By Karen M. Johnson
The day after undefeated Bustin Stones won the Feb. 18 General George Handicap at Laurel Park by a head, trainer Bruce Levine said the New York-bred will make his grade I debut in the $300,000 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct April 5.
Bustin Stones, a 4-year-old son of City Zip, has won five races from as many starts for owner/breeder Roddy Valente. The seven-furlong General George was the colt’s first start in open company.
He won a state-bred maiden race by seven lengths at Aqueduct in March 2007, and followed with a pair of restricted stakes wins, also won in easy fashion, before having surgery to remove chips in both knees. He returned to the races after nearly a nine-month layoff and won the Jan. 21 Promonroe Stakes at Aqueduct, his prep for the General George.
“He really ran game (in the General George),” Levine said of Bustin Stone’s front-running victory over a wet track. “He dug in and fought hard to hold off (Lord Snowdon).”
For Valente, Bustin Stones is one of his rare homebreds. During Valente and Levine’s long association, they have enjoyed much success claiming horses and turning them into stakes winners. Levine said Valente knew to find a really good horse, he would need to become involved in the breeding end of the business.
Valente subsequently bought a couple of mares, including Bustin Stone’s dam, Shesasurething, for a $50,000 claiming tag at Hollywood Park in 2000.
It first appeared that Shesasurething, a daughter of Prospectors Gamble, was anything but a valuable producer. According to Levine, the first two foals she dropped were so small, they were basically giveaways. Bustin Stones was her third foal.
“It was almost hilarious that she threw these small horses,” Levine said. “When Bustin Stones was born he was small, so (Valente) gave the mare away to some guy and she was giving pony rides. Then, while Bustin Stones was on the farm in Ocala, Jim Crupi told me he was on the small side, but that the little guy was going through a growth spurt, so we got the mare back.”
Shesasurething went back to giving pony rides when Bustin Stone failed to make it to the races as 2-year-old, but when Bustin Stones won his first race in such spectacular fashion, Valente once again retrieved Shesasurething.
“This time, (Valente) had to pay at least $2,000 to get her back because the guy had to find another horse to give the pony rides,” Levine said.
Shesasurething is currently in foal to Hook and Ladder.