Classy John the Definition of a Happy Accident

By Brian DiDonato

image
Classy John & Dallas Stewart. Sarah K Andrew photo

The story of 2-year-old colt Classy John (Songandaprayer) looks like a pretty interesting one on paper, but is even more so than meets the eye. A $12,000 Equine Sales of Louisiana purchase in May off of just a gallop, the Valene Farms-owned Dallas Stewart trainee shipped up to Saratoga last Saturday to romp by six lengths at 12-1 odds in a typically tough GI Travers S. day maiden special weight (video replay).

The Louisiana-bred beat a pricey group in the process, defeating the likes of an $850,000 2-year-old acquisition and a $650,000 yearling as well as several fashionably pedigreed homebreds.

Classy John was an excellent value purchase to be sure, but as it turns out, he wasn’t an intentional one.

“We got a little confused. I was on the phone, and I thought I was bidding on 15, but it was 14,” owner Murray Valene revealed. “But it turned out to be a pretty good buy, huh? We didn’t have any idea what the horse looked like, but that’s the way it goes. You never do know. It turned out to be a really nice little horse, with some decent pedigree.”

Classy John is the third foal and first to race out of Kitty’s Got Class (Old Forester), who handily won her first three races, including two stakes, as a Woodbine-based juvenile.

After looking at the colt’s page, and him as an individual, Valene began to come around to his purchase.

“I took one look at him when he got in and said, ‘Boy, I like the looks of this colt.’ So we sent him up to Dallas because he looked like he was above average. He was just a good-looking horse.”

Hip 15, an Eskendereya filly who went for $9,000, has not yet started or been credited with an official work.

Once in Stewart’s program, Classy John gave some indication that he was a nice horse, but he really caught his trainer’s attention after blazing through five panels in a bullet :58.60 from the gate at the Churchill Downs Training Center Aug. 17.

“Two or three weeks before [the race, on Aug. 9,] he worked in [1:01 4/5], but in the last work, he worked in :58 3/5 from the gate,” Stewart noted. “So I called the clocker to make sure that was legit–I was up here [in Saratoga]. The clocker said he might have even gone a little faster than that–it was unreal. So I talked to Murray and told him there was a race on Travers Day. Murray’s always game for anything, so he said, ‘Let’s go for it.’”

Valene and Stewart already had another runner for the card in last year’s local GI Hopeful S. third Givemeaminit (Star Guitar), who checked in eighth in the GI H. Allen Jerkens.

Stewart admitted to wondering before the race if his decision to ship Classy John up to the Spa was the right one.

“I got to thinking that maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do with the crowd and everything,” he said. “We’d have to fly him up on Wednesday, gallop him Thursday and Friday and then run Saturday. So I was a little concerned about that, but it looked like it would be the first race of the day, so we went with it and he handled it great.”

A fast work doesn’t necessarily mean a fast race, but Stewart was confident in Classy John’s ability.

“He worked so good, and we had the video of the work, so I saw it,” he said. “Plus, I talked to [jockey] Jack Gilligan who worked him and he said, ‘He is really, really nice.’ So we just got him up here and that’s how it went–he just slaughtered ’em.”

Classy John shipped back to Kentucky Sunday morning, but will likely return to New York for the Oct. 6 GI Champagne S. He is not Breeders’ Cup nominated.

What made the performance even more special was that Classy John is named for Valene’s father, John Valene, who passed away last Tuesday at the age of 100.

“My father passed away on Tuesday, and I flew up on Friday to watch the races,” Valene said. “So, just given the name and the circumstances and everything else, it’s extra special and I think he’s going to be a nice little horse. Hopefully, he stays healthy, because in this game you never know, but I think he’s for real.”

John Valene, who had attended the races at Canterbury Park just a couple weeks ago, first got the family involved in racing in the early 1960s when he claimed a horse who Murray Valene says subsequently won his next seven starts.

Murray Valene’s racing interests later grew significantly, and at one point Valene Farms had around 140 horses in training. He now has about a dozen on the track. Valene is also associated with Louisiana’s Clear Creek Stud, of which he jointly owns the property that it stands on. Valene has mostly campaigned Louisiana-bred or sired horses, including champions in Minnesota and Illinois.

But this wasn’t by any means his first win up at Saratoga.

Valene Farms took the 1993 GII Adirondack S. with $7,000 purchase Astas Foxy Lady (Zuppardo’s Prince), and doubled up in the same race (via DQ) exactly 20 years later with the Stewart-trained Designer Legs (Graeme Hall). The latter was a $10,000 yearling acquisition.

“It just goes to show you–you never know based on what you paid for a horse what you’ve got,” Valene said. “It’s all about the heart and what’s on the inside. Nobody knows that until they run.”

Equine Sales Launches Redesigned Website

EQUINE SALES COMPANY
Equine Sales Company is proud to announce the launch of our newly redesigned website, www.equinesalescompany.com.   We have updated and improved it with our clients foremost in mind, by streamlining menus, simplifying navigation, building a responsive layout for all platforms and providing more resources and information on our company and our services.
 
One goal with this new website is to provide our visitors an easier way to learn about Equine Sales Company’s services and solutions and also to allow the visitor to browse information based on their own choice.
 
Amongst the new features, the site contains access to necessary sales forms and industry links for both Buyers and Consignors alike.  Another goal we have is to foster improved communication with our clients. We will be constantly updating our content with helpful information, articles, company announcements and client successes in the Racing and News section.  We encourage everyone to visit and explore the site, discovering the full spectrum of  Equine Sales Company has to offer.
We hope you find the new website with a fresh look, easy to access information and we also wish to establish this portal as a source of information for those who visit our site.
 
We would like to thank NanC Mark and her amazing staff at Techmark, LLC (https://techmark.me) who spent countless hours building this new site.
If you have any questions or feedback you would like to share with our team… Contact Us!  We will be happy to help!
 
We look forward to staying connected!!  
 
See you at the Sales!!
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Equine Sales Company, 372 Harry Guilbeau Road, Opelousas,, LA 70570

July Calendar of Events

 Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association would like to share the following list of dates of interest to Louisiana horsemen and women.Brought to you by Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Whispering Oaks Farm, and Equine Sales CompanyClick images to link to more information

July 1

  • LTBA Membership Applications Due 
  • Louisiana Futurity Eligibility Payments due
  • Accreditation forms mailed from LTBA office

 

July 3

  • LTBA Board of Directors Election Results Announced

 

July 4

  • Independence Day

 

July 6

  • Accreditation Forms will be mailed
  • Opelousas Stakes, Evangeline Downs

 

July 7

  • John Henry Stakes, Evangeline Downs

 

July 14

  • D.S. “Shine” Young Futurities, Evangeline Downs

 

July 16

  • Louisiana State Racing Commission meeting, 9:00 a.m., New Orleans, LA, Hotel Monteleone

Would you like to sponsor a newsletter? Reach nearly 3,000 readers.

Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, linda@louisianabred.com or Roger 504-947-4676, roger@louisianabred.com for cost and availability.

Do you have a date pertaining to Louisiana-breds that you would like included in an upcoming calendar? Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, linda@louisianabred.com or Roger 504-947-4676, roger@louisianabred.comfor consideration.

 

Any questions or need more info call

Roger A. Heitzmann III, Secretary/Treasurer

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association

504-947-4676, 800-772-1195

Equine Sales Yearling Consignment Final Deadline, Tuesday. July 3

EQUINE SALES COMPANY NEWS

*** FINAL DEADLINE ***

TUESDAYJULY 3, 2018

The 2018 Consignor Preferred Yearling Sale is almost to capacity.

A Few Spots Remain.

All Contracts need to be submitted before close of business on

Tuesday, July 3, 2018.

 
FAX IN YOUR ENTRIES NOW!!
or
 
Contact Sales Director
Foster Bridewell at 
 
office:             337.678.3024
cell:                 214.718.7618

fax contract:  337.678.3028

 
CLICK HERE FOR CONTRACT:
SAVE THE DATES!!!!
2018 Consignor Select Yearling Sale
Thursday,September 6, 2018
2018 Open Yearling & Mixed Sale
Sunday, October 28, 2018
More information on the October Sale be provided at a later date

Equine Sales Company
Office:  337-678-3024 * Fax:  337-678-3028
Sale Director:  Foster Bridewell
Cell:  214-718-7618
Contact Us

June Calendar of Events

 Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association would like to share the following list of dates of interest to Louisiana horsemen and women.

Brought to you by Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Whispering Oaks Farm, and Equine Sales CompanyClick images to link to more information
June 1

  • Louisiana Futurity Nomination forms will be mailed
  • LTBA Board of Directors Ballots will be mailed

June 9

  • Belmont Day

June 11

  • LTBA Board of Directors Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Landry’s Seafood, Breaux Bridge

June 12

  • Equine Sales Company of Louisiana, Select Yearling Sale Consignment Deadline

June 13-15

  • OBS June Two-Years-Olds & Horses of Racing Age Sale, Ocala, FL

June 14

  • Flag Day

June 17

  • Fathers Day

June 22

  • Spotted Horse Stakes, Evangeline Downs
  • Acadiana Stakes, Evangeline Downs

June 23

  • Evangeline Mile, Evangeline Downs
  • Lafayette Stakes, Evangeline Downs

June 30 

  • Board of Directors Election ballots counted 
  • Louisiana Futurity payments due

Would you like to sponsor a newsletter? Reach nearly 3,000 readers.

Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, linda@louisianabred.com or Roger 504-947-4676, roger@louisianabred.com for cost and availability.

Do you have a date pertaining to Louisiana-breds that you would like included in an upcoming calendar? Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, linda@louisianabred.com or Roger 504-947-4676, roger@louisianabred.comfor consideration.

 

Any questions or need more info call

Roger A. Heitzmann III, Secretary/Treasurer

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association

504-947-4676, 800-772-1195

Midnight Lute Filly Tops Equine Sales Company 2-Year-Old Sale

18eqs2yo-topper
(Opelousas, Louisiana – May 7, 2018) — An accredited Louisiana-bred daughter of Midnight Lute sold for $77,000 on Monday to top the Equine Sales Company 2-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age Sale in Opelousas, Louisiana.
Named Nite Jean, the sale-topper went to prominent Southwest owner Carl Moore from the consignment of Pike Racing, agent. The May foal worked an eighth-mile on Sunday in :10 1/5, just one tick off the fastest time of :10 flat set by a trio of horses. Nite Jean is out of the winning Macho Uno mare St. Jean, who has produced a winner from her only starter and whose second dam is Grade 2 winner and graded stakes producer French Park.
The second-highest price was $65,000 for an accredited Louisiana-bred from the first crop of Sum of the Parts. The filly out of stakes winner La Salle Glory worked :10 flat and went to J. Stevens Bloodstock, agent, from the consignment of Ricky Courville, agent.
J. Stevens Bloodstock also picked up the highest-priced colt and third-highest price overall. The accredited Louisiana-bred by top Louisiana sire Half Ours sold for $55,000 after working :10 2/5.
All told, 42 of 61 horses sold for a total of $733,400. The average 2-year-old price was $18,168 with a median of $12,000. Last year’s sale posted an average 2-year-old price of $20,308 with an identical median. That auction was fueled by two six-figure sales, including an all-time sale record $110,000 for a Flat Out filly named Special Blessing. That filly just won the $75,000 Equine Sales Oaks this past Friday. There were two horses of racing age in this year’s sale that brought a total of $6,700.
“Last year’s 2-year-old sale was our best ever and we knew it would be hard to match those results, but I’m pleased that we came pretty close,” said Foster Bridewell, sales director.
Equine Sales Company has two auctions remaining this year with the Consignor Select Yearling Sale on September 6 and the Open Yearling and Mixed Sale on October 28.
Full results are available at www.equinesalesofla.com.

Three Horses Work :10 Flat for Fastest Time at Equine Sales 2-Year-Old Breeze Show

(Opelousas, Louisiana – May 7, 2018) — A trio of horses worked an eighth-mile in :10 flat during Sunday’s breeze show for Equine Sales Company’s 2-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age Sale. The auction with a catalog of 73 head will be held Monday, May 7, at 1 p.m. in Opelousas, Louisiana.

The three horses to work the fastest time included Hip 18, a filly named Sallee Sumthing from the first crop of Sum of the Parts. Consigned by Ricky Courville Sales, agent, the accredited Louisiana-bred is out of the stakes-winning Lit de Justice mare La Salle Glory, whose four foals to race are all winners.

Hip 62 was another filly by a first-crop sire to post the co-fastest time. A Kentucky-bred daughter of Fed Biz, the unnamed February foal is out of the A.P. Indy mare Court Reception. That broodmare’s foals include eight winners, topped by Grade 2 winner Ruby’s Reception. The filly is consigned by Twin Oaks Training Center, agent.

Completing the trifecta of runners at :10 flat was an accredited Louisiana-bred by Yes It’s True. From the consignment of Pike Racing, agent, the colt is out of the stakes-placed Officer mare Cute Cadet, whose other registered foal has yet to start.

“In addition to the three working in :10 flat, we had numerous others within range of that time and I think that reflects well on the quality of the catalog from top to bottom,” said Foster Bridewell, sales director. “Overall it seemed like the consignors and buyers were pleased with the results from the breeze show, so we are looking forward to a good sale.”

Replays of the breeze show, along with the sale catalog, are available at www.equinesalesofla.com. Live video of the sale will also be available on the website.

All graduates of the sale will be eligible for the $75,000 Equine Sales Oaks and $75,000 Equine Sales Derby to be run next year at Evangeline Downs. The 2018 editions of the races were run earlier in the week with Coteau Grove Farms LLC’s Special Blessing, a Flat Out filly who sold for a sale-record $110,000 last year from the consignment of Pike Racing, agent, winning the Oaks, and Four Star Racing’s Double Star, a $9,200 colt by Star Guitar from the consignment of Clear Creek Stud last year, taking the Derby.

 

DOUBLE STAR SHINES IN THE EQUINE SALES DERBY

 

COLT’S THIRD CAREER VICTORY IS HIS FIRST STAKES TRIUMPH

 

DOUBLE STAR 1
Double Star wins the Equine Sales Derby. Coady Photography.

 

Equine Sales Derby
Evangeline Downs, 5-5-18, 1 Mile, $75,000
3yos

DOUBLE STAR
Star Guitar–Bond Queen
Breeder: Thomas Edward Vinci & Bill Mayfield
Owner: Four Star Racing
Trainer: Robert D. Schultz
Jockey: Jose Andres Guerrero

2nd
Honor My Speed
To Honor and Serve–Unbridled’s Secret
Breeder: Barry Simpson
Owner: Rodney J. Verret
Trainer: Allen Landry
Jockey: Timothy Thornton

3rd
Discreetly D
Discreetly Mine–Evening Muse
Breeder: Michael Villar & Cynthia Villar
Owner: Set-Hut LLC
Trainer: Jerry Delhomme
Jockey: Colby J. Hernandez

 

OPELOUSAS, LA – Four Star Racing’s Double Star claimed the first stakes win of his career on Saturdaynight at Evangeline Downs in the $75,000 Equine Sales Derby. Regular rider Jose Guerrero was aboard for the victory for trainer Robert Schultz.

 

Double Star had to overcome being wide on both turns in the race. The colt was hung five-wide on the first turn and ended up getting a wide run up the backstretch as well, while sitting in mid-pack. Tensas’s Boy set the early fractions of 24 seconds for the quarter-mile and 48.39 for the half-mile. Double Star commenced a four-wide rally on the far turn and was able to power past the early leaders by the top of the stretch. From there, the colt withstood the closing efforts of a 17-1 longshot, Honor My Speed and the 2-1 second choice, Discreetly D, to win by 2-3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:40.21 for the one mile over the fast track.

 

The winner was sent off as the even-money favorite in the Equine Sales Derby. Double Star paid $4.20 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show. Honor My Speed finished second and paid $10.40 to place and $5 to show, while Discreetly D finished third and paid $3.20 to show.

 

Double Star is a 3-year-old colt bred in Louisiana by Thomas Edward Vinci and Bill Mayfield. He is by Star Guitar and out of the Stormy Atlantic mare, Bond Queen. Double Star now has three wins in his 10-race career and the $45,000 first-place purse increased his lifetime earnings to $110,820.

 

Evangeline Downs will resume live racing on Wednesday night with a nine-race program. First post time on Wednesday will be 5:50 pm Central Time.

 

For more information on the Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website atwww.evdracing.com. Evangeline Downs’ Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EvangelineDownsRacing.

 

SPECIAL BLESSING IS INDEED SPECIAL IN THE EQUINE SALES OAKS

FILLY CLAIMS THE FIRST STAKES VICTORY OF HER YOUNG CAREER

SPECIAL BLESSING 1
Special Blessing wins Equine Sales Oaks, May 4. Coady Photography

 

Equine Sales Oaks
Evangeline Downs, 5-4-18, 1 Mile, $75,000
3yo fillies

SPECIAL BLESSING
Flat Out – Langsyne
Breeder: J. Adcock
Owner: Coteau Grove Farms LLC
Trainer: W. Bret Calhoun
Jockey: R. Morales

2nd
Yes Gorgeous
Mass Media–Isn’t She Gorgeous
Breeder: J. Adcock & Montgomery Equine Center
Owner: Scott Gelner
Trainer: Scott Gelner
Jockey: Diego Saenz

3rd
Bella Cajun
Bellamy Road–Cajun Candy
Breeder: Cypress Bend Farm
Owner: Dore, Ralph and Gautreau, Keith
Trainer: Ralph J. Dore
Jockey: Cristina Bonilla

 

OPELOUSAS, LA – Special Blessing, owned by Coteau Grove Farms, LLC and trained by Bret Calhoun, won the first stakes race of her five-race career in the $75,000 Equine Sales Oaks at Evangeline Downs on Fridaynight. The filly was ridden to victory by Roberto Morales, who was riding her for the first time ever.

 

Special Blessing sat just off of a very slow pace being set by an 18-1 maiden, Bella Cajun and Yes Gorgeous, who was the only horse in the field with multiple victories entering Friday night. Those two dueled through dawdling fractions of 25.69 seconds for the quarter-mile and 51.24 seconds for the half-mile. Special Blessing made her move on the far turn and she and Yes Gorgeous went on to engage through the stretch before Special Blessing put her rival away to win by 1-3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:40.33 for the mile over the fast track.

 

The winner was sent off as the 6-5 favorite in the field of seven by the betting public. Special Blessing returned $4.60 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.40 to show. Yes Gorgeous paid $2.40 to place and $2.20 to show, while Bella Cajun held third and paid $5.80 to show.

 

Special Blessing is a 3-year-old filly bred in Louisiana by J. Adcock. She is by Flat Out and out of the Langfuhr mare, Langsyne. Special Blessing has now won two of her five lifetime starts and the $45,000 first-place purse increases her lifetime earnings to $85,930.

 

Evangeline Downs will resume live racing on Saturday with a nine-race program. The featured event on the Saturday card is the $75,000 Equine Sales Derby with Double Star listed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the field of eight. The track will also be offering the simulcast of the 144th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs at approximately 5:50 pm and the live racing program will start shortly thereafter.

 

For more information on the Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website atwww.evdracing.com. Evangeline Downs’ Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EvangelineDownsRacing.

 

May Calendar of Events

 Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association would like to share the following list of dates of interest to Louisiana horsemen and women.

Brought to you by Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Whispering Oaks Farm, and Equine Sales CompanyClick images to link to more information

May 1

  • LTBA Board of Directors to meet with the Acadiana Caucus in Baton Rouge

May 3, 4, 5, 6

  • New Orleans Jazz Fest at the Fair Grounds

No visitors will be allowed access to New Orleans Office during these days.
We apologize for any inconvenience.

May 3

  • National Day of Prayer

May 4

  • Equine Sales Oaks, Evangeline Downs

May 5

  • Equine Sales Derby, Evangeline Downs
  • Louisiana Downs 2018 Thoroughbred Meet Opens
  • Kentucky Derby
  • Cinco De Mayo

May 6

  • Equine Sales Two Year Olds In Training Breeze Show
  • LTBA Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet, 5:00 p.m., at Equine Sales Facility, Opelousas, LA

May 7 

  • Equine Sales Two Year Olds In Training Sale
  • Nominations for LTBA Board of Directors due from LTBA membership. Resume and photo of prospective board members also due.

May 13

  •     Mothers Day

May 19

  •  Preakness Stakes
  • Armed Forces Day

May 21

  • LTBA 2017-18 Membership Forms mail

May 26

  • Louisiana Legends Night – Eight stakes races for Accredited Louisiana Bred Thoroughbreds worth total purses of $750,000

May 28

  • Memorial Day

May 31

  • Louisiana Futurity Forms mail

June 1

  • LTBA Board of Directors Ballots to be mailed out

Would you like to sponsor a newsletter? Reach nearly 3,000 readers.

Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, linda@louisianabred.com or Roger 504-947-4676, roger@louisianabred.com for cost and availability.

Do you have a date pertaining to Louisiana-breds that you would like included in an upcoming calendar? Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, linda@louisianabred.com or Roger 504-947-4676, roger@louisianabred.comfor consideration.

 

Any questions or need more info call

Roger A. Heitzmann III, Secretary/Treasurer

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association

504-947-4676, 800-772-1195