Monthly Archives: August 2017

John Thomas, Son Of VEA Track Superintendent, Gets First Graded Stakes Win August 30th

The following appeared in The Paulick Report August 30th. Trainer John Thomas is the son of Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) Track Superintendent John Dale Thomas.

Catholic Boy navigated a tough break and late traffic to win the Grade 3 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga on Wednesday, giving Jonathan Thomas his first graded stakes win as trainer. Jockey Manuel Franco kept the colt tucked along the inside rail in mid-pack for much of the 1 1/16-mile contest after being bumped at the start, then found a gap on the final turn to overtake tiring early leaders Earth and Trumpi. The final time was 1:40.94 for the race, which was Franco’s third win on the card.

Catholic Boy’s win in the Grade 3 With Anticipation Stakes gave trainer John Thomas his first graded stakes win. Photo by Chelsea Durand.

The race was the second career start for Catholic Boy, who won a maiden special weight for owner Robert LaPenta at Gulfstream Park in July.

Thomas, former assistant to Todd Pletcher and Christophe Clement, is a retired jockey who piloted two graded stakes winners in his professional career, which was cut short in 2000 due to an injury.

Catholic Boy is the son of More Than Ready and Bernardini mare Song of Bernadette and was bred in Kentucky by Fred W. Heitrich III and John D. Fielding.

Irish Territory (IRE) finished second, followed by Untamed Domain.

See the full chart here.

Shadwell Farm


Shadwell Farm


With Anticipation Quotes, courtesy NYRA press office

Jonathan Thomas, winning trainer of Catholic Boy (No. 3): “I thought our draw was super beneficial. We were able to save ground. I thought Manny [Franco] gave him a great ground-saving trip. I was hoping we could get up on the inside, but he had to tip out, and I thought Manny did everything great.
“He’s screaming for distance. We had the seven-furlong race at Kentucky Downs and the mile race at Del Mar, but with [owner] Mr. LaPenta being a New Yorker, and this is my second home, being able to come up here and get the trip-of-ground we needed was important. I’m impressed with him knowing he didn’t get the cleanest trip and he negotiated some pockets and holes and overcame it. Obviously, the goal would be to get to the Breeders’ Cup from here with possible start in the Pilgrim in between, but we’ll see.”
Manny Franco, winning jockey aboard Catholic Boy (No. 3): “I just followed instructions. I just tried to break and get position, and that’s what we did. It worked out good. I had a lot of horse under me and I was trying to find my way out. I had to wait a little longer than I wanted, but the hole open, and I had a lot of horse left and we won. I work him in the mornings. I know the horse, and he broke his maiden nicely; he won by two lengths at Gulfstream. [Today], it worked out.”

Virginia-Breds Score Upset Wins & A Graded Stakes Victory In Late August Action

Since Virginia Day at Laurel Park August 5th, action among Virginia-bred horses has produced some upset victories for some and a first ever graded stakes win for another. And, we are less than a month away from the September 30th “Commonwealth Day” card at Laurel which features five $60,000 Virginia-bred restricted stakes and a trio of open graded ones.

Free Union scored his fourth career win on opening day of the 2017 Timonium meet. Photo by Jim McCue.

Free Union won his second race of the year in upset fashion August 26th at Timonium’s opening day program.  The 4 year old Fierce Wind gelding, bred by Susan Minor, was best in a field of nine and returned $43.40 after being sent off at odds of 20-1. He raced outside the field throughout in the 1 1/16th miles claimer, took the lead turning for home and crossed 1 1/2 lengths in front of Supah Czech. Free Union, who is out of the Buddha mare, Big Bad Buddha, earned his fourth lifetime victory. The victor is owned by the Lawrence Stable, who received a 25% bonus courtesy of the HBPA/VTA Mid-Atlantic owner’s incentive program.

Just Call Kenny #2 with Eddie Castro riding won the $100,00 Philip H. Iselin Stakes Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey on Saturday August 26, 2017. Photo By Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Horner Man also collected his fourth lifetime win in a 6 1/2 furlong claiming sprint at Gulfstream. The 4 year old Congrats gelding battled Fifth Avenue Flash head to head through the second half and prevailed in 1:17.42. Sent off at 25-1, the winner returned $52.80. Bred by S. Barton, Inc., Horner Man earned his fifth “in the money” effort of 2017 and saw his current year bankroll increase to $25,480. He is out of Cee’s Irish by Cee’s Tizzy.

A pair of Virginia-breds chocked up recent six-plus length scores. Beachtown Benny and Turks and Chaos beat their respective fields handily at Ellis Park and Penn National. Both were in claiming events and both were contested at around the one mile distance. The former went gate to wire in a field of twelve while the latter raced close to the front in a field of eight, ran clear at the head of the stretch and finished with a flurry. Beachtown Benny was the betting choice while Turks and Chaos paid $19.40.

Beachtown Benny was bred by Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin and has bankrolled $30,311 from eight starts this year. The three year old is by Discreetly Mine out of Enterprise Beach by El Prado. Turks and Chaos is a five year old daughter of Oratory and was bred by Mary Iselin. She is out of the Citidancer mare, Hat Dancer.

Virginia-bred Cryptos’ Holiday won the $35,000 Old Dominion Turf Championship at Great Meadow October 22nd. Photo by Douglas Lees

Most recently, Cryptos’ Holiday won his first race since capturing a thrilling allowance flat during last fall’s International Gold Cup card at Great Meadow. The 4 year old Harlan’s Holiday gelding best of seven in a $36,000, one mile allowance optional claimer at Delaware Park. He won by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:38.64. The winner, out of the Cryptoclearance mare, Cryptos’ Best,  was bred by Lazy Lane Farms and is owned by Magalen Bryant. He has earned a respectable $77,240 from 11 career outs.

Eight year old Brudda Clyde made his 46th lifetime start August 27th at Grande Prarie and won his second straight at the Canadian track in Alberta. Bred by James Sumter Carter, the Political Force gelding reached the winners circle for the 14th time. He is out of the Lord Carson mare, Flying Kitty.

And kudos to breeder Robin Richards and Just Call Kenny, who collected a solid Grade 3 stakes win August 26th in the $100,000 Philip Iselin Stakes. That race recap appears separately on the website. The 6 year old Jump Start horse has bankrolled $141,830 this year alone from 7 “top three” finishes which includes that first ever stakes triumph. His career bankroll increased to $433,000 with that victory. Just Call Kenny has competed in a trio of consecutive Grade 3 stakes at Monmouth this summer. He was second in the Salvator Mile Stakes June 17th and third in the Monmouth Cup Stakes July 30th.

Virginia-Bred Just Call Kenny Earns First Graded Stakes Victory In Monmouth’s Iselin Stales

ABL Stable, Bassone, Cahill & Donnelly’s Just Call Kenny sat comfortably along the backstretch before making his move on the far turn, taking the lead at the top of the stretch and pulling away to a four-length score in the Grade 3 $100,000 Phillip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

Just Call Kenny #2 with Eddie Castro riding won the $100,00 Philip H. Iselin Stakes Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey on Saturday August 26, 2017. Photo By Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Trained by Pat McBurney, Just Call Kenny stopped the timer at 1:47.73 over a fast main track and paid $10.80 and $3.20 in the field that scratched to four with the defection of Discreet Lover.  Eagle closed resolutely to complete the $22.20 exacta as the 3/2 favorite. It was nearly another length to Mr. Jordan who checked in third with pacesetter Conquest Big E rounding out the quartet.

“I knew there was plenty of speed in the race so we just sat back and waited in third,” said winning rider Eddie Castro. “I asked him at the 3/8ths pole and he really responded.  The only one behind me was Eagle so I had to watch for him, but I got first run and my horse kept running hard all the way through the stretch.”

The 6-year-old horse by Jump Start out of the Green Dancer mare Green Jeans improved his record to 5-5-7 in 29 career starts, boosting his earnings to $433,565. It was his first career graded stakes victory.

Drefong, Co-Bred By Virginia Anthony Warrender, Wins The Grade I Forego Stakes At Saratoga

Champion sprinter Drefong returned to the scene where he wired the field in last year’s Grade 1 Kings Bishop, and repeated that effort against nine others in the Grade 1, $600,000 Forego on Saturday, Travers Day, at Saratoga Race Course.

Drefrong cut through seven furlongs in a final time of 1:21.12. His four-length victory will earned him a trip to California for the Grade 1, $1.5 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 4 at Del Mar. 

Sent out immediately upon the gate opening, Drefong, ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, opened a quick two-length lead followed in pursuit by Stallwalkin’ Dude. The son of Gio Ponti rolled through an opening quarter mile in 22.89 seconds and then the half-mile in 45.58 while holding a length advantage.

Drefong, co-bred by Virginia Anthony Warrender, won the Grade I Forego at Saratoga August 26th. Photo courtesy of NYRA.

“We just saw the real Drefong,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said from California. “It’s a good thing that everything turned out all right because otherwise, I would have never brought him to the Forego. I was going to run him once there [Del Mar and then bring him into the Breeders’ Cup Sprint], or maybe twice [in California]. I’d rather win the Forego than that other race. He’s a great horse and he’s always been a champion. When he hit that third gear there, I was really happy, and happy to hear the cheers. We put a lot of time into that horse.”

Drefong extended his win mark to six. Sent off at even money, returned $4.30 to win.

“I was hoping that he would run like he did last year here,” Smith said. “He really likes that summer breeze here. I knew that he was liking it today, and I was just thinking positive. I think he ran even better than last year.”

Awesome Slew, running eighth down the backside, got up for the runner-up spot over longshot Tom’s Ready, who had been last in the early going.

“I can’t complain. He ran good,” Awesome Slew trainer Mark Casse said. “I was hoping the pace would be a little quicker, but Johnny [Velazquez] said everybody broke and decided to take back.”

Diving Rod, Tale of S’avall, Mind Your Biscuits, Tommy Macho, Stallwalkin’ Dude, Very Very Stella and Ross completed the order of finish.

Mind Your Biscuits, off of a 3 ½ length victory in the Belmont Sprint which followed a 3 length win in the Grade 1 Golden Shaheen in Dubai failed to fire after his mid-pack run and finished a disappointing sixth.

Drefong, now 2-for-2 at Saratoga, will return to California, but his next spot will be decided in the upcoming days.

“We gave him a lot of time off [almost nine months] and brought him back, said Baffert. “It was a lot of patience there. To bring him back to the Breeders’ Cup we wanted to get two good runs in him. Sometimes things work out for the best. This was pretty exciting. He’s a beautiful horse. I’ll probably get him home and maybe run him at Santa Anita. We’ll bring him back home and play it by ear.”

Virginia-Breds In Noteworthy Races Saturday August 26th

Virginia-bred Just Call Kenny, winner of over $373,000 in purse monies, will compete in Saturday’s Grade 3 Philip Iselin Stakes at Monmouth. The 6 year old Jump Start horse was third most recently in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup Stakes July 30th.

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.

Out of the Green Dancer mare, Green Jeans, Just Call Kenny was bred by Robin Richards. He has four wins, five runner-ups and seven thirds in 28 career starts. The Iselin is the 7th race on Monmouth’s card Saturday.

Virginia-bred Sticksstatelydude will make his 2017 debut this Saturday as part of Saratoga’s powerful Travers Day program. The 4 year old First Dude colt will compete in a $93,000 allowance optional claiming event which has been carded as the fourth race.

“Sticksstatelydude (First Dude) and jockey Joel Rosario win a MSW at Saratoga Racecourse 8/1/15. Trainer: Kieran McLaughlin. Owner: Alvin S. Haynes & Elizabeth Burchell & John Ferris “

In just six lifetime starts, Sticksstatelydude has three wins and three runner-up finishes, good for $326,000 in earnings. He most recently won the Grade 3 Discovery Stakes last November at Aqueduct. Bred by Canyon Lake Thoroughbreds, the talented colt is out of the Gilded Time mare, Placerita, Joel Rosario will ride Saturday for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Photo courtesy of Susie Raisher.

Valid, A Virginia-Bred Million Dollar Earner, Is Officially Retired

The following article appeared in The Paulick Report on August 22nd. 

On Tuesday, jockey Nik Juarez officially announced the retirement of multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Valid. The 24-year-old Maryland native spent his own money to track down the 7-year-old gelded son of Medaglia d’Oro, and had him shipped back to a farm in Maryland to live out the rest of his days eating grass and occasionally as Juarez’ personal riding horse.

Valid is shown with jockey Nik Juarez.

Valid was the first horse Juarez rode to victory in stakes competition, winning the 2015 Grade 3 Phillip H. Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park; the milestone occurred just three days after the jockey lost his bug boy status.

“He was a big part of my career,” Juarez said. “It’s hard to explain but for those that knew him, he was such a joy to be around and had his own very unique personality. I rode him and could just feel how much will he had to fight and to win. It’s very heartwarming to see him happy, eating grass and just being a horse. He deserves it.”

Valid winning the Grade II Monmouth Cup in July. Photo courtesy Coady Photography.

Bred in Virginia by Edward P. Evans, Valid was originally a $500,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale. Selected by John Ferguson, Valid began his career under the Darley colors, but went to auction again at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Fall mixed sale with just one win from seven career starts. Purchased by Carolyn Vogel for $115,000, Valid went on to compete for trainer Marcus Vitali and ownership Crossed Sabres Farm.

Valid with Nik Juarez riding won the $150,000 Grade III Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey on Sunday August 30, 2015. Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

His first stakes win came in the 2014 G2 Monmouth Cup, and he would go on to add wins in the 2015 G3 Fred W. Hooper, the 2015 G3 Phillip H. Iselin, and the 2016 G3 Skip Away. Throughout his career, Valid was incredibly consistent, rarely finishing off the board in both allowance and stakes company. His final start for Crossed Sabres was the Skip Away win in April of 2016, at which point his record stood at 12 wins, nine seconds and seven thirds from 37 career starts, with earnings of $1,101,647.

Valid was later sold to Tom W. Thurman in the 2017 Keeneland January mixed sale for $15,000. In April, his first start in about a year, Valid ran ninth in a listed stake at Nebraska’s Fonner Park. The gelding ran twice more at Arapahoe, his best finish a second in an allowance race, to earn a grand total of $3,000 for those three starts.

Today, Valid belongs to Juarez, and the gelding can “finally rest,” said the jockey. Currently the leading rider at Monmouth Park by a big margin, Juarez is preparing to move his tack to Belmont Park this fall. Still, he plans to come home to Maryland to spend time with Valid whenever possible.

Virginia-Bred & Raised Yearlings Attract Interest At Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale

Virginia-Bred & Raised Yearlings Attract Interest At Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale

The Fasig-Tipton Select Yearling sale was held at Saratoga August 7th & 8th and a number of Virginia-breds sold well. An Audley Farms Scat Daddy filly topped the list of Commonwealth-breds at $600,000.

Hip 140 is a Scat Daddy filly that was consigned by Brookdale sales agent for Audley Farm Equine. She sold for $600,000.

A Smitten Farms Violence filly sold for $270,000 along with a Bodemeister filly for $190,000.

Hip 161 is an Uncle Mo filly that was consigned by the Chilly Bleak Farm. She sold for $250,000

A Chilly Bleak Farms Uncle Mo filly sold for $250,000 and a pair of their Virginia raised colts did well — an Orb for $400,000 and a Fed Biz for $160,000.

Virginia-bred Hip 67 is by Hard Spun out of Street Interest by Street Cry. He sold for $220,000

The final two Virginia-breds sold were a Morgan’s Ford Farm Hard Spun colt at $220,000 and a Munnings colt from Jill and Ned Moore at $100,000.

In addition to the pair from Jim and Katie Fitzgerald’s Chilly Bleak Farm, another couple Virginia raised yearlings also sold well.  Louisa Lenehan’s Tiznow colt went for $450,000 while a Verrezano filly from Andrew Motion’s Old Chapel Farm sold for $150,000. In the New York-Bred Preferred Yearling Sale August 12th, Chilly Bleak Farm also sold a Violence Colt for $210,000.

Virginia Horses Test Positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686,


For Immediate Release

August 15, 2017


Virginia Horses Test Positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1 


On Aug. 11, a horse exhibiting neurologic signs was transported to the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg from Culpeper. The horse was immediately isolated from the hospital population and has not come into contact with any other patients.


On Aug. 12, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (VDACS) Animal Health Lab in Warrenton confirmed a diagnosis of Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1). The horse remains isolated while undergoing supportive care.


On Aug. 14, a second horse from the same farm developed a fever and neurologic symptoms and was euthanized. VDACS’ Animal Health Lab confirmed a diagnosis of Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1). The farm is under quarantine.


The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center employed strict biosecurity measures and disinfection upon arrival and will continue to do so during the entirety of the horse’s hospitalization. The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center is operating normally.


For more information on EHV-1, see  or contact VDACS’ Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483.



Elaine J. Lidholm

Director of Communications

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

102 Governor Street

Richmond VA 23219




Four Virginia-Breds Are In Day 2 Of The Saratoga Yearling Sale

Day 2 of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale is (Tuesday) at 6:30 PM with Hips 113-227 available. Four Virginia-breds are on the docket.

Hip 140 is a Scat Daddy filly being consigned by Brookdale sales agent for Audley Farm Equine.

Hip 140 (shown here) is a filly by Scat Daddy out of Bilboquet by Smart Strike.

Hip 161 is an Uncle Mo filly being consigned by the Chilly Bleak Farm.

Hip 161 (shown here) is a filly by Uncle Mo out of Claire’s Song by Unbridled’s Song.
Hip 204 is a filly by Violence out of Hepburn by Capote. Finally, Hip 225 is a colt by Flatter out of Lemon Crusta by Lemon Drop Kid.

Fasig Tipton Saratoga Sale Features 5 Virginia-Breds On Monday August 7

The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale begins Monday August 7th) at 6:30 PM and Hips 1-112 will be available. Hips 113-127 will be available Tuesday at 6:30 PM.

Virginia-bred Hip 67 is by Hard Spun out of Street Interest by Street Cry.

Five Virginia-bred yearlings are on today’s list. Hip 56 is a colt by Munnings out of Senate Caucus by Siphon. Hip 61 is a filly by Bodemeister out of Snit by Fit To Fight. Hip 67 (shown here) is a colt by Hard Spun out of Street Interest by Street Cry.

Hip 90 is a Virginia-bred colt by Into Mischief out of Un Blessed by Mineshaft

Hip 78 is a colt by First Samurai out of Talent by Cryptoclearance. And Hip 90 is a colt by Into Mischief out of Un Blessed by Mineshaft. More details are at