With the weak economy continuing to have a negative impact on all sorts of businesses, Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. executive Tom Ventura has modest expectations for the auction firm's August yearling sale in Central Florida.
The Oklahoma City yearling sale, scheduled for Aug. 24 in Oklahoma, has 113 horses in its catalog, including a close relative to the $2.8-million Storm Cat – Onaga colt that topped the recent Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction. The yearling, by Storm Cat's grandson Lion Heart, is out of a full sister to Onaga, according to the auction's sales manager, Terri Carter.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
The weekend brought a couple of new players to the 3-year-old scene and also underlined just how strong the second-crop sires are.
The Fasig-Tipton July select yearling sale, held July 20-21 in Lexington, ended with significant setbacks in gross revenue, average price, and median price, but managed to lower its buy-back rate from a year ago slighty. Read what sale company officials and sale participants had to say about the market.
The declines were in line with expectations during the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton July select yearling sale. Buyers and consignors had predicted the market would be down significantly, and there were no surprises July 20 in Lexington.
Sheikh Mohammed's agent, John Ferguson, went to $400,000 to acquire a son of Birdstone as the top-priced offering at the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale in Lexington July 20.
Mark Allen, the co-owner of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird, said the gelding will appear in New Mexico in September.
Summer Bird, winner of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in his last effort, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 the morning of July 12 at Monmouth Park.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Similarities in the pedigrees of Summer Bird (by Birdstone) and Gabby's Golden Gal (by Medaglia d'Oro) provide some insights into the bloodlines of their young sires.
It was a bird that won the June 6 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, but it was not Mine That Bird but rather Summer Bird that won the final leg of the Triple Crown.
Nothing seems to faze Mine That Bird, and lately, nothing seems to faze his trainer, Chip Woolley, either. There is a reason.
After working Mine That Bird June 1 at Churchill Downs, jockey Calvin Borel "guaranteed" that the gelded son of Birdstone would win the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Believe it or not, Borel is now even more confident.
The "other" son of Birdstone being pointed toward the Belmont Stakes, Summer Bird represents the successful racing and breeding operation of Drs. Kalarikkal K. and Vilasini Devi Jayaraman.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
Thanks to Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra, respectively, both Birdstone and Medaglia d'Oro have achieved the distinction of becoming Classic sires with their first crops. But how much of a boost will it really give them?
One of the closest Kentucky Derby finishes came in 1996, when Grindstone nipped Cavonnier at the wire. Grindstone today stands at the Young family's Overbrook Farm.
Summer Bird worked six furlongs in 1:15 4/5 the morning of April 24 at Churchill Downs in preparation for a run at the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands.
Mine That Bird earned his fourth consecutive win Oct. 5 at Woodbine when he edged pacesetter Bear's Conductor by a half-length in the $232,100 Grey Breeders' Cup Stakes (Can-III) for 2-year-olds.
Birdstone notched his first winner when his son S. S. Stone won at Hollywood Park on June 29 in his initial race.
Four years after Birdstone upset Smarty Jones' Triple Crown bid, trainer Nick Zito would love to play spoiler again, as he will send out Four Roses Thoroughbreds' Anal Nakal in the Belmont in hopes of rejecting Big Brown's bid for racing immortality.
The Fasig-Tipton Texas sale of 2-year-olds in training, scheduled for April 1 at Lone Star Park in Texas, has a higher quality catalog than it did a year ago, according to Fasig-Tipton Texas' director of sales, Tim Boyce.
The 40-year-old jockey picked up the milestone victory Feb. 10 at Gulfstream Park.
Half-sisters to 2005 Eclipse Award winners Ashado, Folklore, and Stevie Wonderboy were foaled in March.
The first foal sired by 2004 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Birdstone was born Jan. 11 at the Young family's Overbrook Farm near Lexington.
So Long Birdie, a half-brother to Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Birdstone and champion filly Bird Town, will stand in 2006 at Dr. Leonard Blach's Buena Suerte Equine near Roswell, N.M. His fee will be $2,000.
Trainer Nick Zito had Andromeda's Hero on the track Thursday morning at Saratoga Race Course working toward a start in the Aug. 27 Travers (gr. I). With exercise rider Jorge Abreu, Andomeda's Hero breezed five furlongs on the Saratoga main track in 1:02.
The Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders announced Marylou Whitney's Dear Birdie has been chosen 2004 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year.
Sing and Swing, the first mare bred to grade I winner Birdstone, has been pronounced in foal at Gainesway Farm.
You could say that So Long Birdie has some awfully big wings to fill. Last year, his half-brother, Birdstone, won the grade I Belmont and Travers, and the year before, his half-sister, Bird Town, captured the grade I Kentucky Oaks and Acorn on her way to an Eclipse Award.
Bird Town, Marylou Whitney's champion 3-year-old filly of 2003, produced her first offspring, an Empire Maker colt.
- By Steve Haskin
The Eclipse Award finalists, announced Jan. 5, reveal many familiar names in the human categories, with several big-name horses appearing in more than one category. Although most of the winners look like sure things, there are still some potential drag-out battles in the Sprint and 4-Year-Old and Up Female categories.
Whether you felt this year's 3-year-old crop was a good one or bad one, it certainly inspired a good deal of passion and provided a number of memorable moments. The following is a look back at the tumultuous 3-year-old season and its most notable performers, broken down into categories.
In discussions of the Horse of the Year merits of Smarty Jones and Ghostzapper, it has been stated that Smarty Jones defeated an inferior group of 3-year-olds. But when you look at all the facts, there really is no basis for this.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, who was retired earlier the week of Nov. 1 after suffering a chip fracture in his left front ankle, will stand at Gainesway Farm near Lexington, Ky., Whitney's husband, John Hendrickson, said Nov. 5.
- By Steve Haskin
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, winner of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I) this year, has been retired after a routine radiograph taken Nov. 2 revealed a P-1 medial chip in the colt's left front ankle.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, winner of the Belmont (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I) this year, has been retired after a radiograph taken Nov. 2 revealed a P-1 medial chip in the colt's left front ankle.
Based on the approximately $188,000 wagered at Lone Star Park Friday in advance wagering on the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, joint 9-1 favorites were Pleasantly Perfect, who won the $4-million race one year ago, 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Funny Cide and this year's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Birdstone.
Diamond A Racing's Pleasantly Perfect was installed as the 5-2 favorite and drew the 12 post position as he attempts to defend his title in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Texas' Lone Star Park Saturday.
Tomiro Fukami's Personal Rush, who will run in the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), paid his first visit to the track Tuesday morning, and it was almost an hour before he finally made his way back to his barn.
The action was hot and heavy going into Breeders' Cup week, with 26 pre-entered horses working on Oct. 24, an influx of horses arriving from all parts of the country and Europe, and a serious injury to Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) contender Ready's Gal.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone had his first gallop over the Lone Star Park track Sunday after arriving Saturday afternoon on a private charter from Albany, N.Y. that also brought three other Nick Zito-trained horses.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, winner of the Belmont (gr. I) and Travers (gr. I), breezed six furlongs in 1:16 4/5 over a muddy training track at Saratoga Oct. 22 in preparation for the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Lone Star Park Oct. 30.
Although no horse has won the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) coming off a layoff of more than 49 days, Richard Mandella, trainer of Pleasantly Perfect, and Marylou Whitney, owner of Birdstone, are confident taking their respective horses to Lone Star Park for the Oct. 30 World Thoroughbred Championships off layoffs of 69 and 63 days.
No matter how much time one spends studying the past performances and various speed figures for this year's Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), they still won't be able to feel secure picking a winner.
Following this past weekend's stakes extravaganza, the field for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) is pretty much firmed up...America has a budding superstar who can finally end the Europeans' five-year reign in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT)...and the Nextel Distaff (gr. I) has found another gem.
Although there are still several major preps remaining for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), the leading players are pretty well set, with Pleasantly Perfect, Ghostzapper, and Birdstone all heading straight for Texas. But there is still one player – former Horse of the Year Azeri -- who could add a whole new dimension to the race.
Birdstone's 2 1/2-length win Saturday in the Travers (gr. I) at Saratoga, coupled with the colt's upset of Smarty Jones in the Belmont (gr. I), opens up the race for this year's 3-year-old championship, at least in the minds of some.
Marylou Whitney Stable's Belmont-winning Birdstone gave trainer Nick Zito his first victory in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, just moments before an intense rainstorm hit the track.
Saturday's $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) drew a field of seven Wednesday morning, with some interesting scenarios developing from the post position order.
For longshot lovers, there are two potential overlays in the Aug. 28 Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. Maybe it's time to take the plunge.
- By Steve Haskin
Patrick Biancone, who will saddle Haskell Invitational (gr. I) winner Lion Heart in the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 28, and Todd Pletcher, trainer of Jim Dandy (gr. II) winner Purge, have different opinions about the 3-year-old championship picture.
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