|WOOD MEMORIAL S.|
3rd at 3WOOD MEMORIAL S.
(gr. I , 9f , to Tale of Ekati, War Pass, defeating Giant Moon, Anak Nakal, Spurrier, Roman Emperor, Texas Wildcatter, Inner Light ).
Charles FipkeÕs Tale of Ekati turned in a gem of a performance in the April 5 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) at Aqueduct. What helped make it so special was that the homebred son of Tale of the Cat beat last yearÕs 2-year-old male champion War Pass.
ÒThis is wonderful, of course, he had to beat a great champion,Ó said Fipke, a leading discoverer of diamonds and precious stones in North America. ÒWinning this race is like finding that first diamond, that kind of excitement.Ó
Tale of Ekati is named after the Ekati Mine, a diamond mine in the Northwest Territories in Canada discovered by Fipke and Dr. Stewart Blusson. Fipke owns a 10% interest in the mine.
Tale of Ekati, trained by Barclay Tagg, is expected to run next in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). If he does win the Churchill classic, he will become the first Wood Memorial winner since Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000 to win the Run for the Roses.
Prior to Fusaichi Pegasus winning both races, there was a sizable lapse. The last Wood winner to win the Kentucky Derby before Fusaichi Pegasus was Pleasant Colony, in 1981.
The 1970s were far different. That decade boasted three horsesÑFoolish Pleasure (1975), Bold Forbes (Õ76), and Seattle Slew (Õ77)Ñthat won the Wood and Derby. Same goes for the 1930s. Gallant Fox (in 1930), Twenty Grand (Õ31), and Johnston (Õ39) won both the Wood and Derby.
FipkeÕs classic aspirations for his colt also include the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). ÒIÕd really love to come back to New York and win the Belmont Stakes,Ó he said. ÒThat would be my biggest ambition.Ó
The last horse to win the Wood and Belmont was Empire Maker in 2003. Before that, it was Easy Goer in 1989.
Fipke has raced three other stakes winners, including grade I winner and Canadian champion Perfect Soul, who won two stakes at Keeneland. He captured the 2003 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (gr. IT) and the 2004 MakerÕs Mark Mile Stakes (gr. IIT). He stands at Darby Dan Farm (John Phillips, co-managing partner) near Lexington.
Tale of EkatiÕs dam, Japanese-bred Silence Beauty, is boarded at Darby Dan. She produced a Perfect Soul filly Feb. 7 and is back in foal to him. Silence Beauty is a half-sister to racing Hall of Fame nominee Sky Beauty.
Tale of the Cat has sired 45 stakes winners, including additional 2008 added-money winner Jolie the Cat. Tale of the Cat stands for $37,500 at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky.ÑD.S
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