West Virginia Derby (gr. III)

(gr. III , 9f ,)

WISEMAN'S FERRY (CH h, 122 lb) $360,000
Hennessy —Emmaus , by Silver Deputy
B—Robert T. Manfuso, KY.; O—Swifty Farm, Fink, Morton and Sacks, Lee; T—Niall M. O'Callaghan

The Judge Sez Who (B h, 115 lb) $120,000
Judge T C —Mandy Mack , by Native Prospector
B—Sez Who Thoroughbreds, FL.; O—Sez Who Racing; T—Milton W. Wolfson

Captain Squire (B g, 115 lb) $60,000
Flying Chevron —Dolly's Back , by At the Threshold
B—J D Farms, FL.; O—Bone, Robert D. and Diener, Jeffrey S.; T—Jeff Mullins

Margins: neck, 1, 7¼. Others: Cappuchino 115($30,000) , Calkins Road 119($18,000) , Pass Rush 111($12,000) , Roger E 114 , Runnin On Brave 116 , Derby Drive 112 . Winning Jockey, Jorge F. Chavez.

Once low on the totem pole on Coolmore’s European roster of 2-year-olds, Wiseman’s Ferry is fast becoming a star in the U.S. for new owners Morton Fink, Lee Sacks, and Don and Dana Myers’ Swifty Farms. The 3-year-old son of Hennessy captured the West Virginia Derby (gr. III) as the 8-5 favorite to go along with an earlier triumph in the Lone Star Derby (gr. III) and a close second in the Ohio Derby (gr. II). Trained by Niall O’Callaghan, Wiseman’s Ferry also gave his connections a thrill by setting the pace in the first part of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

Bred in Kentucky by John Mayer’s Nursery Place and Maryland breeder/owner Robert Manfuso, Wiseman’s Ferry was one of the top-priced weanlings of 1999. Consigned by Nursery Place as agent, Wiseman’s Ferry was sold for $775,000 to Indian Hill Farm at the Keeneland November sale. The price was the co-fifth highest for a weanling colt that year.

The following year, Wiseman’s Ferry was bought back for $625,000 at the 2000 Keeneland July yearling sale from Eaton Sales, agent. He found his way to Coolmore’s training grounds in Ireland after he was purchased for $300,000 by Hugo Merry Bloodstock from Eaton Sales, agent, at the 2000 Keeneland September yearling sale. Wiseman’s Ferry raced for Sue Magnier, whose husband, John Magnier, is Coolmore’s managing partner.

Wiseman’s Ferry twice competed against Coolmore stablemate Johannesburg in Irish group events and managed a runner-up effort in the Anglesey Stakes (Ire-III). Coolmore privately sold Wiseman’s Ferry and another colt, Camp David, in a package deal to O’Callaghan prior to Johannesburg (also by Hennessy) winning the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) last October. Wiseman’s Ferry arrived in the U.S. that fall, but didn’t start until March at Gulfstream Park.

Camp David, who was group stakes-placed in Ireland, has captured one of three starts in the U.S. for Fink, Sacks, and Swifty Farms. The victory came June 2 at Churchill Downs in his last start.

Fink and Sacks, both of whom live in the Chicago area, campaigned earlier graded stakes winner Danc’n Jake with another partner in the early 1990s. Fink’s big horse of 2001 was Guided Tour, who captured four grade II events last year. Guided Tour raced for Fink in partnership.

Swifty Farms, located near Seymour, Ind., was represented last year by several homebred stakes winners. The farm was named Indiana’s Breeder of the Year by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission and the Indiana Thoroughbred Breed Development Advisory Committee.

Hennessy has sired 15 stakes winners, including additional 2002 added-money winners Orchard Park (gr. IIIT), Half Hennessy (Aust-III), and Roll Hennessy Roll. Hennessy stands at Coolmore’s North American satellite, Ashford Stud, near Versailles, Ky. His 2002 fee was $45,000.—D.S.