Mucho Gusto Another Sale Find for Owner Petersen

Courtesy of the BloodHorse

Mucho Gusto wins the Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita Park
Mucho Gusto wins the Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Benoit Photo

Owner bought Mucho Gusto out of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale.

Michael Lund Petersen is game when it comes to buying horses at

Mucho Gusto Another Sale Find for Owner Petersen
Owner bought Mucho Gusto out of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale.
By Ron Mitchell Yesterday, 2:44 PM
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Michael Lund Petersen is game when it comes to buying horses at public auction, as evidenced by the record $1.8 million he paid for an Into Mischief filly at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.

At that same sale a year ago, Petersen stepped up to acquire a colt from the first crop of Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Mucho Macho Man for $625,000, a move that looks most fortuitous now that the colt, named Mucho Gusto, is the 2-1 morning-line second choice for the July 20 TVG.com Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1).

Kentucky Downs
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Mucho Gusto has won or placed in all seven starts for earnings of $430,800. The colt’s five wins include four grade 3 stakes, and he comes into Monmouth Park’s premier race off back-to-back victories in the Lazaro Barrera Stakes (G3) and Affirmed Stakes (G3), both at Santa Anita Park.

“Michael Lund is a player,” said Kentucky-based agent Donato Lanni, who selects sale horses, including Mucho Gusto, on behalf of Baffert and his owners, as well as other clients. “He loves the game, he loves horses, and he is an old-school player. He takes his lumps and moves on.”

Among the additional graded winners raced by Petersen was Baffert-trained Mor Spirit , a multiple grade 1 winner earner of nearly $1.7 million selected by Lanni and purchased by Petersen and Bernard Schiappa for $650,000 as a 2-year-old.

Mucho Gusto was consigned to the Midlantic sale by Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables, which also offered the colt at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, where he was bought back on a final bid of $55,000.

At Midlantic, the colt worked the fastest quarter-mile time in :21 1/5 over the dirt track at the Maryland State Fairgrounds near Timonium, where the sale is conducted. Prior to the OBS sale, the colt’s eighth-mile breeze in :10 on the Safetrack artificial surface was co-second-fastest during the under tack show.

Elser said the colt matured between the sales but was surprised he did not attract more buyer attention at OBS.

Safe Bet
“They didn’t even look at him at the first sale,” Elser said. “I was mystified when they didn’t buy him the first time. I can’t tell you he would have brought all that money the first time, but I certainly thought he would bring more than we bought him back for. I was a little puzzled the first time (RNA) and pleasantly surprised the second ($625,000).”

Lanni said there were considerable differences in Mucho Gusto’s two sale workouts.

“I went back and looked at his OBS workout video, and he moved so differently on dirt than he did on synthetic,” Lanni said, adding it is not a negative reflection on synthetic surfaces but merely his observation of how Mucho Gusto handled the two surfaces. “I think it probably had a lot to do with the way he looked.”

Lanni said he observed Mucho Gusto some 10 times—a typical number of looks for prospective athletes he is interested in at 2-year-old sales—and was impressed with the colt’s demeanor.

“He was a horse that was obvious, which is why he brought what he did,” Lanni said. “He worked well, came back well, cooled out well, and vetted well. He kept his weight and kept his mind. He just did everything right. He got better and better. I knew he was going to be that kind of horse if he just stayed healthy.”

The fact the colt was from the first crop of Mucho Macho Man did not play into the decision on whether to buy Mucho Gusto because the focus was on the colt’s mental and physical attributes, the agent said.

Haskell Invitational
“Mucho Macho Man was the unknown factor,” Lanni said. “We try to focus on the individual and his performance. We base it more on performance than anything else because you get to see them move on the track, and that is more of a key indicator than other factors. He was just a horse that did everything right. He jumped through every hoop.”

Lanni said Mucho Gusto has lived up to expectations so far, and he believes he has the talent to be competitive in the Haskell.

“You hope when you buy one that they are the real deal and they perform well and stay sound,” Lanni said. “He’s a very quiet and unassuming horse. He just tries. I think Bob has managed him so well. He’s learned to put it all together and figure out what he’s doing. He has a lot of speed and is very tactical.”

Produced from the winning Giant’s Causeway mare Itsagiantcauseway, the colt is from the extended female family of Canadian Horse of the Year and sire Peaks and Valleys and multiple grade 2 winner Alternation . He was bred in Kentucky by Teneri Farm and Bernardo Alvarez Calderon.

The Midlantic sale marked the fourth time Mucho Gusto has gone through a sale ring.

As a “short yearling” consigned by Shawhan Place to the 2017 Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale, the colt was purchased by Kelly Lively for $14,000. Sent to the Keeneland September Yearling Sale as part of the Select Sales consignment, he was sold to S.R. Schwartz for $95,000.

In Quest For Ninth Haskell, Baffert Swinging At Fences With Mucho Gusto

Courtesy of the Paulick Report
by e | 07.11.2019 |

Trainer Bob Baffert celebrates his eighth Haskell Invitational win in 2015 with American Pharoah

 

 

When Bob Baffert looks to extend his record for victories in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational to nine on July 20, the Hall of Fame trainer will likely do so in an unfamiliar position.

Six of his previous eight Haskell winners have gone off as the favorite in Monmouth Park’s signature race (Bayern in 2014 and Coil in 2011 won for Baffert as the second choice).

That probably won’t be the case when Mucho Gusto goes postward in the $1 million race despite the colt’s nearly-flawless record of five wins, a second and a third in seven career starts.

But would it be a surprise if the son of Mucho Macho Man out of Itsagiantscauseway, by Giant’s Causeway, pulled off a minor upset?

Yes and no, said Baffert.

 

 

“It would probably be a lot of fun to win it with this one. When you don’t expect to win those are the ones that are a lot of fun,” he said. “But honestly, we’re surprised when we lose. We’re not surprised when we win.

“If I didn’t think we had a chance to win I wouldn’t send him. I think he’s got a chance. If everybody shows up and runs the way they’re capable of it should be a heck of a race.”

For now, Maximum Security and the Todd Pletcher-trained King for a Day are the headliners in the 52nd running of the Haskell Invitational. Joevia and Mucho Gusto, despite back-to-back G3 wins at Santa Anita, would be nipping at the heels of the top two. Chilly in Charge, Everfast and Spun to Run are the other probable starters at this point.

“If Maximum Security runs his race I think he will be tough,” Baffert said. “I thought he just got tired last time (a one-length loss to King for a Day in the Pegasus Stakes on June 16).”

Starting with his first Haskell victory with Point Given in 2001, Baffert has won the race eight times and has been second on two other occasions. Point Given’s victory was followed by wins by War Emblem (2002), Roman Ruler (2005), Lookin at Lucky (2010), Coil (2011), Paynter (2012), Bayern (2014) and American Pharoah (2015).

He was second with American Freedom in 2016 and in 2013 with Power Broker.

“Mucho Gusto is a little like Power Broker. He’s that kind of horse,” Baffert said.

A $625,000 yearling purchase, Mucho Gusto has competed in six straight graded stakes races since breaking his maiden at 2 on Sept. 18 and has yet to miss the board. This will be his second try in G1 company.

“He’s a horse who I think is getting better. He’s very consistent,” Baffert said. “But he’s going to have to step up in order to compete with these horses.

“I like to take a swing at the fences. Sometimes you have to do that. If he wins it’s great. Even second would be fine. I’m not going in with the favorite like I usually do but I think he deserves a chance so we’ll take a shot at it.”

Baffert said Mucho Gusto, owned by Michael Lund Petersen, will breeze Friday at Santa Anita and ship to New Jersey on Wednesday, July 17. Joe Talamo, the colt’s regular rider, will make the trip East to ride in the Haskell.

“This is a horse that is slowly getting there,” Baffert said. “He’s been pretty solid to this point but I think he is still getting better. This would be a big accomplishment for him if he were to win.”

Among other Haskell Invitational contenders, Maximum Security galloped on Thursday and will have his final work before the race either Monday or Tuesday, trainer Jason Servis said. Joevia, third in the Belmont Stakes, will work five-eighths on Sunday in his final prep, according to trainer Gregg Sacco.

Trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero said he has enlisted Paco Lopez to ride Spun to Run in the Haskell.

OUR FRIEND GUS SCHICKENDANZ DIES

COURTESY OF THE TDN

Gus Schickedanz with his longtime trainer Mike Keogh | Dave Landry

By Kelsey Riley

Gustav Schickedanz, a leading owner/breeder in Canada, foxhunting enthusiast and construction magnate, died peacefully on June 17 aged 90 at his home in Schomberg, Ontario, with his family by his side.

What Gus achieved in the Thoroughbred business, with a broodmare band rarely totaling more than 20, was truly remarkable. His pride and joy was his homebred sire Langfuhr (Danzig), who in 1996 won the GI Vosburgh S. and GII Forego H., and in 1997 the GI Carter H. and the GI Met Mile. Langfuhr, standing first at Vinery and later at Lane’s End where he is today pensioned at age 26, would carve out a reputation as a reliable sire of runners over all surfaces and across all distances, his Grade I winners including Whitney H. and Woodward S. winner Lawyer Ron, Arlington Million and Gulfstream Park Turf S. winner Jambalaya and Beldame S. and Gazelle H. winner Imperial Gesture.

Gus’s entire program was built on cultivating his own families and using predominantly his homebred stallions, and thus it is no surprise Langfuhr would go on to be the linchpin of his breeding program in the 21st century. Such a strategy gave Gus Wando, the 2003 Canadian Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year; 11-time stakes winner Mobil, GII Nijinsky S. winner Last Answer and dual Grade III and Canadian Classic winner Marlang. Gus bred Langfuhr from his own homebred mare Sweet Briar Too (Briartic), and he bred the dams of both Wando and Marlang as well. Last Answer, who won his stakes race at age seven, was the 14th and last foal out of Gus’s foundation broodmare Victorious Answer (Northern Answer), who he purchased in 1976 from Windfields Farm. Victorious Answer was Gus’s first stakes winner and produced two black-type winners, and her daughters and granddaughters produced a further 14 stakes winners. Last Answer, who won his stakes race at age seven and ran 44 times, perhaps embodies everything that Gus’s breeding program stands for: the belief in his own carefully nurtured families to produce tough, sound, classy athletes.

Other standouts bred and raced by Gus include the GII Monmouth Oaks winner (and Wando’s dam) Kathie’s Colleen (Woodman), 1999 Queen’s Plate winner Woodcarver (Woodman) and Canadian champion sprinter Glanmire (Briartic). He bred the only Canadian-bred winners of the Kentucky Oaks (Gal in a Ruckus, 1995) and Arlington Million (Jambalaya, 2007). Gus’s horses have earned 10 Sovereign Award trophies, and another testament to his homebred program is the fact that three of those were for Broodmare of the Year. Gus is a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and in April he received one of Canadian racing’s highest honors, the Sovereign Award of Merit. In presenting Gus with his award, Glenn Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm said, “Gus is a true horseman. This is a man that wakes up early to look at his horses. He lives on the farm with his family. He’s a master horseman and rider. He knows a horse from every stage. There is nothing this man can’t do that’s related to a horse.

“If you want the definition of a true homebred program you need look no further than at what Gus has done. The stallion he breeds to is his own stallion, and he breeds it to his mare that is out of another mare he bred and he races the offspring. Gus has been an absolute beacon for all of us.”

Gustav Schickedanz was beating the odds long before he entered the racing game. He was 15 when the Russians attacked his town in Germany in the midst of World War II in 1944 and, with his elders brothers in the army and his father ill, it was up to Gus to lead his family to safety. They all survived.

Six years later, with opportunities limited in war-torn Germany, Gus seized the opportunity to emigrate to Canada, the first country accepting German immigrants after the war. He arrived in July 12, 1950, with the clothes on his back, a toothbrush and $3 in his pocket. He found a job the following day laying bricks for a German contractor for $1.10 an hour and as he later recalled, “I was never unemployed.”

Gus’s elder brothers Gerhard and Kurt, as well as their cousin Dani, arrived in Toronto the following year and the quartet shared an apartment and worked as stonemasons and carpenters. In 1953 they incorporated their construction company Schickedanz Brothers.

Anyone who has ever spent time around Gus could attest to his devotion to family and his loyalty, and the fact that the Schickedanz’s were able to build an extremely successful business as a team and run it harmoniously for more than 60 years is a testament to those qualities. In a biography commissioned by the Schickedanzes in 2011 for family and friends, Gus explained that it was set out in the beginning that the running of Schickedanz Brothers would not be majority rule; all four had to agree on a decision to move it forward. With four stubborn German men at the helm this admittedly led to many a late-night deliberation, but in the end they all emerged on the same page. Today, Schickedanz Brothers owns land in the Greater Toronto Area and as far afield as British Columbia, Alberta, Florida and South Carolina. Shortly after the company was founded Gus married his wife, Ann, and they had four daughters: Lisa, Tina, Susi and Heidi.

Later, when Gus began to grow his breeding and racing operations, those same family values shone through not only in his dedication to his equine families but in his loyalty to his long-serving-and equally as loyal and hard-working-farm manager Lauri Kenny and trainer Mike Keogh. Kenny and Keogh are often described in racing circles as Gus’s “adoptive sons” and have been paramount in his racing success.

Gus, in Germany, had been on the backs of horses nearly from the time he could walk–“I believe I rode at age two and a half, bareback and barefoot,” he recalled-but his passion was set aside for his first decade in Canada to focus on building his business and his family. In 1960, he at last got back in the saddle with the purchase of a handful of Trakehner horses-this breed, originating from his homeland, would be Gus’s mount of choice for Foxhunting and carriage driving. Gus later kept a small string of Trakehners that shuttled between his farms in Ontario and South Carolina, and he rode every morning until well into his 80s. His faithful servants included the geldings Ethos and Kronprinz, and in 2006 he traveled to Germany and paid a record price at auction for Songline, a young Trakehner stallion in training who went on to be a very successful eventer.

In the early 1970s, Gus began buying well-bred fillies-the likes of Victorious Answer-to lay the foundation for his Thoroughbred empire. As Gus well knew himself he also needed the right land on which to nurture his athletes. In 1976 he purchased Longleaf Plantation near Aiken, South Carolina. A few years later followed the property he would dub Schonberg Farm in Schomberg, Ontario–Schonberg meaning ‘beautiful hill’ in German.

When it came to a Thoroughbred, Gus knew what he liked: the compact, strong type as opposed to the longer and leaner, with a short back with “just enough room for a saddle,” he’d often say. He had shares in Woodman and Clever Trick that served him extremely well. His most inspired splurge, however, would prove to be on a nomination to the booked-out Danzig at a Matchmaker auction at Fasig-Tipton in 1990. Gus selected his homebred stakes-winning filly Sweet Briar Too to use the nomination for her first mating, and the result was Langfuhr.

A foal of 1992, Langfuhr was the crown jewel of Gus’s best-ever crop of foals that also included Kathie’s Colleen and My Intended, who later foaled the Canadian champion 2-year-old filly My Vintage Port. Of 20 foals born at Schonberg Farm that year, 17 started, all were winners and seven were stakes winners. The next best individual crop was perhaps the 2000 group that yielded Langfuhr’s sons Wando and Mobil, between them the winners of 18 stakes races and almost $4.4-million. It was those two sons of his prized Langfuhr that pulled Gus back from the brink after a major health scare in 2001, when he suffered a series of strokes. Gus had a Richard Stone Reeves painting of Langfuhr that hung above the fireplace in his sitting room, and he once told me that he sometimes sat for hours and just studied it. When he passed through Lexington en route to South Carolina each winter, Gus would stop and spoil Langfuhr with a giant bag of carrots-the stallion grooms at Lane’s End will tell you the horse knew the sound of Gus’s voice.

Langfuhr, the tenacious, come-from-behind sprinter who went on to beat the odds year-after-year as a sire, perhaps embodied everything Gus had endured and accomplished in his own extraordinary life, and it was plainly obvious that the consummate horseman never once took that for granted.

I met Gus in the summer of 2004 when I was 15 years old on the Woodbine backside after stopping by to see my favorite horse, Wando, on the morning of a race day. I probably bombarded him with stats about his horse, and Gus told me to come back to the barn after the race and meet his wife Ann and farm manager Lauri Kenny. Wando didn’t win that day, but when my parents brought me back to the barn we found them in great spirits. Lauri invited me to visit Schonberg Farm, and I showed up about two weeks later. Lauri told me to give him a call if I was looking for a summer job the following year. I showed up for my first day of work the following fourth of July and, for the next four years, was at the farm just about every moment I wasn’t in class.

There are a few things I’ll never forget about Gus. Every morning, seven days a week, he walked down to the barn in a checkered shirt, blue jeans, black boots and a riding helmet, his dog Moby at his heels. He stopped en route to his morning ride to look at each mare and foal as they were turned out. He would then head on about a mile walk down to his barn of riding horses. As Gus aged and slowed down a little, he only started his walk earlier; he never drove to his morning ride.

Gus lived on the farm from the time he purchased it and he truly knew every building, every fence line and every tree. He often got down and dirty during big projects and he’d frequently drive the tractors and pull the wagons during haying season.

I remember Lauri telling me before I started that as a boss Gus was “tough, but fair,” and that couldn’t have been more true. He expected hard work, but if you delivered, he and Ann truly did treat you like family. When Ann took off for a drive around the farm she’d come armed with food for whoever she saw along the way. If she forgot, she’d turn around and return with something.

Gus’s positive attitude was infectious. When asked how he was, his response was almost always, “if I was any better, I wouldn’t know what to do.” He would grab your arm and squeeze it during conversation when he was excited, and sometimes slap you on the back so hard you’d lose your breath. Many a jockey surely suffered a bruised thigh when returning aboard a winner thanks to his exuberant slaps. On the contrary, if he lost, Gus was the ultimate sportsman. “That’s horse racing,” he would say, followed by his trademark, “amen.”

What Gus gave me is completely immeasurable. A massive leg up and education in the racing business, yes, but more importantly, memories that will last a lifetime and a second family that I remain very close with. Gus, you were the most incredible, inspiring, irreplaceable man. Today, I’ll raise a glass of Oban (and the other half) to you and say thank you. Amen.

Pletcher: Coal Front Finally Getting The Credit He Deserves Ahead Of Metropolitan

Courtesy of the Paulick Report

Jose Ortiz celebrates his first Dubai winner aboard Coal Front

It is a tribute to the strength of the field for Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap that a horse who hasn’t lost since last winter and whose most recent effort toppled an international gathering of standouts is no better than fifth choice on the morning line for the historic eight-furlong test.

Earning accolades the hard way is something the Todd Pletcher-trained Coal Front is well versed in, however. The son of Stay Thirsty has had his career interrupted due to various ailments, but has returned in recent months with his best form yet – something that will be needed in an especially salty edition of the Met Mile featuring six Grade 1 winners in the field of nine.

After winning the Grade 3 Gallant Bob in September of 2017, Coal Front went to the sidelines and didn’t resurface until the following November when he was fifth in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap. He has failed to put a foot wrong since, ending his 2018 season with a victory in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector last December and then successfully stretching out to 1 1/16-miles in taking the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap in his 2019 seasonal bow on February 18.

That outing earned the 5-year-old ridgling the chance to dive into some ambitious waters overseas in the Grade 2 Godolphin Mile at Meydan Racecourse March 30. With 200 meters to go, he appeared set to settle for runner-up honors behind defending race winner Heavy Metal. When the finish line was ultimately breached, though, it was Coal Front’s dark bay frame getting up just in time to give his seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer his first-ever win on Dubai World Cup night.“The win in Dubai was a lot of fun for our whole team. To have our first win in Dubai was great but also rewarding because of the horse,” Pletcher said of Coal Front. “He’s had some layoffs along the way and he’s always come back and been remarkably consistent. It was fun to see him get the credit he deserves.”

When he’s right, Coal Front’s talent has rarely failed to garner him the best kind of attention. Owned by Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners, Coal Front has won 7-of-9 career starts including an allowance victory over future Grade 1 winner Patternrecognition in an allowance race at Belmont Park in June 2017.

“In Coal Front’s case, I think one thing that has allowed him to get even better this year is he’s learned to relax early on in his races,” said Pletcher, who has won the Met Mile twice previously, saddling Quality Road to victory in 2010 and Palace Malice in 2014. “I wish we wouldn’t have drawn the 1 hole but hopefully he’s seasoned enough to overcome that.”

MUCHO GUSTO DRAWS RAIL IN LAZARO BARRERA STAKES

Mucho Gusto wins the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park
Mucho Gusto wins the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Benoit Photo

Mucho Gusto Draws Rail in Lazaro Barrera Stakes.

Sold by KIRKWOOD for $625,000 at Timonium last year

In his first start since finishing third as the favorite in the Sunland Park Derby (G3), Michael Petersen’s Mucho Gusto will return to sprinting in the $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes (G3) May 18 at Santa Anita Park.

A seven-furlong test for 3-year-olds, the Lazaro Barrera attracted six entries, with Mucho Gusto drawing the rail. Regular rider Joe Talamo will be aboard.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Mucho Gusto led the 1 1/8-mile Sunland Park Derby early while racing inside before fading in the stretch in the March 24 test at Sunland Park. Before that effort, the son of Mucho Macho Man  drew off to a 4 3/4-length victory in the Feb. 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) on a sloppy track at Santa Anita.

Last year, Mucho Gusto scored his maiden win at six furlongs at Los Alamitos Race Course and followed with a clear victory in the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) going seven furlongs at Del Mar. He then earned a runner-up finish to stablemate Improbable—Saturday’s morning-line favorite for the Preakness Stakes (G1)—in the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity (G1).

Also returning to sprinting Saturday is Del Secco DCS Racing’s Sparky Ville, who won the seven-furlong Feb. 10 San Vicente Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. Trained by Jeff Bonde, the son of Candy Ride  will be making his first start since an off-the-board finish in the April 27 California Derby at 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields.

ENTRIES: LAZARO BARRERA S. (G3)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, May 18, 2019, Race 8

  • Grade III
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo
  • 4:30 PM (local)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1Mucho Gusto (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Joseph Talamo 124 Bob Baffert 4/5
2 2Sparky Ville (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Victor Espinoza 124 Jeff Bonde 5/2
3 3Principe Carlo (CA) Ruben Fuentes 120 Marcelo Polanco 12/1
4 4Vantastic (FL)Keeneland Sales Graduate Flavien Prat 120 Peter Eurton 5/1
5 5Manhattan Up (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Tiago Josue Pereira 120 Philip A. Oviedo 6/1
6 6Synthesis (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Rafael Bejarano 120 George Papaprodromou 12/1

Pletcher-Trained Coal Front ‘Going According To Schedule’ For Met Mile

Pletcher-Trained Coal Front ‘Going According To Schedule’ For Met Mile

by NYRA Press Office | 05.10.2019 | 2:08pm

Jose Ortiz celebrates his first Dubai winner aboard Coal Front

Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners’ Coal Front continued his preparations for the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap when he breezed four furlongs in 50.55 seconds on Friday morning at Belmont for trainer Todd Pletcher.

The move was the son of Stay Thirsty’s second work since an overseas triumph in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on March 30 at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

“I thought he worked really well, consistently with what we’ve been seeing before he went to Dubai,” Pletcher said. “It seemed like he shipped back with some good energy, good weight and all the all the signs that you would hope for coming back from a long trip like that. I was very happy with the breeze this morning and everything is going according to schedule so far.”

A five-time graded stakes winner at five different tracks, Coal Front has won three races in a row. Prior to his international endeavor, he won the Mr. Prospector on December 22 at Gulfstream Park and the Razorback on February 18 at Oaklawn Park. Both are Grade 3 events.

The colt was bred in Kentucky by Michael Edward Connelly, and LaPenta purchased Coal Front for $575,000 at Ocala Breeders Sales Company’s 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in April 2016.

Pletcher also spoke of Marconi, who won his second straight stakes race in Thursday evening’s Flat Out and said that the well-bred son of Tapit would target the Grade 2 $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational as part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on June 8.

In the 1 3/8-mile event over the main track, Marconi sat just off of pacesetter Tour de Force and took command at the top of the stretch to draw off by 2 ¾ lengths under a patient ride by Jose Lezcano.

“It was exactly the way that we thought it would unfold on paper,” Pletcher said. “We were able to get into a good comfortable gallop and I thought he ran a really big race.”

Owned by Bridlewood Farm, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, Marconi is a half-brother to 2013 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man. He was a $2 million purchase from the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Pletcher also noted that graded stakes winner Bellavais is possible for the Grade 1 $700,000 Longines Just a Game on Belmont Stakes Day. The daughter of Tapit breezed a half-mile in 49.90 seconds over the Belmont training track on Thursday morning. Two-time winner Last Judgment, ninth in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs last Saturday as the second choice, will target the $150,000 Easy Goer.

Competitive Edge Filly Big Score

The Competitive Edge filly consigned as Hip 129 in the ring at the Keeneland April Sale
The Competitive Edge filly consigned as Hip 129 in the ring at the Keeneland April SaleKeeneland Photo/Photos by Z

Competitive Edge Filly Big Score

Le Competition breezed fastest quarter-mile in pre-sale workout at Keeneland

Breeders Steve and Jane Long knocked it out of the park April 9 at the Keeneland April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale when a filly from the first crop of Competitive Edge  was purchased by Shepherd Equine Advisers, agent, for $235,000.

Consigned as Hip 129 by Kirkwood Stables, the filly named Le Competition breezed the fastest quarter-mile over the dirt, getting the distance in :21 1/5.

Le Competition is out of the Bellamy Road  mare Lefreakcestchic, who was purchased by Ed Price for $14,000 on behalf of Steve Long from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency to the 2017 The February Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s winter mixed sale. At the time, the mare was carrying the Competitive Edge filly in utero.

“We’re floored,” Jane Long said, crediting their 34-year-old son Brooks with the initial purchase. “He did all the homework, liked the breeding, liked the race records, and Competitive Edge as a first-year sire. We were all aboard. We looked at her but we couldn’t be here when she was selling and had gone home and made the bid over the phone.”

Pennsylvania natives, the Longs own three broodmares and are hands-on horse people. When they came to Lexington for the April sale—a 10-hour drive—they also brought two mares with them to drop off at Indian Creek Farm, where they will be bred this season to Practical Joke  and Classic Empire . Le Competition was the last recorded foal for Lefreakcestchic, who was most recently bred to Blofeld for 2019.

“We do everything ourselves,” Jane Long said. “We’re getting just a touch of the commercial side.”

The filly was the first for the Longs in association with Kip Elser of Kirkwood. The agreement was initially put together because Elser wanted to purchase the filly as a yearling.

“We weren’t ready to part with her but we said, ‘If he wanted to buy her as a yearling, maybe he would like to sell her as a 2-year-old,'” Jane Long said. “He was gracious enough to take her.”

The Longs said they enjoyed the days leading up to the sale, which included a trip to Keeneland during opening weekend of the Spring Meet for a stakes-laden Saturday card.

“Keeneland has treated us awesome,” Steve Long said.

“This is a great venue,” said Jane Long

Kirkwood’s Competitive Edge filly gets fastest quarter in 21.1

Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables sent out Monday’s fastest quarter-mile breezer when Le Competition(Competitive Edge) worked in :21 1/5. The dark bay filly is out of the unraced Lefreakcestchic (Bellamy Road), a half-sister to multiple stakes placed He’s So Chic (Jump Start) and from the family of graded stakes winners Living Vicariously, With Distinction and Sightseeing.

“We had as good and as safe a track as we could possibly have under the conditions,” said Elser, who sent out eight horses to work Monday. “They did a great job with the track. The horses went well and everybody came home well. I think some of them were more confident going over the mud than others, but those are today’s conditions.”

Of Le Competition, Elser said, “She is one that really relished a wet track. I was in the chute, I didn’t see her frontside, but I know she galloped out past me tremendously.”