Monthly Archives: May 2017

9 Virginia-Breds Score With Late May Triumphs

Nine Virginia-bred horses scored victories in the second half of May including a trio of veterans who have combined to make 177 starts. Fur Lined, Galitzianer and War Colony reached the winners circle for the 13th, 12th and 10th times respectively in their careers.

11 year old Fur Lined got the best of six other horses at Mountaineer Park in a six furlong claiming race on Memorial Day. The Trust N Luck mare stalked the pace from second, took the lead at the top of the stretch and won by three-quarters of a length. Bred  by William Backer and owned/trained by Amalia Cox, Fur Line boosted her career bankroll to $215,134 from 65 starts. She is out of the Storm Boot mare, Mittens.

8 year old Galitzianer returned north of the border to his Canadian comfort zone of Assiniboia Downs and got back to the winners circle last Friday. The Langfuhr gelding collected four wins in five starts there last year between June 10th and September 5th, but had been 0-for-3 competing at Turf Paradise since. The Linda Kropus trainee captured a 7 1/2 furlong waiver claiming event by three quarters of a length and earned the winners share of an $11,000 purse. Out of the Zafonic mare, Andalucian, the victor went to post for the 60th time.

9 year old War Colony, bred by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III, earned his first win of the year May 17th in a $13,600 claiming sprint at Thistledown. The Not For Love gelding took the lead at the half and never looked back, crossing three lengths the best. The upset winner, out of Colonial Stage by Pleasant Colony, made his 52nd career start and has bankrolled $229,317.

Armoire connected at Pimlico on Preakness weekend. The 4 year old filly was best in a $55,000 allowance. Photo by Jim McCue.

Armoire, a 4 year old Artie Schiller filly, had a big allowance win at Pimlico on Black Eyed Susan Day. Bred and owned by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone, the victor prevailed by one-half length over Arraign after heading into the stretch in sixth place. Out of the War Chant mare, Wardrobe, Armoire has three wins from six starts now, good for $78,680.

Another trio of Virginia-breds each recently collected their second wins of 2017. Shenandoahlove Rvf, Midnight Blue and Wild Affair all connected in mid-month at Penn National, Hazel Park and Charles Town respectively.

Shenandoahlove Rvf (inside) nipped Ell’s Acadia and Bess’ Girl at the wire May 18th at Penn National. Photo by B&D Photography.

Shenandoahlove Rvf captured a thriller over Ell’s Acadia and Bess’ Girl. The 3 year old Greeley’s Conquest filly was bumped following a slow break from the gate, but rebounded to win her second straight. She is out of Itaka’s Brianna by Itaka, was bred by Rose Ann Howell and is owned by Riverview Farms.

Midnight Blue also got his second straight win, a 1 1/2 triumph in a $10,000 claimer at Charles Town. Bred by Sam English II and owned/trained by Mike Butts, the 5 year old gelding was making his 28th career start. He is by Midnight Lute out of Imelda Blue by Regal Classic.

Wild Affair also scored at Charles Town in a similar condition but in a more dominating fashion. The 4 year old Up Periscope filly won by 7 1/2 lengths at a distance of 1 1/8 miles. Bred and owned by the Vermont Farm, the Michael Weeks trainee crossed in 1:42.92. She is out of the Black Tie Affair mare, Vermont Gilan.

Church Monkey and Fast Runner closed out late May activity with triumphs. The former scored at Hazel Park in a tight half length victory while the latter powered home to a $47,000 allowance race score at Parx on Memorial Day.

Church Monkey was bred by Thomas Leal and beat five others in a short four furlong race. The 4 year old Ecclesiastic gelding collected his 9th “in the money” finish from 15 starts. Fast Runner, a 5 year old Bandini horse, took advantage of a late surface change to beat a diminished field. Six horses scratched when the race was taken off the grass. Fast Runner, bred by the Walmac Farm, LLC and DSR Farm Inc., beat four others and crossed the best by 2 3/4 lengths. The Emmanuel Tzortakis trainee has bankrolled $130,440.

Fur Lined, Fast Runner, Wild Affair, Armoire, Midnight Blue and Shenandoahlove Rvf each earned an additional 25% for their owners courtesy of the VTA/HBPA Mid-Atlantic Bonus program. Any Virginia-bred or sired horse that wins an overnite race in the Mid-Atlantic receives the bonus.

2016 Virginia-Bred Horse of the Year Set To Compete In Grade I Stakes June 3rd.

Champions Stellar Wind (Virginia-bred) and FinestCity each worked at Santa Anita Saturday morning (May 27) for the Grade I, $400,000 Beholder Mile slated for Saturday June 3rd.

Stellar Wind, Eclipse Award winner as outstanding three-year-old female of 2015, went five furlongs in company under exercise rider Jose Contreras in 59.80, while FinestCity, winner of an Eclipse Award as best female sprinter of 2016, went the same distance in 1:03.20 for trainer Ian Kruljac. Mike Smith was aboard.

Stellar Wind, a 5 year old daughter of Curlin, galloped Saturday morning. Photo courtesy of Coady Photography,

“She galloped out seven eighths in (one) 27 and change,” Sadler said of Stellar Wind, a five-year-old daughter of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin owned Hronis Racing, LLC.

“She went very well, her usual kind of work, similar to last week (six furlongs in 1:12.80 on May 19), and she’s ready to go.”

Stellar Wind worked in company with Pappou, who was clocked in 1:00.60.

Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind and jockey Victor Espinoza, outside, outleg Beholder (GaryStevens), inside, to win the Grade I, $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA.

“She broke a couple lengths behind him,” Sadler said, “and finished a couple lengths in front of him.”

Even with a small field in prospect, understandably, Sadler opted to let strategy play out before rendering a definitive tactical plan.

“Stellar Wind is fairly versatile,” he said. “She went up and pressed last year when she had to, but she can come from off the pace. We’ll wait till the draw (next Wednesday, May 31) and see what happens in relation to that.”

With only seven horses nominated to the Beholder, and one, Songbird, committed to the Ogden Phipps at Belmont on June 10, a small field including streaking graded stakes winner Vale Dori seems at the ready for the race formerly named the Vanity Mile.

Trio Of Virginia-Breds Set To Compete In Saturday’s Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes At Monmouth

Virginia-bred horses will have a big presence in Saturday’s (May 27th) $100,000 Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth. Rose Brier (7-2), Special Envoy (6-1) and Just Call Kenny (6-1) will all compete in the stake’s 13 horse field.

The trio were bred respectively by William Backer, Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone and Althea Richards. The event is race 9 on the card, is set at one mile on the turf, and will go to post at 4:52 PM.

Rose Brier is shown here winning the 2014 Bert Allen Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

Rose Brier is an 8 year old Mizzen Mast gelding that has won over $500,000 in his career. He was named Virginia-bred Champion Turf Horse in 2016 based on victories in the Bert Allen, Henry Clark and Edward Evans Stakes. Rose Brier was second in last year’s Red Bank Stakes. The Matthew Hartman trainee has 30 “in the money” finishes from 38 lifetime starts.

Special Envoy is a 6 year old Stroll gelding who has made just one start this year — a 4th in an allowance optional claiming race at  Tampa Bay Downs. The Arnaud Delacour trainee was second in last year’s Edward Evans Stakes and has bankrolled $159,460 from 18 career starts. Special Envoy is out of the Cozzene mare, Diplomacy.

Just Call Kenny, bred by Althea Richards, won by 1 1/4 lengths over Double Whammy April 21st at Laurel. Photo courtesy of Jim McCue.

Just Call Kenny is a 6 year old Jump Start horse that hopes to continue a solid ’17 campaign. He already has a win and a pair of third place finishes this year, good for $40,830 in earnings. He is fresh off an allowance optional claiming triumph at Laurel on April 21st. Just Call Kenny is out of Green Jeans by Green Dancer.

Racing fans can watch and wager the Red Bank Stakes at either of the two Richmond OTBs — downtown at Ponies & Pints or in the west end at Breakers Sports Grille. On line betting is also available at,, and There is an assortment of stakes races to enjoy all Memorial Day weekend.  Mark your calendars too — the Belmont Stakes is Saturday June 10th. Happy Holiday weekend!

Virginia Connected Horses Well Represented In Preakness Card, This Saturday At Pimlico

Preakness Day is Saturday May 20th! The big race goes off at 6:45 PM and racing fans are eager to see if Always Dreaming can win the second leg of the Triple Crown. It certainly would make Belmont Day that much more intriguing!

Virginia connected horses will make their presence felt on the Preakness Day under card at Pimlico, led by Virginia businessman and HBPA President David Ross, who has a pair of horses in stakes races that afternoon. His Proforma will compete in the $200,000 Chick Lang Stakes while Euroboss is in the $100,000 The Very One Stakes. The former is a 3 year old Munnings gelding that has won a pair of races and $72,290 from three career outs, including a triumph in the Sugar Bowl Stakes December 17th. The latter is a 5 year old daughter of Street Boss out of Mega, and has been “in the money” in all three of her 2017 races. She has won $92,066 from ten lifetime starts. Mike Stidham trains the pair, which will compete in races seven and five respectively.

Owner Marshall Dowell of Mechanicsville, Virginia hopes to collect another Pimlico memory, much like his Scrappy T provided 12 years ago, when he finished second to Afleet Alex in the Preakness. Dowell’s Mint Slewlep competed in the 2007 edition as well and finished seventh. On Saturday, his Ghost Bay is 6-1 early in a $55,000 allowance optional claimer which kicks off the day at 10:30 AM. The 5 year old Ghostzapper gelding has earned $169,700 and is trained by Rob Bailes.

Bailes also conditions Concordia’s Way for breeder/owner Sam English II. The 4 year old son of Concord Point will vie in a $52,000 allowance race at 11:05 AM. The Maryland-bred, who will be ridden by Sheldon Russell, has earned $81,118 and most recently was second in a Laurel allowance May 5th.

Limehouse Louie, who won the ’16 Jamestown Stakes, will compete in a $52,000 allowance race Saturday at Pimlico. Photo by Jim McCue.

Limehouse Louie, 2016 Virginia-bred Champion Two Year Old Male , will make his 2017 debut in that same allowance race. The 3 year old gelding, trained by Flint Stites, is by Limehouse out of Mystic Bay by Housebuster. He was bred by Carlos S.E. Moore and Gillian Gordon-Moore, and is owned by the Wildcard Stables (Bob House).

Finally, Woodberry Payne’s William’sluckygray is in the ninth race — a $35,000 starter allowance event. His 6 year old Dunkirk mare has won $140,222 from 14 career “in the money” finishes.

Enjoy Preakness Day!

Many Virginia Connected Horses Will Compete On Black Eyed Susan Card, Friday At Pimlico

The eyes of the racing world will focus on Baltimore’s Pimlico Racecourse this Friday and Saturday for Preakness weekend. Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming will try to win his second straight Triple Crown leg Saturday at 6:45 PM. Both race programs are packed with under card stakes races and intriguing wagering options for horseplayers. Virginia connected horses are sprinkled throughout Friday’s Black Eyed Susan card including a pair of stakes contenders.

Dance Queen, owned and bred by Pat Schuler of Charlottesville, is entered in the $100,000 Hilltop Stakes while Made Bail, who is owned, trained and bred by Susan Cooney, will compete in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint. The  respective races are the 8th and 10th of a 14 race card that begins at 11:30 AM.

Made Bail captured a $45,000 allowance race last April at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

Dance Queen is a 3 year old daughter of To Honor and Serve. The Kentucky-bred is 2-for-2, with wins in a maiden claimer at Gulfstream and an allowance optional claimer at Tampa Bay. Made Bail, a 5 year old Closing Argument gelding, will make his 28th start Friday. The Virginia-bred enters the race fresh off an allowance runner-up at Keeneland this spring. He has four wins and six runner-up finishes.

Larry Johnson’s Do What I Say scored a two length victory over Lamontagne in a Black Eyed Susan Day allowance race at Pimlico in 2016. Photo by Jim McCue.

Larry Johnson has a mare and a filly in back-to-back races to kick off the high profile weekend. His My Magician is in the first race — a $55,000 allowance optional claiming event. The 5 year old daughter of Street Magician has career earnings just shy of $200,000 from 21 starts. Johnson’s Do What I Say is another daughter of Street Magician. The 4 year old filly, who will make her first start of 2017, is in a similar $55,000 test.

Wildcard Stables’ Zone Defence makes her fourth career start in a $52,000 allowance, carded as the fourth race.  The 3 year old daughter of First Defence has one win under her belt. Wilcard Stables is comprised of Bob Bouse from Richmond along with trainer Flint Stites.

Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone bred a competitor in the sixth race — Armoire, who has 2 wins from 5 starts. The 4 year old Artie Schiller filly, bred in Virginia, will battle in a $55,000 allowance optional claimer.

Finally, Virginian Diana McClure owns and trains Ms Eileen, a 5 year old New York bred mare who will compete in the 12th race — a $52,000 sprint allowance. The 5 year old Chapel Royal mare makes her first start of the year but brings experience of 21 starts into the race.


Horse Race Wagering In Virginia Remains Strong Through Derby Prep Race Season

Virginia pari-mutuel wagering figures have been tabulated for the month of April along with the first four months of 2017. Betting Handle placed via the four partner Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) companies continues to show gains in addition to solid business numbers at the two Richmond area Off Track Betting (OTB) Centers.

Three of the four ADW partner companies had their best months of the year.  TVG, which handled $3,206,742 in bets from Virginians in April, continues to lead the way in activity. TwinSpires was next, handling $2,362,225 while newcomer NYRABets, still growing, handled $63,852. XpressBet, the only company to not have its best month, still broke into seven figure betting territory for the third time in four months with $1,075,738.  The four combined to generate $6,708,559 in handle, the best month of ’17 so far by over $650,000. Six of the biggest Derby prep races were held over three consecutive Saturdays in April including the Florida Derby, whose champ Always Dreaming went on to win the Kentucky Derby May 6th.

Crowds filled Richmond’s Ponies & Pints OTB on Kentucky Derby Day.

For the period that includes January through April, the four ADW’s combined to handle $24,685,245. That compared with 2016’s figure of $23,837,747, which is a 3.56% increase. TVG is up 3.87%, TwinSpires is up 3.92% and XpressBet is off just 2.59%.

The Virginia Equine Alliance’s (VEA) two Richmond based Off Track Betting (OTB) Centers continue to do robust business, even as on line (ADW) betting figures remain solid. Breakers Sports Grille, the first to open back on November 2nd, handled $3,871,640 in the period while the newest one, Ponies & Pints, generated $2,522,031 in wagering activity. The latter opened on January 16th.

When combining both the ADW and OTB figures, a total of $31,078,917 in horse race bets were placed in the first four month period of 2017.

Advance betting on The Preakness is available Friday May 19th from 11 AM – 11 PM, and day of from 10 AM until post time of 6:45 PM

Focus now is on the upcoming Preakness Stakes, slated for Saturday May 20th. Both Richmond OTBs are expecting busy days. Advance Preakness betting is available all day and evening at both sites on Friday May 19th from 11 AM – 11 PM. Doors open Saturday at 10 AM and betting is available until Preakness post of 6:45 PM.

Virginia-Breds Score Pair Of Weekend Triumphs At Belmont

Virginia-breds had another solid weekend at tracks around the country, highlighted by a pair of victories at the competitive Belmont Park spring meet. Carbon Data and Max James connected on May 12th and 13th respectively — the former in a 1 1/4 miles, $90,000 maiden special weight test and the latter in a 1 1/16th miles, $41,000 maiden claimer.

Carbon Data battled head-to-head, literally, with runner-up Into the Breach from the top of the stretch to the wire. The Lazy Lane Farms bred colt was a half length better at the finish, crossing in 2:05.01. A four year old son of Birdstone, Carbon Data did not race a 2 or 3 year old, and was making just his third career start. He is trained Chad Brown, was ridden by Javier Castellano, and is out of the Sky Classic mare, Penney Marie.  Owner Paul Pompa Jr. cashed in as well via the VTA/HBPA Mid-Atlantic bonus program. He received a $10,000 bonus (the 25% bonus is capped at $10,000) in addition to the winner’s share of the purse.

Max James also scored his first lifetime win against a field of ten competitors. The 3 year old Union rags colt took command with 5/16ths left and won by almost two lengths in 1:48.28. Bred by the Audley Farm Equine LLC, Max James is out of Pink Champagne by Awesome Again. He is owned by Al & Michelle Crawford Racing, who like Pompa Jr., received a 25% owners bonus for winning an overnite race in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Everything Magic won her third race from five starts May 4th at Laurel Park. The Larry Johnson owned and bred filly is trained by Mike Trombetta. Photo by Jim McCue.

Everything Magic is a lightly raced 4 year old Street Sense filly who earned a well spaced, third consecutive triumph earlier in the month. She won handily by six lengths in a $30,000 starter optional claiming race May 4th at Laurel, which followed a pair of wins nearly a year prior — last May in a Monmouth maiden claimer and last June in a Pimlico allowance race. The Mike Trombetta trainee is owned and bred by Larry Johnson, and is out of the More Than Ready mare, More Than Magic. She has won three of five lifetime starts, good for $53,010.

Johnson added another head to his stable a week later (May 12) at Pimlico, when he claimed a horse that he bred. Six year old Greek God, making his 47th lifetime start, trailed frontrunner Atascaderan throughout the 1 1/16th miles claimer until the bitter end. The Pleasantly Perfect gelding nipped leader at the wire by a neck and collected his 8th lifetime win. Johnson claimed the winner for $7500 and named Trombetta as the new trainer. Greek God is out of the Mr. Greeley mare, Grecian Wings.

Jockey Forest Boyce guides Isabella Rocks to victory at Laurel May 5th. Photo by Jim McCue.

Other recent Virginia-bred winners include Isabella Rocks, Talk Less and Sambrook Edge, who have connected at Laurel, Thistledown and Gulfstream respectively.
Isabella Rocks is another Larry Johnson owned and bred horse who gained her first lifetime win at the age of five, in just her second career outing. Jockey Forest Boyce guided the effort for trainer Suzanne Dempsey. Talk Less was part of an entry that finished one-two in a $24,000 Thistledown allowance. Bred by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, III, the 3 year old Blame colt has a pair of wins and seconds in five starts. Sambrook Edge collected his second win of 2017 and fourth straight “in the money” finish at Gulfstream May 14th when he beat seven others in a $17,000 claimer. The victor was bred by the Lazy Lane Farms and is by Afleet Alex.

Sadler’s Joy, shown here as a yearling at Woodslane Farm in The Plains, finished third in the Grade I Man O’ War Stakes May 13th as a 4 year old. Photo by Nick Hahn.

Although it didn’t result in a winners circle picture, congratulations go out to the Virginia connections of 4 year old colt Sadler’s Joy, who finished third in the Grade I, Man O’ War Stakes at Belmont Park May 13th. The son of Kitten’s Joy is owned by Lauren and Rene Woolcott of Woodslane Farm, which is based in The Plains, Virginia. Sadler’s Joy now has a win, runner-up and third place finish in three starts this year, good for $197,480 in earnings. His victory came in the Grade 2, Pan American Stakes April 1st at Gulfstream. Here’s a photo of Sadler’s Joy as a yearling.

Renown, Virginia’s First Country Racing Superstar?

The following article appeared in The Racing Biz last week.

by Nick Hahn

Virginia’s “country racing” experiment uses the timing and tradition of steeplechase venues to create opportunities for primarily Virginia-based horsemen to race. Flat racers have been part of steeplechase cards for decades, but the concept of raising the level of flat races in popular one-day steeplechase stopovers in Virginia has been at least one answer for the 2013 closure of Colonial Downs.

For the last three years, the Virginia Equine Alliance has offered races out-of-state at Laurel Park and in-state at Great Meadow, where just shy of some 20,000 car loads attempt to cover The Plains. These “country races” have frequently generated double-digit fields.

Despite the lack of a starting gate, riders carrying somewhere near 145 pounds, and a course that isn’t completely oval or even at grade, if you squint your eyes a bit, it can resemble racing on the infield turf of any the mid-Atlantic racetracks that many of its participants have seen before.

In this attempt to expose flat racing to the large crowds that support steeplechase racing while offering Virginia horsemen a local racing opportunity, country racing may have created its first superstar.

Renown, in Saturday’s $50,000 Secretariat Stakes at Great Meadow, never fell more than three lengths off the pace, assumed the lead when Gotta Get Away left the course and won by over three lengths over the soft going on a relentlessly rainy day. With this victory, Renown is showing a range of versatility that few thoroughbreds get to display.

Renown wins the Secretariat. Photo provided by Virginia Gold Cup.

Trainer Elizabeth Voss has now gathered stakes wins for the Merriebelle Stable LLC star in an unlikely series of arenas: Laurel Park, Delaware Park, Keeneland — where he won the Grade 3 Sycamore — and Great Meadow. It’s safe to say that nobody has gotten home on that grand slam other than Renown.

Renown can actually add one more venue to his win list, Wexford Race Course in Ireland, in his first start. Bred in Great Britain by Juddmonte Farms, Renown is by the British sire Champs Elysees out of Fame at Last by Quest for Fame.

“I think he’d be a pretty good hurdler, but that doesn’t look like it will happen at the moment, the way he has been running,” noted rider Jack Doyle who delivered Renown to the winner’s circle on that soaking Saturday afternoon. “He’s schooled over hurdles and did just fine.”

With versatility like this, Renown could start next over hurdles or in your backyard, but more likely would be going two miles in the Grade 3, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational on Friday, June 9th on Belmont Stakes weekend.

“There aren’t many races over a mile and a half in this country,” Doyle points out.

In the initial year of country racing, Jack Doyle and Renown delivered two wins at Great Meadow in allowance flats in 2015. In 2016, Renown faded on the soft going in the Secretariat, finishing behind Rum Tum Tugger and Mutasaawy, two horses Renown bettered in the 2017 edition. He has now won 7 of his 12 starts.

“He seems to be improving all the time,” added Doyle.

His only setback since last year’s Secretariat was when he finished third at Saratoga in the $100,000 John’s Call behind Mr. Maybe and My Afleet, coincidentally a horse that won the 3rd race earlier in the day at Great Meadow, going 17 furlongs over jumps.

In the other two flat races, favored Swellelegent won a $40,000 allowance flat at a mile and a half for trainer Neil Morris and owner Tom Hulfish. Leading only two in the 10-horse field at the half-mile pole, rider Gerald Galligan circled eight-wide to win by 10 lengths.

Hooping, bred by Hickory Tree Farm of The Plains, VA, went wire-to-wire in a $35,000 VA-bred allowance at a mile and a quarter for owner Debra Kachel and trainer Ricky Hendriks. Ross Gehaghty delivered the win in the finale.

Virginia Breds Sire Kentucky Oaks and Derby Winners

by Nick Hahn | May 10,2017
Reprinted with permission of the Racing Biz

Virginia swept the Oaks/Derby double over the weekend at Churchill Downs — though you might not know it — in manners that couldn’t be more opposite. Under a masterful, measured, front running ride of jockey John Velazquez Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby. Jockey Mike Smith kept passing fillies aboard Abel Tasman in going from last to first in the Kentucky Oaks.

Abel Tasman- Benoit Photo

Always Dreaming was sired by Virginia-bred Bodemeister, who stands at Winstar Farm in Kentucky. Abel Tasman is by Virginia-bred Quality Road, who stands at Lane’s End, also in Kentucky.

In Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, Always Dreaming finished where his sire fell short, and just short. In 2012, Bodemeister blazed out of both Derby and Preakness starting gates, stubborn with the lead until just steps before the wire. Perhaps aided by a sloppy racetrack, Always Dreaming turned back every attempt made at him and stayed well ahead of those that still had their bids underway.

Trainer Todd Pletcher who endured inquisitive looks nearly every morning of Derby week for his colt’s “all too happy” gallops, had settled his colt enough during the week to get the best out of him on Saturday.

Bodemeister’s first crop of three-year-old progeny are racing this year, and Always Dreaming will be quite a beacon. Bodemeister, the Derby and Preakness runner up of 2012, was bred by Audley Farm in Berryville and sired by Empire Maker out of the Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent.

The Clarke County farm, along the West Virginia border, once stood Sir Barton, the first winner of the Triple Crown, before it was even titled as such.

“It brought back memories of 2012, that’s for sure. We were wondering about the distance but he just kept going. It’s redemption,” observed Turner Kobayashi, Audley’s General Manager. “Always Dreaming is a dream for us as well. We’re part of the stallion syndicate with Winstar.”

The Kentucky Derby is settled. Always Dreaming shipped to Pimlico on Tuesday seeking to avenge Bodemeister’s near miss in the Preakness on May 20th.

Abel Tasman, didn’t follow quite the same parade route as Always Dreaming. She was last out of the gate, and jockey Mike Smith steadied his filly off the first turn, went six wide in the second turn and cleared to win by a length and a quarter. Smith timed his rally astutely.

“I felt they were going quick enough for as far back as I was,” said Smith after the race.

Quality Road, who has four crops of foals of racing age, has seen five of his progeny win graded stakes this year. And with the win in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks, Abel Tasman shot to the top of that list.

While Bodemeister’s racing career ended with the Triple Crown — like I’ll Have Another, who ran him down in both the Derby and the Preakness, he never raced again after the latter race — in many ways Quality Road’s was just beginning after the Triple Crown.

Coming into the 2009 Kentucky Derby, Quality Road was expected to be favored after wins in the Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth. But a quarter crack in the days before the Derby forced him to the sidelines. He would later win three Grade 1 races — the Woodward, the Metropolitan Handicap and the Donn Handicap — during his 4-year-old campaign.

One of Virginia’s most successful breeders, the late Edward P. Evans, bred Quality Road, a son of Elusive Quality out of Kobla, by Strawberry Road (AUS). Evans’ Spring Hill Farm in Casanova Farm in Fauquier County was sold last year.

Two native sons of Virginia, now standing in Kentucky, channeling their brilliance through their offspring.

Central Virginia Residents Fill 2 New Off Track Betting Centers On Derby Day

Central Virginia residents got a chance to bet the Kentucky Derby for the first time in four years Saturday at two new Off Track Betting Centers in the Richmond area — Ponies & Pints downtown, and Breakers Sports Grille in the west end.

Fans filled the Ponies & Pints OTB all afternoon to bet action from Churchill Downs.

Ponies & Pints held a $1,000 Fancy Hat Contest soon after Always Dreaming crossed the finish line to win the Triple Crown’s first leg. Many attendees got creative in their hopes of winning top prize.

Ladies in the Fancy Hat contest prepare to be judged in hopes of winning the $1,000 top prize.

Ponies & Pints took advantage of their parking lot to stage an outdoor party aspect to Derby Day. That aspect enabled the Shockoe Bottom restaurant to handle hundreds of extra customers. After a few late afternoon sprinkles, a rainbow appeared in the sky 20 minutes before Derby post time.

A pre-Derby rainbow followed a few sprinkles 20 minutes before Derby post time.

And the Fancy Fat Contest winner was…