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BARN NOTES: January 9, 2015

  • ·        Ramsey Hopes for Hat Trick with Uncle Walter
  • ·        Tiznoble No Second Stringer for Sharp
  • ·        Work Tab



Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Uncle Walter could have his connections singing a similar tune come the morning of Sunday, Jan. 17, as the colt will look to become the outfit’s third consecutive winner of the Grade III $200,000 Twinspires.com Lecomte Stakes the day prior. Trained by Mike Maker, who also conditioned the last two winners for the Ramseys – International Star and Vicar’s in Trouble – Uncle Walter will be ridden by the former’s rider, Miguel Mena.

“We think we have a derby trail horse with Uncle Walter,” Ramsey said. “We’ve won five of the last six (Kentucky Derby) preps there at the Fair Grounds and we hope to maintain that good luck. We bought him for $85,000 and he had the scope and look that we like. He caught a Tapit last out (at Churchill Downs) that they paid $750,000 for and lost in a photo and won first out before that at Keeneland. We like him and we think he could wind up being our third Louisiana Derby winner in a row. It’s hard to pull off a hat trick, but we’re going for it.”

Both International Star and Vicar’s in Trouble went on to take the meet centerpiece Grade II $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby in late March for Maker and Ramsey, with the former sweeping all three sophomore graded stakes and the latter finishing third in the second leg – the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star in late February.

Uncle Walter has been a smart performer in his pair of efforts. As mentioned, he won on debut in Lexington going seven furlongs and closing from the back of the back to win by a neck after a wide rally. He returned a month later to lose by a head to Pin Oak Stable’s well-regarded Synchrony at 7½ furlongs. Mena will be the third different rider after Joel Rosario and Javier Castellano rode him in the Bluegrass State.

“We’re pretty high on Uncle Mo as a sire,” Ramsey explained. “I bought Uncle Walter, but I actually wound up trading one season for Kitten’s Joy for 5 seasons of Uncle Mo. I sent him five mares and now we have eight Uncle Mos, total.

“Uncle Walter is named after my favorite Uncle on my father’s side, who was like a father to me,” he continued. “I have another named Uncle Guy, my favorite uncle on my mother’s side, and I’m glad because the Uncle Mos are running big, like (juvenile champion-elect) Nyquist and he has some other very good ones.”



Though much of the focus on the Joe Sharp barn in recent weeks has been on Dede McGeehee’s homebred Rachel Alexandra half-brother Dolphus, especially as the son of Lookin at Lucky has been preparing for the Grade III $200,000 Twinspires.com Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 16, slightly overlooked in the stable is a well-bred Dell Ridge homebred Tiznoble, who also is entered in the meet’s first sophomore graded stakes.

“He’s doing great and we’re not sure which surface he’s better on, but he’s moving forward,” Sharp said. “He ran a great number last time and looks competitive. It’s quick back for him, so we’ll definitely be monitoring him and his energy level. He has a lot of potential.”

Victorious on debut going 1 1/16 miles on a soggy yielding turf course on Nov. 1 at Churchill Downs, the son of Tiznow out of a full-sister to Grade I $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winnerTapizar was immediately moved into stakes company four weeks later, finishing a good fifth of 14 – beaten 2¼ lengths – in the $75,000 Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park West.

On Dec. 28, in his local debut, the gray colt was a game winner as the heavy favorite in a rained-off one-mile allowance/optional claiming event at Fair Grounds over a sealed surface. In the Lecomte, he gets a new rider in Jose Valdivia, Jr., and breaks from post 11 in the full field of 14.

“He was pretty green last time when he made the lead,” Sharp continued. “We haven’t got the bottom of him yet. In his debut, we just wanted two turns, which is why we ran him there (on the grass), but his pedigree says he should like the grass and could be fine on the dirt, as well.

“What’s nice about him is he wasn’t one of the ones who jumped off the page immediately, ability-wise,” Sharp continued. “He’s one of those who has shown more and more and continued to improve. Since he has speed, the outside post should be good for him.”



Elm Racing’s Street of Gold worked a half-mile in 51 flat for trainer Brad Cox as she prepares for her tilt at the $60,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial on Jan. 16.

Doug Wall’s Ibaka, who won the $60,000 Diliberto Memorial and is preparing for the Grade III $125,000 Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap on Jan. 16, worked a half-mile in 52.60 for trainer Bret Calhoun.

M and M Thoroughbred Partners’ Masquerade worked a half-mile in 51.60 for trainer Mike Stidham in advance of the $60,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial on Jan. 16. Such was her second work since finishing third in the $60,000 Blushing K. D. Stakes on Dec. 19.

Mark Breen’s Annabelle, who is scheduled to make her stakes debut in the Listed $150,000 Silverbulletday on Jan. 16 for trainer Brad Cox, worked a half-mile in 50.60. Breen’s Pinnacle Peak, trained by Mike Stidham, worked the same distance in 50.80 in advance of his start in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes later in the card.

Knollwood Stables’ Start a War, one of the more impressive graduates since the meet commenced, worked five furlongs over the sloppy going Saturday morning in a bullet 1:00.60 for trainer Bret Calhoun.

-Michael Adolphson | Media Specialist, Senior Writer