PA Equestrian


Irish War Cry Captures Wood, One of the Favorites for Kentucky Derby Print E-mail

 PA Equestrian

May 2017

Faugh a Ballagh is a 19th century Irish battle cry meaning "clear the way."Derby 3

Even mild-mannered trainer Graham Motion must have been tempted to shout that command watching his 3-year old colt Irish War Cry storm down the stretch in the $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct racetrack on April 8. The New Jersey bred son of Curlin now has 110 qualifying points which punches his ticket to the seemingly wide open Kentucky Derby on May 6.

With new jockey Rajiv Maragh in the irons, Irish War Cry was content to sit patiently behind Battalion Runner down the backstretch. When Maragh asked the colt to go, he blew by his rival just inside the eighth pole and drew off to win by 3 1/2-lengths striding out beautifully at the wire. Racing in the gold and maroon stripes of Isabelle de Tomaso, he recorded a big 101 Beyers Speed Figure in the 1 1/8-mile race.

The victory enabled the handsome chestnut to rebound from a head-scratching seventh place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes in early March.

 
Songbird: Miss Perfecto Print E-mail

PA Equestrian

October 2016

Race after race she is marching her way into the ranks of female racing royalty. Zenyatta. Rachel Alexandra. Royal Delta. Rags to Riches. All thoroughbred magnets that have connected so passionately with racing fans. Now it's Songbird's time.Songbird 3A

Facing her stiffest competition yet in the $1 million Cotillion Stakes (Grade-1) Songbird took command at the top of the stretch without any urging from jockey Mike Smith and roared down the stretch gliding to yet another easy victory. A perfect 11-for-11 in her racing career, Songbird hit the wire by 5 3/4 lengths ahead of Carina Mia at Parx racetrack, outside Philadelphia on the first Saturday of autumn.

Bred in Kentucky, Songbird was purchased by Rick Porter for $400,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, The filly has dominated her competition in all 11 of her career starts, winning by a combined 60 lengths. The fifth her narrowest margin of victory recorded as 3 3/4 lengths. She has captured seven Grade 1 races for earnings of nearly $3.5 million.

"When I talked with Mike about the race, we just wanted to jump (out of there) and see where we were," Hollendorfer said. "I didn't know what (Cathryn Sophia) was going to do. I thought she was capable of showing some speed. Songbird laid off the pace a little and ran when Mike asked her to. I'm very grateful for her and very pleased with the way that she did that today. I thought she was going great down the backside."

 
Songbird Dazzles in the Coaching Club American Oaks Print E-mail

 PA Equestrian

August 2016

Race after race she is marching her way into the ranks of female racing royalty. Zenyatta. Rachel Alexandra. Royal Delta. Rags to Riches. All were thoroughbred magnets that connected so passionately with racing fans. Now it's Songbird's time.Songbird Aug

A perfect 8 for 8, Songbird faced her toughest foe yet in Carina Mia in the $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on July 24th. Bolting out of post 1, Songbird shot to the lead carving out swift fractions of 23.86 for the opening quarter, the half in 47.52 with Grade-1 Acorn winner Carina Mia a length back. Heading into the far turn Carina Mia made her move matching strides with Songbird to the top of the stretch. Jockey Mike Smith tapped her twice to open up in the stretch, hitting the wire in 1:49.56 for the 1 1/8 mile race. It was yet another dominating performance with 5 ¼ lengths back to Carina Mia.

“She has such a big, beautiful stride,” Smith said. “When Carina Mia got on top of her, the more it made her aggressive. It was a good test for her, made her do something she had never done before. If this race moves her up like I think it will, there’s no telling how good this filly is.”

 
Mohaymen Looks to Bounce Back in Kentucky Derby Print E-mail

 PA Equestrian

May 2016

The most highly touted Derby prep matchup in years took place in the $1 million Florida Derby. A clash of the titans: an East vs. West showdown of unbeaten colts. It never happened.Mohay 1

Undefeated 2015 juvenile Eclipse Award-winning Nyquist rolled to an easy victory, stamping himself as the favorite for the Kentucky Derby on May 7. Geared down by jockey Junior Alvarado in the stretch, Mohaymen (4-5 favorite) wound up beaten by 8 ¼ lengths finishing fourth.

“We feel like it was a perfect storm of unfortunate things that happened with the track, raining earlier and then later," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin from his barn office at the Palm Meadows training facility. 

"Basically it was a very wet (track) and we were very wide. We ran 54 feet further than the winner, but congratulations to Nyquist and their team. They had to run over the same racetrack under the same conditions and they did it better than us. Hopefully we can turn the tables on May 7."

 
PA-Bred Mor Spirit a Top West Coast Derby Contender Print E-mail

 Pennsylvania Equestrian

April 2016

 Stuart Grant likes to tell folks that he spent time around horses growing up in Brooklyn, N. Y.  Thing is, the horses all had cops on their backs.

Grant is the proud breeder of Pennsylvania-bred colt Mor Spirit who was born at Derry Meeting Farm. The dark bay colt is considered one of the top West Coast contenders for the Kentucky Derby.Mor S01

Mor Spirit made his 3-year-old debut with an impressive win in the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (Grade-3) at Santa Anita on Feb. 6. The victory stamped the colt as the dominant 3-year-old in the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

In the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes (Grade-2) on March 12, Mor Spirit uncorked his patented late run closing strongly in mid-stretch, but couldn't quite get to Danzing Candy who won by two lengths. Mor Spirit earned 20 Derby points to give the colt a total of 44 which should put him into the starting gate at Churchill Downs on May 7.

Stevens was encouraged and optimistic despite the loss.

 
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