Monthly Archives: September 2017

Virginia Owned Sadler’s Joy To Compete In Grade I Stakes At Belmont Sept. 30; Here Is Your Weekend Preview

Sadler’s Joy, fresh off a big win in the Grade I Sword Dancer, is the 4-1 third choice in Saturday’s $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (Gr. I) at Belmont. The 4 year old Kitten’s Joy colt, who became a million dollar earner with that last win, was bred and is owned by Rene & Lauren Wooolcott of Woodslane Farm in The Plains, Virginia. He faces ten others in Race 10, at 5:45 PM.

Sadler’s Joy scored his biggest win to date August 26th in the $1 Million Sword Dancer Invitational. Photo courtesy of NYRA.

The Joe Hirsch is just one of eight Grade I stakes on Saturday available for horseplayers to watch and wager. The other two at Belmont are the $400,000 Beldame and $350,000 Vosburgh Stakes. Santa Anita has five $300,000 Grade I’s — the Awesome Again, Front Runner, Chandelier, Zenyatta and Rodeo Drive Stakes.  Laurel Park of course hosts “Commonwealth” Day with eight stakes — five of which are for Virginia-breds. And Delaware Park has a stakes filled “Owners Day” card with deep fields. When combined, this makes for one of the biggest racing days of the year.

The Breakers Sports Grille OTB has both beverage & food specials every day, in addition to separate smoking & non-smoking sections.


The two Richmond area OTBs at Ponies & Pints and Breakers Sports Grille will have all the action available — including another 9 Grade I’s to watch and wager next weekend. Virginia residents can also wager on line via,, and A full simulcast calendar is at

Here is a preview of the Joe Hirsch Stakes courtesy of

Sol Kumin estimates trainer Chad Brown conditions about 60% of the horses the ebullient businessman owns with his various partnerships. By putting that many eggs into the Eclipse Award winner’s basket, Kumin often ends up with the happy problem of having his head spin each weekend trying to keep tabs on a plethora of big-race outcomes his contenders are going after.

When the entries for the Sept. 30 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1T) at Belmont Park were revealed, it illustrated both the perks and slight drawback of being part of one of the sport’s elite operations. Though Kumin has three rooting interests in the 1 1/2-mile race, two of which are conditioned by Brown, he also knows one of the biggest threats is coming from the barn some of his own reside in.

“I know where everyone of (Brown’s) horses are going, because honestly … you have to watch his barn. Because most of the time, you’re trying to beat his horses,” Kumin said with a laugh. “So I’m always trying to split them up. Because in the big races you have to beat him.”

As is typical when the nation’s top turf races are on the line, Brown is throwing both quality and quantity at the $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, as he will saddle three of the 11 entrants in the test, including grade 1 winner Beach Patrol and graded victor Money Multiplier.

In addition to co-owning Beach Patrol, Kumin’s ownership groups also have a piece of Brown trainee Fanciful Angel, as well as fellow Joe Hirsch entrant Ascend, who is conditioned by Graham Motion. It is a particularly strong hand, especially in a division that has been ripe with parity this season.

Beach Patrol brings the best recent credentials of that bunch to the table, having defeated Fanciful Angel by a half-length in the Aug. 12 Arlington Million XXXV Stakes (G1T) to earn his first win since he took the Secretariat Stakes (G1T) over the Arlington International Racecourse turf one year earlier. Though the 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid  endured a six-race losing skid between victories, he hasn’t finished worse than fourth during that time and fell just a half-length short in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1T) at Churchill Downs in May.

WINCZE HUGHES: Beach Patrol Proves Best in Arlington Million

The Arlington Million marked the stateside debut for Fanciful Angel, a globetrotting stakes winner who was purchased privately by Kumin’s Head of Plain Partners and Michael Dubb after that outing and transferred from trainer Marco Botti to Brown.

Though Ascend finished fifth in the Arlington Million and had Motion toying with the idea of trying him on dirt, a positive six-furlong move in 1:13 1/5 at Fair Hill Training Center Sept. 25 convinced his trainer to try him back on the course where he captured the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes (G1T) in June.

ANGST: Ascend Shocks Manhattan Rivals in Graded Stakes Debut

“I’ve got three horses in the race—Beach Patrol, Fanciful Angel, and Ascend—and I honestly don’t know if any of them can get 1 1/2 miles,” Kumin said. “So my hope is that one of them does. But it is going to be a tough race.”

The horse they may have to go through if they want to hit the wire first is multiple grade 1 winner Oscar Performance. The 3-year-old ridgling son of Kitten’s Joy  will be taking on elders for the first time but has arguably been the most consistent member of the turf male division this summer.

Since he threw in a pair of off-the-board efforts in the Transylvania Stakes Presented by Keeneland Select (G3T) and American Turf Stakes Presented by Ram Trucks (G2T), the Brian Lynch trainee has regained the form that allowed him to capture the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T) in November. Following his win in the June 3 Pennine Ridge Stakes (G3T) at Belmont—where he is undefeated in three starts—Oscar Performance went gate-to-wire in the July 8 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (G1T) before stalking and pouncing his way to victory in the Secretariat Stakes Aug. 12.

BALAN: Oscar Performance Continues Roll With Secretariat Win

“This will be his first kick at the can against older horses, but we’re confident that he can hold his own,” Lynch said of Oscar Performance, who will also try 12 furlongs for the first time. “You hit a much more seasoned group of high-level, competitive horses, whereas in the 3-year-old division, you can catch a lightly raced group who might not have the miles on them or have fought in the heavyweight bouts. It’s great to have this type of test.”

Money Multiplier finished fourth in last year’s Joe Hirsch and ran sixth in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). He returned from a nearly nine-month freshening to win the Monmouth Stakes (G2T) in his seasonal debut July 30. The 5-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky  was most recently second in the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer Stakes (G1T) Aug. 26, beaten just a half-length by fellow Joe Hirsch entrant Sadler’s Joy.

“The horse I’m most worried about, besides Oscar Performance, is (Money Multiplier),” Kumin said.

Trainer Dermot Weld will saddle multiple group 1 winner The Grey Gatsby in his first North American start. The 6-year-old son of Mastercraftsman seeks to find the winner’s circle for the first time since he took the 2014 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes (G1).

“I want to see him put it together. I think he’ll appreciate going the distance and I hope he gives Johnny a good ride,” Weld said. “He’s been a little unlucky this summer, but he loves firm ground, so that’s the main reason we’re running him. Our ground (in Ireland) has gone soft over here. The main thing for him is that he loves fast ground, and that’ll be very helpful for him.”

Entries: Joe Hirsch Turf Classic S. (G1T)

Belmont Park, Saturday, September 30, 2017, Race 10

  • Grade IT
  • 1 1/2m
  • Turf
  • $500,000
  • 3 yo’s & up
  • 5:45 PM (local)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1Money Multiplier (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Javier Castellano 126 Chad C. Brown 7/2
2 2Converge (NY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Eric Cancel 126 Naipaul Chatterpaul 50/1
3 3Oscar Performance (KY) Jose L. Ortiz 121 Brian A. Lynch 3/1
4 4Sadler’s Joy (KY) Julien R. Leparoux 126 Thomas Albertrani 4/1
5 5Beach Patrol (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Joel Rosario 126 Chad C. Brown 5/1
6 6Ascend (KY) Joe Bravo 126 H. Graham Motion 12/1
7 7Channel Maker (ON)Keeneland Sales Graduate Manuel Franco 121 William I. Mott 20/1
8 8Mekhtaal (GB) Junior Alvarado 126 H. Graham Motion 15/1
9 9Fanciful Angel (IRE) Irad Ortiz, Jr. 126 Chad C. Brown 10/1
10 10The Grey Gatsby (IRE) John R. Velazquez 126 Dermot K. Weld 8/1
11 11Tricked Up (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Luis R. Reyes 126 Naipaul Chatterpaul 50/1

Virginia-Breds at Keeneland

There was a wide variety of results for the Virginia-breds that went through the ring at the recent Keeneland September Sales. Lazy Lane Farms, LLC bred the sales topping Virginia-bred, a beautiful Into Mischief colt out of Life in Seattle. Consigned by Virginia-bred Kitty Taylor’s,  Warrendale Sales, he was purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbreds Partners and Twin Creeks Racing for $460,000.

Lazy Lanes Into Mischief colt

Audley Farm sold a very nice Invinsible Spirit (IRE) colt out of Fairytale Ending (IRE) to Polo Green Stable, Inc. for $240,000. Unfortunately the hurricane delayed our photographer’s arrival at Keeneland so we do not have a photo of every Virginia-bred that went through the ring but below are the horses photographed and a summary of how they did.


Chilly Bleak’s Fed Biz Filly out of Hottie Dancer sold to Charles Hovitz for $95,000


Art Affair -Midnight Lute colt bred by Jim and Katie Fitzgerald sold to Sallusto & Albina, agent for $50,000

Eaton Sales sold this Hold Me Back colt out of Stylish Affair to Athens Woods, LLC for $25,000

Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin bred this Flat Out colt out of Enterprise Beach that sold for $45,000

Dale Romans bought this Smitten Farm bred filly by Paynter out of Polite Smile for $27,000

Oracle Bloodstock, Agent bought the Blame colt out of Neat Package for $20,000.

Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin bred the filly by City Zip out of Delaneys Star that was bought by Gail Cox, agent for $30,000

This Twirling Candy colt is the first foal out of G2 placed Aspenglow. Bred by Nancy Terhune and Ernest Frohboese he was purchased by Bob Cappelletti, Agt. for $20,000

Eaton Sales sold this Iselin bred Fed Biz filly to Renfrew Racing for $25,000

The Point of Entry filly out of Gone Surfin’ sold to Spring House Farm

Greg Foley, Agt. bought the Discreetly Mine – Summertime Green filly bred by Smitten Farm

Audley Farm bred this Curlin colt out of Secredt Indy which sold to Truly Blue Equine

Chance Farm bred the Sky Mesa colt out of Misty Rain that sold for $25,000 to Vincente Potaro, agent

Virginia Oaks (G3) winner Blind Date is the dam of this filly by Super Saver that sold for $45,000.

Morgan’s Ford bred the filly out of Pearls by Animal Kingdom.

“Commonwealth Day” Preview of Oakley & Brookmeade Stakes For Virginia-Breds

Commonwealth Day” at Laurel is set for this Saturday with eight turf stakes scheduled.

The following five are for Virginia-breds at $60,000 apiece:

*Bert Allen Stakes – Race 1 (12:30 PM)

*Brookmeade Stakes – Race 3 (1:30 PM)

*Punch Line Stakes – Race 5 (2:30 PM)

*Oakley Stakes – Race 6 (3:00 PM)

*Jamestown Stakes – Race 9 (4:30 PM)

There is also a trio of open graded stakes that all used to be run at Colonial Downs: 

*$150,000 Commonwealth Oaks (Gr. 3) – Race 7 (3:30 PM)

*$200,000 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup  (Gr. 2) – Race 8 (4:00 PM)

*$200,000 Commonwealth Derby (Gr. 2) – Race 11 (5:30 PM)


Here is a preview of the Oakley & Brookmeade Stakes, courtesy of a Maryland Jockey Club press release.

Fresh off her first career victory, Cross Roads makes a quick return to competition Saturday in the Oakley Stakes at Laurel Park. The Oakley is for Virginia-bred fillies and mares going 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass.
Owner Roddy Harrison and trainer Lacey Gaudet claimed Cross Roads for $16,000 on Sept. 22 at Laurel Park and are sending her right back into competition in her first stakes.

Cross Roads was best in a $22,000 maiden claimer at Laurel September 22nd. Photo by Jim McCue.

“She came out of that last race great,” Gaudet said. “The owner originally claimed her for a broodmare prospect, so we are kind of looking to get some black type on her this weekend.”
The 3-year-old daughter of Quality Road led from gate to wire for that maiden win under Forest Boyce, who has been aboard for all five of her races and will be up again in the Oakley Stakes. They will start from post seven in the field of 11.
“She was great in front the last time,” Gaudet said. “Forest knows her really well.  We’re really going to leave that in the hands of Forest.
She drew all right. It looks like the toughest horse is on the outside. There is a little bit of speed, so we’re going to hope that Forest knows her a little bit more than we do. She came out of the race in great shape, so we’re going to give her a try.

Lael Stables’ Exaggerated made it 3-for-4 when she captured an allowance race at Laurel Nov. 11, 2015

Lael Stables’ 5-year-old mare Exaggerated drew the outside post and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. Exaggerated won the Oakley in 2015. She will be making her second start in 2017 and first since April on Saturday in the Oakley.
Secret or Not Hopes Third Time is the Charm
Larry Le Hew’s Secret or Not makes her third straight start in the $60,000 Brookmeade Stakes Saturday at Laurel Park. She was third in 2015 and fourth in 2016 in the 1 1/16 miles turf race for Virginia-bred fillies and mares.
Trainer A. Ferris Allen III is hoping that the firm conditions expected for the “Class on the Grass” program will be good for the 5-year-old daughter of Orientate. She drew post three in the field of seven and will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado.

Secret Or Not earned her second straight win by capturing a $41,000 allowance race at Laurel December 11, 2015.

“She’s a real nice, consistent filly,” Allen said. “She’s probably not as fancy as a couple that are picked ahead of her in the race, but we get a little different surface this week, it looks like. We’ve been running over softer grass. The grass course has sped up and we think that might help us.”

Trio Of Virginia-Breds Collect Maiden Scores This Past Week

In advance of Saturday’s (Sept. 30) Commonwealth Day” program at Laurel Park, Cross Roads, Sheet Lightning and Gentle Prince all earned their first lifetime victories this past week in Virginia-bred action. Just Call Kenny, Code West and American Dubai all earned top three finishes in key stakes. And veteran horses like Defondo, What a Wildcat, Bourbon and Beer, and Greek God reached the winner’s circle in various claiming events around the country.

Cross Roads broke her maiden at Laurel September 22nd in a 5 1/2 furlong sprint that featured a field of ten. The 3 year old Quality Road filly, trained by Mike Trombetta, authored a gate to wire effort with jockey Forest Boyce astride. She crossed in 1:02.92 and finished one length ahead of Nina’s patience. Out of the Meadowlake mare, Sincerely, Cross Roads was bred by and is owned by Larry Johnson.

Cross Roads was best in a $22,000 maiden claimer at Laurel September 22nd. Photo by Jim McCue.

Sheet Lightning was also part of a ten horse field of maiden claimers at Delaware that competed one mile, 70 yards. The 3 year old Fierce Wind filly raced among the top three until deep stretch where she ran down the front runners and crossed a length to the better in 1:42.22. Bred by Susan Minor and trained by James Lawrence II, Sheet Lightning reached the winner’s circle for the first time in eight outs to complement a runner-up and a trio of third place finishes. Owners Donald McMurray and Bruce Burns will receive a 25% bonus for the win courtesy of the VTA/HBPA Mid-Atlantic incentive program. Larry Johnson received a bonus as well for Cross Roads’ win.

Gentle Prince broke also broke his maiden in a ten horse battle, but did it 3,000 miles farther west. The 2 year old Exchange Rate gelding, who was making his lifetime debut, came from seventh early on to win by a neck at Emerald Downs. The winner covered six furlongs in 1:11.88 in the $18,500 MSW class. Bred by the Three Ladies Racing Stable, Gentle Prince is out of Runninglikeanangel by Rockport Harbor.

Code West and American Dubai Finish 2nd, 3rd In $175,000 Governor’s Stakes At Remington

Virginia-breds American Dubai and Code West squared off for the third time in stakes competition this year on Sunday in the $175,000 Governor’s Cup Stakes at Remington Park. The former, bred by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, finished 2nd and 3rd — a notch better than his competitor — in both the recent Rasmussen Stakes and Cornhusker Handicap. Code West finished a notch better Sunday though, missing victory by three-quarters of a length behind the winner, Iron Fist. 

In ten starts this year, American Dubai has five wins to go with a pair of seconds and thirds, good for purse earnings of $332,310. Code West, a 7 year old ridgling bred by Edward Evans, has bankrolled $82,000 in 2017 and $761,227 from 34 career starts.   Here is Sunday’s stakes recap from The Paulick Report. 

Whispering Oaks Farm’s Iron Fist has now won three of his last four starts, holding off the challenge from Code West to win Sunday’s $175,000 Governor’s Cup Stakes by about three-quarters of a length at Remington Park. The 5-year-old son of Tapit, ridden by Ricardo Santana for trainer Steve Asmussen, came from off the pace to complete nine furlongs over the fast main track in 1:48.31. Both Iron Fist and third-place finisher American Dubai went off at even money.

Santana and Asmussen have now won three stakes on the Oklahoma Derby undercard, including the $50,000 Flashy Lady with Golden Mischief and the $100,000 Remington Green with Turbo Street.


Iron Fist beat Virginia-bred Code West by less than a length in the $175,000 Governor’s Cup Stakes at Remington. Photo by Dustin Orona.

Iron Fist was slow into stride leaving the starting gate, allowing American Dubai and Dan the Go To Man to head out for the lead. American Dubai strode out to a 3/4-length lead over Dan the Go To Man, with Code West hung three-wide in the first turn. Iron Fist was initially at the rear of the five horse field, but Texas Chrome was wrestled back to that position to be along the rail.

Through fractions of :24.00, :47.55, and 1:10.78, Santana was patient with Iron Fist. The rest of the field began to challenge the leading American Dubai at the three-eighths pole, with Texas Chrome sneaking up the rail and Code West out in the four path. At the quarter pole, Santana finally cued Iron Fist to go for the lead and he took the ridgling five-wide around the last part of the turn.

As the five-horse field lined up five-wide at the head of the lane, Iron Fist cruised to the lead. Code West hung with the new leader throughout the stretch drive, but Iron Fist did just enough to hold that rival at bay without really exerting himself. At the wire, Iron Fist was in front by three-quarters of a length over Code West. American Dubai was third, while Texas Chrome was unable to take advantage of his inside trip and tired to fourth.

Virginia-bred American Dubai has earned $332,000 in 2017 so far. Photo from Coady Photography.

Bred in Kentucky by Gainesway, Iron Fist was a $1.55 million yearling at the Keeneland September sale. He began his career in the colors of Stonestreet Stable and Regis Farm, under the care of Jerry Hollendorfer, but could not break his maiden until his fifth start. After nearly a 10-month break through early 2016, Iron Fist re-appeared in Asmussen’s barn.

Iron Fist has really come into his own in 2017, winning four of his eight starts in stakes company. The Governor’s Cup improves his career record to 8-5-4 from 22 starts, with earnings just shy of $1 million.

Nearly 200 Horses Nominated To September 30th “Commonwealth Day” Card At Laurel

All eight stakes, led by the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G2), $200,000 Commonwealth Derby (G3) and $150,000 Commonwealth Oaks (G3), will be contested over Laurel’s world-class turf course.

Topping the 29 nominees to the Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up at one mile is WinStar Farm’s American Patriot, whose rallying neck victory in the Makers’ 46 Mile (G1) April 14 at Keeneland earned the 4-year-old colt a trip to England for the Queen Anne (G1) at Royal Ascot.. Winner of the Kent (G3) last summer at Delaware, American Patriot was fourth by 1 ¼ lengths in last year’s Commonwealth Derby, his lone try at Laurel.

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. He has been nominated to the September 30th Bert Allen Stakes at Laurel. Photo By Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Jump Sucker Stable’s Blacktype won the Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup last year when it was run as the Commonwealth Turf Cup, his second straight graded triumph following the 2016 Oceanport (G3). Since then, the 6-year-old gelding has placed in a pair of graded stakes including the Dixie (G2) on the Preakness (G1) undercard May 20 at historic Pimlico Race Course.

Multiple graded stakes winners Hawksmoor, Heart to Heart and millionaire Ring Weekend; graded winners Ballagh Rocks, Flatlined, Irish Strait and Tower of Texas and multiple stakes winners John Jones and Offering Plan are also among the nominees, along with Special Envoy, a winner of back-to-back stakes this summer at Laurel; 2016 Queen’s Plate winner Sir Dudley Digges; Brazilian Group 1 winner June, fourth in the All Along Sept. 16 at Laurel; and three-time Grade 1-placed multimillionaire Neolithic.

The Commonwealth Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles drew 25 nominees led by Just Howard, a winner of three straight including back-to-back Laurel stakes for trainer Graham Motion. Hall of Fame (G2) winner Bricks and Mortar, who has one loss in five career starts; multiple stakes winners Bonus Points, Master Plan, Mr. Misunderstood and 2017 Canadian classic winner Channel Maker; Voodoo Song, who extended his win streak to four races last out in the Sept. 2 Saranac (G2) at Saratoga, are also nominated.

Two Notch Road (outside) just edged Tiz Our Time (inside) to capture the $75,000 Meadow Stables Stakes August 5th at Laurel. The 10-year-old nominated to the Punch Line Stakes September 30th at Laurel. Photo courtesy of Jim McCue.

With 35 nominations, the most popular race among horsemen was the Commonwealth Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles. Among the nominees is Holy Helena, winner of the Queen’s Plate in July at Woodbine; graded winners Fifty Five, Uni and Rymska, the latter unraced since taking the Sweetest Chant (G3) in February at Gulfstream Park; multiple stakes winner Party Boat and I’m Betty G, winner of the Pearl Necklace against fellow Maryland-breds July 15 at Laurel.

Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey has won the past two editions of the Commonwealth Oaks with Onus in 2015 and My Impression in 2016. He has three fillies nominated – Danceland and Stuart Janney III homebreds In the Lee, a winner of two of three career starts, all at Laurel, and Initiate.

Also on the Sept. 30 schedule are five $60,000 stakes for Virginia-bred/sired horses which drew a total of 96 nominations – the Jamestown for 2-year-olds (17), Punch Line for 3-year-olds and up (18) and Oakley for females 3 and older (21), all at 5 ½ furlongs; the Bert Allen for 3-year-olds and up (24) and Brookmeade for fillies and mares 3 and up (16), both at 1 1/16 miles.

Among the leading nominees are Just Call Kenny, winner of the Iselin (G3) Aug. 26 at Monmouth Park, in the Bert Allen; multiple stakes winner Two Notch Road in the Punch Line, a race he won in 2014 and 2015 and was third last year; and multiple stakes winner Queen Caroline in the Brookmeade.

Nominations For “Commonwealth Day” Card At Laurel Close September 21

Eight Turf Stakes, Three Graded, Worth $850,000 in Purses Saturday, Sept. 30

LAUREL, MD – Nominations close Thursday, Sept. 21 for eight stakes, three graded, worth $850,000 in purses as part of the ‘Class on the Grass’ program for Commonwealth Day, Saturday Sept. 30, at Laurel Park.
All eight stakes, led by the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G2), $200,000 Commonwealth Derby (G3) and $150,000 Commonwealth Oaks (G3), will be contested over Laurel’s world-class turf course.
The Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup, previously run as the Commonwealth Turf Cup, is for 3-year-olds and up at one mile. The Commonwealth Derby for 3-year-olds and Commonwealth Oaks for 3-year-old fillies are each run at 1 1/8 miles.
Champion grass horse English Channel won the inaugural Turf Cup, then known as the Colonial Turf Cup, as well as the Commonwealth Derby, run as the Virginia Derby, at Colonial Downs in 2005. Last year’s Turf Cup was won by the Christophe Clement-trained Blacktype, ridden by champion Maryland jockey Trevor McCarthy.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey has won the past two editions of the Commonwealth Oaks with Stuart Janney III homebreds Onus in 2015 and My Impression in 2016. The race was inaugurated as the Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs in 2004.
Also on the Sept. 30 schedule are five $60,000 stakes for Virginia-bred/sired horses – the Jamestown for 2-year-olds, Punch Line for 3-year-olds and up and Oakley for females 3 and older, all at 5 ½ furlongs; the Bert Allen for 3-year-olds and up and Brookmeade for fillies and mares 3 and up, both at 1 1/16 miles.
For more information or to make a nomination, call the racing office at 301.725-0400 or 800.638.1859. Nominations can be e-mailed to stakes coordinator Coley Blind at All nominations should be forwarded to Georganne Hale, vice president of racing/racing secretary, P.O. Box 130, Laurel, MD 20725.

Secretariat’s Owner, Penny Chenery, Passes Away At The Age Of 95

The following appeared on September 17th.

Helen “Penny” Chenery, owner of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat and a well-loved figure in her own right as a champion of Thoroughbreds and women in business and sports, died Sept. 16, in her Colorado home following complications from a stroke. She was 95.

Chenery’s children announced her death through Leonard Lusky, her longtime friend and business partner.

Penny Chenery passed away September 18th at the age of 95.

Following Secretariat’s retirement from racing, Chenery became an ambassador for Thoroughbred racing and remained so, even after the champion’s death in 1989. She served as the first female president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and president of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.

She became one of the first women admitted to The Jockey Club, helped found the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, and created the Secretariat Vox Populi Award, annually honoring racing’s most popular horse, as well as the Secretariat Foundation, which assists and supports various charities within the racing community. Chenery received the 2006 Eclipse Award of Merit for lifetime contributions to the Thoroughbred industry, and in recent years, she advocated for laminitis research and care advancement as well as efforts to ban the use of performance-enhancing drugs in racing.

Secretariat’s Triple Crown campaign and Chenery’s meteoric rise in the sport were featured in the 2010 Disney Studios film Secretariat, in which she was portrayed by Diane Lane.

Chenery is survived by four children: Sarah Manning, Chris Tweedy, Kate Tweedy, and John Tweedy; and by seven grandchildren: Elena Grath, Alice McGrath, Chris Manning, Amanda Tweedy, Paige Tweedy, and Marcus Tweedy; and one stepson Jon Ringquist.

“We are deeply proud of our mother, her accomplishments, and her courage.” said daughter Kate Tweedy. “As we mourn her loss, the example of her strength, her intelligence, and her enduring spirit continue to inspire us.”

While the family requests that its privacy be respected for an initial week of mourning, Lusky says that plans for a future public memorial service will be announced soon.

“We have always been overwhelmed and amazed by the love and support Mom received from her many fans,” John Tweedy said. “We look forward to a time soon when we can celebrate her life in a way that honors that legacy.”

In lieu of flowers, the Secretariat Foundation is offering special Penny Chenery Memorial fundraising projects on behalf of selected equine-related charities. For details, visit

Chenery was born on Jan. 27, 1922, in New Rochelle, N.Y., to Christopher and Helen Chenery. Chris Chenery was a New York utilities tycoon, whose first love was his small but esteemed racing stable in his native Virginia. As a girl, Chenery inherited her father’s passion for horses and rode constantly, both at home and at the Virginia horse farm, The Meadow. “I had the horse bug,” she recalled. “I wasn’t ‘National Velvet.’ Horses were just my friends.”

Chenery attended the Madeira School and graduated from Smith College in 1943. Eager to aid the war effort, she joined a naval architecture firm that designed Normandy landing craft, then served as a nurse’s aide in a stateside hospital. In 1946, Chenery went to France and Germany with the American Red Cross, working with demobilizing GIs—one of her most formative experiences. “You had to be 23 to go,” she recalled. “They thought younger girls weren’t mature enough. And they were right!”

Coming home, Chenery entered Columbia Business School, one of only 20 women in her class. Only six months shy of graduation she was engaged to Columbia Law graduate John Bayard “Jack” Tweedy. Penny’s father, who had initially encouraged her to go to business school, now told her to quit and concentrate on her wedding. With deep ambivalence, she complied.

The Tweedys settled in Denver in 1950. They had four children: Sarah (1950), Kate (1952), Chris (1955), and John (1960). She threw herself into every social, charitable, civic, educational and political pursuit to which a respectable housewife was allowed, from the Junior League to Planned Parenthood. She and Jack helped found and raise the initial capital for the Vail ski resort in the early 1960s, where Jack was the first Board Chairman and General Counsel, and Penny’s father was a major investor. They built a house in Vail, and skiing became her young family’s passion. But it was only a matter of time before her thwarted energy and ambition would split the confines of motherhood and volunteering.

That chance to break free came in the form of a phone call on a November afternoon. Chenery’s father Chris had been building a Thoroughbred racing stable since the 1940s based on carefully-selected broodmares. He had come close, twice, to achieving his life’s dream of winning the Kentucky Derby. But by 1967 his health and mind were starting to fail. That fall his wife Helen died, and when Chenery received the call to return home for her mother’s funeral, she realized her father needed help.

She took over management of the racing stable, with the help of her siblings, Margaret Carmichael and Hollis Chenery, and her father’s business secretary, Elizabeth Ham.

The operation was losing money and nobody took her seriously. She poured herself into the work, commuting every month from Colorado to Virginia, but after two more years in the red, selling the stable seemed almost inevitable.

In 1971 her colt Riva Ridge swept the juvenile stakes and was named champion 2-year-old colt. In 1972, ‘Riva’ won the Kentucky Derby, fulfilling Chris Chenery’s dream in the last year of his life.

That same year, Secretariat burst onto the scene, so dominating the 2-year-old races that he won Horse of the Year honors. Secretariat’s 1973 Triple Crown season unfolded with record-setting performances that still stand, culminating in one of the most celebrated athletic performances of all time, a 31-length victory in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

Thrust into national prominence as the owner of Riva Ridge and Secretariat, Mrs. Tweedy—as she was known at the time—charmed the nation as an engaging and quick-witted owner, who represented her equine champions with poise, dignity, and keen business sense.

She quickly grasped her role as the voice of the silent equine hero. As she put it, “The horse can’t talk—but I can.”

Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs said in a statement, “Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby family join all in Thoroughbred racing in mourning the passing of Penny Chenery. Fans embraced her as the owner of Secretariat, her legendary Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown winner and American sports icon, along with her ongoing role as the protector of his legacy and lifelong supporter of causes that promote the health and welfare of retired Thoroughbreds.

“Whether as the owner of Secretariat, the brilliant Triple Crown champion she campaigned nearly a half-century ago, or as a leader and ambassador for the sport she loved, Penny Chenery led an extraordinary life that touched Thoroughbred racing fans and others in a unique and personal way,” said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. “Thankfully, her legacy will live on for many generations to come.”

“We at Churchill Downs also fondly recall her 1972 Kentucky Derby victory with Riva Ridge and other occasions when horses carried her famed blue-and-white blocked silks in races beneath our Twin Spires. Mrs. Chenery’s wonderful life had a deep and lasting impact on all in Thoroughbred racing and to countless individuals beyond our industry. If anyone ever deserved the title “First Lady of American Racing,” it was Penny Chenery, and our thoughts are with her family, friends and all who loved her.”

“Keeneland joins the Thoroughbred community worldwide in mourning the passing of Penny Chenery,” Bill Thomason president and CEO of Keeneland said. “Mrs. Chenery exemplified the very best of our sport, serving as one of its most beloved and passionate ambassadors. She was a generous owner, tirelessly sharing the legacy of her great Triple Crown winner, Secretariat, with generations of fans that extended far beyond racing. Keeneland is honored to have played a role in the movie Secretariat, and to remember her 1972 Blue Grass Stakes winner Riva Ridge. We are thankful for her extraordinary contributions to racing, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends.”

“Penny Chenery was a true pioneer in our sport and, on behalf of the women and men of the New York Racing Association, we mourn her loss and offer our condolences to the Chenery family,” NYRA president & CEO Chris Kay said. “Belmont Park is where champions are crowned and there was no greater champion for women in racing than Penny Chenery. We look forward to honoring her memory and celebrating the life and legacy of a woman so important to the fabric of racing in New York.”

Second Season Of Harness Racing At Shenandoah Downs Begins Saturday Sept. 16


Even though this is a thoroughbred website, we thought you’d like to see what the Virginia Equine Alliance and Virginia Harness Horsemen’s Association are doing up in Woodstock, Virginia at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds. We hope to see many industry participants at the fall meet!

The second season of pari-mutuel harness racing at Shenandoah Downs is set to commence on Saturday September 16th and another five week season is planned. The meet will continue every Saturday and Sunday at 1 PM through October 15th. Gates open at 11 AM on race days.

Pacers and trotters will compete in ten races each afternoon and a race generally goes off every 20 minutes. The half mile oval, which was completely renovated a year ago, recently played host to four days of Shenandoah County Fair harness races (non-betting).  This was the 100th anniversary season of Fair racing at the grounds in Woodstock, which is located halfway between Winchester and Harrisonburg off I-81 at Exit 283.

The scenery is second to none at Shenandoah Downs as pacers and trotter navigate a half mile oval. Photo by Andy Huffmyer.

Featured event this meet is the Virginia Breeders Championship races for two and three year olds, which will take place during the first two weekends. Two year old finals are scheduled for Saturday September 16th while the three year old finals are set for Sunday September 24th. A total of eight divisional titles are up for grabs and over $300,000 (estimated) in purse monies will be awarded.

The fall season will offer free parking and admission for fans every race day. Last year, there was a combination of paid and free admission days. Betting windows are conveniently located in the grandstand. Win, place, show, exacta and trifecta bets are available each race and can be placed with a teller or via a self bet terminal. Programs that offer past performance information on all the horses can be purchased for $1.00. A free Tip Sheet will be provided with each program.

This year, the harness races will be streamed live, free of charge, on two different websites — and In addition to betting at the track, Shenandoah Downs wagering will be available at both Richmond area Off Track Betting (OTB) Centers operated by the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) for the first time. “It’s a nice step in terms of growth and exposure,” said Communications Director Darrell Wood. “If an out of town owner wants to enter their horse in a race but can’t attend in person, they can now watch the race live via our website. And race fans in Central Virginia can visit the Breakers OTB or Ponies & Pints OTB and bet the Shenandoah races via simulcast.”

Every Saturday will feature a different themed festival. Hops ‘n Hooves, a craft beer tasting event, kicks off the slate on September 16th followed by a Food Truck Festival on September 23rd. The popular Wine & Trotter Festival is on September 30th and features tastings from Shenandoah Valley wineries. Seafest, where various seafood related vendors are on premise, is on October 7th and Autumnfest highlights closing weekend on October 14th. The latter event is a heritage themed festival that includes a barbecue tasting competition with 40 contestants, live music, log splitting competitions and more.

Harness drivers pass the grandstand during the first race at Shenandoah Downs track in 2016. Rich Cooley/Daily

There are separate admission charges to access the Autumnfest, Wine & Trotter, and Hops ‘n Hooves sampling areas at Shenandoah Downs but general admission to the harness races is free each day. Details are at and

Laurel Park To Kick Off Big Fall Meet Sept. 8; Commonwealth Day Slated For Sept. 30th

The following appeared in The Racing Biz.

Looking to continue the momentum that has seen an increase in average daily handle for eight consecutive meets dating back to 2015, Laurel Park kicks off its 60-day fall stand with a nine-race program Friday, Sept. 8.

A total of 92 horses were entered, an average of 10.2 starters per race, with a first-race post time of 1:10 p.m. Five races are scheduled for Laurel’s world-class turf course, with the remainder over its newly refurbished main track.

Friday’s featured event comes in Race 6, a $42,000 entry-level optional claiming allowance for 2-year-old fillies set for six furlongs over the main track. Juvenile fillies will also be in the spotlight in Race 7, a $40,000 maiden special weight going 5 ½ furlongs on the Exceller Turf Course.

Summer meet-leading jockey Victor Carrasco is named in five of nine races Friday, while trainer Claudio Gonzalez has Radial Flyer entered in Race 3, a $22,000 claiming event set for 1 1/16 miles over the Exceller grass layout. Gonzalez led the standings at Laurel’s summer stand as well as the recently concluded Maryland State Fair meet at Timonium.

Fall meet racing will be conducted Friday-Sunday through September and Thursday-Sunday starting Oct. 5. There will be no racing Thursday, Oct. 12 or Sunday and Monday, Dec. 24-25 with special programs Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 9, and Tuesday, Dec. 26. The meet closes Sunday, Dec. 31.

Photo by Jim McCue.

The fall meet includes nine more racing days than 2016 and a schedule of 44 stakes worth $4.42 million in purses including the 32nd annual Jim McKay Maryland Million program on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Opening the stakes schedule are the $75,000 Challedon for 3-year-olds and $75,000 Shine Again for fillies and mares 3 and older, both at six furlongs on the main track, Saturday, Sept. 9.

Maryland Million Day is one of six Super Saturday cards on tap this fall, which start with the Fall Festival of Racing program Sept. 16 featuring seven stakes worth $900,000 topped by the $250,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) for sprinters 3 and up at six furlongs.

Other highlights from the fall meet are Commonwealth Day, Sept. 30, with eight stakes worth $850,000 including the Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G2), Commonwealth Derby (G3) and Commonwealth Oaks (G3); and the James F. Lewis III and Smart Halo for 2-year-olds and City of Laurel and Safely Kept for 3-year-olds as part of seven stakes worth $575,000 along with a special tribute and bobblehead giveaway honoring late legend Ben’s Cat Nov. 11.

Laurel will host a BBQ buffet Thursday, Sept. 7 on the grandstand apron starting at 7:30 p.m. for the NFL’s season-opening game between the Kansas City Chiefs and defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The cost is $20 per person and includes raffles, games, drink specials and a DJ. The game will be shown on Laurel’s state-of-the-art 56-by-36-foot infield video board.

New this fall, Laurel’s second-floor clubhouse sports bar will be the home of 105.7 The Fan’s Baltimore Gameday Uncensored pre-game show for Baltimore Ravens’ Sunday away games. Shows will begin three hours before kickoff. For 1 p.m. games, Laurel’s clubhouse doors will open at 10 a.m.

The 6th annual Brew & Bourbon Classic will be held at Laurel from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18. For more information, visit the Brew & Bourbon website.

For the complete fall stakes schedule, visit the Laurel Park website.