Empire Maker

Sunday's Racing Insights: Avengers Unveil Pricey Pair

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency  6th-LRC, $45K, Msw, 2yo, 5f, post time: 6:28 p.m. ET The stallion-making syndicate nicknamed "The Avengers" will be represented by a pricey pair of yearling buys here conditioned by Bob Baffert. Favored at 6-5 on the morning line is Messier (Empire Maker), who was the most expensive buy by his late sire last year when he brought $470,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Select Yearlings Showcase. The bay is out of two-turn stakes winner Checkered Past (Smart Strike) from a Sam-Son family that includes Canadian champions Catch...

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Classier Returns in Affirmed

Classier (Empire Maker) kicks off his sophomore season versus four rivals in Sunday's GIII Affirmed S. at Santa Anita. The $775,000 KEESEP graduate got the 'TDN Rising Star' nod on debut sprinting at Santa Anita Oct. 24, then returned on quick notice with an eighth-place finish after showing speed in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile last time Nov. 6. Working bullets for his return, Bob Baffert takes the blinkers off for this. The Chosen Vron (Vronsky) tackles two turns for the first time here. The Cal-bred was impressive in his...

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Record-Setting June Sale Concludes

OCALA, FL - The three-day Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's June Sale of 2-Year-Olds more than bounced back from its 2020 pandemic-induced lull, ending Friday with its highest-ever gross and average and with a record-tying median. In all, 560 juveniles grossed $24,492,950 for an average of $43,737--besting the previous record figures of $23,475,500 and $39,722, respectively, set in 2015. The cumulative median was $20,000. With 125 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was 18.2%. "The June sale is all grown up now," said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski. "I...

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Speightstown Firster Overcomes Wide Trip at Churchill

6th-Churchill Downs, $100,000, Msw, 5-23, 3yo/up, f/m, 5 1/2fT, 1:04.51, fm, neck. TOWN AVENGER (f, 3, Speightstown--Unavenged, by Empire Maker) was crunched into 7-2 at post time from a morning line of 12-1 and was up in the shadow of the post for a good-looking victory at first asking. Settled behind midfield, but trapped out wide after departing the 10 hole, the $380,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase looped rivals four deep on the turn and carried a full head of steam into the lane despite the significant ground loss. The...

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Buzzed-About Bezos Shows Up at Second Asking

6th-Santa Anita, $61,500, Msw, 3-26, 3yo, 1m, 1:37.64, ft, 4 1/2 lengths. BEZOS (c, 3, Empire Maker--A P Mink, by A.P. Indy) failed to live up to the immense hype when seventh at 3-5 behind 'TDN Rising Star' Dream Shake (Twirling Candy) sprinting here Feb. 7, but he made good on the buzz this time while getting more ground to work with. Shedding the blinkers this time, the handsome bay was off at 7-5 in the field of five. Away well from the rail, Bezos took the lead into the...

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Friday's Insights: Centennial Debuts Empire Maker Colt

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency 5th-Aqueduct, $80K, Msw, 3yo, 6f, post time: 3:25 p.m. ET ROYAL REALM (Empire Maker) gets his career underway for Centennial Farms and trainer Jimmy Jerkens. A $250,000 Keeneland September acquisiton, the Triple Crown-nominated dark bay is out of an unraced daughter of Golden Sheba (Coronado's Quest), the dam of Godolphin's two-time GISW Wedding Toast (Street Sense), whose son Ya Hayati (Dubawi {Ire}) won the Listed Zabeel Turf at Meydan last month. The colt's third dam includes the recently deceased MGISW Congaree (Arazi) and SW/GISP Sangaree...

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Empire Maker Filly Runs Away With UAE Oaks

Mnasek (Empire Maker), a $15,000 purchase by Al Rashid Stables at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale last June, continued to write her fairytale story at Meydan on Thursday, posting her second win from three starts and first stakes win with a facile score in the G3 UAE Oaks. A longshot 6 3/4-length winner on debut going seven furlongs at Meydan on Dec. 17, Mnasek had to settle for second, seven lengths behind Saturday's Saudi Derby contender Soft Whisper (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), after missing the break in the Listed UAE 1000 Guineas...

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Empire Maker Colt Runs to Rising Stardom at Santa Anita

Roman Centurian (Empire Maker), the fourth-priciest yearling by his late sire in 2019, became the first 'TDN Rising Star' of 2021 with a facile victory at Santa Anita. He had debuted Nov. 22 going 6 1/2 panels at Del Mar and just missed third behind 'TDN Rising Star' and Saturday's GIII Sham S. winner Life Is Good (Into Mischief). Second in that same race was Wipe the Slate (Nyquist), who came with a Dec. 26 win at Santa Anita for an 88 Beyer. Regrouping with some added distance here, Roman...

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Empire Maker Colt Rallies Smartly to Grassy Debut Score at the Big A

4th-Aqueduct, $80,000, Msw, 11-28, 2yo, 1 1/16mT, 1:45.62, gd, 1 3/4 lengths. SPIRIT MAKER (c, 2, Empire Maker--California Spirit, by Tale of the Cat), a $330,000 OBS April buy after breezing an eighth in :10 1/5, was given a 6-1 chance to graduate at first asking. Eighth through a half mile in :48.20, he began to wind up on the far turn, angled out five wide into the stretch and came charging down the center of the course to graduate by 1 3/4 good-looking lengths over Girl Dad (Malibu Moon)....

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Fasig-Tipton October Sale Concludes

LEXINGTON, KY - The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October Yearlings Sale--and the yearling sales season--concluded Thursday in Lexington with the market continuing to show resilience despite a plethora of worldwide uncertainties. Through four sessions, 961 yearlings grossed $32,743,700. The average of $34,073 was down 10.2% from last year's sale-record mark of $37,955. The median of $15,000 rose 15.4% from the 2019 figure of $13,000. With 265 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was 21.6%. It was 24.5% a year ago. "All in all, I think it has to be considered a...

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Classy Empire Maker Colt Becomes Latest Rising Star for Avengers and Baffert

Classier (Empire Maker) became the latest flashy colt unveiled by Bob Baffert and the stallion-making conglomerate nicknamed The Avengers as he streaked home an impressive winner at Santa Anita Saturday worthy of a 'TDN Rising Star' nod. Having tuned up for this with a head-turning six-furlong work from the gate on Monday (6f, 1:12.40, 1/3, XBTV Video), the bay was let go at generous 7-2 odds as two foes with experience took more attention. Off a bit sluggishly from his rail draw, Classier quickly recovered to take command and zip...

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Empire Maker Filly Comes Out Running for Shug
Empire Maker Filly Comes Out Running for Shug

2nd-Belmont, $80,000, Msw, 10-18, 2yo, f, 6f, 1:10.84, ft, 3 1/2 lengths. CAFE SOCIETY (f, 2, Empire Maker--Full Tap, by Tapit), let go at 10-1 from a 7-2 morning line for a barn that doesn't win with many firsters and doesn't train many 2-year-old sale grads, proved best of a promising-looking group Sunday at Big Sandy. Away alertly to press favored second timer Exact (Competitive Edge) through a :22.67 opening quarter, the bay challenged for the lead through a :46.08 half. She put away that foe by midstretch, and ran...

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