Even from early days Essential Quality demonstrated class

September 2, 2021

  • Be Forewarned: St. Lewis planning another G1 JCGC upset
  • Lovely Lucky looking to make step up in return to G1 Flower Bowl engagement; Albertrani hoping siblings can carry on Sadler’s Joy’s legacy
  • Well-related Coastana set for stakes debut in G1 Flower Bowl
  • G1 Woodward, G2 Kelso among options for Silver State
  • Brennan: Even from his early days Essential Quality demonstrated class
  • Rookie Report: Full-brother to Songbird debuts for Mott

Owner-trainer Uriah St. Lewis, who sprung a 45-1 upset with Discreet Lover in the 2018 Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, said he’s back with another live longshot in Forewarned for Saturday’s 103rd renewal of the 10-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up at Saratoga Race Course.

In the 2018 edition, Discreet Lover, with Manny Franco up, settled off a sharp pace set by that year’s Grade 1 Whitney-winner Diversify before angling six-wide for the stretch run and powering past the pacesetter and Mendelssohn to best Thunder Snow by a neck.

St. Lewis said that both Discreet Lover and Forewarned had the advantage of being horses that want the classic distance.

“That day, I said if they run real, real fast then he has a chance to win – and they ran real fast in the beginning. Diversify and the next horse [Mendelssohn] hooked each other and that was good enough for me,” St. Lewis said. “This horse [Forewarned] can sit a little closer, but he can get the mile and a quarter. If he’s within striking distance, he’ll get the mile and a quarter. I hope we can win it again and enjoy it.”

Since joining the St. Lewis stable in December 2018, the Ohio-bred Forewarned has made four starts at 1 ¼-miles, posting a record of 2-1-1, including back-to-back scores in the Best of Ohio Endurance in 2019-20.

“This horse loves a mile and a quarter. Every time he runs a mile and a quarter, he’s 1-2-3,” St. Lewis said. “The horse is doing fantastic right now. You have to make sure you have a good enough horse to compete with them. I think this horse is good enough. He can get the mile and a quarter and I don’t think all of them in this race can get the distance.”

Forewarned ran a game second last out in the 10-furlong Ohio Governor’s Cup, making a narrow lead late in the lane only to be turned back by resurgent pacesetter Magna Man, who prevailed by a head.

St. Lewis will charge returning rider Sonny Leon, a three-time winner aboard Forewarned, with keeping the 6-year-old Flat Out bay to task in the “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Del Mar.

“Last time he made the lead and stopped and finished short,” St. Lewis said. “In this trip, we know now when he makes the lead you have to keep going after him because when he gets to the front he thinks he’s finished.”

Listed at 50-1 on the morning line, Forewarned is the longest shot in a field led by the improving Forza Di Oro [8-5] and last year’s winner Happy Saver [9-5], but St. Lewis said he is prepared to swing for the fences.

“That’s just opinion,” St. Lewis said of the morning-line assessment. “The horse can’t read the odds board. I’m taking my chance. I think he can win. My jockey thinks he can win and this horse thinks he can win. That’s a home run.”

Last Friday, St. Lewis sent out Informative to run seventh at odds of 63-1 in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Charles Town Classic won by Art Collector. That effort came two starts after Informative captured the Grade 3 Salvator Mile at 79-1 in June at Monmouth Park.

St. Lewis said Informative may have been confused in the three-turn race.

“He was picking them up on the backside and I thought he was going to win, but when he got up to within five lengths, he had to switch leads and he took a little break,” St. Lewis said.

St. Lewis said Informative could target the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward, a nine-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up, on October 2 at Belmont.

“That might suit him better. It’s a one-turn race. It’s on the radar,” St. Lewis said.

Lovely Lucky looking to make step up in return G1 Flower Bowl engagement; Albertrani hoping siblings can carry on Sadler’s Joy’s legacy

Elizabeth Mateo’s Lovely Lucky already has won once going 1 3/8 miles over the Saratoga turf this meet, besting an optional claiming field by a neck on July 22. She will look to duplicate that effort against higher caliber competition on Saturday, drawing post 5 in the seven-horse field in the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl.

The 44th edition of the Flower Bowl, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in November at Del Mar, will mark the second consecutive time Lovely Lucky has competed in the race after running seventh in last year’s contest that was held in October at Belmont Park. 

The Lookin At Lucky mare will be making just her third start of her 5-year-old campaign, which commenced with an eighth-place finish in the Grade 3 La Prevoyante in January at Gulfstream Park before returning off a six-month layoff to win at the Spa last out.

“She’s training really well and came out of the allowance race in good shape,” Albertrani said. “She had a bit of a break between her races and I think she’ll move forward with a race under her belt going into this weekend. She’s making good progress. She likes Saratoga. Hopefully, she can make another step forward.”

Lovely Lucky, who has posted three wins in 10 career starts, did not face stakes company until her seventh career race, when she ran fourth in the Grade 2 Glens Falls last September at Saratoga before competing in the Flower Bowl a month later.

“It’s a little tougher spot than she’s been running at in her previous start,” Albertrani said. “Last year, she didn’t run badly in the Glens Falls. Hopefully, she can put a couple of those types of races together. I think she’ll run well this weekend.”

Hall of Famer John Velazquez will be in the irons aboard Lovely Lucky.

While one of Albertrani’s charges is looking for her first stakes victory, another veteran stakes winner will embark on a new chapter in his career as Woodslane Farm’s homebred Sadler’s Joy retired from racing and was sold to stand stud in Turkey for breeder Arif Kurtel.

Sadler’s Joy provided Albertrani and his connections a career’s worth of exciting moments, resulting in four graded stakes wins on the turf as part of his 7-4-11 record in 37 lifetime starts. The 8-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy, who broke his maiden in 2016, amassed lifetime earnings of more than $2.6 million.

He registered graded stakes wins at 4, 5, and 6 years old, winning the 2017 Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga and the Grade 2 Pan American at Gulfstream Park. The next year saw him tally a victory in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream before capturing the Grade 3 Red Smith in 2019 at the Big A. Sadler’s Joy finished in the money in four Grade 1 contests, including a third in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs.

“He’s been such an amazing horse to have in the barn the last five years. He’ll be very-well missed. He’s one of the most honest, hard-trying horses I ever had in my barn,” Albertrani said. “Hopefully, his family can carry on and do as well as he did.”

Albertrani said that win in the Sword Dancer, where he bested Money Multiplier by a half-length, was one of the standout moments, along with the 2019 edition of the race when finishing second, just a neck back to Annals of Time, in a thrilling finish.

“Winning the Sword Dancer with him was one of the proudest moments I had being with the horse. I think when we got beat in a narrow defeat, that was a tough beat and I remember that pretty well, too,” Albertrani said with a laugh. “He is just great.”

Sadler’s Joy, out of the unraced Dynaformer mare Dynaire, is a half-brother of Wolfie’s Dynaghost, who rebounded from a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame on August 6 over the Saratoga turf to finish third in the Better Talk Now at the same track on August 29.

Wolfie’s Dynaghost, also owned and bred by Woodslane Farm, is a 3-year-old son of Ghostzapper who won his debut in his only race as a juvenile in November at Aqueduct over the main track. After finishing fifth in his stakes bow in the Grade 3 Peter Pan in May over Belmont’s Big Sandy, he broke his maiden in an off-the-turf optional claimer on July 3 at Belmont. 

Wolfie’s Dynaghost tried turf for the first time in the Hall of Fame and Albertrani kept him on the surface for his effort in the one-mile Better Talk Now which also featured an equipment change. 

“We were a little disappointed in his performance in the Hall of Fame. He was a little keen that day and might have used himself up a little early on,” Albertrani said. “We took the blinkers off and he seemed to relax a lot more. He actually was able to finish up a little better than his last one. We don’t know exactly when his next start will be in the coming weeks, but we’ll see how he comes out of this one and come up with a plan for him.”

The connection to Sadler’s Joy runs even deeper with fellow Woodslane Farm homebred Hail To, who is a full sister to the retired turf specialist. 

After running fifth in her debut on July 22 at 1 1/16 miles over good going at Saratoga, Hail To won at 20-1 odds on August 29 over a firm Saratoga course at the same distance.

“We knew going into the first race going two turns first time out over a deep turf course, that she needed that race, and she came back and put in a huge effort in the second start,” Albertrani said. “She showed she has quite a bit of talent like her full brother. We’re hoping she can make some improvements and move up in the future, so we’ll make a plan with her in the next week or so going forward. We’re very excited to have her.”

Well-related Coastana set for stakes debut in G1 Flower Bowl

Belladonna Racing’s Coastana will make her stakes debut for trainer Cherie DeVaux in Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl, an 11-furlong inner turf test for older fillies and mares, at Saratoga Race Course.

The 44th renewal of the Flower Bowl offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in November at Del Mar.

The 4-year-old Coastana debuted in January at Gulfstream Park and graduated at third asking traveling nine furlongs on the Keeneland turf in April. She followed with a close second to eventual multiple graded-stakes placed Higher Truth in a 10-furlong turf allowance in June at Belmont ahead of a stylish 1 1/4-length score last out in her Saratoga debut traveling the Flower Bowl distance.

“It took her awhile to get to the races. She had a significant lung infection as a 2-year-old and then had an injury as a 3-year-old when she was getting ready to come to the track,” DeVaux said. 

Coastana, a lightly-raced daughter of Kitten’s Joy out of the Pulpit mare Reachfortheheavens, is a full sister to multiple Grade 1-winner Real Solution and graded-stakes placed Ava’s Kitten. The Pennsylvania-bred Real Solution was elevated to victory in the 2013 Grade 1 Arlington Million and one year later captured the Grade 1 Man o’ War at Belmont.

DeVaux said Coastana, who had increased her Beyer figure in each start led by an 84 last out, has earned her way into a tough Grade 1 race headed by multiple graded-stakes winner War Like Goddess.

“With her pedigree and family, the time seems to suit them well. There wasn’t a rush to get her into stakes company,” DeVaux said. “She’s developed right along since her first race and continues to improve each race she runs in. It’s a big step up. She’s going to have to run faster than she’s ever run, but she has in each race so far. She has a win over the track at the same distance, so we look forward to seeing how she does putting her in with such a talented group of fillies and mares.”

DeVaux, who worked with both Real Solution and Ava’s Kitten during her time as an assistant for trainer Chad Brown, said there are a number of similarities between the siblings.

“They are all similar in body type – big, strong and heavier type horses,” DeVaux said. “The Pulpit comes out a lot in them. They are all headstrong. When you’re trying to work with them in the paddock in the mornings, they can be a handful. It’s a constant characteristic I’ve seen with all three of them. She can be a little hot in the paddock and we’ve been trying to work with her, so hopefully she settles down a little.”

Purchased for $290,000 at the OBS June 2019 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Sale, Coastana will exit post 7 in her stakes debut under meet-leading rider Luis Saez.

G1 Woodward, G2 Kelso among options for Silver State

Following a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Whitney, Silver State is scheduled to have his next start at Belmont Park, but which race he enters is still unknown said David Fiske manager and bloodstock adviser for Winchell Thoroughbreds, who own Silver State in partnership with Willis Horton Racing.

Fiske said the one-mile Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso on September 25 or the nine-furlong Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward on October 2 are the two most likely options for the 4-year-old son of Hard Spun. 

Silver State, trained by Hall of Fame Steve Asmussen, arrived at the Whitney on a six-race win streak, including three stakes triumphs at Oaklawn Park as well as a victory in the Grade 1 Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap on June 5 at Belmont. 

“He’s doing great,” Fiske said. “He’s been remarkably sound all year.”

Fiske said plans for Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon are still in flux after a runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers. 

Options for the son of Tiznow could include training up to the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, or bypassing the Classic to target races like the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs and the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park. 

“He put in a pretty big effort in the Travers, so we’ll see how he bounces out of it,” Fiske said. 

Fiske also reported that Grade 2 Adirondack-winner Wicked Halo is getting some rest and could target something toward the end of the year. The daughter of leading first crop sire Gun Runner won the Adirondack in wire-to-wire fashion by 3 ½ lengths. Her dam Just Wicked won the Adirondack in 2015. 

“She’s taking a little break. After the Adirondack we decided to just give her some time and get her ready for the later part of the year,” Fiske said. “Steve’s relying on his experience with her mother, and he felt that he might have rushed her a little bit, so he didn’t want to make the same mistake.”

Brennan: Even from his early days Essential Quality demonstrated class

Niall Brennan has prepared young horses for their racing careers long enough to know a potential star when he sees one. When he broke Grade 1 Runhappy Travers winner Essential Quality at his training center in Ocala, Florida, he said he saw a bright future ahead of the sensational Tapit colt. 

Trained by Eclipse Award winning conditioner Brad Cox, Godolphin’s Essential Quality added a fourth Grade 1 triumph to his stellar ledger on Saturday by winning the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers. 

Essential Quality earned Champion 2-Year-Old honors last season with victories in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, both at Keeneland. 

Following his lone defeat when fourth in the Kentucky Derby, Essential Quality racked up meaningful wins in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 5 and the Grade 2 Jim Dandy on July 30 at Saratoga. In doing so, he became the first horse since Arts and Letters in 1969 to take down all three races. 

“We had a few Godolphin colts and he was one that you could really see the light going on,” Brennan recalled. “Especially for a Tapit colt, many of them can be unfocused. They can be a little tough, but this lad wasn’t. He was a good feeling colt but always very professional and smart.”

Brennan said that progeny of multiple champion producing sire Tapit can be tough to handle, but Essential Quality carried himself in a professional manner.

“Tapits are tough. They’re hardy,” Brennan said. “The ones that are good are very good. He was never a bad actor, and was always a smart horse. He played around like all colts do. They get turned out every day in the paddock. He always showed that he would go to the racetrack, love his job and train well. Every day he would catch your eye.”

Brennan described Essential Quality as the “total package” because he had many attributes that great horses display early on in their development.

“You know they have talent when they have a good frame of mind, demeanor and conformation. He was the total package,” Brennan said. “When he went on to Brad, he just kept going and stepping forward. He was easy to be around. He was one of those colts. You can’t ever say for sure how good a horse will be until they go out there on the track and do it, but he had done everything right.”

Brennan said Essential Quality really started flaunting his excellence early on in his 2-year-old year. 

“You could tell he had that ability and had taken better shape physically and putting it all together,” Brennan said. “It was a nice progression from February to March and March to April, The good ones keep progressing and focus on their work. He did show talent and that he really loved his job.”

Brennan’s sentiments were echoed by Godolphin USA president Jimmy Bell.

“I remember the comments from him early on. Niall said, ‘You can go wherever you want to go and do whatever you want to do with him’,” Bell recalled. “He was very, very forward. All you had to do was ask him and he would deliver whatever it is you might be wanting. When he came in to Brad as a 2-year-old, in his second or third breeze he had Brad scratching his head because he was doing things a little differently than the rest of them. The talent isn’t a surprise, the surprise is how much he’s done with it in the afternoon.”

Rookie Report: Full-brother to Songbird debuts for Mott

OXO Equine’s Galt, a full-brother to two-time champion Songbird, will make his career debut in a seven-furlong maiden special weight on Saturday [Race 7, 3:53 p.m.] at Saratoga.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the son of Medaglia d’Oro, out of the graded stakes-winning West Acre mare Ivanavinalot, was purchased for $400,000 as a weanling from the 2019 Keeneland November Sale, where he was consigned by Eaton Sales.

Galt has breezed consistently over the Oklahoma training track since late June and most recently went a half-mile in 48.15 seconds on August 29. 

Mott said Galt has developed well in his time at Saratoga. 

“He’s made a lot of progress,” Mott said. “He was very backwards when he came in, and he’s progressed probably as rapidly as you could possibly expect. He still is a big, gangly colt, but we have enough work into him and he’s improved enough that we think we can get a start in him. He’s a big, handsome leggy colt that’s come around well enough that makes us think we can get him started.”

Jockey Joel Rosario has the mount from post 8. 

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle Misbehaved for owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert V. LaPenta. 

The bay son of leading sire Into Mischief was bought for $875,000 from the OBS April Sale from DeMeric Sales. He is out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Loveofalifetime, making him a full brother to Into Mystic – a multiple turf sprint stakes winner. 

Misbehaved worked a half-mile from the gate over the Oklahoma training track in 49.21 on August 21 before drilling through a half-mile over the main track in 47.66 on August 29. 

“He’s trained like a horse that will run well in his debut,” Pletcher said. “His last gate work was particularly good, so hopefully he gets away cleanly and runs the way he’s been training.”

Leading rider Luis Saez will ride from post 4. 

Olympian, owned by Gatsas Stables, R. A. Hill Stable and Swick Stable, makes his debut for trainer George Weaver. 

The gray or roan son of American Pharoah worked a half-mile in 48 seconds flat from the gate on August 29 over the Saratoga main track. 

Olympian is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Alpha Mama, who produced turf graded stakes-winner Alpha Kitten. 

Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano will ride from post 5. 

One race prior, juveniles will contest 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course featuring Bass Racing’s regally-bred Annapolis for Pletcher. 

The homebred son of War Front is out of graded stakes winner My Miss Sophia, who also was Grade 1-placed on turf. 

Annapolis has several turf works under his belt, including a seven-furlong move on August 15, where he went the distance in 1:28 flat. He last went five furlongs in 1:02.77 over the Oklahoma training turf on August 29. 

“He’s been training well. He seemed to take to the turf course when we breezed him,” Pletcher said. We’re looking forward to getting him going. He’s a big, strong colt. There could be dirt in his future but right now, it looks like he’s a little better on the turf.”

Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride from post 6. 

Mott will send out Juddmonte homebred Calloway Peak. A son of Arrogate, who won the 2016 Grade 1 Travers in record time, Calloway Peak is out of the Mizzen Mast mare Filimbi, who was a graded stakes winner at one mile over the grass. Her grand dam is 2001 Kentucky Oaks winner Flute. 

“He’s worked well,” Mott said “He’s still a very immature colt. He’s green, but we feel like we’ll benefit from getting him started.”

Breaking from post 3, Calloway Peak will be piloted by Joel Rosario. 

NYRA Press Release

Photo: Essential Quality ( NYRA Photo)

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