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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By NYRA Press Staff -– Godolphin’s banner day on Saturday here, there and yonder was strengthened by a decisive victory from Nations Pride in the Grade 3, $1 million Caesars Jockey Club Derby Invitational at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.

The racing and breeding powerhouse, headed by His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, captured high caliber races on both hemispheres on Saturday. In addition to Nations Pride’s 6 1/4-length conquest of the Caesars Jockey Club Derby – the final leg of the Caesars Turf Triple series – Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby earned a pair of Grade 1 victories in Canada at Woodbine, taking the Woodbine Mile with Modern Games as well as the Summer with Mysterious Night.

Down Under, Godolphin teamed up with Australian trainer James Cummings and captured the Group 1 General George Main at Randwick with Anamoe as well as Caulfield’s Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude [Aft Cabin] and the Group 3 How Now [Zapeto].

Nations Pride, a bay son of Teofilo, tracked an honest pace set by Grade 1 Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational winner Classic Causeway, swung four wide around the final turn under jockey Frankie Dettori and was never in doubt in the stretch drive, completing the 12 furlongs in course record time of 2:24.14 and garnering a 96 Beyer Speed Figure. Banking $535,000 in victory, Nations Pride achieved millionaire status now boasting $1,434,216 in total earnings and a record of 9-6-2-0.

The victory provided the talented Nations Pride with a second victory in this year’s Caesars Turf Triple series. Following a troubled runner-up effort in the Belmont Derby on July 9 as the lukewarm favorite, he turned the tables on Classic Causeway to win the Grade 1 Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 6 at the Spa.

Godolphin also won last year’s Jockey Club Derby with Yibir, who subsequently won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar en route to Eclipse Award honors as Champion Turf Horse. But Appleby’s traveling assistant Chris Connett said the horse would ship back to Appleby’s training yard at Newmarket in England before mapping out a remaining 2022 campaign.

“He looked great this morning, I’m very happy with him,” Connett said. “I spoke to Charlie last night as we usually do after big races like this, and he was very pleased with the effort. The plan is to bring him back to the UK on Tuesday and from there, Charlie will map out a plan for the rest of the year for him.”

Nations Pride remained in New York following the Belmont Derby, where he trained extensively over the Oklahoma turf at Saratoga in preparation for his next two winning engagements.

“He was really able to fill out his frame. He developed and matured very well,” Connett said of the horse’s steps forward. “Mentally as well, he’s been taking everything in stride. He was able to take to the whole training in America thing with lots of horses around him in the mornings.

“He’s a good traveler,” Connett added. “He seems like he’s a horse that you can take pretty much anywhere. He’s shown his ability and that he’s a high class horse.”

Following the race, Dettori expressed confidence in victory once the field reached the stretch and Connett conveyed similar assurance.

“The way he was travelling in the race was great. He had a nice pace right in front of him and as soon as he found daylight, he was able to put it to bed pretty quickly,” Connett said.

Bred in Ireland by his owner, Nations Pride is out of the Oasis Dream mare Important Time – a listed stakes winner in Germany who is out of Group 1 winner Satwa Queen.


Leave No Trace breezes at Saratoga for G1 Frizette

Trainer Phil Serpe was at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday to watch a number of his WellSpring Stables-owned stakes horses breeze, including Grade 1 Spinaway winner Leave No Trace, who went a half-mile solo in 50.82 over the main track; Canadian Classic-winner Safe Conduct, who went five-eighths in 1:03.44 over the Oklahoma training turf; and last-out Union Avenue-winner Bank On Anna, who worked a half-mile in 48.72 on the main.

Leave No Trace was purchased for $40,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling Sale and captured the Grade 1 Spinaway in September at Saratoga; while Safe Conduct, purchased for $45,000 at the 2018 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, won the $1 million Queen’s Plate last year at Woodbine Racetrack.

Serpe credited Dr. Robert Vukovich, proprietor of WellSpring Stables, for finding value at the sales.

“He has his own theories on how he purchases horses and what he looks for in a horse,” Serpe said. “I don’t think he ever thought he’d be winning races like the Queen’s Plate or the Spinaway when he bought these horses, but the great thing about horse racing is that these horses don’t check their purchase price at the top of the stretch. The great ones are born great and whether they cost $4,400 or $4 million, that’s what they are.

“You can buy one for $40,000 and win some races and have some fun and that’s what these people like to do,” Serpe added. “I think that should be a message to people – try to buy an athlete, try to buy a nice horse; and don’t worry about what they cost.”

Leave No Trace will look to double up on Grade 1 wins in the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette, a one-turn mile on October 2 at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet, offering a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November at Keeneland.

The Outwork bay has made two starts at Saratoga, graduating on debut in July in a restricted maiden special weight ahead of a 1 1/2-length score on September 4 in the seven-furlong Grade 1 Spinaway, besting Debutante-winner Wonder Wheel by 1 1/2-lengths.

“She’s doing well. It was an easy half-mile,” Serpe said of Sunday’s breeze.

Serpe said the added furlong in the Frizette and the possibility of stretching out around two-turns in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies would suit Leave No Trace.

“She’s bred for it. She stepped up and ran seven-eighths last time,” Serpe said. “I think the added distance is something that’s going to help her.”

Bred in Kentucky by Red Cloak Farm, Leave No Trace, is out of the Good Journey mare Tanquerray,

Safe Conduct was a game second in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Monmouth on June 18 ahead of a non-threatening fifth last out after attending a swift early pace in the restricted Lure on August 6 traveling 1 1/16-miles over the Spa turf.

Serpe said the 4-year-old Ontario-bred Bodemeister colt, could target the nine-furlong Grade 3, $150,000 Knickerbocker on October 9 at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.

“We were up there early and I think it cost the horse,” said Serpe of the Lure effort. “I think it was a mistake on my behalf. I think we would have been better off letting the horse sit a little bit. So, we freshened him up and right now he’s headed towards the Knickerbocker. The main thing with him is he likes firm footing, so hopefully there’s plenty of warm weather and the grass will be firm.”

New York-bred sophomore filly Bank On Anna captured the Union Avenue last out on August 12 traveling six-furlongs on the Spa main track against older state-bred company.

The Central Banker bay graduated emphatically against fellow state-breds by six lengths at third asking in January at the Big A and followed with a state-bred optional-claiming score in March at the same track. Bank On Anna was third in the NYSSS Park Avenue in April at Aqueduct ahead of a state-bred optional-claiming score in May at Belmont before traveling upstate to Saratoga.

Serpe said Bank On Anna will target the $150,000 Iroquois, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint state-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on October 30.

“She’s doing great. We freshened her up a little bit,” Serpe said. “One target we have for her is the Iroquois and as for whether we run between now and then, I don’t know. There’s an allowance on October 2, but we’ll see how it goes.”

Bred in the Empire State by Lou Corrente, Bank On Anna boasts a record of 8-4-1-1 for purse earnings of $256,200.


Kimari targets G2 Gallant Bloom

Trainer Wesley Ward is calling an audible with multiple graded stakes winner Kimari and will ship the 5-year-old Munnings mare back to New York for the Grade 2, $250,000 Gallant Bloom on September 25 at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.

Kimari, owned by Westerberg, Mrs. John Magnier, Jonathan Poulin, Derrick Smith and Michael B. Tabor, defeated next out stakes winner Frank’s Rockette and Grade 1-winner Bella Sofia in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss in July at Saratoga in her most recent effort to earn her sixth career stakes victory, and second at graded level.

Initially targeting the Grade 2, $350,000 Thoroughbred Club of America on October 8 at Keeneland, Ward regrouped for the 6 1/2-furlong Gallant Bloom in favor of more time between starts ahead of the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on November 5.

“I would have preferred to run her there. It’s where the Breeders’ Cup is at, but more so because it’s her home track,” Ward said. “The timing just wasn’t right with 28 days between races and the obvious goal would be the Breeders’ Cup. So, I told the connections that I would like to be able to give her more time and I do like the 6 1/2 [furlong] distance.”

A dual surface stakes winner, Kimari captured Saratoga’s Bolton Landing on turf during her juvenile season en route to another turf score in the Indian Summer at Keeneland. Last April, she captured the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland and did not race again until finishing eighth behind stablemate Golden Pal in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November at Keeneland.

Ward sung praises on behalf of Joel Rosario, who piloted Kimari to four of her eight lifetime wins, including the Honorable Miss and Madison.

“That’s who she seems to run the best for and he rides her the best of anyone,” Ward said. “He gives her a little break the first part of the race and eases her out with that big stride and lets the race come to him.”

Kimari’s earnings are just shy of the million-dollar mark at $981,327 through a 15-8-2-2 record. Bred in Kentucky by China Horse Club, Kimari was bought by Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier for $2.7 million out of last year’s Fasig-Tipton November Sale and was kept in training for a prosperous 5-year-old season.

She is out of the Cozzene mare Cozze Up Lady, whose Constitution yearling colt was purchased for $1.3 million at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

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