Union Rags Filly Swiftest in Timonium Wednesday


Hip 295 | Fasig-Tipton photo


TIMONIUM, MD – The second of three under-tack sessions ahead of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds-in-Training Sale got underway minutes after 8 a.m. with chilly temperatures in the mid-40s and a tailwind which remained fairly steady throughout the day's seven sessions at the Maryland State Fairgrounds Wednesday. Five of the day's six fastest times came during the session's first 20 minutes, with a filly by Union Rags equaling Tuesday's quarter-mile bullet time of :21 2/5 and four horses sharing the co-bullet furlong time of :10 flat. It wasn't until the day's fourth set that a fifth juvenile hit that mark.

Consignor Tom McCrocklin sent a filly by Union Rags (hip 295) out to work a quarter-mile in :21 2/5 Wednesday, matching Tuesday's fastest time for the distance.

“She is a super nice filly,” McCrocklin said. “She showed up and I expected her to. She was that way at the farm and she prepped that way here. She's really classy and sound. She galloped out good. She's a lovely filly–probably my favorite horse we had all year.”

The bay filly is out of stakes winner Afleet Lass (Northern Afleet) and is a half-sister to graded placed Honor the Fleet (To Honor and Serve). Bred by Gainesway, she was purchased by McCrocklin for $20,000 at last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

“I'm still not sure how I got her for $20,000, but it was one of those things at Keeneland where you hit a soft spot,” McCrocklin said. “I bought her from Gainesway and I remember walking up there and [Gainesway's] Lakota [Gibson] said, 'No reserve.' That can be good or bad because when you hear no reserve, you never know what to think. But she's been really nice all year.”

The second horse on the track Wednesday, a filly by Race Day (hip 340), equaled Tuesday's bullet furlong time when working in :10 flat for Grassroots Training & Sales. Bred by Dala Farm, the bay filly is the first foal out of Battle Tux (Into Mischief).

Eddie Woods's consignment had its second bullet worker of the week when hip 211, a colt by Quality Road, covered his furlong in :10 flat Wednesday. Bred by Jon Clay's Alpha Delta, the dark bay colt is out of the unraced Stormy Welcome (Storm Cat), a half-sister to graded winner Guest Suite (Quality Road). The colt's third dam is Weekend Surprise (Secretariat), dam of A.P. Indy and Summer Squall.

A colt by American Pharoah (hip 337) shared the :10 flat bullet when working for Raul Reyes's Kings Equine. The chestnut colt is out of Baroness Aamoura (Theatrical {Ire}) and is a half-brother to stakes-placed Madam Aamoura (Zensational). His second dam is multiple graded stakes winner Anguilla (Seattle Slew).

“We were very happy with it,” Reyes said of the work. “He prepped pretty fast and he prepped fast at the farm, so this wasn't really a surprise.”

Bred by Zayat Stables, the juvenile RNA'd for $145,000 as a weanling at the 2019 Keeneland November sale and for $45,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

“I bought him right after [the September sale],” Reyes said. “I was looking for an American Pharoah for the right price and he looked kind of fast. He looked a little rough as a yearling, but he has changed a lot. He looks like a more serious, stronger horse. He is big-bodied.”

Kings Equine has sent out 12 juveniles to work through the first two sessions of the under-tack show in Timonium.

“The track here is very consistent,” Reyes said. “You can work good any time. I like that about Maryland. You can come at 4 p.m. and still do good.”

Rounding out Wednesday's first set :10 flat workers was hip 260, a colt by Munnings consigned by Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stables. Dunne purchased the dark bay colt, who is a Pennsylvania-bred out of Tweet (Medaglia d'Oro), for $55,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

Munnings is a handy stallion. He's one of those middle-range horses. The Pennsylvania-bred thing didn't hurt and the price was right,” Dunne said of the colt's appeal last fall. “We always bought him with Timonium in mind. And we actually stuck to the plan for a change. We'll see how that works out.”

Dunne agreed the track in Timonium has remained consistent throughout the under-tack show's first two sessions.

“We worked a horse in the fifth set that we like quite a bit, a Klimt colt (hip 311) and he worked good, he went in :10 1/5,” Dunne said. “So I think it's been fine all the way through. It was the same for us yesterday. They all worked about like we would have expected them to work.”

Wavertree opened the juvenile sales season with a pair of blockbuster seven-figure pinhooks at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale and Dunne said he was “cautiously optimistic” heading into next week's two-day Midlantic auction.

Turning heads during Tuesday's first breeze show session from the Wavertree consignment was a daughter of Quality Road (hip 46) who worked her furlong in :10 1/5. Out of a half-sister to champion Abel Tasman (Quality Road), the bay filly was a $230,000 purchase at last year's Fasig-Tipton October sale.

“The Quality Road filly that worked yesterday is a really nice filly with a huge pedigree,” Dunne said. “She was also always earmarked for here, being such a late foal [May 22] and coming from the October sale. Our breaking process is like watching paint dry, so it is hard for us to get those horses to the earlier sales.”

Rounding out Wednesday's :10 flat workers was hip 264, a colt from the first crop of multiple graded stakes winner Tom's Ready (More Than Ready). Out of Uno Royale (Macho Uno), the dark bay was consigned by De Meric Sales and was purchased by  Silvestre Avila for $15,000 at last year's OBS October Sale. Avila, an exercise rider for the De Meric operation, has made a habit of turning bargain-priced yearling purchases into pinhooking coups in recent years.

“He keeps buying these $15,000 horses and turning them into $150,000 and then some 2-year-olds,” said Nick de Meric before adding with a chuckle, “We are starting to re-think our whole program. We are just going to give him all our money and let him go do it. He's done great this year, which is really heartwarming. A couple of guys in the barn are partners with him on the horse. So it is really great to see. Hopefully they will all make a little paycheck out of it.”

Tom's Ready won the 2016 GII Woody Stephens S. and GIII Ack Ack S., as well as the 2017 GIII Bold Ruler H.

“I haven't seen a lot of them,” de Meric said of offspring of Tom's Ready. “This guy is kind of built for this track. He's got that More Than Ready look about him and a good strong body type. He's not super big, but very fast and early looking. That type tend to do really well on this track and he was no exception.”

The de Meric family will be looking to turn a quick profit on another juvenile in its Midlantic consignment, having purchased a filly by Bernardini (hip 217) for $40,000 privately after she had RNA'd at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale in March. The first foal out of stakes winner Super Allison (Super Saver) had been part of Kirkwood Stables' Gulfstream Gallops group, which had purchased her for $25,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September sale. She worked a furlong Wednesday in :10 2/5.

“The plan was to flip her here and see if we could turn a dollar,” de Meric said. “To be honest, Tristan [de Meric] was contacted about that filly and went over to see her. She's a typical Bernardini, a lighter-framed kind of filly. She really stepped up here. She had a lot to learn in a relatively short space because she was in that galloping program and hadn't done much breezing. She's really moved forward and she prepped ok here, but she stepped forward on her breeze when it mattered. We are very happy with her breeze.”

De Meric continued, “You never quite dare think you got a bargain until they go through the ring. That's when you find out if you've got a bargain. We thought she was good value. Bernardini is such a good broodmare sire and over the years, he's been good to us. So we weren't afraid to give it a shot. The Gulfstream sale is a boutique sale. If everything aligns and falls into place, it can be spectacularly good, but there isn't much margin for error as we all have learned. She just didn't quite impress enough at the time, but hopefully she'll get it right up here”

Also coming out of Kirkwood's Gulfstream Gallop program is hip 166, a colt by More Than Ready who RNA'd for $115,000 in Hallandale and worked the quarter-mile bullet in :21 2/5 for Kip Elser's consignment Tuesday.

Another Gulfstream Gallop graduate is hip 221, a son of Street Sense who was purchased by the Wycoff family's Three Diamonds Farm for $25,000 in South Florida in March. The colt worked a furlong in :10 4/5 from the Crane Thoroughbred Services consignment Wednesday.

The Midlantic under-tack show concludes with a final session Thursday beginning at 8 a.m. The auction will be held next Monday and Tuesday with bidding commencing each day at 11 a.m.

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