Dwyer S. (gr. II)

(gr. II , 8.5f ,)

STRONG HOPE (B h, 115 lb) $90,000
Grand Slam —Shining Through , by Deputy Minister
B—G. A. Seelbinder, KY.; O—Melnyk, Eugene and Laura; T—Todd A. Pletcher

Nacheezmo (CH h, 115 lb) $30,000
Carson City —Lean Queen Cobra , by Deputy Minister
B—Mt. Brilliant Farm LLC, KY.; O—Johnson, Ted J. and Kim; T—H. James Bond

Sky Mesa (B h, 119 lb) $16,500
Pulpit —Caress , by Storm Cat
B—Harbor View Farm, KY.; O—John C. Oxley; T—John T. Ward, Jr.

Margins: neck, 3, 5¼. Others: Private City 115($9,000) , Best Minister 121($4,500) , Go Rockin' Robin 121 , Albaaz 115 . Winning Jockey, John R. Velazquez.

Since breaking his maiden by 21/4 lengths in April, Strong Hope has been unbeatable. While making his first start in stakes company, the 3-year-old defeated a more experienced field in the grade II Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park.

Unlike the horses who finished second and third to him, Strong Hope did not race at two. The colt is trained by Todd Pletcher for Eugene and Laura Melnyk. Eugene Melnyk bought the colt from Trackside Farm, agent, for $1.7 million at the 2001 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August yearling sale.

Trackside, which is owned by Pam Clark and Tom Evans, is one of the three partners that bred Strong Hope. Also involved are G. Arthur Seelbinder of Palm Beach, Fla., and Rob Whiteley, who lives in New Jersey and operates in the name Liberation Farm. The partners own about six mares together and keep them all at Trackside. They acquired Strong Hope’s dam, Shining Through, privately from her breeder, Carl Icahn’s Foxfield. Whiteley manages the Foxfield operation, and Trackside boards Icahn’s mares.

The first named foal from Shining Through, Bahamian Pirate, is now eight years old and is still racing in Europe. He made his 49th start in the King’s Stand Stakes (Eng-II) on June 17 at Ascot. He finished eighth out of the 20 runners in that contest. He won the 2001 Phoenix Sprint Stakes (Ire-III) and the 2000 Keyline Builders Merchants Bentinck Stakes in England and has placed in nine other stakes races.

A younger foal from Shining Through, Litigasion, is with Jose Martinez on the East Coast. Litigasion won a June 18 claiming race at Penn National by 51/4 lengths.

Evans suggested the mating that produced Strong Hope. “We sit down and talk about the matings for all of our mares,” said Seelbinder. “This one we came to the conclusion (Grand Slam) was good for the individual. It was a conformational (mating).”

Shining Through’s Old Trieste yearling colt is entered in the select portion of the upcoming Keeneland September yearling sale. The mare is currently in foal to Mr. Greeley.

Grand Slam has sired five stakes winners, including Limehouse, who won the Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs on the same day as the Dwyer and other 2003 stakes winners Home Run Hitter and Cajun Beat. Pletcher also trains Limehouse. Grand Slam stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky. His 2003 fee is $30,000.—K.I.G.