SW REALM 3rd in the Skip Away at Gulfstream

Winner of the Alydar last summer at Saratoga and also multiply graded stakes placed , REALM (Haynesfield) added to his laurels running third in the Skip Away at Gulfstream. He dueled on or close to the lead and could not quite hold on for the win. He missed by 1/2 a length and a neck. The 6 year old gelding has earned over $365,000 for owners Eric Dattner, Harry Astarita and owner/trainer Barclay Tagg.


Coal Front and Jose Ortiz take the Godolphin Mile at Meydan
Coal Front and Jose Ortiz take the Godolphin Mile at Meydan

Mathea Kelley/Dubai Racing Club

Coal Front Edges Heavy Metal to win Godolphin Mile

Coal Front earned most lucrative win of career in $1.5 million Godolphin Mile (G2).

Coal Front rallied sharply in deep stretch to catch frontrunning defending champion Heavy Metal and win the $1.5 million Godolphin Mile Sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City—District One (G2) by three-quarters of a length March 30 at Meydan.

Coal Front, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Jose Ortiz—in his first Dubai World Cup Day race—waited well back of the early battle between Heavy Metal and the international favorite, Muntazah. Heavy Metal began to edge clear as the field hit the Meydan Racecourse stretch.

Ortiz, however, had kept Coal Front wide of the leaders and in the clear and was in full flight 200 meters from home, closing ground on the tiring, 9-year-old leader. He hit the lead five strides short of the wire in the one-turn, 1,600-meter (about one-mile) test and finished in 1:36.51.

“He’s a frontrunner,” Ortiz said. “Being where I was, I didn’t want to put him behind horses and take the kickback. I was happy where I was. Coal Front was a tough customer. But we had it. I was riding for the win.”

Muntazah, winner of the local prep for the Godolphin Mile, held off surging Kimbear to salvage third by a short head.

Coal Front, a 5-year-old Stay Thirsty  ridgling, came to Dubai after a victory in the Feb. 18 Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park in his first start of the year. He closed an abbreviated 2018 campaign with a win in the Dec. 22 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park. As a 3-year-old, he won the Gallant Bob Stakes (G3) at Parx Racing and the Amsterdam Stakes (G2) at Saratoga Race Course.

Bred in Kentucky by Michael Edward Connelly out of the Mineshaft  mare Miner’s Secret and owned by Robert LaPenta and Sol Kumin’s Head of Plains Partners, Coal Front now has seven wins from nine starts. Saturday’s score marked the most lucrative of his career, earning $900,000.

LaPenta said the owners and Pletcher, who scored his first win on a World Cup card, debated whether to even send Coal Front to Dubai because they didn’t know if he’d handle the travel.

“Up until three weeks ago, we spent a lot of time on this,” LaPenta said. “He’s very nervous, and we thought about the travel, the quarantine, all those things. Should we go? Todd did a great job.”

LaPenta said he was worried as Heavy Metal took a substantial lead in the stretch.

“What was going through my mind at the sixteenth pole was, ‘Call a doctor!'” he said. “He is a frontrunning horse. This time, he had to catch a horse. We’re so proud of him.”

LaPenta said there are no firm plans for Coal Front’s future.

Consigned by Kirkwood Stables to the 2016 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, Coal Front went to LaPenta for $575,000. His dam produced an American Pharoah  colt in 2018 and was bred to Arrogate  for 2019.

USA Scores First In Dubai – Kirkwood consigned COAL FRONT wins the G2 Godolphin Mile

Courtesy of the TDN

2nd at Mey, Gr. Stk, $1,500,000 G2 Godolphin Mile (1600m) Winner: Coal Front, r, 5 by Stay Thirsty

Coal Front | Racingfotos.com

‘TDN Rising Star’ Coal Front (Stay Thirsty–Miner’s Secret, by Mineshaft), the last-out winner of the G3 Razorback H. at Oaklawn Park, notched a victory for the U.S. in the opening Thoroughbred race of the Dubai World Cup card at Meydan when getting up in the dying strides to clinch the G2 Godolphin Mile under Jose Ortiz. Defending Godolphin Miler winner Heavy Metal (GB) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) set the pace and looked to have gotten away at the top of the lane, but the lightly raced progressive 5-year-old Coal Front gradually wore away that lead and got up within the final furlong.
Lifetime Record: 9-7-0-0.
O-LaPenta, Robert V. and Head of Plains Partners LLC.
B-Michael Edward Connelly  (KY).
T-Todd Pletcher
Sold at OBS April for $575,000

Coal Front in the Godolphin Mile G2

The $1.5 million Godolphin Mile Sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City-District One (G2) March 30 on the Meydan Racecourse dirt

The U.S. runners also bring solid credentials. Coal Front, a 5-yearold Stay Thirsty ridgling, has won six of eight starts. He most recently captured the Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park, looking sharp going 1 1/16 miles. “He’s trained impressively, like he always does,” said Pletcher, who also trained Coal Front’s sire. “He’s a beautiful horse, and we feel like the one-turn mile should suit him perfectly, especially backing up off a two-turn race.”

Coal Front was a $575,000 sale by Kirkwood at OBS April

Mucho Gusto may not be done on 2019 Kentucky Derby trail

Mucho Gusto may not be done on 2019 Kentucky Derby trail

Mucho Gusto may not be done on 2019 Kentucky Derby trail

Photo: Benoit

Trainer Bob Baffert considers Mucho Gusto to be “a much better horse than what you saw” in Sunday’s Sunland Derby (G3) — and that belief could earn him another shot at qualifying for the 2019 Kentucky Derby.

Baffert said the multiple Grade 3-winning son of Mucho Macho Man is under consideration for Keeneland’s Grade 3, $200,000 Lexington Stakes on April 13, the final day for points qualifiers.

While Mucho Gusto’s third in the Sunland Derby boosted him to 16th on the current Derby leaderboard, his 24 points are not on pace to remain in the Top 20 with most major preps still left to run. The Lexington awards points on a 20-8-4-2 scale to its first four finishers, and the winner’s share could certainly send him on to Churchill Downs.

RELATED: Who’s in, out and on the Kentucky Derby bubble?

Campaigned by Michael Lund Petersen, Mucho Gusto “sort of ran the same race as he did in the Los Alamitos Futurity,” Baffert said, “where he pressed the pace and pressed the pace.”

Setting the fractions, the colt went in 22.76 and 45.63 for the opening splits of the 1 1/8-mile race, locking up along the rail in a speed duel with the local stakes winner Hustle Up. Mucho Gusto eventually faded to finish third, six lengths behind the dueling Cutting Humor and Anothertwistafate. Hustle Up dropped to seventh.

“If he’d have been on the outside, I think he could have run a better race — been in a spot where the winner was, sitting four to five lengths off and finish up,” Baffert said of Mucho Gusto.

“…The mile and an eighth, it’s all about the pace. We’re just going to have to regroup here.”

The Lexington runs at 1 1/16 miles. Last year, its winner, My Boy Jack, used a victory there to solidify his standing in the Derby Top 20. Baffert won the 2016 Lexington with Collected, who from there pointed to the Preakness Stakes.

The Hall of Fame trainer confirmed his other Derby hopefuls are all on track for their final preps — but Baffert laughed, calling these “stressful times.”

Game Winner, narrowly defeated by Omaha Beach in the second division of the March 16 Rebel Stakes, returned to the work tab Tuesday with a half-mile breeze. He’s targeting the April 6 Santa Anita Derby (G1).

“The way he worked, everybody said he looked good,” said Baffert, who’s in Florida for Gulfstream Park’s Wednesday sale of 2-year-olds. “I saw the video, and he came out of the race well.”

Roadster, a come-backing March 1 allowance winner, is also gearing up for the Santa Anita Derby. He glided through six furlongs Tuesday in 1:14.

“Drayden (Van Dyke) worked him and said he looked good,” Baffert reported. “He’s an interesting horse there. He’s got a lot of talent.”

Van Dyke will cede the mount next time to Jose Ortiz on the Arkansas Derby (G1) contender Improbable, who “looks good,” Baffert said, exiting a neck defeat in the Rebel’s first flight.

Game Winner is likely already in the Kentucky Derby on points; Improbable needs only to hit the board; and Roadster will have to win or place in the Santa Anita Derby to earn his trip.

#FTGulfstream: Kip Elser of Kirkwood Stables on the reception of “Gulfstream Gallop” horses

Courtesy of the DRF
Joe Nevills , 2018-03-28 – DRF Breeding Live

#FTGulfstream: Kip Elser of Kirkwood Stables on the reception of “Gulfstream Gallop” horses

Kip Elser and his unnamed “contrarian” partner picked up a lot of ink heading into this year’s Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale for their plan to buy a handful of yearlings for the express purpose of galloping them through this particular breeze show.

The five “Gulfstream Gallop LLC” horses went through their paces on Monday, and went under the microscope from buyers in earnest yesterday. I spoke with Elser yesterday afternoon about his slate of juveniles and how they were received, and this is what he had to say…

“It’s been mostly positive. We won’t be able to tell how it’s been received until they go in and put their hand up, but off the early indications, we’re getting plenty of looks, and plenty of looks by good, solid judges that are perfectly capable of picking a horse that went steadier than the general population.”

Though advertised as an untimed gallop, the horses went through the straightaway at a decent clip – far from dialed all the way in, but certainly not a leisurely lope. Elser said the speed of the gallop was for a reason.

“Yes, they went a fairly good clip, but we were told that they really had to go fast enough for the video and motion analysis people to be able to run their programs. We aimed to go down there a quarter in 26 or so to give those people enough information. I don’t even know how close we got to it, but that was the plan. We’re doing something different, but we’re trying not to alienate anybody.

“They’re horses with good bottom in them, and they should be able to go right on and fit into anybody’s program.”

MUCHO GUSTO settles for 3rd in the Sundland Park Derby G3

Courtesy of the TDN
‘TDN Rising Star’
 Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man) had to settle for the show position in the  GIII Sunland Park Derby. He went to the lead and was pressed by one or another continuously through quick fractions and could not hold on for the win. Following his impressive debut win at Los Alamitos with a victory in the GIII Bob Hope S. Nov. 17, the $625,000 EASMAY buy suffered his lone loss when second to stablemate and fellow ‘Rising Star’ Improbable (City Zip) in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 8. The chestnut rebounded with a decisive score in the 1 1/16-mile GIII Robert B. Lewis over a sloppy Santa Anita surface Feb. 2.
T: Bob Baffert
Owner: Michael Lund Petersen
Lifetime: 5 3 1 1 $310,800


Courtesy of the TDN

Mucho Gusto Looms Large in Sunland Derby

Mucho Gusto | Benoit

By Christie DeBernardis

‘TDN Rising Star’ Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man) will be the horse to beat Sunday when he lines up for the GIII Sunland Park Derby. Following his impressive debut win at Los Alamitos Sept. 20 with a victory in the GIII Bob Hope S. Nov. 17, the $625,000 EASMAY buy suffered his lone loss when second to stablemate and fellow ‘Rising Star’ Improbable (City Zip) in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 8. The chestnut rebounded with a decisive score in the 1 1/16-mile GIII Robert B. Lewis over a sloppy Santa Anita surface Feb. 2 and enters this nine-panel test off a six-furlong breeze in 1:13 3/5 (2/11) at Santa Anita Mar. 18.

Also making the trip in from California is Anothertwistafate (Scat Daddy), whose three wins came over the Golden Gate synthetic. A non-factor ninth when making his career bow in a six-furlong test on the dirt at Santa Anita Nov. 3, the dark bay donned cap and gown by four lengths when extended to 1 1/16 miles at Golden Gate Dec. 9. Wiring the field for a five-length score in an optional claimer over that strip Jan. 4, the $360,000 OBSOPN purchase romped by seven lengths last time in that venue’s nine-furlong El Camino Real Derby Feb. 16. He is already proven at this distance, so the real question with this runner is whether he can run on dirt or is a synthetic specialist.

New Mexico native Hustle Up (Abstraction) is a perfect four-for-four at Sunland Park, including a win in the local prep for this test, the Mine That Bird Derby Feb. 24. Closing out his juvenile campaign with a win in the state-bred Steve Prather S. at Zia Park Dec. 10, the gelding followed suit with a win in the NM-bred Red Hedeman Mile S. here Feb. 2. Going straight to the lead in the Mine That Bird Derby, he bested the Steve Asmussen-trained Wicked Indeed (Tapit) by a length and Walker Stalker (Stroll) was another four lengths back in third.

‘We’re Not Here Trying To Re-Invent The Wheel’: Kirkwood Stables’ Gulfstream Gallop Consignment Returns For Second Year

Courtesy of the Paulick Report

‘We’re Not Here Trying To Re-Invent The Wheel’: Kirkwood Stables’ Gulfstream Gallop Consignment Returns For Second Year

by  | 

Kirkwood horses galloping at Springdale Training Center

Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables is far from the first consignment to gallop its horses through a juvenile sale’s breeze show instead of going all-out under the clock. It wasn’t even the first consignment to do it at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Selected 2-Year-Olds In Training Sale.

Still, there was something about the notion that felt novel when the Camden, S.C., operation debuted its “Gulfstream Gallop” consignment in 2018, consisting of horses acquired as yearlings for the sole purpose of turning in an untimed gallop during the South Florida auction’s under-tack show.

The intentions of Elser and his partners to return to the sale in 2019 were made clear during last year’s yearling season, when Elser signed a handful of tickets as agent for “Gulfstream Gallop” and “Midway Gallop.” After sending five horses galloping through last year’s Gulfstream sale, Kirkwood Stables returns with nine gallopers under multiple entities.

“We did it with a small group of horses last year,” Elser said. “This year, we have a slightly larger group, and you’re always hoping to improve your stock. I hope the public thinks we’ve upgraded a bit.”

The Gulfstream Gallop program was born two years ago when Elser and an anonymous partner secured a draft of yearlings to point at the 2018 sale, with the goal of demonstrating that a quality 2-year-old does not have to go through the rigors of preparing for and executing an eighth-mile drill to prove its worth. Three of the five horses that were offered sold in the ring at the Gulfstream sale, led by a colt from the first crop of Noble Mission who went to Caves Farm for $120,000.

After the initial class of gallopers, Elser said others expressed interest in joining the program. The other half of the Gulfstream Gallop team did not want to take on partners, but he believed there was room in the market for more horses in a similar program, so Elser and Joe Miller of bloodstock agency Kern Thoroughbreds bought a second set of yearlings in 2018 under the “Midway Gallop” banner.

Kirkwood Stables consigns at major 2-year-old auctions throughout North America, and its horses entered elsewhere go through the usual regimen of training for the breeze show. Why is the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale targeted for the gallopers? Elser said it’s a combination of timing and surface.

“I don’t think it would work on synthetic, and I don’t think it would work later in the year after people started running 2-year-old races,” he said. “That’s how we got to Gulfstream. Something would have to change for me to change my thinking.”

Of the five members of the original Gulfstream Gallop class, four have raced, two are winners, and the other two are placed.

The standard-bearer among the group is Splashy Kisses, a Blame filly who finished second in the Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes and third in G3 Sweet Life Stakes. She was purchased for $100,000 by bloodstock agent Dennis O’Neill, on behalf of Erik Johnson’s ERJ Racing. Phoenix Thoroughbreds and Dave Kenney later joined the ownership group, with Doug O’Neill handling the training duties.

“They were very happy with the way she looked in the gallop, and they liked the stallion, Blame, as well, and just liked her as an overall athlete,” Doug O’Neill said. “I think you can see a lot by watching them gallop and seeing how they look individually, so I don’t think you necessarily need to see them fly down there an eighth of a mile. At the same time, I can see how you can fall in love with one that’s flying down there in :10-flat, so I can see both sides.

“On that particular filly, she’s such a big filly, it was probably in her best interest [to gallop in the breeze show],” O’Neill continued. “I’m glad they ended up not breezing her and just galloped her.”

Elser obviously felt vindicated that one of the Gulfstream Gallop horses had made a dent at the graded stakes level, but he stayed realistic about how much it would help the current class of gallopers when their time comes in the sale ring.

“It’s never easy,” he said with a laugh.

Defying the stopwatch at one of the country’s highest-stakes juvenile sales has generated a fair number of inquiries from curious horsemen and media members, and Elser has had to be the mouthpiece for the program from its inception. He’s not worried about being shoehorned as “the gallop guy,” though. In fact, he welcomes the discussion, and what it could lead to in the future.

“I’m not sick of it at all,” Elser said. “It should generate interest. It should generate questions. That’s why we’re here, to present the case. We’re not here trying to re-invent the wheel. I’m not trying to train or sell anyone else’s horse. I’m showing how I think we can do it, and still give the buyer a representative look at the horse.”