Posts Tagged ‘Turfway Park’

Crop Report on the rise for Team Valor

Crop Report arrived too late for the Kentucky Derby 2013 party but he is a colt on the rise following a visually impressive score in the $75,000 Team Valor Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park on March 23.

Crop Report Team Valor

Wearing blinkers for the first time in the Rushaway, Crop Report sat in last early after getting bumped at the start before unleashing a strong late run to prove best by 1-1/2 lengths under Joel Rosario. He earned an 85 BSF.

Crop Report began his career with a 7th place finish at Newmarket (Great Britain) and stylishly captured a flat mile turf race at that same venue second time out.

Crop Report

He made his first start on turf in the U.S. at Gulfstream Park and closed nicely to land the show after hitting the gate at the start. The winner of that heat, Black Onyx, stole the show at Turfway Park on March 23 with a sharp score in the G3 Spiral Stakes.

Crop Report

Crop Report has now won on synthetic and turf and the Kentucky-bred son of Medaglia d’Oro, out of a Crafty Prospector mare, has the pedigree to handle conventional dirt as well.

Owned by Barry Irwin’s Team Valor International and trained by Graham Motion, Crop Report is a late March 31 foal and will probably target the Belmont Stakes. He could make his next start in the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on May 11.

For more Spiral Stakes day coverage and Crop Report pictures, check out Stacy’s Kentucky horse racing photos page.

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders: Black Onyx

Black Onyx burst onto the Kentucky Derby 2013 scene with a good looking stalk and pounce victory in the Grade III Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on March 23. He earned 50 Derby qualifying points and will make his next start on the first Saturday in May.

Black Onyx

Black Onyx peaks out of his stall the morning of the Spiral Stakes

The early years

Kentucky-bred Black Onyx sold for $125,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale (August 2011).

He began his race career at Belmont Park in the fall of 2011 and finished a clear 2nd at a mile and a sixteenth and wrapped up his juvenile campaign with a flat mile maiden win at Aqueduct.

Three-Year-Old Season

Black Onyx

Black Onyx in the paddock prior to the Spiral Stakes.

Black Onyx’s sophomore season got off to a less than ideal start with a well-beaten 4th place finish on the main track at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Day. He moved to the Kelly Breen barn and bounced back quickly with a smart turf route win at the Gulf on Feb. 23, beating subsequent Rushaway Stakes winner Crop Report.

The Sterling Racing (Sam Herzberg) colt was sent to Turfway Park for a chance to qualify for the Kentucky Derby and was sent off as a 15-1 longshot in the Grade III Spiral Stakes. Breaking from post nine, he sat a wide stalking trip under Joe Bravo before forging to the lead and crossing the line 1-1/2 lengths in front of highly regarded runner-up Uncaptured.


Black Onyx

Black Onyx wins the Spiral Stakes!

Multiple Grade I winning sire Rock Hard Ten (Kris S.-Tersa, by Mr. Prospector) was on the Triple Crown trail in 2004, finishing 3rd in the Santa Anita Derby, 2nd in the Preakness, and 5th in the Belmont Stakes. He won the Strub Stakes, Santa Anita Handicap, and Goodwood ‘Cap during his undefeated 4yo season before a foot bruise knocked him out of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. A subsequent sesamoid injury ended his racing career.

The massive stallion (17 hands) was responsible for 13 stakes winners during his first four crops. He was sold to the Korea Racing Authority in 2011 and currently stands at Jeju Stud Farm.

Dam Kalahari Cat (Cape Town-Desert Stormette, by Storm Cat) was a 3-time winner (2004-2005). She scored twice on turf against allowance competition at one mile (Fair Grounds, Hawthorne).

Dam sire Cape Town (Seeking the Gold-Seaside Attraction, by Seattle Slew) won five races in 1997-98 including the G3 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, G3 Holy Bull, and G1 Florida Derby. He finished 5th in the 1998 Kentucky Derby and 9th in the Preakness.

Black Onyx Spiral Stakes

Cape Town is responsible for multiple stakes winners including 2003 Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town. In 2009, he was sold for stallion duty in Brazil.


Kelly Breen has saddled more than 450 winners with earnings topping the $20 million mark. He won the 2011 Belmont Stakes with Ruler On Ice and has saddled three Kentucky Derby starters (West Side Bernie, Atomic Rain, Pants On Fire).


Black Onyx

Joe Bravo, the reigning king of the New Jersey circuit, has won more than 4,800 races during a stellar 25-year riding career. Both of his career Kentucky Derby mounts (Spanish Chestnut, Atomic Rain) finished unplaced.

Kentucky Derby

Black Onyx has earned enough points to secure a spot in the starting gate under the Twin Spires on Saturday, May 4 and will immediately ship to Churchill Downs and train up to the big dance. He is an improving colt with positional speed and a strong route foundation. He has won on conventional dirt, synthetic, and turf, and might surprise again at Churchill Downs with further development.

For more Spiral Stakes day coverage and Black Onyx pictures, check out Stacy’s Kentucky horse racing photos page.

Spiral Stakes 2012 Recap – Went The Day Well rolls home

The lone graded Kentucky Derby 2012 prep at Turfway Park was run on Saturday and Went The Day Well emerged as a contender on the first Saturday in May after cruising home in the G3 Spiral Stakes for Graham Motion and Team Valor.

G3 Spiral (3-24-12): 92 BSF (Went The Day Well)

Went The Day Well

Is Went The Day Well the next Animal Kingdom? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Heavy Breathing carved out the early splits for Todd Pletcher, with Went The Day Well positioned perfectly behind the speed along the rail under John Velazquez.

Pletcher’s other colt Holiday Promise was sitting midpack at almost 26-1 and expected early runner Handsome Mike broke 12th and last after losing his footing and getting bumped at the start.

Heavy Breathing put away overmatched pace rivals Ill Conceived and Coach Royal but Went The Day Well was always traveling smoothly and passed the front runner after six furlongs.

Holiday Promise made a wide move and tried to gain on the new leader but got a bit weary in late stretch while settling for runner-up honors.

Heavy Breathing was a comfortable 3rd and was followed across the line by Handsome Mike, Stealcase, All Squared Away, Ill Conceived, Russian Greek, Tizanexpense, Red Jack, Mr. Prankster, and Coach Royal.

Went The Day Well picked up $282,000 in graded earnings on March 24, which should be more than enough to make the Derby gate. The promising son of Proud Citizen handles dirt, turf, and synthetic, and Motion/Team Valor have plenty of options with the versatile sort this year. He was green in the Turfway stretch before kicking away to win by 3-1/2 lengths. He has some catching up to do and seems a cut or two below the best at this stage. The G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 21 could be next.

It should be noted that Animal Kingdom won the Spiral Stakes and Kentucky Derby for Graham Motion, Team Valor, and John Velazquez last year…deja vu all over again?

Spiral Stakes Grade: C+ (78 out of 100)



Spiral Stakes 2012 Preview – Wide Open Kentucky Derby Prep

Will the next Animal Kingdom emerge from the shadows at Turfway Park on Saturday? One thing is for sure. The Grade 3 Spiral Stakes is a wide open Derby prep race and the winner will have the necessary graded earnings to make the starting gate in Kentucky Derby 2012.

Kentucky Derby 2012 logo

#11 Stealcase (10-1) is worth a stab at double digit odds. He had a troubled start in a 6th of 13 performance behind Hansen in the G3 Gotham Stakes. He ran into multiple next out winners in his first few starts including promising runners Thunder Moccasin, Ender Knievel, and Windsurfer. He looked good in Gulfstream dirt route maiden tally Jan 19 and can compete here if he handles the footing. The Mark Casse runner dons the hood and sports a bullet for this engagement.

#4 Went The Day Well (4-1) is an interesting contender for Graham Motion/Team Valor. He landed the place in both Great Britain turf starts last year and graduated in a flat mile special weight affair at Gulfstream Park March 3.

#12 Handsome Mike (4-1) dueled and held the show in the G3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Feb 18. He handles any footing but appears best on turf. Joel Rosario rides.

#1 Russian Greek (10-1) captured two synthetic route stakes events at Golden Gate Fields and was last seen splitting a 10-horse field in the aforementioned El Camino Real Derby. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee dons the hood and attracts Nakatani.

#3 Heavy Breathing (3-1) easily captured both Gulfstream starts for Todd Pletcher. He is an obvious threat if he handles synthetic ground but probably won’t offer much value.

Pletcher also has #5 Holiday Promise (12-1). He donned the hood and landed the place when last seen at Laurel Park Feb 20.

#7 Ill Conceived (8-1) just missed in the Battaglia, the local prep for this. He will not get away with an easy lead this time and might find nine panels a bit much.

#9 Tizanexpense (15-1) failed to fire from post 11 in the G2 Risen Star last time. He was making steady progress before that and is not without a chance in a tough handicapping puzzle. Michael Maker conditions the son of Tiznow.

Maker also saddles #10 Mr. Prankster (12-1) and leading Fair Grounds jockey Rosie Napravnik is in to ride. He flopped in the Battaglia but won back-to-back local stakes races before that.

#8 Coach Royal (15-1) dons the hood and goes turf/synthetic. The is ambitious spot for the well-bred maiden.

#6 All Squared Away (30-1) will likely attend the pace for sharp SoCal trainer Peter Miller. He faded in the El Camino Real and will probably do the same today.

#2 Red Jack (30-1) has dropped all four starts this year for Wayne Lukas. He graduated in a turf route and failed to fire in lone all-weather route last year.

The Plays: $20 to win/place #11 Stealcase