Phil D'Amato

Breeding Digest: Stronghold Rewards Wallers' Perserverance

The GI Kentucky Derby picture may seem polarized by two more charismatic talents, but any neutral who ekes a living from bloodstock now has an alternative rooting interest. For among the colts entering those 20 coveted gates, the first Saturday in May, there will be no better symbol than Stronghold (Ghostzapper) of what it takes to last the course in the appallingly expensive, demoralizing, perplexing, maddening and addictive vocation of Thoroughbred breeding. The GI Santa Anita Derby winner carries the silks of Eric and Sharon Waller, who bred his third...

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Newgrange To Pass Dubai World Cup

Newgrange (Violence), a head-scratching sixth behind Newgate (Into Mischief) in the GI Santa Anita H. Mar. 3, will bypass the Mar. 30 G1 Dubai World Cup, trainer Phil D'Amato said via text message Wednesday. The decision was finalized after the 5-year-old worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 (13/27) Wednesday morning at Santa Anita. "Newgrange is not going to Dubai," D'Amato texted. "We will regroup and race him stateside down the road." Winner of the GIII Sham S. and GIII Southwest S. for the SF Racing/Starlight/Madaket et. al. partnership while under the...

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Locked, Dornoch Clash In Fountain of Youth

Between them, Irad and Jose Ortiz have accounted for four of the last six runnings of the GII Coolmore Fountain of Youth S., the third of three preps on the road to the championship meeting's main event, the GI Curlin Florida Derby four weeks down the road. The brothers will have every chance to extend that dominance as they partner with two of the top fancies in Saturday's $400,000 contest, offering the winner 50 points and a virtual guaranteed berth in the field for the GI Kentucky Derby. Jose Ortiz...

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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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Risen Star Kicks Off Derby Championship Series

The Road to the Kentucky Derby heats up further still on Saturday, as the $400,000 GII Risen Star S. is the first of six prep races that will offer the winner 50 points, virtually locking up a berth in the field for the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs on May 4. Track Phantom (Quality Road) will look to continue his domination among the local 3-year-olds as he looks to remain unbeaten around two turns in trying to add to his victories in the Dec. 23 Gun Runner S....

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Newgrange Eyes Dubai World Cup After San Pasqual Win

Newgrange (Violence) was doing well the morning after successfully defending his title in Saturday's GII San Pasqual Stakes and becoming racing's newest millionaire, according to his trainer, Phil D'Amato. "He came out of the race in great shape," said D'Amato, who collected his fifth stakes win at the Classic Meet to lead all trainers. Ridden for the first time Saturday by Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza, Newgrange broke on top and was never headed to score by a length as the 2-1 second choice. Newgate (Into Mischief), the 8-5 favorite...

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Simple Pleasure: Graded Racing On Opening Day In Arcadia

Boxing Day is not a holiday observed on the American calendar--thanks, Revolutionary generation. However, the day after Christmas is circled in red by the horse racing cadre because it means one thing: Opening Day at Santa Anita Park. This Tuesday, an 11-race card kicks off at 2 p.m. ET under the picturesque San Gabriel mountains in Arcadia, California--six of which are graded stakes. To entice the horseplayer, the Classic Meet sports a $1 Pick Six, a 14 percent takeout on both the .50 Early and Late Pick 5, and we...

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'TDN Rising Star' Coach Prime High Steps Into Los Alamitos Futurity

Trainer Bob Baffert won seven consecutive editions of the GII Los Alamitos Futurity until that streak ended two years ago. The Hall of Famer will have half the field when Wynstock (Solomini), Coach Prime (Quality Road) and GSP Wine Me Up (Vino Rosso) line up for his barn on Saturday. Coach Prime was a $1.7 million Keeneland September yearling, and began to pay back owner Zedan last out with a 7 1/4-length win at Del Mar Nov. 10, earning him the status of 'TDN Rising Star'. As for his stablemates,...

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Desert Dawn Favored In Friday's Bayakoa S.

Some trivia for you equine enthusiasts out there. Who is the only horse to have two graded stakes named after them? The answer is Bayakoa (Arg). The Ron McAnally trainee who won a pair of GI Breeders' Cup Distaffs has one at Oaklawn, while its counterpart takes place this Friday at Los Alamitos Racecourse. The Grade III event out West pits morning-line favorite and Arizona-bred Desert Dawn (Cupid) versus six others going 1 1/16 miles. The 4-year-old filly trained by Phil D'Amato is loaded with class, even though she has...

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Making Waves: Clodovil Gelding Earns Stakes Badge In California

  In this series, the TDN takes a look at notable successes of European-based sires in North America. This week's column is highlighted by the victory of Unconquerable Keen at Del Mar.   Keen Rides Out The Storm At Del Mar It was another stakes victory for the Phil D'Amato barn with the former European runner Unconquerable Keen (Ire) (Clodovil {Ire}) in the Stormy Liberal S. at Del Mar on Saturday (video). Bred by Nicholas Hartery, the 4-year-old gelding managed a pair of victories in his native land in the...

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Making Waves: Exosphere's Easter Sets Holiday Tone

   In this series, the TDN takes a look at notable successes of European-based sires in North America. This week's column is highlighted by the victory of Easter in the Seabiscuit H. at Del Mar on Saturday.   Easter Came Early At Del Mar Madaket Stables' Easter (Fr) (Exosphere {Aus}) secured his first graded victory in the GII Seabiscuit H. at Del Mar last weekend (video). It was trainer Phil D'Amato's fifth victory in the race in the past nine years. Bred by Aleyrion Bloodstock, Ltd., the gelding won two...

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Making Waves: Another Serving Of Dolce At Del Mar

   In this series, the TDN takes a look at notable successes of European-based sires in North America. This week's column is highlighted by the victory of Dolce Zel in the Kathryn Crosby S. at Del Mar last Saturday.   Sweet Success For Zelzal Filly Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, Robert LaPenta and Michael Caruso's Dolce Zel (Fr) (Zelzal {Fr}) padded her stakes resume with a victory in the Kathryn Crosby S. at Del Mar last Saturday (video). The Phil D'Amato trainee was bred by Scuderia Micolo di Nicola Galli and...

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