16 in a row for the amazing WINX
April 8 Queen Elizabeth at Randwick next
“It’s a huge responsibility, one that we take seriously” – trainer Chris Waller
AMERICAN ANTHEM IS THE REBEL PICK – but is MALAGACY the real deal?
The Rebel Stakes goes today at Oaklawn Park and is a super betting race with many potential Kentucky Derby starters in the mix. (Why the race is worth $900,000, no idea, a main reason why many horses are all in to win these ‘prep’ races and then are empty come Derby time)
I like AMERICAN ANTHEM, not a very unique selection but he is a lightly raced fellow who is set to move forward after his first, big test. Petrov is my second pick.
There are some fascinating horses in the race, however, including the freaky MALAGACY, a standout on speed numbers but only in sprint races.
MALAGACY is a pretty chestnut colt by Shackleford out of the British Columbia-bred mare Classiest Gem, an unraced daughter of the British Columbia bred mare Classiest Carat. Both unraced mares were bred by Charles Fipke.
Classiest Carat is a daughter of Halo Dancer, she a stakes placed daughter of the top Windfields Farm mare Slight Deception.
MALAGACY – Breeder: John Trumbulovic
********* Storm Cat
********* Shared Interest
********* With Every Wish
********* Deputy Minister
********** Sister Dot
********* Pleasant Colony
********* Halo Dancer
Here is more about Malagacy:
After two wins at Gulfstream Park by a combined 22 lengths, Malagacy was pinned with the rising star tag in Todd Pletcher’s barn full of Triple Crown hopefuls. Entering the Rebel Stakes, not even the chestnut colt’s seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer knows how good he may be.
“He’s been a pleasant surprise and he has certainly run impressively,” Pletcher said from his South Florida base. “We’re optimistic and I guess we’ll know for sure pretty quickly.”
Malagacy, who comes in to the Rebel as the 4-1 second choice on the early line and will break from Post 6 under multiple Eclipse Award-winning rider Javier Castellano. He has yet to race beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, but he is a son of 2011 Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford out of a Dehere mare so his pedigree top and bottom suggests he’ll handle the 1 1/16 mile distance of the Rebel. He fired a bullet 5 furlong work of 1:01 at Palm Beach Downs March 11 before getting on a plane from Florida.
“His works have been quite good when going with horses, who are proven around two turns,” Pletcher said. “He has a good disposition so I think he’s rateable and that gives us the optimism that he’ll stretch out. He’s a very kind horse and he’s easy to ride. We’ve set him behind horses in the mornings and that doesn’t seem to bother him. Obviously, he has natural early speed, but I don’t think he’s headstrong. I think he’ll allow Javier to ride him accordingly.”
With an 11-horse field and plenty of speed in the race, it’s a given that the pace will be quite lively in the early going.
“We’re going to let him run his race and not worry about what anybody else does,” Pletcher added, while noting that Malagacy was assigned seven pounds less to shoulder than 122 lb. co-highweights Royal Mo and Uncontested. “We’ll let him get into a comfortable rhythm wherever that is. But I don’t envision him being too far off the pace. He’s stretching out for the first time and he’s got plenty of speed, so we’ll see how the race unfolds and let Javier (Castellano) figure it out into the first turn.”
Although Malagacy has yet to earn any Kentucky Derby qualifying points and there are 50-20-10-5 (1st through 4th place finish) available, Pletcher wasn’t looking down the road to Louisville.
“We’ll take it one step at a time and one race at a time,” he said.
Malagacy, who was purchased at auction for $190,000 by Sumaya US Stables as a 2-year-old, is believed to be named for the Malagasy ethnic people who comprise almost the entire population of the island nation of Madagascar and the language they speak, despite the different spelling of the word.
Preview – from Oaklawn Park
Bob Baffert has won the Rebel a record six times overall – all since 2010 – and returns with the 2-1 program favorite in American Anthem, a son of 2012 Arkansas Derby winner Bodemeister. American Anthem won his Dec. 3 career debut at Del Mar and finished second in his only other start, the $100,000 Sham Stakes Jan. 7 at Santa Anita.
The colt is scheduled to break from post 7 under Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith and carry 115 pounds. He American Anthem has drawn outside two other speedsters, Uncontested and unbeaten Malagacy.
“I think the break is important, but I’ll let Mike do what he wants to do,” Baffert said. “My horse is pretty quick, too, and he’s fast. He’s got natural speed.”
Completing the projected 11-horse field from the rail out: Silver Bullion, Ramon Vazquez to ride, 115 pounds, 30-1 on the morning line; Uncontested, Channing Hill, 122, 10-1; Sonneteer, Richard Eramia, 115, 30-1; Petrov, Jose Ortiz, 115, 9-2; Untrapped, Irad Ortiz Jr., 8-1, 115; Malagacy, Javier Castellano, 4-1, 115; Silver Dust, Corey Lanerie, 115, 15-1; Appalachian Gem, Gary Stevens, 30-1, 115; Royal Mo, Victor Espinoza, 122, 9-2; and Lookin At Lee, Ricardo Santana Jr., 117, 15-1.
Uncontested was a wire-to-wire winner of the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16 in his 3-year-old debut.
Malagacy ships in from south Florida for trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20 with One Liner (Uncontested was sixth as the favorite). One Liner (then 2 for 2) was making his first start around two turns in the 1 1/16-mile Southwest. Malagacy is also 2 for 2 and has never raced around two turns. The son of 2011 Preakness winner Shackleford has won his two career starts this year at Gulfstream Park by a combined 22 lengths.
Petrov finished second in the Smarty Jones and Southwest for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs.
“It’s going to be an interesting race the way it shapes up,” Moquett said. “There’s a lot of great riders in there. I’m going to watch it like a fan and see whose horse wins.”
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who has won the Rebel three times, including 2007 with Curlin, will be represented by Lookin At Lee, third in the Southwest, and Untrapped, runner-up in the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) Feb. 25 at Fair Grounds.
Silver Dust ran fourth in the Southwest for trainer Randy Morse.
Also shipping in from Southern California is Royal Mo for trainer John Shirreffs. He won the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) Feb. 4 at Santa Anita in his last start.
Baffert won the Rebel in 2010 with champion Lookin At Lucky, 2011 with The Factor, 2012 with Secret Circle, 2014 with Hoppertunity, 2015 with champion American Pharoah and last year with Cupid.
WOODBINE TRAINING PICKING UP
After almost two weeks of tough, bitterly cold and incredibly windy days, the weather has stabilized a bit here in southern Ontario and that has given horsepeople some hope.
No workouts were even recorded for a couple of days on the training track as the temperatures plunged to -20. Remarkably, some horses were even sent out to jog or gallop on a couple of mornings when frostbite was a realy concern. Even in recent days there have been only a few horses working on the training track.
However on Friday, 52 horses made time at 3 furlongs so things are looking up as horsepeople will try and hurry right along to get their horses ready for April 15.
Remember, today at Aiken in South Carolina, Woodbine makes his 3-year-old unveiling in a trial race for 4 1/2 furlongs for Gus Schickedanz.
TWO-YEAR-OLD SALES MOTORING RIGHT ALONG
The April Ocala Breeders’ Sales 2-year-old auction has over 1,200 youngsters in the book and the March sale just posted big numbers.
Take a look at the leading freshman sires from the 2-year-old sales (courtesy THOROUGHBRED DAILY NEWS)
Leading 2017 Freshman Sires of 2-Year-Olds in Training
by cumulative average price for stallions standing in North America
Rank Name FYr Loc 2014 Fee Ring Sold Avg Median
1 Orb KY $25,000 8 6 $480,000 $380,000
2 Point of Entry KY $25,000 4 3 $358,333 $210,000
3 Animal Kingdom KY $35,000 6 4 $288,750 $252,500
4 Justin Phillip KY $12,500 2 2 $220,000 $220,000
5 Shanghai Bobby KY $20,000 8 5 $190,000 $135,000
6 Violence KY $15,000 13 9 $170,911 $100,000
7 Paynter KY $25,000 6 5 $159,600 $95,000
8 Jimmy Creed KY $12,500 5 3 $143,333 $60,000
9 Flat Out KY $10,000 6 4 $141,000 $78,500
10 Overanalyze KY $10,000 5 5 $118,000 $110,000
11 Data Link KY $7,500 7 3 $115,666 $120,000
12 Oxbow KY $20,000 1 1 $95,000 $95,000
13 Graydar KY $15,000 8 8 $81,375 $57,500
14 Prospective FL $5,000 3 3 $71,666 $65,000
15 Anthony’s Cross FL $2,500 1 1 $70,000 $70,000
16 Alternation KY $7,500 3 1 $65,000 $65,000
17 Soldat FL $5,000 3 3 $60,000 $60,000
18 Take Charge Indy KY $20,000 6 4 $54,250 $53,500
19 Emcee NY $7,500 1 1 $50,000 $50,000
20 Winslow Homer FL $5,000 2 2 $44,000 $44,000