Mucho Macho Man Colt Lights Up Bid Board Late for Kirkwood

A Mucho Macho Man colt consigned as Hip 278 brought the second-highest price of Fasig-Tipton's Midlantic sale on Day 1
A Mucho Macho Man colt consigned as Hip 278 brought the second-highest price of Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic sale on Day 1Fasig-Tipton Photos

The second-highest price of the first session of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale.

A speedy colt from the first crop of Mucho Macho Man  was purchased by Michael Lund Petersen for $625,000 late during the first session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale.

Consigned as Hip 278 by Kirkwood Stables, the colt breezed the fastest quarter-mile of :21 1/5 during the under tack workouts leading up to the sale. The colt had been a $55,000 buy-back at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales March juvenile sale and was previously acquired for $95,000 from Select Sales at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale.

“He matured a little bit,” Kirkwood’s Kip Elser said of the difference between the OBS sale at which the colt was bought back and the result Monday.

Elser said the colt had worked well both over the synthetic surface at OBS and on dirt at the Maryland State Fairgrounds where the Fasig-Tipton sale takes place.

“He was good on the poly and he was spectacular on the dirt,” the South Carolina-based trainer said. “He was brilliant here and he stood out and sold.”

Produced from the winning Giant’s Causeway  mare Itsagiantcauseway, the colt is from the extended female family of Canadian Horse of the Year and sire Peaks and Valleys and multiple grade 2 winner Alternation . He was bred in Kentucky by Teneri Farm and Bernardo Alvarez Calderon.

Mucho Macho Man Colt Flashes Speed in Sale Workout: Bullet work for Kirkwood

Courtesy of the BloodHorse

Hip 278, a Mucho Macho Man colt, breezes a quarter-mile in :21 1/5 after rains fell May 16
Hip 278, a Mucho Macho Man colt, breezes a quarter-mile in :21 1/5 after rains fell May 16Allison Janezic/Lydia A. Williams

Mucho Macho Man Colt Flashes Speed in Sale Workout

Colt breezed an eighth-mile in :21 1/5.

With intermittent showers—some heavy at times—and moderate temperatures in the mid-70s, the May 16 second session of the under tack workouts for the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale was in stark contrast to the previous day’s sunny, sticky weather with temperatures in the 90s.

Despite the elements, which began with a severe thunderstorm late Tuesday and continued off and on throughout the day Wednesday, the workouts in preparation for the May 21-22 auction at the Maryland State Fairgrounds near Timonium went off without a hitch, and the track seemed a little zippier as a result of the additional moisture.

Highlighting the day’s works was the fastest quarter-mile breeze during the first two days of :21 1/5, turned in by a Mucho Macho Man  colt consigned by Kirkwood Stables as Hip 278. On Wednesday, nine juveniles cataloged for the sale shared the under tack show’s fastest eighth-mile time of :10 1/5.

Kirkwood’s Kip Elser said the bullet work was not a surprise, noting the colt had also worked fast in preparation for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales March 2-year-olds in training sale before being bought back for $55,000.

“He was at OBS in March and breezed very well and was ignored,” Elser said of the colt, who was a $95,000 purchase from Select Sales at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale. “He was a nice horse then, and he’s a nice horse now.”

With a Noble Mission  colt (Hip 365) sharing the second-fastest quarter-mile breeze time Wednesday, the speedy presence by the Kirkwood horses at Midlantic was a change from the consignment’s workout protocol prior to this year’s Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale in South Florida. Rather than subject his Gulfstream sale entrants to the rigors of timed workouts, Elser opted to showcase the group to buyers by having them gallop over the track.

“It wasn’t that the (Gulfstream) sale horses couldn’t (work fast),” Elser said, adding the gallop-only horses were well-received by buyers and sold well. “We chose to show people that they shouldn’t have to. It turned out very well. For this sale, we turned it up a notch and had some horses that performed well.”

Elser was among those who gave high marks to state fairgrounds maintenance director Don “Chief” Denmeyer and his crew for sealing and then harrowing the track and maintaining it throughout the trying conditions.

“You never feel good when you have (rain) jump up like that, but these guys have always done a good job at keeping this track safe,” he said. “So was I worried about it being safe? No.”

BERNED wins the Serena’s Song at Monmouth

Courtesy of the TDN
Winner of the Safely Kept S. in November, Berned checked in third in the GII Barbara Fritchie S. Feb. 17 and was sixth last time in the GIII Distaff H. at Aqueduct Apr. 6. Running near the back of the pack early, the dark bay advanced on the backstretch run and charged through to take the lead in the lane, splashing home an easy winner.  Berned hails from the family of GI Arkansas Derby hero and Magnum Moon (Malibu Moon), GISW Harmony Lodge (Hennessy) and MGSW & GISP sire Graeme Hall (Dehere).

She is owned by Three C Stables, West Point Thoroughbreds & Robert Masiello and was bred by AR Enterprises, LLC (KY). Trained by Graham Motion, she has earned over $292,000.

REASON TO SOAR makes it 2 in a row

REASON TO SOAR (Soaring Empire) was back with a vengeance in his 2018 debut with a win in the first start of his 4-year-old campaign. He underlined that victory with another win to make it 2 in a row. Owned by West Point  REASON TO SOAR broke his maiden right off the bat with a huge come from behind rally. Next, he ran third in the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore Stakes at Tampa Bay, and then back in NY,  he added another third in the New York Stallion Stakes at Aqueduct. Today at Gulfstream, he rated and then rallied to clear the field to win his second allowance condition in the last few jumps. The 4-year-old gelding is trained by George Weaver.

FUNNY DUCK SPLASHES TO PAT DAY MILE VICTORY

Funny Duck and Brian Hernandez Jr. finish 4 3/4 lengths ahead in the Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs
Funny Duck and Brian Hernandez Jr. finish 4 3/4 lengths ahead in the Pat Day Mile at Churchill DownsRyan Thompson

Funny Duck Splashes to Pat Day Mile Victory

Distorted Humor colt relished sloppy going at Churchill Downs.

On a wet day more suitable to ducks than people, aptly named Funny Duck posted a major upset in the $300,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU (G3) on the Kentucky Derby Day card May 5 at Churchill Downs.

Longshot Lombo took charge out of the gate while pressured first by Smart Remark and then Greyvitos as the 14-horse field completed the first half-mile in :45.53. The group of 3-year-olds contended with sloppy conditions from a day-long rain that was heavy at times.

New York Central took control rounding the turn for home while Funny Duck, off at odds of 39-1 and stumbling at the start, raced near the rail. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. shifted Funny Duck out, split horses with three-sixteenths remaining, and launched a sustained drive that resulted in a 4 3/4-length victory in a final time of 1:37.16.

“We had a great trip,” Hernandez said. “We just went out there. There was no pressure with the horse. He stumbled a bit leaving there. I think it worked to his advantage because when he got up, he turned off for me. We were able to find a nice, smooth rail trip and had to go around only one horse. He traveled like a winner the whole way. It was a great race for him.”

Mask, the 5-2 favorite who was undefeated in two starts, including the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park, contended until the turn before tiring to finish eighth.

The winner returned a whopping $81.40, $36.60, and $14.20. New York Central held second at odds of 31-1 and returned $27.80 and $12.40. Givemeaminit paid $10 to show. The top two combined for a $2 exacta of $1,753.60, and a $1 trifecta returned $17,138.50.

“He ran real well. We felt good,” trainer Steve Asmussen said of runner-up New York Central. “He handled an off track real well. He showed a good side of himself. He made a pretty quick move, but (Lombo) was getting out, and I think he wanted to get away from him.”

A chestnut son of Distorted Humor  making his seventh career start for Brad Kelley’s Calumet Farm and trainer Rusty Arnold, Funny Duck improved to 2-2-0 in seven starts, his second on the main track. The victory increased his earnings to $214,040.

Seventh in a dirt debut at Churchill Downs last fall, the colt was unplaced in his first grass start, also at a mile, before finishing second twice on turf. Funny Duck broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park in February in a mile turf test and came into the Pat Day Mile off a seventh-place effort in the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania Stakes (G3T) over a yielding turf course at Keeneland.

Arnold said owner Kelley gets credit for the decision to run Funny Duck on dirt again.

“Mr. Kelley called and said, ‘I would like to try this horse on the dirt again.’ We were set for running him in a turf race, and we said, ‘OK,’ and we tried him on the dirt again. So he gets all the credit because we would have been in the turf race.

“We love the horse. He had really become leaps and bounds better through the winter. His last race (Transylvania Stakes), he had some traffic issues. We liked the horse, but he got good on the turf and some trainers tend to stick with it, and when he said to go to the dirt, we did. He had a great work here last week. We do think he likes the mud, too, so it worked out great. It’s going to open up a whole lot of races, obviously, for him now.”

Bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock, Funny Duck was produced from the stakes-winning Seattle Slew mare Slow Down, who has also produced French group 3 winner Slow Pace as well as Segway, who placed in two grade 2 stakes.

Consigned to sales as a weanling and yearling, Funny Duck was bought back for prices of $120,000 and $65,000 before finally being purchased by Calumet for $110,000 from Kirkwood Stables at the 2017 Ocala Breeders’ Sales March auction of 2-year-olds in training.

PR Special OBS April: Where Did The Breeze Show Come From?

Courtesy of the Paulick Report
By Natalie Voss

It’s a question our readers ask every time the leaders list is published following a 2-year-olds in training under tack show. It’s also a question some in the bloodstock world have been asking themselves in the past couple of decades, as furlong times get faster and faster. The obvious answer is that speed (like sex in the advertising world) sells, but it hasn’t always been this way. Rollin Baugh remembers a time when the stopwatches stayed, for the most part, in buyers’ pockets. Baugh said the 2-year-old sales started as a marketing gimmick.

In 1957, Ocala Stud’s Joe O’Farrell helped launch the first one as a way to sell horses with less fashionable pedigrees, the theory being buyers might see the horses’ training as “value added” and take a chance on something that was ready to go to the races. O’Farrell told Sports Illustrated in 1967 that at the time it cost about $2,500 more to train a horse into a sale as a 2-year-old than it did to prep him for a yearling auction. In those early years, the Ocala Stud sales were held at Hialeah Park and required O’Farrell to put up his own money to keep them going. “There I was in the open Hialeah paddock,” O’Farrell told SI, “with 26 2-year-olds bred like billy goats. And just as our sale started it began to rain. I had put every cent I had into that sale, and if a hard rain chased away the buyers I figured I would be bankrupt before I even got going.” The rain fizzled out and the prices were good, posting an average of around $5,200. O’Farrell wasn’t the first to try the tactic: Bill Leach sold 2-year-olds out of Dickey Stables (before it became Ocala Stud), Carl G. Rose had tried it, and Doug Davis Jr. had as well. O’Farrell’s model was more successful, despite questions in the 1960s about the long-term impact on training horses so early.

In those early days, Baugh remembers, horses galloped in pairs and sometimes went by the stands twice, hacking the first time and moving more strongly the second time. “It didn’t take a wizard but generally you’d put the lesser-moving horse on the inside … you didn’t hide much of anything but that’s how people did it – but they galloped,” Baugh remembered. “The gallop got to be a little stronger, but pairs were still the predominant way of doing it.” Gradually, people began realizing the horse who “lost” the match-up would be at a disadvantage under the hammer, so horses began working alone. For some time, a quarter mile was the standard distance and horses might work twice – once the week before the sale and once the day before, with one or the other usually stronger than the other. Then,

Kirkwood Stables owner Kip Elser and Baugh remember someone (their memories diverge on who) suggested shortening the distance to a furlong. “Why should we be breezing horses at a quarter when the last eighth of the workout tends to fall apart, both the action of the horse and the time?” recalled Baugh. “Let’s breeze an eighth, because it left more horses in a bunch and they didn’t separate themselves as much. You didn’t want them to separate too much because the bottom half was the one that was punished.”

As one horse started getting faster, consignors felt pressure to keep up. Suddenly, Elser remembers, a possible 2-year-old sale entry was prepared for the breeze show, not for the racetrack. “It was buyer-driven and technology-driven when the video technology kept improving,” said Elser. “Everybody always says [it’s getting too fast] but they keep buying the ones that go faster.” Now, Elser says, many horses who complete the breeze shows are finishing in such similar times that buyers are timing the gallop-out, increasing the distance consignors have to worry about. From where Elser sits, the focus on time is also a reflection of the modern buyer’s use of technology. Buyers want extensive data, which some of the biometrics companies and video analysis offer.

Baugh recalls pinhooking developing along the same timeline as 2-year-old prices as owners saw a commercial opportunity, beginning in the 1980s. With time, however, the market has become more polarized and it can often be a “chicken or feathers” situation for sellers.  Baugh sold horses at his last 2-year-old auction in the 1990s after becoming distressed at what he calls “the attrition rate” of juveniles who suffer a stress injury during preparation and can’t complete the process.

Elser and Baugh agree they’ve heard the same concerns from colleagues for years now: the works are too fast for many horses, they don’t showcase many at their best, and there’s a significant risk of financial loss. After decades of creating a business model based on speed, Elser and Baugh say they’re not sure how – or if – the business can reverse course. Elser offered a handful of horses for an undisclosed investor at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale with the condition they would gallop and not breeze. He revealed the investor will purchase yearlings with the same intention again this year. Both are hopeful small efforts like this could help the breeze show once again resemble on-track workouts. “They’ll never go ten flat again in their lives and if they do they won’t win the race,” said Baugh. “You are buying a survivor. A survivor is good on the one hand that it survived, but what things have already been done to the horse that you’d prefer not to have done?”