Justify To Stand For $150,000 In First Season At Coolmore

by | 09.23.2018

Justify, winner of the 2018 Triple Crown, will debut at stud for an advertised fee of $150,000 during the 2019 breeding season, leading the projected 17-horse stallion roster at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky.

The 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy arrived at Ashford Stud on Sept. 17 after initially being retired in July and residing at WinStar Farm until the stud deal with Coolmore was formally announced. He is the second Triple Crown winner to be retired to Ashford Stud in the last three years, following 2015 Horse of the Year American Pharoah, who debuted for the 2016 breeding season for an advertised fee of $200,000.

Other new additions to the Coolmore roster include Grade 1 Hollywood Derby winner Mo Town (Uncle Mo), who will stand for $12,500, and Breeders’ Cup and UAE Derby winner Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy), the half brother to red-hot Into Mischief and Beholder, whose fee has yet to be determined. The latter, trained by Aidan O’Brien, is set on a track for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

The official fees are as follows:

  • Air Force Blue: $20,000
  • American Pharoah: $110,000
  • Classic Empire: $35,000
  • Competitive Edge: $7,500
  • Cupid: $12,500
  • Declaration Of War: $25,000
  • Fusaichi Pegasus: $7,500
  • Justify: $150,000
  • Lookin At Lucky: $17,500
  • Mendelssohn: TBA
  • Mo Town: $12,500
  • Munnings: $20,000
  • Practical Joke: $30,000
  • Tale of the Cat: $25,000
  • Uncle Mo: $125,000
  • Vancouver: $15,000
  • Verrazano: $15,000

Record Average Sale Price Highlights Strong Keeneland September Renewal

by | 09.23.2018

 

There was plenty to be excited about in advance of this year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale, but it was the surprises that helped propel the bellwether auction from a strong edition into the kind not seen since the economic crash of the mid-2000s.

A combination of factors – from a favorable economic climate, to the first crop from a Triple Crown winner, to a somewhat unexpected appearance from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the Godolphin operation – came together to produce one of the strongest renewals of the Keeneland September sale in its history. At the end of 13 sessions, the auction finished with a record average sale price, the second-highest all-time median price, and the fourth-highest gross.

A total of 2,916 yearlings changed hands at this year’s sale for $377,130,400, up 23 percent from last year’s 12-day auction, when 2,555 horses brought $307,845,400. The gross surpassed last year’s final total during the seventh session, and it finished as the highest since 2007, the last full sale before the market crash, when 5,553 horses sold for $385,018,600.

The average sale price settled at a record $129,331, up seven percent from $120,487 in 2017, and surpassing the previous record of $112,427 set in 2006. The median was down 12 percent to $50,000 from a record $57,000, but it entered a four-way tie for the second-highest ever, joining a three-sale run from 2013 to 2015. The final buyback rate of 24 percent marked a small improvement from 25 percent last year.

At the top of the market, 27 horses sold for seven figures, more than the last two Keeneland September sales combined, and the most since 2007. It was the fifth-most horses sold for $1 million or more in the sale’s history.

“I think the gross is so high because the top end is as strong as it’s ever been,” said consignor Scott Mallory. “You start adding million-dollar horses on there, it gets the gross up pretty quick. I think there’s a shortage of good horses. I hear trainers tell us all the time there’s a shortage of good horses.”

While there are plenty of pieces that go into making a sale of this caliber, Keeneland’s director of sales operations Geoffrey Russell said none of the figures would have been possible if the quality of horseflesh in the ring did not match the demand.

“It has to be the horse, and this is what we come back to,” Russell said. “This is a very good crop of horses. Yes, all the other external factors of depreciation, new tax laws, stock market, all the other factors, have helped raise the bar, but If those horses aren’t top quality, they’re not going to give you extra money just because they have it in their pockets. The credit goes to the breeders and consignors that have had an exceptional crop this year.”

Suzi Shoemaker of Lantern Hill Farm put more stock in the economy’s effect on buyer activity – particularly the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which dramatically increased the tax benefits for yearling buyers. However, Shoemaker also noted that the sport’s efforts to shine up its image could be slowly reaching the people with money to spend.

“I think the tax cuts have had a huge effect on everyone’s emotional landscape,” she said. “People just feel like they can have some fun with their money. A lot of these people have corporations or big businesses and I feel like they can use their cash for more discretionary items like racehorses.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in our industry with bringing people in, and taking care of our racehorses when their careers are over,” Shoemaker continued. “Drugs are still a problem, but I think it’s being addressed. My feeling is we’re moving forward on these things. Yes, I know we still have a lot of problems, but I think we’re addressing them and we’ve got a solid core of people. We may or may not be growing it, but we’re keeping who we’ve got.”

Sheikh Mohammed Ups The Ante

The story of the 2018 Keeneland September sale, and especially its select Book 1, cannot be told without making reference to the presence of Sheikh Mohammed, who appeared at the sale in person for the first time in several years.

With the head of the operation in attendance, Godolphin more than doubled its spending at the September sale, going from 17 purchases totaling $8,065,000 last year to 27 yearlings for $19,960,000. It was the biggest performance by a single buying entity since 2006, when Godolphin landed 34 horses for $59,945,000 including the $11.7-million Meydan City, whose sale price is still the highest ever for a yearling at auction.

The operation of Sheikh Mohammed signed tickets under the name of both Godolphin and Godolphin Japan, shoehorning certain horses for his Asian interests.

Sheikh Mohammed’s arrival was a welcome surprise for the Keeneland staff. The ruler of Dubai also spent time looking over his horses at his U.S. base of operations at the former Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky., and he left the sale to attend the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C.

“You never know,” said Bob Elliston, Keeneland’s vice president of racing and sales. “ Every year, we hope, and every year I think there’s probably hope on their end that he’s coming as well, but things get in the way. As soon as we see that big plane with that flag on the tail, we know then.”

While Sheikh Mohammed was gone by the sale’s traditional “dark day” on the first Friday of selling, Airdrie Stud general manager Ben Henley speculated that his strong buying had a ripple effect on the sessions that followed.

“People are getting outbid on those horses early and getting pushed back a book,” Henley said. “It kind of keeps happing all way down and it’s a domino effect on the whole marketplace.”

With the figures reaching heights not seen since the mid-2000s, Sheikh Mohammed’s presence also brought with it the return of the classic bidding slugfests between Godolphin and the Coolmore partnership. Though the prices did not reach the delirious heights they did in the previous decade, the competition was fierce between the two entities.

Godolphin accounted for seven of the auction’s million-dollar horses, while Coolmore took home a trio of seven-figure yearlings, including the sale-topper.

Coolmore’s reverence to Claiborne Farm sire War Front continued to be on display at the September sale when it landed Hip 458, a $2.4-million colt out of the Grade 1-winning Smart Strike mare Streaming. The colt’s third dam is Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour, putting him in the family of champion Rags to Riches, Belmont Stakes winner Jazil, and Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Man of Iron, among others.

Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency consigned the colt, as agent.

New Catalog Format Draws Mixed Reviews

For the third straight year, the Keeneland September sale introduced a new format for the first week of its sale. After last year’s renewal started with a single ultra-select Book 1 and finished the week with three sessions of Book 2, the 2018 edition expanded Book 1 into four sessions and pushed Book 2 into the weekend.

Elliston said the quality of this year’s total catalog had a strong influence in blowing out the first book. Horses were spread out to nearly every barn from one to 49 on the Keeneland backstretch for Book 1, which was designed to give each horse space to properly show themselves without being too crowded.

Any logistical issues that might have stemmed from the spread-out nature of the Book 1 horses were inadvertently quelled when washout rains on the Sunday before the opening session led Keeneland officials to delay the start times for all four Book 1 sessions by two hours, giving prospective buyers an extra eight hours to inspect the horses.

“Every year, the inspection team looks at the depth of the crop that’s there, and we tailor it to that,” Elliston said. “People make a lot of the format, but really, we’re the only ones that have to deal with format because we’re the only people that sell the numbers that we do. That’s a responsibility that we take very seriously, to create an environment conducive to buyers and sellers getting the most they can.”

While the high returns are hard to deny, expanding the Book 1 offerings did create a tough draw for some horses that might have been placed in Book 2 in prior catalog configurations. Instead of benefitting from a “big fish, small pond” effect, some sellers were concerned their horses at the level below the very elite might have gotten lost in the shuffle while more suitable buyers waited until the later sessions to arrive at the ale.

“It’s going to be hard for them to adjust the format when the sale’s been so high, but it’s been kind of tough on the consignments,” Mallory said. “I had some in Book 1 where I sold horses in Book 2 that weren’t nearly as good for a lot more money just because of the way the format was. They’ll work it out, though. It’s hard to please everybody, and when you’re trying to get 4,500 head through the sale, you’re not going to get everything where it needs to be.”

The first week of the sale might have had some placement casualties, but sellers were generally pleased with how their slots shook out in the middle sessions. Shopping activity, both in terms of inspecting horses and buying them, remained robust well into the later books.

“Most of these horses that we have here, the consignors are so on top of it, on top of knowing what we have and where they belong,” said Carrie Brogden of Select Sales. “Placement is incredible to me. Too far early can really hurt you, but too far back, they can still find you.”

Uncle Mo, War Front, American Pharoah Drive Sire Power

Uncle Mo, a resident of Ashford Stud, led all sires by gross for the first time, with 65 yearlings sold for $22,392,000. It was the highest gross produced by a sire at a Keeneland September sale since Storm Cat put 24 through the ring for $30,485,000 in 2006.

The top sire by average sale price was War Front, whose 18 horses sold brought an average of $782,500. It was War Front’s second time leading the sale, after achieving the same feat in 2015.

War Front finished tied with Darley‘s Medaglia d’Oro for the most seven-figure horses, each with five.

As expected, the auction was a coming out party for Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, whose first yearlings had a big impact on the final figures. In total, the member of the Ashford Stud roster had 47 yearlings sell for a combined $19,585,000 (third-highest) and an average of $416,702 (fifth-highest among those with three or more sold).

American Pharoah finished with three horses past the seven-figure mark, led by the auction’s second-highest price, Hip 91, a $2.2-million colt out of the Grade 2-placed stakes-winning Indian Charlie mare Kindle, who sold to the Godolphin operation. Woods Edge Farm consigned the colt, as agent.

To view the sale’s full results, click here.

HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS TO OFFER FALL/WINTER STALL ACCOMMODATIONS AND TRAINING FOR THOROUGHBREDS

Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to offer horsemen an opportunity to train and stable their Thoroughbreds during the upcoming Fall and Winter months.

 

With the recent closing of the Evangeline Training Center, officials acknowledge that many Louisiana Thoroughbred trainers are in need of a facility to stable and train their racehorses.  Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is now accepting stall applications to accommodate horsemen from November 15 – March 19.

 

The track will be open for training six days a week with full amenities including a clocker, outrider and ambulance service.  Security in the stable area will be provided 24 hours a day, seven days each week. Located in the Bossier City-Shreveport metroplex, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is located in convenient proximity for shipping to Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana; Fair Grounds in New Orleans and the upcoming live season at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

 

“Harrah’s Louisiana Downs recognizes the hardship placed on horsemen in Louisiana with the lack of available stall space and training centers,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations. “We are pleased to offer a secure stable area and one of the best surfaces in the country for training. Our location, in close proximity to Louisiana interstate travel, is convenient for horses shipping to multiple racetracks.”

 

Space and availability for Thoroughbreds is limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Horsemen are encouraged to contact David Heitzmann, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Director of Racing at (318) 741-2511 or

(318) 741-2512 for rates and information.

 

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.

Memorial Service for Trainer Dana Whited Set for Saturday, September 22

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is saddened to confirm the passing of trainer Dana Whited. Her sister, Gina Nagy Wilson confirmed that Whited died on Friday, September 14 from heart failure.

 

The 52 year-old horsewoman was born in Dodge City, Kansas and has been a respected member of the Louisiana racing industry since 2012. According to Equibase statistics, Whited saddled 851 horses, with a record of  94 win; 107seconds and 102 thirds. She won 18 races this year on the Louisiana circuit.

 

A memorial service will be held in the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs winner’s circle this Saturday, September 22 at 7:00 pm. The public is invited to pay their respects.

 

“Dana was so much more than a trainer; she was a friend to everyone,” said Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk. “This was a shock for our racing community as Dana looked out for so many people and served as a mentor to anyone she could help.  She will be greatly missed.”

 

OWNER STATON FLURRY HAS A SPECIAL PLACE IN HIS HEART FOR HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Flurry and Tor Con Six
Staton Flurry and Tor Con Six. Hodges Photography.

Bossier City, LA – Thoroughbred owner Staton Flurry will never forget winning the 2017 Super Derby at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs with Mr. Misunderstood.

 

Last September, the marquee stakes for 3-year-olds was run on the Franks Turf Course at the distance of a mile and one-sixteenth. Trained by Brad Cox, the gelded son of Archarcharch, shipped in undefeated on the turf, and punched his ticket to the Super Derby with a win in the $60,000 Prelude, which was also run on the turf in 2017.

 

Flurry, 28, is a passionate Thoroughbred owner from Hot Springs, Arkansas. His family’s Flurry Racing Stables, LLC has campaigned a quality group of stakes winners at Oaklawn Park and Louisiana Downs. . Flurry’s first stakes winner Little Miss Flurry captured the 2014 Razorback Futurity. But Mr. Misunderstood has vaulted to the top of the ladder with an incredible record of 11 wins from 19 starts. Since winning the Super Derby, the dark bay gelding won five stakes including the Grade 2 Wise Dan at Churchill Downs. Purchased for $130,000, he currently boasts earnings of $707,854.

 

Flurry made the trip back to Louisiana Downs this week to see three of his horses who are trained by Karl Broberg.  On Monday afternoon, Tor Con Six, a 4-year-old son of Half Ours ran in a starter optional claiming sprint, and despite coming into the race off three wins, struggled and finished fifth.

 

“That was a little disappointing as he had been doing great,” said Flurry. “His rider (Gerardo Mora) said he just spit the bit.”

 

Tuesday it was Golden Driller in the second, a $21,000 maiden at six and one-half furlongs. The 3-year-old by Caleb’s Posse was injured last October at Remington Park. Flurry sent him to Louisiana Downs last month and looked forward to a solid return off the layoff. With Mora aboard, he caught the leader Three Time Charmer, briefly took the lead, before losing by a nose.

 

Wednesday marks the debut of Mathieu, a 2-year-old Louisiana-bred son of Custom For Carlos, out of the Vindication mare Laughing Saint. He has posted several solid works for the six furlong main track event and will be ridden by  Jose Guererro.

 

“We’ve babied him along,” said Flurry. “He has settled down since being gelded and I have come over to see a few of his works, and am looking forward to watching him run on Wednesday.”

 

Flurry debated on several names for the 2-year-old, finally settling on Mathieu in honor of Louisiana native Tyrann Mathieu, an All American football player. He played for LSU and is now a safety for the Houston Texans.

 

Next up for Mr. Misunderstood is the $1,000,000 Shadwell Mile at Keeneland on October 6 with the Grade 1, Breeders’ Cup Mile on the radar for Flurry and Cox.

 

“Winning the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs was a cool starting spot for Mr. Misunderstood,” stated Flurry. “We thought we really might have something, but to think that he may be two races away from earning a million dollars is pretty amazing.”

 

Memorial Service for Trainer Dana Whited Set for Saturday, September 22

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is saddened to confirm the passing of trainer Dana Whited. Her sister, Gina Nagy Wilson confirmed that Whited died on Friday, September 14 from heart failure.

 

The 52 year-old horsewoman was born in Dodge City, Kansas and has been a respected member of the Louisiana racing industry since 2012. According to Equibase statistics, Whited saddled 851 horses, with a record of  94 win; 107seconds and 102 thirds. She won 18 races this year on the Louisiana circuit.

 

A memorial service will be held in the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs winner’s circle this Saturday, September 22 at 7:00 pm. The public is invited to pay their respects.

 

“Dana was so much more than a trainer; she was a friend to everyone,” said Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk. “This was a shock for our racing community as Dana looked out for so many people and served as a mentor to anyone she could help.  She will be greatly missed.”

 

Announcer John McGary Off to Zia Park This Week

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs track announcer John McGary will wrap up his duties in the booth on Wednesday, September 19. He will head to Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico to call the races for their 2018 live racing season which begins on Saturday, September 22.

 

Announcer Mike Persichino will fill in for McGary for the final four days of the meet. He began calling races in 1999 with appearances in Utah, Arizona, California and Oregon. Persichino has been the voice of Wyoming Downs since 2014 and called the final two weeks of the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred meet last September.

 

Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

As of September 18, Karl Broberg tops the trainer standings with 25 wins. Last year’s leading trainer, Joey Foster follows closely with 24 winners and horses trained by Al Stall, Jr. have won 22 races.  Jorge Lara, Beverly Burress, Jose Camejo and Danny Pish have each saddled 17 winners this meet.

 

Emanuel Nieves won eight races last week and continues to lead the rider standings with 75 wins. Last year’s leading jockey Gerardo Mora has been steadily making his way up the ladder and is now in second place with 65 victories. Joel Dominguez is third with 64 trips to the winner’s circle and Hector Del-Cid and Jose Guererro have each won 40 races.

 

Dream Walkin Farms, Inc. and End Zone Athletics, Inc. are tied for leading owner honors with 14 wins. Patti Turner is next with 12 victories and Beverly Burress and Indian Creek Thoroughbred Farms, LLC follow with nine wins each.

 

The winners of each division will be honored on Wednesday, September 26, which is the final day of the 2018 Thoroughbred racing season.

 

Diego Saenz Approaching his 2,000th Career Win

Jockey Diego Saenz is just 9 wins away from his 2,000th career victory. The 39-year-old rider won one race on the Monday, September 17thcard, piloting My Prophet for trainer Eduardo Ramirez.

Saenz is named on 15 horses this week. Once the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs meet wraps, he will head to Delta Downs when their meet opens October 17. He has won four leading rider titles at the Vinton, Louisiana racetrack.

 

Wednesday and Saturday Race Day Promotions

Louisiana Downs offers value for racing fans each Wednesday with Dollar Day. They will be able to enjoy $1 hot dogs, $1 beer at the Paddock as well as $1 programs. Saturday’s weekly promotion is the Family Four Pack featuring four hot dogs, four sodas, a program, and a box seat for four at the affordable price of just $16.

 

The Total Rewards program is free for horseplayers. With the swipe of their card each Saturday, members will receive valuable incentives.  These include:

  • Play $250 or more to receive a 5X multiplier
  • Play $1,000 or more to receive a 7X multiplier
  • Play $5,000 or more to receive a 10X multiplier

Participant’s multiplier cannot exceed a total balance of more than one hundred thousand (100,000) Reward Credits during one promotional day after the multiplier is applied.

 

Post Times and Stakes Schedule

Live racing will be conducted Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturday with a 3:15 p.m. (Central) post time through Wednesday, September 26.

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.

 

Keeneland 2019 April Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale Set For April 9

Keeneland officials announced September 14, 2018, that the 2019 April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale will be held Tuesday, April 9. The Preview Day, which will offer breezes over both the main dirt track and turf course, will be held Monday, April 8.

“Keeneland looks forward to the return of the April Sale, and we anticipate we will see several 2018 September Yearling Sale graduates participating,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said.

“The April Sale affords horsemen several unique advantages,” Elliston said. “One is the opportunity to present a consignment before a number of prominent owners and trainers at Keeneland for opening weekend of the Spring Meet, which begins April 5, and includes the Toyota Blue Grass. Another is the chance to breeze your juvenile over Keeneland’s dirt track and turf course, two of the best racing surfaces in the country.”

Keeneland conducted its April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale from 1993-2014. The sale has been on hiatus since 2015.

The April Sale has a proven record of success, having produced 2017 champions Lady Eli and Roy H in its final edition in 2014. The auction counts six classic winners among its graduates: Belmont (G1) winner Palace Malice; Preakness (G1) winner and champion Lookin At Lucky; Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness winner and champion Big Brown; Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner and champion Thunder Gulch; and Kentucky Oaks (G1) winners Keeper Hill and Gal in a Ruckus. Champion Beautiful Pleasure also is an April sale graduate.

AAEP Foundation Equine Disaster Relief Fund Now Accepting Monetary Donations to Aid Hurricane Florence Victims

As Hurricane Florence makes landfall in the eastern Carolinas, the AAEP Foundation is accepting charitable contributions from individuals and industry organizations in support of its Equine Disaster Relief Fund.

Just as was done in 2017 during hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the Foundation will work with agencies and veterinarians in the region to identify the needs of the equine community. Supplies are not being accepted until specific needs are identified.

Authorities indicate that many horses are being relocated inland, putting a heavy strain on facilities and caregivers, while other horses may become stranded in flooded eastern flatlands. The predicted flood waters will make extended care for displaced animals an ongoing need.

“Once we receive an assessment of need and distribution protocols from the agencies and veterinary members in the area, the Foundation will work to meet their needs,” said AAEP’s director of industry relations Keith Kleine.  “While we know people like to donate supplies, monetary support to a trusted charitable organization is always the best response everyone can provide immediately.”

Should Hurricane Florence’s impact be less than anticipated, any unused contributions will be maintained in the Disaster Relief Fund for use in future disasters.

To support the impending needs of these equine victims, please give online at https://foundation.aaep. org/disasterrelief

Developed in 2005 during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the AAEP Foundation Equine Disaster Relief Fund was formed to help ensure the safety and care of horses affected by natural disasters. Since its inception, over $500,000 has been donated through supplies, shipping, and monetary support to aid horses of all breeds in disaster-related situations. Disaster preparedness training and education for horse owners, veterinarians and first responders also receive Fund support.  All money donated is strictly used to benefit horses in need.

Gifts by mail can be sent to: Equine Disaster Relief Fund, AAEP Foundation, 4033 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, Ky 40511; (800) 443-0177 (U.S. only) or (859) 233-0147.

About the AAEP Foundation

The AAEP Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1994, serves as the charitable arm of the American Association of Equine Practitioners to improve the welfare of horses. Since its inception, the Foundation has disbursed more than $5.4 million to fulfill its vital mission.

 

FAMILY SUPPORT FUELS THE GROWING STABLE OF TRAINER SCOTT GELNER AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Scott Gelner
Scott Gelner. Coady Photography.

Bossier City, LA – Trainer Scott Gelner is a busy man! He is currently running horses at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs and on Saturday, sends Norman Stables, LLC’s Taylor’s Spirit to Churchill Downs to run in the Grade 2, $200,000 Pocahontas. Shaun Bridgmohan will pilot the Kentucky-bred daughter of Algorithms, who is undefeated in three starts for Gelner. She stretched out successfully in the $60,000 Happy Ticket here on September 2 and will have to go an extra sixteenth of a mile Saturday.

“She’s a nice filly and has handled everything well so far,” he said.

Gelner will not make the trip to Kentucky as he and his wife, Felicia, will renew their vows on Saturday.  They look forward to welcoming family members; many of whom could not make it to Louisiana for their wedding a decade ago.

“They couldn’t get here because of the hurricane,” explained Gelner.

He has eight stalls at Churchill Downs; will have 40 at Delta Downs when their fall season begins and 24-30 at Fair Grounds when the New Orleans track opens in November. Plus, Gelner plans to send 12 to Sam Houston Race Park for their 2019 Thoroughbred meet.

“I was at Sam Houston back in 1994 as an assistant to my dad, John Charles Gelner,” he said.

Gelner has a very nice filly named Yes Gorgeous, who was also a stakes winner on Super Derby Day. He owns and trains the 3-year-old filly by Mass Media out of a mare named Isn’t She Gorgeous. He purchased Yes Gorgeous for a mere $1,700 at the Louisiana Mixed Sale.

“I trained her mama for a few races,” said Gelner. “She had a few problems, but overcame them with her big heart. When I saw this filly at the sale, I wasn’t sure what kind of  career she would have.”

But in what has to be one of the most pleasant surprises, Yes Gorgeous has been a treasure for Gelner. Her victory in the $60,000 Elge Rasberry on September 2 was her fourth in 17 starts. She has run second nine times and has already earned $208,455.

“You always dream about a sale purchase fulfilling your expectations,” said Gelner. “This filly is just a blessing from God for me and my family. She has handled everything we have ever asked: turf, dirt, even running against the boys.”

His father, John Charles Gelner, had a productive three-decade career in Texas and Louisiana. Both parents are deceased, and their loss is very difficult for Gelner. When Yes Gorgeous won in the driving rain on Super Derby day, Gelner wept following her victory.

“I really missed both my mom and dad that day,” said Gelner. “I knew they were with me and the rain just felt like their tears of joy.”

Gelner also trains In the Navy, owned by Kendel D. Standlee, who captured his fifth career win on August 4 in the $60,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Classic.

“He’s just a great turf horse,” said Gelner. “I am proud of the fact that he has won on each of the Louisiana turf courses.”

Both In The Navy and Yes Gorgeous will be pointed to Fair Grounds.

Gelner acknowledges the support of his owners, including Robbie and Mark Norman, Kendel Standlee, Red Rose Racing and Ty Smith for A.J. Foyt.

“Owners and good help are important to be successful in racing,” stated Gelner.

Gelner is currently the eighth-leading trainer at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. Purses were increased by $2,000 a race, effective September 8 through the end of the meet, and Gelner expressed his appreciation.

“It’s a big help,” he stated. “Louisiana Downs has stepped up to help the horsemen. We appreciate their efforts, for sure.”

The growth of Gelner’s stable this year has been significant and 2018 is on track to be the most fruitful since he branched out on his own in 2006.

Born in Cameron, Texas, Gelner and his wife, Felicia reside in Lafayette, Louisiana with their three children.

He pauses to reflect on this year and how he will manage his growing operation.

“Quite honestly, I trust in God,” he said. “He has always guided me in the right direction. Faith in God and the love of my family is what keeps me on track.”

 

 Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

As of September 10, Karl Broberg tops the trainer standings with 23 wins. Last year’s leading trainer, Joey Foster is on a roll with 21 winners. Al Stall, Jr. follows with 20 victories and  Jorge Lara has saddled 17 winners this meet.

Emanuel Nieves tops the rider standings with 67 wins, but last year’s leading jockey Gerardo Mora has been steadily making his way up the ladder and is now in second place with 64 victories.

Joel Dominguez is third with 61 trips to the winner’s circle and Hector Del-Cid and Richard Eramia have each won 38 races.

Dream Walkin Farms, Inc. and End Zone Athletics, Inc. are tied for leading owner honors with 13 wins. Patti Turner is next with 12 victories and Beverly Burress and Indian Creek Thoroughbred Farms, LLC follow with eight wins each.

 

Diego Saenz Approaching his 2,000th Career Win

Jockey Diego Saenz is just 11 wins away from his 2,000th career victory. The 39-year-old rider won four of the seven features on the Super Derby card. He piloted Limation for owner Michael Langford in the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby, which was the first graded stakes of his career.

Saenz is named on six horses this week. Once the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs meet wraps, he will head to Delta Downs when their meet opens October 17. He has won four leading rider titles at the Vinton, Louisiana racetrack.

 

Wednesday and Saturday Race Day Promotions

Louisiana Downs offers value for racing fans each Wednesday with Dollar Day. They will be able to enjoy $1 hot dogs, $1 beer at the Paddock as well as $1 programs. Saturday’s weekly promotion is the Family Four Pack featuring four hot dogs, four sodas, a program, and a box seat for four at the affordable price of just $16.

 

The Total Rewards program is free for horseplayers. With the swipe of their card each Saturday, members will receive valuable incentives.  These include:

  • Play $250 or more to receive a 5X multiplier
  • Play $1,000 or more to receive a 7X multiplier
  • Play $5,000 or more to receive a 10X multiplier

Participant’s multiplier cannot exceed a total balance of more than one hundred thousand (100,000) Reward Credits during one promotional day after the multiplier is applied.

 

 

Post Times and Stakes Schedule

Live racing will be conducted Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturday with a 3:15 p.m.(Central) post time through September 26.

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.

 

Lone Star Special Moving to Cherokee Ridge Farm in Carencro

 

lone-star-special-copyAfter standing at The Horse Of Course in Benton Louisiana since 2016, Lone Star Special is moving to Cherokee Ridge Farm in Carencro for the 2019 breeding season in order to be more centrally located for Louisiana Breeders.

Lone Star Special (Malabar Gold-Sunshine Special) is an Unbridled line stallion who is among an elite number of stallions that moves his mare up. Only 32 % of all sires have a lifetime AEI higher than their mares CI. Lone Star Special has an AEI of 1.49 vs his mare’s CI of 1.11. His statistics of 66% winners, $71,209 average earnings per starter, 16% blacktype horses and 17% two-year-old winners, compete with leading national sires.

Lone Star Special is the sire of two Graded Stakes horses, both accredited Louisiana-breds.

Recently retired to the breeding shied, G2 Super Derby winner Mobile Bay ran from ages three to six, hitting the board in 21 of 29 lifetime starts. He won eleven stakes, often showing speed in route races of 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles, including the G2 Super Derby, open company stakes such as the Sunland Park Handicap, the Maxxam Gold Cup and the Zia Park Derby, as well Louisiana Bred Stakes including the Louisiana Champions Day Classic at the Fair Grounds twice.  He placed in another five stakes including the G3 Oklahoma Derby. His Lifetime earnings of $1,246,440 rank him 4th among all-time Leading Accredited Louisiana Bred Runners. A multiple Accredited Louisiana Bred Champion, Mobile Bay was named 2015 3YO Colt or Gelding and Horse of the Year, 2016 Older Male and Horse of the Year, and 2017 Older Male.

Multiple stakes winner, Wheatfield ran 2nd in the ’17 G2 Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream. She was named 2016 4YO & Up Louisiana Bred Champion Filly or Mare. She has earned black type in 11 stakes events, many against open company, and currently has $391,603 in lifetime earnings.

While changing locations to Bill Langford’s Cherokee Ridge Farm in Carencro, Lone Star Special’s 2019 fee will remain reasonable at $2,500 according to owner, Tigertail Ranch’s Irwin Olian. 

“From a very small group of foals, Lone Star Special has done remarkably well.  He has demonstrated the ability to throw runners capable of competing at the national level in Graded Stakes as well as other highly professional runners including four other stakes horses,” says Tigertail Ranch’s Irwin Olian. “His ability to move up his mares puts him in very rare company among Louisiana sires and suggests there will be a lot more good things to come from him in the future”

“We are grateful for the excellent work that John Doherty has done managing Lone Star Special in north Louisiana, but feel it is important to expose him to a broader group of mares in central and south Louisiana.  We are very excited about moving him to Cherokee Ridge Farm where he will be under the able management of Bill Langford. We hope Louisiana breeders will recognize the unique opportunity that Lone Star Special represents to get a top class racehorse and support him as he deserves.”

Equine Sales Company Posts Big Gains for Consignor Select Sale

Equine Sales Company’s Consignor Select Yearling Sale, held Thursday, September 6, in Opelousas, Louisiana, recorded significant increases in gross sales and average price compared to last year’s auction, which itself posted big increases over the prior year. All told, 150 of 206 yearlings sold this year for a total of $1,949,900 with an average of $12,999 and median of $6,000. A total of 138 of 193 head sold last year.
This year’s figures marked an 19.2% increase in gross sales from last year’s $1,636,400 and a 9.6% jump in average from $11,858. This year’s median of $6,000 was down from last year’s $7,000, and this year’s buyback rate was 27.2% compared to 28.5% last year.
“We had a very strong sale last year, so we were extremely pleased to exceed those numbers this year,” said Foster Bridewell, sales director. “The fact that we had 10 horses go for $50,000 or more proves that our consignors really brought some quality stock and that our buyers stepped up to get those individuals.
“There’s a lot of money to run for in Louisiana, and Louisiana-breds have proven again and again that they can win anywhere, most recently with Classy John, who sold here as a 2-year-old for $12,000, winning an $85,000 maiden special at Saratoga last month by daylight.”
The sale was highlighted by two Louisiana-bred colts who hit six figures, topped by a February foal from the first crop of multiple Grade 1 winner Palace. Consigned by 4M Ranch, agent, the colt went to J. Stevens Bloodstock, agent, for $105,000. He is out of the winning Kafwain mare Sheer Speed, whose first starter, by Redding Colliery, is a two-time winner.
Close behind the sale-topper was a March foal by Grade 1 winner and first-crop sire Lea who sold for $100,000 from Red River Farm, agent, to Carl Moore Management LLC. The colt is out the unraced Corinthian daughter Beat the Street, who is the dam of four winners from as many to race including stakes winner Kylie’s Cutie and stakes-placed Blue Ribbon Girl.
Full results of the sale are available at www.equinesalescompany.com.