John Shirreffs

Breeding Digest: Some Very Smart Shopping Indeed

The freakish vitality and durability of his trainer stands in poignant contrast to the posthumous legacies entwined by the success of Seize the Grey in the GI Preakness S. Most obviously, as colleague Jill Williams highlights in her Saturday Sires series, the industry has been given fresh cause to lament the premature loss of Arrogate. For the family and friends of Seize the Grey's breeder, however, Saturday was a more intensely personal cue to honor the memory of Audrey "Tolie" Otto, barely a year after her passing. Otto's stable, Jamm...

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Friday's Racing Insights: Justify Colt Debuts For Gandharvi At Santa Anita

6th-SA, $54K, Msw, 3-5yo, 5 1/2f, 6:30 p.m. ET. PARENTING (Justify) debuts for Gandharvi LLC., who purchased the colt at last year's OBS April Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale for $750,000. The Bob Baffert trainee's dam is a half-sister to Canadian champion turf male El Tormenta (Stormy Atlantic) and GSW Zero Tolerence (Mizzen Mast). The other half of the Baffert uncoupled entry is first time starter Middleburg (Tapit). A $485,000 buy for SF Bloodstock, Starlight and Madaket at the 2022 Keeneland September Sale, the gray is out of MGSW Selcourt (Tiz...

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Prominent Owner-Breeder Marty Wygod Passes Aged 84

After a long lifetime marked by notable wins on the racetrack and in the business world, prominent owner-breeder, entrepreneur and philanthropist Marty Wygod has passed away aged 84. "I have so many good memories of Marty Wygod. I was telling Emily [Bushnell, Wygod's daughter] this morning, one of my favorite things about Marty was he had a great sense of humor," said trainer John Shirreffs, who conditioned some of Wygod's heaviest hitters on the track. Wygod, said Shirreffs, was also something of a prankster. "The first time I met him...

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Imagination Wins San Felipe Thriller, Leads Baffert Exacta

The GII San Felipe S. last its headliner with the scratch of the Bob Baffert-trained Nysos (Nyquist), but Baffert still dominated the race with stablemates Imagination (Into Mischief) and Wine Me Up (Vino Rosso) running in tandem for much of the 1 1/16 miles and in lockstep down the stretch before Imagination just got his nose in front on the wire Sunday at Santa Anita. Of his one-two finish in the San Felipe, Baffert said, "We're trying to develop these horses, so it was good for both of them. Wine...

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Justify, Gun Runner Among 2024 Hall of Fame Finalists

Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy) and 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg})--both in their first year of eligibility--head a list of nine racehorses, six trainers and two jockeys who were named as finalists on this year's Hall of Fame ballot by the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame Nominating Committee Tuesday morning. Also on the ballot are: 2010 champion 3-year-old filly Blind Luck (Pollard's Vision), eight-time Grade I winner Game on Dude (Awesome Again), three-time Eclipse champion Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat), 2011...

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Saturday Insights: Pricey Quality Road Colt Finally Makes The Races At Santa Anita

6th-SA, $65K, Msw, 4-5yo, 7f, 5:59 p.m. ET At $1.15 million as the ninth highest price taken during Keeneland's 2021 September Sale, Mayberry Farm signed the ticket on behalf of Lee and Susan Searing's CRK Stable to acquire THEISMANN (Quality Road). Sent to John Shirreffs, the colt initially began to drill late in his juvenile year, but was given time by the veteran conditioner when he had several minor setbacks as a 3-year-old. Ready to fire as an 8-1 shot on the morning-line, the bay was bred by Dixiana and...

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Catching Up with Breeders' Cup's 2008 Ladies' Classic and 2009 Classic Winner Zenyatta

Thousands upon thousands--likely hundreds of thousands--of words have been written about the legendary Zenyatta, who captured the heart and soul of racing during her time on the racetrack and remains just as beloved today, 13 years after her retirement. Winter Quarter Farm's Don Robinson, who foaled her, was kind enough to share his memories of her formative years with TDN. "Zenyatta was the ultimate," said Robinson. "I can't say enough superlatives about her. I could speak endlessly about her. "The real satisfaction is I delivered her mother, too. I had...

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The Sweet Sisters, One of Only Two Sets of Full-Siblings to Win the Breeders' Cup

Celebrating 40 Years of the Breeders' Cup with Living Legends In the nearly 40-year history of the Breeders' Cup, only two sets of full-siblings have won Breeders' Cup races. It's difficult enough for a mare to produce one Breeders' Cup winner, but two individual Breeders' Cup winners? That's such a rarity only six mares have ever done it. And only two of those six have had lightning strike twice as they've produced two Breeders' Cup winners by the same sire. The first set, Juddmonte homebreds Banks Hill (GB) and Intercontinental...

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Monday Insights: Justify Filly Takes To Turf For First Start At Santa Anita

5th-SA, $61K, Msw, 2yo, f, 6fT, 6:00 p.m. Running on the Monday holiday, Santa Anita cards a maiden grass race which includes JUST FOR FUN (Justify). A $485,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase by Mayberry Farm on behalf of Lee and Susan Searing's CRK Stable, the juvenile sets sail for trainer John Shirreffs. The bay filly is out fo SP Appeal to the Win (Successful Appeal), who is a half-sib to MSW Cool Cowboy (Kodiak Kowboy) and the dams of GII Bourbon S. hero Mutasaabeq (Into Mischief) and GI Whitney H....

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Second Stab At Synthetics In California? The Trainers' View

Under the toughest of spotlights, the industry's collective eyes often turn to the stuff under foot. At least, that's what trainer Mark Casse did in a widely-shared TDN Q&A. "I think we really, seriously, need to look at more synthetic tracks," Casse said, triggering yet another cavalcade of commentary on the conceived benefits and blights of synthetic surfaces. "I believe in them. I believe they've got plenty of data to back that up." Former TDN writer Lucas Marquardt followed it up with an analysis of race-day fatality data through The...

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Saturday's Racing Insights: $1.25M Constitution Colt Set For Juvenile Debut At Del Mar

3rd-DMR, $82K, Msw, 2yo, 6f, 5:30 p.m. As the summer winds down, there is still more than enough time for juvenile first timers to make their debut. At Del Mar, $1.25-million Fasig-Tipton Yearling Sale buy MC VAY (Constitution) is set for his inaugural trip. Out of Dothraki Sea (Union Rags), who counts both GISW Dixie Chatter (Dixie Union) and GSW Rumor (Indian Charlie) as half-siblings, the dark bay colt is trained by John Shirreffs and will be ridden by Mike Smith. Also entered is $250,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale grad...

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Pacific Classic's Potential Field Grows To 10

The list of potential runners for Del Mar's 33rd running of the G1 FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic Sept. 2 has grown to 10, so far. Senor Buscador (Mineshaft) won last month's GII San Diego H., the local prep for the Pacific Classic. Todd Fincher is not afraid to put the 5-year-old homebred owned by Joey Peacock in after he rewarded the New Mexico-based trainer with the second Grade II stakes win of his career. Senor Buscador worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 (6/38) at Del Mar Thursday morning. "It's a Grade...

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