• Cooptado (Arg.) Seeks Tenacious Stakes Repeat
• Jones Excited About Sugar Bowl Contestant Super Steed
• Robertson Sends Strong Pair for Saturday Stakes
• Broberg Scores 500th Win of the Year on Thursday Afternoon
• Multi-Million Dollar Purchase Gun It Looks to Run to His Pedigree
• Zayat Homebred Solomonic Makes Career Debut on Saturday
By Ryan Martin
COOPTADO (ARG.) SEEKS TENACIOUS STAKES REPEAT
If something works once, chances are it will work again. So when trainer Tom Morley had an attempt at a repeat victory in the Tenacious Stakes in mind for Cooptado (Arg.) he thought back to what he did last year.
The veteran of eight years of age, has not won since a narrow victory in last year’s Tenacious Stakes at 17-1 odds, but when he did Morley prepped him on grass against third level allowance company and he did the exact same thing going into this year’s edition. Last out he was a distant seventh behind Great Wide Open (Ire.) who competes in the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes on the same day. Two starts back he outran his 112-1 odds in the Laurel Turf Cup, where he was narrowly defeated by Hello Don Julio.
“Cooptado returns off the same preparation as last year with two turf races going into the Tenacious,” Morley said by phone from England, where he is spending the holidays with family. “To be honest he kind of surprised me and showed a lot of guts to win the race. Seems like a sensible target to aim for again. He ran extremely well in the Laurel Turf Cup to be second on soft ground. The race he ran last time at Fair Grounds was a very salty allowance race on the turf. He just lacks a gear but it was the same setup as the Tenacious last year. It would be rather great story if he could repeat his victory. That’s very much the aim this year.”
The son of Equal Stripes (Arg.) has raced on three different continents. He began his career in South America where he won the Group 1 Gran Premio Nacional-Argentine Derby in his native Argentina. Cooptado then began a three-year-campaign in Dubai and Singapore which was highlighted by a win in the Group 1 Longines Singapore Airlines Cup in 2015. Last year’s Tenacious Stakes was his third start in the United States. In a 43 race career, he has bankrolled $1,191,406.
Meanwhile, Caroline Ingram and Laurence Bellman’s Teodoro (Ire.) makes his debut for the Morley barn in the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes.
Previously under the care of British trainer Thomas Dascombe, the 4-year-old gelded son of Teofilo (Ire.) made his United States debut last out in the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park where he was a well-beaten fifth.
“The rain in the middle of the week will not be of assistance to this horse but I think the track dried suitably and he likes firm ground,” Morley said. “Good ground will be fine for him tomorrow. He likes to be comfortable placed and this is a race that may be on the short side for him but his works have been very good. Obviously he was good enough to try a Grade I in America with a Grade III victory in England. This is a tough looking listed race. I look forward to seeing how this horse gets on especially in a race that is probably a little bit short for him.
A Group 3 winner in Great Britain three starts back, Teodoro was purchased for $76,099 from the Tattersalls September Yearling Sale in 2015 where he was consigned by Church View Stables. He was bred in Ireland by John Connaughton.
JONES EXCITED ABOUT SUGAR BOWL CONTESTANT SUPER STEED
Not often does a 2-year-old maiden run against winners, let alone beat them, but when they do, it’s certainly worth taking notice.
Narrowly defeated at first asking at Keeneland, Owned by Michael Pressley and Steed Jackson’s Sugar Bowl Stakes contender Super Steed not only stepped up to win a first-level optional claiming allowance in his follow-up start at Churchill Downs, he did so emphatically for trainer Larry Jones, turning six-lengths on Boldor, the colt who edged him on debut.
“I think he’s a nice horse,” Jones said. “He acts like it and I think that he’ll get better going longer. That was kind of our debate here whether I’d run him in the Springboard Mile at Remington or here, but I needed the extra week resting up after all the shipping so we decided to come here. He’s going well and I think we have a good horse.”
A homebred son of Super Saver, Super Steed is out of the Elusive Quality broodmare Totally Tucker who is a half to Grade I winners Majestic Harbor and Danza.
Winless from three starts against stakes company, Susan Moulton’s Manny Wah will cut back in distance and add blinkers for the Sugar Bowl Stakes.
Narrowly beaten in the Ellis Park Juvenile over the summer, the son of Will Take Charge was most recently seen running fourth behind eventual Grade I Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity winner Improbable in the Street Sense at Churchill.
“He’s training very well,” Catalano said. “We’re happy with the way he’s coming into this race. He’s learning, he’s putting everything together and I think the blinkers are going to be a big help for him.”
ROBERTSON SENDS STRONG PAIR FOR SATURDAY STAKES
Longtime trainer Hugh Robertson may not be working with the volume of some of the other top conditioners on the Fair Grounds backstretch, but he certainly knows how to maximize his stock.
The trainer of one of the greatest Illinois-breds ofall-time in the $1.4 million earner Polar Expedition, Robertson has anotherPrairie Starter who has made plenty of noise against open company in recent Thanksgiving Handicap winner Wynn Time.
Never beaten more than a length in nine career starts (6-2-1), John Mentz’s 4-year-old gelded son of Three Hour Nap has won on fast dirt, slop and Polytrack, He will try turf for the first time in the $75,000 Bonapaw Stakes.
“He’s been good on everything so far but you never know,” Robertson said. “There’s not another race for him here on dirt for another month so we figured that we would try him once on the grass. He’s ready to run back.”
Robertson will also be represented on the Santa Super Saturday card by Smila’ssenseofsnow, who enters the Letellier Memorial Stakes off a pair of victories to begin her career. It’s a potentially loaded field, and the trainer has realistic expectations.
“The race came up tougher than normal,” Robertson said. “I ran (eventual two-time graded stakes winner) Hotshot Anna in it one year and it was much weaker than this field. So far she’s done everything we’ve asked of her and we’ll see what she does.”
Smila’ssenseofsnow is named after a 1997 Danish thriller film and was purchased for $12,000 from last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale where she was consigned by Clarkland Farm. She was bred in Kentucky by Martha Buckner.
Speaking of Hotshot Anna, Robertson stated that the winner of the Grade III Chicago Handicap and Grade II Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes would make her next start in the $75,000 Pan Zareta Stakes on January 5.
BROBERG SCORES 500TH WIN OF THE YEAR ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON
For a Thoroughbred trainer, scoring 500 wins for an entirecareer would be an accomplishment. With Thursday afternoon’s second racevictory with Summer Lovin, Karl Broberg reached that number in the 2018 calendar year alone. There was no drama as the filly pulled away to win by 16 lengths.
Broberg became only the third trainer to win as many as 500 race in a year, joining Steve Asmussen and Scott Lake. A Hall of Famer, Asmussen has done it four times: 2004 (555 wins), 2008 (621), 2009 (650) and 2010 (506). Lake won 528 races in 2006.
“It was a fun quest to get to the 500 but once you’re therethe race is over and now it’s just a matter of setting the bar higher,” Broberg said. “I want to thank the owners, the grooms that make it happen day in, dayout and a half a dozen assistants that communicate well. I’m just thankful foreveryone that makes it happen and most importantly, the horses. Anywhere wethink that we can win is where we want to have a presence.”
His 500th win of 2018 came with his 1,800th starter. In addition, it was career win No. 2,931 from 11,751 starts for the 48-year-old Illinois native, who is in his ninth full year of training. Later Thursday evening, Broberg scored victory 501 on the year with Our Wild Dancer at Delta Downs.
In addition to Louisiana, Broberg has operations at racetracks in Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Minnesota and Arkansas.
MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR PURCAHSE GUN IT LOOKS TO RUN TO HIS PEDIGREE
When a racehorse is closely related to a former Horse of the Year and costs $2.6 million at auction, expectations are bound to be sky high.
By Tapit, Whisper Hill Farm LLC and Three Chimney Farm’s Gun It is the first foal out of the Medaglia d’Oro broodmare Miss Besilu, who is a half-sister to $4.4 million earner Saint Liam and Grade II winner Quiet Giant, the dam of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, who banked nearly $16 million in his career, and others.
Fourth at first asking at in a two-turn maiden special weight race at Churchill on October 28 behind the promising King Ford and eventual winners Harvey Wallbanger and Johny’s Bobby. Gun It is installed at morning line odds of 7-2 in Saturday’s fourth race at Fair Grounds.
“We hope he has a lot of similarities (to Gun Runner),” said Three Chimneys Farm’s President Doug Cauthen. “Time will tell but he’s a big and good looking horse that probably wants to go two turns and I think it’s going to take him a little time to figure it out. He hasn’t been as precocious as Gun Runner but he does show some promise and we’re looking forward to seeing him run at Fair Grounds.”
Meanwhile, Gun Runner has been enjoying his new career as a stallion at Three Chimneys Farm in Versailles, Ky., according to Cauthen.
“He likes it pretty well,” Cauthen said “He’s very good stallion, has been very popular and we’re looking forward to seeing his foals in January. He got a full book and bred to about 170 mares and I think he’ll fill his next book as well.”
ZAYAT HOMEBRED SOLOMONIC MAKES CAREER DEBUT
The Zayats have established themselves as one of the most iconic families in North American Thoroughbred racing over the years. Very often will they support their own horses once they go off to stud and send their broodmares to them from breeding. Such is the case with career debuter Solomonic in the fifth race at Fair Grounds.
Trained by Brad Cox, Solomonic is a son of Zayat-owned GradeI winner Paynter and out of Lotus of the Nile, a half-sister to Grade I winner Pioneerof the Nile whose most notably recognized as the sire of 2015 TripleCrown winner American Pharoah. All horses were owned by Zayat.
“This horse as a very nice pedigree,” said Zayat Stables Racing Manager Justin Zayat, the son of owner Ahmed. “The horse himself is training like a nice horse. He probably needs to run longer though, but he needs a race to see how he’s doing. Brad likes the horse and is happy with the way he’s doing. With him being a Paynter the horse he’s telling us that he wants to go longer and he could probably be that type of horse.”
Solomonic is installed as the 9-2 co-second choice and will be guided by jockey Florent Geroux.
Photo Courtesy of Hodges Photography