12/28/08 - Justwhistledixie Whistles in Ruthless

Courtesy of the Blood-Horse
By Francis LaBelle Jr.
JUSTWHISTLEDIXIE, the most accomplished of the field Sunday, proved to be a deserving favorite as she scored a 3 ½-length victory over Gnome’s Delight in the 32nd running of the $70,795 Ruthless Stakes for three-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and Lakland Farm, the Dixie Union filly overtook longshot Indian Rush, who had gone the first quarter in 22.41 and the half in 46.05 on Aqueduct’s fast inner dirt track. With jockey Rajiv Maragh in the irons, Justwhistledixie ran by her target and was never seriously challenged, as she completed the sprint in 1:10.81 for her third straight victory after two losses.

“It was a great ride by Rajiv today,” said Artie Magnusson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “We’re certainly happy to have [Justwhistleddixie] in the stable. Our goal is the Cicada Stakes in March (Grade 3, $100,000, March 14, six furlongs at Aqueduct) – there might be a chance she’ll run back once more, but the goal is the Cicada.”

Maragh said that the win, before 3,319 fans, was fairly straightforward.

“The trip was really pretty simple,” said Maragh, whose mount returned $2.80. “I was on the big favorite, she had a good post, and she has natural speed. The other horse rushed up to take the lead and that gave me the opportunity to use her as a target. Once she made the lead, the race was basically over. I put away the stick at the sixteenth pole, but she started looking at something, so I tapped her once.”


10/11/08 - Alwajeeha Takes QE II Under Velazquez

Courtesy of the Blood-Horse
by Jason Shandler
Alwajeeha Takes QE II Under Velazquez
Alwajeeha repels all challengers in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Shadwell Stable's homebred Alwajeeha stalked the pace under John Velazquez, took over coming out of the turn, and held off a host of 3-year-old fillies to win the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) ( by 1 1/4 lengths Oct. 11 at Keeneland. The victory was especially sweet for Velazquez, who was involved in a bad spill just eight days before in Lexington.

Backseat Rhythm closed well to finish second, just in front of My Princess Jess. The final time for nine furlongs on the "firm" course was 1:48.09.
In a race without much speed, Alwajeeha sat comfortably behind pacesetter Storm Mesa, who posted fractions of :23.38, :47.17, and 1:11.61. My Baby Baby and Ariege, the post time favorite, were also close up early on, while Closeout made a strong bid on the far turn.
When they came off the turn, Storm Mesa could not keep pace with Alwajeeha, who took a 1 1/2-length advantage with a furlong to go. Closeout, My Princess Jess, and Backseat Rhythm, who was sixth at the top of the lane, all gave chase in the final sixteenth, but it was too late.

It was remarkable that Velazquez was even able to ride Alwajeeha a little more than a week after being hospitalized due to a serious spill at Keeneland. The veteran jockey was briefly knocked unconscious after his mount, Tap Dancing, fell during the seventh race Oct. 3. Velazquez ultimately suffered a concussion from the fall, but avoided serious injury.

“I’m very blessed that nothing really very serious happened to me," Velazquez said. "Thanks to Keeneland and everybody at the hospital. They treated me very well, and they really took good care of me.
"The filly did it great. We wanted to be close to the lead. After that, every time I asked her for a little more, she kept giving it to me. I was very, very impressed with her.”

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Alwajeeha entered the QE II off a sixth-place finish in the Garden City Handicap (gr. IT) Sept. 6 at Belmont, where she was five lengths back of Backseat Rhythm. The daughter of Dixieland Band had won just one of six starts this season, that coming four starts back in the Appalachian (gr. IIIT) April 16 at Keeneland.

Bred in Kentucky and out of the Seattle Slew mare Ridaa, Alwajeeha is now 3-3-0 from nine starts. She has earned $486,927.

“She got things her way today," said Rick Nichols, vice president of Shadwell. "Nice firm turf—she likes it that way. Johnny rode a great race. We figured since she won the (Appalachian) here in the spring that she’d matured enough to get the extra eighth of a mile."

Going off at odds of 11-1, Alwajeeha returned $25.20, $11.20, and $8.40. The exacta (4-8) with second choice Backseat Rhythm returned $174, while the trifecta (4-8-11) was worth $1,191.40.

9/15/08 -Team McLaughlin Takes Home the Saratoga Training Title

Kiaran McLaughlin enjoyed another career milestone at the recently concluded Saratoga meet when he won his first career spa training title with 17 winners, edging out his longtime friend Todd Pletcher on the final weekend of the season.

"It was a great thrill. It ranks right up there with the best of my career accomplishments," McLaughlin said. "We went in thinking we had a shot-we knew the kind of stock that we had, and the way the horses were capable of running, so we were optimistic. But then Steve (Asmussen) got off to that hot start, winning four races in the first few days and the talk kind of quieted down. But I think after the Travers card we started chirping again that we could do it." McLaughlin started out slow, winning six races through the first 18 days of the 36-day meet, but caught fire-and everyone in front of him-during the second-half of the meet.

Though the success was spread around through all divisions, it was the 2-year-olds that put McLaughlin over the top. Whereas in years past the strategy was to slowly develop the juveniles for longer assuagements down the road, Saratoga 2008 signaled a changing of the times. McLaughlin sent out five 2-year-old debut winners, many of which have the trainer excited about not only the present, but the future as well.

"To me, the biggest highlight was the success we had with the 2-year-olds. That's special to me because we haven't been that big with them in the past," McLaughlin said. "That's not an area we have stressed as much in the past, so it was nice to see those runners perform the way they did and give us a lot to look forward to in the future."

McLaughlin won with three Darley first-time starters and all showed considerable promise and talent that has everyone involved thinking big. Girolamo, a beautifully-bred son of A.P. Indy, was the first of the Darley contingent to get the ball rolling, taking an August 16 maiden by a convincing 3 1/4 lengths with a late rally that suggests he should only improve with added distance later this fall.

Regal Ransom was next in line for Darley. The grand-looking son of Distorted Humor won at first-asking on August 25, wiring a field of classy maidens, and is headed to Keeneland and the Grade I Breeders' Futurity on October 4.

Majestic Blue rounded things out for Darley on August 27, with a determined three-quarter-length score. The son of Forestry heads to Monmouth Park for the $200,000 NATC Futurity on September 27 for his next assignment.

"It's nice to see the Darley program coming around. We laid the foundation down four or five years ago and now it's really starting to pay off. We had some nice winners who will become good horses down the road too, especially as the distances get farther, so that was important. Horses like Girolamo, Regal Ransom and Majestic Blue are all really nice, really talented, and it was nice to see them run that way at first-asking." In addition to the three from Darley Charitable Man, a son of Lemon Drop Kid, won his debut on August 10, in arguably the most impressive performance of any 2-year-old at Saratoga this summer. He went to the front immediately and widened at every call en route to an 11 1/2-length win. He'll start next in the Grade II Futurity at Belmont on September 13, along with Girolamo.

Rereadthefootnotes also made his debut a winning one, taking a New York-bred maiden on August 3 by 2 1/4 lengths and will eye a start in the Grade III Sapling at Monmouth on August 31.

All told McLaughlin won with 17 of his 62 starters, bettering Pletcher by two wins, while registering an impressive 27-percent strike rate. In addition to the bevy of 2-year-old winners he also took a pair of Grade II stakes; the Vanderbilt with Shadwell Stable’s Lucky Island and the Bernard Baruch with Shadwell’s Shakis, who won the race for the second year in a row.

9/13/08 - Charitable Man surges clear for Futurity win

Courtesy of the Thoroughbred Times

Charitable Man swept into contention with a five-wide bid on the turn, seized command with one furlong to run, and edged clear to win the $250,000 Futurity Stakes (G2) on Saturday at Belmont Park.

The Lemon Drop Kid colt held off game runner-up Flying Pegasus, who battled on the inside of the winner to deep stretch. Charitable Man crossed the finish line under a vigorous hand ride from Alan Garcia one length in front while covering seven furlongs in 1:24.30 on a track rated as good.

Charitable Man entered off a gate-to-wire 11 1/4-length debut victory at Saratoga Race Course on August 10.

He demonstrated the ability to rate in the Futurity and after his professional effort, Garcia gave him a strong endorsement.

“He wants to go longer,” Garcia said. “He’s going to the Kentucky Derby (G1).”

Garcia positioned Charitable Man off the pace, in sixth then fourth, as High Mesa set a solid tempo of :22.87 for the opening quarter and :46.97 for a half-mile while closely pressed by Kensei and Flying Pegasus.

Charitable Man advanced on the outside and loomed menacingly at the quarter pole. High Mesa and Kensei yielded in the stretch and left Flying Pegasus and Charitable Man to vie for supremacy. Charitable Man surged clear with one furlong to run to win his stakes debut.

Friesan Fire finished another 2 3/4 lengths back in third.

Bill and Suzanne Warren’s Charitable Man was one of two impressive maiden winners representing trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in the Futurity. Darley Stable’s Girolamo, who entered off a 3 1/2-length debut win at Saratoga on September 16, finished a nonthreatening fourth under John Velazquez.

“We’re just very happy that one of them won, and Alan chose the right one,” McLaughlin said. “Girolamo ran well, too. He kind of had trouble. Charitable Man is a very nice horse with very nice owners. Hopefully, he will have a very bright future. He was a little wide the whole way, which didn’t help him.”

While Girolamo will most likely be sent to Dubai, McLaughlin plans to run Charitable Man in $400,000 Champagne Stakes (G1) on October 4.

With the $150,000 winner’s share of the Futurity purse, Charitable Man increased his bankroll to $187,200.

Edward Evans bred Charitable Man in Virginia. He is out of the stakes-winning Saint Ballado mare Charitabledonation.

8/23/08 - Shakis scores repeat victory in Bernard Baruch

by Ron Parker

Shadwell Stable’s homebred Shakis (Ire) charged past runner-up War Monger in deep stretch on Saturday to win the $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) at Saratoga Race Course and earn his second consecutive victory in the 1 1/8-mile turf race.

The 2008 Bernard Baruch was the second graded stakes victory for Shakis since he was shipped to the United States in the first half of 2007 and joined trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s barn.

“We just wish they ran the Bernard Baruch twice a year,” McLaughlin said.

Thorn Song was quickest out of the gate in the ten-horse field and dictated the pace while posting fractions of :48.17 for a half-mile and 1:11.67  through six furlongs while Shakis was reserved in eighth under Alan Garcia.

As Thorn Song passed the mile marker in 1:35.26, the stretch runners launched their moves with War Monger surging for home as the most ominous threat. He came up to challenge Thorn Song in what appeared to be a winning move, but behind them Garcia gave Shakis his cue and he responded eagerly.

The eight-year-old Machiavellian horse closed with a rush for a three-quarter length victory, completing 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.78 on firm turf.

War Monger finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of late-running Operation Red Dawn.

Shakis had not visited the winner’s circle since last year’s Bernard Baruch. He closed out his 2007 campaign with a third-place finish in the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (G1) at Keeneland Race Course and was unplaced in three previous graded stakes races this year.

“He’s really been unlucky,” McLaughlin said. “His first race back, he was ten-wide at Keeneland. Then, we went to Pimlico [Race Course] and he had a rough trip. He ran back in three weeks on short rest going ten furlongs. [But] this is what he wants to do. Alan [Garcia] did a great job.”

Out of the winning Nashwan mare Tawaaded (Ire), Shakis increased his earnings to $685,532 with seven wins in 32 starts.


7/25/08 - Abraaj Breaks Through in Vanderbilt

by Jack Shinar

Favored Abraaj, under a vigorous ride from Alan Garcia, earned his first stakes victory when he rallied from far off the pace to win the $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga July 26.

With no Bustin Stones to worry about after the race favorite was scratched due to a stone bruise, the job for the Shadwell Stable 5-year-old was made considerably easier for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

On top of that, the maiden winner Sammarco fired out of the starting gate and ensured a wicked pace as Black Seventeen and First Defence hurried to keep up. Abraaj showed no interest in running with those and it wasn't until Garcia began going to work on the favorite early on the turn that he showed much notice at all. After fractions of :22.06 and :44.57, a tired group of front-runners could not match strides as Abraaj, who swung five wide at the quarter pole and stormed down the center of the track under much urging to a 2 1/2-length victory. The final time was 1:10.23.

"I don’t know why he wasn’t running smooth early," Garcia said. "When I started riding him, he finally started to get going. Then, he just kept going and ran very, very good.”

Abraaj earned a berth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 25 with the win in the Vanderbilt, which is part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series.

"It’s great for a trainer and owner to know that they are in (for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint)," McLaughlin said. "They don’t have to worry about points or graded earnings. When you’re in, you can adjust your schedule accordingly.”

First Defence finished second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of 21-1 shot Sammarco, who nosed Thor's Echo and Black Seventeen for third. E Z Warrior stumbled at the break and finished last.

"Once he started running, I thought the leader had to slow down," McLaughlin said of the winner. "I felt good at the quarter pole."

Eighth in last year's Vanderbilt, Abraaj was coming off a strong third-place finish in the True North Handicap at Belmont Park June 7. The son of Carson City--Kris's Intention (Kris S.) rallied to finish just a half-length behind division leader Benny the Bull. The bay improved to 5-4-2 in 13 starts with earnings of $338,050.

“Abraaj needed time off from the Vanderbilt last year," McLaughlin said. "The time off did him good. He put on weight, he looks great and sound."

Bred in Kentucky by Kidder, J. Griggs and J. Mamakos, Abraaj paid $5.40, $3.10 and $2.40. First Defence, a grade III winner in his previous start for trainer Bobby Frankel, returned $4.10 and $3, with Sammarco paying $5.10 to show.

7/6/08 - Genuine Devotion Takes Locust Grove

by Jason Shandler

Making her first start around two turns was no problem at all for Irish-bred Genuine Devotion, as she broke from the rail and led every step of the way to take the $171,750 Locust Grove Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by a half-length July 6 at Churchill Downs.

Owned by James Barry and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Genuine Devotion has now won four in a row, but the Locust Grove – the spring meet’s closing day feature – was her first graded score. The 4-year-old daughter of Rock of Gibraltar covered a mile in 1:35.76 on the firm Matt Winn Turf Course with Alan Garcia aboard. It was not Garcia’s first and only mount of the 52-day meet, but his first ever at Churchill.

Pin Oak Stable’s homebred mare Brownie Points came four-wide into the stretch to make a determined closing bid under Luis Quinonez, but wound up just short. Bayou’s Lassie was another 2 1/4 lengths back in third, with Say You Will, also bred in Ireland, finishing fourth in a field of 10.

Genuine Devotion entered the Locust Grove in fine form, winning three straight six-furlong sprints on the Belmont turf. Included in those were a gate-to-wire triumph in the Oct. 14 Xtra Heat Handicap, which concluded her sophomore season. After being off for more than seven months, the bay filly returned in the May 17 Upper Noosh Stakes and won by 1 1/4 lengths as the favorite.

Going off as the favorite once again in the Locust Grove, Genuine Devotion was sensible in posting fractions of :23.84, :47.52, and 1:11.38. Three-time graded winner Bayou’s Lassie tracked under Robby Albarado, while Tears I Cry was sitting nicely in the three hole and was never far behind. Those three were not separated by much as they came out of the far turn, but Genuine Devotion easily repulsed their bids. Brownie Points, who entered off a victory in the May 26 Ouija Board Handicap (gr. IIIT), was the longtime leader’s only threat in the stretch, but she ran out of room.

"My filly was very comfortable today and I had a lot of horse," Garcia said. "At the quarter pole, I asked her and she was running and she began to pick it up and I looked back and nobody was coming and she got the job done. The trainer did an outstanding job with the filly and had a lot of confidence in her to bring her to Kentucky. I am so happy my filly got the job done.”

McLaughlin said: “We were a little concerned about (the distance) but we thought she would get a mile okay. She is just a very talented filly and Alan did a great job of trying to slow her down as much as he could and save something for the finish. She ran very well, she likes firm turf, soft turf, she actually ran huge on the dirt her first start of her life.”

Bred by Lynch Bages and Elite Bloodstock, Genuine Devotion is out of the Black Tie Affair mare Starlight Dreams. She was purchased for $90,000 at the Keeneland 2005 September yearling sale. She is 5-0-0 from eight lifetime starts (four-for-five on turf) and has earned $275,725.


7/4/08 - Lucky Island Cruises in Tom Fool

by Deirdre B. Biles

Lucky Island showed his greed for speed in the $161,000 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO), grabbing the lead after bursting out of the starting gate from the one hole and rolling to a 4 1/4 –length victory, without a serious challenge, July 4 at Belmont Park in New York. It was the fourth consecutive victory for the 4-year-old Argentine-bred son of Lucky Roberto and the Equalize mare Ebrolize.

The Tom Fool winner hasn’t been beaten this year.

“My horse was so sharp, and he broke so good,” said jockey Alan Garcia, who was aboard Lucky Island. “I had a ton of horse all the way around. When I asked him at the end, he acted like the race was just starting again. I was so confident with him. He had a little adjusting to do from Argentina, but now he loves it here.”

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Shadwell Stable’s Lucky Island covered seven furlongs in 1:22.73. The second betting choice in the field of five, the colt paid $5.00, $2.80, and $2.20. The slight favorite, Tasteyville, who paid $2.50 and $2.10, finished second, one length in front of Premium Wine ($2.20), who was followed by Starforaday and Council Member.

“You know, he broke so sharp; that was the key,” said McLaughlin of Lucky Island. “We thought we might be cleared, but Alan did a great job of getting him away from there.”

The dark bay or brown colt’s next target, according to the trainer, is the seven-furlong Forego Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 30.

Bred by Arroyo de Luna, Lucky Island raced just one time in his native land, winning a maiden race by nine lengths. He made his first start in the Shadwell colors in this country last December, finishing last of seven in a 6 ½-furlong allowance/optional claiming event at Calder Race Course. Going into that race, McLaughlin said the plan was to send Lucky Island to Dubai to compete, so the colt wasn’t treated with the diuretic Salix (formerly known as Lasix), which isn’t permitted on race day in that country. The colt, ridden by Elvis Trujillo, stumbled at the start and was forced to steady, and he also bled internally a “little bit,” according to his trainer.

Since then, Lucky Island has run on Salix and been undefeated with Garcia in the irons. The colt kicked off his 2008 campaign with a 2 ¼-length triumph at six furlongs at Gulfstream Park in February. Next he won at seven furlongs at Aqueduct in April. In his last outing prior to the Tom Fool, Lucky Island wore down front-running Man of Danger en route to a 2 ¼-length victory in the May 10 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) at six furlongs at Belmont.

In the Tom Fool, Lucky Island carried the top weight of 118 pounds. He set brisk early fractions of :22.84 and :45:37 with Tasteyville and his jockey, Michael Luzzi, in pursuit. But by the stretch call, Lucky Island had increased his advantage over that rival from one length after a half-mile to three lengths. He drew off as the wire approached.

Lucky Island, who is developing into one of the nation’s top sprinters, has career earnings of $224,942.

Divine Park powers past Commentator to prevail in Met Mile

Courtesy of the Thoroughbred TImes
by Mike Curry

Divine Park swept into contention entering the stretch and surged past game pacesetter Commentator in the final sixteenth for a two-length victory on Monday in the $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park.

The lightly raced four-year-old Chester House colt earned his first career Grade 1 victory and improved to six wins in eight starts for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and owner James Barry.

“He is an outstanding horse. From day one, we never lost confidence in him,” McLaughlin said. “The five pounds [from Commentator] helped us out a lot.”

Divine Park more than doubled his career earnings to $607,935 with the $360,000 winner’s share in the history-rich Met Mile, which has been won by champions such as Forego, Conquistador Cielo, Gulch, Criminal Type, Holy Bull, Aldebaran, and Ghostzapper.

Jockey Alan Garcia reserved Divine Park in fifth as Grade 1 winner Commentator set a blistering pace through a half-mile in :44.52 and six furlongs in 1:09.61. First Defence accelerated ahead to challenge Commentator on the turn but after the seven-year-old Distorted Humor gelding repelled that bid in early stretch, he had little stamina left to hold off Divine Park.

Divine Park steadily closed in on Commentator approaching the eighth pole and swept past in the closing strides to prevail in 1:36.91 on a track rated as fast.

“[First Defence] put a lot of pressure on us, first inside to make us three-wide, and then outside,” said Nick Zito, who trains Commentator. “It was just too much pressure on us. It took him out of his race, and carrying top weight [122 pounds] didn’t help. But I’m not complaining. He’s a great horse and I’m very proud.”

The winning time was the second slowest since 1973. Exciting Story won the Met Mile in 1:37.14 in 2001.

Divine Park reeled off three straight wins to begin his career, including a 3 1/4-length win in the 2007 Withers Stakes (G3) in his stakes debut. He closed last season with an unplaced finish in the Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park and opened this year with a disappointing seventh-place finish in the General George Handicap (G2) on February 18 at Laurel Park.

After getting back on track with a clear win in allowance race on March 28 at Aqueduct, Divine Park showed he was back in top form entering the Met Mile with a five-length romp in the Westchester Handicap (G3) on April 30 at Belmont.

“This race was a little close to the Westchester, but when you have a prestigious race like the Met Mile, whether 22 days or 26 days, you just have to go for it,” McLaughlin said. “He’s a great horse.”

Bred in Kentucky by Runnymeade Farm and Catesby Clay, Divine Park is out of the winning Ascot Knight mare High in the Park.


Cowgirls Don't Cry cruises in the Shuvee.


Jeff Singer’s Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry went straight to the front and never looked back, scoring the $150,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) by 2 1/4 lengths under Mike Luzzi to earn the biggest win of her career May 17 at Belmont Park.

Sent off at 10-1, Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry earned her first graded stakes victory while Luzzi notched win number 2,999 for his career. One race later, Luzzi achieved his milestone victory when he guided 3-year-old gelding Too Tough Pete to a maiden triumph.

A 4-year-old daughter of Pure Prize, Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.

Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry entered the one-mile main track event off a third-place effort in the April 19 Bed o’ Roses Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct, where she was 3 3/4 lengths back of Rite Moment, who was made the 3-2 favorite in the Shuvee. Prior to that, Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry was last in the Next Move Handicap (gr. III), also at Aqueduct, as she was eased in the stretch. Wow Me Free won that race and was the 2-1 second choice in the Shuvee as a result.

But on this day things were much different. There was nobody to challenge the chestnut filly in the early going, as she broke well from post two and clicked off comfortable fractions of :23.76, :47.67 and 1:12.55. Taking the easiest route around the Belmont oval, Luzzi kept her close to the fence, with Striking Tomisue closest through the backstretch. But the pacesetter had an easy three-length advantage heading into the straightaway.

Under Rajiv Maragh, Rite Moment was third heading into the drive, and the Vicar filly began extender her stride. For a brief time it looked like she was going to corral the leader, but Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry found more in the final sixteenth, maintaining her clear lead to the wire.

The final time was 1:37.31. Rite Moment was second, 2 3/4 lengths in front of Wow Me Free.

“That’s a nice milestone,” Luzzi said. “I got my family here and they’re all happy for me. It’s been fun. I’m, not done yet. Maybe we can get a few thousand more. Anyway, we’ll try for 3,001 tomorrow.”

The winner paid $22.40, $7.70 and $3.70. The exacta (2-7) was worth $75, while the trifecta (2-7-6) returned $219.50.

Bred in Kentucky by Greg and Steve Justice, Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry is out of the Crafty Prospector mare Emphatic Style. She was purchased for $105,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale of 2006. She was trained by both Trudy Feliciano and Todd Pletcher before McLaughlin took over conditioning duties late last year.

“I was surprised that the pace wasn’t very fast,” said McLaughlin, who also trains Wow Me Free. “I thought that there was more speed in the race and that it set up better for Wow Me Free. But we got the money – that’s the important thing.

“We really had no plan for Cowgirls Don’t Cry. This was the plan. Now, I guess we’ll probably run her back on June 14 ($300,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap, gr. I, Belmont Park).”

Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry, who opened her 4-year-old campaign by winning in allowance company Feb. 14 at Aqueduct, is now 4-1-1 from eight starts. She has banked $212,702 in earnings.

Upper Noosh: It's Genuine Devotion

By Dave Litfin

Earlier, the McLaughlin-trained Genuine Devotion ($4.40) won the $79,500 Upper Noosh Stakes for fillies and mares under Alan Garcia, confirming she loves turf sprints at Belmont and doesn't care what the course conditions are. Genuine Devotion, who won at Belmont on firm and good turf last fall, including the $105,000 Xtra Heat Stakes, handled soft going nicely to improve to 3 for 3 on Belmont turf. She stalked second choice Christmas Kid through the opening half-mile, drew clear into the stretch, and held off 12-1 longshot Weeks by 1 1/4 lengths. Any Limit was third. Genuine Devotion ran six furlongs in 1:10.72.--


Lucky Island Rolls to Bold Ruler Win

by Claire Novak

Shadwell Stable’s Lucky Island wore down the frontrunning Man of Danger and got his third consecutive victory when he took the $109,100 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Belmont Park May 10.

Under Alan Garcia,  the 4-year-old son of Lucky Roberto settled in fourth on the rail, following a pace set by Man of Danger. That one went straight to the front and led through early fractions of :21.95 and :45.06, tracked by favored Executive Fleet and Gold and Roses.

Angling out on the turn, Lucky Island made his bid at the eighth pole and drew clear against a five-wide move from Forefathers.   

"He’s a very nice horse," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "The first time we ran him, he bled. We were thinking of sending him to Dubai, which is why he ran without Lasix. Now, he is 3-for-3 for us on Lasix. This was a big step up...(but) he proved he belonged. He looked great in there. By the fall, we could stretch him out. We’ll keep him sprinting for now."

Lucky Island covered the six furlongs over Belmont's dirt surface in 1:09.14, finishing 2 1/4 lengths ahead of his competition when asked to draw off with a few strokes of the whip.

"Kiaran (McLaughlin) did a great job with this horse," Garcia said. "I thought he was the best horse coming into the race, and the race set up for me really, really good. My horse was a little slow early, but I managed to save ground. Turning for home, I knew I had the best horse.”

It was the fourth win from five career starts for the lightly-raced Lucky Island, who was bred in Argentina by Arroyo de Luna out of the Equalize mare Ebrolize. He broke his maiden by nine lengths at first asking in his native country, covering six furlongs on the turf in 1:09.21, and was purchased by Shadwell following that impressive score.

In his first U.S. start, Lucky Island stumbled badly at the start of a Dec. 29 allowance race at Calder and, as McLaughlin mentioned, also bled while not racing on Lasix. Given a fair chance at each of his following races, however, he scored convincingly by 2 1/4 lengths in a Feb. 15 allowance at Gulfstream, and by 4 1/2 lengths in an April 5 allowance at Aqueduct.

Lucky Island earned $65,460 for the Bold Ruler victory and nearly doubled his earnings to $134,942.

Sent off as the third choice, Lucky Island returned $9.20, $6, and $4.60, while Man of Danger paid $8.20 and $5.50 under John Velazquez and Forefathers brought $4 with Kent Desormeaux. Council Member, Callmetony, Executive Fleet, and Gold and Roses completed the order of finish.

Divine Park romps to victory in Westchester

Courtesy of NYRA
by Francis LaBelle

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is not one to disrespect a racehorse, especially one that has shown the toughness that Grasshopper had displayed in his career.

McLaughlin, however, did not believe Grasshopper to be a one-mile horse, and that meant that he felt his own charge, James J. Berry’s Divine Park, had a better than average chance of pulling off an upset in Wednesday afternoon’s 80th running of the Grade 3, $109,100 Westchester Handicap to open Belmont Park’s 59-day Spring/Summer meet.

Divine Park proved McLaughlin right.

Under a confident ride by jockey Alan Garcia, Divine Park was allowed to sit off Saint Daimon’s pace of 22.45; 44.65 and 1:09.14, before taking charge to win by five lengths in 1:32.74 on the fast main track

“He really wanted to go that fast,” Garcia said. “In the early part, he was so relaxed and I was so confident. When I asked him, he was just perfect.”

It was the fifth win in seven starts for the 4-year-old Chester House colt, who had excuses in his two losses, the Grade 1 Malibu at Santa Anita last December and the Grade 2 General George at Laurel on Feb. 18.

“He’s a very nice horse,” said winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, as Divine Park paid $7.90 to win. “We’ve always liked him a lot. In the Malibu, he was coming off an eight-month layoff and drew the 14-hole and it wasn’t that bad of a race. In Laurel, he broke through gate. The next two races, however, are great!”

McLaughlin has tentatively set the Grade 1, $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap at a mile here on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, as the next stop for Divine Park.



Golden Velvet Smooth in Sixty Sails


Golden Velvet turned the tables on rival Tessa Blue, but only after gutting it out in a neck-and-neck battle with that one in the $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III)(VIDEO) at Hawthorne Race Course.
The 5-year-old Darley homebred, by Seeking the Gold out of the Storm Cat mare Caress, was third to Tessa Blue’s runner-up effort in the Rampart Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park when the two last raced March 9. This time, going the same distance, it was Golden Velvet who came out ahead – by 3 ½ lengths.
Third at the start under Eibar Coa, Golden Velvet remained in that position while Tessa Blue led through a quarter in :23.97. She moved up to second for a half in :48.31, moving off the rail to catch the leader on the turn. Those two moved together down the stretch, brushing slightly as a gritty Tessa Blue finally conceded her advantage. It was 2 ¾ lengths back to the third-place finisher, Kathleens Reel. The final time was 1:51.30.
Golden Velvet paid $5.80, $3 and $2.40. Tessa Blue returned $2.60 and $2.20, while Kathleens Reel brought $6.
The Sixty Sails score brought Golden Velvet’s career record to 4-2-4 from 12 starts for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Her earnings now total $269,309.


Alwajeeha Holds Off Rival in Appalachian

Courtesy of the Blood Horse
by Jason Shandler

Shadwell Stable’s homebred Alwajeeha outdueled I Lost My Choo in deep stretch and then held off a late bid by Sweepstake, taking the $125,000 Appalachian Stakes (gr. IIIT) by a head April 16 on the Keeneland turf.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Alwajeeha captured the one-mile Appalachian while making her graded stakes debut. The 3-year-old daughter of Dixieland Band completed the eight furlongs under John Velazquez in 1:37.37 on a turf labeled ‘firm.’

Flying Zee Stable’s I Lost My Choo finished third as the betting favorite after taking the lead into the top of the stretch. The Western Expression filly dueled hard, but probably cost herself a fourth consecutive victory on the first turn, when she threw her head wildly while losing ground under Edgar Prado. Sweepstake made a late run from the outside to finish a nose in front of I Lost My Choo.

Alwajeeha was making her fifth career start. She broke her maiden at Aqueduct back in November and then finished second in her first two sophomore starts, most recently finishing 2 ½ lengths back Feb. 22 in allowance company on the Gulfstream Park turf.

John Perrotta’s Mrs Petoski broke sharply from post 12 to grab the early lead, and carried that advantage through six furlongs. Mrs Petoski posted fractions of :24.54, :49.49 and 1:14.30. Despite her troubles in the early going, I Lost My Choo was in stalking position the entire way, while Fashion Rocks, Sweepstake and Much Obliged were also close up.

I Lost My Choo put away Mrs Petoski by the time they straightened away, but it was not long before she was challenged by Alwajeeha, who made her four-wide move out of the turn. With I Lost My Choo on the rail, those two dueled to the wire until Alwajeeha got the jump in the final strides. After being blocked in at the rail and then angling out under Garrett Gomez, Sweepstake made a bold run in the final sixteenth that was a bit too late.

"She’s super filly,” said Neal McLaughlin, assistant and brother of the trainer. “I want to congratulate Rick Nichols (vice president of Shadwell Stable) for talking to Kiaran. We decided to scratch her out of a race last week and run in the stakes today. He was right. She’s a stakes filly. We’re going to have a lot of fun with her this year.”

Out of the Seattle Slew mare Ridaa, Alwajeeha was making her second stakes appearance. In her 3-year-old debut Jan. 1, she finished second in the Tropical Park Oaks at Calder Race Course.



Keep Laughing reeled in pacesetter Eaton’s Gift in the stretch and held off a belated bid from fast-closing Hatta Fort (GB) to win the $110,300 Lafayette Stakes by a nose on Sunday at Keeneland Race Course.

Keep Laughing made his stakes debut for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in the seven-furlong Lafayette, which drew seven three-year-olds.

Vision Racing’s and Brandon Perry’s dark bay or brown Distorted Humor colt entered off a 6 1/4-length score in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race on March 5 at Gulfstream Park. Keep Laughing finished second in his career debut on February 7 at Gulfstream Park.

Keep Laughing stalked the pace from third under John Velazquez as Eaton’s Gift drilled an opening quarter in :22.92 and a half-mile in :46.08.

Hatta Fort was reserved in seventh and even-money favorite Kodiak Kowboy, a multiple graded stakes winner and the third-place finisher in the 2007 Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), was rated in sixth then fifth.

Keep Laughing moved up to second in early stretch and seized command at the sixteenth pole, but Hatta Fort closed with a rush in his United States debut. Keep Laughing narrowly held off the challenge to prevail in 1:22.26 on the all-weather Polytrack surface.

“Every time I asked him, he just gave it to me,” Velazquez said. “I was a little bit cautious with him coming down the stretch because I knew if he took the lead it would be a little too early; he’s going to start to wait for other horses.”

Hatta Fort, winner of the Weatherbys Superlative Stakes (Eng-G2) on July 13 at Newmarket, was 2 3/4 lengths clear of Eaton’s Gift. Kodiak Kowboy rallied six wide into the stretch but flattened out and finished a nonthreatening fourth.

A full brother to Grade 2 winner It’s No Joke, Keep Laughing has earned $100,386 in three starts this season. Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, Keep Laughing is out of multiple Grade 3 winner It’s Personal, by Personal Flag.

4/5/08 - Little Belle re-rallies to take the Ashland over Bsharpsonata.


Darley Stabe’s Little Belle battled back in the stretch to fend off Bsharpsonata to capture Saturday’s Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland by a hard-fought neck. The 3-year-old A.P. Indy filly re-rallied to get the 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack in 1:43.69.

Little Belle broke well under jockey Rajiv Maragh and quickly overtook Bsharpsonata for the lead as as the seven-horse field pass the stands for the first time.

“I wanted to get a good position and no really wanted the lead, so I went for it,” Maragh said.

Little Belle took the field through the opening quarter and half-mile in :24.95 and :49.52. Eric Camacho inched Bsharpsonata up to challenge the leader after six furlongs in 1:13.46.

“I knew she hadn’t kicked in yet, so I felt confident,” Maragh said of the winner.

As the two turned for home, Bsharpsonata took the advantage, but Little Belle fought back along the rail to get the victory.

It was 2 1/2 lengths back to second choice Proud Spell in third in the $500,000 Ashland. Life is Sweet,a full sister to champion 2-year-old filly Sweet Catomine, was fourth by a head. Country Star, the favorite and winner of last year’s Darley Alcibiades (gr. II) and Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I), was next, 2 ¼ lengths behind Life is Sweet. She was followed by Absolutely Cindy and African Violet.

It was an afternoon for longshots for 3-year-old colts in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) and Illinois Derby (gr. II), and Little Belle helped bury the chalk in front of 23,895 at Keeneland. Little regarded at the windows, Little Belle paid $34.20, $11, and $5. Bsharpsonata paid $5.60 and $3.60. Proud Spell, winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) March 8, returned $2.40 to show. The 2-4 exacta paid $177.40.

Trained by Lexington native Kiaran McLaughlin, Little Belle entered the Ashland off a win going the same distance in the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct Feb. 24. Prior to that effort, she had broken her maiden in the slop at Aqueduct Feb. 1.

“She deserved a chance,” said assistant Neal McLaughlin, and brother of the trainer, of the step up to grade I company. “It was a tough spot, but she delivered. We wanted to see if she’s an Oaks filly,”

Little Belle, a homebred, is out of the Mr. Prospector mare Dubai Belle.

The A.P. Indy fillies seem like they want to go a route,” McLaughlin said. “She’s in that same mold. She just wants to run all day.”

The 1 1/8-miles Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) will be run at Churchill Downs May 2.


Wow Me Free Rallies to Win Next Move H


Edward Seltzer’s Wow Me Free started slowly and trailed the field around the first turn, but the poor start did little to deter the daughter of Menifee, as she took over in mid-stretch and powered to a convincing 3 ½-length victory in the $104,400 Next Move Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) March 29 at Aqueduct.

A 4-year-old Kentucky homebred, Wow Me Free completed the 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track in 1:50.86 under Alan Garcia. It was her first graded stakes score and fifth win in 13 lifetime starts for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Race Favorite Runway Rosie finished second after briefly leading at the top of the stretch, 1 3/4 lengths in front of pacesetter Wild Hoots, who is also trained by McLaughlin. Stage Luck and the third McLaughlin trainee, Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry, completed the order of finish.

Wow Me Free spotted the field eight lengths after her poor start. Once she got going, Garcia decided to save ground, content to let Wild Hoots set early fractions of :23.33 and :47.57. Runway Rosie was in stalking position through the backstretch, while Stage Luck rated nicely in third.

Wow Me Free advanced along the rail as they went into the far turn and was in striking distance as Wild Hoots carried the field into the stretch in 1:11.88. As they straightened away Wild Hoots and Runway Rosie continued their duel, but Wow Me Free was swung wide and came roaring to the front before the sixteenth-pole. Garcia urged her to the wire for a last-to-first victory in her 4-year-old debut.

Wow Me Free entered the Next Move having not started since Dec. 15, when she won by a neck in the 1 ¼-mile Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct, her first start for McLaughlin.

“She had a couple of hiccups since her last race,” said McLaughlin’s assistant Art Magnuson.”She wasn’t moving quite as well as when she was sent down to us. She’s a pretty nice filly to run like this off the layoff. I assume she will go back up to Canada now. It was great to have her in the barn for a couple of months.”

Garcia said: “I was very confident in my filly. The first time I rode her in the Ladies, she was very skinny. She looked so much better today. I thought it was a different filly. Artie has done a great job with her. I knew I had a lot of horse coming off the turn.”

A $42,000 purchase at the 2005 Keenland September yearling sale, Wow Me Free has now earned $191,299. She is out of the With Approval mare Double Wow.


NEW YORK -- Divine Park pulled away to a 3 3/4-length win over Greeley's Legacy in the $53,900 allowance feature Friday at Aqueduct.

The victory ended a two-race losing streak for the 4-year-old, with both defeats coming in stakes races. Divine Park, ridden by Alan Garcia for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, responded to the easier assignment by earning his fourth win in six starts. The time was 1:40.40 for a mile and 70 yards on the fast track.

Divine Park, the even-money favorite, paid $4.20, $3.50 and $3.10. Greeley's Legacy returned $4.90 and $3.30. I Ain't No Saint paid $3.50 to show


Stream of Gold Steals Mac Diarmida 'Cap

by Jason Shandler

Last Updated: March 18, 2008 Zabeel Racing International’s Stream of Gold won for the first time in nearly three years, and recorded his first win on American soil March 16, as the 7-year-old gelding scored by a neck over True Cause in the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) on the Gulfstream Park turf.

An Irish-bred son of Rainbow Quest, Stream of Gold last won April 2, 2005, in England. He was 0-for-5 since coming to North America last summer, but was on the board in four of those efforts. Most recently, he was third in the Gulfstream Park Turf Stakes (gr. IT), missing by 3 ¼ lengths to Einstein Feb. 23.

In the Mac Diarmida, Stream of Gold broke last, came from off the pace, split horses at the top of the lane, and corralled longshot Cougar Bay at the sixteenth pole. Under Eddie Castro, he held off hard-charging True Cause in the final strides.

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Stream of Gold completed the 1 3/8-mile test in 2:10.87 on a firm turf, which was a course record for that distance. Godolphin Racing's True Cause was three-quarters of a length in front of Cougar Bay for second. French Vintage was fourth in the field of 12 older horses.

Presious Passion was a keen pacesetter in the early going, opening up a clear lead through the backstretch. The 5-year-old gelding posted ambitious fractions of :22.89, :45.46, and 1:10.08 for six furlongs. Drilling for Oil and Ascertain were hustling to stay close, followed by Barastraight and Silver Whistle.

As they went into turn, Ascertain and Barastraight passed the tiring leader, while Cougar Bay came up to challenge. Cougar Bay, with Eibar Coa aboard, was first as they entered the stretch and was going well with a furlong to go.

The 5-year-old Daylami gelding could not hold the lead however, as Stream of Gold was in the midst of his run and caught the leader with a half-furlong to go. He had just enough to hold off True Cause at the wire.

“He was slow at the break," Castro said. "I was a little worried about the fast pace. I stayed behind horses and at the three-eighths pole I had nice position. He just made one big run. I wasn’t concerned about the other horse at the wire. When I rode him last time (in the Gulfstream Park Turf), he quit at the eighth-pole. He was very good today.”

Out of the Irish River mare River Dancer, Stream of Gold was bred by Ballymacoll Stud Farm. The gelding improved to 4-5-2 from 19 career starts, which have come in four different countries. He upped his lifetime earnings to $647,699.

“He broke flat-footed and came out last, but he’s so versatile, he can do anything," said Neal McLaughlin, assistant to his brother Kiaran. "He’s a true marathoner. It turned out just fine with a fast pace up front, and he was able to get covered up, getting a perfect trip. If he gets to the front too soon, he’s liable to try and pull. Today, he got to the front at just the right time.

"He’s been training great and loves it here in Florida, where he can breeze every week on turf (at Palm Meadows). He’s a neat, old gelding that we should have a lot of fun with this year. His next start will probably be the Elkhorn at Keeneland (April 25)."

Stream of Gold was second to English Channel in the Sept. 30 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park, and was also a bridesmaid to Presious Passion in the W. L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) Dec. 15 at Calder Race Course.

Going off as the favorite, Stream of Gold paid $4.60, $3 and $2.20. The exacta (9-3) was worth $20, while the triecta (9-3-11) returned $95.60.

3/15/08 - Cicada: Carolyn's Cat Goes Gate-To-Wire

Courtesy if the Blood Horse
by Jason Shandler

Carolyn’s Cat won the expected early speed duel from Dill Or No Dill and then never looked back, going wire-to-wire for a 3 3/4-length victory in the $100,000 Cicada Stakes (gr. III) March 15 on the inner dirt course at Aqueduct.

Owned by William Warren Jr., Carolyn’s Cat completed the six-furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.16 under Alan Garcia. It was the first graded stakes triumph for the 3-year-old daughter of Forestry, and her second consecutive win.

Carolyn’s Cat entered the Cicada off a five-length victory in the Jan. 31 T Storm Stakes at Aqueduct, where she got the best of Winning Move Stable’s Dill Or No Dill. One race prior, Dill Or No Dill defeated Carolyn’s Cat by 5 1/2 lengths in the Ruthless Stakes.

Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Carolyn’s Cat, and Gary Contessa, Dill Or No Dill’s conditioner, both emphasized the importance of getting the early lead in the Cicada. Once Carolyn’s Cat won that battle, the tough part was over.

Bred in Kentucky by Summer Wind Farm, Carolyn’s Cat broke from post four and jumped to the front. She ran the first quarter in :22.26, with Dill Or No Dill, under Ramon Dominguez, stalking the pace. Throbbin’ Heart bobbled badly at the start, nearly throwing Stewart Elliott to the ground. She never recovered and was not a factor.

Contessa had the other two fillies in the five-horse field, True Intentions and Ready for Fortune, who were coupled for owner Dennis Narlinger.

Carolyn’s Cat continued her narrow advantage through a half-mile in :45.05 and opened up by two at the top of the lane. Dill Or No Dill could not keep pace and began to fall back as they entered the final furlong. The only threat was from Ready for Fortune, who came with a mild three-wide rally, but the More Than Ready filly was no match for Carolyn’s Cat.

“When my filly broke, that other horse (Throbbin’ Heart) came over a little bit and my horse came in a little bit,” Garcia said. “After that, today my filly was much the best.  My filly was comfortable.”

Ready for Fortune finished second under Mario Pino, 4 1/4 lengths in front of Dill Or No Dill. True Intentions was fourth.

Going off as the 7-5 favorite, Carolyn’s Cat paid $5.40 and $2.90 (There was no show wagering). The exacta (4-1A) returned $15.60.

Carolyn’s Cat won for the third time in six lifetime starts. Out of the Meadowlake mare People’s Princess, she was a $650,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga 2006 Select yearling sale.

“Mr. Warren has been very patient with this filly, and he told us all along that this would be a graded stakes filly,” said Artie Magnuson, assistant to McLaughlin, who was in his hometown of Lexington on Saturday, serving as grand marshall of the town’s St. Patrick’s Parade. “She’s grown up and matured over the last couple of months and she’s turned into the kind of horse Mr. Warren thought she would be. It looks like speed is her weapon.”


Little Belle Rings Up Victory In Busher

By Francis LaBelle Jr. | February 1, 2008

Trainer Gary Contessa had a strong hand for Sunday’s 29th running of the $81,600
Busher, entering three of the six three-year-old fillies in the mile and a sixteenth
feature race on Aqueduct’s inner dirt track.

He got trumped.

Jockey Rajiv Maragh put Darley Stable’s Little Belle in an ideal stalking position
and then had plenty left to hold off Sweet Vendetta and draw away to a 2 ¾-length
victory in 1:44.32 over the fast track. Little Belle returned $9.30 to win.

The victory, the second of Little Belle’s five-race career, gave Maragh a sweep on
the weekend’s stakes races at Aqueduct. Saturday, he won the Rare Treat Handicap
aboard the Contessa-trained Runway Rosie.

“When I first rode her, she was very young and immature, but I knew she was a horse
with a lot of natural talent,” Maragh said of Little Belle. “Today was her best yet;
she was focused and intent on winning. Every race has been a step forward.

“I didn’t want to take over too early. She has a tendency to look around when she
makes the lead. Once she did today, I wanted to keep her mind on running. ”

Love Co, part of Contessa’s 1-2 favorite entry with Deitis Day, appeared to be the
lone speed here, but was hooked briefly to the turn by longshot D J Lightning. She
quickly took the lead after an opening quarter of a mile of :23.57, as Little Belle
took up the chase on the outside. After a half of :47.70, Little Belle stayed no
worse than a length off the leader’s outside and was neck and neck with Love Co as
they reached the quarter pole.

From there, Little Belle got stronger, Love Co back off and Sweet Vendetta, who was
supplemented to this race, rallied through the middle of the track. Little Belle, a
daughter of 1992 Horse of the Year and Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy, kicked clear
for the win before the crowd of 3,560.

“She really has grown up over her last four races,” said Artie Magnuson, assistant
to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “After her second race, we let her dictate her own
future. We may have run her back a little quick for her second race. What’s next?
That’s a good question. She’s a graded-stakes type filly. It’s funny, after their
maiden win, you start thinking about the Whirlaway for the boys and this one for the
girls. Then, they win and you think, `Wow! We have a lot of options.’”

Darling Monique was third, followed by Love Co, Deities Day and D J Lightning.

Carolyn's Cat romps in T Storm Stakes at Aqueduct

Carolyn's Cat won the $65,950 T Storm Stakes at Aqueduct on Thursday, beating heavily favored Dill Or No Dill by five lengths. Carolyn's Cat won for the second time in five starts and was followed by Dill Or No Dill and Darling Monique in the race for 3-year-old fillies. On Jan. 6, in the Big A's Ruthless Stakes, Dill Or No Dill beat Carolyn's Cat by 5½ lengths. This time, Carolyn's Cat fended off a challenge from the 1-2 favorite entering the stretch and drew away. The winner covered six furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.52.

Wow Me Free best by a head in Ladies

Courtesy of the DRF

12/15/07 - OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Wow Me Free's two previous trips to New York did not work out too well. But that didn't stop owner Edward Seltzer from trying again, and on Saturday he was rewarded for his perseverance.

Under Alan Garcia, Wow Me Free rallied from last and nailed Cryptoquip in the final strides to win the $81,050 Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct by a head. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to Borrowing Base in third. Inda, the 5-2 favorite, finished fourth while Tap Gold, who made the lead after breaking slowly, finished fifth. Bondage was pulled up on the far turn and had to be euthanized after breaking her left front ankle.

Wow Me Free, based in Canada, was beaten 23 3/4 lengths in the Busanda here last January and finished fifth, beaten 5 3/4 lengths by Octave in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park in July.

But following a decent fourth-place finish in the Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine last month, the decision was made to point to the Ladies. Danny Vella, who has trained Wow Me Free since the Oaks, shipped Wow Me Free to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin on Monday.

"Danny Vella deserves all the credit," said McLaughlin.

Garcia deserves some credit as well. After keeping Wow Me Free in the back of the pack for the majority of the trip, Garcia was able to avoid Bondage, who was being pulled up by jockey Ramon Dominguez entering the far turn. Wow Me Free launched her bid at the five-sixteenths pole and was able to wear down Cryptoquip, who raced through the stretch on her incorrect lead.

Wow Me Free ($9.10), a 3-year-old daughter of Menifee, covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.63.

"I hear Ramon yelling when his horse got hurt," Garcia said. "It looked like he was going outside with her, so I stayed inside and made a move a little later than I wanted to start it. I knew I had a lot of horse in the stretch and when I got her outside I knew I had the best horse in the race."


Daaher Beats 'Lute' in Cigar Mile

Courtesy of the Bloodhorse by Karen Johnson
Date Posted: November 24, 2007

Shadwell Stable’s Daaher upset Midnight Lute, the TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner, by 2 ½ lengths in the $294,000 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) (VIDEO) at Aqueduct on Nov. 24. Midnight Lute, the 1-2 favorite in the five-horse field, finished second. Daaher, who was ridden by Mike Luzzi, took the lead from Xchanger leaving the chute down the backstretch.

Garrett Gomez, aboard Midnight Lute, had a lot of horse going down the backstretch, but chose to take his mount back to fourth. Bob Baffert, Midnight Lute’s trainer, acknowledged that probably wasn’t the best thing to do. “If we learned anything, it is that we should let him do his own thing,” Baffert said. “We’re still learning about this horse.” Midnight Lute, the 123-pound highweight, moved up to second and was at Daaher’s flank around the final turn. Daaher, however, had another gear that propelled him forward. The winner held a 2 ½-length advantage with a furlong remaining.

“He kicked for me and there was plenty left,” Luzzi said. “He can run--there’s no question about it.” Gomez said he was reluctant to send Midnight Lute after Daaher too early. “I was kind of in-between with him because if he makes the lead too easy, his ears go (up) and he pulls himself up,” Gomez said. “I tried to time it just right. When I got to the leader, I still had a lot of horse. (Daaher) just kept kicking and my horse flattened out at the eighth pole.”

Daaher, a 3-year-old Canadian-bred son of Awesome Again, clicked off fractions of :23.10, :46.32, and 1:09.82. The final time was a very solid 1:33.79 on a track labeled fast. The winner carried nine fewer pounds than Midnight Lute. Daaher, is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. The trainer said he hopes to take Daaher to Dubai in 2008 for either the group I Godolphin Mile or Dubai World Cup.

The win in the Cigar Mile was Daaher’s third consecutive victory since being equipped with blinkers. The colt won an allowance race and the Jerome Handicap (gr. II) before scoring his first grade I win in the Cigar Mile. Daaher has a record of 4-0-1 from seven starts and earnings of $447,039.

Shadwell Farm's homebred Lahudood takes the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) over a rain-soaked course Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park.


A 4-year-old daughter of Singspiel, Lahudood covered 1 3/8 miles under jockey Alan Garcia in 2:22.75, defeating Honey Ryder by three-quarters of a length. The favorite, Passage of Time, was a neck farther back in third, one length in front of fourth-place Nashoba's Key, the second betting choice, who lost for the first time in eight career races.

“It's exciting for me to win my first Breeders' Cup,” Garcia said. “The first part, my filly, I wanted (her) to be close to the base and inside and I (didn’t) want to lose too much ground.

“I had confidence. I had a good feeling running the straights. But I'm happy and (owner) Sheikh Hamdan, he's done a good job with this filly."on.

Argentina led after a 1:18.95 three-quarters, with Timarwa racing in close contention and Nashoba’s Key third. But Garcia, who had held Lahudood in tight during the backstretch, began to steadily move the filly around the final turn and took charge in the upper stretch. Under John Velazquez, Honey Ryder began a four-wide move and challenged in the final sixteenth as did  English-bred Passage of Time, who was ridden by Ramon Dominguez. But with steady right-hand urging from Garcia, Lahudood gamely held on for victory.

Out of the Azari mare Rahayeb, English-bred Lahudood won for the third time this year and has four victories in 12 lifetime starts. Most recently, the bay filly took the Sept. 29 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park by three-quarters of a length. She is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, who earned his second Breeders’ Cup triumph. Last year McLaughlin saddled Classic winner Invasor.

Lahudood, who raced in France as a 3-year-old, has been on the board in 10 of 12 career starts.


10/7/07 - Daaher became a GSW wining the 138th running of the G2, Jerome H.

Courtesy of NYRA

When trainer Kiaran McLaughlin put blinkers on Shadwell Stable’s Daaher at Saratoga last month, he was rewarded with a dominating performance that lead him to believe the best was still ahead for the son of Awesome Again.

The good times started rolling on Sunday afternoon at Belmont Park when Daaher became a graded-stakes winner by posting a 2 ¼-length victory in one of the older and more respected tests for three-year-olds, the 138th running of the Grade 2, $160,100 Jerome Handicap at a mile.

In improving his career record to 3-0-1 from six starts, Daaher was able to sit off Digger’s strong early pace, go by him approaching the quarter-pole and comfortably holding off Forefathers for the win in 1:34.28 on the fast main track.

Digger, carrying 114 pounds and jockey Eddie Castro, broke from the rail in this one-turn event and set an impossible early pace of :22.36,:44.52 and 1:08.35, while Daaher broke with jockey Mike Luzzi from post 7 in the eight-horse field and was content to target the front-runner before putting in a professional finish.

“(Shadwell Manager) Rick Nichols is in England with the `boss’ (Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum), and they couldn’t see the race, so they asked me to call the race for them,” said winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “I told them he was going easy, even though they were going fast. I told them :22 and :44 is fast, but he took the lead when everyone else was off the bridle. He’s a fast horse. Mike (Luzzi) felt like he had something left at the finish. The blinkers have made all the difference in the world.”

According to McLaughlin, Daaher will likely make his next start at Monmouth Park in either the inaugural $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Friday, October 26, or the undercard of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in the Grade 3, $250,000 Pegasus for three-year-olds at nine furlongs on Saturday, October 27.

Luzzi can’t wait.

“He can do it,” Luzzi said. “He did it at Saratoga. I don’t want to call it `rating,’ but he wasn’t running off with me. He finishes, too, it’s not like he just beats everybody to it. I told Kiaran (McLaughlin) that there is still more there. If someone came to him, I still think he would fight them off. He just loves the game. He loves the running.”

9/29/07 - LAHUDOOD sets stakes record in Flower Bowl victory

Courtesy of the Thoroughbreed times

Lahudood (GB) surged into contention from the inside and gradually powered past game pacesetter Rosinka (Ire) to win the $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (G1) by three-quarters of a length and set a stakes record on Saturday at Belmont Park.

The four-year-old Singspiel (Ire) filly earned her first career group or graded stakes victory after previously placing three times in group stakes races in France. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, the Shadwell Stable homebred entered off an unplaced finish in the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) on turf rated as good on August 11 at Arlington Park.

“Shadwell racing manager Rick Nichols told me that the boss didn’t send her over here to be an allowance horse,” McLaughlin said of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum. “This was the first time everything went perfect. She wants to be covered up and make a run on firm ground.” The turf for the 1 1/4-mile Flower Bowl showed no hint of moisture as dust kicked up with every stride.

Grade 3 winner Rosinka set an uncontested pace through an opening quarter in :24.76 and a half-mile in :49.13 as champion Wait a While stalked from second on the inside with 21.40-to-1 longshot Lahudood racing comfortably in third. Rosinka repelled a bid from Wait a While entering the stretch and appeared poised to reel off her fifth consecutive victory, but Lahudood accelerated through an opening on the rail and closed willingly under jockey Alan Garcia. Lahudood drew even with Rosinka nearing the sixteenth pole and powered past to prevail in 1:59.05 on firm turf.

The winning time eclipsed the previous stakes record of 1:59.05 set by Auntie Mame in 1998. Rosinka was a half-length in front of third-place finisher and 0.95-to-1 favorite Wait a While. Beverly D. winner Royal Highness (Ger) flattened out in the stretch and faded to while Grade 1 winner My Typhoon (Ire) finished a non-threatening eighth.

Lahudood improved to three wins in 11 career starts and nearly tripled her career earnings to $545,170 with the $360,000 winner’s share of the purse. Bred in Great Britain, Lahudood is out of the winning Arazi mare Rahayeb. She could make her next start in the Emirates Airlines Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) on October 27. “I don’t know if she is Breeders’ Cup nominated, but it wouldn’t be a problem if we had to supplement her,” McLaughlin said.

9/15/07 - LEAR'S PRINCESS Dethrones Queen 'Rags in Gazelle

Courtesy of the Blood Horse

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin thought if there was going to be a day to beat Rags to Riches, it was at Belmont Park in the Gazelle (gr. I) Sept. 15. McLaughlin was correct. His filly, Lear’s Princess, handed Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches the first loss of her career since her racing debut in June 2006. Rags to Riches, the 2-5 favorite, was a very game second in the 1 1/8-mile Gazelle for 3-year-old fillies, her first race since winning the Belmont June 9.

Lear’s Princess, ridden by Eibar Coa, defeated Rags to Riches by a half-length. Tough Tiz’s Sis was third, two lengths behind Rags to Riches. Dorm Fever and Le Chateau completed the order of finish in the $250,000 Gazelle. The winner, who carried 115 pounds, seven fewer than Rags to Riches, returned $6.20 as the second choice. The final time was 1:47 4/5 over a fast track.

Todd Pletcher, trainer of Rags to Riches, was philosophical about the loss. He referred to the missed works and fevers that kept the filly away from the races since the Belmont and indicated those missteps had an impact in the Gazelle. “[That] hurt us inside the 16th pole,” Pletcher said. “The filly got beat a neck, giving (Lear’s Princess) seven pounds, and she hasn’t run in three months. I would never be discouraged with the filly. I still think she is the best 3-year-old filly in the country. I think she is one of the best we have seen in a long time.” Pletcher said he will focus on getting the filly ready for the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.

Rags to Riches, ridden by John Velazquez, stalked the pace, set by Dorm Fever and Tough Tiz’s Sis. While racing on the outside in third position, Rags to Riches came on even terms with the early leaders at the top of the stretch. With a furlong remaining, Rags to Riches had a half-length advantage over Lear’s Princess, who had come four-wide at the top of the lane and battled with Rags to Riches through the stretch.

Lear’s Princess, a daughter of Lear Fan, raced with blinkers for the first time. “The addition of blinkers might have made a difference,” said McLaughlin, who trains Lear’s Princess for Terry Finley’s West Point Thoroughbreds. McLaughlin said he thought it was going to be difficult to outrun Rags to Riches when the favorite was running so freely during the early stages of the Gazelle. “I thought she would be tough to beat when she was laying that close and looking so comfortable,” McLaughlin said. The Gazelle winner will run next in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Lear’s Princess’ record is 4-2-0 in six starts, with earnings of $429,100.

9/16/07 - SHAKESPEARE Brilliant in Woodbine Mile Victory

Courtesy of the Blood Horse

One of the most remarkable stories of the year got even more astonishing Sept. 16, when comeback kid SHAKESPEARE made a thunderous move down the stretch to take the $1-million Woodbine Mile (CAN- I) by a length in electrifying fashion. A winner in five of his first six lifetime starts, Shakespeare suffered a tendon injury late in 2005 and was sidelined for 21 months.

The 6-year-old son of Theatrical-Lady Shirl returned to the track for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin Aug. 2 in an optional claiming at Saratoga. He won that tune-up by a half-length under Garrett Gomez. In The Mile, under Gomez once again, Shakespeare saved ground through the backstretch and found himself in eighth place after three-quarters, which was set by Remarkable News in 1:09.98.

At that point, Gomez started making his move along the rail and Shakespeare began passing rivals as they approached the final turn. Entering the stretch he was in fourth, but still well back of the leader, which by this time was Kip Deville, who was in the middle of the racetrack. In the final furlong Shakespeare found his best stride on the fence, passing Remarkable News, Galantas and then Kip Deville in the final yards.

It was the same heart-stopping move that made him one of the top turf horses in 2005, when he won four straight races before suffering the injury in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I), in which he finished 12th in his only loss.

The Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup Mile is likely the next stop. “When I turned for home, I was hoping to be able find a way through there. Becrux came off the fence a little bit and gave me a chance to get on through there," said Gomez. "Once he had seen the daylight, he hit overdrive for us; he got us home. He ran a really good race. I thought the mile might be a little too short for him, but he proved me wrong. He is a very talented horse. “He is a true professional. He has a lot of heart, a beautiful animal. I was very impressed with him. It is a real honor to touch a horse like this.”

It was the third graded stakes win for the bay horse owned by Dell Ridge Farm and William Schettine, who acquired the Kentucky-bred from Bill Mott’s stable last November. He has now earned more than $1.3 million in his career. “He is a very classy horse," said assistant trainer Art Magnuson. "We are very lucky to have him in the barn. He is very special. We could tell early that he was very special. Mr. Justice (co-owner and breeder) gets all the credit for all the time off and bringing him back slowly, and it paid off.

West Point Thoroughbreds' Flashy Bull left the field behind

Courtesy of the Blood Horse

West Point Thoroughbreds' Flashy Bull left the field behind leaving the far turn, then dug deep in the final sixteenth to hold off the fast closing Magna Graduate and Diamond Stripes to win the $829,500 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) in a surprise at Churchill Downs Saturday. It was the fourth win in a row for Flashy Bull, an also-ran on the Triple Crown trail last year for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin who went off at odds of 6-1 while carrying 117 pounds Saturday.

McLaughin made a last-second decision on Wednesday to enter Flashy Bull in the Stephen Foster and shipped him by van from his base at Belmont Park to Churchill Downs on Thursday. Ridden confidently by Robby Albarado, Flashy Bull surged to the lead while under an easy hold leaving the quarter pole and opened up at the head of the stretch. The 4-year-old gray son of Holy Bull looked like he'd cruise while leading by more than three lengths at the eighth pole, but Albarado went to work with his right hand to get the colt home just a head in front of Magna Graduate, who edged Diamond Stripes by a half-length for second. The final time was an excellent 1:48 3/5.

“Kiaran told me that I might want to give him the first jump as he’s a little racy, but with the amount of speed in the race it was pretty easy getting him back,” said Albarado, who won the Stephen Foster for the first time. “I saw a little traffic trouble in the first turn, but I was on the outside of it so I got a clear trip the whole way. I squeezed on him turning for home, and he went right on.”

Nowhere to be seen was the 8-5 favorite Master Command, the 123-pound high weight who came under a ride from John Velazquez on the final turn but was never a factor while finishing sixth. The 109-1 shot Mr. Umphrey, entered to ensure a fast pace, did his part, clipping off fractions of :23 1/5, :46 2/5 and 1:11 before backing out of it.

Wanderin Boy, tracking the runaway leader, reeled that one in to lead briefly, but offered little resistance when Flashy Bull came with his quick move while racing on the outside on the final turn. Magna Graduate, under Garrett Gomez, came from far out of it, picking up Diamond Stripes and Edgar Prado in the lane and streaking for the wire to come up just short.

“When I came off the turn, I thought I had dead aim on (Flashy Bull), but then he kind of kicked on a little more on the inside,” said Gomez of runner-up Magna Graduate. “My horse had to grind it out. When he came into the stretch he kicked on with a good turn of foot, but he just kind of stayed there at the end.”

Winless in seven starts while facing top company as a 3-year-old, McLaughlin has found the key to Flashy Bull, who had only a maiden win in 14 starts before beginning his current streak. Flashy Bull earned his first graded stakes win in his last start, the William D. Schaefer Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico May 19. He owns a 5-5-3 mark in 18 starts and earned $498,863 Saturday, jumping his career total to $829,313. Jerry and Liz Squyres bred Flashy Bull, a $205,000 Ocala buy in February 2005 who is out of the dam Iridescence, by Mt. Livermore. “It was fabulous,” said McLaughlin, who also trains reigning “Horse of the Year” Invasor. “This horse is just a different horse this year. It’s just amazing what a different horse he is from last year, from three to four years old.” Flashy Bull was sent off as the fifth choice in the field of eight.



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