Ghostzapper's Holy Helena Again 'The Very One' in Gulfstream Park Stake


Stronach Stables' homebred Holy Helena got back on the firm turf she prefers and responded with her first victory of 2019 in Saturday's Grade 3 The Very One Stakes at Gulfstream Park, running down frontrunner Ickymasho in the final sixteenth of a mile to win by a neck. Off as the 2-1 favorite, the 5-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper teamed with Irad Ortiz, Jr. to cover 1 3/16 miles over the firm turf in 1:54.20. The millionaire mare is trained by Jimmy Jerkens.

A disappointing sixth over a yielding turf in the Jan. 26 La Prevoyante (G3), Holy Helena defended her title in the The Very One as the 2-1 favorite while benefiting from a perfectly executed ride by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Holy Helena saved ground while rated in third behind front-running Ickymasho, who set uncontested fractions of 23.89 and 49.31 seconds for the first half mile and continued to show the way into the far turn. Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Ickymasho sprinted clear of her rivals leaving the turn into the homestretch, where Holy Helena cut the corner into the stretch. The pacesetter kicked on through the stretch but was unable to hold off Holy Helena by a neck while finishing four lengths clear of Semper Senentiae.

Holy Helena, who captured last year's The Very One by 1 ¾ lengths under Ortiz, registered the fifth stakes success of her career, which includes a triumph over boys in the $1 million Queen's Plate at Woodbine in 2017. She was also awarded the Sovereign Award for champion 3-year-old filly that season.

Trainer James Jerkens (Holy Helena): “She had only run four weeks ago a mile and a half on soft turf, but she's a good doer, especially for a filly. She had three decent works in between her last race and she handled it well. I think she looks terrific physically, so I was very confident today, I really was.”

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Holy Helena): “Last time she broke a step slow and we were too far back. So we tried to break good and get good position. She was closer today and when I asked her to go she was there. We were going slow today, the pace was very slow. We were close to the lead. I tried to hold my position. With the slow pace, I turned her loose a little earlier because it's hard to catch some horses when they go that slow.”

Holy Helena is Ghostzapper's third Stakes winner of 2019. She is now earned $1,175,578.

-edited from

Runaway Ghost Spirits Away to Fifth Stakes Victory


“Put me in, coach!”

That’s the message the Ghostzapper colt Runaway Ghost had been sending to trainer Todd Fincher in advance of the $75,000 Curribot on February 24 at Sunland Park.

Fincher had not been targeting the Curribot with Runaway Ghost because the race comes three weeks after the horse made a successful return from a 10-month layoff by winning the $75,000 Fort Bliss on Feb. 2 at Sunland. Runaway Ghost won that six-furlong sprint in 1:08.44 and popped a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 95.

“There’s the bounce factor, six furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth in such short time, and pressure of having a great horse like him and getting beat,” Fincher said. “But he’s doing everything to make me change my mind. He came out of the race so good, so happy, and is training lights out.”

“He’s acting like the last race didn’t take a lot out of him,” Fincher said. “I know I have a solid foundation in him.
“I just hope he’s not lying to me.”

He wasn't.

Runaway Ghost continued his comeback with another sharp victory over American Dubai in the Curribot, his fifth career stakes victory.

American Dubai, a multiple stakes winner in New Mexico seen on the 2016 Kentucky Derby trail, took the lead and set opening fractions of 24.25 and 47.46. Runaway Ghost, ridden by Santiago Gonzalez, was taken three wide into the first turn before edging into second over Deputy’s Echo.

The pacesetter tried to pull away early and opened up by more than three lengths. Runaway Ghost closed the gap in the turn and was fanned at least four wide when turning for home. American Dubai fought back, but Runaway Ghost proved best and edged clear by 1 1/1 lengths.

He completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.44.

Runaway Ghost is a homebred for Joe Peacock. He is out of the New Mexico-bred mare, Rose's Desert, another homebred for Peacock trained by Fincher. Rose's Desert was a seven-time stakes winner in her home state and earned $626,035.

Runaway Ghost was consigned by Shawhan Place at the 2016 Keeneland September sale but RNA's for $240,000. He ended up being a successful keep for Peacock, with his earnings now reaching $653,510 from a 9:6-2-0 record.

- edited from &

'Authorative' New Stakes Winner for Mucho Macho Man


The expected challenge against the speedy Mucho Unusual never materialized in Monday’s $200,351 California Cup Oaks at Santa Anita.

Mucho Unusual led narrowly by a half-length midway through the one-mile turf race, and pulled away from eight rivals in early stretch to win by three lengths. The proceedings left jockey Joel Rosario slightly surprised, but content with the outcome.

“I know she had speed,” Rosario said. “I let her do what she wanted to do. I thought I would follow someone if they wanted the lead.”

Mucho Unusual won her first stakes in the California Cup Oaks for 3-year-old statebred fillies, her turf debut for owner and breeder George Krikorian, and trainer Tim Yakteen.

Mucho Unusual was timed in 1:36.92. She set a modest pace of 24.14 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 48.84 for a half-mile.

“She has a nice cruising speed,” Rosario said. “She ran a very big race.”

Santa Anita track announcer Frank Mirahmadi concurred, exclaiming inside the 1/8 pole

"This is going to be an authoriative score for Mucho Unusual!"

Lippy finished second, a half-length in front of her Doug O'Neill stablemate Lakerball. 

Mucho Unusual, by Mucho Macho Man, has won 2 of 5 starts and earned $200,420. The California Cup Oaks was Mucho Unusual’s third appearance in a stakes. In 2018, Mucho Unusual was second in the Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar last August in her debut and the Golden State Juvenile Fillies here in November.

Mucho Macho Man is also the sire of leading Kentucky Derby contender Mucho Gusto, who cruised to victory in the February 3 Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) over the Santa Anita main track.

Mucho Macho Man's February stakes haul prompted the Paulick Report's Bloodstock Editor Joe Nevills to tweet: "Mucho Macho Man's runners are getting good at an alarming rate. Mucho Unusual is the latest example in the Cal Cup Oaks."

- edited from

Ghostzapper's Enchanted Ghost Scores in Laurel Park Stake


Enchanted Ghost turned in a strong, determined effort over a muddy track in the $100,000 Maryland Racing Media Stakes at Laurel Park on Monday to defeat Indy's Lady by a half-length in the 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares.

Enchanted Ghost went right to the lead from post 2 and jockey Jevian Toledo was able to slow down the pace through fractions of 24.50 and 49.12 seconds. Indy's Lady, who stalked from second position in the eight-horse field, moved up to challenge from the outside on the far turn, appeared to gain a short lead entering the stretch, but was outfinished in the final furlong as Enchanted Ghost slowly edged away.

Timed in 1:44.84 following six furlongs in 1:13.72 and a mile in 1:38.36.

Enchanted Ghost, a 4-year-old Maryland-bred daughter of Ghostzapper, is trained by Hamilton Smith and owned by Mens Grille Racing. The Maryland Racing Media is the second stakes win for Enchanted Ghost, who won the Wide Country Stakes over a muddy track at Laurel in February 2018. She has now earned $222,682. 

Timeless Curls, the 6-5 favorite, was fanned five wide into the first turn but settled into good position several lengths off the pace. She finished willingly but couldn't make up any ground on the top two and finished 2 1/4 behind Indy's Lady. Isotope, 2-1, went evenly to finish fourth, 5 1/4 lengths farther back.
The win was the third from the first five races on the card for Toledo.

"She handled the muddy track pretty good," Toledo said. "I felt like I had a lot of horse. The other horse went by me by a head but she just came back on her."

- edited from

Awesome Again's Always Shopping On Oaks Trail With Busanda S. Victory


Repole Stable homebred Always Shopping, under a perfect trip engineered by meet-leading rider Manny Franco, broke her maiden in the $100,000 Busanda Feb. 3 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the bay daughter of Awesome Again, out of the stakes-winning More Than Ready mare Stopshoppingmaria, got the better of rivals Filly Joel and Miss Marilyn, who had kept her a maiden in her last two starts, to score a 1 1/4-length victory as the 2-1 post-time favorite.

With the win in the 1 1/8-mile test for sophomore fillies, Always Shopping picked up 10 points toward a berth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), slated for May 3 at Churchill Downs. The Busanda was the second race in the Oaks qualifying series at the Big A, following the grade 2 Demoiselle, held Dec. 1, which was won by Positive Spirit.

Filly Joel, with Jose Lezcano in the irons, emerged from a sextet of frontrunning contenders to mark the opening quarter-mile in :23.91, as Miss Marilyn was hung wide through the opening turn.

Always Shopping broke from the inside post, saved ground along the rail from fifth position, and was content to track the leaders through a half-mile in :48.52. Filly Joel continued to dictate terms under close watch from Getting Warmer and Miss Marilyn on the main track labeled fast.

Filly Joel maintained her lead through the final turn, as Franco urged Always Shopping off the rail and began to reel in the leader with every stride. Always Shopping swooped by a determined Filly Joel and secured the win in a final time of 1:52.24.

"We were cautiously optimistic about this spot. We were always looking to stretch her out and get her to race at two turns. She hadn't broke her maiden yet, but she had run well in her last start," said assistant trainer Byron Hughes. "Manny did a great job saving ground and tilted her out down the stretch. At this point we'll see how she comes out of this race and go from there."

Franco, who leads the meet with 51 wins, said the nine-furlong distance suited his filly.

"The distance helped her a lot. Last time (when she was runner-up to Miss Marilyn Dec. 14 at Aqueduct) she went a mile and the speed held up. I liked the distance today for her," Franco said. "The trip worked out great. I just wanted to make sure she came out of there well and get my position before the turn, and that's what she did. After that, she did it nice."

- edited from
Mucho Macho Man's Mucho Gusto Romps in Robert B. Lewis S. (G3)


At first, Joe Talamo's move aboard Mucho Gusto in the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park seemed puzzling.

The apparent clear pacesetter on paper in a field of five, Michael Lund Petersen's 3-year-old Mucho Macho Man colt got out of the gate best, but when Kid Cantina and Magnificent McCool sped up on the inside, Mucho Gusto relaxed in third as he traveled into the first turn.

The stalking tactics worked perfectly, as Mucho Gusto advanced late in the backstretch run of the 1 1/16-mile test, moved to the front in the final turn, and dominated the stretch run to win by 4 3/4 lengths.

"Every race he's getting better and better," Talamo said of the colt who won the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) in November at Del Mar and finished second to Bob Baffert-trained stablemate Improbable in the Dec. 8 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity (G1). "I'm glad I've been working him because he's worked better, too. He settled today like he's been doing this a hundred times."

Without any challenge late, Mucho Gusto finished the distance in 1:41.81 over a sloppy (sealed) track.

"He got to sit off the pace, which is good," Baffert said. "They have to learn to do that, and I was really happy with Joe. He rode him with a lot of confidence today, like he was a good horse, and he was on his own. I didn't give him any instructions.

"He said, 'What should I do?' I said, 'You need to win this race. That's what you need to do.'"

Magnificent McCool had a head in front of Kid Cantina through an opening quarter in :23.67 and opened a 2 1/2-length lead through a half in :46.55. But when he hit six furlongs in 1:10.51, Mucho Gusto was only a head behind. Last-out Sham Stakes (G3) winner Gunmetal Gray, who was last early, closed to pick up second, a half-length ahead of Easy Shot. Nolo Contesto was scratched before the race by trainer John Sadler, who said he made the decision because of the off track.

Bred in Kentucky by Teneri Farm and Bernardo Alvarez Calderon out of the Giant's Causeway mare Itsagiantcauseway, Mucho Gusto was a $625,000 purchase by Petersen from Kirkwood Stables' consignment to the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. He now has three wins and $234,000 in earnings from his four starts. Baffert said earlier in the week the colt could ship out of state for his next prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

"I texted Bob to see if I should come for the race, and he was very confident," Petersen said after the race. "That's pretty good."

- edited from

Runaway Ghost Returns With Impressive Score in Ft. Bliss Stakes


As Runaway Ghost crossed the wire first in the $75,000 Ft. Bliss Stakes at Sunland Park, trainer Todd Fincher was hit with a variety of emotions.

He was happy and he was proud, but mostly he was relieved.

In his first start since his win in the 2018 Sunland Derby (G3), Joe Peacock's homebred Ghostzapper colt - who missed the Triple Crown series and the rest of the season because of a training injury before the Kentucky Derby (G1) - made his move on loose early leader Secular Nation in the turn of the six-furlong test, found his best stride in the lane, and kicked away late to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

Watch the Ft. Bliss Stakes

The Ft. Bliss was the third stakes win and fifth victory overall for Runaway Ghost. The Kentucky-bred out of the Desert God mare Rose's Desert now has $608,510 in earnings.

"The relief factor was unbelievable," Fincher said of Runaway Ghost, who sustained a cannon bone fracture during a workout in April and returned to training in September. "I was happy to see his return be great. It wasn't just OK. It was great."

Secular Nation sprinted out to a 3 1/2-length lead through a first quarter in :21.88 while Runaway Ghost tracked in third, 4 1/2 lengths back under jockey Santiago Gonzalez. Runaway Ghost advanced to second, cut the margin to 1 1/2 lengths, and had dead aim on the leader through a half-mile in :44.33. He finished the distance in 1:08.44 on a fast track.

"Everything went perfectly," Fincher said. "One horse went out there and we were four, five lengths off. His turn of foot was perfect, his speed was perfect, and the time was perfect."

Secular Nation held second, 5 3/4 lengths clear of Cowboy Cool in third. Coils Gold, Valentine Divine, Wake Up in Malibu, and Black Ops completed the order of finish.

"The only thing that concerned me was if (Secular Nation) was that good," Fincher said. "I wasn't worried about my horse finishing, but that horse just could have been super good."

Fincher said there are no solid plans for the colt's next race.

- edited from, Coady photo

Adena Springs; Daughters of Point of Entry & Ghostzapper Nominated for 2018 Sovereign Awards


The Jockey Club of Canada has announced the finalists for the 2018 Sovereign Awards honoring Canada's champions and recognizing their outstanding achievements.

Adena Springs was nominated for a 13th Sovereign Award for Outstanding Breeder. Among the 2018 Adena Springs-bred Stakes winners in Canada were the Silent Name 3-year-olds Zestina, a two-time Stakes winner at Woodbine and Silent Poet, winner of the Vice Regent Stakes. Adena Springs has been awarded the Outstanding Breeder trophy in each of the last three seasons.

My Gal Betty was among Point of Entry's 14 juveniles winners in 2018 and she's a finalist in the 2-Year-Old Female category. Racing for William K. Werner, My Gal Betty was triumphant in the $100,000 Catch a Glimpse Stakes, over a field that included fellow finalist Bold Script. She then earned a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) with a strong runner-up finish in the Natalama Stakes (G1).

My Gal Betty was bred in Kentucky by Hidden Brook Farm and is trained by Hall of Famer Roger Attfield.

The Ivan Dalos homebred Ghostzapper mare Gamble's Ghost is a finalist for Older Female after a campaign that saw her win a trio of Stakes including the Trillium Stakes (G3) and the Ontario Matron (G3). It's the second Older Female nomination for Gamble's Ghost and her fourth overall. She was a finalist for 2-Year-Old Female in 2015 and for 3-Year-Old Female the following year.

The winners of the 12 horse categories and five human categories will be announced at the 44th Annual Sovereign Awards Ceremony  Thursday, April 18, at Chateau Le Jardin in Woodbridge, Ontario. Finalists for Canada's Horse of the Year Award are announced during the ceremony.

-portions from

First Foal For Champion/MG1SW Shaman Ghost


The first reported foal by first-crop sire and multiple Grade 1 winner Shaman Ghost was a colt born Jan. 26 at Woodbridge Farm in California.

The colt is the first foal out of BKB Stables' Munnings mare Chrome Princess. The dam is from the family of multiple black-type producer Purity, who is out of Black-Eyed Susan (G2) winner and graded stakes producer Dame Mysterieuse.

Shaman Ghost is an Adena Springs homebred who won the Queen's Plate Stakes and Marine S. (G3) at 3 en route to a Sovereign Award for Outstanding 3-Year-Old Male. He followed up with victories in the Woodward Stakes (G1) and Santa Anita Handicap (G1). The son of Ghostzapper out of Getback Time (by Gilded Time) won three other graded stakes: the Brooklyn Invitational Stakes (G2), Suburban Handicap (G2), and the Pimlico Special Handicap (G3).

He also was runner-up in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) and was third in the Clark Handicap (G1) before being retired with an 8-3-2 record from 17 starts and $3,859,311 in earnings.

Shaman Ghost entered stud in 2018 at Terry Lovingier's Lovacres Ranch near Warner Springs, Calif., where he covered 91 mares during his first season. The stallion was relocated to Adena Springs Kentucky for the 2019 breeding season, where he stands for $7,500.

-edited from

Show More Articles...
Shareholders Login Top