John Shirreffs

Second Chances: Curlin Colt Flashes Potential in Live Maiden at Del Mar

In this continuing series, TDN's Senior Editor Steve Sherack catches up with the connections of promising maidens to keep on your radar. A week before unveiling Justique (Justify) to a jaw-dropping 'TDN Rising Star' performance at Del Mar--more on her in a bit--Lee Searing's C R K Stable and John Shirreffs debuted another 2-year-old with plenty of upside at the seaside track. Skinner (c, 2, Curlin--Winding Way, by Malibu Moon), a $40,000 Keeneland September yearling turned $510,000 OBS April breezer (:10 1/5), came rolling home to finish an encouraging fifth...

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Justique Is Lead In Last Sunday's Triplet of Rising Star Fillies

In the same way which astronomical stars largely form in groups, so too did the 'TDN Rising Stars' this past Sunday. Not one, not two, but three leading ladies emerged from the nebulae of Del Mar and Saratoga, each with her own brand of brilliance. Chief among the splendor, and the last to show her shine, was Justique (Justify), whose brilliant turn of foot and effortless dismissal of rivals summoned forth comparisons to another glorious 'Rising Star' in her hayday--a John Shirreffs masterpiece, Hall of Famer Zenyatta (Street Cry {Ire})....

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Pricey Filly 'Justifies' Rising Stardom

Despite her $725,000 Keeneland September price tag, C R K Stable's Justique (Justify--Grazie Mille, by Bernardini) snuck a bit under the radar Sunday evening as Bob Baffert-trained Home Cooking (Honor Code) took virtually every dollar of tote support in a salty looking Del Mar maiden special weight. But there was no missing Justique in the stretch, as she inhaled her competition super impressively to become her freshman sire (by Scat Daddy)'s sixth individual winner and second 'TDN Rising Star'. Bidding to become the first debut winner for trainer John Shirreffs...

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Where Are They Now: Zenyatta's Sons, Cozmic One and Ziconic

In this new TDN column, Christie DeBernardis will tell the stories of popular and/or accomplished former racehorses who are now enjoying second careers as show horses, track ponies, etc. The first two foals out of the mighty Zenyatta, Cozmic One (Bernardini) and Ziconic (Tapit), never reached the winner's circle during their brief careers on the racetrack, but they are both thriving in their second careers as jumpers and ambassadors for off-track Thoroughbreds. The elder brother, Cozmic One's second career has been well documented in these pages (Cozmic One: Shining New...

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June 19 Insights: Pricey Uncle Mo Colt Debuts in Arcadia

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency PRICEY UNCLE MO DEBUTS IN ARCADIA 9th-SA, $67K, Msw, 3yo/up, 6 1/2f, 8:12 p.m. John Shirreffs unveils C R K Stable's $950,000 KEESEP acquisition CLUTCH HITTER (Uncle Mo) in this event. His unraced dam Bella Rafaela (Smart Strike) is a half-sister to GISW Twirling Candy (Candy Ride {Arg}) and GSWs Dubai Sky (Candy Ride {Arg}) and Ethnic Dance (Tribal Rule). TJCIS PPs

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Could Zilkha Be the One? Zenyatta's Youngest Daughter Shows Promise at Shirreffs Barn

   The youngest progeny from Hall of Fame superstar Zenyatta recently arrived at John Shirreffs's barn at Santa Anita. The 2-year-old chestnut filly by Candy Ride (Arg) named Zilkha is already well on her way to making her debut this year. Zilkha's big personality became abundantly clear during my interview with Shirreffs. The juvenile was front and center, peering over Shirreffs's shoulder as she was hamming for the camera, and at one point put her nose right in it. Perhaps she is more like Zenyatta than we know? When I...

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Express Train On Top After Big 'Cap Battle

After four Grade I placings in addition to four graded wins, C R K Stable's Express Train (Union Rags) finally got a Grade I to call his own when he captured the Santa Anita H. presented by Yaamava' Resort & Casino in dramatic fashion Saturday. He was also rectifying another overdue omission in giving trainer John Shirreffs, who was nominated to the Hall of Fame this week, his first Big 'Cap win. The victory didn't come easily though, as Express Train had to battle the length of the stretch with...

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This Side Up: An Oath to Share the Secret of Eternal Youth

It stands to reason, I guess, that the fountain of youth--the quest for which supposedly brought the first conquistadores to the shores of Florida--should instead turn out to be in Hot Springs. Certainly it seems as though there must indeed be something in those celebrated Arkansas waters, judging from the eternal vigor of an 86-year-old trainer based at Oaklawn this winter. For a moment last Saturday, D. Wayne Lukas was going to sweep both Classic trials, Ethereal Road (Quality Road) just losing focus in the final strides of the GII...

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Express Train Seeks Elusive Grade I in Big 'Cap

Placed no fewer than four times at the top level, C R K Stable LLC's Express Train (Union Rags) looks to get over the hump in Saturday's GI Santa Anita H., the last of six graded events on a blockbuster program at the Great Race Place. Runner-up to Charlatan (Speightstown) in the 2020 GI Malibu S., the $500,000 Keeneland September acquisition filled the same spot behind Idol (Curlin) in this event 12 months ago. Third to recent G1 Saudi Cup second Country Grammer (Tonalist) in the GI Hollywood Gold Cup...

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'Meaux' Brilliance at Del Mar

Twenty-four hours after producing Say the Word (More Than Ready) from last to scoop the GII Hollywood Turf Cup, jockey Kent Desormeaux rode a perfect race from the front to upset Saturday's GI Hollywood Derby with the appropriately named Beyond Brilliant (Twirling Candy) for Lee Searing's C R K Stable and trainer John Shirreffs. Midwest shipper Santin (Distorted Humor) was given a peach of a ride from the 14 hole by Umberto Rispoli and was getting to the winner late, while Cathkin Peak (Ire) (Alhebayeb {Ire}) checked in third. Desormeaux...

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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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