Home of the Louisiana Derby

Barn Notes: Sunday, January 11

 

IN TODAY'S NOTES: SALE TOPPER SAVOY STOMP BRINGS TOP CONNECTIONS TO LECOMTE; MIKE SMITH, TOP DECILE READY FOR SILVERBULLETDAY; FOREVER UNBRIDLED FIRES WARNING SHOT; SAMIAM WILL TAKE A CHANCE IN KRANTZ; GOOD DEED EXITS PAN ZARETA WELL, TO TAKE HER SHOW ON THE ROAD; GOLDEN SOUL POSSIBLE FOR BRADLEY


SALE TOPPER SAVOY STOMP BRINGS TOP CONNECTIONS TO LECOMTE

            Team Valor International and Southern Equine Stable’s regally bred and well regarded Savoy Stomp will look to live up to his hype on Saturday afternoon in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes when he ships in for the formidable Todd Pletcher stable.  An $875,000 sale purchase, the son of Medaglia d’Oro is out of a full-sister to top sire Majestic Warrior and has three starts to his record – including an impressive victory on debut in September at Belmont Park going seven furlongs.  His sale price was the highest of any colt at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga 2013 Select Yearling Sale.

 “He’s an extremely good-looking horse” said Barry Irwin, principal of Team Valor.  “He’s out of a mare who is from a sprint family and when I bought him I was worried he wouldn’t run that far – but since we put him in training he has more stamina than speed, which is good.  He won first time out and when they win like that going seven furlongs on the rail, they’re going to go two turns.”

            After said two-length victory in 1:23.37, he was brought back in the one-mile Grade II $250,000 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct over a muddy surface and ran up the track for fifth.  Six weeks later, the Kentucky-bred January foal ran third in an allowance as the 7-5 favorite at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 17 – again going a one-turn mile.  Racing widely throughout, he ran along for the show behind next-out Listed $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes winner Bluegrass Singer. 

“He didn’t like the wet dirt (in the Nashua); (the kickback) stung him and he ran horribly,” Irwin explained.  “Then in his (third) race the rail was golden and he could have stayed there, but (jockey Javier Castellano) was so worried about the kickback that he stayed outside.  On a normal track like Fair Grounds going two turns, he should do well.”

One of the most respected and successful ownerships in the world, Team Valor has not only has annexed two Breeders’ Cups, a Dubai World Cup and an Arlington Million – but it also has an impressive record in the Kentucky Derby with one win (Animal Kingdom), one second (Captain Bodgit) and a fourth (Went The Day Well) from five starters.  Needless to say, with 2010 Derby winner and leading national trainer Pletcher now at the helm of many of its young horses – it could be only a matter of time until it is back in the Triple Crown Spotlight.

            “Pletcher has always liked the horse,” he continued.  “The question with him is what his best trip is.  I always thought he wanted to run longer and Pletcher is hopeful he will, but (Pletcher) told me that if he turned out to be a late-running sprinter, he wouldn’t be surprised.  You never know which way they’re going to go.  It’s a matter of timing and what their progression is.  I’ve run five horses in the (Grade I $2,000,000 Kentucky) Derby and the only one I was absolutely sure would love the mile and a quarter was Captain Bodgit (in 1997).  He had such amazing stamina.”

Bred by co-owner Southern Equine Stable, Savoy Stomp was so well regarded by principal Mike Moreno’s operation, that they wished to stay involved.  “When I bought the horse at the sale (Southern Equine) told me they wanted to stay in, and I said that was fine,” Irwin added.

            Savoy Stomp put in his final major work Sunday morning at Palm Beach Downs in south Florida and is scheduled to have Mike Smith in the irons in Saturday’s 71st running of the Lecomte. 

“You certainly try this time of year to get on good young horses – especially Kentucky Derby horses,” said Smith.  “Todd (Pletcher) is definitely one you want to ride for.”
 

MIKE SMITH, TOP DECILE READY FOR SILVERBULLETDAY

Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Top Decile put the finishing touches on her preparation for the Listed $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes with a strong move on Sunday morning of four furlongs in :49.60 for trainer Al Stall, Jr.  The work was good for fifth-best of 114 at the distance over what was evidently a slower surface.

The daughter of Congrats has worked forwardly since relocating to Fair Grounds Race Course following a brief freshening after her runner-up finish in the Grade I $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.  With a win and two seconds – both in Grade I company – to her name in three career starts, the $110,000 Keeneland September 2013 yearling has earned $489,800 for her connections.

After the retirement of Rosie Napravnik – who had been atop the chestnut charge in the aforementioned troika – in November, Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith sought and acquired the mount.  He will be astride the Kentucky-bred for the first time Saturday. 

“She was certainly one we were watching,” Smith said.  “Immediately after Rosie retired we knew we wanted to get on her.  I watched the Breeders’ Cup over and over again and given her outside post that day, she ran really well and galloped out excellent – so she seemed to like the distance.  She seems to have a lot of class about her.  I’ll put her in the race and ride her with a lot of confidence.  I’m going to let her get into a good rhythm.”

FOREVER UNBRIDLED FIRES WARNING SHOT

            Charles Fipke’s homebred sophomore filly Forever Unbridled, who will hope to emulate her full-sister of the inverse name and win the Listed $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes, signaled her readiness in a big way on Sunday morning.  Working over a deep Fair Grounds Race Course surface, the daughter of Kentucky Oaks winner Lemons Forever blitzed a half-mile in :48.80 – good for a bullet among 114 works at the distance. 

“She was great,” said trainer Dallas Stewart – who also conditioner her sister and dam.  “She worked very well and did it very easy and came back good.  She’s very healthy right now and coming into the race great.  She’s had a race over the track and been working consistently.”

The bay filly is exiting a one mile and 70 yard (the same course and distance as the Silverbulletday) maiden win on Dec. 12 in which she gamely stalked and pounced en route to a 2¼-length victory in her second career start.  Brian Hernandez, Jr., who was up for said victory, has the return mount in Saturday’s 23rd running of aforementioned event.

SAMIAM WILL TAKE A CHANCE IN THE KRANTZ

            Tom Van Meter, II et al’s improving 5-year-old mare Samiam is likely to join what looks to be a competitive cast in the $60,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes on Jan. 17 – Road to the Derby Kickoff Day.  Trained by William Van Meter, the daughter of Dynaformer has been training forwardly from her Oaklawn Park base and could be overlooked in a field that is expected to feature Lothenbach Stables’ defending champion Eden Prairie and Twin Creeks Racing’s Notte d’Oro. 

“We’re definitely looking at bringing her,” her conditioner said.  “She’s doing really well.  After her last race at Churchill Downs she got some time off and came back really well.  She’s a really nice filly and we bought her around this time last year at Keeneland.  We gave her some time off after that, so it took a while to get her going.  Once she started getting fit we realized that we may have a really good horse.  I think 2015 will be a big year for her.”

In 2014, the bay mare started six times, including a game victory in a Delaware Park allowance.  Her most impressive race, though, was arguably in defeat in a Keeneland allowance on Oct. 11 over soft turf.  Closing from third and 4½ lengths back, she seized the lead under Kerwin Clark and then was caught by Bitty Kitty to lose by a half-length and earn a career-high Equibase Speed Figure of 107. 

“She’s bred to go long and to me she has some early speed for a big horse – and that works well for her and is why I ran her in a sprint at Kentucky Downs this summer,” Van Meter continued.  “I’m sure her previous trainer took his time with her, which is probably why she has just 11 starts.  For us, though, she’s really starting to get very good.”

Van Meter confirmed that journeyman Kerwin Clark will have the mount if the Kentucky-bred is entered in the 20th running of the Krantz Memorial.

GOOD DEED EXITS PAN ZARETA WELL, TO TAKE HER SHOW ON THE ROAD

            Richard and Bertram Klein’s Good Deed, a dominant winner of Saturday’s $60,000 Pan Zareta Stakes, came out of her second victory of the meet in good shape, according to trainer Steve Margolis. 

            “Everything is good today,” Margolis said.  “The owners were both very happy with the win.  She’s been a really good horse for us and is healthy.  With winning two races back-to-back impressively, we’re very pleased.  It’s always hard when you’re the heavy favorite because anything can happen – but she’s a pro and likes to win.  We’ll look at Fountain of Youth day next with her.”

            As hinted by her conditioner, the five-time stakes winner is now a prime candidate for the $75,000 Ladies Turf Sprint on Feb. 21 at Gulfstream Park as her next race.

GOLDEN SOUL POSSIBLE FOR BRADLEY

Golden Soul will look to return to what has become his preferred surface of grass next out and said event could happen as early as this Saturday’s Grade III $100,000 Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap.  Exiting a lackluster fourth-place finish in the off-the-turf and sloppy $50,000 Diliberto Memorial on Dec. 19, the Charles Fipke-homebred son of Perfect Soul has won his last two turf starts – including a smart allowance score on Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs going 1 1/8 miles. 

 “We’re looking at (the Bradley),” said trainer Dallas Stewart.  “He came out (of the Diliberto Memorial) with an abscess, but he worked well two days ago.  If he continues to train as well as he has, we’ll maybe run him.”

            Second in the 2013 Kentucky Derby, the 5-year-old horse worked four furlongs on Jan. 9 in :49.40 – good for ninth-best of 37 moves at the distance.