LE VERGER graduates 2nd out in Japan

Purchased from Kirkwood for $100,000 by Okada Stud at Fasig Tipton Midlantic 2021
Courtesy of the TDN
3rd-Niigata, -9,900,000 ($77,494), Maiden, 1200m, 1:12.1, ft.
LE VERGER (f, 3, Maclean’s Music–Wine Train, by Tiz Wonderful) finished a midfield seventh on her Mar. 5 debut at Hanshin and was the 9-1 fourth choice to show the necessary improvement at second asking. Beaten for speed, Le Verger found a spot slightly ahead of midfield and raced in clear air around the turn. Pulled out towards the center of the strip with a quarter-mile to run, the bay let down nicely, hit the front with about 100 meters to travel and proved 1 1/2 lengths too strong for the competition.

The winner’s dam is a daughter of the stakes-winning Stage Stop (Valid Expectations), herself responsible for SW & GSP Stageplay (Curlin). Wine Train was sold for $25,000 at KEENOV in 2019 and produced the Carpe Diem filly Rafanelli in 2020. She was most recently bred to Instagrand.
Sales history: $31,000 Ylg ’20 KEEJAN; $50,000 RNA Ylg ’20 KEESEP; $100,000 2yo ’21 FTMMAY.
Lifetime Record: 2-1-0-0, $40,644.
O-Normandy Thoroughbred Racing
B-Robert & Lawana Low (KY)
; T-Haruki Sugiyama.

CHESS CHIEF named Virginia Horse of the Year

Purchased as a yearling at Saratoga by Kirkwood for trainer Dallas Stewart and the Estate of James Coleman
Chess Chief (outside) wins the 2021 Tenacious Stakes at Fair Grounds
Chess Chief (outside) wins the 2021 Tenacious Stakes at Fair Grounds

Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

The annual Virginia Breeder’s Awards program has been scheduled at Great Meadow Friday May 6th—the evening before the Virginia Gold Cup Races—in a return to more of a “normal times” format for the first time since 2019. The event will take place in a trackside tent on Member’s Hill overlooking the deep stretch and finish line areas where steeplechase horses are set to compete the next afternoon. A list of awards to be presented that night follows.

Horse-of-the-Year honors go to Chess Chief, who was also recognized as Virginia-Bred Older Horse Champion based on two stakes wins and $446,290 in earnings. The Dallas Stewart trainee struck early and late in the year, connecting at Fair Grounds twice in the Grade 2 New Orleans Stakes March 20 and in the Tenacious Stakes December 26. Bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm, the 6-year-old Into Mischief horse heads into spring with $865,338 in winnings overall.

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Kirkwoood Yearling Purchase wins the CAROUSEL S. at Oaklawn

Courtey of the TDN

CAROUSEL S., $200,000, Oaklawn, 4-2, 4yo/up, f/m, 6f, 1:09.26, ft.
1–ACTING OUT, 124, m, 5, Blame–Riding Point, by Speightstown. ($120,000 RNA Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $12,000 3yo ’20 KEEJAN). 1ST BLACK TYPE WIN.
O-Sherman Racing, Inc., Zvika Akin & Robert Harkins;
B-Vincent Colbert (KY)
T-Jerry Hollendorfer;  Lifetime Record: 12-5-3-0, $323,840.

Acting Out made it two-for-two since joining Hall of Famer trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Previously campaigned by winning co-owner and former trainer Art Sherman, she was a well-beaten sixth at Del Mar July 29. She returned eight months later to lead gate-to-wire against a similar field Mar. 11 at Oaklawn. Two of those beaten rivals were behind her again Saturday as she stepped back into stakes company for the first time since a second-place finish over the Golden Gate grass last April.

Acting Out got away from the gate in good order to set the early pace and led comfortably throughout. She entered the stretch with a 1 1/2-length advantage and was pushed to the wire by heavily favored SW & MGISP Frank’s Rockette (Into Mischief) to win comfortably.

Acting Out is a half-sister to two other winners and her dam was bred to Seattle Serenade in 2022

STARTWITHABANG graduates in a MSW

STARTWITHABANG (Jump Start)  raced 6 1/2 furlongs at Charles Town to a MSW graduation. She came between horses late to win by a neck.  She is trained by  Anthony Farrior for owner Timothy Freitag. She was bred in MD by Mr. & Mrs. Charles McGinnes.

Starts Firsts Seconds Thirds Earnings
6 1 2 2 $51,379

2 winners for Kirkwood

Racing at Remington Park, GODDARD (Tapit) got up in the final stride to break his maiden. He raced 7 furlongs on the dirt for trainer Todd W. Fincher
and owner  B. Ray Willis. He was bred by Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC. Since then at Sunland, he has been 1st or 2nd in his last 3 starts and has earned over $75,000.

At PARX, KODAPENDANT (Outwork) swung wide and got his head in front to break his maiden for trainer Robert E. Reid, Jr. and owners  LC Racing LLC, Michalee Milam, Smart Angle LLP and Westerly Farm.  Off the favorite, he raced a mile and seventy and won by 1 3/4

Stakes placed BERNABREEZY takes Fair Grounds Allowance

Prepared at sold by Kirkwood at  Fasig Tipton Gulfstream
Courtesy of the TDN

9th-Fair Grounds, $53,000, Alw (NW1X)/Opt. Clm ($50,000), 2-18, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:45.07, ft, 2 lengths. BERNABREEZY (f, 3, Bernardini–Super Allison {SW, $157,043}, by Super Saver) rallied from well back to be fifth in her career bow at Churchill Downs Nov. 14 and closed resolutely to earn her diploma next out over track and trip Dec. 20. Third to GII Rachel Alexandra S.-bound La Crete (Medaglia d’Oro) in this venue’s Silverbulletday S. Jan. 22, she was given a 4-1 chance for this drop in class while facing GISP favorite Sequist (Nyquist). Sitting back in her preferred position near the back, the bay had just one beat through a :23.59 first quarter and :47.17 half-mile. In the same position, but taking closer order on the backstretch run, Bernabreezy was six wide turning for home and slingshotted to the front in the lane to win going away by two lengths. Mariah’s Fortune (Classic Empire) was second with Sequist in third. Bernabreezy is the first foal out of SW Super Allison, whose only foal since is a 2021 colt by Catalina Cruiser. She was bred back to Volatile. Sales history: $25,000 Ylg ’20 KEESEP; $40,000 2yo ’21 FTFMAR; $100,000 2yo ’21 EASMAY.
Lifetime Record: SP, 4-2-0-1, $77,400. O-McMakin, Nelson and Kennedy, Aaron; B-Machmer Hall, Tamme Valley Farm & Godolphin (KY);
T-Matt A. Shirer.

MERCI graduates MSW at Tampa first out

Courtesy of the TDN

9th-Tampa Bay Downs, $26,000, Msw, 2-11, 3yo, 1 1/16mT, 1:44.03, fm, 2 1/2 lengths. MERCI (c, 3, Noble Mission {GB}–Almina, by Macho Uno) was fairly lightly regarded at 15-2 on debut and settled midpack after breaking fairly from a low gate. Quietly ridden through the middle stages, the May foal advanced on the turn, came out four wide for the drive, struck to the lead a furlong from home and galloped clear. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $15,080. O/B-Ghislaine Head (KY); T-Christophe Clement.

RESPONSE TIME wins Laurel Allowance with dispatch

RESPONSE TIME (Mosler) was purchased from Kirkwood for $100,000  by her owners Mens Grille Racing at Fasig Tipton Timonium in 2020. This is her second win in a row and she rated well and then moved out to clear the field for the win by 2 1/4. The newly turned 4 year old filly is trained by Hamilton Smith.

Starts Firsts Seconds Thirds Earnings
12 3 3 0 $131,548