by Karen M. Johnson
Terry Finley, president of West Point Thoroughbreds, said Oct. 29 grade I winner Lear’s Princess would not go through the sale ring Nov. 4 as originally planned and will be pointed toward a 2008 campaign on the racetrack.
Lear’s Princess, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, finished 10th as the favorite in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park. The 3-year-old daughter of Lear Fan was entered in Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky selected fall mixed sale in Lexington.
Finley said he and his partners had a change of heart about selling Lear’s Princess, who won the Sept. 15 Gazelle Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park, while defeating Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches.
This year, Lear’s Princess has been one of West Point Thoroughbred’s stable stars, having won four races from seven starts for earnings of $429,100. She also finished second in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) and Alabama Stakes (gr. I).
“We are going to keep her and freshen her up for a 4-year-old campaign,” Finley said. “I like that idea. The partners didn’t want to sell. She didn’t show up in the Breeders’ Cup, partly because of the (sloppy) track and the competition also played a big part. She has had a lot of thrown at her the last sixth months. With the prospect of going into her 4-year-old year, you’ve got to be excited.”
Finley said Lear’s Princess will winter with McLaughlin at Palm Meadows Thoroughbred Training Center outside of Boynton Beach, Fla.
Dream Rush, owned in partnership by West Point, Lewis G. Lakin, and John G. Sikura, will go through the auction ring at Fasig-Tipton Nov. 4. Dream Rush, a two-time grade I winner this year, finished fifth as the second choice in the inaugural running of the Oct. 26 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Trained by Rick Violette, Dream Rush, a daughter of Wild Rush, earned $627,864 during two years of racing career. The 3-year-old filly won six races from nine starts, including the Test (gr. I) and Prioress (gr. I).
“Whoever gets her, gets a top-class race and broodmare prospect,” Finley said. “She put in a good effort (Friday) and outran a very fast filly in La Traviata. She ran as fast as a horse can go. I’m not a big fan of (blaming) the track condition, but there is no doubt that everyone would have preferred it fast and firm.”
Irish Smoke, owned by West Point and Lakin, is entered in the Fasig-Tipton sale, and Finley said the filly would go through the ring. Irish Smoke, a 2-year-old daughter of Smoke Glacken, finished 12th in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Oct. 27. During the Saratoga meet, Irish Smoke won the Spinaway (gr. I) for trainer Patrick Biancone.
Awesome Gem, at odds of 28-1, saved the day for West Point and co-owners Patrice Arudel and Paul Blavin with his third-place finish in the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) Oct. 27. Finely said Awesome Gem, a 4-year-old gelding, would remain in California with trainer Craig Dollase for a 5-year-old campaign.
“(Awesome Gem) was our saver bet on Saturday,” Finley said. “I was very happy with the way he ran. He’s a very good horse. We will map out a campaign for him as a 5-year-old, with an eye on getting to Santa Anita and getting the job done in the Classic over a track he likes next year.”
High Finance, another West Point runner, finished eighth and last in the inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Oct. 26.