Bucchero's Book'em Danno On Right Side of Photo In Woody Stephens

Book'em Danno | Sarah Andrew


Following a 12 3/4-length victory by New Jersey-bred Book'em Danno (Bucchero) in the seven-furlong Pasco S. at Tampa on seasonal debut back in January, trainer Derek Ryan got social media all fired up by almost blasphemously suggesting that a trip down the Triple Crown trail–one he'd traversed before with Musket Man (Yonaguska)–was not necessarily an appropriate course to chart for his trainee.

“I have no Derby dreams,” Ryan told TDN's Bill Finley at the time. “I think the Derby is overrated, but that's just me. We were never really considering the Derby trail. You put the horse under alot of pressure.”

“Kind of bummed that the best Jersey-bred 3yo in years won't point towards the first Saturday in May,” lamented another apparently frustrated observer.

Instead, Ryan was using the Pasco as something of a trial for the G3 Saudi Derby, contested over a more suitable one-turn mile for a cool million and a half dollars.

“This is a great position to be in,” said New Jerseyan Jay Briscione, part of the Atlantic Six Racing ownership group. “There are rewards and risks. The reward in Saudi is the money. The only issue is that once you come back, you'll probably need about three months before you're ready to race.”

In Riyadh, Book'em Danno would face a colt from Japan by the name of Forever Young (Jpn) (Real Steel {Jpn}), theretofore perfect in three starts at home and using the Saudi race as a part of a two-race prep for a possible appearance at the Kentucky Derby. The clearest betting alternative to that Yoshito Yahagi trainee on that Saturday evening, Book'em Danno was sent for home fairly early by Irad Ortiz, Jr. and he opened up, as very little went right for Forever Young. But the raider from the Land of the Rising Sun finally got untracked, albeit on the wrong lead, and managed to drop his nose on the wire.

Forever Young would be heard from again, in Dubai in victorious fashion in the G2 UAE Derby at the end of March and at Churchill, when controversially third in the Run for the Roses.

The GII Pat Day Mile was mooted as a possible comeback spot for Book'em Danno, but when it became clear he wouldn't be ready in time for that Derby undercard event, the next logical option was the GI Woody Stephens S. The gelding returned to the worktab at Tampa at the end of April and had a pair of breezes at Ryan's summer base at Monmouth Park, including a swift five-eighths from the gate in :58 1/5 May 30. And it was game on at Saratoga.

A well-backed and arguably overbet 5-2 given his most recent formline, Book'em Danno fell into a perfect trip from the inside gate and settled in midfield, but he was well and truly outrun, as GIII Chick Lang S. winner Frost Free (Frosted) and Barksdale (Street Sense) matched motors–and burned each other's out–through an opening quarter-mile in :21.37.

Slipped a bit of rein after the pacesetters continued to engage in suicidal tactics through a half in a merciless :43.08, Book'em Danno made stealthy inside progress, was pulled out three wide nearing the stretch and had the first crack at the spent pace-duelers. Firmly in front with a furlong and a half to go, he kept on well as 'TDN Rising Star' Prince of Monaco (Speightstown), a Grade I winner at two and having his first run since a fifth in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile, gained menacingly after being pinballed around and pinched back at the break. Ortiz, Jr. kept after Book'em Danno right-handed and was on the winning end of the photo this time around. Prince of Monaco was a gallant second and lost nothing in defeat, while Nutella Fella (Runhappy), making his first start since winning last year's GI Hopeful S. over the course and distance, spiced up the triple at 20-1.

“They were going fast,” commented the winning jockey, taking the race for the first time since 2015. “The horse relaxed. When I started moving, he started finding really well on the turn. He started responding really, really good on the turn, so that helped a lot. Turning for home, I was still in a hold, then I asked him, and he gave me a good kick at the end. That was great. He is a nice horse.”

Ryan, unsaddling the first Grade I winner of his career, indicated that all roads likely lead back to Saratoga for the GI Allen Jerkens S. over the same course and trip in August.

Of the runner-up, assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes said: “[Jockey] Flavien [Prat] said the horse to the inside of us [No. 6, Reasoned Analysis] stumbled and kind of knocked him out of it. He galloped out very strong. We just needed a place to start racing again with him. This was our return race. We will find something else for him down the road.”

Pedigree Notes:

The most prolific of his sire's 74 individual winners, Book'em Danno is the first graded winner of any variety for Bucchero, who covered his first book of mares at nearby McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds this season after proving popular with the Florida breeding community at Pleasant Acres Stallions near Ocala.

Breeder Greg Kilka purchased the unraced Adorabella for $14,000 in foal to Fast Anna at the 2020 Keeneland January Sale, and that foal, Girl Trouble, did her part in improving the page with a pair of juvenile stakes scores in 2022. When factoring in Book'em Danno's emergence late last year, the family became even more valuable, as the now-juvenile colt by Classic Empire topped the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic October sale on LC Racing's bid of $135,000 and that same operation added Adorabella to the fold when paying $550,000 for the mare in foal to Medaglia d'Oro after she was supplemented to the Fasig-Tipton November Sale. Adorabella subsequently aborted the foal.

The stakes-placed second dam produced snythetic stakes winner Alydiva (Quality Road) and she is a daughter of Esprit d'Escalier, the dam of GSW & MGISP Gastronomical (Sunshine Forever). Alydorable was purchased by Thomas & Mitchell Bloodstock for $5,000 in foal to Sir Winston at last year's Keeneland November Sale.


Saturday, Saratoga
WOODY STEPHENS S. PRESENTED BY MOHEGAN SUN-GI, $500,000, Saratoga, 6-8, 3yo, 7f, 1:21.30, ft.
1–BOOK'EM DANNO, 122, g, 3, by Bucchero
                1st Dam: Adorabella, by Ghostzapper
                2nd Dam: Alydorable, by Arch
                3rd Dam: Esprit d'Escalier, by Diesis (GB)
Racing, LLC; B-Gregory J Kilka & Bright View Farm (NJ); T-Derek
Ryan; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr. $275,000. Lifetime Record: GSP-Sau,
7-5-2-0, $835,625. *1/2 to Girl Trouble (Fast Anna), MSW,
$288,540. Werk Nick Rating: A++.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Prince of Monaco, 124, c, 3, Speightstown–Rainier, by
Medaglia d'Oro. ($950,000 Ylg '22 FTSAUG). 'TDN Rising Star'.
O-SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC,
Stonestreet Stables LLC, Dianne Bashor, Robert E. Masterson,
Waves Edge Capital LLC, Catherine Donovan and Tom J. Ryan;
B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Bob Baffert.
3–Nutella Fella, 124, c, 3, Runhappy–Krissy's Candy, by Candy
Ride (Arg). ($12,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP). O-Bell Gable Stable LLC;
B-Ashview Farm (KY); T-Gary C. Contessa. $60,000.
Margins: HF, 1 1/4, 6 3/4. Odds: 2.85, 1.60, 20.20.
Also Ran: Reasoned Analysis, Valentine Candy, Be You, Imagination, Maximus Meridius, Nash, Barksdale, Frost Free. Scratched: Vlahos.
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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