Friday, September 10, 2010

J P's Gusto is top freshman in California: Rewilding is warm favorite in English St Leger

A freshman in California lifted his already lofty reputation to a loftier plateau when winning the Grade I Del Mar Futurity on Wednesday. The 1400-metre race on Del Mar’s polytrack was the feature on the last day of the summer campaign, J P’s Gusto, from the yard of David Hoffmans, won his fourth consecutive race and was the 8/10 favorite. The 47 year-old Patrick Valenzuela was aboard the Successful Appeal colt and it was a case of déjà vu for the jockey as he won the Futurity with Best Pal in 1990.

“Just like Best Pal, he (J P’s Gusto) is a very feisty horse,” Valenzuela remarked.

J P’s Gusto prompted the pace for a better part of the journey, struck the front with 400 metres to run and won by four and one half lengths. The time was 1 22.95. Eleven freshmen went postward in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity. Jaycito was held up and rallied to be a non-threatening second. J P’s Gusto is out of Call Her Magic by Caller I D. After a loss in his debut, the David Hoffmans trainee, has won four in a row. The next race for J P’s Gusto will be the Norfolk Stakes at Hollywood Park on October 2.

Trainer Hoffmans expressed the view that J P’s Gusto’s willingness to wait for his rider’s cue makes him think that longer distances are within his colt’s reach. “He is smart. Around the turn with the horses lapped on him, he was waiting for Patrick to ask him. That’s what he does. He was just galloping, waiting for Pat to give him the cue.”

There is an equine retirement. Ask, a Michael Stoute-trained horse, has physical problems. With seven wins from 19 outings, Ask earned $1,486,022. Saddler’s Wells is the sire of Ask whose dam is Request by Rainbow Quest. Ask’s biggest win came in the 2009 Coronation Cup at Epsom, a race I was privileged to see. With Ryan Moore, Ask won in a three-way photo. Youmzain was second and Look Here, the 2008 Oaks heroine, was third.

Greinton is a three-time Grade I winner. The Green Dancer horse won his first two starts in France. At three, he joined Charlie Whittingham’s stable in California. In the US, Greinton, at four, won the Californian and the Hollywood Gold Cup. At five, Greinton emerged victorious in the Santa Anita Handicap. The 29 year-old died at a farm near Berlin in Germany. Greinton won 10 races from 22 starts and made a shade under two million dollars. Miss Greinton, Classic Queen, Tanabata, Forever Nice, Bellino and Charismatique are some of the progenies of Greinton.

I was at Tokyo Racecourse in November 2005 when Kane Hekili won the (dirt) Japan Cup. Winner of seven Group I events, Kane Hekili won the Japan Cup twice and won the (dirt) Japanese Derby. A son of Fuji Kiseki, Kane Hekili has been retired. He has injured tendons in the forelegs. Fuji Kiseki is by Sunday Silence who had a tremendous impact on breeding in Japan. Sunday Silence is a Kentucky Derby winner. Kane Hekili’s dam is Life Out There who is by Deputy Minister.

A thought or two on the Group II Park Hill Stakes run at Doncaster on Thursday. Eastern Aria, trained by Mark Johnston, won for the third time in her last four starts. Her loss at Deauville came on a very soft grass course. Frankie Dettori rode the daughter of Halling who won by a length in a time of 3.2 seconds over the 2900-metre race. Badraan by Danzig, is Eastern Aria’s dam. A Group I race beckons for the Mark Johnston pupil. Badraan is in India.

Another race on Thursday at Doncaster attracted attention. Twenty one freshmen answered the starter’s call in the 300,000-pound Weathersby Insurance Stakes over 1300 metres. Wootton Bassett, the 2/1 favorite from Richard Fahey’s barn, did not let her supporters down. With the in-form Paul Hanaghan who is on his way to his first British riding title, Wootton Bassett won by a length in one minute 17.99 seconds. The winner’s purse was 193,000 pounds. Wootton Bassett is by Iffraaj and is four for four lifetime. The first win came at Ayr with Tony Hamilton. The second and fourth wins were at Doncaster. The third came at York. Paul Hanaghan has been aboard in the second, third and fourth wins. I was at York in 2005 when the Royal Ascot meeting was held at the Knavesmire. Iffraaj, Philip Robinson up, won the Wokingham Stakes.

Charlie Barley was the champion turf horse in Canada in 1989. By Affirmed out of Au Printemps by Dancing Champ, Charlie Barley is dead at 24. Infirmities of old age was cited as the reason. Bought for $50,000 as a yearling, Charlie Barley was retired in 1990. He won 10 of 24 starts for $922,943. He won eight stakes races. Woodbine honors the memory with the running of the Charlie Barley Stakes in July.

John Haney and Scott Abbott are co-owners. John spoke, “he died of old age. He was the highlight of Scott’s and my racing career. He was a super horse. We were lucky to be associated with such a great talent.”

Saturday’s Curragh card has seven races. The third is the 1400-metre Vincent O’Brien National Stakes. It is a Group I race for two year-olds. There are nine runners. Zoffany, from Aidan O’Brien’s stable and the mount of John Murtagh, has five wins from six starts and is the 7/4 favorite. Pathfork, trained by Jessica Harrington, has raced twice and won twice. A Distorted Humor colt, Pathfork is the 9/4 second choice. Another who will have some support is the Godolphin-owned Janood who is two for two and is the only British raider. The Medicean colt will be ridden by Alan Munro because Dettori will be riding Rewilding at Doncaster in the English St Leger.

The fourth race at the Curragh on Saturday is the Irish Field St Leger. The Irish version is for horses three and up. Eight go postward. The distance is one mile six furlongs. Flying Cross, Murtagh up, goes for three in a row. Olivier Peslier flies into Dublin to ride the Jeremy Noseda-trained Sans Frontieres. The Dermot-Weld-trained Profound Beauty is in the field and will be ridden by Pat Smullen.

We will preview the St Leger on Saturday at Doncaster. It is for sophomores over one mile six furlongs and 132 yards. The St Leger is at 3 20 PM (British time) and is the third race in the six-contest card. Rewilding, a Godolphin runner trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni who is seeking his first Classic win, is the big favorite. A runaway winner in Goodwood’s Cocked Hat Stakes, Rewilding, a son of Tiger Hill, ran third in Workforce’s Epsom Derby. In York’s Great Voltigeur Stakes, Rewilding romped home and gave every indication that the St Leger distance will not be a concern. Another thing is that Rewilding’s mother is Darara whose daughter, Dar Re Mi was an established distance runner. The Sporting Life has called Rewilding, the 11/8 favorite, ‘the proverbial good thing.’ Rain is in the forecast but that should hold no fears for the Rewilding camp. The St Leger favorite has won on heavy ground in France when in the care of Andre Fabre. Finally, Dettori is seeking his sixth win in England’s oldest classic.

Michael Stoute sends out Total Command. Ryan Moore rides. Incidentally, there is a Ryan Moore, a professional golfer, who is playing in a tournament in Chicago this week. At the end of Thursday, the first day, Moore was second in the leader board. Total Command was ninth in the Voltigeur. Stoute has said that his charge had a health problem then.

John Gosden’s representative is Arctic Cosmos who will have William Buick. Aidan O’Brien has two runners, Midas Touch and Joshua Tree. Colm O’Donoghue rides the former and Jamie Spencer will be aboard the latter. John Murtagh stays behind at the Curragh. Midas Touch was second in the Irish Derby and again second to Rewilding in the Great Voltigeur. It is important to note that Midas Touch was giving Rewilding three pounds in the Voltigeur. Colm is a great friend and I wish him all luck. Joshua Tree shocked the Royal Lodge field at Ascot last September. Since, he has run third in the Voltigeur.

There is a filly in the St Leger. Snow Fairy, dual Oaks winner, will take her chances. With Ryan Moore not available, trainer Ed Dunlop has turned to Eddie Ahern. Snow Fairy’s big concern is heavy ground. There has been rain at the Town Moor (moniker for Doncaster) and Dunlop is hoping that the ground will be suitable to his filly.

Mark Johnston runs Corsica to be ridden by Joe Fanning. Dandino, a J G Given trainee, has Paul Mulrennan who was in India the past winter. Ted Spread, trained by Tompkins, will have Darryll Holland. Theolory will have Paul Hanaghan because Richard Hughes will be at Goodwood.

What is my pick? It is difficult to oppose Rewilding. Dettori knows Doncaster like the back of his hand. The distance and the going will pose no problems.

John Tinsley, John Brown and Sam Sena are three individuals who helped me establish myself in America. They were all in the horse racing business. All three are no more. My wife and I honor their memories. Every September, we hold a Memorial party for the three families and some friends. The party is held at Maywood Park, a harness facility, about two miles from where I live. The party is on Friday, September 10.

Chicago, Friday, September 10, 2010

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting that in Europe there are major stakes races run during the week. In the US that only occurs at Saratoga and Del Mar during the summer. It is nice to see some of the horses Tom has mentioned live to a ripe old age. The race recaps and previews are excellent as usual!