Horse racing: Starlight adds more promising yearlings
Starlight Racing put the final touches on its 2012 package of prospects by buying eight horses during the intense first week of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, to go with the five it bought at the Saratoga Select Yearling Sale.
Perhaps the most interesting of the Starlight baker’s dozen will be given extra time to rise, and actually was purchased behind the scenes on Monday.
A Tiznow colt out of the Storm Cat mare Stop The Lights did not reach his reserve of $230,000, and Starlight was able to buy him privately for $200,000.
The stable, whose managing partners are Don Lucarelli of Duanesburg and Jack Wolf of Saratoga Springs, spent $1.565 million on the eight Keeneland yearlings, bringing its total to $2.695 million, including the five Saratoga horses. Former trainer Frank Brothers is the group’s bloodstock agent.
Unlike most Starlight horses, the bay Tiznow colt, who was born on May 11, probably won’t race as a 2-year-old next year, Lucarelli said, but nevertheless is one of the more intriguing prospects they bought.
“We’ve never had a Tiznow,” Lucarelli said. “Usually, we can’t afford them, so that was cool. What’s different about the Tiznow is he’s a late foal, which usually isn’t our m.o. We usually find ones that we know can be precocious as 2-year-olds. But it was something we couldn’t pass up on and took a shot with.”
Tiznow is the only horse to have won the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice, and has been equally spectacular as a sire.
His progeny include Dubai World Cup winner Well Armed, Met Mile and Whitney winner Tizway, Travers winner Colonel John, Pennsylvania Derby and Carter winner Morning Line, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Folklore, two-time Grade I winner Tough Tiz’s Sis, Belmont Stakes winner Da’Tara, Whitney winner Bullsbay and Wood Memorial winner Gemologist.
He’s a joint breeding interest of Taylor Made and WinStar, and stands for a stud fee of $75,000 in Versailles, Ky.
A total of 22 Tiznow babies were bought during the first four days of Keeneland’s September auction, not counting private purchases like Starlight’s.
The 22 Tiznows went for a total of $4.897 million and an average of $222,591. Two of them were sold for $500,000.
Starlight typically buys 10-12 yearlings and usually doesn’t spend more than $250,000 on any one, but did so twice this year, including a $375,000 Giant’s Causeway colt at Saratoga and a $380,000 Harlan’s Holiday colt at Keeneland on Thursday.
Wolf has a special affinity for Harlan’s Holiday, the beaten favorite in the 2002 Kentucky Derby who won the Grade I Donn Handicap at 4.
He owned Harlan’s Holiday before joining forces with Lucarelli.
Starlight also bought a Harlan’s Holiday filly for $250,000 at Saratoga.
“We didn’t overpay for him, but a few people were on the horse and drove the price up higher,” Lucarelli said, referring to the colt bought at Keeneland, who is out of Intensify. “But Frankie really liked him a lot. He’s sharp, athletic and looks like a two-turn horse, and the Harlan’s Holidays are precocious as 2-year-olds. He’s got a fair amount of pedigree.”
Starlight also bought colts by Congrats, More Than Ready and War Pass, and fillies by Dixie Union, Lemon Drop Kid and Badge of Silver.
The partnership has had some early success with Dixie Union this year, as Rose Junction was an impressive debut winner, although he was a badly beaten second favorite in the Sanford at Saratoga. Lucarelli said he came out of that race with a popped shin, so he’s on the farm in Ocala, Fla., recuperating.
“We got outbid on a few, like a Pulpit, who went for $450,000,” Lucarelli said. “We had two that were a little outside the box [price-wise], but our game plan stayed pretty intact and disciplined. We got a good number of horses at the price range we like and a good balance of colts and fillies.
“We’re comfortable with all of that; the question now is you hope they turn into what you’re looking for.”
ALGORITHMS ON SCHEDULE
One Starlight horse who certainly turned into what they were looking for, but couldn’t stay healthy, Al-gorithms, returned to trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn at Belmont Park this week and got on the track for an easy gallop on Thursday.
Undefeated in three starts, including the Holy Bull, Algorithms was a leading Kentucky Derby prospect heading into the Fountain of Youth as the favorite, but was scratched the morning of the race and was found to have a broken splint bone.
He’s recovered and on schedule to start breezing in early October.
Pletcher said he wants to get one start into Algorithms before the end of the year.
Lucarelli said one possibility is the Grade I Cigar Mile against older horses on Nov. 24 at Aqueduct, three weeks after the Breeders’ Cup.
“We’d try it, because all of the better horses would have gone to the Breeders’ Cup,” Lucarelli said. “Going against older horses isn’t really an issue, because he’ll be almost 4, anyway. If he doesn’t make it, we’ll just go to Gulfstream Park and look for something.”
Camelot bids for crown
The lightly raced but undefeated Camelot will try to become the first horse to win the English Triple Crown in 42 years when he races in the world’s oldest classic this morning, the St. Leger at Doncaster.
Nijinsky was the last to win the Triple Crown in Great Britain, which also includes the Two Thousand Guineas and the Epsom Derby.
Aidan O’Brien is in position to become the first trainer to have won all five British classics in the same season.
There have been 15 British Triple Crown winners. Before Nijinsky in 1970, the last to have achieved it was Bahram in 1935.
Haskell winner Paynter, second in the Belmont to Union Rags, continues to make progress after suffering life-threatening colitis compounded by laminitis in three of his feet.
Owned by Zayat Stables, Pay-nter missed the Travers because he got sick with a fever and diarrhea, and it got much worse for him after that.
This week, though. he recovered well enough to walk around outside his stall and graze. If he continues to improve, he should be able to race next year as a 4-year-old.
TURF FILLIES AT BELMONT
There are two graded stakes for turf females today at Belmont Park, which means that trainer Chad Brown will be busy, since the Mechanicville native has plenty of those in his barn.
Samitar will make her first start for Brown in the Grade I Garden City for 3-year-olds at a mile and an eighth on the inner turf.
She’s the 8-5 favorite after just missing in the Lake George at Saratoga Race Course, a neck back in third behind Centre Court and Better Lucky.
“I thought she fought well,” Brown told the New York Association. “Now we’ve had her in our care, and we’re getting to know her a little bit. She seems to be training well.”
The English-bred Samitar had been training on the Oklahoma turf course, then went four furlongs in 50.99 on Belmont’s inner turf on Monday.
She became a Group 1 winner in May when she won the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh in Ireland.
Her six rivals in the Garden City include Karlovy Vary, who returned to the grass after a 12th in the Kentucky Oaks. She previously had won the Grade I Ashland on the synthetic at Keeneland.
Karlovy Vary finished third in the Nani Rose at Saratoga.
Brown also has a formidable pair in what appears to be a wide-open Grade III Noble Damsel for fillies and mares at a mile on the Widener turf.
Dealbata is the 3-1 favorite off a second to Julie’s Love in the De La Rose at Saratoga, and Brown will also saddle the French-bred Kya One in her first start in North America.
Besides Brown’s two, Julie’s Love is also one of five European-breds in the Noble Damsel.
She’s won three of four starts in the U.S. this year after racing in France last year.
Wise Dan will try to keep rolling as the 6-5 favorite in the Grade I Woodbine Mile on the turf on Sunday.
The card also includes the Grade I Northern Dancer Turf, Grade II Canadian and the Ontario Derby.
Trained by Charles Lopresti, the versatile Wise Dan is coming off a victory on the turf in the Fourstardave at Saratoga.
He was second to Ron the Greek on conventional dirt in the Stephen Foster and won the Grade III Ben Ali on Keeneland’s synthetic main track in his other 2012 starts.
Scalo, a Group 1 winner in Germany in 2010, is the 2-1 favorite in the Northern Dancer Turf, followed by the 10-year-old three-time Singspiel winner Musketier at 5-2.
Trainer Mark Casse and owner John Oxley will start either Ohio Derby winner Prospective or Stealcase in the Ontario Derby.
Prospective was eighth in the Jim Dandy in his last start, and Stealcase was seventh in the Travers.
AROUND THE TRACKS
Undefeated filly Awesome Feather worked five furlongs in 1:10.05 on the Oklahoma training track on Thursday.
Brown wants to race her once and then take her to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic. . . .
Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard needs one win to reach 3,000 for his career.
He has three in at Delaware Park today, including the coupled entry of Vanishing and Angel Terrace in the Christiana Stakes. . . .
One fortunate bettor hit the Pick Six for $103,196 at Belmont Park on Thursday.
The ticket was purchased off track.