John Shirreffs

Hard Not to Love To Gainesway/Whisper Hill

Hard Not to Love (Hard Spun--Loving Vindication, by Vindication), victorious in the 2019 GI La Brea S. at Santa Anita, was the latest mare to shine at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale Tuesday, selling to a partnership consisting of Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway for $3.2 million. The Ontario-bred, cataloged as hip 184, was consigned to the sale by Lane's End and is a half-sister to Canadian Horse of the Year Wonder Gadot (Medaglia d'Oro) and SW & GSP Solemn Tribute (Medaglia d'Oro). Her second dam is GSW/GISP Chimichurri...

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Solid Field of Eight Set for Oaklawn Handicap

A deep field of eight--headed by 5-2 morning-line favorite and Southern Californian invader Express Train (Union Rags)--will line up for Saturday's $1-million GII Oaklawn H. The well-built bay, second in last term's GI Runhappy Malibu S., followed a breakthrough victory with a career-best 103 Beyer Speed Figure in the GII San Pasqual S. Jan. 30 with a second-place finish after leading in the stretch in the GI Santa Anita H. Mar. 6. John Shirreffs trains the C R K Stables colorbearer. The rail-drawn Silver State (Hard Spun), second and third...

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The California Series: John Shirreffs, Part Two

Great expectations don't necessarily begin with lofty intent. Most new licensees start out hungry for that one lionheart of any stripe to announce their arrival. Those trainers who are routinely sent the big weekend warriors learn to acquire a more refined palate, to remodulate their ambitions accordingly. But scant few are fortunate enough to have harnessed the sort of thunderbolt that doesn't just electrify a trainer's career but leaves a patch of scorched earth for posterity. And really, how many ever expect to? In part one, we deconstructed some of...

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The California Series: John Shirreffs

In a new TDN series, we curry lessons and wise counsel from veteran Californian figures who, like gold nuggets panned from the Tuolomne River in the High Sierras, have unearthed career riches on arguably the toughest circuit in the States. We begin this series with John Shirreffs. Born at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Shirreffs was raised around horses on his family farm, and was deployed to Vietnam with the Marine Corps before embarking on a career in racing, using a 10-year stint at the Loma Rica Horse Ranch in Northern California...

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This Side Up: John Keeps Bob Honest In Sham

We all trust that life must be better in 2021. But the immediate question is whether it will be 'Good' or maybe 'Sweet'? Right now, I'd settle for either. But it certainly looks an auspicious coincidence that the first race to sharpen focus on the Triple Crown trail--the opening leg of an adventure that reliably sustains us year in, year out--should include, among just five runners, one colt named Life Is Good and another out of Life Is Sweet (Storm Cat). Their respective trainers, Bob Baffert and John Shirreffs, dominate...

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Tamarkuz Colt Dominates Bob Hope to Become Sire's First Stakes Winner

Tina and Jerry Moss's Red Flag became the stakes winner for his freshman sire, 2016 GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile victor Tamarkuz (Speighstown), with a romping 7 1/4-length score in the GIII Bob Hope S. at Del Mar Sunday. Sent off at 10-1, the chestnut colt was widest of four scrambling on the front end early, with Weston (Hit it a Bomb) down along the rail and favored Spielberg (Union Rags) and Coastal Kid (Coast Guard) all to his inside. Weston took a slim advantage after a quarter in :22.37,...

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Honor A. P. Retired, Ships To Lane's End Tuesday

The GI Santa Anita Derby winner, Honor A. P. (Honor Code--Hollywood Story, by Wild Rush) has been retired following a fourth-place finish in the GI Kentucky Derby during which he suffered an injury, according to trainer John Shirreffs. He is scheduled to arrive at Lane's End Farm Tuesday afternoon to take up stud duties. The 3-year-old colt retires as the top earner of his leading second-crop sire Honor Code. In his most recent start, Honor A. P. dealt with an unlucky trip to finish a closing fourth in the Kentucky...

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Honor A. P. Sharp in Del Mar Drill

C R K Stable's GI Kentucky Derby contender Honor A. P. (Honor Code) worked five furlongs prior to the first race at Del Mar Saturday, covering the distance in :59.40 (4/96) with jockey Mike Smith in the irons. The dark bay sophomore clipped off fractions of  :23.80, :36.00 and :47.40 on a fast Del Mar track with trainer John Shirreffs watching the move from the frontside. Del Mar clocker Toby Turrell, who timed the move, caught Honor A.P. going six furlongs in 1:11.40, seven-eighths in 1:23.80 and a mile in...

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Honor A. P. To Lane's End Upon Retirement

Honor A. P. (Honor Code--Hollywood Story, by Wild Rush) will be retired to Lane's End Farm upon the conclusion of his racing career, the farm announced Friday. The 3-year-old is from the first crop by his sire, who also stands at Lane's End, and is his highest earner. Honor A. P. has finished first or second in each of his four starts, winning the GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby in his last outing June 6, and establishing himself as a favorite for the Sept. 5 GI Kentucky Derby. "He's a...

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Honor A.P. Cracks the Genetic Code

If someone new to our business asked you to pick a single race in 2015 that might explain the passion that consumes us, you probably wouldn't pick the processional exhibitions of a first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. You'd show them the GI Whitney S. In a summer when hardly anyone will be able to renew the Saratoga pilgrimage, you may find the jolt of nostalgia too poignant to revisit the video yourself. But gosh, that was a horserace. Liam's Map (Unbridled's Song), flying just that fraction too close...

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John Shirreffs Talks Honor A. P., Zenyatta On TDN Writers' Room

It's not every year that John Shirreffs, a patient trainer with a small stable of mostly older horses, has a GI Kentucky Derby contender. In fact, the last time most remember him being in the spotlight was with a certain mare named Zenyatta (Street Cry {Ire}), four-time champion and arguably the most popular horse of the 21st century. But with newly-minted Grade I winner Honor A. P. (Honor Code) looking like a leading challenger for the Run for the Roses, Shirreffs joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland Wednesday...

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TDN Writers' Room with John Shirreffs

Trainer John Shirreffs joins this week's TDN Writers' Room to discuss his recent GI Santa Anita Derby winner and Triple Crown hopeful Honor A.P., as well as a special three-year-old filly named Zellda, the daughter of champion and Hall of Famer Zenyatta.

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