PURE PRAISE adds win #3

Kirkwood consigned and sold PURE PRAISE at the 2017 OBS March Sale for $110,000. Today the 4-year-old Congrats filly added her third win – this time going a mile on the turf at Tampa. She ran ar first off the pace, then swung wide and rallied to win by a head. She is owned by Lambholm Stable  and trained by Roy S. Lerman.

BELLERIN scores at Santa Anita for win #2

Kirkwood has many happy associations with the family of BELLERIN (Malibu Moon – Seek to Soar, by Seeking the Gold) through his grand dam Soaring Softly.
Yesterday going a mile on the dirt at Santa Anita, BELLERIN showed early speed and was leading by the first quarter – he and stayed there to score his second win. The gelding was sold by  Kirkwood for $60,000 to trainer Carla Gaines for her client, owner Keith Brackpool.

CHESS CHIEF graduates at the Fair Grounds

CHESS CHIEF ( Into Mischief) did not care for his first starts sprinting but relished two turns. Racing 1 1/16 at the Fair Grounds, he split horses in midstretch, overtook the leader and held off a late-surging closer to win by 1/2 a length.
Lifetime Record: 5-1-0-1, $33,590.
O-James Coleman, Jr.
B-Morgan’s Ford Farm (VA)
T-Dallas Stewart.

HIT IT ONCE MORE 2nd in the Bernardini at Aqueduct

HIT IT ONCE MORE ( Hard Spun) jumped right to the lead in the 1 5/16th mile Bernardini S at Aqueduct. He held on tenaciously, but could not hold off a closer in deep stretch and had to settle for 2nd.   Last year he had no trouble at all wiring the field to win the  Genesee Valley Breeders’ Stakes at Finger Lakes.   The six-year-old horse has 3 prior stakes wins under his belt, the NY Derby, the Albany Stakes and the Haynesfied Stakes. He is owned by Yellow Moon Stables LLC and trained by Gary Sciacca. He has an enviable record of  36 -7-3-5, $585,997 HIT IT ONCE MORE got his early start with Kirkwood and was sold at Timonium as a 2-year-old in training for $90,000.

JUS LIVELY wins 2nd in row

JUS LIVELY took 1 race to figure out the game then graduated in his next out. He followed that right up with win #2.  The Paddy O’Prado 3-year-old did not have an easy trip through the field, but cleared for a win by 3 lengths. He raced a mile and 70 yards on the dirt at the Fair Grounds. He is owned by  Ellen Addison and trained by Steven M. Asmussen.

IRISH HUSTLE graduates at the Fair Grounds

3 year old Data Link filly IRISH HUSTLE saved ground early and then moved into contention and cleared the field for the win.  She raced a mile on the dirt in a race pulled off the turf. She was offered as one of Kirkwood’s  Gallop Group at Gulfstream and purchased by current owner  Martin Racing Stable LLC. The filly is trained by W. Bret Calhoun.

Coal Front Game in Two-Turn Test in Razorback

Courtesy of the TDN

8th at OP , Gr. Stk, $500,000 GIII Razorback H. (1 1/16m) Winner: Coal Front, r, 5 by Stay Thirsty

Coal Front | Coady Photography

Monday, Oaklawn Park
RAZORBACK H.-GIII, $500,000, Oaklawn, 2-18, 4yo/up, 1 1/16m, 1:43.45, ft.
1–COAL FRONT, 120, r, 5, by Stay Thirsty
1st Dam: Miner’s Secret, by Mineshaft
2nd Dam: Madam Lagonza, by Kingmambo
3rd Dam: Hire a Brain, by Seattle Slew
‘TDN Rising Star’
(Kirkwood prepared and sold $575,000 2yo ’16 OBSAPR).
O-Robert V.LaPenta & Head of Plains Partners LLC;
B-Michael EdwardConnelly (KY)
T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-John R. Velazquez.
Lifetime Record: 8-6-0-0, $777,280.

Coal Front made his first start around two turns a winning one, leading home a ‘TDN Rising Star’ exacta over Copper Bullet in Hot Springs Monday.

Away to a sharp start from the often-tricky post 14, Coal Front immediately locked horns with California invader All Out Blitz (Concord Point) heading into the first turn and the pair sparred through a sharp opening quarter-mile in :22.78. Coal Front allowed his pace rival to momentarily spurt clear after that juncture, but quickly reasserted himself heading into the far turn. Striking the front in mid-stretch, the dark bay dug in determinedly to hold off a persistent late bid from Copper Bullet to claim the victory. Longshot Rated R Superstar, who encountered some traffic trouble while closing from the back of the pack, settled for third at odds of 70-1.

Coal Front displayed significant talent from the outset of his career, capturing his first three starts, including the GII Amsterdam S. at Saratoga in July 2017. He added a victory in the GIII Gallant Bob S. in September of that year, but was subsequently sent to the sidelines for an extended layup. Returning to action 13 months later with a fifth-place finish in Aqueduct’s GIII Bold Ruler S. Nov. 2, he got back on track with an authoritative score in the GIII Mr. Prospector S. at Gulfstream Dec. 22. The son of Stay Thirsty posted a steady series of drills at Todd Pletcher’s Palm Beach Downs base in preparation for his two-turn debut.

Pedigree Notes:

Coal Front’s dam Miner’s Secret is an unraced half-sister to MGSW turfer Woodlander (Forestry), SW Admiral Alex (Afleet Alex) and to the dam of GSW Azar (Scat Daddy). In addition to SW/GSP Conquest Titan (Birdstone), Miner’s Secret is represented by a 2-year-old filly by Pioneerof the Nile and a yearling colt by American Pharoah. She was bred to Arrogate last year.


SPLASHY KISSES, a GULFSTREAM GALLOP graduate adds G3 black-type in the SWEET LIFE S at Santa Anita

Gaining a graded stakes-placing in the  GII Pocahontas S at 2,  SPLASHY KISSES opened her 3-year-old campaign adding more graded black-type to her pedigree page running 3rd in the G3- Sweet Life S  at Santa Anita.

SPLASHY KISSES was one of the five 2-year-olds purchased as yearlings in 2017 under the name Gulfstream Gallop sold at the 2018 Gulfstream auction. The Blame filly was a maiden winner at Del Mar in August and finished second in the GII Pocahontas S. at Churchill Downs.

“We feel great about last year’s results,” Elser said. “That vindicates the project. We have some later-developing horses who ran well first time and look like they are okay. But to have the one filly be graded placed in the first small group of relatively inexpensive horses is very gratifying. I’ve checked with everybody who has one and they are pleased enough. They are going to win their share, they think.”

After putting a toe in the water last year, Elser’s client decided to increase his investment going into the 2018 yearling sales.

Gulfstream Gallop opened its 2018 yearling purchases with a $50,000 colt by Bayern  at the Fasig-Tipton July sale and purchased a colt by Flatter  for the same price at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. It made its biggest purchase of the year with a $65,000 daughter of Street Sense  one of three purchased at the Fasig-Tipton October sale.


Mucho Gusto Moves Into Top 10 of NTRA 3-Year-Old Poll

Mucho Gusto debuts this week at No. 4 in the NTRA Top 3-year-old poll
Mucho Gusto debuts this week at No. 4 in the NTRA Top 3-year-old poll


Kirkwood consigned MUCHO GUSTO brought $625,000 at the Fasig Tipton Midlantic Sale at Timonium in 2018.

An open-length victory in the grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes Feb. 2 at Santa Anita Park was enough to earn Mucho Gusto a place in the top 10 in this week’s National Thoroughbred Racing Association top 3-year-old poll.

Owned by Michael Lund Petersen, Mucho Gusto became the latest sophomore from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert to stamp himself within the division. He debuts at No. 4 in this week’s poll.

“This is the time of the year when you want to start getting excited about something (on the Triple Crown trail),” Baffert said after the race. “We’re still dreaming in Technicolor, but they have to start performing and they have to move forward from here, but it’s a fun position to be in.”

Baffert trainees make up three of the top four spots in the poll. Eclipse Award winner Game Winner remains in first with 37 first-place votes and 405 points. Improbable is second (3 first-place votes, 350 points) with War of Will, trained by Mark Casse, sitting third (1 first-place vote, 273 points).

Top 3-year-old poll
Rank    horse    points (first-place votes)

1.    Game Winner    405 (37)
2.    Improbable    350 (3)
3.    War of Will    273 (1)
4.    Mucho Gusto    220
5.    Instagrand    163
6.    Knicks Go    135
7.    Hidden Scroll    118
8.    Signalman    102
9.    Gunmetal Gray    88
10.    Tax    66