Ghoul's Night Out Is Ghostzapper's 70th Blacktype Winner With Laurel Stakes Score


Mens Grille Racing’s Ghoul’s Night Out, trained by Hamilton Smith and ridden by Jorge Vargas Jr., drove past A Great Time in deep stretch to win the $75,000 Jameela Stakes at Laurel Park.

Ghoul’s Night Out, a 5-year-old mare by Ghostzapper, covered the 5 ½ furlong course in 1:02.65. It was her first stakes victory and her first win on the turf in three attempts. The consistently brilliant Ghostzapper is now the sire of 70 blacktype winners lifetime, 11% from starters.

“She ran twice on the grass and handled herself pretty well both times,” Smith said. “It was a tough race, no doubt, but she came into the race real good and I expected her to run good. I didn’t think she’d win it, but I thought she’d run well.”

While Magician’squestion and Elevated Vision posted fractions of :22.16 and :45.27, Vargas rated Ghoul’s Night Out in fourth directly behind A Great Time, who drove past the pacesetters down the stretch to take the lead under jockey Trevor McCarthy. Despite a game effort by A Great Time, Ghoul’s Night Out managed to get up in the final yards for the victory.

“This filly always try for me,” Vargas said. “Today was a little bit of a step up because we had some fillies running in open stakes. But she was traveling so good. When I ducked her out she just went for it.”

Fear No Evil, the 1-2 favorite and facing Maryland-breds for the first time since last May after racing in six consecutive open stakes, rallied to finish third.

The Jameela is named for the Grade 1-winning millionaire Maryland-bred mare, who later gained fame as the dam of sprint champion Gulch.

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Ghostzapper's Champion Holy Helena Strikes Again on Queen's Plate Day


Two years after winning the Queen's Plate Stakes, Stronach Stables' homebred Holy Helena returned to Woodbine June 29 to capture the $175,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (G2) over seven other fillies and mares in the 1 1/4-mile grass test. The 5-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper is now a 6-time stakes winner of over $1.3 million.

Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Holy Helena made her debut in the spring of her 3-year-old season. In only her third start, she captured the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser and scored in the Queen's Plate one start later. Both races were run on the Tapeta track and helped her achieve the Sovereign Award for champion 3-year-old filly.

"I'm saying the Canadian air does a lot of good for her," proud owner Frank Stronach said after the victory.

Holy Helena did not race on turf until her first start at 4, and she has raced almost exclusively on the lawn since then. The dark bay/brown mare has twice won The Very One Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park and also captured last year's Sheepshead Bay Stakes (G2T) at Belmont Park, a race she scratched from this year due to heavy rain.

With Javier Castellano aboard for the first time Saturday, Holy Helena took up second after breaking from the rail as the 6-5 favorite. Rock my Love sped to the lead and opened up by 3 1/2 lengths while setting fractions of :26.24, :51.41, 1:15.74, and 1:38.60 through a mile. Get Explicit made an early move and cruised up the rail to sit in second at the half-mile point, two lengths in front of Holy Helena.

Rock my Love still held the lead when the field straightened for home. Get Explicit tired as Holy Helena began her bid down the long stretch. The pacesetter was game but tired in front of the grandstand. Holy Helena kept on and fended off late runners to hit the wire in 2:02.08 on good turf, 1 1/4 lengths in front.

"I liked the way she did it today, the way she settled," said Castellano. "I didn't panic at the three-eighths because somebody moved outside me. I just sat still and made one run. The way she did it (was) phenomenal. The way she finished—unbelievable."

Stronach credited both Castellano and Stronach Stables racing manager Mike Doyle.

"Mike had her here for a week and a half, and I think things are great—they work well together," he said. "Javier is such a great rider. He didn't panic."

Holy Helena was bred in Ontario out of the Holy Bull mare Holy Grace and is a half sister to Amsterdam Stakes (G2) winner Holy Boss and Holyanna, a daughter of Point of Entry who scored an impressive debut victory at Woodbine on June 22. Holy Grace foaled a full brother to Holy Helena May 14. 

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Macho Uno's More Than Good Lives Up To Name in $100,000 Karl Boyes Memorial S.


More Than Good was more than prepared for his stakes debut on short rest Monday night, leading the field home in the $100,000 Karl Boyes Memorial Stakes at Presque Isle Downs. The 5-year-old is the latest Stakes winner for the Adena Springs stallion Macho Uno, who's earned a strong reputation as a sire of talented, tough and durable runners.

Watch the Karl Boyes Memorial Stakes

Grade 3 winner Wellabled, sent off as the heavy favorite in the Boyes Memorial, rushed out to lead by a length and a half through the opening quarter in 22.25 seconds. Oldies But Goodies sat second, on near-even terms with More Than Good and jockey Fernando Salazar Becerra. The field began to close in on Wellabled around the turn. Wellabled kept his head in front into the lane, but More Than Good rushed up to be second, with Shekky Shebaz a threat on his hip.

Wellabled drifted out at the eighth pole as he began to tire badly late, with More Than Good, still full of run, assuming the lead. The gelding continued to draw off to win by 2 1/4 lengths, stopping the clock in 1:03.17 for the 5 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track.
Less Than Perfect, the longest shot on the board, closed from sixth in the field of seven, and from widest of all, to be second by 1 3/4 lengths. Caloric, who was forced to check in the lane as Wellabled tired, was up to be third by a head over Shekky Shebaz. Then came Oldies But Goodies, Wellabled, and second choice Lanier, also a graded stakes winner.

Macho Uno, an Eclipse Champion Juvenile in his racing days, is the sire of several other tough, talented & durable runners, including Private Zone & Mucho Macho Man (Breeders' Cup Classic) who scored multiple Grade 1 victories after their 4-year-old seasons.

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Mucho Gusto On to Haskell Inv. (G1) After Securing 4th Graded Victory


Although the distance may have been a concern to some beforehand, Bob Baffert's speedy Mucho Gusto settled nicely off the pace and took charge around the far turn en route to an impressive 2 ¼ length win over Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster in the $100,000 Affirmed Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Mucho Gusto, a 3-year-old colt by Mucho Macho Man, got a mile and one sixteenth with aplomb in 1:45.15.

Owned by Michael Lund Petersen, Mucho Gusto now has four graded stakes wins to his credit and an overall mark of 7-5-1-1. With the winner's share of $60,000, he now has earnings of $430,800.

Attentive to the pace from the outset, Mucho Gusto, fresh off a 3 ¼ length score in the Lazaro Barrera Stakes (G3) going seven furlongs on May 18, sat a joint third with Roadster heading to the far turn, but when Talamo stepped on the gas at the 3 ½ furlong pole, he quickly reeled in early pacesetters Visitant and Kingly while leaving Roadster in his wake and was in-hand at the wire.

“With the right trip, I don't think this colt has any distance limitations,” said Talamo, who's ridden Mucho Gusto in all seven of his starts, including a disappointing third two starts back in the Sunland Derby (G3) at 1 1/8 miles on March 24.

“He finally drew outside today, so we were able to kind of sit outside. He can go to the lead or sit second or third. As long as he settles, he'll finish.”

“That race at Sunland set him back a little,” said Baffert. “They went so fast. There's some derbies around, but I think he'll probably go to the Haskell (Invitational, Grade I, 1 1/8 miles July 20 at Monmouth Park). As long as he relaxes, he'll run that far…I think 'Mucho' has really improved.”

Ridden by Mike Smith, Roadster, who subsequent to his Santa Anita Derby win, was beaten 16 ½ lengths in the Kentucky Derby May 4, was off at even money and paid $2.40 and $2.10 while finishing one length in front of Alcatraz Stakes winner Visitant (by Ghostzapper).

Earlier on the card Mucho Macho Man's California Cup Oaks winner Mucho Unusual scored an impressive Allowance victory to up her career earnings to over $250,000. Back east at Gulfstream Park, Stronach Stables homebred Mucho Macho Man son romped in his second start by 11 1/2 lengths. 

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Milwaukee Brew's Kingsport Captures Steady Growth S. for 10th Stakes Win


Reunited with his regular reinsman Patrick Husbands, fan favorite Kingsport hauled down the top trio to kick off his seven-year-old campaign with a victory in the $100,000 Steady Growth Stakes on Saturday afternoon at Woodbine Racetrack.

It was the 10th stakes victory for the son of Adena Springs North's two-time champion sire Milwaukee Brew, who has now earned $740,963.

The 1-1/16-mile Steady Growth set up perfectly for the Sid Attard trainee Kingsport with a three-horse speed duel up front between Nipigon, Thor’s Rocket and Cooler Mike.

“He left there sharp,” said Husbands. “He relaxed going in the first turn and I was just smiling seeing three of them going head-to-head, you know, and I got a perfect trip. When I reached about the three-eighths pole, I said, ‘Let’s go, boy!’ and he just jumped on the bridle and it was just a matter of time.”

Kingsport gapped the leading trio in fourth-place throughout fractions of :24.77, :48.23 and 1:11.75. However, the 4-5 favorite came charging down the stretch to get up in time for the victory in 1:43.35.

“I was a little worried, but when he made the run, I said he’s going to get there,” said Attard.

Cooler Mike, a son of Giant Gizmo who placed in both the Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales last season, had pulled ahead of his fellow front-running foes with a furlong to go in the Ontario Sired Stakes and finished second by just a neck. Thor’s Rocket edged out Nipigon 2-3/4 lengths behind while Argentium completed the order of finish.

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Ghostzapper Fillies Are Two of Top Three Sellers at OBS June


John Connelly’s Stetson Racing, which enjoyed recent graded stakes success with GII Black-Eyed Susan S. winner Point of Honor, added another filly to the stable with the $600,000 purchase of a filly by Ghostzapper (Hip 914) Friday in Ocala. Bloodstock agent Donato Lanni, bidding from the back of the pavilion, saw off a determined Susan Montanye, who was doing her bidding on behalf of Twin Creeks Racing a few rows away while on the phone, to acquire the filly. 

The purchase capped an incredible six days for Ghostzapper, sire of the sensational, unbeaten Acorn S. (G1) heroine Guarana and the OBS Sale's early topper, a $445,000 filly sold on Thursday.

The filly was consigned by Gayle Woods on behalf of Eric Delvalle, who purchased the youngster for $67,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale. Out of Tizahit (Tiznow), the filly is a half to Come Dancing (Malibu Moon), who was second in last week’s GI Ogden Phipps S. She worked the co-bullet three-furlong time of :32 3/5 during last week’s under-tack preview.

Woods was visibly emotional while receiving congratulations after the transaction. “I’ve had a really bad year,” she said. “I haven’t sold anything well. So this was huge. This was a really good way to finish the season. She is a beautiful filly. She has so much class. I thought she’d make $400,000 or $500,000, maybe six if the right people got into it. And it happened.”

Of the filly’s appeal last fall, Delvalle said, “When I saw her, she looked very attractive and with good conformation. Come Dancing had won a stakes at Saratoga when I bought this one, but it wasn’t in the catalogue when I bought her. And then Come Dancing started to run better and better and better. So you need luck, of course.” Delvalle added,

“And I have to thank Gayle Woods. She did a tremendous job with her. This filly was born May 6, so Gayle decided to go to this sale instead of April. And she made the right decision.”

 Lanni admitted the juvenile was an obvious choice. “She obviously has a great pedigree and I think she came out here and worked a good three-eighths,” he said. “It was her first sale and I liked that they gave her the time to get here."

Topping Thursday's session and taking the lead as the most expensive horses of the sale to date was Hip 653, a $445,000 Ghostzapper filly purchased by Backstretch Farms from the consignment of de Meric Sales, agent. 

Bred in Kentucky by Meadowview, the filly is out of the Carson City mare Palanka City, winner of the Adena Stallions' Miss Preakness Stakes (G3) who earned just shy of $400,000 and won 11 races. The dam is a full sister to Quick Action, a stakes winner who also placed second in the Lafayette Stakes (G3). 

The de Merics purchased the filly for $190,000 as a yearling from Denali Stud's consignment to the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. 

"We were thrilled with the price," said Tristan de Meric, who had originally consigned the filly to The Gulfstream Sale, Fasig-Tipton's select sale of 2-year-olds in training. Withdrawn from that auction, the filly was pointed toward the June sale in the hopes that more time would allow her ample opportunity to blossom.

"We knew she was a top filly," said de Meric. "That's why we took her down to Miami in the first place. She just missed the boat down there. We always believed in her, and I'm glad we gave her another chance here and I'm glad they found her here. She's a very special filly, and we wish the best of luck to David (Davila) and we are thankful to everybody who was involved." 

The filly was one of 11 juveniles to work a bullet eighth-mile in :09 4/5 during the five-day under tack show, where she impressed Davila, an Ocala, Fla., native and attorney who owns and operates Backstretch Farms. 

"She's the perfect specimen for a filly—balanced all over," Davila said. "(The price) was a little bit higher than we wanted to go. This is close (to our highest-priced purchase). She just looks very balanced and very fast." 

Davila said the plan will be to ship the filly to Saratoga Race Course to the barn of Jorge Abreu. 

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Awesome Again's Sir Winston The Hero of 151st Belmont Stakes


Tracy Farmer's homebred Sir Winston got through a hole on the rail and then split horses to grant Mark Casse a second American Classic victory just three weeks after War of Will landed the Canadian Hall of Fame trainer his first.

“He's an amazing little horse. I'm very proud of him because he's kind of what our operation represents, and that is I feel like we develop horses,” Casse said. “I have this philosophy. I start every horse out thinking that they are going to win the Kentucky Derby, or the Oaks. That's what I do. And I will try different surfaces; I will try different methods. With a horse like Sir Winston, you know, it paid off there.”

A 3-year-old son of Awesome Again, Sir Winston defeated 9-5 favorite Tacitus by a length at the wire and completed 1 1/2 miles over Big Sandy's fast main track in 2:28.30. Jockey Joel Rosario crafted a beautiful trip to win his second Belmont Stakes, following a victory with Tonalist in 2014.

“He's a very nice horse and you have to let him do this thing. I'm really happy,” said Rosario, who also won the Belmont when Tonalist ended California Chrome's Triple Crown bid in 2014. “It seemed like he didn't mind [being] inside. I just took my time with him. For the distance, he broke very good. Today, he was a little closer, so I let him be where he was comfortable.”

Joevia left his inside post position with good speed and made the lead, tracked by Tax through moderate early fractions of :23.92 and :48.79. Spinoff was up close as well, with a wide War of Will flanking him in fourth through the sweeping clubhouse turn. Everfast kept pace along the rail there, with Tacitus behind him and between horses. Meanwhile, Sir Winston had a good position at the rail in third-last down the backstretch, saving ground and staying relaxed about seven lengths behind the early leaders.

After three-quarters in 1:13.54, Rosario gave Sir Winston his cue to move up the rail from seventh. He eased inside of Everfast and took up running in fourth position, but still found himself behind a wall of frontrunners rounding the last bit of the far turn.

Joevia and Tax had come head-and-head by the top of the lane, and with Sir Winston garnering the golden rail, the favored Tacitus was forced to take the overland route. The big gray was sent about six wide around the turn while second choice War of Will was five wide, but each was moving well and appeared to have every chance at the head of the lane.

Sir Winston saw daylight to the outside of Tax, and Rosario guided him over about four paths to take the opening just ahead of War of Will. The colt's turn of foot put him on the lead at the eighth pole, and his ground-saving trip left Rosario enough in the tank to fend off the late challenge from Tacitus.

At the wire, Sir Winston was a length ahead of Tacitus to win the Belmont. Joevia ran on near the rail to hold third over a hard-trying Tax, while Master Fencer didn't find his best stride until the final eighth of a mile but was absolutely flying to gain fifth.

Casse said War of Will and Sir Winston could both target the 10-furlong Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on August 24 at Saratoga Race Course.

“I tell you what, they all better watch out going to a mile-and-a-quarter because Sir Winston will come running, too. Sir Winston is a pretty serious horse, so don't count him out,” Casse said.

“Again I'll talk to Mr. Farmer but I don't think there's much out there he would enjoy more than winning the Travers, so I'm sure he'll be all for that,” he added.

Foaled on his owner's Shadowlawn Farm in Midway, Ky., Sir Winston is a second-generation homebred out of the Grade 3 winner La Gran Bailadora (Afleet Alex). Farmer purchased Sir Winston's granddam, Affirmed Dancer (Affirmed), as a weanling at Keeneland for $150,000, and raced her to a listed stakes win and graded placing.

Sir Winston's career began with a pair of off-the-board finishes at Churchill and Saratoga before the colt broke his maiden in his third outing at Woodbine. He followed that up with a third in the G3 Grey Stakes and win in the listed Display Stakes, but as a 3-year-old he was unable to earn enough points to contest the Kentucky Derby. His best finish this year before the Belmont came in a runner-up effort to Global Campaign in the G3 Peter Pan Stakes. Overall, Sir Winston has won three of his 10 starts to earn over $900,000.

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Ghostzapper's Guarana Remains Unbeaten With Scintillating Acorn S. (G1) Score


It's not unusual for a trainer to toss out a favorable comparison between a horse and one of its parents. But when a trainer uses Ghostzapper as a basis for the comparison, it is indeed something special.

Prior to becoming a three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, Chad Brown was an assistant to Bobby Frankel during Ghostzapper's brilliant 2004 Horse of the Year campaign, so when he put Three Chimneys Farm's Guarana in the same sentence as her sire, it was high praise indeed.

It also made all the sense in the world after an eye-opening victory.

In just her second career start, homebred Guarana drew clear to post a six-length victory over a field that included Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Serengeti Empress in the $700,000 Acorn Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies on the June 8 Belmont Stakes Day card at Belmont Park.

"She's brilliant," Brown said. "She reminds me a lot of her father."

The lopsided victory was even more impressive given the fractions Guarana chased.

Hoping to take advantage of a speed-favoring surface, Joel Politi's Serengeti Empress and Arindel's Cookie Dough dueled for the lead through withering fractions of :21.89 and :43.99 in the one-turn mile stakes. Guarana ($5.80), the 9-5 favorite, was just two lengths off the lead after that brutal opening half-mile.

"I felt good about the leaders not going on, but we were close to that pace," Brown said. "I wondered, 'How vulnerable is she?'"

Answer: Not in the least.

Jockey Jose Ortiz brought Guarana off the rail, tipped outside of Serengeti Empress leaving the five-sixteenths pole, and motored past her to a two-length lead at the eighth pole that grew even more imposing in the final furlong. Final time for the mile was a stakes-record 1:33.58.

How she won was another testament to her brilliance," Brown said.

Guarana, a daughter of the Distorted Humor  mare Magical World, convinced Brown to step her up into grade 1 company through an impressive 14 3/4-length maiden win April 19 at Keeneland.

"That maiden win was more than we could have hoped for," he said. "We are so fortunate to have her. My staff did a marvelous job developing her."

It was also enough to convince Ortiz to hop off Serengeti Empress, whom he rode in the Kentucky Oaks, and stay on Guarana.

"It was a hard decision to take off the Oaks winner, but I didn't want to miss this opportunity. Yes, I took off the Oaks winner for a maiden (winner)," Ortiz said.

Brown said he will confer with Three Chimneys owner Goncalo Borges Torrealba before deciding on Guarana's next start.
Considering the fractions, 3-1 second choice Serengeti Empress, in her first start since a 1 3/4-length score in the Kentucky Oaks, did well to hold second by 2 1/4 lengths over Alexis Delgado's Jeltrin.

"I'm very proud of my horse," trainer Tom Amoss said about Serengeti Empress. "We've got a great filly, and we got beat by a great filly today. I think it was apropos, for the first quarter to the half, the whole crowd, who obviously knows racing here in the state of New York, just let out this gasp. It was just too much."

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Summer Sunday Strolls in G3 Hendrie S. Capping Huge Weekend for Silent Name


Summer Sunday continued her Woodbine winning ways on Sunday afternoon while earning a graded stakes score in the $125,000 Hendrie for fillies and mares.

The 4-year-old filly is the second stakes winner on the weekend for Adena Springs North's champion sire Silent Name whose son Pay for Peace annexed the $125,000 Plate Trial S. the day prior.

In Sunday’s 6-1/2 furlong sprint, 3-2 favourite Summer Sunday pressed the pace while racing between rivals through opening panels of :23.33 and :46.09 then came through to challenge Sly Beauty for the lead entering the final turn. She struck the front at the top of the lane and drew clear to win by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:16.62.

Katie Baby, the 7-2 second choice, staged a late rally on the far outside to finish second ahead of Alnilah. Sly Beauty edged out Silent Sonet in a photo finish for fourth while Crazy Sweet, Straitouttapopcorn and Devine Mischief completed the field.

“We got some decent pace in front, so we were able to track a horse and settle down,” said winning jockey Rafael Hernandez. “The horse outside [Devine Mischief] put a little pressure and wanted to go early but by the three-eighths she was done so my horse settled down more and gave me a better finish.”

An eight-time starter with close to $380,000 in earnings, Summer Sunday has won all six of her Woodbine appearances on the Tapeta surface.

“It’s quite unusual and most rewarding,” said William Scott, who shares ownership of the four-year-old daughter of Silent Name with his wife Anne.

Throughout her career, she has collected stakes wins in the Nandi, Muskoka and Fury as well as last month’s Ballade Stakes. While Summer Sunday has shown consistency on Woodbine’s main track, Simon noted the Ontario-bred filly has more to offer.

She’s just a dream horse,” said Simon. “She is better than her form does say on dirt, believe me. I really think she’d run on the grass too. She’s just that type of horse – on the lead, off the lead, probably run farther – she’s a dream horse.”

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