Monthly Archives: June 2018

Virginia-Bred Long On Value Up Late For Grade I Highlander Victory

The following appeared in The Paulick Report June 30th.

At seven years of age, Madaket Stable, Ten Strike Racing and Steve Laymon’s Long On Value earned his first Grade 1 victory in Saturday’s Highlander Stakes at Woodbine Racecourse. The intact son of Value Plus ran down filly Lady Alexandra to win by about a neck on the wire, completing six furlongs over the firm turf in 1:07.13. Ridden by Florent Geroux and trained by Brad Cox, Long On Value’s win as the 2-1 favorite earned him an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint this fall at Churchill Downs.

Both Axtell and Lady Alexandra pushed for the lead out of the starting gate, while Geroux allowed Long On Value to settle nearer the back of the pack down the backstretch. Corinthia Knight pushed up between horses to challenge Axtell for the lead, and those two clocked a first quarter in :22.44. Rounding the turn for home, Corinthia Knight and Axtell marked the half mile in :43.55, but Lady Alexandra took commanded near the top of the stretch.

Long On Value was wide around the turn, and seemed to hesitate a bit in mid-stretch, but Geroux got the horse to change leads and timed his rally perfectly to hit the wire about a neck in front of Lady Alexandra. Holding Gold fought traffic to finish third.

Bred in Virginia, Long On Value most recently commanded $100,000 at the Keeneland November sale. He has since won both of his starts for trainer Brad Cox, improving his overall record to nine wins from 32 starts for earnings of over $1.1 million.

For Brad Cox, it was his second straight victory in the Highlander. Last year, he won with Green Mask.

The Highlander now fronts a three-race turf series at Woodbine with the overall winning trainer earning $10,000 and the owner picking up $15,000. Points are awarded on a 10-7-5-3-2 basis for the top five finishers with other entrants getting 1 point.

The August 25 Play the King, at seven furlongs, and the October 13 Nearctic, at six furlongs, are the other races in the series. Both are Grade 2 races with the Play the King worth $175,000 and the Nearctic $250,000.

One Go All Go To Battle In Saturday’s Grade I United Nations Stakes At Monmouth

Virginia-bred One Go All Go, who has earned over $358,000 this year alone, will make his 8th start of 2018 in the Grade I United Nations Stakes at Monmouth on Saturday.

Virginia-bred One Go All Go wins the $400,000 Commonwealth Derby (Gr. II) in 2015 at Laurel

The 6 year old Fairbanks horse seems to be improving with age. He captured the Grade 2 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes April 12th at Keeneland, and was runner-up in a trio of Grade 2 stakes earlier in the year — the Fort Lauderdale, Pan American and Mac Diarmida Stakes. He has also competed in a trio of Grade I events. One Go All Go was fourth in the Gulfstream Park Turf Stakes, third in the Man o’War and most recently finished 11th in the Manhattan Stakes on the Belmont Day card.

Shining Copper (inside) just edges Virginia-bred One Go All Go in the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale Stakes. Photo by Kenny Martin.

One Go All Go was bred by Albert Coppola. He will face eight others in the United Nations, which is slated as Monmouth’s 11th.

Million Dollar Earning Virginia-Bred Long On Value Set To Compete In Grade I Highlander Stakes On Saturday

Long On Value gallops at Woodbine

Long On Value gallops at Woodbine

Michael Burns


Cox Eyes Highlander Repeat With Veteran Long On Value

The 7-year-old turf contender will chase grade 1 glory June 30 at Woodbine.

The longevity of Long On Value can be attributed in part to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who guided the son of Value Plus through his transition from dirt to turf and managed 27 of his 31 starts, including victories in the 2014 Twilight Derby (G2T) and 2015 Canadian Turf Stakes (G3T).

But credit for the 7-year-old’s resurgence this season must go to Brad Cox, who sent his new contender out to a sharp score June 2 in his first start of the year—the $75,000 Mighty Beau Overnight Stakes going five furlongs on the turf at Churchill Downs—and has Long On Value primed for a return to top company in the $250,000 Highlander Stakes (G1T) June 30 at Woodbine.

Cox sent out Green Mask to win the 2017 Highlander, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” event for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1T), but the son of Mizzen Mast  suffered a career-ending injury before he could make the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar. Around that time, Long On Value entered the ring at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, unraced since a troubled third in the 2017 Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes (G1T) for Wachtel Stable, George Kerr, and Gary Barber. He brought $100,000 from Cox on behalf of new owners Madaket Stables, Ten Strike Racing, and Steve Laymon, and was given plenty of time until his debut this month.

“We liked the horse; we knew he had some back class,” Cox said. “Obviously, he’s accomplished a lot and he’s versatile, anywhere from five-eighths of a mile to one mile. We thought we’d basically give him the winter off, because there’s not a lot of options out there as far as races for those type of horses, and we’d start him back in the spring.”

Long On Value trailed the field early in the Mighty Beau but put in a strong rally and drew off by 1 3/4 lengths for his first win since the 2016 Lucky Coin Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

“He was training extremely well,” Cox said. “Honestly, we expected a big effort from him, off the layoff, and he gave it to us. He came out of that race in outstanding shape, and he’s had two really nice breezes at Churchill. I know he ran really well in the Woodbine Mile, and we’re hoping he takes to the course again. He’s ready for a big effort, and he’s going to need one in order to win a grade 1.”

Long On Value began his career with a three-race win streak and was purchased by Wachtel and Kerr with grand ambitions, but after sixths in the 2013 Hopeful Stakes (G1) and Foxwoods Champagne Stakes (G1) and a fourth in the 2014 Hutcheson Stakes (G3), found his greatest success on the lawn.

Coming into the six-furlong Highlander off a grade 2 effort is Live Oak Plantation’s homebred Holding Gold, a 5-year-old gelding who has kept elite company on the grass for trainer Mark Casse.

A closing sort, Holding Gold has been compromised by difficult trips and comes into the Highlander off a wide, fourth-place finish in the six-furlong Jaipur Invitational Stakes (G2T) at Belmont Park.

“He ran well at Belmont,” Casse said. “Three-quarters is a little short for him, when we run him on a short-turn course. I’m hoping that the three-quarters on Woodbine’s turf course will be perfect for him.”

Team Valor International and Gary Barber’s Belvoir Bay, invading from California, is riding the crest of a three-race win streak on Santa Anita Park‘s 6 1/2-furlong Hillside turf course. Trained by Peter Miller, the Equiano mare defeated males April 29 in the San Simeon Stakes (G3T) and was back with her own division when she captured the Monrovia Stakes (G2T) in her last start May 28.

Corinthia Knight, a 3-year-old Irish-bred based in Lambourn, England, adds international intrigue. After rattling off four straight wins on synthetic surfaces to begin his current campaign, Corinthia Knight crossed the channel for the second time but wound up ninth as the choice in the Prix Texanita (G3) at about 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

“France was a bit of a disaster,” said Archie Watson, who conditions Corinthia Knight and owns him along with Ontoawinner. “We took him over and the ground was slated to be good to firm, but they watered and it was quite sticky ground, really. He obviously has very good form on the all-weather, but on the turf, he wants it firm.

“He’s won a fair amount of prize money this year, but obviously a ‘Win And You’re In’ would be great and help get us to Churchill,” continued Watson. “He has won on a straight track and won over a straight five (furlongs) at Newcastle, but he does really love running off a bend, so these North American races suit him very well.”

Woodbine Entertainment will offer a $15,000 reward to the owner and $10,000 to the trainer of the horse who accumulates the most points in a new three-race turf sprint series that launches with the Highlander, with points awarded on a scale of 10-7-5-3-2 for the top five finishers and 1 for all other participants. The $175,000 Play the King Stakes (G2T) Aug. 25 at the Toronto oval and the $250,000 Nearctic Stakes (G2T) Oct. 13 are the other events.

This piece appeared in and was written by Claire Crosby. Long On Value was bred in Virginia by Snow Lantern Thoroughbreds. 

Entries: Highlander S. (G1T)

Woodbine, Saturday, June 30, 2018, Race 9

  • Grade IT
  • 6f
  • Turf
  • $250,000
  • 3 yo’s & up
  • 4:51 PM (local)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1Axtell (KY) Luis Contreras 117 Kevin C. Boniface 15/1
2 2Imprimis (FL) Joel Rosario 119 Joseph F. Orseno 5/2
3 3Corinthia Knight (IRE) Luke Morris 112 Archie Watson 10/1
4 4Holding Gold (FL) John R. Velazquez 123 Mark E. Casse 8/1
5 5Lady Alexandra (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Jose L. Ortiz 114 H. Graham Motion 6/1
6 6Long On Value (VA)Keeneland Sales Graduate Florent Geroux 117 Brad H. Cox 7/2
7 7Ikerrin Road (IRE) David Moran 121 Vito Armata 20/1
8 8Belvoir Bay (GB) Tyler Baze 118 Peter Miller 3/1
9 9Abbaa (FL) Gary Boulanger 117 Norman McKnight 15/1
10 10Boreal Spirit (ON) Rafael Manuel Hernandez 117 Jennifer Shafer 20/1

Trainer/Owner Bonus Award Standings For 2018 Virginia-Bred/Sired Events At Laurel Park Announced

The first series of races in the 2018 Virginia-bred/sired stakes race program being held at Laurel Park are now complete, and updated trainer and owner standings for both bonus award divisions have been announced.

A maiden special weight race and the “Commonwealth Day’ card kicked the series off respectively on June 15th and 23rd. A $40,000 maiden race for fillies & mares was first, followed by a four-pack of $75,000 stakes that were contested on “Commonwealth Day” and included The Edward Evans, White Oak Farm, Tyson Gilpin and Nellie Mae Cox Stakes. Respective winners, along with their trainer and owner were:

Maiden (F/M) – Altamura (John Stephens; Fred Seitz, Danny Ward & John Stephens)

Edward Evans – Sticksstatelydude (Kiaran McLaughlin; A. Haynes, J. Ferris, Pack Pride Racing, M. Haynes & B. Ward)

White Oak Farm – Determined Vision (Phil Schoenthal; D Hatman Thoroughbreds & Kingdom Bloodstock, Inc.)

Tyson Gilpin – Altamura (John Stephens; Fred Seitz, Danny Ward & John Stephens)

Nellie Mae Cox – Armoire (Arnaud Delacour; Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone)

New this year is a $40,000 bonus program, to be divided among top point earning owners and trainers that participate. $20,000 will be earmarked for trainers and $20,000 for owners. Points are tallied in the following manner — 5 for a first place finish, 4 for a second, 3 for a third, 2 for a fourth and 1 for every starter below fourth place.  After the 2018 series is complete, the trainer and owner with the most points will each win a $10,000 bonus. $4,000 will be awarded for second, $3,000 for third, $2,000 for fourth and $1,000 for fifth.

Altamura (#6) wins a tight race over a trio of close finishers in the $75,000 Tyson Gilpin Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

The next series of races will be held at Laurel the first week in August. A fillies/mares maiden race at one mile is slated for Thursday August 2nd and an open maiden event at the same distance is scheduled Friday August 3rd. Four $75,000 stakes are then on tap Saturday August 4th — the Hansel, William Backer, Meadow Stable and Camptown Stakes. Another maiden race will be held August 10th and another five stakes will close out the series on September 22nd.

Here are top point leaders in the $20,000 Trainers Bonus category:

Susan Cooney – 12

John Stevens – 12

Arnaud Delecour – 10

Phil Schoenthal – 7

Kiaran McLaughlin – 5

Here are top point leaders in the $20,000 Owners Bonus category:

Mr. & Mrs Bertram R. Firestone – 10

Frederick J. Seitz, Danny Ward & John Stevens – 10

Andrew and Beck Lavin – 8

Walter Vieser – 6

D. Hatman Thoroughbreds & Kingdom Bloodstock, Inc – 5

A. Haynes, J. Ferris, Pack Pride Racing, M. Haynes and B. Ward – 5

‘You’ve Got To Protect Something’: Middleburg Training Center Seems Here To Stay

The following appeared in The Paulick Report June 26th and was written by Natalie Voss.

The last year has been a major learning curve for Chuck Kuhn.

The founder of JK Moving Services in Sterling, Va. is the first one to point out he had no experience in the Thoroughbred business when he purchased the Middleburg Training Center in the heart of Virginia horse country. He hadn’t been looking to start working in it, either. Kuhn had been approached by a business associate who heard the property was going up for auction and feared a developer would pave over the idyllic facility, which had been built by Paul Mellon in the mid-1950s as a private training base.

Development is a major concern for residents in the Middleburg region, which is close to the sprawl of Washington, D.C. suburbs but has fought to retain its winding country roads, dense forests and acres of farmland. The 149 acres at the training center were worth a lot of money to a lot of builders and the list of private owners interested in dealing with upkeep was short.

“Any tract of land here that’s more than 30, 40 acres, it’s going to a developer and getting built out,” Kuhn said. “It’s not that we’re anti-development; I think there are some areas that need to be developed and we certainly need housing, but some areas I think need to remain open space, as well. You’ve got to protect something, and to me this is the right jewel to be protecting.”

At one time, horsemen say the Middleburg Training Center was the premier place in the region to train horses. Hoist the Flag worked there, as did Spectacular Bid in his early days. A group of horsemen purchased the center from Mellon in the mid-1970s, and local horseman Randy Rouse bought it for $4 million in 2006. Rouse, who was in his nineties when he purchased the property, tried to sell it for several years without success before donating it to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in 2016 for a tax write-off. The TRF, ultimately faced with too much upkeep, put the property up for sale.

Chuck and Steve Kuhn stand in a newly renovated barn at the Middleburg Training Center.

Somewhere in there, Kuhn said the facility became run down. Barn roofs started leaking, paint started peeling. Top shelf trainers left, and some of the ones who stayed behind stopped paying their rent. At one point, the police were frequent visitors as the campus became a haven for illegal activity.

When Kuhn outbid the developers, his plan had been to put the acreage into conservation easement, clear the horses out, and let the barns sit empty. But after he took possession, he did something that doesn’t happen as often as it should in horse racing: he walked around and started a conversation to find out what people really wanted.

“[My son] Steve and I came in to meet with the tenants to let them know what we were doing and the tenants said ‘Would you keep it open as a training track? This is our livelihood, this is a staple in the community, it’s important to us,’” Kuhn said.

Kuhn began rethinking his original idea and like any good corporate CEO, he came up with a business plan. It would take him two years to get the property into conservation easement anyway, and he decided to use that as a deadline: if the center could become viable in that time, he’d keep it open. He divided the needed improvements into two columns. He decided to put capital into the first round of improvements, hang out the training center’s shingle, and if the property could break even (which it will at around 50 percent occupancy), he’d pay for round two.

A barn under construction at the Middleburg Training Center

Kuhn reviewed the existing tenants, dismissed those who didn’t pay and kept the ones who did with the agreement they should help keep up the property they occupied. The project has unexpectedly turned into a very expensive investment for Kuhn with no guarantee of return – something which, he’s beginning to understand, is pretty standard in the horse world.

The first order of business was to fix safety concerns with the dirt training track. Steve Kuhn, now installed as general manager of the center, spoke with experts from Fair Hill and others in the racing world to understand what they needed. Crews pulled up the track surface, replaced the drainage base, added more cushion, regraded the surface, and put the top layer back down. They ditched the built-in sprinkler system due to safety concerns and bought a water truck. The old PVC rail was replaced with a more modern safety rail. They are about to raise the two clockers’ stands, which previously sat so low that the hilly infield obscured the view of part of the track.

Steve Kuhn brought workers in to revamp the exteriors of the barns in active use, and perhaps surprisingly he said the interiors of the barns really didn’t need much work. He repaired roofs, replaced lighting and repainted, but the bones of the barns are solid oak and in good shape. He’s also in the midst of replacing fencing, regrading, fertilizing, and reseeding the center’s 22 paddocks, which are a big draw for trainers deciding between life at a track or at a center like Middleburg.

Now, there are 50 horses from three or four trainers in the center’s 220 stalls. Steve Kuhn said he gets at least five to ten calls per week from people interested in stabling there. Some just want to check prices, some want to take a tour. Increased interest in the Virginia Thoroughbred Association’s Virginia-Certified residency program has the phone ringing more these days. The program requires a horse to live in the state for six consecutive months before the end of its 2-year-old year in order to become eligible for purse bonuses when it later runs in the mid-Atlantic. By Chuck Kuhn’s calculations, the center should house between 100 and 150 horses by this October. Then it will be time to move into phase two of the construction, which will finish renovations to all the remaining 11 barns.

“In two weeks, Steve’s got someone coming in who’s going to fill half this barn,” said Kuhn, gesturing to the empty building behind him, which Steve’s crews have just finished renovating. “If the demand is there, we’ll keep it a viable business.”

Track maintenance continues at the Middleburg Training Center

In the long term, Kuhn has a few more ambitious plans for the facility. If things go well, he has considered adding an arena onto the property and dedicating leftover stalls to hosting horse shows. A turf course is a possibility, if there’s enough interest.

Kuhn also has an eye on conservation of farmland around Middleburg. He purchased an 800-acre parcel of Ned Evans’ Spring Hill Farm in Cassanova, Va., which is going through the easement process along with an adjoining 800-acre parcel. The third portion of the farm, which was divided after Evans’ death, was bought by a polo owner and remains farmland. Kuhn estimates he has placed 4,400 acres in easement so far in Virginia.

That doesn’t mean he’s expecting to get into Thoroughbred ownership; Kuhn said Spring Hill is still there but horses aren’t.

“Ned would probably be spinning in his grave,” he said. “He did a beautiful job maintaining a beautiful equine breeding campus. Today it’s more of a cattle farm. But the good news is, it’s a functional, working farm.”

No matter what Evans might have had to say about cows in his carefully-manicured paddocks, he’d have to admit: they’re better than concrete trucks.

Racing Is Back: Officials Celebrate In New Kent As Northam Ceremonially Signs Bill To Help Reopen Colonial Downs

The following appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch June 23rd and was written by Graham Moomaw 

NEW KENT — During bill-signing season, Gov. Ralph Northam gets invited to lots of dog-and-pony shows. But this one had actual ponies.

After a bugler wearing a red jacket and top hat played the ceremonial first call, Northam walked out of the shuttered Colonial Downs horse racing track and signed legislation to expand horse race gambling in Virginia and clear the way for the track to reopen next year.

The bill the General Assembly passed earlier this year legalizes historical horse race wagering in Virginia, a new type of pari-mutuel gambling that lets players bet on past horse races using terminals that look and feel like slot machines.

Governor Ralph Northam displays the Historical Horse Racing bill he signed June 22nd at Colonial Downs.

The machines will bring a major new revenue stream for the new Colonial Downs owners, Chicago-based Revolutionary Racing, as well as the equestrian groups that saw their industry slow to a crawl after Colonial Downs closed in 2014.

Technically, Northam signed the bill in April, when he also instructed the Virginia Racing Commission to put “reasonable limitations” on the new machines. But Friday’s event gave officials an opportunity to publicly highlight what they called a momentous occasion for Virginia’s racing industry and New Kent County.

A crowd of hundreds gathered at the track for the ceremonial signing, mingling under cloudy skies and holding wine, beer and popsicles as they waited for the governor to arrive.

Horses from the James River TRF were on hand at Colonial Downs to help usher in a new era for the New Kent track.

“We hoofed it here as quickly as we could this afternoon,” Northam said.

Joined onstage by several Republican lawmakers, Northam called the bill a bipartisan accomplishment that will revive a struggling industry and bring broader economic benefits.

“It’s such a good day for Virginia that we’re getting back on track, if you will,” Northam said. “And getting horse racing up and running again.”

“Racing is back!” exclaimed Del. Michael Webert, R-Fauquier, the bill’s sponsor.

Thoroughbred racing is expected to return to Colonial Downs next year after the new owners renovate the facility.

When the new-look Colonial Downs reaches “full capacity” in 2022, the facility could have an annual economic impact of $349.1 million, support more than 1,400 jobs and produce $41.7 million in state and local taxes, according to an analysis released by the company.

Friday’s event also marked the first major public appearance by some of the out-of-state businessmen who bought Colonial Downs in April for more than $20 million.

“As someone new to Virginia, what a wonderful place you all call home,” said Larry Lucas, a member of the Colonial Downs board of directors. “I’ve learned that anything’s possible. Heck, even squirrels fly down here.”

State lawmakers had introduced bills to legalize historical horse race wagering in several previous sessions, but the proposals never advanced in what has been a gambling-averse legislature.

Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, who sponsored the bill in the past, also attended Friday’s event, where he complimented Northam as a “pretty good horse trader” and quoted Thomas Jefferson on the “considerable profit” to be had from Virginia horses.

“I think that we all here in New Kent County and our friends from Revolutionary Racing are certainly hopeful that this is not going to be just an asset but a very profitable undertaking for the entire commonwealth of Virginia,” Norment said.

Determined Vision Sees Way To $75,000 White Oak Farm Win

The following appeared in a Maryland Jockey Club Press Release on June 23rd.

D Hatman Thoroughbreds and Kingdom Bloodstock’s Determined Vision lived up to his name in his turf and stakes debut, leading all the way for a hard-fought half-length upset of Saturday’s $75,000 White Oak Farm Stakes at Laurel Park.

The 5 ½-furlong White Oak Farm was the last of four $75,000 stakes restricted to Virginia-bred/sired horses 3 and up over Laurel’s world-class turf course on the 11-race Commonwealth Day program. It was preceded by the Nellie Mae Cox and M. Tyson Gilpin for fillies and mares and one-mile Edward Evans.

Determined Vision, bred by Robin Richards, won the $75,000 White Oak Farm Stakes on the Commonwealth Day card. Photo by Jim McCue.

Determined Vision ($24.80) and rider Jevian Toledo had to survive objections from both Christian Hiraldo, aboard runner-up Available, and Julian Pimentel on fourth-place finisher and 7-5 favorite Fly E Dubai before both claims were dismissed.
Fitted with bright blue earmuffs for the first time in just his fifth career start, the 3-year-old Jump Start gelding set a blazing pace of 21.72 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, chased by Hatteras Bound, before going a half in 44.65 seconds with Available pressing to his inside.

Determined Vision holds off Available (outside) approaching the wire in the June 23rd White Oak Farm Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

The group remained tightly bunched going around the far turn and Determined Vision was still in front after five furlongs in 56.11. Set down for a drive through the stretch by Toledo, they were able to outrun Available and hold off late-running Lime House Louie, who was a half-length back in third and a head in front of Fly E Dubai.
“My experience is that there hadn’t been a lot of Jump Starts that like the grass but moreso than that, he’s an a-other-than running against horses that are two-other-thans and that’s a tough ask for a horse,” Schoenthal said. “But, at the end of the day, the race didn’t seem like it was that tough and we didn’t think that there was a lot of speed in there. We thought maybe we’ll get out there and steal it. It worked out awesome.”
Lime House Louie finished third for the second straight year in the White Oak Farm. Rounding out the finishers were Homespun Hero, 11-year-old Two Notch Road, the 2016 White Oak winner, Hatteras Bound and Braxton.

Rider Jevian Toledo is aboard White Oak Farm upset winner Determined Vision. Photo courtesy of Jim McCue.

Toledo dismounted Determined Vision on the turf course following the race so the tack could be readjusted for their return to the winner’s circle. Schoenthal credited the jockey for a superb ride.
“He’s kind of a high-strung horse. We put the earmuffs on him in the morning and it really seemed to calm him down so we added the earmuffs for the race today and he seemed like he relaxed and took a deep breath and ran well despite having his saddle slip,” Schoenthal said. “Hats off to Toledo. A lot of riders would have pulled him up out of the race for their own safety and he rode the hair off him, anyway. It was really Toledo’s win more than anything else.”

Edward Evans Stakes Recap: Sticksstatelydude Bred — Sort Of — By Bud

The following appeared in The Racing Biz June 25th. 

by Nick Hahn

Sticksstatelydude, the winner of the $75,000 Edward P. Evans Stakes at Laurel Park Saturday, part of the Virginia-bred series of races, wasn’t bred by Budweiser, exactly. But it might feel that way.

Jockey Jorge Vargas, Jr. and Sticksstatelydude kicked clear at the top of the lane to win the Evans by a length after being floated out in the first turn. The 5-year-old is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and owned by a group comprised of Alvin Haynes, John Ferris, Pack Pride Racing, M. Hayes and Brad Ward.

Sticksstatelydude scored a big win in the $75,000 Edward Evans Stakes at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

It was the latest stop in Sticksstatelydude’s well-traveled career, a journey that began even before he was born, said Glenn Eickhoff, who with his wife Roxanne operates Canyon Lake Thoroughbreds, located just north of Front Royal, Virginia.

“We moved up from Florida when he was in utero and brought the mare (Placerita, by Gilded Time) with us here, and it just worked out that he was foaled in Virginia and we’re very happy that he was,” explained Eickhoff standing in a crowded winner’s circle postrace.

Sticksstatelydude was sired by First Dude out of that aforementioned mare, Placerita by Gilded Time.

Though Canyon Lake Thoroughbred may not be nationally known, it’s likely that a group of horses that Glenn Eickhoff managed for 28 years may be familiar to you: the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Sticksstatelydude’s appearance in the Evans was his first in a Virginia-bred stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

“It was a crazy job. We were all over the county, somewhere different every week. It was a great job. It certainly helped fund my thoroughbred interest. That’s for sure,” recalled Eickhoff. “One of the good things is that I got to see every racetrack in the country traveling that way.”

The handling of thoroughbreds and of Clydesdales is quite different according to Eickhoff.

“They’re very different, very laid back, easy going,” explained Eickhoff, of the Clydesdales. “They were a corporate symbol for Budweiser and still are to a smaller scale. I worked on racetracks and breeding farms. That’s was always my first love.”

Eickhouff still works for one of the daughters of the Busch family and still has some of the retired Clydesdales on the farm.

Jockey Jorge Vargas Jr. is atop Sticksstatelydude in Laurel’s winners circle along with his connections. Photo by Jim McCue.

Sticksstatelydude was once under consideration for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and the next year after winning the $150,000 Discovery Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct was a candidate in for initial running of the Pegasus until a strained tendon forced a mandatory vacation from racing.

Today’s victory was the horse’s first in seven starts this year, fourth in 17 starts overall, and gave him more than $400,000 in earnings.

NOTES Trainer Arnaud Delacour then an assistant, was sent years back by Christophe Clement with a small stable to Colonial Downs where he met the late Nellie Mae Cox. When Delacour struck out on his own, Cox was one of the first owners Delacour trained for. Saturday afternoon, his pupil Armoire won the race named in her honor, the $75,000

Altamura Wins $75,000 Tyson Gilpin Stakes In A Blanket Photo Finish

Congratulations to Virginia-bred Altamura, who captured the $75,000 Tyson Gilpin Stakes at Laurel Park in a wild four horse photo finish. The stakes was the second of four on the “Commonwealth Day” program exclusively for Virginia-bred/sired horses.  

Altamura (#6) wins a tight race over a trio of close finishers in the $75,000 Tyson Gilpin Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

The 3 year old Artie Schiller filly was bred by the Chance Farm and is trained by co-owner John Stephens, who won his first stakes race ever in the Gilpin. Jockey Horacio Karamanos, winningest rider in Colonial Downs’ history, directed the effort up top. Altamura collected her first lifetime win June 15th in a $40,000 Virginia-bred maiden special weight event at Laurel. 

Altamura (#6) edges Virginia Fable (#5) in the Tyson Gilpin Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

Virginia Fable, who led all the way until just before the wire, was second. Up Hill Battle was third and Sister Says finished fourth. The rest of the field finished in this order: What the Beep (5th), Northern Eclipse (6th), Do What I Say (7th) and Dixie Dazzle (8th).

Altamura and jockey Horacio Karamanos in the winners circle after the Tyson Gilpin Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

What happens when the first three favorites finish out of the money? A $4,265.90 superfecta payout for the $1 combo!


Governor Northam To Sign Historical Horse Wagering Bill At Colonial Downs Ceremony On Friday


Tidewater Review Staff

Colonial Downs will welcome horse industry supporters and Gov. Ralph Northam at a ceremonial event on Friday.

Northam will sign HB 1609, which allows slot-like machines to be used to bet on historical horse races — previously contested races that generate winning numbers.

The bill paved the way for the purchase of Colonial Downs by horse racing group Revolutionary Racing back in April.

At a New Kent Town Hall in May, Colonial Downs chief development officer Stefan Huba said that the group plans to renovate the facility and hire new employees in the coming months.

Huba also said that they plan to have live racing and reopening in 2019.

The special event will also include food, games and entertainment for horse industry and Colonial Downs supporters, according to a news release from Colonial Downs.

The ceremony will take place at 1:30 — 5 p.m., with the bill signing at 2:30 p.m, at Colonial Downs, 10515 Colonial Downs Parkway, New Kent. RSVP is required.

This article appeared in The Tidewater Review and Virginia Gazette