Edited NYRA Staff Release – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Peter Searles and Patty Searles’ City Man has become a New York fan favorite, garnering stakes victories in each of his four years of training. The graded-stakes winning Empire State-bred added to his accomplishments on Saturday, setting a course record in the nine-furlong $125,000 Ashley T. Cole at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
Trained by Christophe Clement, the 5-year-old son of Mucho Macho Man completed the 1 1/8 miles over the firm outer turf in 1:46.95, while earning his sixth career stakes victory. The winning effort registered a 96 Beyer Speed Figure and enhanced his lifetime earnings to $761,800.
Clement said City Man could target the $200,000 Mohawk going 1 1/16 miles against fellow state-breds on October 30 during the Belmont at the Big A fall meet. He finished third to Somelikeithotbrown in last year’s running of the Mohawk.
“He came out of his race in good shape. He was impressive yesterday,” Clement said. “There are a few stakes in New York for him. The Mohawk could be the goal. We’ll see how he’s doing.”
City Man’s Ashley T. Cole coup came only 19 days following a late closing second in the Grade 3 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga Race Course. He commenced the 2022 Saratoga meet with his biggest victory to date, defeating open company in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple on July 15 to produce a career-best 104 Beyer.
“That’s what good horses do, they overcome things,” Clement said.
City Man has garnered six stakes triumphs through a career that dates back to his 2-year-old campaign of 2019 in which he made his first four starts over the main track, graduating at first asking in an off-the-turf state-bred maiden special weight at Saratoga before winning the Spa’s Funny Cide. But the dark bay has since displayed a knack for turf, posting his next five stakes victories on grass.
Off The Hook, operated by Joe Appelbaum and Carlos Morales, bought City Man for $20,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Fall Mixed sale and later sold him to Reeves Thoroughbred Racing for $185,000 at the 2019 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.
Appelbaum, who also serves as president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, spoke high volumes of the Fasig-Tipton October Sale in Saratoga.
“There’s always a good residual value with those horses because people realize that even if the horse isn’t a million dollar horse, they can still race it and do a pretty good job economically because of the elevated purse structure in the New York-bred program,” Appelbaum said.
Appelbaum spoke of his familiarity with Mucho Macho Man, who was campaigned by Reeves and won the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic. As an owner, Off The Hook campaigned Grade 1 winner Turbo Compressor, who finished third behind Mucho Macho Man in the 2012 Sunshine Millions Classic for Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park in a field that also included graded stakes winners Ron the Greek, Duke of Mischief and Adios Charlie.
“That was some race. Four graded stakes winners came out of that race, so we kind of knew how good he was,” Appelbaum said of Mucho Macho Man. “Even though he wasn’t the most commercial of sires, we had a lot of confidence in buying a good, tall horse by Mucho Macho Man. When we had City Man, he was great. He breezed well and we sold him to Dean and Patti Reeves pretty nicely. He’s worked out well – a graded stakes winner and a multiple New York-bred stakes winner, so it’s great.”
Appelbaum said City Man was part of Off The Hook’s first season of breeding and buying New York-breds to sell as a 2-year-olds.
“He was a good horse from the beginning. When we bought him, we only paid $20,000 for him which I thought was a pretty good value,” Appelbaum said. “He was good the whole way through. The respect we had for Mucho Macho Man led us to buy a horse that we did well with and the client did well with, while adding to the fact that the client was the one who owned Mucho Macho Man to begin with. It all came full circle.”
Off The Hook has consigned and pinhooked high-caliber performers like 2009 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner and Eclipse Award winner Informed Decision; graded stakes winner Break Water Edison; and Japanese millionaire A Shin Wezen.
“We try to sell 40 to 50 horses a year and many of which we’ve either bred ourselves or are homebreds of our clients,” Appelbaum said. “For a while we did a lot in the yearling market, but we do a lot less now although we do buy some. We’ve had a real good strike ratio with the horses we’ve sold. When you compare us to a lot of other places, a lot of our horses wind up being runners.”
And City Man has added his name to Off The Hook’s list of premier graduates.
“He runs his rear end off every time. He’s exactly what you want in a horse,” Appelbaum said. “He’s been real successful at it. First, Dean Reeves is a great guy. He supports the game and he’s a client of ours. We love seeing him successful. To have your opinion confirmed and have your hard work validated at the track is always gratifying.”
Love And Thunder garners career-best Athenia score; Search Results to train up to Breeders’ Cup
Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown and owners John Gunther and Tanya Gunther were rewarded for their patience with the talented Love And Thunder when she scored her first graded victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $175,000 Athenia traveling nine furlongs over the inner turf at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet. The gutsy neck score earned the daughter of Siyouni a career-best 91 Beyer Speed Figure.
“She came out the race good. She’s had some frustrating trips, so it was a deserving win yesterday,” said Brown.
Love And Thunder entered the Athenia from four consecutive on-the-board efforts, including a win in a second-level optional claimer in May at Belmont Park. She finished third in both the Perfect Sting at Belmont and the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose at Saratoga Race Course in her two starts prior to the Athenia, struggling with troubled trips and coming up just 1 1/4 lengths and 1 1/2 lengths shy, respectively.
Brown said the bay mare, who entered his barn last April after beginning her career in Europe, has shown steady improvement over the past year and a half.
“She has really matured a lot,” Brown said. “She can be a little fiery to gallop in the mornings, but we’re very proud of her. She’s settled down quite a bit and my team has done a great job with her. She’s always been a nice filly, but she’s been unlucky more than anything.”
Brown, who also saddled Athenia third-place finisher Kalifornia Queen, added that he is still weighing his options for Love And Thunder’s next start.
Promising juvenile Blazing Sevens had his final breeze Sunday in preparation for the Grade 1, $500,000 Champagne on October 1 at the Big A. The son of Brown alumnus Good Magic, the 2017 Champion 2-Year-Old Colt, coasted through five furlongs in 1:01.60 over Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track.
“He’s been training good. He had his final work at Saratoga this morning and he’ll ship down tomorrow,” said Brown.
Blazing Sevens, who earned an 84 Beyer for his debut maiden score on July 24 at the Spa, was last seen finishing a distant but improving third in the Grade 1 Hopeful on September 5, finishing 12 lengths in arrears of the victorious Forte over sloppy and sealed going. He will stretch out to a mile for the first time in the Champagne, which offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November at Keeneland.
Also on the tab this weekend for Brown was 2021 Grade 1 Acorn-winner Search Results, who was last seen finishing a game second to reigning Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Malathaat in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign on August 27 at the Spa. The daughter of Flatter breezed a half-mile in 48.49 seconds over the Oklahoma training track Saturday.
Search Results, who earned graded wins this year in the Grade 2 Ruffian at Belmont and Grade 3 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park, will now turn her attention to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff on November 5 at Keeneland.
“She’s doing super and we’re planning right now on just training up to the Breeders’ Cup,” said Brown. “She ran very well in defeat, and she’s really been very consistent. She ran a super race [in the Personal Ensign] and it took a really good horse to beat her. We’re very proud of her.”
This year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Fall Sale, which features a catalogue of 235 weanlings, broodmares and broodmare prospects, is scheduled for Monday, October 17 at 10 a.m. at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavillion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Twilight Blue on the bubble for G1 Woodward
Carl R. Moore Management’s stakes-winner Twilight Blue remains possible for Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward, a nine-furlong test for 3-year-olds and upward at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
Trainer Joe Sharp said Twilight Blue is also under consideration for the nine-furlong Grade 2 Lukas Classic and the one-mile Grade 3 Ack Ack, which are both slated for Saturday at Churchill Downs.
“We’ll see who’s running,” Sharp said. “We’re leaning towards staying home, but we haven’t made a final decision yet.”
The 4-year-old Air Force Blue colt, purchased for $45,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, has posted a record of 5-3-2-0 this year led by a last-out head score over graded stakes-placed Intrepid Heart in the 1 3/16-mile Fort Larned on August 13 at Churchill Downs.
The improving bay started his career sprinting on the turf in August 2020 at Ellis Park before shifting to the main track and graduating one month later at Churchill. Twilight Blue won 1-of-3 starts as a sophomore, prevailing from off-the-pace in a muddy allowance route last February at Oaklawn Park.
Twilight Blue has seen a marked improvement in his Beyer Speed Figures this year, garnering a career-best 97 for a prominent head score over graded-stakes winner Masqueparade in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claimer in May at Churchill. He paired that number in his next start in a gritty nose loss to multiple graded-stakes winner Fulsome on June 25 at the same distance and track.
“He’s been an ultra-consistent type of horse. When we stretched him out past a mile he seemed to get even better,” Sharp said. “He’s just matured and grown and filled out a little bit physically. He’s got a great attitude and hates to lose.
“Masqueparade and Intrepid Heart are nice horses, so he’s definitely hooked some nice horses,” Sharp added. “But he’s also carved out his conditions. This would be deeper water, but at some point we’ll have to try it.”
Twilight Blue boasts a strong grass pedigree being out of the multiple stakes-placed Rahy mare Lily the Pink. His third dam, Aletta Maria, produced multiple Grade 1-winners on turf Cetewayo and Dynaforce.
Sharp said despite the turfy pedigree, Twilight Blue will remain on the main track for the time being.
“When Carl and I bought him as a yearling we were thinking turf sprinter, and he’s ended up being route on the dirt,” Sharp said. “It’s not that we’d never try it again, but right now this is working so we don’t want to mess with it too much.”
Twilight Blue breezed five-eighths in 1:02.20 Saturday over muddy going at the Churchill Downs training center. Should he ship to New York, the probable Woodward field includes, Informative [Uriah St. Lewis], Law Professor [Rob Atras], Life Is Good [Todd Pletcher] and Thomas Shelby [David Jacobson].
Shawdyshawdyshawdy returns to winner’s circle in Friday allowance
Trainer Jorge Abreu celebrated a long-awaited victory with Lawrence Goichman and Jennifer Goichman’s graded stakes-placed Shawdyshawdyshawdy in Friday’s seventh race at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet, a 1 3/8-mile allowance for 3-year-olds and up over the inner turf.
The off-the-pace score was the first for the son of Summer Front since his debut victory in August 2020. Ridden to victory by Jose Ortiz,
Shawdyshawdyshawdy stalked in seventh just four lengths behind pacesetter
C Falls for the first mile of the race. A patient Ortiz asked him for more approaching the final turn, improving to fifth at the top of the stretch. Under steady urging, Shawdyshawdyshawdy picked off rivals down the lane to nab the victory by a neck over Orchestration in a final time of 2:15.34.
“I think Jose gave him a perfect ride and was just tracking the only [speed] horse in the race and he got it done,” Abreu said.
The Friday allowance came on the heels of a game runner-up effort going one mile at Saratoga Race Course on August 28, and marked the first time the 4-year-old gelding raced beyond nine furlongs.
“I thought the horse was looking for some distance, but every time a race would show up, it was a mile or a mile and a sixteenth,” Abreu said. “He showed up at Saratoga with a huge run going a mile, but there wasn’t enough pace for him to run at.”
Despite his absence from the winner’s circle, Shawdyshawdyshawdy has put together a productive campaign since his debut, earning a graded placing when third in last year’s off-the-turf Grade 3 Pennine Ridge at Belmont. He also boasts a near-perfect 5-for-6 in-the-money record this year and total purse earnings of $228,874.
Abreu said it is possible Shawdyshawdyshawdy returns to stakes level this fall in his next outing.
“Larry is the type of owner that likes to try them in stakes races,” said Abreu. “The end of the turf season is going to come soon, so we’ll look for something long and see what comes up.”
Upcoming races at the Big A fall meet for older horses going long on the turf include the Grade 2, $300,000 Red Smith at 1 3/8 miles on November 26.