Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Thursday, August 16, 2018

| Churchill Downs Communications | 08/16/2018 #
  • Almanaar (Coady Photography)

  • Almanaar Possible for Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile
  • Secret Message Flatters Success of BSW Bloodstock


Following a runner-up finish in the Grade I Arlington Million on August 11 behind stablemate Robert Bruce (CHI), Almanaar (GB) could target another Grade I million-dollar event in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland Racecourse on October 6 – a race that has been sponsored by his owners Shadwell Stables since 1999.

Trained by Chad Brown, the 5-year-old son of Dubawi (IRE) sat mid pack to the outside of horses in the Arlington Million and began making his move around the far turn where he was caught wide. Despite displaying a devastating turf of foot down the stretch under jockey Joel Rosario, he was unable to hold off stablemate Robert Bruce, who won by a half-length.

The Arlington Million was only the second start of the season for Almanaar. Prior to the Million he scored an allowance victory at Belmont Park on June 8 under a hand ride from Rosario, beating Ticonderoga and Aquaphobia who went on to run one-two against allowance company over the Paul Mellon Turf Course at Saratoga Race Course exactly two months later. In addition, it was Almanaar’s first start off of a 16-month seasoning. He had not run since a victory in the Grade I Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap on February 11, 2017.

“I think he can run anywhere from a mile to a mile-and-a-quarter, and maybe a little further,” said Shadwell Stables’ Racing Manager Rick Nichols. “I briefly talked to Chad and he said, ‘We might just give him a little break and head toward the Shadwell Mile.’ It would have been nice to have one more race in him (prior to the Arlington Million) but he did well. Maybe if he hadn’t gone so wide he might have got it. I was very happy with him though. He beat some very good horses.”

Shadwell Stables has won Keeneland’s signature one-mile prep for the Grade I $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Mile on three occasions but has not done so since Altibr won back in 2000. Shadwell scored back-to-back editions of the event with Dumaani in 1995-96 before they became sponsors of the race.

In Almanaar’s pair of 2018 outings, he appeared a bit rank in both of the race’s early stages.

“I think that might be why Chad was thinking about the (Shadwell Turf) Mile,” Nichols said. “There wasn’t much pace in the Million and he does have a tendency to get a little keen. Maybe with a bit of a faster pace he can relax and run along a little bit.”

In a total of 16 career starts, Almanaar has found the winner’s circle on six occasions including a tetrad of triumphs in France where he began his career. Two of those four wins took place against Group 3 company in the Prix Paul de Moussac and the Prix Daphnis in 2015 at Chantilly. Almanaar has secured lifetime earnings of $685,849.


BSW Bloodstock Manager Bradley Weisbord looks for horses with an explosive turn of foot when acquiring stock for his clients. Secret Message showed just that when taking the Grade III Pucker Up in the International Festival of Racing finale on August 11 at Arlington International Racecourse.

Trained by Graham Motion, the 3-year-old daughter of Hat Trick (JPN) sat second to last in the field of twelve and angled seven-wide around the turn to gun down Pamina in the final eighth of a mile. Secret Message was purchased privately by Weisbord on behalf of Sol Kumin’s Madaket Stables following a 1¼-lengths victory in a first level allowance race over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park on March 31. She is owned by Madaket Stables in partnership with ERJ Racing, Elayne Stable 5 and Bouchey Thoroughbred Ventures. She was formerly owned by breeder Allen Tennenbaum, and was conditioned by Brian Michael.

“We liked the race a lot and the fact that she was able to win at a smaller track kept her price more affordable,” Weisbord said. “We put together a small syndication led by Sol Kumin. We moved her to Graham, who is a good friend of mine. The filly came in with an attitude and we thought Fair Hill (Training Center) would fit her well. As you see she broke slow from the gate three out of four times. The race at Churchill was a bang up race. That’s why we gave her seven weeks rather than go to Saratoga.”

The Churchill outing that Weisbord referenced was her start prior to the Pucker Up where she was a troubled fourth in the Grade III Regret Stakes on June 16 behind Beyond Blame, who finished fifth in the Pucker Up.

“(Jockey) Irad (Ortiz, Jr.) said on the plane ride from Louisville that night ‘We never should’ve got beat with this filly,’” Weisbord said. “I thought it was a big effort and why we gave her the proper space into the Pucker Up. She broke with the field which gave her a chance and was able to produce an explosive turn of foot. The similar connections have (Hatoof winner) Colonia who was in line to run here, but we liked Secret Message and thought she could get the job done.”

Secret Message is just one of numerous horses that have allowed BSW Bloodstock to make their presence known at a high level in 2018. Weisbord and his team have been involved in multiple Grade I winners such as A Raving Beauty (GER), Audible, Yoshida (JPN), Monomoy Girl and most notably Triple Crown winner Justify.

“We’re hitting on 49 stakes wins in 2018 already,” Weisbord said. “We have a great team and I want to credit them. My partner Liz Crow inspects horses physically for us and Nicolas De Watrigant (Mandore International Agency) helps us scout our French horses. There are many people that deserve credit here but we all look for horses with explosive turn of foot. We like the grass and the guys that we use like Chad Brown, Christophe Clement, Todd Pletcher, and Graham Motion have all have gotten the job done with us. I also want to credit Sol Kumin who has been involved in most of our deals. He’s a huge part and trusts what we put in front of him.”