MUCHO GUSTO takes the G3 LAZARO BARRERA S at Santa Anita with ease

Courtesy of the TDN

Trainer Bob Baffert was out of luck Saturday in Maryland, but “TDN Rising Star” Mucho Gusto provided at least some measure of consolation when proving too strong for five other rivals in the G3 Laz Barrera S. The prohibitive favorite hit the ground running from the inside gate and raced inside in a line of three vying for the early lead, but Joe Talamo took a quick look to his right and asked Mucho Gusto for a bit of acceleration to give themselves a bit of breathing room for the run up the backstretch. Settled nicely in the middle stages and held together into the final quarter-mile, Mucho Gusto repelled a challenge from Vantastic at the threesixteenths pole, responded to a couple of left-handed whips to pinch a break into the ultimate furlong and strode home a daylight winner.

Accorded “Rising Star” status after besting Vantastic by four lengths on Los Alamitos debut last September, he led throughout to take Del Mar’s G3 Bob Hope S. Nov. 17 before finishing runner-up to fellow “Rising Star” Improbable (City Zip) in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity. The chestnut looked to be among Baffert’s top Classic hopes when running out a decisive winner of the G3 Robert B. Lewis S. in February, but he was beaten six lengths into third in the G3 Sunland Derby Mar. 24 and was forced to regroup.

Pedigree Notes: A $14,000 short yearling at Keeneland January in 2017, Mucho Gusto improved to be a $95,000 Keeneland September buy, but was bought back on a bid of just $55,000 at OBS March last spring. But the chestnut blossomed–to put it mildly–and was purchased by Michael Lund Petersen for $625,000 (consigned by Kirkwood) at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale after spectacularly breezing a quarter over a rain-affected strip in :21 1/5.


Mucho Gusto wins the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park
Mucho Gusto wins the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Benoit Photo

Mucho Gusto Draws Rail in Lazaro Barrera Stakes.

Sold by KIRKWOOD for $625,000 at Timonium last year

In his first start since finishing third as the favorite in the Sunland Park Derby (G3), Michael Petersen’s Mucho Gusto will return to sprinting in the $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes (G3) May 18 at Santa Anita Park.

A seven-furlong test for 3-year-olds, the Lazaro Barrera attracted six entries, with Mucho Gusto drawing the rail. Regular rider Joe Talamo will be aboard.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Mucho Gusto led the 1 1/8-mile Sunland Park Derby early while racing inside before fading in the stretch in the March 24 test at Sunland Park. Before that effort, the son of Mucho Macho Man  drew off to a 4 3/4-length victory in the Feb. 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) on a sloppy track at Santa Anita.

Last year, Mucho Gusto scored his maiden win at six furlongs at Los Alamitos Race Course and followed with a clear victory in the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) going seven furlongs at Del Mar. He then earned a runner-up finish to stablemate Improbable—Saturday’s morning-line favorite for the Preakness Stakes (G1)—in the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity (G1).

Also returning to sprinting Saturday is Del Secco DCS Racing’s Sparky Ville, who won the seven-furlong Feb. 10 San Vicente Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. Trained by Jeff Bonde, the son of Candy Ride  will be making his first start since an off-the-board finish in the April 27 California Derby at 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields.


Santa Anita Park, Saturday, May 18, 2019, Race 8

  • Grade III
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo
  • 4:30 PM (local)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1Mucho Gusto (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Joseph Talamo 124 Bob Baffert 4/5
2 2Sparky Ville (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Victor Espinoza 124 Jeff Bonde 5/2
3 3Principe Carlo (CA) Ruben Fuentes 120 Marcelo Polanco 12/1
4 4Vantastic (FL)Keeneland Sales Graduate Flavien Prat 120 Peter Eurton 5/1
5 5Manhattan Up (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Tiago Josue Pereira 120 Philip A. Oviedo 6/1
6 6Synthesis (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Rafael Bejarano 120 George Papaprodromou 12/1

UNION RAGS colt – Hip 213 shares Timonium Bullet for 1/4

Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables sent out a colt by Union Rags (hip 213) to share the :21 3/5 quarter-mile bullet time Wednesday.  “He’s a pretty fast horse,” Elser said of the son of stakes placed Isabelle=s Thunder (Mineshaft). Of the track conditions, Elser added, “We’ve had good weather the last day and a half, but they have done a great job in the last two weeks keeping the track safe. It was safe yesterday and it’s fast and safe today.”

Pletcher-Trained Coal Front ‘Going According To Schedule’ For Met Mile

Pletcher-Trained Coal Front ‘Going According To Schedule’ For Met Mile

by NYRA Press Office | 05.10.2019 | 2:08pm

Jose Ortiz celebrates his first Dubai winner aboard Coal Front

Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners’ Coal Front continued his preparations for the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap when he breezed four furlongs in 50.55 seconds on Friday morning at Belmont for trainer Todd Pletcher.

The move was the son of Stay Thirsty’s second work since an overseas triumph in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on March 30 at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

“I thought he worked really well, consistently with what we’ve been seeing before he went to Dubai,” Pletcher said. “It seemed like he shipped back with some good energy, good weight and all the all the signs that you would hope for coming back from a long trip like that. I was very happy with the breeze this morning and everything is going according to schedule so far.”

A five-time graded stakes winner at five different tracks, Coal Front has won three races in a row. Prior to his international endeavor, he won the Mr. Prospector on December 22 at Gulfstream Park and the Razorback on February 18 at Oaklawn Park. Both are Grade 3 events.

The colt was bred in Kentucky by Michael Edward Connelly, and LaPenta purchased Coal Front for $575,000 at Ocala Breeders Sales Company’s 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in April 2016.

Pletcher also spoke of Marconi, who won his second straight stakes race in Thursday evening’s Flat Out and said that the well-bred son of Tapit would target the Grade 2 $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational as part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on June 8.

In the 1 3/8-mile event over the main track, Marconi sat just off of pacesetter Tour de Force and took command at the top of the stretch to draw off by 2 ¾ lengths under a patient ride by Jose Lezcano.

“It was exactly the way that we thought it would unfold on paper,” Pletcher said. “We were able to get into a good comfortable gallop and I thought he ran a really big race.”

Owned by Bridlewood Farm, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, Marconi is a half-brother to 2013 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man. He was a $2 million purchase from the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Pletcher also noted that graded stakes winner Bellavais is possible for the Grade 1 $700,000 Longines Just a Game on Belmont Stakes Day. The daughter of Tapit breezed a half-mile in 49.90 seconds over the Belmont training track on Thursday morning. Two-time winner Last Judgment, ninth in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs last Saturday as the second choice, will target the $150,000 Easy Goer.

FIRE FOR EFFECT takes allowance at Woodbine – win #4

5 year old FIRE FOR EFFECT (Smart Strike) was claimed recently by trainer Norman McKnight for Newtop Stables. He made good on the claim quickly by winning an allowance race at Woodbine going 1 1/16 on the all-weather surface. Today he added a second win to his new team racing 7 furlongs on the all weather surface making a bid at the top of the stretch and clearing the field to win by 1 3/4 lengths.

Lifetime Record: 20-4-2-3,$144,559

WRITTEN WORD (GB) graduates in a MSW at Laurel

Making her first North American start, WRITTEN WORD (GB), (Mount Nelson (GB)) raced to a MSW win going 1 1/6 on the turf at Laurel. She rated inside behind a speed duel, eventually found her way 3 wide and surged to the wire to win by 1/2.   Bred in England by Newsells Park Stud (GB), she is owned by Mrs. P. K.  Cooper, and  Russell B.  Jones, Jr.

Courtesy of the TDN
3rd-Laurel, $42,800, Msw, 4-13, 3yo, f, 7f, 1:26.06, ft.
APPEALING HONOR (f, 3, Quality Road–Quanah County {MSP}, by Valid Expectations) was let go at 5-1 off a fairly unassuming series of drills over both dirt and synthetic at Fair Hill. She broke very professionally, but found one quicker early and was content to sitsecond out in the clear. Poking a head in front and confidently ridden after a half in :47.59, she left her competition in the dust despite never figuring out her lead changes. After Jody (Bodemeister) completed the exacta 3 1/2 lengths adrift. The winner is a half to Quantum Miss (Smoke Glacken), GSW, $251,950; Tonasah (Malibu Moon), MGSP, $196,660; and an unnamed 2-year-old filly by Honor Code who was a $100,000 KEENOV weanling and $150,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga buyback. Sales history: $15,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $95,000 2yo ’18 EASMAY. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $22,800.
O-Frank V. Demarco;
B-Twin Hopes Farm, LLC (KY);
T-Louis Albertrani.

MILTONTOWN graduates at Keeneland

Courtesy of the TDN
11th-Keeneland, $78,860, Msw, 4-13, 3yo, 6f, 1:11.90, ft.

MILTONTOWN (c, 3, Speightstown–Forest Legend, by Forest Camp), fifth in his debut sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs at Churchill last November, was well beaten in three subsequent route starts at the Fair Grounds, including the latest a sixth-place effort Feb. 16. Last time, he was cut back to six furlongs and ran an improved fourth, beaten 3/4 of a length Mar. 5. Sent off at 9-2 to get the job done this time, he was shuffled back to seventh as Kulik Bear (Curlin) carved out an opening quarter in :22.97. Starting to get his legs under him leaving the quarter pole, Miltontown was several paths wide turning into the stretch, ground his way to the front late and bested Kulik Bear by 1 1/2 lengths at the wire. Favored firster Unshaken (Tapit) wasfourth). Forest Legend produced a colt by City Zip in 2017 followed by a filly by Lemon Drop Kid last season. She was bred back to Connect. Sales history: $25,000 RNA Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $80,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 6-1-0-0, $52,260.
O-G M B Racing;
B-G. Watts Humphrey Jr. & St. George Farm, LLC (KY)
T-Dallas Stewart

Competitive Edge Filly Big Score

The Competitive Edge filly consigned as Hip 129 in the ring at the Keeneland April Sale
The Competitive Edge filly consigned as Hip 129 in the ring at the Keeneland April SaleKeeneland Photo/Photos by Z

Competitive Edge Filly Big Score

Le Competition breezed fastest quarter-mile in pre-sale workout at Keeneland

Breeders Steve and Jane Long knocked it out of the park April 9 at the Keeneland April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale when a filly from the first crop of Competitive Edge  was purchased by Shepherd Equine Advisers, agent, for $235,000.

Consigned as Hip 129 by Kirkwood Stables, the filly named Le Competition breezed the fastest quarter-mile over the dirt, getting the distance in :21 1/5.

Le Competition is out of the Bellamy Road  mare Lefreakcestchic, who was purchased by Ed Price for $14,000 on behalf of Steve Long from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency to the 2017 The February Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s winter mixed sale. At the time, the mare was carrying the Competitive Edge filly in utero.

“We’re floored,” Jane Long said, crediting their 34-year-old son Brooks with the initial purchase. “He did all the homework, liked the breeding, liked the race records, and Competitive Edge as a first-year sire. We were all aboard. We looked at her but we couldn’t be here when she was selling and had gone home and made the bid over the phone.”

Pennsylvania natives, the Longs own three broodmares and are hands-on horse people. When they came to Lexington for the April sale—a 10-hour drive—they also brought two mares with them to drop off at Indian Creek Farm, where they will be bred this season to Practical Joke  and Classic Empire . Le Competition was the last recorded foal for Lefreakcestchic, who was most recently bred to Blofeld for 2019.

“We do everything ourselves,” Jane Long said. “We’re getting just a touch of the commercial side.”

The filly was the first for the Longs in association with Kip Elser of Kirkwood. The agreement was initially put together because Elser wanted to purchase the filly as a yearling.

“We weren’t ready to part with her but we said, ‘If he wanted to buy her as a yearling, maybe he would like to sell her as a 2-year-old,'” Jane Long said. “He was gracious enough to take her.”

The Longs said they enjoyed the days leading up to the sale, which included a trip to Keeneland during opening weekend of the Spring Meet for a stakes-laden Saturday card.

“Keeneland has treated us awesome,” Steve Long said.

“This is a great venue,” said Jane Long