Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Barn Notes: Wednesday, December 31


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Barn Notes:  Wednesday, December 31, 2014                                                                               

·        Breeders’ Cup Runner-up Top Decile to Silverbulletday

·        Bayerd to Either Lecomte or Smarty Jones

·        A Fresh Bet Seattle Returns in Bonapaw





                Two half-length losses from arguably being a champion, Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Top Decile has zeroed in on the Listed $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes on Jan. 17 as her sophomore debut for trainer Al Stall, Jr.  On Tuesday, the chestnut daughter of Congrats had her first serious work and third since returning from a brief freshening when going a half-mile at Fair Ground Race Course in :48.20 – good for fourth-best of 44 works at the distance. 


“She went fine,” Stall said.  “We are just picking her up a little bit as we go along.  As far as the nine-day gap between works, we waited until the bad weather was gone and we had the right track to work her.  She has put on good weight since the Breeders’ Cup and is doing well.  If a horse could overdose on peppermints it would be her.”


Known as one of the most social horses in the Stall barn, Top Decile has been equally as friendly to bettors.  In three career starts, she has never been favored, but accounts for a debut win and two seconds in Grade I company.  In her debut, she showed good speed and won impressively going 6½ furlongs at Saratoga.  That effort earned her a start in a wet renewal of the Grade I $400,000 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland, where she overcame a missed break to come charging to a half-length loss.  Next out, she shipped to California for the Grade I $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and endured a five-wide trip to fall a half-length short of expected champion Take Charge Brandi.  Both of those events were at 1 1/16-miles.  The Silverbulletday is at the slightly shorter distance of a mile and 70 yards.


A $110,000 purchased picked out by Stall himself at Keeneland in September 2013, she has now earned $489,800 and put herself squarely in the picture for the Grade I $1,000,000 Kentucky Oaks on May 1.  Still, such is not of immediate concern for her connections. 


“I’m not worried about anything except getting her to the 17th and then we’ll look past that,” Stall said.  “She’ll have two more works before the (Silverbulletday) – one on Monday going five-eighths and another most likely the following Sunday for a blowout.  Mike Smith will come in to ride her.  He’s the only one who asked.”


Top Decile was previously ridden in all three starts and worked in the mornings by Rosie Napravnik, who retired in November. 




                Two-time stakes winner and Kentucky Derby hopeful Bayerd will run next in either the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course on Jan. 17 or the Listed $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Jan. 19.  The Lecomte is contested at a distance of a mile and 70 yards, while the Smarty Jones is at a mile over Oaklawn’s abbreviated stretch.


                Trained by Steve Asmussen, Bayerd first gained notoriety when smashing a Saratoga allowance field at 8-1 on Aug. 23 over six panels.  Left in his 11½-length wake that day was Godolphin Racing’s Frosted, who recently was a game second in the Grade II $400,000 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct and is now considered a serious Kentucky Derby contender for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. 


                Subsequently, the son of Speightstown ran in three stakes at Remington Park for his Tulsa, Oklahoma-based owner.  He won the six-furlong Listed $75,000 Kip Deville Stakes, was second in the seven-furlong Listed $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes and most recently was a game victor in a muddy renewal of the one-mile Listed $250,000 Springboard Mile on Dec. 14. 


On Monday, the Kentucky-bred bay returned to the tab for the first time since said victory with an easy half-mile in :52.20 at Fair Grounds, where he has been training since November.




                Hugh Robertson’s Bet Seattle kicks off his 2015 and 6-year-old seasons with a return to Fair Grounds Race Course in the $60,000 Bonapaw Stakes on Jan. 3.  The son of Seattle Fitz has been working impressively over the main course since arriving in late autumn from his Illinois base and will look to extend his four-race winning streak. 


                Off since August 2, the emblazoned gelding won five of six starts in 2014 with his only defeat coming at the course and distance of the Bonapaw in the $60,000 Colonel Power Stakes on Mar. 15.  Last out, the swift sprinter won the Listed $100,000 West Virginia Legislature Chairman’s Cup over 4½ furlongs in :51.52.


“He’s been training fine,” said Robertson, who also trains the charge.  “I just freshened him up after his last race.  He ran pretty hard and wanted to give him some time off to get back his old self.  Hopefully he does well (on Saturday) – he usually does okay fresh.  He doesn’t have any physical problems, he just ran hard every time.  That’s what’s good about owning him – there’s no specific plan except to keep him happy and running.  He’s been a good $1,500 buy.”


Purchased as a yearling at Keeneland’s January sale in 2010 for the aforementioned price from Buck Pond Farm – where his multiple graded stakes-winning sire was standing at the time – the dark bay has earned $334,183 and won nine of 25 starts, finishing in the money in 17 of those events.  He has been admirably versatile, winning an allowance or stakes on dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces and has recently been riding a hot streak of six wins in his last nine starts, including two stakes victories.


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