Mucho Macho Man’s Mucho Gusto Is Just That in ‘Rising Star’ Debut

Courtesy of the TDN

Mucho Macho Man | Horsephotos

MUCHO GUSTO (Mucho Macho Man) lived up to his name and then some with an ultra-impressive debut victory at Los Alamitos Thursday to become his freshman sire (by Macho Uno)’s fourth winner and first ‘TDN Rising Star.’ Hammered down to even-money favoritism, the $625,000 EASMAY buy broke on top from his rail draw and was just loping along under a motionless Joe Talamo as he zipped through a first quarter in :21.96. He floated out three wide turning for home, but was still going easily, registering a half-mile in :45.75. Confronted by a rival to his inside at the top of the stretch, the chestnut instantly powered clear when given the signal by Talamo, pouring it on down the lane to win by a geared-down four lengths. Vantastic (Dialed In) completed the exacta.

Picked up for just $14,000 at Keeneland January, Mucho Gusto brought $95,000 in his next trip through the Keeneland ring that September. The colt RNA’d for $55,000 at the OBS March sale after breezing an eighth in :10 flat over the synthetic and was sent through the ring at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale two months later, where he summoned $625,000 from Michael Lund Petersen after working a quarter-mile over a sloppy dirt track in an eye-catching :21 1/5. He is currently the most expensive offspring of 2013 GI Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Mucho Macho Man to be sold at auction.

Mucho Gusto hails from the family of Canadian Horse of the Year and MGISW Peaks and Valleys (Mt. Livermore) and MGSW millionaire Alternation (Distorted Humor). The winner’s dam Itsagiantcauseway (Giant’s Causeway) did not produce a foal in 2017, but had a Jack Milton colt Apr. 15 of this year and was bred back to Alpha.

3rd-Los Alamitos, $40,690, Msw, 9-20, 2yo, 6f, 1:10.14, ft.

MUCHO GUSTO, c, 2, Mucho Macho Man

1st Dam: Itsagiantcauseway, by Giant’s Causeway

2nd Dam: Countervail, by Seeking the Gold

3rd Dam: Strike a Balance, by Green Dancer

Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $24,000.



SPLASHY KISSES (Blame) is a graduate of the Kirkwood Gallop Only contingent at Gulfstream. She stepped up into graded stakes company and finished 2nd to add her first black type.

“She acts like the farther the better,” said O’Neill, who trains Splashy Kisses, a 2-year-old daughter of Blame, for Dave Kenney and Erik Johnson, a defenseman with the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche.

G3 SW BERNED adds black-type in the Royal Delta at Belmont

Recent winner of the Molly Pitcher Stakes (Gr. 3), Robert Masiello, West Point Thoroughbreds, and Chris Larsen’s BERNED (Bernardini) added black type running 2nd in the  ROYAL DELTA S at Belmont. She has upped her earnings over $394,000.

Bred by AR Enterprises out of the Giant’s Causeway mare First Passage, Berned was a $550,000 purchase by West Point Thoroughbreds when she was consigned to the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale by Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services.

Mr. Wilson A Teacher For The Ages

Courtesy of the Paulick Report
By Jen Roytz

Mr. Wilson (gray) teaching lessons to both horse and human.

Everyone needs a good teacher. Even those brave souls who ride racehorses on a daily basis needed to start somewhere and hone their craft. The same goes for horses, who before they achieved greatness going full-tilt, often learned how to jog and gallop around a training track alongside a reliable partner. Through setting good examples and keeping a cool head, that “equine teacher” helped them find their confidence and competitive edge.

For a lucky group, both horse and human, Mr. Wilson was their teacher.

Bred by Matthew Firestone and sold for $150,000 at the 2000 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearling Sale in Saratoga, the then-dapple gray raced 15 times as Mouthadasouth before being given away as he was cooling out after a disappointing finish in his final start.

“He had rocket speed but had a wind problem and was running in the 4-1/2-furlong races at Charles Town and was given to a friend of mind in the receiving barn, which is how we got him,” said Helen Richards, a former jockey and wife of Kirkwood Stables owner Kip Elser. “To say he has an attitude is an understatement. He wants things to be done his way, and if they’re not he is quite the grouch. That’s how he got his nickname, “Mr. Wilson,” from the character on Dennis the Menace.

The couple sent their new horse to Tom Gilliland, who at the time was the head outrider in New York, to be trained as a lead pony. Once they got him back, they quickly learned how valuable of a team member for Kirkwood he would become.

Based in Camden, S.C., Kirkwood Stables is a multifaceted operation, offering training and conditioning of yearlings and 2-year-olds, as well as layup and rehabilitation for horses of racing age.

It was earlier this year at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream select two-year-olds in training sale that Elser’s consignment made headlines when he announced that the five horses entered under the Kirkwood Stables banner would be galloping rather than breezing during the breeze show.

“A friend of mine, who is a bit of a contrarian, suggested we try it, so all of our horses came down the lane at a nice, strong gallop rather than at a full-out breeze,” said Elser. “I would like to think a little less pressure early on will leave a bit more in the tank for the next owner and trainer. The approach was very well-received and we’re going to expand the program with more horses galloping rather than breezing next season.”


At an operation like Kirkwood, most people have to wear multiple hats. For a horse like Mr. Wilson, it means wearing multiple saddles.“With a Western saddle he is the perfect pleasure horse. He never picks up the bit, loves trail riding and doesn’t have a spook in him. Throw an exercise saddle on him and a D-bit and Mr. Wilson takes quite a hold,” said Richards.

Mr. Wilson goes out with every set of young horses, galloping with them in company the first few days to provide an example for them to follow, and keeping them in line when they misbehave. He’s also the test that any Kirkwood rider has to take before they’re allowed to be legged up onto one of the racehorses.

“He’s not very big, but he lets even the largest horse know it would be in their best interest if they got with the program,” said Richards. “He’s also taught many riders how to gallop and he’s great with green riders. He’s spent hours in the infield teaching riders lead changes with figure-eights, and if an aspiring rider can gallop Mr. Wilson in company, they are proficient enough to graduate to our other horses.”

At 19 years old, Mr. Wilson is still going strong, putting in more miles on a daily and weekly basis than any of his pupils in training and letting riders know when they’re ready to hop aboard a fit racehorse… and when they’re not.

“Horses are like family,” said Elser. “As long as you put in a little bit of effort to find out what they like to do, they’ll repay you tenfold.”

Name: Mouthadasouth (a.k.a. “Mr. Wilson”)
Born: February 3, 1999
Color: Gray/roan
Sire: Dixieland Bband
Dam: Yousaidamouthful, by Trempolino
Sale History: Sold at FTSAR as a yearling for $150,000
Race Record: 15-1-3-2
Race Earnings: $25,44


Courtesy of the TDN

No-Breeze Consignment Concept Will Be Back in 2019

Kip Elser | Horsephotos

By T. D. Thornton

After auctioning five juveniles this past spring without sending the horses hard in timed under-tack breezes, the aptly named Gulfstream Gallop LLC had already been planning to give the concept a go again in 2019.

But when the first filly to start from that consignment wired a Del Mar MSW field on Aug. 18 by 5 3/4 lengths, it only emboldened agent Kip Elser of Kirkwood Stables to be on the hunt for a slightly higher class of yearlings–and potential new sales partners–to expand upon the concept of focusing on the juveniles themselves and not on the clock.

Splashy Kisses (Blame), a $30,000 purchase out of last year’s Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase sale, sold for $100,000 at FTFMAR to Dennis O’Neill on behalf of ERJ Racing. Trained by Dennis’s brother, Doug O’Neill, she debuted eighth on July 18 at Del Mar, then flashed strong speed straight from the gate in a six-furlong sprint to win start number two for owners ERJ Racing LLC and Dave Kenney this past Saturday.

“She ran opening day, got a good schooling, and came right back and did what she was supposed to,” Elser said via phone from Saratoga earlier this week. “Kudos to Dennis, and everyone else who had the courage of their convictions to buy a horse without seeing them breezing back in the spring.”

Elser, speaking on behalf of the silent partner who came up with the idea for eschewing the current convention of participating in the one- or two-furlong pre-sale breezes, noted that of the five yearlings the group purchased specifically for that purpose, four sold at the Fasig-Tipton sale at Gulfstream in March and one was bought back and later re-sold at Fasig’s Timonium sale.

“We are definitely going to do it again,” Elser said. “My original client just bought the first horse at the Fasig July sale, and we’re just now putting together another group to go ahead and do it again. I think there’s room in the market to expand it somewhat. We’re right now just at the start of trying to seek out a few new partners, and I’m excited about expanding it.”

The new partners could mean that Kirkwood will represent a second group of sellers separate from the initial Gulfstream Gallop venture, the founder of which wishes to continue as a silent entity.

“He doesn’t want credit or blame. He loves the game, and he was very brave to come up with the idea in the first place. He just wants to enjoy it and do it privately,” Elser said.

The consignment’s second starter, Irish Hustle (Data Link), was also a $30,000 FTKTUR buy. She resold for $65,000 at FTFMAR and debuted with a 10th-place finish in a Monday MSW turf sprint at Saratoga.

“[Trainer] Bret Calhoun ran his filly here at Saratoga [Monday]. She’s trained very well, and her trip [Monday] was not too far off Splashy Kisses’ first start,” Elser said. “But everybody that I’ve talked to is pleased with the progress of their horses, and we’re looking to a big fall out of the five of them. They’re spread around the country, and we’ll let them go out and prove themselves.”

Elser was asked what he learned from the first go-round of non-breezing juveniles that might change what he does the second time around.

“It’s definitely contrarian,” he said. “I’ve gotten nothing but a positive response out of it. But any time you do something a little different, it’s actually more retrospective than new. I think we pretty much got it right the first time. I might try to ratchet the purchases up a notch.”

SPLASHY KISSES aiming for G1 stakes

 Courtesy of the DRF by Jay Privman

Emily Shields
Maiden winner Splashy Kisses will make her next start in a stakes race, trainer Doug O’Neill said.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Splashy Kisses, who rolled to victory in her second start Saturday at Del Mar, could return in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante going seven furlongs Sept. 1 but is more likely to await the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 29 at Santa Anita, trainer Doug O’Neill said.

Splashy Kisses drew the rail and was eighth in her debut going five furlongs when facing the highly regarded Brill on opening day, July 18. She won going six furlongs Saturday.

“She acts like the farther the better,” said O’Neill, who trains Splashy Kisses, a 2-year-old daughter of Blame, for Dave Kenney and Erik Johnson, a defenseman with the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche. “It was a happy surprise how much speed she showed, and she kept going.”

MSW HIT IT ONCE MORE wires the field in the Genesee Valley Breeders’ Stakes

HIT IT ONCE MORE ( Hard Spun) had no trouble at all wiring the field to win the  Genesee Valley Breeders’ Stakes at Finger Lakes.  Last year he was 4th in the same race, The five-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  30-7-2-5, $553,342 HIT IT ONCE MORE got his start with Kirkwood and was sold at Timonium as a 2-year-old in training for $90,000.

2 yo SPLASHY KISSES wins MSW at Del Mar 2nd out

SPLASHY KISSES (Blame)  broke alertly with Joel Rosario up and  led after a furlong while challenged on the outside. On even terms entering the stretch, Splashy Kisses dispatched her rival and charged home a 5 3/4-length winner.  She is the first winner from the Kirkwood Gulfstream Gallop contingent, a group selected by Kip Elser to gallop only rather than breeze.
Sales history: $30,000 Ylg ’17 FTKTUR; $100,000 2yo ’18 FTFMAR.
Lifetime Record: 2-1-0-0, $36,345.
O-ERJ Racing LLC & Dave Kenney;
B-Winchester Farm (KY);
T-Doug F O’Neill.