By Jessica Martini
TIMONIUM, MD – A colt from the first crop of GI Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man turned in the fastest quarter-mile breeze time so far at this week’s under-tack preview of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale when covering the distance in :21 1/5 Wednesday in Timonium. An additional 10 juveniles worked the co-fastest furlong of :10 1/5 Wednesday after seven hit that mark during Tuesday’s first of three preview sessions.
While Tuesday’s session of the preview was held under sunny skies and temperatures in the 90s, the weather in Timonium took a turn for the stormy and chilly Wednesday. Heavy rains Tuesday night decreased to intermittent sprinkles Wednesday morning as the breeze show began with temperatures in the mid-60s. The rains hit again after the third of five sets and the track was sealed.
Hip 278, a colt by Mucho Macho Man, earned the :21 1/5 quarter-mile bullet during the day’s fourth set. S.R. Schwartz purchased the youngster for $95,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale. He RNA’d for $55,000 after working a furlong in :10 flat at the OBS March Sale. The chestnut is consigned by Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables.
“He was at OBS in March and breezed very well and was ignored,” Elser said. “He was a nice horse then and he has certainly gone the right way.”
Out of Itsagiantcauseway (Giant’s Causeway), the juvenile is from the family of Canadian champion Peaks and Valleys, as well as graded stakes winner Alternation.
Hip 278 completed his bullet drill just after the heaviest of the day’s rain fell. Of the changing conditions, Elser said, “You never feel good when you get variables like that jumping up, but these guys have always done a great job keeping this track safe.”
“I knew he’d go quick,” Elser said of the Mucho Macho Man colt. “I thought he would be about as quick as our first colt who went in :21 3/5. Today he was a little quicker.”
Hip 365, a colt from the first crop of multiple Group 1 winner Noble Mission (GB), is out of Miss Ocean City (Mineshaft), a half-sister to graded stakes winner Woodlander (Forestry) and to the dam of graded winners Coal Front (Stay Thirsty) and Conquest Titan (Birdstone). The juvenile is a half-brother to graded stakes winner Azar (Scat Daddy).
The wildly divergent weather conditions have made comparing day-to-day times difficult, but Elser thinks buyers have all the information they will need.
“It’s a good, safe surface,” he said of the track. “If people look at the whole thing, one day it is faster or slower, that’s all nonsense. If the horses come back well, watch the videos, watch how they move and how they shake up with others that breezed on that surface on that day. I don’t get too fired up about day-to-day differences.”
Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds has sent out three of the 17 bullet furlong workers so far at the preview. The Ocala-based operation was represented Tuesday by hip 181, a colt by Into Mischief, (:10 1/5). During Wednesday’s first set, hip 204, a colt by More Than Ready equaled that :10 1/5 time.
Hip 204 is out of Canadian champion Embur’s Song (Unbridled’s Song) and was bred by Bridlewood Farm, which purchased the mare with this foal in utero for $900,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. Randy Hartley and Dean De Renzo purchased the dark bay colt for $500,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.
“He is a big, stretchy More than Ready out of an Unbridled’s Song mare who was a phenomenal racehorse herself,” De Renzo said of the colt’s appeal as a yearling. “The Unbridled’s Song mares have been showing that he is probably the best broodmare sire in the country and we love More Than Ready. And we loved the scope of this horse. He’s a May foal, but he’s a big, good-looking horse.”
Hip 204 was targeted specifically at the Midlantic sale, according to De Renzo.
“We feel like the Unbridled’s Song gives him a lot of dirt,” he explained. “And More Than Readys have run on dirt, like Verrazano, so we brought him here with the dirt. Although, we wouldn’t have picked the five-eighths track for him, because he is so big. But he handled it like he didn’t care about any of it. He galloped out huge. It was one of the fastest gallop-outs of the day, according to the clockers. He is a pretty amazing horse, so that was pretty easy for him.”
Hartley/De Renzo also sent out hip 206, a colt by Pioneerof the Nile, to work a furlong in :10 1/5 during Wednesday’s third set. The juvenile, a $60,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase, is out of Emptythetill (Holy Bull) and is a half-brother to multiple graded stakes winner Conveyance (Indian Charlie).
“He galloped out really good, too,” De Renzo said of the gray colt. “He’s a big horse and one we wanted to get on the dirt, as well.”
De Renzo is excited about Thursday’s under-tack preview when he will send out hip 565, a colt by Medaglia d’Oro who is the first foal out of graded stakes winner Tapicat (Tapit).
“He is amazing,” De Renzo said of the bay colt.
Despite a forecast for continued rain in the area, De Renzo isn’t concerned about conditions for Thursday’s session.
“The one thing about this Timonium track is, it’s safe, even wet,” he said. “They can still get a hold of it. It reminds me very much of the Calder racetrack that we used to train over in Florida. So I’m not too worried about it being too slick. I do get a little worried about it being too hard, but we really don’t have much of a choice. It’s race day. If you bring big horses with big pedigrees and the right conformation, they can usually get through things. That’s why we breed them that way. They overcome things.”
Hartley/De Renzo sold the top-priced offering at last year’s Midlantic sale, a $1.5-million son of Curlin. De Renzo is hoping for continued success in Timonium this year.
“Our consignment that we have here is probably the most powerful consignment that we’ve had all year,” he said. “We target this sale because we like the time of year, being that it’s in May it gives the horses a little more time. We buy a lot of May foals because we feel like we can see the immaturity as a yearling and maybe can buy them for a little bit less. So we wind up with a lot of May foals and so, if we can give them at least until they are two, it’s going to be better for the horses.”
The final session of the under-tack preview begins at 8 a.m. Thursday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale will be held next Monday and Tuesday with sessions beginning at 11 a.m.