Sep 27, 2020
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Viadera, Blowout on target for Matriarch (G1)

by NYRA Press Office

  • Viadera, Blowout on target for G1 Matriarch
  • Firenze Fire earns 101 BSF in G2 Vosburgh score
  • Shawdyshawdyshawdy and Myhartblongstodady breeze for local stakes assignments
  • Rossa Veloce possible for G3 Matron
  • Dream Bigger could look to navigate Hudson on Empire Showcase Day if training progresses
  • Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 returns $54K; handles $128K

Trainer Chad Brown reported that his one two-finishers of Saturday's Grade 3 Noble Damsel, Viadera and Blowout, both emerged from their efforts in good shape and will likely square off once more in the Grade 1, $300,000 Matriarch on November 29 at Del Mar.

Owned by Juddmonte Farms, Viadera notched her second stakes victory in her third start in the United States in the one mile test over the Widener turf, where she was placed at the rear of the field early on, saved ground to the inside and prevailed to get up at the right time by a neck under jockey Joel Rosario.

"He rode a really good race," said Brown, who secured a fifth straight victory in the Noble Damsel. "He was able to save some ground and she was able to get up at the last jump."

Rosario also piloted Brown-trained Off Limits (2017) and Uni (2018) to Noble Damsel triumphs, both of whom won the Matriarch at the end of their respective years.

Viadera, a 4-year-old bay daughter of Bated Breath, arrived at the Noble Damsel off a narrow victory in the De La Rose on July 17 at Saratoga, where she defeated stable mate Noor Sahara (fourth in the Noble Damsel) by a neck. A victory in the Matriarch would give Juddmonte Farms a record seventh triumph in the race after previously winning with champions Ryafan (1997), Heat Haze (2003), and Intercontinental (2004).

But it was Blowout who Brown said impressed him the most. Peter Brant's consistent daughter of Dansili out of Group 1 winner Beauty Parlour set torrid fractions on the front end, and the favorite still had enough left to hang on for second.

"Those were just insane fractions," Brown said. "It showed the heart and the talent that she has to nearly still pull it off. It was remarkable to me. I was most impressed with her. Both horses ran terrific and so far, they look good. If they do well this next month, we'll point them both to the Matriarch."

Never off the board and never beaten more than three-quarters of a length in 10 lifetime starts, Blowout is still in search of her first graded stakes win but scored triumphs in the Wild Applause last June and the Pebbles last September going one mile over the Widener turf.

"She's very consistent," Brown said. "She's been very unlucky in a couple of her losses, but she's a developing horse with a lot of ability and super well-bred as well. I'll believe she'll have her day winning a graded stakes."

Earlier on the card Brown saddled the Brant-owned American West to a debut victory going a one-turn mile over the Belmont main track, where she earned a 65 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort. The juvenile daughter of Curlin is out of stakes placed Jacaranda, who is a half-sister to leading second crop sire Constitution.

"She came out of the race well, we'll talk to Peter Brant about what we'll do with her and just see how she trains," Brown said.

Bred in Kentucky by Alpha Delta Stable, American West was purchased for $925,000 from the Mill Ridge Sales consignment at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Firenze Fire earns 101 BSF in G2 Vosburgh score

Mr. Amore Stable's multiple graded-stakes winner Firenze Fire secured his fifth win at Belmont with a prominent score in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Vosburgh.

Trained by Kelly Breen and piloted by Jose Lezcano, Firenze Fire tracked the early foot of Share the Ride in the six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and upwards before taking command at the stretch call and powering home to a 2 ¾-length score.

The 5-year-old Florida homebred son of Poseidon's Warrior stopped the clock in 1:09.71, garnering a 101 Beyer and an automatic entry into the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint on November 7 at Keeneland via the Breeders' Cup "Win And You're In" Challenge Series.

Breen said the fleet footed Firenze Fire, who boasts a record of 29-12-3-2 with purse earnings in excess of $2 million, will be able to utilize his good gate speed to his advantage next out at Keeneland.

"He's a front-end style runner but he can sit off the pace," said Breen. "He came out of the race in good order."

Breen took over training duties for Firenze Fire earlier this year and has saddled the horse to a record of two wins from five starts that also includes a score in the Grade 2 True North on June 27 on a fast Belmont main track.

In his first start for Breen, Firenze Fire finished a distant fourth in the Grade 1 Carter on a sloppy main track on June 6 at Belmont. In his start preceding the Vosburgh, Firenze Fire was last-of-11 in the Grade 1 Forego on a sloppy Saratoga main track.

When asked what he has learned about Firenze Fire in his brief time in the barn, Breen quipped, "He doesn't like the mud. Hopefully his next start will not be on an off track."

Mr. Amore Stable homebred It's a Gamble, a New York-bred juvenile son of English Channel, breezed five-eighths in 1:01.20 on the Belmont inner turf yesterday in preparation for Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Pilgrim at 1 1/16-miles on the turf.

"He's doing well. He had a nice breeze over the grass yesterday," said Breen.

It's a Gamble, away slowly in his August 13 debut in a state-bred maiden turf sprint at Saratoga, rallied from last-of-10 to eke out a neck score over eventual stakes-winner Thin White Duke.

Breen said he is hopeful It's a Gamble will be a little closer to the pace and won't have quite as much work to do late as he stretches out in his stakes debut.

"It all depends on how he breaks. We hope so," said Breen. "He's never good out of the gate, so we're working on it."

Shawdyshawdyshawdy and Myhartblongstodady breeze for local stakes assignments

Trainer Jorge Abreu enjoyed a solid Saratoga summer meet with a record of 32-10-6-2, while winning at a 31 percent clip led by his first stakes score of the year in the Yaddo with Myhartblongstodady.

Abreu, a former Chad Brown assistant, took out his trainer's license in 2016 and now oversees a significant stable with 30 horses at Belmont and another 10 training at Saratoga.

"This has been the best group of horses I've had since I started out, by far," said Abreu.

Abreu has won two stakes in each of the past two years and he'll look to exceed that total next Saturday with Lawrence and Jennifer Goichman's Shawdyshawdyshawdy targeting the Grade 2 Pilgrim at Belmont and William H. Lawrence's Liveyourbeastlife traveling to Pimlico Race Course for the Grade 1 Preakness, the third and final leg of the Triple Crown.

After working a swift five-eighths in 59.89 on September 17, Abreu removed the blinkers from Liveyourbeastlife on Saturday for a six-furlong breeze in 1:16.20.

"Liveyourbeastlife is doing everything the right way," said Abreu, who will be saddling his first American Classic starter. "Last week, he breezed a little quicker than we'd like, but he did it easily on his own. Yesterday, I took the blinkers off so he wouldn't do it again, because he's a smart horse. He had a good breeze."

A maiden winner at first asking last September at Belmont, the Ghostzapper colt bested older allowance company traveling nine furlongs on August 12 at the Spa ahead of a strong runner-up effort in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Jim Dandy, where he exited the inside post.

Abreu said he is hoping Liveyourbeastlife will secure a spot from the middle to the outside of the gate at Wednesday's post-position draw.

"I'm hoping we'll get a good post. I don't want to get numbers one to four," said Abreu. "We'll ship to Baltimore on Tuesday and he'll have a chance to gallop a couple days and school him."

The blinkers will remain on Liveyourbeastlife for the Preakness where he will be piloted by Trevor McCarthy.

Shawdyshawdyshawdy, a Summer Front bay, graduated at first asking traveling 1 1/16-miles on the Saratoga turf. He followed with a deceptively-good fourth on September 7 in the one-mile Juvenile at Kentucky Downs.

The colt worked five-eighths in 1:01.10 Sunday on the Belmont main track.

"Shawdy breezed really well today," said Abreu. "I'll enter him Wednesday for the Pilgrim. He won well first time out going a mile and a sixteenth and I cut him back to the mile race at Kentucky Downs. He's doing well and he'll get to race out of his own stall."

Lawrence Goichman's Myhartblongstodady, a New York homebred daughter of Scat Daddy, is in the midst of a three-race win streak with a pair of state-bred scores ahead of the front-running Yaddo win. The dark bay 5-year-old mare worked a half-mile in 50.75 Sunday on the Belmont inner turf.

"It was a good, steady breeze. She went well," said Abreu. "We'll point to the Ticonderoga."

The Ticonderoga, a 1 1/16-mile turf tilt, is slated for October 24 at Belmont as part of Empire Showcase Day.

Rossa Veloce possible for G3 Matron

Trainer Ray Handal is contemplating giving New York-bred juvenile filly Rossa Veloce her turf debut next out but he said he wants to see a little more out of the daughter of Girolamo when training over grass.

Owned by Handal in partnership with Blue Streak Racing, Rossa Veloce was victorious on debut on August 5 at Saratoga, where she defeated next out winner No Mo' Spending and followed with a fourth-place finish in the Seeking the Ante on September 4 at the Spa.

Rossa Veloce worked over the inner turf on Sunday morning in her first breeze since the Seeking the Ante and went three furlongs in 38.85 seconds with an eye towards the Grade 3, $100,000 Matron, a six-furlong turf sprint slated for October 11 at Belmont.

"I was just seeing if she liked it. I was going to potentially run her in the Matron," Handal said. "If there's a time to take a shot on the grass, now would be the time. I don't want to go far with her. She went a little slow early. I'm going to try it again next week. The race is at the end of this book, so I still have some time with her. I'll make sure she finishes a little bit down the lane."

Handal will saddle Perrine Time Thoroughbreds and West Pace Racing's Irish Constitution in Thursday's $100,000 Joseph A. Gimma for New York-bred 2-year-old fillies but said he may cross-enter in the $70,000 Lady Finger on October 5 at Finger Lakes. The daughter of second-crop sire Constitution was fourth in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga last out following a maiden victory over next-out winners Party At Page's and Samborella.  

"She tried really hard in that race but got a little outclassed," Handal said. "I'll enter her at Finger Lakes next weekend in the Lady Finger and see how that race comes up and then make a decision. The way this race comes up, it looks like she'll either be favorite or second choice."

I'llhandalthecash, winner of the July 3 License Fee over the Belmont inner turf, will point to the $80,000 Floral Park on October 17. The daughter of Point of Entry was recently a distant 12th under Jose Ortiz in the Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint on September 12.

"I gave her a week off after that race at Kentucky Downs over a boggy track," Handal said. "Jose said she just hated it. She got the worst part of the track and was just slipping and sliding all over the place. We'll bring her back here in the Floral Park in a couple of weeks."

I'llhandalthecash is owned by VinLaur Racing, Dark Horse Racing and Taste of Victory Stable.

Easy Goer winner Celtic Striker is scheduled to face allowance company at Keeneland next out. The Imperial Racing-owned son of Congrats has not raced since finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy on September 5 at Saratoga, which was his seventh start this season.

"I'll give him 60 days off after that. He's had a long year and a long campaign," Handal said.

Perrine Time Thoroughbreds' Kansas Kis, second in the Busher Invitational on March 7 at Aqueduct, is nearing her return to action after having not raced since finishing fourth in a June 11 allowance race at Belmont Park.

"She just had her first work back. She'll have another work on Monday, another three-eighths," Handal said. "We'll probably look for an allowance race and then a nice winter stakes campaign here with older fillies."

Dream Bigger could look to navigate Hudson on Empire Showcase Day if training progresses

Three-time stakes-winner Dream Bigger will breeze Monday before it's decided where he will run next, trainer Rudy Rodriguez said Sunday morning.

Owned by Repole Stable, Dream Bigger ran twice during the summer meet at Saratoga, including a runner-up effort to Captain Bombastic in the New York Stallion Stakes Series Times Square last out on August 28. Rodriguez said the 3-year-old Mission Impazible colt exited that effort with a minor issue, but a good breeze could set him up for a spot on Empire Showcase Day on Saturday, October 24 at Belmont.

"I'm going to breeze him tomorrow and see how it goes and take it from there," Rodriguez said. "He came back and it looked like his foot was bothering him a little bit, but we've got it under control."

The Empire Showcase Day, featuring eight stakes races for New York breds, could set up Dream Bigger for a spot in the $125,000 Hudson; a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up.

As a juvenile, Dream Bigger won the New York Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes last September and the Notebook in November at Aqueduct Racetrack. He started his sophomore campaign with a third-place effort in the Rego Park in January at the Big A before a 7 3/4-length win in the Damon Runyon at the same track in March.

Following two off-the-board efforts, he again finished on the board in the Times Square, posting a 77 Beyer.

"The [Hudson] might be coming up pretty tough," Rodriguez said. "I'll talk to Mike [Repole] and see where we'll go. It seems like a pretty salty field."

St. George Stable's Letruska is trained by Fausto Gutierrez but has been stabled with Rodriguez as she trains up to the Grade 2, $150,000 Beldame for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on October 4 at Belmont.

The front-running winner of the Grade 3 Shuvee on August 30 at Saratoga recorded her second work at Belmont since that victory, breezing five furlongs in 59.60 on Friday over the main track.

Other possible contender for the Beldame, going 1 1/8 miles, are Dunbar Road (trained by Chad Brown), Horologist (Bill Mott), Nonna Madeline (Todd Pletcher) and Point of Honor (George Weaver).

"She breezed a couple of days ago and breezed very, very good," Rodriguez said. "She's been great. She's been here 10 days and I breezed her the time before, too, and she's been very good. She's doing everything right. But she's going to have to step up, because that race is coming up very deep."

Letruska, who notched Group 1 victories in Mexico when taking last year's Clasico Esmeralda and Clasico Diamente at Hipodromo De Las Americas, has won 4-of-7 starts since arriving in North America in December 2019.

Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 returns $54K; handles $128K

Exciting racing action from Belmont Park and Churchill Downs comprised Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5, which returned $54,460 for selecting all five winners for the 50-cent wager with a total pool of $128,145.

Big Engine powered the wager's first leg, defeating Tribecca by a half-length in a six-furlong main track sprint for allowance optional claimers in Belmont's Race 7. Off at 10-1, Big Engine complete the course in 1:10.07 under jockey Jose Lezcano, returning $23.40 on a $2 win wager. Trained by Linda Rice, Big Engine bested an eight-horse field that included stakes-winners T Loves a Fight and Celtic Chaos.

Action shifted to Churchill for the second leg, with Estilo Femenino rallying from last-of-10 at the half-mile mark to post a three-quarters of a length victory in the one-mile dirt contest for allowance optional claimers in Race 8. The 25-1 longshot, piloted by Joseph Talamo and trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, paid $53.60.

Belmont's Race 8 started the first of three graded stakes to close out the sequence, with trainer Chad Brown notching the exacta in the Grade 3, $100,000 Noble Damsel for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going one mile on the Belmont Widener turf in Race 8. Two English-breds, Viadera and the 2-1 favorite Blowout, ran 1-2 for Brown, who won his fifth consecutive Noble Damsel. Joel Rosario, aboard Viadera [$13] won his third Noble Damsel in the last four runnings as his 4-year-old Bated Breath filly surged along the rail to edge Blowout by a neck in a final time of 1:32.06.

Churchill got in on the stakes action in Race 9 when Mr. Money earned the purse with a 1 ¼-length victory in the Grade 3, $100,000 Ack Ack for 3-year-olds and up going one mile on the main track. Conditioned by Bret Calhoun, Mr. Money went off at 6-1 but used a strong move near the rail to draw away from runner-up Bourbon Calling. Ridden by Gabriel Saez, Mr. Money completed the course in 1:34.85 and returned $14.80.

The finale saw a familiar face make a return trip to the winner's circle, as Firenze Fire registered a 2 3/4-length score in the Grade 2, $150,000 Vosburgh going six furlongs on Belmont's Big Sandy. The Kelly Breen trainee punched his ticket to Keeneland, with the 81st running of the Vosburgh serving as a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint on November 7 in Kentucky. Off as the 2-1 second choice behind favorite and eventual runner-up Funny Guy, Firenze Fire, who hit the wire in 1:09.74, was ridden by Lezcano and paid $7.20.

The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. Every week will feature a mandatory payout of the net pool.

The Cross Country Pick 5 will continue each Saturday throughout the year. For more information, visit

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