By Ryan Martin

• Tom’s d’Etat Makes Anticipated Stakes Debut in Tenacious Stakes

• Superioritycomplex (Ire.) Steps Up in Class for Blushing K.D. Stakes

• Fires Sends Gray Attempt for Sugar Bowl Stakes

• Patrick Gilligan Book Signing Scheduled for Saturday, December 22


When one thinks of Al Stall Jr., and the top horses he’s trained during a stellar 27-year career, Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame and champion Louisiana-bred Star Guitarimmediately come to mind, but when it comes raw talent, the veteran conditioner believes Tom’s d’Etat, who will be making hisadded-money debut less than two weeks shy of his 6-year-old season inSaturday’s Tenacious Stakes, ranks right up there.

Purchased by G M B Racing out of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $330,000 in 2014, Tom’s d’Etat has started just nine times, winning five while banking $233,492.

“He’s a tremendous athlete,” Stall said. “Talent wise he’s on the top three or four horses that I’ve trained in my career, but he’s just had a lot of small knick-knack things that have put him on the shelf for three months here, five months there. When he was off for over a year it was ankle issues, but he’s going excellent right now so we’re excited about him.”

When Tom’s d’Etat (pronounced day-tah) has raced, he’s been dominant. He’s enters Saturday’s stakes debut off three consecutive optional claiming allowance scores, winning those races by a combined 16 ½ lengths. Off more than 15 months prior to his most recent assignment on November 4 at Churchill, the son of Smart Strike disposed of fellow Tenacious rival Pioneer Sprint by 7 ¼ lengths over a one-turn mile with Saturday’s jockey Shaun Bridgmohan in tow. 

Out of the Giant’s Causeway broodmare Julia Tuttle, whose dam Candy Cane (Arg.) is a full-sister to prominent North American stallion Candy Ride (Arg.), Tom’s d’Etat was bred to be a good horse.

“I got plenty of Candy Rides and he doesn’t remind me too much of them,” Stall said. “He’s all Smart Strike. He’s a Smart Strike, Mr. Prospector type of horse just because of the angles of his pastern and because of his body type. The Mr. Prospector line is something that you notice throughout the years at the sales.”

On Saturday, Stall hopes the entire racing world takes notice of Tom’s d’Etat.


In what was her fourthstart in the U.S. for trainer Mike Stidham, Mt. Brilliant Farm and OrrinIngram’s Superioritycomplex (Ire.) defeated fellow Blushing K.D. Stakes aspirant Dubara (GB) by 3½ lengths inwiring a second-level allowance over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course under jockeyJoe Bravo. She’ll be taking a step up in class on Saturday, but her trainerbelieves the addition of blinkers last time out may help take the 4-year-olddaughter of Hard Spun to the next level.

“She’s got to step upagain but I think she has a shot to be competitive with these horses,” Stidham said. “It’s definitely a step up for her and she’s going to have to takeanother step forward to be competitive with these but she’s doing well. She cameout of her last race in good shape and putting blinkers on last time helped.We’re looking forward to being competitive.”

In her lone stakes attempt on September 9 over Woodbine’s synthetic surface, Superioritycomplex finished fourth in the Belle Mahone Stakes. Her racing career began in Great Britain for Sir Michael Stoute who trained her to a maiden victory at fifth asking in August 2017. She was then purchased at Tattersalls December Mare Sale by Mt. Brilliant Farm for $566,076 and was consigned by The Castlebridge Consignment.

Superioritycomplex is out of the Galileo broodmare Justlookdontouch (Ire.) who is a half-sister to 2003 Champion Turf Filly Islington (GB) as well as Group 1 winner Greek Dance (Ire.). All three are out of Hellenic (GB), the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks winner in 1990.


Eight years ago, trainer William ‘Jinks’ Fires won the Sugar Bowl Stakes with the maiden Archarcharch,who used that victory as a springboard to eventual scores in the Grade III Southwest Stakes and Grade I Arkansas Derby.

Owned by Dwight Pruett, Gray Attempt won at second asking on November 24 at Churchill. He may be one step ahead of Fires’ former star pupil, but he still has a long way to go.

“He’s a nice little horse,” Fires said of Saturday’s Sugar Bowl starter by phone from his Oaklawn Park base. “I was going to run himat Remington in the Springboard Mile (on December 16) but it came up pretty tough and he had only broken his maiden so I figured he probably would end upon the also eligible list. He’s also never been two turns either so that’sanother reason why I didn’t run him there, so I decided to go to New Orleans.”

Based at Oaklawn Parkalong with the rest of Fires’ horses during the winter months, Gray Attempt recorded two five furlong works over the Hot Springs, Ark. oval. He will bereunited with pilot Shaun Bridgmohan.

“He’s coming in real well,” Fires said. “We’ve blown him out a couple times at Oaklawn. As a matter offact, I breezed him the day before I entered him to make sure he was a hundredpercent so he’s doing real well. Were pleased the way he’s going in.”

Gray Attempt was a $50,000 by Pruett from the Fasig-Tipton Select Yearling Sale in July 2017 where he wasconsigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency. He is out of the Consolidator broodmareAttempt to Name.


Former trainer and author Patrick Lawrence Gilligan will be on hand to sign copies of his book “AroundKentucky – With the Bug!” outside of Tito’s Bar in the Fair Grounds paddockarea on Saturday, December 22 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

A native of England, Gilligan book chronicles his relocation to America with his jockey son Jack, and details the challenge of building connections within the American Thoroughbred racing industry.

Patrick Gilligan graduated with an honors degree in Equine Studies. After a decade as

an exercise rider, he went on to spend 16 years training Thoroughbred racehorses in Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Now based in Lexington, Kentucky, the elder Gilligan works as an assistant for trainer Kenny McPeek.

Jack Gilligan rode his first winner at age 16 on only his second career mount at 33/1 at Newbury racecourse, in Berkshire England, on a horse trained by his father. Jack has ridden 264 winners to date.