Affirmed H. (gr. III)
(gr. III , 8.5f ,)
Benchmark Hazen , by Rubiano
BNick Alexander, CA.; ONicholas B. Alexander; TMike R. Mitchell
Candy Ride (ARG) Beyond Perfection , by Quack
BBob Baffert, KY.; OBaffert, Natalie J. and Jacobs, George; TBob Baffert
Came Home Humble , by Valiant Nature
BNATO, KY.; OG R D Two; TCraig Anthony Lewis
After more than 30 years of waiting for Òthe big horse,Ó Nick Alexander finally caught a break with his 3-year-old homebred colt Grazen.
The California-bred son of Benchmark notched his first graded stakes victory and third straight score at Hollywood Park in the June 20 Affirmed Handicap (gr. III).
Trained by Mike Mitchell, Grazen came into the Affirmed off a May 23 allowance win at Hollywood, before which he had been successful in his black-type debut, the restricted April 25 NTRA Stakes, at the California track.
Grazen is the first stakes winner owned by Alexander, who bought his first race horse in 1978.
Alexander described Grazen as Òa goofÓ when he was a young horse in training at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, where he was known to occasionally dump his rider for no apparent reason.
ÒHe wasnÕt a mean horse but was just full of himself and happy,Ó said Alexander, who owns a BMW car dealership in Los Angeles in addition to his 88-acre Horse Haven Ranch near Santa Ynez, Calif. ÒAfter his first win, he went from a big goof and a clown to a professional race horse and has been real easy to deal with. WeÕre just enjoying every step with him.Ó
Alexander, who currently has around 16 mares and four horses in training, said the secret to his farmÕs success in recent years has been farm manager Carrie Drake.
Alexander bred Grazen from the winning, stakes-placed mare Hazen, who earned $200,188 from a 30-start career. Mitchell claimed the Rubiano mare on AlexanderÕs behalf during her 5-year-old season, but then had to buy her back when she was claimed again the next year.
ÒSheÕs a great big, pretty almost all-white mare,Ó said Mitchell. ÒWe fell in love with her from the beginning. She had a shoulder on her like a great, big stud horse. SheÕs strong and tall, with plenty of length to her. We were really excited about breeding her.Ó
Grazen is the second winner for Hazen. The 11-year-old mare also has an unraced 2-year-old colt by Unusual Heat named Ben Rich; a yearling filly by Benchmark named Hazy; and a colt by Tribal Rule, who was born April 26. She is in foal to Heatseeker for 2010.
Benchmark is the sire of 23 stakes winners. In addition to Grazen for 2009, Benchmark is the sire of added-money winner Ducky Drake, who won the Jan. 24 G Malleah Handicap at Turf Paradise. Benchmark stands for $4,000 at Martin and Pam WygodÕs River Edge Farm near Buellton, Calif.ÑE.M