Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Thursday, September 6, 2018

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/06/2018 #
  • Tap Gun (Coady Photography)

  • Sisterson Saddles First Stakes Contender on Saturday
  • Colebrook Sends Strong Trio of Runners for Juvenile Stakes
  • Tap Gun Hits the Mark


Trainer Jack Sisterson scored his first career victory as a trainer with debut winner Next Dance at Belterra Park on August 12, and on Saturday she will give him his first start in a stakes in the $75,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie at Arlington International Racecourse.

A graduate of the University of Louisville’s Equine Industry Program, Sisterson worked for trainers Todd Pletcher and Eddie Kenneally, as well as Doug O’Neill when he campaigned Kentucky Derby winners I’ll Have Another (2012) and Nyquist (2016).

Sisterson now serves as a private conditioner for Calumet Farm. In his first year as a standalone trainer, he has scored three victories in 18 starts.

“It’s exciting not only for me but for the whole barn and Calumet as well,” Sisterson said. “Doug [O’Neill] himself will be excited as well. He’s been a huge supporter of me going out on my own. Every day he asks me how I’m doing and how he can help. From a barn standpoint, we’re all excited to run. 

The Calumet Farm-owned daughter of Oxbow breaks on the outside from post nine in the seven-furlong event for 2-year-old fillies. Mitchell Murrill has the mount aboard Next Dance who has been giving the morning line selection of 12-1.

“When she came into the barn she was precautious,” Sisterson said “Gene Recio (of Lynwood Farm) broke her in Ocala with his father (Bill Recio). He sent her to us in great shape and did a very professional job in getting her ready. We just had to keep her happy. Sending her to Belterra was more of a timing thing; we thought she was good enough for Ellis [Park] or some other spots but the timing of the race at Belterra came up perfect with her work pattern. She did it well and came out in great shape. We’ve been a little harder on her now to get her 100 percent fit for the Lassie. She should improve a ton.”

Sisterson praised the training style of his former boss Doug O’Neill.

“He’s really focused on the horse’s best interest,” Sisterson said. “He developed a whole team to, first and foremost, work together to get the most out of each horse. He’s good at spotting talent and placing horses in the right spots. If it weren’t for Doug, I wouldn’t be here. It was such a team environment; everyone is a part of it. I spent every day working with Doug for a long time and I’ve been very fortunate.”

Next Dance is a Calumet homebred out of the Capote broodmare Dance Away Capote, who was a multiple stakes winner on dirt and turf.


Although trainer Ben Colebrook may not have the favorite in either stakes at Arlington International Racecourse on Saturday, he still has a chance to have a successful day with three runners on the card.

In the $75,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity, Colebrook sends out Knicks Go – a gate-to-wire winner in his five-furlong career debut at Ellis Park on July 4, which he captured by 3½ lengths. Next out, Colebrook shipped the KRA Stud-owned son of Paynter to Saratoga Race Course where he was fifth in the Grade III Sanford Stakes on July 21.

“He ran well first time out, then we decided to take a big chance at Saratoga and didn’t have a lot of seasoning,” Colebrook said. “He came back on short rest, but he didn’t embarrass himself up there. The question mark is the Polytrack so we’ll have to see how that goes. He’s a good size horse with a long stride so with any luck he’ll take to the Poly. The timing of this race fits for bringing him back for some other two-year-old stakes down the road. I don’t really know how far he wants to go but if he were to run well going seven [furlongs] we’d look at Keeneland. There are plenty of options for him.”

Knicks Go was bred in Maryland by Angie Moore and is out of the Outflanker daughter Kosmo’s Buddy who was a two-time stakes winner on turf in her native state. Knicks Go was purchased by Korean Racing Authority for $87,000 at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale and was consigned by Woods Edge Farm.

He will break from post five in the Futurity under Chis Emigh as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line.

Colebrook will also be represented by Into Trouble (post one, Chris Emigh, 10-1) and Beach Getaway (post seven, Julio Felix, 12-1) in the $75,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie. 

Like her stablemate Knicks Go, Into Trouble also broke her maiden in her lone career start, which took place at Ellis Park. Owned by Donamire Farm, the daughter of Into Mischief sat right off of pacesetter Les Biz and battled alongside her down the top of the stretch. During the final eighth of a mile, Into Trouble established a clear lead and won by two lengths.

“When I was working her a half-mile she was working fine, but it was like she kind of didn’t have much speed,” Colebrook said. “As I stretched her works out, I realized it takes her a while to get going. Once we did that, we saw a whole different dimension. She had a dynamite work in her last work. The Polytrack is a big question mark for her. It seems like the big dirt horses don’t get much rebound out of the Poly. It’s more of a timing thing; we’ll take our chances on the Poly.”

Should Into Trouble run to her pedigree, handling the all-weather surface at Arlington shouldn’t be much of an issue. She is out of the Benchmark broodmare Smooth Performer who was a two-time winner over the now defunct Hollywood Park’s synthetic surface and was second in the Grade II Hollywood Oaks as a 3-year-old.

“Pedigree does suggest she might like it,” Colebrook said. “She’s a filly with a bright future.”

Meanwhile, Beach Getaway will make her sixth career start and enters the Lassie off of two third-place finishes against stakes company. On June 30, she was beaten 13½ lengths behind Restless Rider in the Debutant Stakes at Churchill Downs and then shipped to Prairie Meadows for the Prairie Gold Lassie Stakes on July 20, where she was beaten 4½ lengths behind Taylor’s Spirit who went on to win the Happy Ticket Stakes at Louisiana Downs in her next start.

The James Thares-owned daughter of Run Away and Hide broke her maiden in her third career start at Churchill Downs on June 1. Prior to that effort, she finished behind the Wesley Ward-trained duo of Shang Shang Shang and Moonlight Romance, the former of which won the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in her next outing.

“She’s kept really good company,” Colebrook said. “Of the three, she might like the Poly the best. We’re not chasing black type since she already has it. She’s a very game filly; she kind of comes up the inside of horses you don’t see two-year-olds want to do that too much. In only her three races she’s done everything we’ve asked of her. She’s taken her game on the road already. She’s been a filly that’s exceeded expectations.”

Though entered, there is the small probability Beach Getaway could scratch. Colebrook stated there is a “75 percent chance she runs.” Beach Getaway was bred in Kentucky by Ron Kirk, John Bates and Michael Riordan. She was purchased for $100,000 by Thares at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Summer Selected Horses of Racing Age Sale in July and was formerly owned by Marc Detampel. She was consigned by Hunter Valley Farm.


Following two off-the-board efforts over the main track, royally-bred Tap Gun shipped to Arlington International Racecourse for her first career victory on Sunday afternoon.

Owned by Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm and trained by Tom Amoss, the 3-year-old daughter of Tapit is a half-sister to 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner so naturally, Amoss was anxious to get her a trip to the winner’s circle.

“We had been trying to find a distance race for maidens and there was nothing on the dirt – nothing was going,” Amoss said. “I gave Mandy a call and I said, ‘any reason you think she won’t like the Poly?’ She assured me that she had trained well over [training center] Goldmark Farm’s synthetic surface in Ocala.”

Amoss believes that Tap Gun could be a versatile filly from a surface standpoint but was unsure where she might race next.

“I don’t think she’s limited,” Amoss said. “A lot of people don’t realize that Mandy Pope is very involved in day-to-day operations so in deciding to run her, her input in telling me this horse would like the Polytack was important. We had a conversation after the race – she came out it in good shape, we’re going to readdress and decide (her next start) after she works next.

“She’s just starting to learn,” Amoss continued. “It wasn’t like we went to the Poly because we were looking for a different surface. Nothing was going at Ellis or Indiana so this was the next available option.”

Amoss has started at Arlington eight times this year having never finished worse than fourth and earning four victories in the process. He will saddle Distant Shore for the Churchill Downs Racing Club in Saturday’s $75,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity. Distant Shore is a 2-year-old son of Algorithms who won his career debut at Indiana Grand Race Course last time out by four lengths.

“The timing of the race is good – the horse is doing well,” Amoss said. “The only disappointing thing is that I’m making this group go on another road trip. He’s been very professional in everything we did with him before his initial race and he’s passed every lesson with flying colors.”