NYSSS Great White Way runner-up Un Ojo targeting G3 Withers
by NYRA Press Office
- NYSSS Great White Way runner-up Un Ojo targeting G3 Withers
- Fromanothamutha G3 Gotham bound following maiden score
- Forewarned to return in $100K Jazil
- Falcone, Jr. third in Big A winter meet trainer standings; Empty Tomb possible for $100K Jazil
- Morning Matcha scheduled to return for $100K Busanda
- Grade 1 Cigar Mile winner Lion Tamer dies in Jamaica
Cypress Creek Equine’s Un Ojo is on track to make his graded stakes debut in the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers on February 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack. The nine-furlong Withers offers 10-4-2-1 qualifying points on the road to the Kentucky Derby to the top-four finishers, respectively.
Trained by Tony Dutrow, the son of Laoban had his first work since his game effort in the Great White Way, breezing four furlongs in 49.13 seconds over Belmont Park’s dirt training track on Friday in company with fellow Dutrow trainee Fair Haired Boy, a 5-year-old maiden winner.
“We had plenty of time between races, so we gave him a little bit of a break there immediately after the stakes and we’re extremely happy with him,” Dutrow said. “If things keep going the way they are today, he’ll be in the Withers.”
Un Ojo’s second in the Great White Way was the first stakes placing of his career, fighting on valiantly with eventual winner Geno down the stretch to be defeated just a neck despite losing momentum when he was bumped by Geno at the sixteenth pole.
Dutrow said he is not concerned with Un Ojo’s step up to the graded ranks for the first time.
“I think he’ll manage it just fine. We’re feeling very good about the distance and how the race is coming up,” said Dutrow. “His breeding says that the distance shouldn’t be a problem. We are looking forward to it for sure.”
Other horses under consideration for the Withers include the top-three finishers of the Jerome – Courvoisier, Smarten Up and Cooke Creek – as well as maiden winner Constitutionlawyer.
Dutrow also worked Buy Land and See on Friday, sending out the 5-year-old son of Cairo Prince to drill a bullet four furlongs in 47.60 over Belmont’s dirt training track, the fastest of 110 works for that distance Friday.
“He’s a talented horse and did it the right way,” Dutrow said. “He didn’t stress himself [in the work] and we’re very happy with him.”
Buy Land and See, a stakes winner on the turf with a gritty neck win in the Awad at Belmont in 2019, made his dirt debut in his last start, finishing third in a one-mile optional claimer at Aqueduct on December 31.
Dutrow said the grey showed enough in his last effort to continue racing on the main track.
“We’ll run him in the same condition as last time. We thought it was a positive effort the last time and we’ll try it again,” said Dutrow. “The switch was pretty easy for him.”
Out of the Maria’s Mon mare Twiggles, Buy Land and Sea is a half-brother to multiple graded stakes-placed stakes winner Sweet Bye and Bye.
Fromanothamutha G3 Gotham bound following maiden score
Trainer Ray Handal said recent maiden winner Fromanothamutha will target the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham on March 5, a one-turn mile offering 50-20-10-5 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers.
Fromanothamutha, a 3-year-old son of Unified, broke his maiden gate-to-wire Thursday by 4 1/4 lengths in a seven-furlong maiden special weight under regular pilot Manny Franco, registering a career-best 87 Beyer.
Fromanothamutha entered Thursday’s win from a distant seventh in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Remsen, but kept salty company throughout the maiden ranks, finishing behind subsequent stakes-winner Chattalot in his July debut at Saratoga. He would go on to finish second in his fourth start to Mo Donegal - the eventual Remsen winner.
“He’s just been knocking at the door,” Handal said. “He bounced out of the Remsen in good order. We were looking at this race and if he were to win, then the Gotham from there. He should handle the mile just fine and he’s shown that he’s pretty legit.”
Handal said Franco, who piloted Fromanothamutha for the first time in the Remsen, benefited from the race experience aboard the dark bay.
“Manny said he thought he might have put him to sleep a little bit in the Remsen. He was getting a little bit lackadaisical,” Handal said. “This time, he kept him going at task in a spot where he was happy.”
Owned by Handal in partnership with Blue Lion Thoroughbreds, Craig Taylor and Peter M. Rinato, Fromanothamutha is out of the Aptitude mare Prevention. He was bought for $120,000 out of the 2021 OBS March Sale.
Handal has won 5-of-16 starts in 2022 heading into Sunday’s card, all of which were at Aqueduct. In addition to Fromanothamutha, he scored with Constitutionlawyer, who is bound for the Grade 3 Withers. Other victories for Handal this year include Just Read It and maiden winners Ribot’s Valentine and The Honorable Ruth.
“We just have to keep it rolling along,” Handal said. “We’re just happy to have nice horses and patient owners. It’s great for the whole team.”
Forewarned to return in $100K Jazil
Forewarned, owned and trained by Uriah St. Lewis, worked a half-mile solo in 50.59 Thursday at Parx in preparation for Saturday's $100,000 Jazil, a nine-furlong test for older horses at the Big A.
“The track is really heavy here - he was sixth out of 35 at the distance. He's coming into it really good,” St. Lewis said. “We work him by himself because he's an aggressive horse and if we work him in company, he will work too fast. It was just a maintenance work.”
The 7-year-old Flat Out bay posted a 42-1 upset last out in the nine-furlong Queens County on December 19 at the Big A, rallying from 10 lengths off the pace under Dexter Haddock to secure a 1 1/4-length win.
Bred in Ohio by Preston Stables, Forewarned, who boasts a ledger of 45-10-7-4, was purchased for $40,000 by St. Lewis’ Trin-Brook Stable in December 2018 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Mixed Sale.
St. Lewis compared the hard-knocking Forewarned to his former charge Discreet Lover, a veteran of 49 career starts who won the 2018 Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. Discreet Lover now stands stud in Indiana at R Stars Stallions.
“He's like Discreet Lover. A long time ago that's what everybody used to do [run long and often],” St. Lewis said. “Remember Forego, all the horses used to run like that. Now, you run five races and your career is over - six races and you're a stud.”
Haddock will again ship to New York to retain the mount.
St. Lewis said Golden Essence, who was pulled up last out with a suspensory issue in the Grade 2 Demoiselle on December 4 at the Big A, will be bred to Discreet Lover.
The Super Saver bay, out of the four-time winning Tale of the Cat mare Sinister Tale, graduated in November at Parx traveling one mile 70 yards. Golden Essence advanced to fourth at the half-mile call of the nine-furlong Demoiselle but was pulled up by Haddock and vanned off.
“She had some ability. I thought when she made that move she was going to win and then she started to go back through the pack,” St. Lewis said.
The St. Lewis-owned Informative, a 79-1 winner of the Grade 3 Salvator Mile in June at Monmouth Park, is currently enjoying some down time. The 5-year-old son of Bodemeister, who sports a record of 31-3-3-2 with purse earnings of $289,040, finished off-the-board last out on December 28 in the Kris Kringle at Parx.
“He had a long, hard campaign so we decided to give him a couple months off,” St. Lewis said. “We might bring him back in the middle of February and start cranking him up again. It won't take him long to get back.”
Falcone, Jr. third in Big A winter meet trainer standings; Empty Tomb possible for $100K Jazil
Trainer Robert Falcone, Jr. is tied for third in the Aqueduct winter meet trainer standings with seven wins heading into Sunday’s card.
The 28-year-old conditioner enjoyed stakes success in December at the Big A with John Grossi's Racing Corp.'s Maiden Beauty, who notched a gate-to-wire 3 3/4-length score in the nine-furlong Bay Ridge.
But Falcone, Jr. has also profited in the claiming ranks, including with Miss Peppina, who was claimed from the conditioner for $14,000 out of a nose score in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint January 9 at the Big A.
“No one wants to stand in the cold and lose,” Falcone, Jr. said. “Miss Peppina won for $14,000 last week and she just got up. If I ran her for $25,000, she's not going to win.
“You spot them in the right spots because you want to win races, but you're going to end up losing horses when you do that,” Falcone, Jr. added. “I had 29 horses here at one point and now I have 20.”
Falcone, Jr., who also has a small string out in California, said he is doing his best to put his horses in winnable spots this winter.
“Keep them happy and spot ‘em where they can win. If you're the favorite, it means you're in the right spot,” Falcone, Jr. said. “The toughest part is replacing them when you're a claiming outfit and you don't have ten 2-year-olds coming in every year. To get one back in the claim box isn’t easy, you're shaking five-ways, six-ways, but you want to win races and show people that your barn is capable of winning. If you protect them, you'll keep running third and fourth.”
John Grossi's Racing Corp.'s Empty Tomb worked a half-mile in 52 flat Friday over the Belmont dirt training track in preparation for a possible start in Saturday's $100,000 Jazil, a nine-furlong test for older horses at the Big A.
Empty Tomb, a 6-year-old son of Speightstown, set a pressured pace last out in the nine-furlong Queens Country, relinquishing the lead late to 42-1 upset winner Forewarned, who is probable for the Jazil.
Falcone, Jr. said he on the fence regarding the Jazil with the $125,000 Stymie, a one-mile for older horses on February 26, a long-term target.
"He's doing good. He came out the race good and worked well. I'm still on the fence with him [regarding the Jazil]," Falcone, Jr. said. "I'm not sure a mile and an eighth is really his preferred distance. Even if I do run here, the race I really want to run him in is the Stymie. I think the one-turn mile suits him perfectly.
“He walked yesterday and jogged today. He's doing good. He's on the muscle. He's ready to run again,” Falcone, Jr. added. “I don't have a problem with running him. I'm just trying to figure out what's best for the long term.”
Falcone, Jr. said Maiden Beauty, a 6-year-old Revolutionary bay, will target the one-mile $100,000 Biogio’s Rose for older New York-bred fillies and mares on March 6 at the Big A.
“She's doing really good. She's such an easy horse to deal with,” Falcone, Jr, said. “She has a lot of class. She's an easy horse to train and real sound.”
Maiden Beauty entered the Bay Ridge just 11 days after a neck score in a one-mile optional-claiming event on December 19 at the Big A.
Falcone, Jr. said Maiden Beauty, who he claimed for $45,000 from Tony Dutrow in June at Belmont, could look for a similar prep ahead of the Biogio’s Rose.
“When she ran in the '2X' both times at Aqueduct with Tony last year, he ran her for the tag and that's how we were able to run her in the allowance before the stakes without the tag,” Falcone, Jr. said. “She's still eligible for the '3X' without the tag. Depending on when the race is written in the next book, I may go for the '3X' and then go to the Biogio's Rose.”
Sanford J. Goldfarb, Irwin Goldfarb and Nice Guys Stables’ Kept Waiting will make her dirt debut in Race 7 on Thursday, an open seven-furlong allowance for older fillies and mares.
The 5-year-old Broken Vow bay, bred in the Empire State by John Lauriello, boasts a career record of 9-3-3-1, all on turf, including a five-length romp last out December 2 sprinting six furlongs at the Big A.
“She works good on dirt and does it easily in hand. She has the speed to be close and we figured we'd give her a shot on the dirt,” Falcone, Jr. said. “If she does handle the dirt the way she trains in the morning, there's no reason she doesn't have a shot to hit the board.”
Falcone, Jr. claimed Kept Waiting for $40,000 in September 2020 out of a runner-up effort in a maiden claiming tilt at Belmont. She graduated at first asking for new connections on the Belmont turf and two starts later notched a state-bred allowance win over the same course in April.
“If she does take to the dirt OK, we only have one more start and then the turf isn't that far away,” Falcone, Jr. said.
Kept Waiting will exit post 4 under Kendrick Carmouche.
Morning Matcha scheduled to return for $100K Busanda
Trainer Butch Reid, Jr. confirmed two-time winner Morning Matcha will make her open company stakes debut in next Sunday’s $100,000 Busanda, nine-furlong test for 3-year-old fillies offering 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-four finishers.
Owned by Cash is King Racing, LC Racing and Gary Barber, Morning Matcha faced off against fellow New York-sired fillies last out in the NYSSS Fifth Avenue on December 18 at the Big A. After breaking a touch slow from the gate, she was placed toward the rear of the 11-horse field and made a late rally to finish second 1 3/4 lengths to winner Yo Cuz.
Initially slated to join Reid, Jr.’s small winter division in South Florida, Morning
Matcha was ultimately kept up north in favor the nine-furlong Busanda. The next stakes race for sophomore fillies at Gulfstream Park is the seven-furlong Grade 3 Forward Gal on February 5.
“The races weren’t long enough for her down there. I really wanted the mile and an eighth,
which is the distance of this race coming up,” Reid, Jr. said. “The first race
down in Florida for 3-year-old fillies is one turn and three weeks away and I didn’t want to wait that long. The quicker I can get her going longer, the better.”
Reid, Jr. said regular pilot Kendrick Carmouche, who rode 2017 Busanda winner Lockdown, would retain the mount.
Morning Matcha, a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of New York sire Central Banker, has never finished out of the money in seven lifetime starts. Prior to scoring against open company at both maiden and allowance level at Parx Racing, she earned black type for the first time when second against fellow Pennsylvania-breds in the Finest City in September at Presque Isle Downs. She boasts earnings of $247,390 through a 7-2-3-2 record.
Bred by Crane Thoroughbred Services, Morning Matcha is out of the stakes-placed Iam the Iceman mare Home Ice and was bought for $18,000 out of the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Mid Atlantic Sale.
Grade 1 Cigar Mile winner Lion Tamer dies in Jamaica
Lion Tamer, winner of the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Racetrack in 2004, died in Jamaica at age 19 on September 3, 2019 due to a heart attack. The chestnut son of Will’s Way had been standing stud at Orange Valley Estates in Trelawny, Jamaica since 2017 after standing for nine seasons at Clear Creek Stud in Louisiana.
“We loved him dearly. He was a kind and gentle stallion to work with and did his job with ease,” said Jacqui Henderson, manager of Orange Valley Estates. “He will always have a place in the hearts of all at Orange Valley.”
Trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Michael Tabor, Lion Tamer was ridden by Jose Santos to be the upset 12-1 winner of the 2004 Cigar Mile by 1 1/4 lengths over multiple graded stakes-winner Badge of Silver in a final time of 1:33.46.
Lion Tamer earned three other graded victories in his career, taking a trio of Grade 2’s with wins in the Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park as a sophomore and the Richter Scale Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Gulfstream and Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland as a 4-year-old.
Lion Tamer also added two other Grade 1 placings to his resume at 5, finishing third in the Vosburgh and the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, both at Belmont Park. Lion Tamer wrapped up his career with earnings of $1,000,727 and a consistent record of 8-3-2 from 20 lifetime starts.
At the time of his retirement to stud, Lion Tamer was the only millionaire standing in Louisiana, attracting the attention of breeders and covering 34 mares in his first year at Clear Creek. From nine American crops, Lion Tamer’s top progeny include multiple stakes winner Heavy on Themister, stakes winner Win Lion Win, and Grade 3-placed stakes winner Southern Dude.
In January of 2017, Lion Tamer was transferred to Orange Valley Estates where he stood for three seasons prior to his death. His Jamaican crops include 3-year-old filly Golden Wattle, who defeated males to win Jamaica’s richest juvenile race, the Supreme Ventures Jamaica 2-Year-Old [JM $4 million], on December 27.
Lion Tamer bred 20 mares in his final year at stud, producing a handful of foals that are now 2-year-olds working towards their debuts.
Out of the stakes-placed Olympio mare Tippecanoe Creek, Lion Tamer was bred in Kentucky by Paul Smith.