, Silent Poet stamped his ticket to next month’s million-dollar affair set for September 14.

Silent Poet tracked the leaders Sable Island and Carmenootz (also by Silent Name) along the rail through a quarter in :22.65 and half-mile in :44.11. He then slipped through between those rivals off the turn and kicked nearly two lengths clear down the stretch for the record-setting victory.

“We thought that Emma’s horse (Sable Island) and Carmenootz would definitely be up there and I thought I’d just be tracking and it came out exactly like that,” said Boulanger of his racing strategy. “I had a little seam about the 3/16th pole and he shot right through there and he played all the way down the lane. There’s another gear there, unbelievably.”

Silent Poet has been a model of consistency with six wins from 11 career starts including the 2018 Vice Regent Stakes over one mile of turf. He’s banked more than $370,000 lifetime and has missed the board on just one occasion when competing in last year’s Queen’s Plate.

Stepping up for his first graded stakes win, Silent Poet has shown his connections considerable progress since his sophomore campaign and seemingly has much more to offer.

“He showed a lot of try last year. This year, he’s so focused on his job,” said Boulanger. “He’s just been a lot of fun to be around. Nick’s done a tremendous job with him, I’m just grateful I get to ride him.”

“To me, there’s lots of room for improvement,” said Gonzalez, who was impressed by his trainee’s last race as a three-year-old when he ran second to Kingsport in the Sir Barton Stakes going long. “They do such a great job over there in the Stronach barns. He was in Ocala over the winter, got gelded and came back a happy gelding.”

Silent Poet entered the Play The King following a victory in his July 21 season’s debut over 6-1/2 furlongs on the turf.

“That first win was just a tune up and it just proved to us that he was going to another elevation and you heard the way Gary talked about him. He’s just a special horse and we’re just so lucky to have him.”

Silent Poet is the 6th Northern Hemisphere Graded stakes winner by Silent Name, by far the most among active stallions in Canada. He is also the sire of a pair of Group winners in South America, including Group 1 hero Jaspion Silent (Brz).

- edited from www.woodbine.com

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