It made sense that Gary Barber purchased the two-year-old filly WITWATERSRAND from the Fasig-Tipton October Digital Sale. A debut winner on Sept. 1 for DJ Stable, LLC and trainer Mark Casse’s Quintessential Racing Florida, the dark bay, racy type by Connect cost Barber $230,000 and shares the name with a famous gold deposit gorge in South Africa.
Witwatersrand, who stayed in the Casse barn after the sale and finished third in the Glorious Song Stakes, made instant dividends for Barber with a very fast and handy win in the Grade 3 Mazarine Stakes at Woodbine on Saturday, November 4.
Sitting chilly behind the early pace under Patrick Husbands, Witwatersrand burst between fillies to win by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:43.72, some four lengths quicker than Two Ghosts needed to win the Grey Stakes (G3) a race earlier.
Tripolina, winner of the Display Stakes (over Two Ghosts) was second for X-Men Racing 3 and Madaket Stables LLC.
Originally a $65,000 yearling purchase and then bought back for $37,000 as a two-year-old in training this March in Ocala, Witwatersrand is from the winning Medaglia D’Oro mare Carta de Oro. Carta de Oro has produced two other named foals and one winner. She is a half-sister to stakes-placed Media Blitz.
TWO GHOSTS, purchased by Hoolie Racing as a yearling at Keeneland September last fall for $85,000, had a late surge to win the Grey in 1:44.65.
Two Ghosts, a gelding, is the 99th stakes winner for Ghostzapper. The youngster, trained by Barbara Minshall, was fifth in his first two starts, won his maiden at 6 1/2 furlongs and then was second in his last pair of starts including the Grey Stakes. Ridden by Justin Stein, Two Ghosts was the last one to make a move to the lead in a race where the leader changed several times. At one point it looked as if his stablemate Tunechi, owned by Hoolie and Legion Bloodstock, was going to win with a wide move on the turn, but favoured Piper’s Factor from Chiefswood Stable was holding everyone off.
In the final strides, Two Ghosts nabbed the favourite while D J Stables’ Jayhawk was third with Tunechi fourth.
At the same sale that Barber purchased Witwatersrand, Two Ghosts dam Celia’s Song was sold to Jason Hall for $34,000.
SAHIN CIVACI rode four winners on Saturday and hot apprentice Fraser Aebly had a pair of winners.
Saturday’s Woodbine card realized $6.96 million in wagering compared to $8 million one year ago.