By Ryan Martin
• Mr. Money Will Scratch From Lecomte
• Weisbord Clients Hoping for Another Wild Ride
• Wet Turf Not a Concern With Great Wide Open (Ire.)
MR. MONEY WILL SCRATCH FROM LECOMTE
Allied Racing’s Mr. Money will be scratched from Saturday’s Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes, according to trainer Bret Calhoun, who stated that the 3-year-old son of Goldencents was coughing upon returning from his routine morning exercise on Friday.
“We scoped him this morning and really didn’t show much,” Calhoun said. “It looked like he had a little scratch in his throat. Obviously we hoped that it was just little irritation, but we kept monitoring him as the day went on we were taking his temperature. The blood work confirmed that he had a white blood count.”
It is unclear whether or not Mr. Money will point to the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes, which is the next Road To The Kentucky Derby qualifying race at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. He could be possible for the event if he bounces back in good order.
Mr. Money has not raced since completing the superfecta in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, where he was beaten 9½ lengths behind Game Winner. In a career that has seen four starts, he has collected a total of $150,400 in career earnings.
Also likely to withdraw from the race are Admire and also-eligible entrant West Texas.
WEISBORD CLIENTS HOPING FOR ANOTHER WILD RIDE
Wherever and whenever you find high caliber horse racing, one can generally bank that BSW Bloodstock Manager Brad Weisbord and his clients are in on the action. Saturday’s Road To The Derby Kickoff at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots is no exception.
In 2018, the accomplishments of Weisbord and his clientele reached new heights. The highlights included dream campaigns with a pair of likely Champions in Triple Crown winner Justify and Grade I Longines Kentucky Oaks and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff victoress Monomoy Girl. In addition to the winner Justify, Weisbord’s clients were also represented by Audible and My Boy Jack in the Kentucky Derby.
With that track record in tow, Weisbord has already proven he can manage horses on the Oaks and Derby trail, and on Saturday he hopes to send a pair of other promising sophomores down that road when Needs Supervision ($125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes) and Night Ops (Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes) compete for coveted qualifying points.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
That’s one reason why Weisbord pursued an interest in Needs Supervision. In her most recent effort against winners at Churchill Downs, the daughter of Paynter scored a five-length 37-1 upset when defeating stakes-placed Meadow Dance whom Weisbord purchased a piece of on behalf of Madaket Stables following her maiden win. Needs Supervision was previously wholly owned by Howling Pigeon Farms.
“We owned (Meadow Dance) when she was stakes placed, but Needs Supervision went by her like she was tied to a post,” Weisbord said. “Meadow Dance was even money that day and when a horse wins like that it’s something that hits our radar. My partner Liz Crow started to inquire about buying in. Our other clients Gary Barber and Adam Wachtel were completing their deal and we went in and joined them in their purchase. It was a great way to come together with a great ownership group.”
Trained by Jeremiah O’Dwyer, Needs Supervision has raced over three different tracks in her trio of starts. A close second in her Penn National career debut, she broke her maiden at second asking over her home track at Laurel Park before her Churchill Downs victory.
“This will be her fourth racetrack in four starts, which reflects the confidence Jerry has shown in the horse,” Weisbord said. “He’s got all eyes on this horse, it’s big deal for him. The filly is doing great and we’re excited to see what she does.”
Needs Supervision was purchased by her trainer from Fasig-Tipton Mid Atlantic Two-Year-Old in Training Sale for $55,000 and was consigned by Hidden Brook Sales.
Weisbord and his clientele have struck gold when partnering with trainer Keith Desormeaux in the past. Horses like American classic winner Exaggerator, Grade I winner Decked Out and two-time graded stakes winner My Boy Jack come to mind. They hope to achieve more success as a team with Night Ops in the Lecomte.
Owned by Madaket Stables in partnership with Big Chief Racing, Rocker O Ranch and Desormeaux, the son of Warrior’s Reward is the lone maiden in the Lecomte’s full field. Showing competitive nature on the Road To The Kentucky Derby with a maiden is nothing new to Desormeaux. In 2017, he sent Sonneteer to Oaklawn Park for the Grade II Rebel Stkaes, where he ran second at odds of 112-1.
“The guy puts horses in spots where he believes can be successful and he’s hit in many of these circumstances,” Weisbord said. “I don’t think anyone thought My Boy Jack would have the year he did last year. He ran a big race in the Derby and got in monster trouble at the far turn. Night Ops has raced five times and still a maiden, but he seems to be doing well at Santa Anita. We don’t tell Keith what to do, he knows what he’s doing. My Boy Jack is coming back in good order. We sold Decked Out for $900,000 through the ELiTE consignment program and the ownership group are now good friends. We have all the trust in Keith, he runs horses into shape and he takes shots when they’re doing well. Keith Desormeaux is a magician with the little money he spends at sales and continues to hit every year with these low priced yearlings.”
Desormeaux takes pride in making inexpensive acquisitions at the sales and getting them to outrun their pedigree, which is one reason why Weisbord conducts business with the conditioner.
“Keith doesn’t really look at pedigree,” Weisbord said. “We were lucky that Exaggerator is by Curlin, which allowed him to go to a major farm like WinStar and we stayed in on him for his stallion career. No question that price relates to pedigree in some regard, but runner does not relate to pedigree in Keith Desormeaux’s mind.”
He was purchased for $5,000 at the Fasig-Tipton October Yearling Sale in 2017 from the consignment barn of War Horse Place. His fourth dam, In My Cap is a full-sister to Grade I winner Trumpet’s Blare and produced Bright Feather – the dam of Grade I winner Albert the Great.
Could Night Ops could be the next profitable bargain acquired by Desormeaux and Weisbord? That question will be answered on Saturday.
WET TURF NOT A CONCERN WITH GREAT WIDE OPEN (IRE)
Mother Nature is sure to bring some of her wrath to New Orleans on the morning of Road To The Derby Kickoff Day, but trainer Conor Murphy is not concerned as long as the $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap remains on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course.
As long as the race is not moved to the main track, Murphy will saddle Great Wide Open (Ire.) who will attempt his third consecutive win and fourth victory overall at Fair Grounds. His last two wins were both wire-to-wire victories over the local lawn, the latter of which took place in the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes. Last fall, he was second in both the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland and the Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs.
“The softer the better with him, he loves soft ground,” Murphy said. “I think even though they have it labeled firm at Kentucky Downs it was on the soft side. Keeneland was on the soft side as well. As long as it stays on the turf it won’t be issue.”
Murphy believes that the 7-year-old son of Starspangledbanner (Aus.) will continue to display his front running fashion in Saturday’s race
“Murphy said. “We’ll use similar tactics as we did last time. So he’s in good form, he’s happy at the moment He likes to stride along, Unless there’s someone who wants to go fast, I’d imagine he’d be on the lead.”
A proven work horse, Great Wide Open made a total of 12 starts last year, which included three victories which all took place at Fair Grounds. Following an eighth-place finish in Canterbury Park’s Mystic Lake Mile in June, he received a freshening and came back better than ever. Since then, he has not finished worse than second in four starts.
“That was the only race he came back a bit tired after and showed us that he wanted the break,” Murphy said. “He’s one that really tries. As long as he’s in this form, we’ll keep racing him.”
Current Fair Grounds leading rider James Graham has piloted Great Wide Open in his last six starts and will guide the seven-time winner for the Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap.