Ian Wilkes

Old Friends Welcomes Airdrie Stud's MGSW McCraken

Airdrie Stud, a longtime supporter of Old Friends, has sent MGSW McCraken (Ghostzapper) to reside at the Thoroughbred retirement farm as of Monday, Mar. 25, the non-profit said via a press release early Wednesday morning. The 10-year-old stallion was donated to the farm courtesy of Airdrie, who has made three prior contributions to the Old Friends roster. "It is already evident to me that this well-mannered multiple stakes winner is going to be a real hit with our many visitors to Old Friends," said John Nicholson, President and CEO of...

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'TDN Rising Star' Into Champagne Pops Cork On First Stakes Win In Glitter Woman

Into Champagne (Into Mischief) debuted a 6 3/4-length winner last summer and achieved 'TDN Rising Star' status for her efforts when the Churchill Downs meet was forced to shift to Ellis Park. Returning to the worktab in early November after nearly a five-month break, the filly was well-backed as the 3-5 choice. Tracking Let Them Watch (Maximus Mischief) from the second flight along the rail, the 3-year-old bided her time under a firm hold into the far turn. With a half-mile of :45.91, at the quarter pole the bay uncorked...

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Saturday Insights: $1.3m Into Mischief OBS April Grad Makes Santa Anita Debut

9th-SA, $61K, Msw, 2yo, 6f, 8:11 p.m. ET. The rail-drawn URBAN LEGEND (Into Mischief) is one of three Bob Baffert trainees to debut in the Santa Anita finale. Out of MSW Singing Kitty (Ministers Wild Cat), the bay colt went for $300,000 at Keeneland September before bringing $1.3 million at the OBS April Sale. He is campaigned by Morplay Racing LLC, Rosedown Racing Stables, LLC and Kerri Radcliffe. The Hall of Fame conditioner will also saddle Nysos (Nyquist), who was purchased by Baoma Corp. for $550,000 at OBS April, and...

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Countdown to the Real Rider Cup in Lexington

When the Real Rider Cup launched a second leg of its charity show jumping fundraiser last year in Lexington at New Vocations' Mereworth Farm, the event's creator Anita Motion said that her team was not sure what to expect. But the breeding and racing community showed up in force to support the cause and the evening was a smashing success. The place was packed as spectators enjoyed lighthearted competition and helped double the event's previous record by bringing in over $90,000. "We didn't even think that it would go beyond...

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Into Champagne Delivers 'Brut' Force in 'Rising Star'-Worthy Display

Into Champagne (f, 2, Into Mischief--Bedford Land, by Speightstown) sat a trip handy to the pace, pounced when produced and galloped away from her rivals in the late stages to complete a sweep of the afternoon's 2-year-old filly maidens for her unstoppable sire at Ellis Park and earn the 'TDN Rising Star' distinction in the process. Drawn wide for the debut, the $300,000 Keeneland September yearling showed enough speed to sit close to a good early pace and traveled strongly while traveling comfortably for Julien Leparoux. Going ominously well behind...

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With Anticipation Tops Closing Week Kickoff Card

The final week of the Saratoga meet kicks off Wednesday with a 10-race card highlighted by the GIII With Anticipation S. for juvenile turf colts. With the majority of the 10-horse field coming off maiden wins, horseplayers have a variety of ways to go in the betting. Freshman sire City of Light could get his first black-type winner with Battle of Normandy in this event. The $500,000 FTSAUG buy captured his course-and-distance debut Aug. 6 by 2 1/4 lengths after a wide trip. His dam Adorable Miss (Kitten's Joy) was...

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Walkathon Carries the Torch for Impressive Female Lineage

Hall of Fame inductee Bayakoa (Arg) (Consultant's Bid) put Frank and Janis Whitham's racing program on the map when she won the GI Breeders' Cup Distaff in 1989 and again in 1990. Over two decades later, Bayakoa's great-granddaughter Walkathon (Twirling Candy) is carrying out her female family's accomplished legacy. Last weekend, the 3-year-old Whitham homebred trained by Ian Wilkes got her first graded stakes win in the GIII Regret S. Still a maiden after her first four starts, Walkathon switched to the turf this spring and reeled off consecutive scores...

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Churchill to Cut Back On Usage of New Turf Course

Churchill Downs will be curtailing usage of its newly installed $10-million turf course for the remainder of the meet by capping grass races to a maximum of two per day and moving 19 races listed in condition books two and three to the main dirt track. The news arrived Sunday in the form of a note on the overnight for the June 10 races. On Monday, Churchill's senior director of communications, Darren Rogers, explained the reasoning to TDN via email. "We've decided it's best to limit turf racing to two...

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Twirling Candy Filly Walks All Over Regret Rivals

Walkathon got the jump on odds-on McKulick and kept finding in the lane to make the grade and stay unbeaten on gras while becoming jockey Julien Leparoux's 1000th winner at Churchill Downs. Having finished second and fourth in her second and third starts, respectively, sprinting on the main track, Walkathon was runner-up in a rained-onto-Tapeta Gulfstream route Feb. 13. She resurfaced to graduate over the Keeneland turf Apr. 22, and was flattered when the next two finishers came back to earn their own diplomas. The Whitham homebred was coming off...

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Jockey Brian Hernandez Takes on Breeding Game

Brian Hernandez, Jr. rode three races at Churchill Downs Wednesday. He made it to the winner's circle in race nine, but that wasn't the only excitement of the day for the jockey. Earlier that morning, he and his family posed alongside a bay mare named Unbridledexplosion (Eddington) outside of Barn 46 at Keeneland. Hernandez had ridden the mare in all but three of her 18 career starts. Now, he is her new owner. "This is the first mare my wife and I have purchased on our own," Hernandez said. "We...

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Half to McCracken Impresses in Ellis Unveiling

6th-Ellis, $50,220, Msw, 8-29, 3yo/up, 7f, 1:21.96, ft, 8 lengths. MILLIKEN (c, 3, Into Mischief--Ivory Empress {GSP, $189,402}, by Seeking the Gold), a half to 'TDN Rising Stars' McCraken (Ghostzapper), MGSW & GISP, $869,728; and Four Graces (Majesticperfection), MGSW, $261,246, got off to a belated but auspicious start to his own career here at 5-2 odds. Showing good tactical speed to draft behind the top flight while savig ground, the bay was guided through a wide-open rail around the bend and all of a sudden had the lead after a...

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On Aftercare: For Portal, Connections Who Care Came Through

Evergreen Stables was a claiming partnership of individuals, friends, family and connections--not all of whom knew each other--with trainer Jordan Blair. On May 23, 2019, Blair claimed Portal (Arch), a late foal of 2014, at Churchill Downs for $40,000. "Portal was a super cool horse and he was being trained by a good friend Ian Wilkes," said Blair. "We had been watching him and he was running well. Plus, he is a beautiful, striking almost black horse and had a neat personality." Portal won the next two times out in...

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