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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Edited NYRA Staff Notes – Joseph Allen homebred Siege of Boston registered an 86 Beyer Speed Figure for his sixth-out graduation in a one-mile maiden event over the inner turf on Thursday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Siege of Boston, a sophomore son of War Front, was 13 lengths back in sixth at the second point of call down the backstretch. But the bay colt, racing with blinkers off, unleashed a devastating late run in deep stretch to collar pacesetting longshot Fazaro at the sixteenth-pole to score by 3 1/4-lengths under a hand ride by Junior Alvarado.

He arrived at the winning effort off a trio of close runner-up efforts, the most recent of which was won by next-out winner Steady On over the Big A outer turf in September. He made his first two starts during his 2-year-old season for trainer Reeve McGaughey.

Toner said Siege of Boston has matured with racing.

“He was a little mentally immature and he ran well the first time for us, but he was still green. He had blinkers on before when he ran, so we left them on. He ran three bang-up races. So, I didn’t feel like there was any need change anything,” Toner said. “A nice horse beat him the last time. He had a perfect trip but they ran the last quarter in 22 and change. So, there wasn’t nothing to suggest we needed to make a change. He breezes really well and he was getting more mentally sharp and better.”

Toner said it was jockey Victor Carrasco, who piloted Siege of Boston in his first two starts of the year, that first suggested removing the blinkers.

“I had thought about it, but you hate to change things when they’re going right,” Toner said. “So, I tried it and it helped him yesterday. It kept him relaxed early, and that was the turn-of-foot he showed me in his training that I saw yesterday. I’m very excited about him. I think he has a good future.”

Toner said Siege of Boston will join his 16-horse string at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Florida.

“We’re going to take him to Palm Meadows and let him catch his breath a little bit,” Toner said. “We’ll wait for after the first of the year and find a non-winners-of-two for him and go from there.”

Siege of Boston appeared to be anything but short of fitness heading into Thursday’s conquest, having worked two bullets at Fair Hill prior to the race.

“He does that easily,” Toner said. “He does that all well within himself. When you see those bullet works, you think, ‘Wow, they’re really pulling after him.’ We just try to keep him in hand and go as easy as we can, but he does that as easy as can be.”

Sunday’s Big A card will feature the $135,000 Winter Memories for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the outer turf course – which is named in honor of one of Toner’s star alumna. The dual Grade 1-winning daughter of El Prado is one of four turf distaffers trained by Toner with stakes named in their honor on the NYRA circuit along with her Grade 1-winning dam, Memories of Silver.

Toner also trained Soaring Softly, winner of the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in 1999, and multiple Grade 1-winner Wonder Again, who both have graded stakes named after them at Belmont Park.

“Four races named after horses I’ve trained, which I’m proud of,” Toner said. “They were all good horses. There were a lot of good times with those horses. They took me for a pretty good ride. If you have races named after your horses, that’s quite an accomplishment. Every one of them, in their own right, were spectacular. They all developed nicely and I’m very grateful for the Phillips family for letting me train good fillies like that. That was a great run. But now it’s time to turn the page and find some more. Hopefully, we found one yesterday.”


Schosberg seeks stakes double with New York-bred juvenile maiden winners

While trainer Richard Schosberg will retire at the end of the calendar year, he is not done yet. The highly-respected New York-based conditioner has won with four of his last eight starters dating to October 23 and will look to continue that trajectory into stakes company with New York-bred juvenile maiden winners Three Unions and D’ont Lose Cruz.

Three Unions, a Unified filly owned by Schosberg with Clear Stars Stable and Mitre Box Stable, made the third time the charm with a gate-to-wire maiden score over the Big A outer turf on October 28. She arrived at the triumph off a distant fourth on September 22 over the Big A main track. The victory came one day after D’ont Lose Cruz, by freshman stallion Always Dreaming, secured a second-out graduation in similar frontrunning fashion over the main track.

Schosberg said Three Unions will go back to the main track to be on target for the six-furlong $100,000 Key Cents for state-bred juvenile fillies on November 20.

“We’re going to give her a shot in the dirt stake on Sunday. What else are you going to do? If she doesn’t run well in there, she’ll be put away for the turf next year. Obviously, her race was outstanding,” Schosberg said.

Schosberg said D’ont Lose Cruz will target the six-furlong $100,000 Notebook for state-bred juvenile colts on the same day. The dark bay gelding was a close second on debut at 27-1 before earning his first victory last out. He is owned by the same partnership as Three Unions, as well as Big Toe Stables and Koshanostra Stable.

“We haven’t gotten close to the bottom of him yet,” Schosberg said. “I think he’s still learning. He probably cost himself the first race, he did a little bobbing and weaving and waiting. His second race was much more mature, but I think there’s much more to him than that. He needs to settle down and come into his own a little bit.”

Schosberg said trainer David Duggan will take over training duties for D’ont Lose Cruz upon his retirement. In addition to training racehorses, Schosberg also serves as president for Take The Lead and will have a chair on the Horsemen’s Advisory Board for HISA.

“David will be taking over all the Clear Stars horses on the first of January,” Schosberg said. “I’ll help him transition in December during the break. Any help he’ll need along the way, I’ll be out there doing my Take The Lead stuff and HISA stuff.”

Schosberg added that David Donk will take over training duties for horses owned by Edition Farm. A decision will be made regarding the pair of horses owned by Bruce Lunsford under his care.

“He’ll make a decision. He does have several trainers. He’ll let me know when the turf season ends, which is soon,” Schosberg said.


Apprentice rider Madison Olver celebrates first mount on Saturday at Aqueduct

When apprentice jockey Madison Olver watched her first thoroughbred in motion over a racetrack, it was from atop of one as an exercise rider for trainer Gina Rarick in France. Though Olver had never seen a horse race before getting a leg up on one, she knew her calling was to compete in the sport that captured her heart.

“I had never seen a live horse race before I started riding racehorses,” Olver said. “It wasn’t watching horse racing that hooked me, but the sensation of being able to ride these animals when they’re at their absolute peak and can do things that should be impossible.”

After four years of refining her skills and exercising horses in the mornings, Olver, 23, is ready to make her first outing in the afternoon aboard the Orlando Noda-trained Flattering Gal in Saturday’s ninth race, a six-furlong maiden claiming sprint, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

“I’m really excited. I definitely had a roller coaster go of it with some entries and some scratches,” said Olver. “I’m just really grateful there are people who are willing to give a young woman who was not born into this sport an opportunity. It’s something I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since I started this.”

Olver’s relationship with horses stems from her childhood in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she grew up riding and breaking mustangs and honing her horsemanship skills. When she turned 18, she reached out to Rarick to begin her racing ventures in France and was offered the opportunity to learn how to handle and ride racehorses. She stayed there for two years before moving back to the United States and continuing her journey with multiple Grade 1-winning trainer Christophe Clement.

Olver said Clement’s trust in her has allowed her to continue her upward trajectory.

“I’ve gotten to ride a variety of different horses – dirt, turf, fillies, colts, young, old, difficult, and easy,” said Olver. “[The team] knows what they want done and how they want it done, and it’s up to you to produce that. That has been really instrumental in me improving and keeping that discipline.

“They’ve been my racing family,” Olver added. “The amount of support I’ve had – every groom who has put a saddle on safely for me and hotwalker who has walked a horse after I’ve ridden them, every person and the help they’ve given me is something I will carry with me forever.”

Among the horses Olver has piloted in the mornings during her tenure with Clement is stakes-winner Derrynane, who finished a close fourth in the 2021 Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. Olver said she and the daughter of Quality Road have helped each other learn and grow.

“I rode her as a 2-year-old and she was my first breeze out of the gate here in America,” said Olver. “She was a lot of my firsts, and I was a lot of her firsts. She went to the Breeders’ Cup that year and was always my best girl.”

Olver’s agent, Joesph Migliore, expressed confidence in the young rider’s capabilities, noting her skilled and precise hands.

“She’s very thoughtful. She has a very good seat on a horse and has good hands,” said Migliore. “She’s in tune with the horses she gets on and she’s a very sharp horsewoman. We’re hoping to get a few rides in at the fall meet before being more active at the winter meet.”

Clement shared in Migliore’s sentiments, noting Olver’s determination and eagerness to learn.

“She has worked for us for two years. She has an amazing work ethic,” said Clement. “She’s a very good rider and very good with horses. She’s a good horsewoman. I wish her all the best because, on top of all that, she’s a good person as well.”

Olver said that as she prepares for the first race of her career, she keeps in mind the lessons from mentors like Clement and horses like Derrynane.

“I’ve always told myself that I do this because I love it and I love the horses. I’m here to showcase what these horses can do,” Olver said. “Remembering that and reminding myself to enjoy it will be the most helpful to ride my first mount.

“Riding a horse is a feeling that I can’t even put into words,” Olver continued. “The sensation you get is a pure and awesome presentation of their power and their abilities. They let us do it, and experiencing the raw power of the horse is what got me hooked.”

Along with her mount on Saturday, Olver is also slated to ride Basis Risk in Sunday’s fifth race at the Big A for conditioner Marialice Coffey.


Siblings Hail To and Wolfie’s Dynaghost seek Sunday stakes success at the Big A

Trainer Tom Albertrani will look to pull off a Sunday stakes sweep at the Big A when he saddles half-siblings Wolfie’s Dynaghost in the $135,000 Artie Schiller and Hail To in the $135,000 Winter Memories for owner-breeder Woodslane Farm.

The Kentucky homebreds are out of the prolific Dyanformer mare Dynaire, who produced the Albertrani-trained Sadler’s Joy – a multiple graded-stakes winner, who banked more than $2.6 million in purse earnings.

Hail To, by Kitten’s Joy, is a 3-year-old full-sister to Sadler’s Joy. The chestnut boasts a record of 10-2-1-0 for purse earnings of $148,725, while the 4-year-old Wolfie’s Dynaghost, a multiple graded-stakes placed bay gelding by Ghostzapper, sports a ledger of 17-5-2-4 for purse earnings of $349,005.

“Sadler and Hail To resemble each other,” Albertrani said. “She’s not as big and robust as him but they have almost the same body style, and the markings on their head are close. Wolfie is opposite from both of them – different color and frame.”

Hail To graduated in August 2021 at Saratoga traveling 1 1/16-miles over firm turf, but has focused on longer distances recently, including a rallying score against older company when posting a half-length win at 1 3/16-miles on September 2 at Saratoga over next-out allowance winner Transient, who is entered in Saturday’s Grade 3 Maple Leaf at Woodbine.

Albertrani said he is hopeful that Hail To can make amends for her off-the-board effort last out when on the pace in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Sands Point on October 15 here.

“We’re hoping she’ll come back and run that same race she did at Saratoga, which was really impressive running with the older fillies,” Albertrani said. “She probably wants to go a lot further than a mile and a sixteenth, but we’re limited with our options at the moment.”

Hail To, listed at 15-1 on the morning line, will exit post 1 under Jose Lezcano in a field led by a trio of contenders for trainer Chad Brown in Eminent Victor [5-2], Salimah [9-2] and Veronica Greene [6-1].

The consistent Wolfie’s Dynaghost will exit post 4 under Lezcano in the one-mile Artie Schiller with a morning-line assessment of 8-1. The omni-surface star boasts wins on dirt, turf and synthetic, but has found his best success in one-mile turf events led by runner-up efforts in the Grade 3 Appleton in April at Gulfstream and the Grade 3 Poker in June at Belmont.

He captured the 1 1/16-mile Bert Allen in September over firm footing at Colonial and enters from a third-place finish in an off-the-turf renewal of the nine-furlong Bucks County on October 3 at Parx where he set a pressured pace to finish eight lengths back of the victorious Shooger Ray Too and runner-up Tax.

“Coming off the turf last time probably wasn’t his best race, but he always tries and this could be a race that sets up nicely for him,” Albertrani said. “He’s always consistent and the mile suits him. The mile and an eighth last time was maybe a little too far for him and he took a little pressure on the front end. Things could be different here.”

Wolfie’s Dynaghost has breezed back four times, including a bullet half-mile in 47.80 over Big Sandy on November 6.

“He’s doing well and in good form. Hopefully, the work will relate to the run this weekend,” Albertrani said.

With heavy rain expected Friday and Saturday, precipitating the move of the Artie Schiller from Saturday to Sunday, Albertrani said he is hopeful the turf won’t be too soft.

“Both of them would probably prefer firmer turf, but we’ll have to wait and see the outcome of this rain storm,” Albertrani said.

Albertrani also has John M.B. O’Connor’s stakes-placed Airman on the also-eligible list for the Artie Schiller. The 4-year-old Tonalist bay only recently joined his barn and posted a bullet half-mile breeze in 48.80 on November 6 over the Belmont inner turf.

“He’s been training really well since I’ve gotten him,” Albertrani said. “On his form, it looks like a tougher spot for him, but we don’t mind taking some chances. He looks ready to go.”

Ultimately, Albertrani’s best opportunity of a stakes sweep comes with his sibling homebreds, who will look to add to their dam’s impressive bounty.

“We’ve been very fortunate. It’s been a very sound family and the mare does produce a lot of nice runners,” Albertrani said. “Hopefully, we ‘ll find a couple more later on.”

Dynaire was bought by Woodslane Farm’s Rene and Lauren Woolcott at the 2009 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $360,000. Dynaire’s dam Binya was a graded stakes winner at 11 furlongs when capturing the Grade 3 The Very One in 2004, and her half-sister is Grade 1-winning turf mare Sabin.

Dynaire is also represented by the 2-year-old Faraday, by Ghostzapper, who finished sixth in her October 23 debut here for trainer Chad Brown and co-owners William H. Lawrence and Woodslane Farm. She also has a weanling by Ghostzapper.


Bye Bye Melvin possible for G2 Red Smith; Highland Chief targets Middle Eastern campaign

Alex G. Campbell, Jr.’s Kentucky homebred Bye Bye Melvin, who finished a pacesetting ninth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf on November 5 at Keeneland Race Course, could make one more start this year for trainer Graham Motion in the Grade 2, $300,000 Red Smith, a 1 3/8-mile turf marathon for horses 3-years-old and up, on November 26 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

“I doubt we’ll see him again this year,” Motion said. “If he does well, it’s possible he could come up to New York for the mile and three-eighths race.”

Bye Bye Melvin, a 5-year-old son of Uncle Mo, showed his usual frontrunning tactics in the Breeders’ Cup under Feargal Lynch, but was collared in the turn and faded to finish 8 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Rebel’s Romance. The effort came on the heels of a game runner-up finish to multiple Grade 1-winner War Like Goddess in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on October 8 at Belmont at the Big A where he utilized the same prominent trip.

“I thought he ran his race,” Motion said of the Breeders’ Cup. “He got a fairly comfortable lead, but they took him on early in the race and I think that compromised his finish a little bit. But that’s the Breeders’ Cup.”

Bye Bye Melvin’s resume includes a graded stakes score by a head in the Grade 3 Saranac in August 2020 at Saratoga Race Course. He also picked up stakes placings when a close second in the both the 2020 Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park and James W. Murphy at Pimlico Race Course, along with a third in the Bryan Station at Keeneland later that year.

Motion also saddled Mrs. Fitriani Hay’s Grade 1 Man o’ War winner Highland Chief in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. The Irish homebred son of Gleneagles drew the outermost post 13 under Hall of Famer John Velazquez and tracked in fourth at the half-mile call, but faltered to finish a well-beaten 12th.

Motion said Highland Chief will now target a campaign at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

“He just had a really tough trip from the outside draw, which I think somewhat compromised him,” Motion said. “He never really settled during the race. He will probably point to something in Dubai. That is something that the boys have had in the back of their minds.”

On the Breeders’ Cup Future Stars Friday card, Motion sent out Madaket Stables, Little Red Feather Racing and William Strauss’ Nagirroc to a game third-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. There, the son of Lea stretched out to a mile for the first time after claiming victory in the six-furlong Grade 3 Futurity on October 9 at Belmont at the Big A. Ridden by regular pilot Manny Franco, Nagirroc stalked in fifth in the loaded 14-horse field and showed an impressive turn of foot down the lane to finish just 2 1/4 lengths back of the victorious Victoria Road.

“He’s a really cool horse,” Motion said. “He’s done a lot in a short stretch of time, including going from sprinting in New York to stretching out in Kentucky. I think that’s ultimately what he wants to do. He’s a very classy, kind and generous horse.”

Motion said he was impressed with how Nagirroc exited the effort.

“I think we’ll freshen him up for the spring, but I’m happy with how he came out of the race,” said Motion. “I was astonished the next morning that he was bucking and squealing when we took him out of his stall. He’s taken everything in stride.”

Motion also provided an update on Madaket Stables’ Grade 1-placed G Laurie, who was forced to scratch from the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf the day before due to a fever. The daughter of Oscar Performance is likely to be put away for the winter, but Motion did not rule out a start in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante on December 3 at Del Mar.

“She’s doing well. The last couple days, she hasn’t spiked a temperature,” Motion said. “It’s possible she’ll [be freshened], but if she gets over this quickly, she could show up at Del Mar in their stake at the end of the meet. She’s going to need to really recover and get back on track quickly next week.”

G Laurie, an $80,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, graduated on debut in a 1 1/16-mile maiden in August at Colonial Downs before shipping north to Woodbine to finish third in the Grade 1 Natalma at one mile over the turf. She has banked over $73,000 in just two lifetime outings.


Aqueduct fall meet Week 3 stakes probables

Saturday, November 19

$135,000 Gio Ponti

Probable: Churchtown (Roger Attfield), Dakota Gold (Danny Gargan), James Jones (Chad Brown), Ohtwoohthreefive (George Weaver), Riot House (Danny Gargan), Wicked Fast (Mike Maker), Wow Whata Summer (James Lawrence)

Possible: Ready to Purrform (Brad Cox)

Sunday, November 20

$135,000 Forever Together

Probable: Evvie Jets (Mertkan Kantarmaci), Finest Work (George Weaver), Miss Dracarys (Neil Drysdale)

Possible: Bipartisanship (Graham Motion) 

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