First Captain

First Captain First, Triple Tap Third in Returns

A pair of highly touted sophomores returned to make their 4-year-old debuts with mixed results Sunday. First Captain (Curlin), sent off the 4-5 favorite in a seven-furlong allowance at Gulfstream Sunday, looked to have left himself too much to do before making a furious late rally to win by a head in his first start since finishing third in the Curlin S. last summer. The 'TDN Rising Star' and $1.5-million Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling won last year's GIII Dwyer S. for West Point Thoroughbreds, Siena Farm, Bobby Flay and Woodford Racing...

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First Captain Kicks Off Year with Nail-Biting Win

10th-Gulfstream, $56,000, Alw (C)/Opt. Clm ($75,000), 2-27, 4yo/up, 7f, 1:22.19, ft, head. FIRST CAPTAIN (c, 4, Curlin--America {GSW & MGISP, $580,532}, by A.P. Indy) faced a small but competitive field for his 4-year-old debut, including GSWs Trophy Chaser (Twirling Candy) and Dennis' Moment (Tiznow)--the latter also a 'TDN Rising Star'--as well as black-type winners Real Talk (Gemologist) and Hello Hot Rod (Mosler). A 'TDN Rising Star' himself, First Captain was slowest of all out of the stalls, yet kept in touch with the tightly packed field from the back. Nearly...

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Sunday Insights: Fancy Colts Make 4-Year-Old Debuts on Both Coasts

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency 10th-GP, $63K, Alw/OC, 4yo/up, 7f, 5:14 p.m. ET 'TDN Rising Star' First Captain (Curlin) makes his 4-year-old debut against a relatively accomplished field here. The $1.5-million FTSAUG yearling kicked off his career three-for-three, annexing the one-turn-mile GIII Dwyer S. at Belmont in July. He has been off since finishing third as the favorite in Saratoga's restricted nine-panel Curlin S. later that month, and trainer Shug McGaughey told TDN's Steve Sherack recently that the son of MGSW and MGISP America (A.P. Indy) was given a freshening...

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APBs: McGaughey Troops Gearing Up in South Florida

A pair of highly regarded sophomores of 2021 are on the comeback trail for Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey. Courtlandt Farm's homebred Greatest Honour (Tapit--Tiffany's Honour, by  Street Cry {Ire}) was a serious early contender for the GI Kentucky Derby following flashy wins in Gulfstream's GIII Holy Bull S. and GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. last winter. After finishing a flat third as the 4-5 favorite in the GI Curlin Florida Derby Mar. 27, however, McGaughey decided to hit the reset button on the bay. "I wasn't really pleased...

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Hot Rod Charlie, Medina Spirit Among Early PA Derby Noms

GSW Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) heads the early nominations for the Sept 25 GI Pennsylvania Derby. The nine-furlong marquee race for 3-year-olds highlights a stacked card which features eight stakes races, including five at the graded level. The Pennsylvania Derby was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. "We're still a few works away, but we're real optimistic about Charlie's next stop, the Pennsylvania Derby," said trainer Doug O'Neill. "The race looks to be coming up tough, which one would expect with a million dollars on the line." Winner...

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Lynn Hancock Builds Upon Family Success at Saratoga

   Lynn Hancock breezed through the Fasig-Tipton sales grounds early Tuesday morning last week, heading for Barn 1 wearing a baseball cap and a smile. After a long stretch of days running a successful consignment at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale, Stone Farm's Director of Racing and Sales had enjoyed a night of celebration when her consignment sold the highest-priced yearling of the auction's first session. "I didn't want to get out of bed this morning, but the horses needed fed," she said with a grin, nodding toward the...

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First Captain to Skip Travers

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY--Four-time GI Runhappy Travers S.-winning trainer Shug McGaughey said Thursday that First Captain (Curlin) will not run in Saratoga's signature race Aug. 28. Godoplphin's Essential Quality (Tapit), the winner of seven of eight career starts, including the GI Belmont S., is the headliner for the 152nd running of the $1.25 million Travers. Though the chestnut colt is fine following his third-place finish in the Curlin S. July 30, McGaughey decided to pass on the Travers and point to the GI Pennsylvania Derby Sept. 25. "I just don't think...

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Curlin Looking to Follow Up on Memorable 2019 Saratoga Success

The last time the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale was held, Curlin recorded a memorable trifecta with the auction's top three seven-figure yearlings. Leading the way was the $1.5-million co-topper First Captain, who was tabbed a 'TDN Rising Star' and captured  the GIII Dwyer S. The Hill 'n' Dale stallion will be represented by five yearlings when bidding returns to the Humphrey S. Finney pavilion in upstate New York next week. "Curlin is truly a Classic sire," said Mark Taylor of Taylor Made Sales Agency, which will consign two fillies...

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Dynamic One Upsets the Curlin

Dynamic One earned his black-type badge with an upset of previously undefeated and heavily favored First Captain in the Curlin S. at Saratoga Friday, one of two local preps for the Aug. 28 GI Runhappy Travers S. Trailing the field early as longshot Snow House (Twirling Candy) clocked an opening splits of :23.63 and :47.34 with Beren (Weigelia) pressing from his outside hip and First Captain leading the second flight in fifth. Splitting rivals four wide turning for home with the field fanned out across the track, the chestnut moved...

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Curlin 'Rising Star' Fittingly Favored in Curlin

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY--After capitalizing on an opportunity against a small field in the GIII Dwyer July 5, unbeaten 'TDN Rising Star' First Captain (Curlin) returns to trainer Shug McGaughey's original schedule Friday in the $120,000 Curlin S. at Saratoga Race Course. In his first start away from Belmont Park, the chestnut colt will face six other 3-year-olds in the 1 1/8-mile race that returns after being dropped from last year's COVID-19-scrambled season program. His competition includes GII Wood Memorial runner-up Dynamic One (Union Rags), who is making his first start...

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Two Fresh Forces For The Next Cycle

Every year, like the fireflies, they emerge with the gathering heat of summer. Even as the more established sophomores hobble out of the Triple Crown series--many requiring rest or recuperation, some even menaced by retirement--a second wave reliably reinvigorates the crop. Sure enough, in recent days a couple of new names have volunteered themselves to test the resilience of those Classic protagonists who do persevere to Saratoga and beyond. But while both share a fresh, progressive profile, in other respects they could scarcely be more different. 'TDN Rising Star' First...

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West Point CEO Terry Finley Talks First Captain, Owners' Responsibilities On Writers' Room

Represented by undefeated 'TDN Rising Star' First Captain (Curlin) this past weekend when the chestnut captured the GIII Dwyer S. at Belmont, West Point Thoroughbreds' CEO Terry Finley joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland Wednesday morning. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Finley talked about the next steps for West Point's prized 3-year-old, the growing purchasing power of partnerships across racing, owners' responsibility in cleaning up the sport and more. "He's probably going to have to take another step forward, but at...

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