3.31.2013 - Sligo Bay's Regalo Mia Makes the Grade in Orchid S. (G3)
In a span of 10 weeks, Regalo Mia
has wiped away a 2012 marked by tough defeats.
Powering down the center of the Gulfstream Park turf course, Regalo Mia bounded home a two-length winner of Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Orchid Stakes. It was her second straight victory here, having won the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf in January.
Regalo Mia, a daughter of Sligo Bay
, has won three races in her career, all at Gulfstream Park.
Regalo Mia lost three graded stakes by a neck, a neck, and a nose as a three-year-old in 2012. She then missed the entire summer after developing pneumonia following a ship to Southern California for the American Oaks at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Michelle Nihei, who trains Regalo Mia for Steven Ciccarone, said the two wins at this meet have helped make up for last year’s disappointments.
“Enormously,” Nihei said. “It was huge. She was small anyway. The maturity helped her.”
Nihei said she was confident that Regalo Mia could get marathon distances such as the 1 1/2 miles of the Orchid, but she couldn’t find races for her at the distance last year.
“Her running style allows her to do so much because she’s rideable,” Nihei said. “She’s the kind of horse that likes to take her time. She doesn’t need to be rushed. Anything at a mile and an eighth or more was going to suit her perfectly.”
Luis Contreras was confident that Regalo Mia could get the distance after he worked her five furlongs at Palm Meadows on March 23. He said he couldn’t pull her up.
Saturday, Regalo Mia broke well and settled into fifth along the inside as Closing Range set the pace chased by Game Fair, Seanchai, and Starformer.
Approaching the top of the lane, Contreras swung Regalo Mia out to the center of the course, and she closed powerfully to get the win.
Regalo Mia covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:23.48 and returned $19.40 to win.
“She kicked very hard at the end. She was so nice and relaxed pretty much all the way,” Contreras said. “I was in a great position behind the leaders. At the time I asked her at the quarter pole she just exploded.”
Nihei said that she would keep Regalo Mia at marathon distances and may look at the Bewitch at Keeneland on April 25.
-edited from www.drf.com
1.20.2013 - Regalo Mia Latest Stakes Winner for Sligo Bay
overcame a wide trip and a relatively paceless race, rallying from last to a three-quarter-length victory over defending champion, Grade 1 winner Hooh Why, in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf.
The victory was the first stakes success for Regalo Mia, a 4-year-old daughter of Sligo Ba
y who is owned by Steven Cicarone and trained by Michelle Nihei. Regalo Mia, who was graded stakes-placed three times at 3, missed five months of her 2012 campaign after contracting pneumonia while in California last summer for the Grade 1 American Oaks.
With the scratch of Speak Easy Gal, Romacaca set the pace as expected, with jockey Javier Castellano content to allow Regalo Mia to relax at the rear of the field for the opening six furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile Filly and Mare Turf. Regalo Mia began her rally on the second turn, came four wide around the leaders to join for command entering the stretch, and edged away from Hooh Why through the final sixteenth.
“You just have to throw her last race out, it was just unusual conditions at Churchill Downs and it wasn’t our day,” Nihei said. “There’s no question she’s back to where she was before she got sick last year. You can’t run outside all these horses at a mile and one eighth under these conditions and not be okay. We knew we had a nice filly the way she came in as a 2-year-old, she runs with so much heart
12.2.2012 - Sligo Bay Son Rolls in Rich Zia Park Derby
Local hope Ol Winedrinker Who
overcame some drifting in the homestretch to capture the $150,000 Zia Park Derby by 3 3/4 lengths Dec. 1 in Hobbs, N.M.
A Texas homebred son of Sligo Bay
owned by Sam E. and Sammy L. Stevens, the winner was ridden to victory by Carlos Madeira for trainer Joel Marr.
Ol Winedrinker Who rallied on the far outside while drifting out in the drive to sweep past odds-on favorite Alsvid near mid-stretch.
Ol Winedrinker Who, one of only two horses in the race based in New Mexico, was facing five shippers.
"We knew it would be tough," Marr said. "But we knew... that was that he was training as good as he could train and loved the course. I think that's got to help. He just likes it here."
Ol Winedrinker Who chased the pacesetters Motown Men and Alsvid in third as the leaders separated themselves from the rest of the pack by as many as seven lengths, carving out a solid pace of :23.55, :47.29, and 1:11.73. Ol Winedrinker Who, Whining, and Master Rick cut the gap on the final turn and the leaders were four across in upper stretch after Motown Men gave way.
Ol Winedrinker Who had posted three consecutive runner-up finishes since taking the six-furlong Norgor Derby June 17 at Ruidoso Downs. The last two races came around two turns at Zia Park against $30,000 allowance/optional claiming rivals. The dark bay or brown gelding, out of the Prenup mare Silverup won for the first time in four starts over the track.
"We've always been wanting to go long, and this is the race we've pointing towards for the last six to eight months," Marr said.
The victory, worth $89,100, boosted Ol Winedrinker Who's career earnings to $179,713.
- edited from www.bloodhorse.com
4.23.2012 - Bourbon Bay (by Sligo Bay) Takes Historic 'Capristrano' Again
The longest race at Santa Anita Park, the closing day $150,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IIT), was settled by less than an inch when Bourbon Bay (by Sligo Bay)
came from far out of it at the quarter pole to tag upset-minded Eagle Poise at the wire April 22.
Neither 5-1 shot Eagle Poise, ridden by Alex Solis, nor even-money favorite Bourbon Bay, with Joel Rosario aboard, were anywhere near the pace. But both came home charging down the Santa Anita turf course in heart-pounding style to stage a memorable finish.
This is getting to be old hat for Bourbon Bay, who came from well out of things in the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. IIT) to win by a head March 25 with Rosario riding him for the first time. Rosario was much farther behind in the San Juan but 6-year-old Bourbon Bay, a tiger on the Santa Anita turf, would not be denied no matter how precarious things were.
"I just wanted him to relax," Rosario told HRTV immediately afterward. "Maybe he was a little too relaxed today."
Trainer Neil Drysdale picked up his fourth win in the San Juan and his second in the about 1 3/4-mile event with the 122-pound high weight Bourbon Bay, who previously won the race in 2010.
Drysdale, commenting on the closeness of the finish, said he didn't think Bourbon Bay had won. “I have to be honest; I thought we’d been pipped, but I’m very happy. He’s a lovely horse. I actually thought he hadn’t gotten there today, I really did. I was pleasantly surprised when they put his number up.”
The Hall of Fame trainer had complained following the San Luis Rey that Rosario let Bourbon Bay get too far behind. This time, he said with a smile, "I don't know who was sleeping, the jockey or the horse. But he'a a great horse."
Bourbon Bay, a gelding by Sligo Bay out of the Conquistador Cielo mare Coral Necklace, certainly is a great horse at Santa Anita, where he has taken seven of nine starts on the turf including a half-dozen grade II triumphs.
Drysdale is a former assistant to the great Charles Whittingham, who won an incredible 14 renewals of the San Juan Capistrano. Asked if he thought he'd be able to catch his mentor, Drysdale deadpanned, "I think I'll run out of time."
David and Jill Heerensperger own Bourbon Bay, who was bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs.
Facing five opponents in the San Juan Capistrano, Bourbon Bay dropped back to last soon after the start as Hog's Hollow went to the front and set a solid pace for the distance. Hog's Hollow covered the opening six furlongs in 1:12.92, the mile in 1:38.19 and 10 furlongs in 2:03.44 as Harrods Creek, Bonfire Knight, and Dhaamer tracked. Eagle Poise and Bourbon Bay trailed, with Bourbon Bay more than 15 lengths behind with a half-mile to run.
Harrods Creek made a big move for Mike Smith on the final turn and opened up quickly in the stretch to lead by about four lengths as Eagle Poise and Solis wound up their charge. Bourbon Bay still had just one beaten at the top of the stretch with about nine lengths to make up. Eagle Poise swept past a weakening Harrods Creek in deep stretch and appeared headed for victory under strong right-handed urging from Solis.
But Bourbon Bay, still fourth at the furlong mark and nearly six lengths behind under left-handed urging, was building tremendous momentum. Rosario coaxed just enough out of him to reach the wire first in the final lunge.
“I was probably too far back but I was never worried about it," said Rosario, who was a runaway winner of the jockey title at Santa Anita this season. "He’s a great horse
and he can handle this distance well. It was pretty close. Right in the middle of the race I thought they were probably going a little too quick for the distance. I never panicked and didn’t try to make a move early.”
Bourbon Bay improved his career record to 9-5-4 in 26 races and bumped his earnings to $968,536 with the winner's share of $90,000.
Drysdale said Bourbon Bay deserves a vacation. "This was a very demanding race,” he said.
-edited from bloodhorse.com
3.25.2012 - Sligo Bay's Bourbon Bay Win 6th Graded Stake
David and Jill Heerensperger’s classy long-distance specialist Bourbon
turned in one of the best performances of his career
mounting a furious rally from last at the quarter pole and reeling in
game Slim Shadey (GB) to win the $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes (G2) by a
head at Santa Anita Park.
The six-year-old Sligo Bay (Ire)
gelding secured his first win since taking the Cougar II Handicap (G3)
on Del Mar’s synthetic Polytrack surface on July 29 and won his sixth
graded stakes overall, adding to a sterling résumé that includes a win
in the 2010 San Luis Rey. Only two other horses have won the San Luis Rey twice, the last being the great John Henry in 1980 and 1981.
Jockey Joel Rosario kept the gelding
reserved behind his four opponents through an opening half-mile in :48
and six furlongs in 1:13.12. Pacesetter Hog’s Hollow was joined by
stalkers Utopian and Slim Shadey entering the final turn and those three
battled in early stretch. Bourbon Bay rallied from 5 1/2 lengths back
at the quarter pole to prevail with a powerful rush as the 6-to-5
Slim Shadey dispatched Hog’s Hollow with a sixteenth
of a mile remaining and momentarily appeared to have the race in hand,
but Bourbon Bay surged home under Rosario to deny Slim Shadey at the
finish line. He covered about 1 ½ miles in 2:25.78 on turf rated firm
despite rainy weather on Sunday. The starting gate for the San Luis Rey
was moved from its normal position on Santa Anita’s downhill course and
placed near the half-mile marker on the backstretch due to the course
“This is a really good horse
,” Rosario said. “I’ve
never been on him before, but he has a nice turn of foot. He tries
really hard at this distance. My horse felt good on the track. I don’t
know how others handled the rain, but everything worked out perfect for
Bay blossomed into one of the top turf performers on the West Coast as a
four-year-old under trainer Neil Drysdale’s guidance, winning three
consecutive Grade 2 turf stakes at Santa Anita during spring 2010. He
followed that up in 2011 by winning the San Marcos at Santa Anita and
setting a track record at Del Mar for 1 1/2 miles in the Cougar II last
Overall, Bourbon Bay has eight wins in 25 career starts and $878,536 in purse earnings. Drysdale indicated following the San Luis
Rey that he would point Bourbon Bay to the about 1 ¾-mile San Juan
Capistrano Stakes (G2) on April 22, a race that Bourbon Bay won in 2010
and that serves as the traditional closing stakes race of Santa Anita’s
Bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs, Bourbon Bay is
out of the winning Conquistador Cielo mare Coral Necklace and is a half
brother to Canadian champion Ginger Brew.
-edited from ThoroughbredTimes.com
7.30.2011 - Bourbon Bay Set Track Record in 5th Graded Stakes Win
, the king of the 2010 distance turf series at Santa Anita, returned to his winning ways on the Del Mar Polytrack in the July 29 $125,000 Cougar II Handicap (gr. III) in the seaside oval’s Friday night feature.
The Cougar II is a Breeders’ Cup "Win & You’re In" race, giving Bourbon Bay a slot in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon (gr. II).
The 5-year-old gelded son of Sligo Bay set a track record in the process
, covering the 12 furlongs in 2:29.39 under Joe Talamo while winning by 2 3/4 lengths. Bourbon Bay was winning his seventh race from 20 starts and has banked nearly $700,000 for owners Jill and David Heerensperger of Washington State. Neil Drysdale is the winning conditioner. Bourbon Bay was bred in Kentucky by Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs and is out of the Conquistador Cielo mare Coral Necklace.
Bourbon Bay took the San Luis Obispo (gr. IIT), the San Luis Rey (gr. IIT), and the San Juan Capistrano (gr. IIT) in the spring of 2010 at Santa Anita. He opened this year with a victory in the San Marcos Stakes (gr. II).
With a half mile to run in the Cougar II, Bourbon Bay began moving on the outside of 3-2 favorite Setsuko. Turning off the final bend Talamo took Bourbon Bay to the outside, and he cruised past Dahoud to a facile victory. Dahoud held second, Setsuko finished third, and Times Gone By was fourth. The winner carried top weight of 121 pounds and paid $6.60, $4.60, and $2.80 as the second choice in the field of seven. Dahoud was worth $4.60 and $3.20, while Setsuko returned $2.40.
"It all set up good," Talamo said. "I was in the right spot and hitting my spots all along the way. That’s easy to do when you ride a good horse like this. They put you in the right spot. All you’ve got to do is point them in the right direction.”
“My horse ran good, but the winner was very impressive today
," said Joel Rosario, who was aboard Dahoud. "He was best.”
Drysdale said the victory will help Bourbon Bay restore some lost confidence.
“He’d had some difficult trips the last few times," Drysdale said. "So we just wanted to get his confidence back and felt that this would be a really nice race to get his confidence back up."
Drysdale said Bourbon Bay would likely make his next start in the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) or if the field looks weak, the Pacific Classic (gr. I), both on Aug. 28.
-edited from bloodhorse.com
6.4.2011 - Bay To Bay Wins G2 Nassau S. at Woodbine
Bay to Bay
, a 4yo filly by Sligo Bay
raced prominently under Luis Contreras en route to a decisive tally over a quality field in Saturday's Grade 2, $301,200 Nassau Stakes at Woodbine.
Woolly Bear set moderate fractions in the one-mile turf event, over a course labeled yielding. Bay to Bay tracked the leader in second before assuming command early in the stretch, and she got home on top by two lengths
over favored Never Retreat. The final time was 1:36.48.
Bay to Bay earned $180,000 for owner Robert Smithen and trainer Brian Lynch, increasing her earnings to $536,199. She is now a three-time stakes winner and a dual graded winner.
"I didn't really tell [Contreras] too much," said Lynch. "I just said there's a little speed in there, and I wouldn't imagine that you'd want to be too far away. We kept her a little bit fresh, hoping that she'd put herself into the race a little more. It's great when it goes [according] to plan."
1.18.2011 - Bourbon Bay Back On Top in Southern Cal
David and Jill Heerensperger’s Bourbon Bay is at it again
. After sweeping Santa Anita Park’s series of turf route races a year ago, Bourbon Bay signaled a possible encore with a stylish victory in the Jan. 17, $150,000 San Marcos Stakes (10F, Turf) (gr. II).
Under jockey Rafael Bejarano, Bourbon Bay sat in third position for most of the 10-furlong San Marcos, which went in honest fractions of :23.91, :47.81, 1:11.84, and 1:35.83. Coming out of the final turn Bourbon Bay unleashed the winning move, taking charge and drawing off by 1 ¾ lengths in 2:00.03.
“I was pretty comfortable the whole way, in great position,” said Bejarano. “When I saw the favorite (Champ Pegasus) was let go, I thought I had more horse. As soon as I got the opportunity, I tried to get the first jump and let my horse go.”
Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) runner-up Champ Pegasus settled for second as the San Marcos favorite, finishing 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Sebastian Flyte, who was third.
Bourbon Bay is a 5 year old gelded son of Sligo Bay
-Coral Necklace, by Conquistador Cielo. He was bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs,
which on the same day as the San Marcos won the Eclipse Award for breeding excellence in 2010
. Neil Drysdale is the winning conditioner.
-edited from bloodhorse.com