Egan hopeful that the sky is the limit for New York-bred Red Knight
by NYRA Press Office
- Delacour keeping busy at Big A with stakes contenders and promising juvenile
- Mean Mary targets a 2021 campaign, including G2 New York
- Well-bred Action Jackson set for Big A debut on Saturday
- Aqueduct fall meet Week 4 stakes probables
Tom Egan of Trinity Farm said he was delighted to score his first graded stakes victory as an owner when watching Red Knight capture the Grade 3 Sycamore at Keeneland last month. On Saturday, Egan hopes to see his New York homebred double up in the Grade 3, $100,000 Red Smith going 1 3/8-miles over the inner turf at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Conditioned by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Red Knight received a well-executed ride by jockey James Graham, sitting in eighth and weaving his way through traffic around the far turn to roll home a two-length winner over pacesetter and fellow Red Smith aspirant Postulation.
Affectionately known as “Red,” the 6-year-old Pure Prize chestnut is out of Isabel Away, a gray daughter of Skip Away purchased by Egan for $60,000 at the recommendation of his late wife Jaye at the 2003 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
“My wife saw the mare and said that we just had to have her, so she was really the genesis of all that,” Egan recalled. “I think the first thing she liked was the color, but upon closer examination, she really liked her an awful lot. When I saw her in the back walking ring before she went out to the sales ring, she was just very classy and composed. At that point I said, ‘Yeah, sounds good.’”
While Isabel Away was unplaced in both of her starts against graded stakes company and found the winner circle only once in 11 lifetime starts, her progeny have found success at a high level.
In addition to Red Knight, who has earned $732,158 from a career record of 21-8-6-1, Isabel Away has produced three-time stakes winner Macagone and Birchwood Road, a full-brother to Red Knight, who amassed over a quarter-million dollars in a 46-race career.
But Red Knight has proven to be the most superior of her offspring. In addition to his last out win in the Sycamore, Red Knight won the two-mile H. Allen Jerkens Memorial in December 2018 at Gulfstream Park and the Point of Entry last October at Belmont Park.
Additionally, Red Knight has placed three other times against graded stakes company, including a runner-up effort in last year’s Red Smith to Sadler’s Joy and a second to Arklow in the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup under Luis Saez one start prior to his Sycamore triumph. Last April, he was second to Bigger Picture, winner of the 2016 Red Smith, in the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland.
“Red ran very well last April in the Elkhorn,” Egan said. “We put away Zulu Alpha but couldn’t quite hold off Bigger Picture. Almost every time he’s been beaten in a graded stakes race, it’s been by a Grade 1 winner. I liked the way Luis rode him at Kentucky Downs. He had him a little closer to the pace that day, but Red is versatile. He doesn’t need to be too far back. He’ll close ground readily. I think the field came up tougher this year than it did last year.”
Red Knight will be ridden by Jose Ortiz on Saturday from post 10.
“I’m glad that we got Jose aboard the horse. I think he’s a terrific person and a really good rider,” Egan said
Egan said he has high hopes heading into 2021 for Red Knight, listing the Grade 1 Man o’ War at Belmont Park and Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga Race Course as long-term targets.
While the Grade 1 Pegasus Turf Cup on January 26 at Gulfstream Park could be an option, Egan said the Grade 3 W.L. McKnight at the South Florida oval on the same day would be a more logical spot.
“Those are races we would be interested in,” Egan said. “The W.L McKnight is the same day. The Pegasus is a mile and three-sixteenths, which is a little short for him. It would be better for him to face tough horses going a longer distance.”
Egan described Red Knight as a high-energy, good-feeling horse and said that not a whole lot has changed in terms of temperament since he was a yearling.
“I don’t think he’s calmed down much,” Egan said.
Delacour keeping busy at Big A with stakes contenders and promising juvenile
Catherine Wills’ Luck Money could make a second consecutive appearance in a New York turf route, though trainer Arnaud Delacour said he has not yet decided on the 3-year-old Lookin At Lucky filly’s next spot.
The Grade 3, $100,000 Long Island for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going 1 3/8 miles on Aqueduct Racetrack’s inner turf on November 28 remains a possibility, though the Grade 1, $300,000 American Oaks at Santa Anita Park on December 28 is also still in play.
“I’m not sure yet. I’m going to breeze her this weekend and decide. There’s a possibility I’ll skip that race and run her in the American Oaks a month later,” said Delacour on Luck Money, who continues to train at Fair Hill in Maryland.
Delacour said he initially thought Luck Money could use the extra time between starts after stretching out to a 1 1/2 miles for the first time last out to win the Zagora on October 31 over yielding Belmont turf.
The Kentucky homebred defeated a nine-horse Zagora field, besting Hungry Kitten by a neck, for a 91 Beyer Speed Figure that tied a personal best. It was Luck Money’s first stakes victory in the longest race of her career, having won previously at 1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles.
“I thought the last race was going to take too much out of her, but she’s been training very well, so I’ll get together with the owner and see what she wants to do,” Delacour said.
Luck Money has won over turf listed as firm, good and yielding, making her a versatile option for her connections.
“She’s neat in that regard. She seems to run well on any type of track and everywhere; I’ve shipped her quite a bit,” Delacour said. “She hasn’t really had a bad race. She’s exceptional.”
Luck Money is 3-3-4 in 10 career starts with earnings of $224,200. After besting older horses in the Zagora, the sophomore could face the same conditions again in the Long Island, while the American Oaks is restricted to fellow 3-year-olds.
“Running her against older fillies, they have a lot more experience, especially going a mile and a half, but she just stepped right up, so that was interesting,” Delacour said.
Edward Seltzer and Beverly Anderson’s Ode to Joy could also be making a stakes appearance at the Big A, targeting the $100,000 Autumn Days for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going six furlongs on the outer turf on November 29.
Nearing the end of her 5-year-old campaign, Ode to Joy could be looking to move into the next phase of her career on a high note, entering off a third-place finish in the five-furlong The Very One on October 1 at Pimlico. The race before, she ran fourth in the Incredible Revenge moved off the turf on August 16 at Monmouth and will make her Aqueduct debut looking for her first stakes victory.
“Depending on the turf, there’s a little bit of rain in the forecast next week, but if it’s on the turf, I’ll do that with her,” Delacour said. “She’s been very consistent. She might not be the favorite, but I hope she can run well in there. I think the owners have in mind to breed her in the spring, so we’re going to try and see if we can add to her resume this winter and she’ll be a broodmare.”
While Ode to Joy’s racing career could be winding down, Dame of Malta’s is on an upward trajectory after a third-place debut finish on October 21 at Keeneland in a one-mile maiden race moved off the turf.
Owned by Runnymede Farm and Catesby Clay, the juvenile daughter of Union Rags is slated to make her turf debut on Saturday at Aqueduct in Race 6. Her form on grass is intriguing to Delacour, as the promising bay filly is out of the multiple graded stakes winning mare Bizzy Caroline, who is a half-sister to 2017 Eclipse Award Champion Turf Female Lady Eli.
“I think it’ll be interesting; she ran better than our expectations last time on the dirt,” Delacour said. “She was a little green with the kickback, but she really showed up and did it nice. I think the turf should be good. It remains to be seen, but I like the way she’s been training. She’s closely related to Lady Eli, so that’s the type of horse you want to see on the turf at least once, right?”
Mean Mary targets a 2021 campaign, including New York (G2)
Trainer Graham Motion said he is already thinking well into 2021 with multiple graded stakes-winner Mean Mary with a title defense in the Grade 2 New York at Belmont Park an option for the well-bred daughter of Scat Daddy.
Owned and bred by Alex Campbell, Jr., Mean Mary was a gate-to-wire winner of the classic-distance turf event, which she won by 5 ¼ lengths under jockey Luis Saez. She was a last out seventh in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on November 7 at Keeneland, where she was in contention early on and maintained a favorable position in mid-stretch before fading.
Motion also saddled Invincible Gal and Alda in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, who finished a respective 11th and 12th.
“They all came back well,” Motion said of his Breeders’ Cup contingent. “I was hoping for a better run from Mean Mary, but it’s the Breeders’ Cup and these races are obviously very tough.”
Out of the Grade 1-winning Dynaformer mare Karlovy Vary, Mean Mary posted her fourth straight victory in the New York which she followed with a game runner-up finish to Rushing Fall in the Grade 1 Diana on August 23 at Saratoga. Prior to the New York, she won the Grade 2 La Prevoyante going 1 ½ miles and Grade 3 Orchid going 1 3/8 miles, both at Gulfstream Park, displaying a similar frontrunning fashion.
Motion also spoke of Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic runner-up Laccario, who joined Motion’s barn after making his North American debut the 1 ½-mile event at Belmont Park and said the German Group 1 winner will ship to California for the Grade 2, $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup on November 27 at Del Mar.
Well-bred Action Jackson set for Big A debut on Saturday
Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. will debut the well-bred Action Jackson in Saturday’s second race at the Big A, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on the inner turf for New York-bred juveniles.
By Union Rags, the Lawrence Goichman homebred is out of the multiple graded stakes winning Distant View mare J’ray.
“He’s trained OK and he’s a good-looking horse,” said Joseph, Jr. “On the dam side, he’s all turf but Union Rags tends to get more dirt runners. We’ll give him a start and see how he fits in.”
Action Jackson has trained into his debut at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Florida, where he posted a half-mile breeze in 48.15 seconds on the dirt on November 14.
Joseph, Jr. said jockey Jose Lezcano is likely to sit a stalking trip on Saturday aboard Action Jackson, who is listed at 10-1 on the morning line.
“In the morning, he seems more steady than quick in that regard,” said Joseph, Jr. “He’s even paced, so I think he would sit mid-pack. If he runs to the dam, he’ll be alright.”
An overflow field of talented New York-bred juveniles for Saturday’s second race includes Repole Stable’s Vodka Lemonade, who is looking to improve at second asking for trainer Mike Maker from a runner-up debut effort and Waterville Lake Stable’s first time starter Straw Into Gold, a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Sea Foam. By Hard Spun, the Christophe Clement-trained Straw Into Gold is out of the graded stakes winning Unbridled’s Song mare Strike It Rich.
A native of Barbados who began training in south Florida in 2011, Joseph, Jr. brought a string of horses to Saratoga for the first time this summer posting a modest record of 17-2-2-2. His stable stars at the Spa included Tonalist’s Shape, who ran fourth in the Grade 1 Coaching Club America Oaks and Math Wizard, who finished fifth in the Grade 1 Woodward.
Joseph, Jr. said he would like to oversee a string year round next year on the New York Racing Association, Inc. circuit.
“It’s something we hope to do year round next year,” said Joseph, Jr. “This year, we’ve just been shipping in to run, outside of our time at Saratoga.
“The purse money there is big,” added Joseph, Jr. “This year, we were just learning about what kind of horse it takes and got our feet wet for next year. We just did it this year on a small scale so next year we can go forward.”
The conditioner reported that John Fanelli, Cash is King, LC Racing, Paul Braverman and Team Hanley’s multiple graded stakes placed New York-bred Ny Traffic is enjoying a freshening after a campaign that included runner-up efforts in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs and the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park, where he was just a nose away from toppling eventual Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic champ Authentic.
“He’s had a good break after a long year,” said Joseph, Jr. “We’re going to start him back up at the track at the end of the month.”
Following his trio of seconds, Ny Traffic ran eighth in the Kentucky Derby and ninth in the Grade 1 Preakness to complete an eventful sophomore season.
“He showed up really good at all the preps and obviously in the big one [the Derby], he was a little disappointing,” said Joseph, Jr. “We decided to give him one more go in the Preakness and he broke sideways and he’s a horse that needs to be forwardly placed. After that, we decided to give him a break, he’d had a good year.”
John Fanelli, Khalid Mishref, Cash is King, Lc Racing, Collarmele Vitelli Stables, Ioannis Zoumas and Bassett Stables’ Math Wizard returned to the work tab at Gulfstream Park this month for the first time since the Woodward.
A neck winner of the 2019 Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, Math Wizard’s best performance this year came with a second in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup.
Joseph, Jr. said Math Wizard, claimed for $25,000 out of a winning effort in January 2019 at Gulfstream Park, will likely make his return at the Claiming Crown on December 5 at the Hallandale Beach oval.
“He’s doing well. We’ll probably point to the Claiming Crown with him,” said Joseph, Jr. “We gave him a good break after the Woodward and now we’re starting him back up.”
Tonalist’s Shape, a 3-year-old Tonalist chestnut owned by Slam Dunk Racing, Doug Branham and Legacy Ranch, won the first five races of her career, including scores in the Grade 3 Forward Gal and Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream earlier this year.
She finished fifth last out in the Grade 2 Raven Run on October 17 at Keeneland where she was off a step slow.
“Tonalist’s Shape had a big year early on and tailed off towards the end,” said Joseph, Jr. “So, going into her last race we decided win, lose or draw we were going to give her a break. Hopefully, she will have a big year next year.”
Aqueduct fall meet Week 4 stakes probables
Friday, November 27
$100,000 Gio Ponti
Probable: Basquiat (Chad Brown), City Man (Christophe Clement), Fancy Liquor (Mike Maker), Price Talk (Jorge Abreu), Reconvene (Ben Perkins, Jr.), Sail At Sunrise (Guadalupe Preciado), Spanish Kingdom (Joe Sharp), Starting Over (Robert Falcone, Jr.)
Possible: Doc Boy (Michael Stidham)
$100,000 Forever Together
Probable: Chaleur (Bill Mott), Feel Glorious (Clement), I’llhandalthecash (Ray Handal), Myhartblongstodady (Jorge Abreu), No Mo Lady (Mike Trombetta), Sorrentina Lemon (Clement), Tapit Today (Chad Brown), Traipsing (Clement)
$100,000 Comely (G3)
Probable: Makingcents (Jeremiah Englehart), Miss Marissa (James Ryerson), Mrs. Danvers (Shug McGaughey), Shyza (John Servis), Thankful (Todd Pletcher), Toned Up (Tim Hills), Villanelle (Brad Cox)
Possible: Bajan Girl (Rohan Crichton), Gale (Jonathan Thomas), Pure Rhythm (Mike Stidham)
Saturday, November 28
$100,000 Central Park
Probable: Breadman (John Terranova), Hard Love (Thomas), Kitten’s Firstlove (Mike Maker), Run Casper Run (Juan Vazquez), Scarlett Sky (McGaughey), Take Profit (Jeremiah O’Dwyer)
Possible: Coutnerfeitcurrency (Derek Ryan)
$100,000 Long Island (G3)
Probable: Beau Belle (Tom Albertrani), Cap De Creus (Pletcher), Eliade (Chad Brown), English Affair (Rusty Arnold), Mutamakina (Clement), Pretty Point (Patrick Gallagher), Theodora B. (Michael Dickinson), Wegetsdamunnys (Clement), With Dignity (Ian Wilkes)
$100,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship
Probable: Archidust (Steve Asmussen), Backtohisroots (Terranova), Battle Station (Rob Atras), El Tormenta (Gail Cox), Hollywood Talent (Juan Vazquez), Lonhtwist (Keith O’Brien), Maxwell Esquire (Clement), Pulsate (Bobby Ribaudo), Therapist (Clement), Wet Your Whistle (Mike Trombetta)
Possible: Spikes Shirl (Katie Lisowski)
Grade 3, $100,000 Discovery
Probable: Forza Di Oro (Mott), Monday Morning Qb (Butch Reid, Jr.), Money Moves (Pletcher), Shared Sense (Cox)
Sunday, November 29
$100,000 Autumn Days
Probable: A Great Time (Trombetta), I’llhandalthecash (Ray Handal), Lead Guitar (George Weaver), Madeleine Must (Clement), My Sassy Sarah (Jorge Abreu), Ode to Joy (Arnaud Delacour), Rose Flower (Clement), Saratoga Treasure (David Donk)
Possible: Dendrobia (Timothy Keefe)
Probable: Big Time Lady (Rudy Rodriguez), Dollar Mountain (Weaver), Frost Me (John Kimmel), Island Treasure (McGaughey)
Possible: Fluffy Socks (Chad Brown), Gherardini (Brittany Russell)
$100,000 Fall Highweight (G3)
Probable: Drafted (David Duggan), Share the Ride (Antonio Arriaga), Stan the Man (Terranova), Tribecca (Chris Englehart)
Possible: Chateau (Atras), Majestic Dunhill (Weaver)