From left: Pin Oak general manager Clifford Barry, trainer Malcolm Pierce, Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer, jockey Jose Lezcano, and Pin Oak's Nancy Stephens

From left: Pin Oak general manager Clifford Barry, trainer Malcolm Pierce, Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer, jockey Jose Lezcano, and Pin Oak's Nancy Stephens

Kevin Thompson

March Madness: Streaking Pin Oak Stable

Pin Oak Stable holds a hot hand with two graded stakes winners this month.

When you're on a streak, it's good to go with the hot hand.

In back-to-back Saturdays in March, a filly and a mare from Josephine Abercrombie's Pin Oak Stable have landed graded stakes, and Pin Oak sire Broken Vow  registered a $950,000 2-year-old March 18 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March sale.

In addition, Pin Oak general manager Clifford Barry, through his own Brookfield Stud, is the breeder of Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) winner Itsaknockout, who figures in the mix in the March 28 Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I).

Talk about March Madness.

"It has been a fun couple of weeks," Barry said with a laugh acknowledging his good fortune. "It's all about the highs and lows of the game, and it's nice to enjoy the highs when they come your way."

Pin Oak's run kicked off with 5-year-old mare Gold Medal Dancer defeating last year's champion 3-year-old filly Untapable in the Azeri Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park March 14. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro  earned her first graded stakes win in the Azeri.

Slated to be retired to Abercrombie's broodmare band before the race, Gold Medal Dancer figures to remain in training with Donnie Von Hemel with an eye on the April 10 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn. Gold Medal Dancer is a second generation homebred; Pin Oak picked up second dam Meadow Vista (MeadowlakeParsifal, by L'Enjoleur) after her racing career ended.

On March 21 Pin Oak homebred Don't Leave Me rallied to win the $147,675 Bourbonette Stakes (gr. III) on Turfway Park's Polytrack in her 3-year-old debut under Jose Lezcano. It was her third win from four starts, and while the race is a prep for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), don't count on seeing her under the Twin Spires May 1. Two of her three wins have come on synthetic surfaces and one on turf.

"It would be bit of stretch to jump her up to the Oaks, but never say never," Barry said. "Realistically, synthetic or turf would probably be next."

Don't Leave Me, who is out of the late See How She Runs, was shipped to the farm following the Bourbonettte and will get a reshening before returning to trainer Malcolm Pierce's string at Keeneland.

See How She Runs, winner of the 2002 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) for Pin Oak and Von Hemel, also skipped the Oaks, but for a different reason. She made her first four starts all at the Oaklawn meet and after much debate, it was decided to pass on the Oaks. It proved to be the right move, because later in May she won the Selene Stakes (Can-I) at Woodbine.

There are other similarities between mother and daughter.

"More than any other foal, she looks just like See How She Runs," Barry said. "If you'd put their pictures together side by side they could be twins. Their hip and their shoulder; even just the way their necks stand out.

"When we saw her in the paddock at Turfway that was the first thing some of the farm crew said: 'Man, she looks just like the mare.' "

Abercrombie bought Beau Cougar, the third dam of the Bourbonette winner, from the consignment of Stanley D. Petter Jr., agent, for $36,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky January sale in 1986. Beau Cougar, a mainstay at Pin Oak, also produced Canadian champion Hasten to Add.

Barry is enjoying the farm's good fortune, as well as following the exploits of Itsaknockout, who won the Feb. 21 Fountain of Youth via the disqualification of Upstart  to remain unbeaten in three starts for Starlight Racing.

Itsaknockout is out of the Cherokee Run mare Stormy B. Barry, a fan of the sire, picked up Stormy B for $67,000 at the 2009 Keeneland November sale from Elm Tree Farm, agent. He signed the ticket "Audrey & Emily" for his two daughters.

Barry sold Itsaknockout as a weanling for $130,000 at the 2012 Keeneland November sale.

Both Itsaknockout and Don't Leave Me are from the 2012 crop of top sire Lemon Drop Kid .

"He's a horse we've used for several years here on the farm," Barry said of Lane's End Farm's  champion son of Kingmambo (who is also the broodmare sire of Gold Medal Dancer). "He has always been well-priced and he'll get you a runner. For a breed-to-race operation like ours, he really fits a lot of our mares.

"He always gets you a nice, correct foal. Anytime you can get a young mare off to a good start with a sire like him is a good thing."

And for now, the good times are rolling for Barry and Pin Oak Stud.