Nov 27, 2021
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Following Sea, Americanrevolution work for G1 Cigar Mile presented by NYRA Bets

by NYRA Press Office

  • Following Sea, Americanrevolution work for G1 Cigar Mile presented by NYRA Bets
  • Ginobili works at San Luis Rey for G1 Cigar Mile
  • Trinni Luck posts bullet work for NYSSS Staten Island; Bella Sofia to be freshened for 4-year-old campaign
  • Sharp Starr posts sharp half-mile breeze for G3 Go for Wand
  • Bees and Honey to receive break following G3 Comely score
  • Forever Together victress Flower Point bound for South Florida

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher worked graded stakes winner Following Sea and multiple New York-bred stakes winner Americanrevolution in company this morning at Belmont Park in preparation for next Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Both horses completed their half-mile moves over the dirt training track rated fast in 49.21 seconds.

Owned by Spendthrift Farm, Following Sea rounded out the trifecta behind Aloha West and Dr. Schivel in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 6 at Del Mar. The son of second crop sire Runhappy entered the Sprint from a solid score against older company in the Grade 2 Vosburgh on October 9 at Belmont Park.

Americanrevolution, a CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm owned Constitution colt, enters the Cigar Mile off an 11 ¾-length romp against fellow Empire State-breds in the Empire Classic on October 30 at Belmont, where he produced a 108 Beyer Speed Figure.

“They both went well,” said Pletcher, a four-time winner of the Cigar Mile. “It was a good breeze for them both with a solid gallop out. They both seem to be happy and healthy, knock on wood.”

Since 2000, seven 3-year-olds have bested elders in the Cigar Mile, which is the final Grade 1 event on the NYRA circuit for the calendar year.

Pletcher also worked a handful of juveniles slated for stakes action next week with Mo Donegal and Overstep breezing a half-mile in company over the Belmont training track in 49.77 seconds. Both horses are pointing towards the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen – a nine-furlong test for juvenile colts which offers 10-4-2-1 points towards the 2022 Kentucky Derby.

Mo Donegal, a Donegal Racing owned son of Uncle Mo, stretched out from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles to break his maiden at second asking on October 21 at Belmont. Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s New York-bred Overstep, a bay son of Into Mischief bred by Chester and Mary Broman, was a close second in the state-bred Sleepy Hollow on October 30 over a sloppy and sealed Belmont main track.

Pletcher previously captured the Remsen with Bluegrass Cat [2005] and Overanalyze [2012], both of whom contested in the following year’s Kentucky Derby.

Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House’s Nest registered a half-mile work in 49.79 seconds in preparation for the Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle, a nine-furlong test for juvenile fillies which offers 10-4-2-1 points toward the 2022 Kentucky Oaks.

Pletcher is a six-time winning trainer of the Demoiselle, including with subsequent Oaks victresses Ashado [2003] and Malathaat [2020]. 

On Friday, Pletcher saddled Repole Stable’s Never Surprised to a flashy victory in the $150,000 Gio Ponti, which saw the Constitution bay garner a career-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure with Kendrick Carmouche in the irons. Never worse than second in a half dozen career starts, Never Surprised was previously second to Public Sector at graded stakes level in the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga and the Grade 2 Hill Prince at Belmont. Last year, he captured both his starts over the Aqueduct turf, including a wire-to-wire win over stakes-winner Hard Love in the Central Park.

Pletcher said the $100,000 Tropical Park Derby on December 26 at Gulfstream Park remains in play.

“That’s a possibility. We’ll see,” Pletcher said.


Ginobili works at San Luis Rey for G1 Cigar Mile

Graded-stakes winner Ginobili breezed five-eighths in 59.60 Friday at San Luis Rey Training Center in preparation for next Saturday's Grade 1 Cigar Mile presented by NYRA Bets.

Trained and co-owned by Richard Baltas with Slam Dunk Racing, Richard McClanahan and Michael Nentwig, Ginobili is named for Manu Ginobili, a retired basketball player who starred for the San Antonio Spurs.

"It was an excellent work," Baltas said on Friday evening. "He galloped out in 1:12 and 1 and out in 1:26 and did it in a gallop. I was really happy with the way he worked. He was more relaxed than usual."

The 4-year-old Munnings bay, a $35,000 purchase at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, graduated at second asking sprinting six furlongs in August 2019 at Del Mar ahead of fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity.

That effort was followed by a difficult run of form with Ginobili hitting the board just once in his next four starts to conclude his sophomore season in October 2020.

Ginobili was given a lengthy layoff and returned in May to finish off-the-board in a turf sprint and fourth in a main-track sprint in June at Santa Anita. But the addition of blinkers and a stretch out in distance in July saw Ginobili end a nine-race losing streak with a two-turn score in a one-mile optional-claimer at Del Mar that garnered a career-best 104 Beyer.

Ginobili followed that effort by besting multiple graded stakes winner C Z Rocket in the seven-furlong Grade 2 Pat O'Brien in August at Del Mar, a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Ginobili performed admirably in the Dirt Mile, completing the exacta behind Life Is Good.

Baltas said that Ginobili, who was gelded in June 2020, benefitted from a number of changes.

"I turned him out and we did a minor surgery [ankle chip] on him and gave him some time and brought him back as much sounder horse as a 4-year-old," Baltas said. "The blinkers were a big deal and the stretch out - it's been a combination of things. We're excited that he's done what he's done this year and we're hoping that will continue."

Baltas said Ginobili was slated to ship to New York on Saturday. 


Trinni Luck posts bullet work for NYSSS Staten Island; Bella Sofia to be freshened for 4-year-old campaign

Ryan Racing's homebred Trinni Luck breezed five-eighths in company in a bullet 59.60 Saturday over the Belmont dirt training track in preparation for the seven-furlong NYSSS Staten Island for fillies and mares next Sunday at the Big A.

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez said the work was designed to help the 4-year-old Trinniberg filly with the cutback in distance after making her last two starts at 1 1/16-miles at Belmont, including an open allowance win in September and an off-the-board effort in the Empire Distaff on October 30.

"She did it the right way," Rodriguez said. "We put company on her and tried to sharpen her up a little bit. She cooled out good."

Bred in New York by her owner, the talented bay boasts a record of 7-4-1-0 with purse earnings of $185,350.

Rodriguez said J. W. Singer's Magic Circle is training well into next Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle, a nine-furlong test for juvenile fillies which offers 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points.

The Kantharos filly, who finished a close second to Gerrymander last out in the one-mile Tempted on November 5 at Belmont, breezed five-eighths in 1:02.02 November 23 over the Belmont dirt training track.

"She's doing very good. We'll work her again next week," Rodriguez said. "She's coming into the race good and we just have to hope she likes the two turns."

Magic Circle was a maiden winner at first asking sprinting seven furlongs in September at the Spa ahead of a tiring fourth in the one-mile Grade 1 Frizette on October 3 at Belmont.

Rodriguez said Magic Circle should appreciate the stretch out in distance.

"I'm hoping we can sit behind the speed and make a run. She's a very kind filly and you can do what you want with her," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said that Michael Imperio, Vincent Scuderi, Sofia Soares, Gabrielle Farm, Mazel Stable Partners, Matthew Mercurio, Medallion Racing, Parkland Thoroughbreds and Barry Fowler's Bella Sofia is off for a freshening ahead of a 4-year-old campaign.

The Awesome Patriot sophomore filly, who was unraced as a juvenile, went 4-for-6 in a tremendous campaign that included wins in the Grade 1 Longines Test in August at the Spa and the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap in September.

She completed her season with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint after traveling wide from the outermost post 5 under regular pilot Luis Saez.

"We didn't run our best race in California. I knew we were in trouble from the draw, but we were pleased with her year," Rodriguez said. "We'll give her a little break and bring her back next year. We sent her to the farm and we'll give her two or three months and get ready for Belmont. Hopefully, she'll come back even better."


Sharp Starr posts sharp half-mile breeze for G3 Go for Wand

Barry Schwartz’s Sharp Starr will look to capture back-to-back editions of the Grade 3, $250,000 Go For Wand Handicap, a one-turn mile for fillies and mares slated for next Saturday at Aqueduct.

The 4-year-old Munnings filly, out of the A.P. Indy mare Mindy Gold, breezed solo Saturday morning under trainer Horacio DePaz over a fast Belmont Park training track, going four furlongs in 48.68.

Last year, Sharp Starr defeated five rivals in the Go for Wand which saw the New York-bred filly capture her first graded stakes win and also her first win in open company while earning a 97 Beyer. Sharp Starr owns a 3-2-0-1 record racing at one mile on the dirt at the Big A.

DePaz believes his filly is in better shape for this year's edition.

“She’s always had good form and it looks like she’s stepping up. She’s matured much more physically, so I’m very happy with her,” DePaz said.

Sharp Starr captured the $250,000 Empire Distaff last month at Belmont, off a two-month layoff, where she notched a 16-1 upset coming from last-of-10 under jockey Jose Ortiz, who will retain the mount. She earned a 92 Beyer for the win, her first of the 2021 season in five starts.


Bees and Honey to receive break following G3 Comely score

For the second straight year, someone with the last name McGaughey captured the Grade 3, $200,0000 Comely at Aqueduct. This year, it was not Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, but rather his son and former assistant J. Reeve McGaughey capturing his first graded stakes victory with Bees and Honey.

Owned by Gainesway Stable and Andrew Rosen, Bees and Honey, a chestnut Union Rags sophomore filly, registered a 96 Beyer Speed Figure for her effort in the Comely, which last year was won by the Joseph Allen homebred Mrs. Danvers for the elder McGaughey.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Reeve McGaughey. “I certainly appreciate the owners giving me the opportunity. This is my first horse for Gainesway, but I’ve had one or two for Mr. Rosen, He’s always been very fair and a good owner for me.”

McGaughey, who went out on his own in 2020, expressed pride in capturing his first graded stakes race on the NYRA circuit.

“It’s exciting to win a graded race in New York like the Comely which has a long history behind it,” McGaughey said. “The filly seems like she came out of the race in good shape. She’ll come back down to Lexington on Sunday and from there we’ll see where she goes next.”

McGaughey said he learned a number of valuable lessons during his time spent working with his Hall of Fame father.

“Just that you can’t control everything - they’re horses,” McGaughey said. “As long as you believe in what you’re doing, you’ll be alright.”

McGaughey said his belief in what he thought was a strong work last Saturday over the Keeneland main track prompted him to ship Bees and Honey to Aqueduct for the Comley.

“It was in the back of our minds, but we didn’t decide to go until her last work,” McGaughey said. “She’s not an overly exciting work horse and she put in what I consider a really good work, so it was a race worth trying and it paid off.”

McGaughey, who will have 15 stalls at Tampa Bay Downs, said his newly crowned graded stakes-winner will receive a freshening with a spring and summer campaign in mind.

“She’s probably getting a bit of a break now,” McGaughey said. “She wants to run a mile and an eighth or further and there aren’t many options over the winter. She’s had a pretty busy half of the year from July on and handled it all well. We’ll freshen her up a bit. She may go to Ocala or straight to Tampa with me.”


Forever Together victress Flower Point bound for South Florida

Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said he was delighted to see Steve Feiger’s homebred mare Flower Point secure a stakes triumph in the $150,000 Forever Together at 1 1/16 miles over the Aqueduct inner turf.

The bay 5-year-old daughter of Point of Entry arrived at Friday’s conquest off a late-closing third at 13-1 odds in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel on October 23 at Belmont. The win was her first start going as long as 1 1/16 miles.

McGaughey, who took over training duties from John Sadler for her current campaign, said Flower Point has shown marked improvement since stretching out in distance after racing mainly as a turf sprinter in California.

“She’s by Point of Entry so I figured she would stretch out just fine,” McGaughey said. “She finished up well and next spring and summer, we’ll see how far she really wants to go. She’s a big, strong mare. She can do just about whatever you want with her. With a lot of pace, she can drop back or she can be more forwardly placed.”

Flower Point is slated to get a break, but will likely join McGaughey’s winter division at Payson Park Training Center in South Florida with a start at Gulfstream Park in mind.

“She’ll get a little break but somewhere at Gulfstream is where she’ll likely run next,” McGaughey said.

Flower Point’s triumph provided McGaughey with the double following a first-level allowance triumph with Emory Hamilton homebred Flanigan’s Cove who defeated winners by 1 ¼ lengths going 1 3/16 miles over the Aqueduct outer turf.

But it was neither of those races that meant the most to McGaughey. Later on the card, the Hall of Fame conditioner saw his son and former assistant, J. Reeve McGaughey capture his first graded stakes win with Bees and Honey in the Grade 3 Comely, a race which the elder McGaughey has won three times.

“It meant more to me than my two wins on the card. When they hit the finish, I had tears in my eyes,” McGaughey said. “Antony [Beck of Gainesway Stable] and Andrew Rosen have been loyal clients of mine and they’ve helped Reeve out which is nice. I was very excited for him.”

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