Faypien is Ghostzapper's 30th Graded Stakes Winner


Faypien, a $720,000 two-year-old purchase, won her graded stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade 2 Summertime Oaks at Santa Anita.

Watch the Summertime Oaks

A daughter of Ghostzapper, Faypien was well-placed throughout and held off a late threat from 10-1 Mopotism to win the $201,035 race at 1 1/16 miles by a head.

Mopotism finished a half-length in front of 17-1 another Ghostzapper filly, Spooky Woods, who was disqualified and placed fifth for altering course in the stretch, an incident that forced jockey Mike Smith to check It Tiz Well at a pivotal point in the race. 

The Summertime Oaks was Faypien’s third consecutive win for Susan and Charles Chu’s Baoma Corp. and trainer Bob Baffert. She beat maidens at seven furlongs April 23 in her second start and won her stakes debut in the Angels Flight Stakes at seven furlongs May 14.

Rafael Bejarano rode Faypien in the Summertime Oaks, and had the filly in a stalking position behind pacesetter Sheza Chattykat to early stretch before taking a narrow lead. Mopotism, who was 10th in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 5, offered a stern challenge in the final furlong, but could not get by Faypien.

“She really ground it out and is tough,” Baffert said. “She was all-out to beat them. Rafael rode a great race and had her in the race the whole way.”

Faypien, the second choice in a field of eight, was timed in 1:43.17.

“She never stopped and tried every step,” Bejarano said.

Faypien has won 3 of 4 starts and earned $205,680. She was purchased for $720,000 at the 2016 Ocala Breeders’ Sale of 2-year-olds in-training in April of that year.

She was Ghostzapper's second graded winner in about 20 minutes on Saturday after McCraken, who scored in the Matt Winn S. (G3) at Churchill Downs. 

- edited from www.drf.com

Ghostzapper's McCraken Secures Third Graded Victory


Ian Wilkes hasn't lost faith.

He still believes that when the dust storm that is this year's 3-year-old male division clears, Janis Whitham's homebred McCraken will make it so his trainer won't have to say a word to convince the masses of the talents of the son of Ghostzapper.

There will be several statements that need to be made between now and season's end but the first step toward what McCraken's connections hope will be a second-half resurgence went exactly in the manner those around the multiple graded stakes winner would have scripted.

The McCraken that inspires such confidence from Wilkes is the one that showed up in the June 17 Matt Winn Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs, unleashing his typical kick after ranging up on the final turn en route to a 2 1/4-length triumph in his first outing since finishing eighth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1). 

There is inherent pressure to deliver anytime a trainer saddles a 1-5 favorite in a field. Given the level of expectations McCraken has carried for much of his career, Wilkes just wanted to see the bay colt run like the version of himself that was widely regarded as one of the leaders of the sophomore ranks.

On Saturday night, after getting away a bit awkwardly out of post 2 in the 1 1/16-miles Matt Winn, McCraken proceeded to look like the stalwart who was unbeaten in his first four outings as he tracked along second-last in the six-horse field before accelerating on cue when nudged by jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. around the final turn.

"It's both joy and relief just to see him back running," Wilkes said of McCraken, who emerged from his rough Derby outing with a puncture wound by his left hind ankle. "I know good he is, but he has to go and prove it. I can't go and say it; I can't go and tell everyone how good he is. He has to go and prove it. The other horses have done it, they've won the Derby, the Preakness (Stakes [G1]), and the Belmont (Stakes [G1]. We haven't so we have to prove it."

Wilkes' spirits were lifted early in the Matt Winn as he watched his charge loping along in a relaxed manner as Aquamarine under Florent Geroux carved out fractions of :23.58 and :47.48 with Mo's Mojo sitting about a length off in second. When Aquamarine gave it up in the final quarter and dropped back on the rail, McCraken was clear in the four-wide path and moving with confidence under Hernandez. 

It became a battle for second a handful of strides later as McCraken opened a two-length advantage under left-handed urging and stopped the teletimer in 1:42.84 on a fast track for his fourth win in five career starts at Churchill.

"His last couple races in the Derby and even in the Blue Grass, he left a little on his toes and today he was kind of back to his old self where he got into a nice rhythm around there and wasn't wanting to overdo it in the first part," Hernandez said. "Then he kind of just built his confidence up as he went along and he went on by those horses pretty easily. You always hear it but it really was the perfect race for a horse coming back.

"That was the good thing about this race today is he got confidence back in himself and now we can look forward to the rest of the year."

Out of the Seeking the Gold mare Ivory Empress, McCraken improved his record to five wins from seven starts overall and $472,228 in earnings.

Wilkes was non-committal on where McCraken might start next, citing his usual 'one-day-at-time' mantra. What he saw Saturday confirmed to him that the horse who captured the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) in then-track record fashion during his seasonal bow hadn't lost his ability to inspire some lofty thoughts.

"I still think he's good, I still think he's one of the best," Wilkes said. "Now I have to let him do it."

Within 20 minutes of McCraken leaving the winner's circle Ghostzapper was represented by his 30th lifetime graded winner when Faypien conquered the Summertime Oaks (G2) at Santa Anita. 

- edited from www.bloodhorse.com

Holy Helena! Ghostzapper Filly Wins Woodbine Oaks


In a late charge, Stronach Stables' homebred Holy Helena stormed down the middle of the Woodbine stretch to defeat 12 others by a length in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser June 11.

Watch the Woodbine Oaks

"I got a nice trip," jockey Luis Contreras said of their victory. "The filly helped me a lot the whole way. I was nice, and comfortable, sitting outside and then she gave me everything.

In the 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-old fillies, the daughter of Ghostzapper raced in a tight group toward the front of the field as Stallion Heiress lead through fractions of :23.6 and :47.03 for a half-mile. Heading into the second turn, graded stakes placed and second betting choice Enstone went to the outside of the tiring frontrunner as Mythical Mission and Holy Helena followed her move. Inflexibility, the 5-2 favorite, still remained at the back of the first group.

With six furlongs going in 1:12.18, Mythical Mission pulled away from Enstone and was immediately challenged by Holy Helena to her outside. After a minor stretch battle, Holy Helena pulled away from the rival to cross the wire first. The final time was 1:50.18 on an all weather track rated fast. The time was more than a second faster than the colts ran in the Plate Trial Stakes two races earlier.

The Jimmy Jerkens trainee entered the Woodbine Oaks on a three-quarter length score in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race at Belmont Park in May. She finished second on her debut in April at Aqueduct Racetrack going six furlongs. 

Bred in Ontario, Holy Helena is out of the winning Holy Bull mare Holy Grace. 

"She has beautiful breeding. The bottom side, it’s a great family," said owner/breeder Frank Stronach. He added that he would evaluate the filly after Sunday's race to determine whether or not she will be pointed toward the July 2 Queen's Plate Stakes, for which she would be one of the favorites.

- edited from www.bloodhorse.com, photo by Michael Burns.

Another Stakes Victory for Milwaukee Brew's Coltimus Prime


Canadian invader Coltimus Prime was a dominant winner of the 89th running of the Clasico Presidente de la Republica, the most celebrated thoroughbred race in Panama.

Watch the Clasico Presidente de la Republica

The son of Milwaukee Brew defeated 13 rivals under jockey Ángel Rodríguez, who graduated from the prestigious Laffit Pincay Jr. Riders Training Academy. He was well back along the inside in the early running behind fractions of 23.1 for the first 400 meters; 46.1 for the 800 meters, 1.10.4 for 1,200 meters and 1,600 meters in 1:37. 

Rodriquez called upon Coltimus Prime around the far turn, swung him seven-wide turning for home, and then unleashed his sensational turn of foot to win by some five lengths. The final time for the 2,100 meters was 2.11.2.

Coltimus Prime was a Classic winner in his native Canada, scoring in the 2014 Prince of Wales S. by 3 1/2 lengths. He also placed in the Grade 3 Ontario Derby and has earned nearly $500,000 in his career. 


Another Ghostzapper 2YO Commands $800,000


A colt by Ghostzapper will be joining the West Coast stable of trainer Bob Baffert after selling for $800,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale.

Bloodstock agent Donato Lanni, acting on behalf of Susan and Charlie Chu's Baoma Corp., made the winning bid on hip 516.

"We were waiting for this horse and we're very happy to get him," Lanni admitted. "...this was one of our favorite horses in the sale. At the 2-year-old sales, they are asked to do so much and this horse did everything he was asked to do. Good horses have come out of this sale. Hopefully this will be another one."

The chestnut colt is out of Malibu Cougar (Malibu Moon), a full-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Kauai Katie and to graded stakes winner Winding Way. He worked a furlong last week in :10 1/5. The Chus campaign Eclipse champion sprinter Drefong, as well as recent Los Angeles S. (G3) winner Lord Simba and Angels Flight S. heroine Faypien (also by Ghostzapper) - both OBS April purchases. The juvenile was consigned to the Midlantic sale by Cary Frommer, who purchased him for $200,000 at last year's FasigTipton Kentucky October Yearling Sale.

"When I first saw him, I just went nuts and I could hardly contain myself," Frommer admitted. "I called Barry [Berkelhammer], who was looking at horses on the other side of the grounds, and I told him, 'You have to come over and see this colt.' It was instantaneous. I just loved him when I saw him. It never changed. I always thought he was classy and the right horse. They got a great horse and we got a great price."

Ghostzapper, the only sire in North American with two Grade 1 winners through mid-May, is also the sire of an $800,000 filly at the OBS March Two-Year-Old in Training auction.

-edited from www.thoroughbreddailynews.com

A 'Keen' New Stakes Winner for Giant Gizmo


Keen Gizmo, bred and owned by Ivan Dalos (Tall Oaks Farms), made his third Steady Growth Stakes appearance his most memorable one, winning impressively in Holiday Monday’s $125,000 feature, at Woodbine.

Watch the Steady Growth Stakes

The six-year-old multiple stakes placed son of Giant Gizmo, bred in Ontario, finished second in the 1 1/16-mile main track stake in 2015 and seventh last year.

On Monday, he broke through with a flawless effort that yielded his first added-money score.

Eurico Rosa da Silva put defending champ Where’s the Widget (also by Giant Gizmo) in front from the get-go, as Nipigon kept pace to the outside, while Keen Gizmo, under Luis Contreras, tracked from third. The lead duo took the field through an opening quarter-mile in :24.53 and were still in front after a half-mile clocked in :48.43.

With his rivals turning up the pressure through the turn for home, Where’s the Widget began to fade, as Keen Gizmo struck front, going on to a 1 ¼-length victory in the 16th running of the Steady Growth, stopping the clock in a final time of 1:42.73.

It was fifth career win for the chestnut, who now has 16 top-three finishes from 24 starts and earnings of $336,423.

Contreras was relieved to see the quirky six-year-old gelding put together a giant effort in the Steady Growth.

“This horse always tries,” said the veteran rider. “But he’s one of the most difficult horses to ride. I just wanted to stay close to the pace. He likes to switch his leads a lot, so he loses his momentum sometimes.”

Today, it wasn’t an issue. 

“We’ve had a lot of confidence in this horse over the years,” said winning trainer Josie Carroll. “He’s his own worst enemy. He’s not a very focused horse and he’s always doing something silly where we miss races. Finally, he’s put it all together and done his job.”

Is he getting better with age?

“He was today,” quipped Carroll. 

Dalos was equally enthused with the mistake-free showing.

“He definitely has a lot of idiosyncrasies,” offered Dalos. “You just have to keep your fingers crossed that you get a good ride and nothing goes wrong for him.”

-edited from www.woodbineentertainment.com, photo by Michael Burns
Fort Larned Sister Triumphs in G3 Matron Stakes


Walkabout has mostly been known as the little half-sister to 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned. But after Saturday’s $100,000 Matron Stakes at Churchill Downs, she can now be regarded as a graded stakes winner.

Unleashing a furious rally down the center of the track under Brian Hernandez Jr., Walkabout got up in the closing strikes to catch Improv by a neck in the Grade 3 Matron, a race that had formerly been run as the Arlington Matron before it was moved from Arlington to Churchill Downs this year.

Other than in pedigree, late-running Walkabout is a different horse than the speedy Fort Larned, who preferred to be prominently placed in his races. She rated 17 lengths off the leaders in the Matron, as Improv set lively splits of 47.03 seconds and 1:11.57 in the 1 1/16-mile race.

Even at the six-furlong stage Walkabout seemed to have too much left to do to win, still in ninth with nearly eight lengths to make up, but Improv began to grow fatigued, and none of the others in the field, including favored Curlin’s Approval, were doing much to threaten.

Walkabout, a 4-year-old daughter of Stroll bred and owned by Whitham Thoroughbreds, raced 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.06, paying $12 as the third favorite in the field of 11.

Winning trainer Ian Wilkes said the key to Walkabout has been learning how she prefers to race. For much of last year she was being placed only a few lengths off the leaders.
“She didn’t want any part of that,” he said. “She made us understand how she wanted to run. She wanted to be patient and finish off a race.”

A larger test may lie ahead for Walkabout with Churchill positioning the Matron as a prep for the Grade 2, $200,000 Fleur De Lis on Stephen Foster Night, June 17.

- edited from www.drf.com, photo by Coady

Shaman Ghost Too Good in Pimlico Special


Homebred grade 1 winner Shaman Ghost took his skills to Maryland and gave owner Frank Stronach a thrill on the state's biggest racing weekend.

After a victory in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1), which followed a runner-up finish to champion Arrogate in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1), the 5-year-old son of Ghostzapper ground out a determined neck victory May 19 over pacesetter and fellow Jimmy Jerkens trainee Dolphus in the $300,000 Xpressbet Pimlico Special (G3) at Pimlico Race Course, a track owned by The Stronach Group, one day before the Preakness Stakes (G1).

Watch the Pimlico Special

Dolphus, a half brother to Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, showed the way throughout and dug in gamely when Shaman Ghost came to him with a sweeping move under Javier Castellano, but could not hold off his stablemate.

"I could have gone to the lead any time, but I didn't want to," Castellano said. "He's very straightforward. You can put him wherever you want."

"I just couldn't hold off Shaman Ghost, but he battled hard today," jockey Rajiv Maragh said of Dolphus, who ran fractions of :23.84 and :47.92 for a half-mile, then carried on through three-quarters in 1:12.41 and a mile in 1:36.50. Shaman Ghost bided his time in the second tier before mounting the outside rally that carried him to victory. The final time for the 1 3/16-mile challenge was 1:54.55 on a fast main track. He earned a 106 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

"Dolphus had his own way," Jerkens said. "He wasn't exactly walking, but he got three-quarters in 1:12. The way the track was playing today, I thought he had a shot to hang on. Shaman had a little too much for him, but Dolphus ran terrific. It's terrifict to run 1-2... It's great to win for Mr. Stronach at his track, and it's great to keep Shaman going."

"I love the horse and I have so much confidence in him, because he reminds me of his father," said Castellano, who rode Ghostzapper to his Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) score for Stronach in 2004. "Ghostzapper was such a great horse. He got better the more he matured.

"This is such an honest horse. Jimmy Jerkens did a great job for him. He takes his time and picks out good spots."

Bred in Ontario out of the Gilded Time mare Getback Time, Shaman Ghost picked up his fifth graded stakes score and eighth win overall. He launched his progression to the top level with a victory in the 2015 Marine Stakes (G3) at Woodbine while in the care of trainer Brian Lynch, after which he won the Queens Plate and ran second in the Prince of Wales Stakes.

Moved to Jerkens, he won the Brooklyn Stakes (G2) and Woodward Stakes (G1) in 2016, then was third in the Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (G1) to cap his campaign before the 2017 run that has seen him put together back-to-back graded wins. 

-edited from www.bloodhorse.com

Adena Springs Stallions Well-Represented at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2YO Sale


There are several juveniles by many of Adena Springs' top stallions being offered at next week's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Old in training sale. 

Awesome Again: Hip #239, Hip #273, Hip #345Hip #552  
Fort Larned: Hip #96 
Ghostzapper: Hip #410, Hip #516, Hip #563 
Hunters Bay: Hip #193 
Macho Uno: Hip #1, Hip #275  
Point of Entry: Hip #509 
Silent Name: Hip #9,  Hip #523 

Awesome Adena Canada Stallions

Silent Name has made some noise, siring a very solid 15% stakes horses. In 2016, the son of SundaySilence was Canada’s Leading Sire of 2YOs by earnings, winners, blacktype winners, and blacktype horses. He has two juveniles catalogued.

Freshman Sire Hunters Bay also is represented in the sale.  He is a multiple Graded stakes winner by Ghostzapper out of Graded stakes winner Smok’n Frolic. Champion Older Male in Canada, he earned over $600,000 and won from 7 furlongs to 1 1/4 miles.

Tried and True Kentucky Stallions

Awesome Again is the only horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and to sire a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner. He has 14 Grade 1 winners, four Champions.  He’s also being recognized as a top broodmare sire. His daughters have produced 64 stakes winners (including five Champions).

Awesome Again's son Ghostzapper has three colts expected to sell.  Ranked among the Top 5 Leading Sires in 2017. Ghostzapper is the sire of two Grade 1 winners this year, Santa Anita H.-G1 winner Shaman Ghost, and two-time G1 winner Paulassilverlining.  He’s also been a hit at the 2YO sales. Top prices include a $800,000 filly, $460,000 filly, and $400,000 colt.

Macho Uno has two juveniles going through the ring at the Midlantic. He is the sire of six Grade 1 winners and four Millionaires. They include Private Zone (Cigar Mile-G1), Mucho Macho Man (Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1, Awesome Again-G1, etc.), and Macho Again (Stephen Foster H.-G1).

Adena Springs Kentucky’s Young Guns

Two Adena Stallions with their first 2YOs this year will also be represented at the Midlantic sale. Fort Larned, a Classic-distance horse with considerable speed, has one colt catalogued. Fort Larned won the Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1, Whitney H.-G1, and Stephen Foster H.-G1, and earned nearly $4.5 million.

In addition, Point of Enty has one filly expected to go through the ring. Dynaformer’s most accomplished son at stud, Point of Entry won five Grade 1 races, including the Man o’ War S., Sword Dancer S., and Joe Hirsch S. by a combined 9 1/2 lengths. His first 2YOs this year have been very well received with $500,000-plus juveniles on both sides of the Atlantic. He ranks as the #2 sire in his crop by 2017 two-year-old average, with individuals selling for $675,000, $515,000, $300,000 and $210,000.

The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale runs for two days, May 22 & 23 in Timonium, Maryland.

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