Week 41 brings in a pair of firsts for The Challenge series. We had our first horse to run in a graded stake race and we also had our first horse to become hospitalized. Two horses were also added to the farm through acquisitions made in the auction.
Starting off with the graded race, AP’S GOLDEN MUMMY, the horse that was bred from credits earned in last years Challenge series which comprised of American Pharoah x A.P. Indy x Mr. Prospector was entered into the G3 Select Bud at a distance of 7 furlongs. He was at 10/1, a bit higher than I thought he would be after a nice win in a listed stake at the end of August. When the race started, he was in a good spot, running third in the 12-horse field and pretty much settled nicely into that slot, staying within a length of the leader. The stretch run would be his undoing as he could not keep up and was passed by a few other horses and finished an off-the-board sixth. The speed of 106 was still a good figure, just a notch off of the 107 in his previous start. He’ll rest up for a few weeks and I’ll probably consider placing him back into the listed stake company. The outcome entitled us to only one sire card, a G, as it would turn out to be.
THIRSTY ARCHIE has been with the stable since September, 2018 and made 13 starts coming into this weeks 6.5 furlong race with a $2,500 claiming tag. He was also looking to improve his 6-4-1 record with the stable, but, that did not happen. This front running gelding did his thing and went for the lead but rapidly started fading after hitting the three-quarter pole. He fell back and finished eighth in the race and this was his first start back after a three month layoff. Hopefully, it was just a matter of shaking off the cobwebs and I’m hopeful there will be still some good runs to come from this horse who has won 17 races in his lifetime. One sire card and that too came out as a G-card for the 9/2 third choice in the race.
UNNATRUALLY DARK had a nice run where he was first or second in five consecutive races which came to an end this week in a $5,000 claiming race at a mile distance. The 2/1 favorite started the race a bit off the pace early on and was off his game. He was never competitive and lost ground throughout the race and losing by 6 lengths and ironically, finishing in the 6th position in the 8 horse field. Not a nice outcome by far and he also drew a G-card.
Looking to add another notch to his 5-race win streak in a starter allowance race with a distance of 6f was VYZA BOOTS. She generally finds a mid-field position and makes a smooth move to get to the front. This week, she left from gate #3 in the six horse field. Right from the start she was in trouble as the horses to either side of her lurched into and sandwiched her. Boots pulled back and was suddenly running last. The 4/5 favorite was eased up by the jockey after the first quarter of the race. Vyza Boots was walking gingerly on her front right leg and was immediately taken to the track hospital. X-rays were taken and no breaks were noted. It seems the injury may just be muscular and Boots will be sidelined for a while. Despite the injury, one sire card was permitted and another G was drawn.
A very bad week with no top-three finishes, no BP’s either. A total of 4 G-cards which gives the stable a total of 4-D, 1-F and 4-G’s.
The stable had a vacancy after last week and two horses were purchased via the auction. Filling the vacancy is MOI ROCK, who was acquired for a little over $10,000. This six year old gelding has raced in a mix of allowance and high-end claiming races during 2019. He’s struck speeds north of 100 several times this season and I feel this turf runner will be competitive at lower claiming levels. He now occupies the vacant spot.
PUCHADOR M was also won in the auction for around $1,300. He’s a 7 year old who raced once in January (allowance race) and given a vacation with a return to a dirt low $5,000 claiming race in September where he finished third. He has raced in listed stakes and finished second in a race last year. He will take the place of the injured Vyza Boots and the stable is hopeful that improvement will quickly occur with his second start back after that long vacation.
4-D and 1-F.