SHARP PLOTTING HIS COURSE FOR 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Joe Kristufek
Racing Analyst/Media Relations
- Sharp Plotting Course for 2020
- Serengeti Empress, Midnight Bisou Highlight Star-studded work tab
- Greg Foley Scores Training Hat Trick
SHARP PLOTTING HIS COURSE FOR 2020
Done chasing titles, barn prioritizing the big picture more than ever
New Orleans (January 5, 2020) – When the curtain closed on last year, Joe Sharp’s stable landed $1,072 purse dollars short of the career best season they enjoyed in 2017 ($4,554,157). It was a successful campaign by any standard, particularly for an operation that has only been in existence for six years, but Sharp’s aspirations know no boundaries.
“That was my Girvin year,” Sharp said of 2017 and the Risen Star (G2), Louisiana Derby (G2) and Haskell (G1) winner that put him in the national spotlight. “We did it the hard way in 2019. It was a good year, but I’m a little bit hard on myself. I push myself and want every year to be better than the previous one. We had a lot of solid, useful horses, but no big stars in the barn.”
After falling just short in his all-out pursuit of the Fair Grounds title in recent years, Sharp has seven wins at the current stand, which ties him with multiple trainers for fifth in the standings.
“We had a good last weekend at Churchill, winning two on the big 2-year-old day,” Sharp explained. “It’s slowed the start of our meet at the Fair Grounds, but it’s all relative. The purse boost in Kentucky really helped our numbers. Winning maiden special weight and allowances is like winning two races in years prior. We definitely felt the stimulus of the purse structure in Kentucky, which we call home. I don’t think we’ve made any wrong moves.”
Quotes > Notes
Sharp has a well-balanced barn and he will continue to win races at all levels. He has several proven class horses with upside, and some young stock worth keeping an eye on.
Carl Moore Management’s Louisiana-bred 4-year-old filly Midnight Fantasy, a two-time restricted stakes winner, was most recently disqualified from a victory in the Louisiana Ladies Sprint on Champions Day.
“We had her at Saratoga this summer so we could have some options open on the East Coast,” Sharp said. “She was making a lot of noise and her breathing was labored over the summer. Carl (owner Moore) and I had a conversation about it. We did a dynamic scope on her and realized that we had to help her out a little bit and do some work on her throat. So we sent her to True Baker at Hagyard’s and he did a procedure on her.”
“She’s gotten bigger, stronger and happier,” Sharp said. “She’s not fretting the airway and she seems confident in herself and physical being. That (Louisiana Ladies Sprint) was her first race back. We were really over the moon with the way she ran. She was the winner without a doubt. We were the best horse. That being said, it was very ugly. It was the right call. You can’t step out three paths inside the sixteenth pole and expect to have no ramifications from that. We were very happy to see her back just as good if not better than ever. We are excited about this year for sure.”
The Plan: “We are looking at the Premier Night Matron (five furlongs, LA-bred f&m) at Delta Downs on February 8.”
Calumet Farm’s 4-year-old colt Tracksmith, the recent winner of the Woodchopper over Fair Grounds Stall-Wilson turf course.
“He’s one of my favorites,” Sharp said. “He came out of the race (Woodchopper) super. He shows up every time, which is all you can really ask for. He is scheduled to work back next weekend.”
The Plan: “I think we will probably point him for the remainder of the turf series here (Colonel E. R. Bradley up next on January 18), but we are also taking a look at the John B. Connolly (G3) at Sam Houston (1 ½ miles turf). I’ve always wanted to try him over an even longer distance so the 1 ½ miles seems like something we want to entertain. We have a couple horses for that division and kind of just need to see how everything shakes out.
Scott and Evan Dilworth’s Canadian-bred 3-year-old colt Sycamore Run, who wired ten rivals over six furlongs at Fair Grounds on debut by 3 ½ lengths.
“He ran great on debut,” Sharp said. “We thought he was that good. He’s one of those you can lead over there with confidence that the morning is going to convey to the afternoon. He has a solid disposition. Some horses can work fast in the morning but you don’t know how they’re going to show up in the afternoon. You could put some faith in this horse. Came out of the race great and had just a super work Saturday morning (bullet breeze :47 4/5) It was a little quicker than I had hoped for, but he worked in company with O Serafina and got to her pretty easy and did it within himself. We are excited.”
The Plan: “I think we are going to point him to Lecomte (G3 on January 18). There is a first-level allowance race prior that we are going to look at, but I don’t think we’d be out of line by taking the plunge in his next start. Physically he looks a little more like a sprinter, but he’s very mentally stable. He’s got a lot of gears. In those big fields, having tactical speed is always important for position, but also the ability to shut off and save something for the end is crucial. I think he has those qualities. Whether he’s going to be a 1 ¼ mile horse down the road remains to be seen, but I think in the early stages of his road to Louisiana Derby, I think this step should be well within his scope. As a Canadian-bred, we have options, which is nice come summer. The horse can be anything he wants to be. Scott just wants to compete at the top level and not try to force them to be something they’re not. The horse will pick their path.”
Carl R. Moore Management’s 5-year-old mare Classy Act, multiple graded stakes placed, most recently won a third-level optional claiming/allowance sprint at Fair Grounds.
“I think the race at Delta (sixth as the favorite on November 15) was a compete throw out,” Sharp said. “She was training great going in. We sent her down a week before. She had no excuse. Timmy (jockey Thornton) had her in a good position. Some horses just don’t handle it there. After the big race at Charlestown (second in the Pink Ribbon on September 21) I thought she would handle the bullring, but the surface is completely different. She ran against some of the toughest fillies out there her 3-year-old year, and has run hard enough to warrant being a stakes winner, but has always been a bridesmaid. For her residual (value), we definitely want to get her that stakes win.”
The Plan: “We are looking at the Nelson J. Menard (January 25 at Fair Grounds, 5 ½ furlongs turf, for f&m),” Sharp said. “She likes the grass and she showed (in that win) the other day that she’s got her speed back. We don’t have a filly and mare sprint series for stakes mares at Fair Grounds, so it kind of forces you to go to Oaklawn with horses like that, unless they like turf. We’ll start there and see where it takes us.”
Calumet Farm’s 3-year-old colt Blackberry Wine, impressive maiden winner in the slop two starts back at Churchill, most recently third in a Fair Grounds allowance on turf.
“That turf was very yielding the other day when he ran on it,” Sharp said. “It looked like he was going to pull away turning for home, but Adam (jockey Beschizza) said when he let his head loose on that soft turf, he faltered a little bit. We’ve been high on him since day one. He’s headed in the right direction and has a lot of upside. That’s why we took him to Saratoga to start.We will try to get a firm turf, but he’s also shown he likes the off (main) track.”
The Plan: “It’s not out of the realm of possibility for Mr. (Brad) Kelly (Calumet Farm) to want to take a shot in the Lecomte (G3 on January 18) with a horse like that, but there’s also that first-level allowance we might point him for as well.”
Bruce Lunsford’s homebred 3-year-old colt, Art Collector, a maiden winner on turf at Kentucky Downs and most recently an allowance winner over a sloppy track at Churchill by 7 ½ lengths.
“He kept getting better, but he danced every dance as a 2-year-old,” Sharp said. “He’d run on the asphalt if you asked him to. No issues came up, but he’s not a huge horse, so we wanted to give him a freshening. We turned him out at Kesmarc (in Versailles, Kentucky). Horses like him often hit a growth spurt. You have to treat every horse like an individual and plot their course accordingly.
The Plan: “The expectation is for him to return to training at Fair Grounds at the end of the month (January),” Sharp said. “He’s by Bernardini, so we don’t think distance will be a factor.”
Richard Snyder, Connie Snyder, Brett Setzer and Billie Jo Stetzer’s 4-year-old colt Malpais, minor stakes winning sprinter.
“He had a little bit of an issue pop up after the Chick Lang (last start on May 18),” Sharp said. “We’ve given him the time. He’s one or two works away (from returning). He’s coming back like a bear. Bigger, stronger and doing everything well within himself, so we are pretty excited about his year. He’s a really nice horse. We tried the Lecomte with him last year, but he didn’t show the desire to want to settle and rate within the pack and conserve that stamina over a longer distance. That’s fine. There’s a lot of good opportunities for sprinters out there.”
The Plan: “He’s going to target the Duncan Kenner (January 18 at Fair Grounds), or he’ll go to Sam Houston on January 26th (Stonerside Sprint).”
Scott and Evan Dilworth’s 4-year-old filly Lady TNT, winner of the Charlestown Oaks (G3) on September 21 in her final race of the season.
“She’s turned out on my farm in Kentucky,” Sharp said. “She hadn’t had any breaks, so we opted to kick her out and give her 90 days to just be a horse. (Owner) Scott (Dilworth) and I kind of road mapped it. There are no sprint races at Fair Grounds for a horse like her, so we needed to map out her year accordingly.”
The Plan: “She’ll start back in training in February at Fair Grounds,” Sharp said.
ON THE SUNDAY WORKTAB (track fast)
British Idiom (Cox) – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner & Eclipse Award finalist being pointed to Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds on February 15 breezed a half mile in :49.
Chimney Rock (Maker) – Second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2), recent winner of the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile at Fair Grounds breezed a half mile in :49 3/5.
No Parole (Amoss) – Louisiana-bred winner of his career debut at Fair Grounds by 14 ¼ lengths, entered to run in a restricted first-level allowance at Fair Grounds on Saturday breezed a half mile in :49 3/5.
Serengeti Empress (Amoss) — Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner, Eclipse Award finalist in her first work back since finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) breezed a half mile in :49.
Taraz (Cox) – Highly regarded 3-year-old filly is perfect from two starts, most recently winning the Letellier Memorial at Fair Grounds, possible for the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds on January 18 breezed a half mile in :49 3/5.
Synchrony (Stidham) – Multiple graded stakes winning turf horses breezed a half mile in :49 3/5.
Do Share (N. Casse) – Graded stakes winning sprinter being pointed for the Duncan F. Kenner Stakes on January 18 at Fair Grounds breezed five furlongs in 1:00 2/5.
Engage (Asmussen) – Multiple graded stakes winning sprinter, most recently fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), possible for the Duncan F. Kenner Stakes on January 18 at Fair Grounds breezed five furlongs in 1:02 3/5.
Midnight Bisou (Asmussen) – Six-time grade one winner, $3.7 million earner and Eclipse Award finalist most recently second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) in what was her only loss from eight starts in 2019 breezed five furlongs in 1:02 1/5.
Silver Dust (Calhoun) – Multiple graded stakes winner, possible for the Louisiana Stakes at Fair Grounds on January 18 breezed five furlongs on January 18 at Fair Grounds 1:12 3/5.
BY THE NUMBERS
For the second consecutive day, a Fair Grounds trainer scored a hat trick. Following up Bret Calhoun’s Saturday three-bagger was Greg Foley, who won a trio of races on Sunday. Foley won the opener with Unfading Beauty (7-1), race 6 with Logical Myth (7-2) and race seven with Mine My Time (5-2).
About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots: Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global
Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 13 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 148th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 107 th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 28, 2019 through March 29, 2020. More information can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.
Information set forth in this press release contains various “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act”) provides certain “safe harbor” provisions for forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements made in this press release are made pursuant to the Act. The reader is cautioned that such forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time and/or management’s good faith belief with respect to future events, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in the statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statement was made. We assume no obligation to update forward-looking information to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the use of terms such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” and similar words, although some forward-looking statements are expressed differently.
Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include the following: the effect of economic conditions on our consumers’ confidence and discretionary spending or our access to credit; additional or increased taxes and fees; public perceptions or lack of confidence in the integrity of our business; loss of key or highly skilled personnel; restrictions in our debt facilities limiting our flexibility to operate our business; general risks related to real estate ownership, including fluctuations in market values and environmental regulations; catastrophic events and system failures disrupting our operations, including the impact of natural and other disasters on our operations and our ability to obtain insurance recoveries in respect of such losses; inability to identify and complete acquisition, expansion or divestiture projects, on time, on budget or as planned; difficulty in integrating recent or future acquisitions into our operations; legalization of online real money gaming and sports wagering in the United States, and our ability to capitalize on and predict such legalization; the number of people attending and wagering on live horse races; inability to respond to rapid technological changes in a timely manner; inadvertent infringement of the intellectual property of others; inability to protect our own intellectual property rights; security breaches and other security risks related to our technology, personal information, source code and other proprietary information, including failure to comply with regulations and other legal obligations relating to receiving, processing, storing and using personal information; payment- related risks, such as chargebacks for fraudulent credit card use; compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or applicable money-laundering regulations; compliance with payment processing and payment transmission regulations; work stoppages and labor issues; difficulty in attracting a sufficient number of horses and trainers for full field horseraces; inability to negotiate agreements with industry constituents, including horsemen and other racetracks; personal injury litigation related to injuries occurring at our racetracks; the inability of our totalisator company, United Tote, to maintain its processes accurately, keep its technology current or maintain its significant customers; weather conditions affecting our ability to conduct live racing; increased competition in the horseracing business; changes in the regulatory environment of our racing operations; declining popularity in horseracing; seasonal fluctuations in our horseracing business due to geographic concentration of our operations; increased competition in our casino business; changes in regulatory environment of our casino business; the cost and possibility for delay, cost overruns and other uncertainties associated with the develop.m.ent and expansion of casinos; concentration and evolution of slot machine manufacturing and other technology conditions that could impose additional costs; impact of further legislation prohibiting tobacco smoking; geographic concentration of our casino business; changes in regulatory environment for our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; increase in competition in the advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; inability to retain current customers or attract new customers to our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; uncertainty and changes in the legal landscape relating to our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; and failure to comply with laws requiring us to block access to certain individuals could result in penalties or impairment in our ability to offer advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming.