Vekoma

The Program that Made Vekoma an Alpha Male

"To be in the horseracing business, I think you need a lot of patience," says Jon Clay. "With horses that don't sell, even horses that get injured, I've learned to be patient; learned not to get too emotional." Easier said than done, naturally. But here's a guy who absolutely gets it; who understands that the reckoning is not rendered in consistent, cogent cycles of dollars and cents, but in a longer, wider register of satisfaction. Yes, Clay is a commercial breeder and strives to make his program pay. He has...

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Vekoma Likely to Miss Forego

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.--Though he has recovered from a leg issue that interrupted his training schedule, two-time Grade I winner Vekoma (Candy Ride {Arg}) looks to be a long shot to compete in the GI Forego S. Aug. 29. Trainer George Weaver said Friday said the 4-year-old colt, co-owned by Randy Hill's R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables, was "50-50" to make the seven-furlong Forego. Vekoma has been treated for an abscess in the coronet band of his left front leg and has not had a timed work since his 1...

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Maximum Security’s Return Doesn’t Answer Many Questions

The Week in Review, by Bill Finley Just about everyone was prepared to either love or hate the performance of Maximum Security (New Year's Day) in the GII San Diego H. Saturday at Del Mar. Either he would come back and dominate or he would struggle in his first performance outside of the notorious Jason Servis barn. There didn't appear to be much room for a gray area. But that's where things have landed. He was good enough to win but not so good that he proved beyond any doubt...

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Vekoma to Stand at Spendthrift

B. Wayne Hughes's Spendthrift Farm has acquired the breeding rights to multiple Grade I-winning millionaire Vekoma (Candy Ride {Arg}--Mona de Momma, by Speightstown). The chestnut captured the prestigious GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. Saturday, four weeks after dominating the GI Runhappy Carter H. "We are extremely excited about Vekoma and his future as a stallion. It's not often you see an elite racehorse that is by a Grade I winner and out of a Grade I winner," said Ned Toffey, Spendthrift general manager. "Vekoma is a terrific blend of his sire...

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Forego Possible for Vekoma

Vekoma (Candy Ride {Arg}) exited his determined victory in Saturday's GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. in fine shape and could now be aimed at the Aug. 29 GI Forego S. at Saratoga, while connections also consider training the 4-year-old up to the Breeders' Cup. "What a horse," co-owner Randy Hill said Sunday. "I'll never own another horse like this. I've watched the race about 20 times and it just gives me goosebumps. I really wish I could have been there, but I'd rather win than be there and lose them." Vekoma...

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The Week in Review: Met Mile–and Vekoma–Both Benefit from Role Recasts

One of the most welcome schedule changes imposed upon the racing calendar by the COVID-19 pandemic was the repositioning of the GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. to headline status on the July 4 holiday at Belmont Park. In 2014, the Met Mile got yanked off its decades-long anchor as the Memorial Day feature in New York, reassigned to a supporting role on GI Belmont S. Day. This move was part of the prevalent (but not always aesthetically pleasing) national practice of stacking graded stakes on big-race Saturdays. It never felt like...

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Candy Ride’s Vekoma All the Way in Runhappy Met Mile

Given a positive ride by Javier Castellano, R A Hill Stable and Gatsas Stable's Vekoma (Candy Ride {Arg}) dared them to catch him in Saturday's GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. at Belmont, and catch him they could not, as the immaculately bred chestnut made every yard of the running to best perfect-trip Network Effect (Mark Valeski) by 1 1/4 lengths. Code of Honor (Noble Mission {GB}) was forced to cover ground on the turn, but plugged on gamely to be third, while favored 'TDN Rising Star' McKinzie (Street Sense) had little...

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McKinzie Headlines Loaded Runhappy Met Mile

A talented and deep field of eight will line up for Saturday's highly anticipated 127th renewal of the GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. at Belmont Park. An unlucky second behind the mighty Mitole (Eskendereya) in last year's contest, 'TDN Rising Star' McKinzie (Street Sense) figures to vie for favoritism. He was first or second in all seven of his starts in 2019, led by a win in Saratoga's GI Whitney S. and a runner-up finish in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic. The four-time Grade I winner made up for a dismal...

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This Side Up: Derby and Met Mile: Two Sides of the Same Coin

We are increasingly familiar with the kind of traction even the most brazen untruth can achieve in the era of social media. I guess people either no longer believe in hell, or they've decided they're headed there anyway. But let's not kid ourselves that we were ever especially diligent in authenticating what we read in the Good Old Days of hot-metal print. How apt, for instance, that a highly pertinent observation long credited to Mark Twain--that "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting...

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This Side Up: Vekoma Points Weaver Towards Fresh Honors

In these contentious times, at least the cavaliers of the turf seem to clinging to suitably knightly ethics. Last weekend, Honor A.P. (Honor Code) and Code Of Honor (Noble Mission) made a righteous stand on either coast; and Saturday's main event, the GI Ogden Phipps S., now adds Point Of Honor (Curlin) to this overflow of rectitude. In her case, however, the duplication of honors would primarily encompass trainer George Weaver, whose success with Vekoma (Candy Ride {Arg}) in the Carter H. at Belmont last weekend was his first at...

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Belmont Sunday Morning Stakes Round-Up

A number of conditioners were checking on their charges and plotting their next starts Sunday morning at Belmont following a strong card Saturday that included four graded stakes Last year's GI Runhappy Travers and GI Jockey Club Gold Cup hero Code of Honor (Noble Mission {GB}) made a successful seasonal debut in the GIII Westchester S. and has Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey weighing either the GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. July 4 or waiting for the GI Whitney H. at Saratoga for the W.S. Farish homebred. "He seems to...

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Vekoma Overwhelms Rivals in Runhappy Carter

Vekoma (Candy Ride {Arg}) made 8-5 look like a gift, as he paddled his way through the final furlong of the Belmont slop to post a dazzling 7 1/4-length victory in the GI Runhappy Carter H. and in the process, earning a fees-paid berth in the gate for the GI Breeders' Cup Sprint at Keeneland Nov. 7. Drawn outside in a field scratched down to eight runners, Vekoma was one of the first away, but was happy to cede the early advantage to American Anthem (Bodemeister). Stalking that one through...

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