Casa Creed provides Einsidler with meaningful victory in G1 Fourstardave
by NYRA Press Office
· Casa Creed provides Einsidler with meaningful victory in G1 Fourstardave
· G2 Saratoga Special winner Damon’s Mound garners career-best 86 BSF
· Group of Clement workers drill over turf for stakes engagements
· With The Moonlight works in prep for G2 Lake Placid
· Bankit strikes gold twice on Friday with Evan Shipman score and New York championship award
After owning thoroughbreds for nearly two decades, Lee Einsidler of LRE Racing secured what he considers to be his best victory to date with Casa Creed in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave at Saratoga Race Course – a “Win And You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.
Casa Creed squared off against multiple Grade 1-winning mare Regal Glory, who was unbeaten in her last four starts, three at Grade 1 level, and was made the 1-2 favorite at post time. But the day belonged to Casa Creed, who settled at the rear of the five-horse field, made a wide sweeping move approaching the quarter pole and found his best stride in deep stretch, drawing away to a 1 1/2-length victory. He garnered a 103 Beyer Speed Figure for the win, which is his second highest figure.
Additionally, Casa Creed provided Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott with a record-extending fifth victory in the Fourstardave. He previously won the Fourstardave with Hap , Silver Tree , Seek Again  and Tourist , the latter of whom won that year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile.
“All wins are special at all levels. For a lot of reasons, I think for me, yesterday was the best win we’ve ever had,” Einsidler said. “The thing is before the race, everyone wanted to give the trophy to Regal Glory. I’ve learned betting on horses for 50 years and owning them for 20, whenever you’re ready to award the trophy before they run the race, it never works out. It was very gratifying.”
Einsidler, who owns the multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire in partnership with Mike Francesa’s JEH Racing Stable, said his horse appears to be at his best at the ripe age of 6.
“Bill Mott and I were in his stall a few weeks ago and he said ‘Lee, he’s better today than he’s ever been in his entire career.’ He’s just been flourishing,” Einsidler recalled. “They say a lot of horses are at their best at five. Yesterday was the best performance of his career and he’s a 6-year-old. He’s just amazing. I’d say right now, he’s at the total top of his game.”
A veteran of 27 lifetime starts, including victories in the last two runnings of the Grade 1 Jaipur at Belmont Park, Casa Creed was also third in the previous two runnings of the Fourstardave. Showing versatility in both one-turn turf sprints and two-turn route races, Casa Creed earned his first career graded stakes victory during his sophomore campaign in Saratoga’s Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in August 2019.
Following a productive 5-year-old season, which saw victories in the Elusive Quality and Jaipur at Belmont, Casa Creed made his 2022 debut in the Group 3 1351 Turf Sprint Cup on February 26 at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Saudi Arabia. He was a hard fought second beaten a neck under Luis Saez, who has piloted the horse in all four of his starts this year.
“He went up here at a mile as a 3-year-old, so I never thought a mile was a problem for him. What we have learned the past couple of years is the jock has to be very patient,” Einsidler said. “You learn as you go, and the rider learns as you go. But if we could run some of the races over again, we would probably have taken him back a little more and been a little more patient to let him put in that amazing late kick that he has. We learned that when we sprinted him.
Luis Saez was very confident yesterday that if he took him back and waited when the filly made her move, we’d make our move," Einsidler added. "We all felt that his kick in the Jaipur showed us that they would have a hard time holding him off yesterday and that’s what happened.”
With victories in both this year’s Fourstardave and Jaipur, Casa Creed received an automatic entry into both the Mile as well as the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Einsidler said Casa Creed will focus in on the Mile, a race he finished a respective 12th and eighth in the past two years.
“[The Turf Sprint] is only five and a half [furlongs] sprinting at Keeneland, which is a little short for him,” Einsidler said. “From what we saw yesterday, if all goes according to plan, I’m sure we’ll show up in the Mile as long as he’s training great and feels great.”
A start between the Fourstardave and the Breeders’ Cup has not been ruled out for Casa Creed. Should he race once in between, Einsidler said it would likely take place in the Grade 1 Coolmore Turf Mile on October 8 at Keeneland. Casa Creed was a pacesetting fourth in the 2020 edition of that race.
“If he’s telling us he has to run, we’ll run him there which is fine because you got four weeks to the Breeders’ Cup and a trip over the course,” Einsidler said. “He’s run there before, but now he’s much better today than he was then. So, I think the idea of running him over there makes all the sense in the world, but if Mott wants to wait and train him up to the Breeders’ Cup, that’s why he’s in the Hall of Fame. He makes those decisions.”
Einsidler also welcomed the possibility of Casa Creed staying in training for a 2023 campaign.
“If he stays sound and he’s doing great, we’ll run him next year,” said Einsidler. “There’s a stallion career somewhere for him, but I’m all about racing so that’s what we’re going to do.”
G2 Saratoga Special winner Damon’s Mound garners career-best 86 BSF
Cliff Love and Michele Love’s Damon’s Mound, a strong 3 1/4-length winner of Saturday’s Grade 2 Saratoga Special, will ship back to Virginia on Sunday and resume training at Colonial Downs.
“He’s perfect, proud of himself and a little tired, which is to be expected,” said trainer Michelle Lovell, who scored her first victory at the Spa with her first starter.
The win improved the dark bay colt’s record to a perfect 2-for-2, building upon an eye-catching 12 1/2-length win on debut win in July at Churchill Downs. Lovell acknowledged the excitement of both Churchill Downs and Saratoga, but praised the quiet lifestyle the Virginia facility offers to horses.
“We’re training at a very quiet, horse friendly place in Virginia,” said Lovell. “He’s been at Churchill where there is a lot of commotion.”
The juvenile son of Girvin, who was ridden to victory by Gabriel Saez, was awarded a career-high 86 Beyer Speed Figure for his last-to-first effort on Saturday.
“He’s been so great,” said Lovell. “Everything went to perfection. Even the way the race set up. We were really happy to track the frontrunners. Gabriel put an excellent ride on him. The rest is history. It’s in the history books.”
As for a next start, Lovell said her preference would be to get Damon’s Mound around two turns, but did not rule out the seven-furlong Grade 1 Hopeful on September 5 at the Spa or the Grade 1 Champagne at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet. The Grade 3 Iroquois in September at Churchill Downs or the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity in October at Keeneland would satisfy the desire to race at two turns.
“Everything’s on our radar,” said Lovell. “We’ll see how he is. He’s never had a bad day, so I don’t expect him to.”
Lovell, a former jockey that had ridden at Saratoga and finished second on three occasions, said she was pleased to finally enjoy a trip to the winner’s circle.
“We celebrated at dinner,” said Lovell. “I took my groom and some friends and just had a nice dinner. I had so many congrats from so many people. Saratoga is super special, obviously, that’s an understatement. Getting to [be in the winner’s circle] was awesome.”
Perry Harrison’s Change of Control, winner of the Grade 3 Intercontinental at Belmont Park last year, returns to Saratoga this week for Lovell in Saturday’s $150,000 Smart N Fancy, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for older fillies and mares. The Fed Biz mare’s only other start at Saratoga was her career debut back in 2018. Lovell said the horse will be arriving a couple of days before the race.
Group of Clement workers drill over the turf for stakes engagements
Trainer Christophe Clement sent out five of his top turf stakes contenders to breeze over Saratoga Race Course’s Oklahoma lawn on Sunday morning, led by Otter Bend Stables’ dual Grade 1-winner Gufo and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Peter Searles and Patty Searles’ Grade 3-winner City Man.
Gufo, who won last year’s Grade 1 Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer, is slated to defend his title in this year’s edition on August 27. The son of Declaration of War breezed in company with the New York-bred City Man [48.56], coasting through a half-mile in 47.91 seconds over the firm turf. Gufo sported blinkers for his latest work, an addition that will also be made for his run in the Sword Dancer.
“They’re both doing very well. City Man waited a bit for Gufo, Gufo came on and they both finished it together” said Clement’s son and assistant, Miguel Clement. Gufo is going to go to the Sword Dancer with a pair of blinkers. We’re hoping it will keep him more in contact with the field.”
This year, Gufo returned from a five-month layoff to win the Grade 2 Pan American in April at Gulfstream Park before a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Man o’ War in May at Belmont Park. He followed with a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Resorts World Casino Manhattan on the June 11 Belmont Stakes undercard and an even fifth in the Grade 1 United Nations last out on July 23 at Monmouth Park.
“He’s doing very well. Last year, we ran in the race at Belmont and did not [run again] until the Sword Dancer. This year, we went to the United Nations in between, so the spacing is a bit shorter,” said Clement. “But the horse looks tremendous, he’s eating all the time, he’s working well, he’s sound and we’re very happy with him.”
City Man, a dark bay son of Mucho Macho Man, rallied from 7 1/2 lengths off the pace last out in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple on July 15 at the Spa, drawing away to a 2 3/4-length score for his second win of the year and first career graded win. City Man is on target to attempt a repeat victory in the $200,000 West Point Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile turf test for New York-breds 3-years-old and up on August 26 at the Spa.
“That was a lot of fun,” Clement said. “He’s cool. He’s won a stake every year since he was two and it’s terrific. He’s sound and running better than ever. It shows you that they do reward you and improve with age. His last race was probably visually one of the best, if not the best performance he’s produced.”
Blue Devil Racing Stable’s Messidor, winner of a third-level optional claimer at the Spa on July 27, had her first work back since the 1 1/4-length victory. The 4-year-old daughter of Vadamos covered a solo half-mile in 49.55.
“She’s doing very well,” said Clement. “She’ll run in either the Ballston Spa [on August 27 at the Spa] or at Kentucky Downs.”
Rounding out the quintet were Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, Morris Bailey, Wonder Stables and Michael Caruso’s Soldier Rising and West Point Thoroughbreds and Dream With Me Stable’s Parnac. The two worked together with Soldier Rising completing the half-mile in 48.91 and Parnac in 48.71.
Soldier Rising, a gelded son of Frankel, was last seen grinding out a determined win by a head in a third-level allowance optional claiming event on July 31. He was previously a close second in the Grand Couturier in July at Belmont and picked up a Grade 1-placing with a runner-up effort behind State of Rest in last year’s Saratoga Derby Invitational.
“He’s being considered for the Sword Dancer, so it’s a one-two punch in there,” Clement said.
Parnac, a bay Zarak filly, made her stateside debut with a fourth-place finish in allowance company on July 8 at Belmont. Previously trained by Andreas Wohler, Parnac graduated at first asking in an allowance on October 2 at Mulheim in Germany. She returned 22 days later to capture the Grosser Preis der Mehl-Mulhens Stiftung at Hanover to cap her juvenile campaign.
Clement said her next start is still to be determined, but that the filly “looks tremendous and was nice overseas.”
With The Moonlight works in prep for G2 Lake Placid
Godolphin’s Grade 1 Saratoga Oaks Invitational winner With The Moonlight will look to make another outing at Saratoga Race Course on 13 day’s rest in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Lake Placid, a 1 1/16-mile turf test for sophomore fillies.
Trained by Charlie Appleby, With The Moonlight had an easy half-mile breeze on Sunday over the Oklahoma turf training track, going easy in the first quarter-mile before picking it up for the second half.
“We were very happy with what she did,” said Chris Connett, Appleby’s traveling assistant. “Obviously, she ran last week, so it was just a matter of letting her stretch her legs this morning. We’re very pleased. She traveled around and quickened up down the lane. All being well, the Lake Placid on Saturday is the target.”
A daughter of Frankel, With The Moonlight avenged a defeat to McKulick in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational in June when she held off a bid from her familiar rival to post a 1 3/4-length victory in the 1 3/16-mile Saratoga Oaks, the first top-level victory for the Irish-bred bay.
Connett said the filly has relished her time at Saratoga.
“We’ve been very fortunate that the barns we have been in [have been quiet]. There’s some nice grazing behind it, so they can go out in the morning and have their exercise and come back for some grazing in the afternoon,” said Connett. “It chills them out and makes them feel good. All this week, she’ll go out to the track at 5:30 and might blow out on Thursday.”
Bankit strikes gold twice on Friday with Evan Shipman score and New York championship award
Winning twice in one day is quite a rarity for a thoroughbred, but this was the case with Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s Bankit, who scored a sixth lifetime stakes win in the $125,000 Evan Shipman on Friday afternoon at Saratoga Race Course. Later that evening, he was crowned 2021 New York-bred Champion Older Horse at the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc.’s Annual Awards Ceremony at Fasig-Tipton’s Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion.
Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Bankit captured the one mile Wilson Chute test for Empire State-breds by a nose. Improving through each point of call, Bankit dueled in deep stretch with last year’s winner, Sea Foam, and came out on the winning end, earning an 89 Beyer Sped Figure for the victory.
The triumph also marked the 6-year-old son of leading New York sire Central Banker’s first stakes win at the Spa, as well as his first stakes victory this season. A winner of a stakes race every year since 2018, Bankit has also won a stake at all four New York thoroughbred tracks. He captured the 2018 Sleepy Hollow at Belmont Park during his 2-year-old year before winning the following year’s New York Derby at Finger Lakes. In his final start of 2020, he defeated New York-bred champion Mr. Buff in the Alex M. Robb at Aqueduct before winning the following year’s Commentator at Belmont.
“We couldn’t be any more pleased to have him in the barn, that’s for sure. And now he’s a state-bred champion so that’s even better,” said Winchell Thoroughbreds’ racing and bloodstock advisor David Fiske. “He’s just a professional racehorse. He goes out to the track, does his job, goes back to his stall and goes to sleep. Whether it’s going out in the morning or going out in the afternoon.”
Fiske credited an effective ride by jockey Joel Rosario, who became the sixth jockey to win aboard Bankit.
“I thought Joel gave him a great ride,” Fiske said. “Joel looked almost nonchalant on him. He appeared to be unconcerned the entire race. Maybe he was concerned the last 50 yards, but up until then, he looked pretty confident and handled the horse pretty confidently. It was a great ride.”
While Winchell Thoroughbreds primarily races and buys horses at a more commercial level, Fiske noted that they have bought and raced horses that were bred from a variety of different states.
“We tend to gravitate to where the money is, wherever that may be. The purses for New York-breds certainly are appealing. The program is attractive,” Fiske said. “We occasionally will step out and buy regionally bred hoses. We’ve bought Ontario-breds, Florida-breds, Maryland-breds, we even bought a West Virginia-bred a couple years ago. It’s just a function of yearlings that look the part. If they look like a racehorse, we’ll try to buy it.
“It certainly increases our options and it seems like he doesn’t favor or need to run at any particular track,” Fiske added. “He’s run well all over the country pretty much. It’s great to have the options that having a New York-bred opens up. He’s pretty competitive and runs some pretty decent numbers no matter where he goes.”
Bankit was bought for $260,000 out of the 2018 OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, where he was consigned by SGV Thoroughbreds.
“He looked like a nice, attractive, well-balanced, probably going to be sound kind of guy and he measured up well on all of our data,” Fiske recalled.
The possibility of Bankit racing as a 7-year-old is very much on the table, according to Fiske, who added he was unsure where Bankit would go from Friday’s race.
“It would depend on two factors which come into play for all colts which is how he continues to train, if he’s showing us that he’ll still be effective,” Fiske said. Also, whether someone would approach us with some sort of stallion deal. If he continues to train on and do as well as he has been, I could see him running next year.”
Bankit has amassed $1,149,655 in earnings through a 34-7-10-5 career. He was bred by Hidden Brook Farm and Blue Devil Racing and is out of the Colonel John mare Sister in Arms, who has a 2-year-old Good Magic colt named Disappearance.