Into Mischief's Sonic Star Looking For Two Straight at Tokyo

In this continuing series, we take a look ahead at US-bred and/or conceived runners entered for the upcoming weekend at the tracks on the Japan Racing Association circuit, with a focus on pedigree and/or performance in the sales ring. Here are the horses of interest for this weekend running at Tokyo and Kyoto Racecourses: Saturday, May 4, 2024 9th-TOK, ¥34,200,000 ($223k), Allowance, 3yo, 1600m SONIC STAR (c, 3, Into Mischief--Carolina Bertie, by Speightstown), a debut winner over nine furlongs last September, was only 11th in the Cattleya S. (allowance) over...

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TDN Sophomore Top 20: Pace Scenario For Derby Coming Into Clearer Focus

The rankings below are independent from the "Road to the GI Kentucky Derby" leaderboard that Churchill Downs uses to determine starting berths. In addition, several horses listed here could be aiming for other Triple Crown races. 1) MUTH (c, Good Magic--Hoppa, by Uncle Mo) 'TDN Rising Star'. O-Zedan Racing Stables Inc; B-Don Alberto Corporation (KY); T-Bob Baffert. Sales history: $190,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP; $2,000,000 2yo '23 OBSMAR. Lifetime Record: MGISW, 6-4-2-0, $1,504,100. Last start: WON Mar. 30 GI Arkansas Derby. Right now there's a court showdown in Kentucky initiated by...

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Breeding Digest: High Stakes Paying Off With Sierra Leone

Among the winners at the last Breeders' Cup, what was it that separated White Abarrio (Race Day), Goodnight Olive (Ghostzapper) and Nobals (Noble Mission {GB}) from the rest? Answer: they were the only ones that had changed hands at an American yearling auction, respectively for $7,500, $170,000 and $3,500. Even that lavish investor in the yearling market, Mike Repole, won the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile with a homebred. Except for a couple of European turf juveniles, the rest of the show was a parade of champions raised by "end users":...

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Ghostzapper's Stronghold Invades Sunland Derby And Takes Home 20 Derby Points

Eric and Sharon Waller's homebred Stronghold (Ghostzapper) shipped from trainer Phil D'Amato's Southern California base to Sunland Park in New Mexico and will return home with 20 additional qualifying points to the GI Kentucky Derby after his two-length victory in the GIII Sunland Park Derby Sunday. Second behind Nysos (Nyquist) in the Nov. 19 GIII Bob Hope S., Stronghold earned five Derby points when he was last seen finishing second in his two-turn debut in the Dec. 16 GII Los Alamitos Futurity. Sent off the 6-5 favorite in his sophomore...

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Jan. 21 Insights: From Florida to California, Big Pedigrees Galore

2nd-GP, $89k, Msw, 3yo, f, 1 1/16mT, 12:39p.m. ET RABDAH (Constitution), a half-sister to GSW-Eng Toro Strike (Toronado {Ire}), debuts here for Todd Pletcher and Al Shaqab Racing. Hailing from the immediate female line of Scarlet Tango (French Deputy), who tallies GISW Tara's Tango (Unbridled's Song), herself dam of GSW Capensis (Tapit); GISW Visionaire (Grand Slam); and the dam of SP Ignitis (Nyquist), among others, Rabdah has been given an 8-1 morning line appraisal with jose Ortiz in the irons. To her outside is Segesta (Ghostzapper), a homebred for Juddmonte,...

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Sunday's Racing Insights: Leslie's Humor Debuts At Gulfstream Park

4th-GP, $89K, Msw, 3yo, f, 6f, 1:38 p.m. ET. Bred by Stonehaven Steadings & Leah O'Meara, LESLIE'S HUMOR (Kantharos) makes the races for LSU Stables. Initially sold for $125,000 at the Keeneland September Sale, the chestnut RNA'd for $110,000 at OBS April before going for $500,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale in June. The second to race for La Titina (Distorted Humor), the 3-year-old filly's younger half-brother by Not This Time was purchased for $310,000 last September at Keeneland by Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds. Granddam and MGISW Ask the Moon (Malibu...

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Saratoga Special Winner Rhyme Schemes Aiming for Late Spring/Early Summer Return

Rhyme Schemes (c, 3, Ghostzapper--Katherine, by Distorted Humor), sidelined since posting a jaw-dropping, 9 1/2-length victory for trainer Norm Casse in last summer's GII Saratoga Special S. Aug. 12, is being aimed at a late spring/early summer return to the races. The Pura Vida Investments LLC colorbearer is currently laid up with Gabriel "Spider" Duignan at Springhouse Farm in Kentucky and could resume light training in March. "He's doing great," Pura Vida's managing partner Deuce Greathouse said. "He wasn't going to make the Derby preps, so we decided to give...

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Value Sires For 2024 Part 7: The Big Guns

Today we conclude our survey of Kentucky stallion options with a look at the apex of the pyramid, comprising a couple of dozen standing between $60,000 and $250,000--besides whatever it might take to secure your mare an audience with Justify. It feels presumptuous enough to offer counsel even on cheaper sires, when each mating should boil down to you finding an optimal fit for an individual mare that you know inside out. Still greater hesitation, then, must precede any attempt to discover "value" among this lot. No stallion has any...

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A Classic Season for Castellano

ARCADIA, CA - As Javier Castellano gets ready to ride three mounts on Breeders' Cup Saturday, the recently turned 46-year-old is amidst one of the best years of his career. And it almost never happened. A pair of Breeders' Cup wins at the 2019 Championships put an exclamation point on the Hall of Famer's eighth straight season with more than $20 million in earnings. But, the year 2020, like it was for so many, was more about overcoming adversity for the native of Venezuela. Castellano was the first jockey to...

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Raise Cain Perfectly Timed at Wire in Keeneland's Perryville

Snapping a six-race slide and returning to the winner's enclosure for the first-time since his GII Gotham S. win in the spring, Raise Cain (c, 3, Violence--Lemon Belle, by Lemon Drop Kid) nipped Dr. Venkman (Ghostzapper) in the shadow of the wire to score in the Perryville S. The aforementioned GI Kentucky Derby prep race has been his only victory in 2023, and in pairing with a nose runner-up effort in the GIII Indiana Derby July 8 to familiar foe GSW & MGISP Verifying (Justify), has been the only time...

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Quality Road Colt 'Airs' at Second Asking to 'Rising Star' Honors

Gold Square's Air of Defiance (c, 2, Quality Road--Faypien, by Ghostzapper) ran to the money with a 'TDN Rising Star' performance for trainer Brad Cox at second asking at Keeneland Wednesday. Drawn wide in post 10, the 3-5 favorite was away in good order and forced the issue while three deep through an opening quarter in :22.62. Racing out in the five path, he hit front approaching the top of the stretch and took off impressively from there to score by six widening lengths over Nyquist Frequency (Nyquist). Air of...

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Catching Up with 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic Winner Ghostzapper

Horses aren't supposed to be able to do what Ghostzapper did. The Hall of Famer was so dazzling that the 128 Beyer Speed Figure he registered in the GIII Philip H. Iselin H.--still the highest figure in the history of American racing at a route--isn't even remembered as one of his top races. Some people might count his GI Vosburgh sprinting at three against older horses as one of his best, others might prefer his GI Woodward battle over eventual Horse of the Year Saint Liam, and still others might...

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