Ouster kicks off 2023 with an allowance victory Jan. 5 (NYRA/Coglianese)
Connections To Regroup With Stakes-placed Full Moon Fever
Clover Street Earns 65 Beyer for Maiden-breaking Win
Bavarian Creme Now a Back-to-Back Winner
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Windylea Farm’s Ouster was awarded a career-high 100 Beyer Speed Figure for his dominant five-length victory in Saturday’s eighth race, a one-mile optional claimer for older New York-breds, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Mark Hennig, the son of Outwork tracked in fourth under Dylan Davis for the first quarter-mile as stablemate Full Moon Fever dueled for the lead with Sundaeswithsandy. Ouster was given his cue by Davis at the three-quarters call and took a half-length lead before widening his margin down the stretch and coasting home in a final time of 1:37.78.
Ouster has now won or finished second in his last five starts, all of which came at distances of one mile or greater. The 5-year-old gelding, bred by Cheryl Prudhomme & Michael Gallivan, has shown great improvement since turning his attention to route races after making his first four starts at six or 6 1/2 furlongs.
“He seems good this morning and we were very happy,” said Hennig. “He’s the kind of horse that just keeps improving. The more we stretched him out, the more he improved, and I think he’s even better around two turns. If you see him, he’s huge and a mountain of a horse. He never looked like a horse who wanted to sprint. He’s a real mild-mannered horse and he came along late. Sometimes they just take a little longer for the light to come on and we were just patient with him. The potential was always there.”
Ouster, who has finished on-the-board in 7-of-9 lifetime starts, has also proven his talents over the turf, breaking his maiden going one mile over the Big A lawn in November against state-breds. He followed with a 5 1/2-length score traveling nine furlongs over a sloppy and sealed main track.
Hennig said Ouster’s dual-surface capabilities give him plenty of options heading into the spring.
“I think we’ll just go with what opportunities come up and then see where we’re at,” said Hennig. “I think the turf gave him a chance to develop mentally. He could learn something without the distraction of dirt in his face and got his spirit going a little better. Now that he’s on the dirt, we can really run him on any surface. He’s run well in the mud, so if a turf race comes off, he’s in pretty good shape, too.”
Hennig’s other runner in that race, Windylea’s Full Moon Fever, had contested the pace early before fading at the stretch call and finishing 18 3/4 lengths behind Ouster. The Effinex gelding, who typically races from off-the-pace, earned his first stakes placing two starts back when third in the state-bred Haynesfield over the same distance and course on February 20.
“I had no intention of being on the lead and I’m a little puzzled how he ended up there,” said Hennig. “The intent was for him to make a late run and somehow he wound up going to the lead. We’ll regroup and come back to fight another day.”
Full Moon Fever, bred by Team West Side Stables & Ann Zabar, has been a model of consistency in his 22-start career, finishing on-the-board 16 times and earning over $240,000 in total purses. Hennig and Windylea claimed the 5-year-old gelding for $40,000 out of a seven-furlong sprint in December 2021 at the Big A.
“He’s been a really neat horse that we were fortunate enough to pick up through the claim box. He’s a hard-knocking, consistent horse. He won’t have to run against Ouster next time,” Hennig said, with a laugh.
Hennig enjoyed a two-win day on Saturday, sending out Clover Street to a maiden-breaking victory in Race 6, a seven-furlong state-bred maiden, for owner/breeder Seidman Stables. The Teuflesberg filly dueled for the early lead with Ichiban before taking a clear advantage at the top of the lane and drawing away to a 5 1/2-length victory under Trevor McCarthy. She earned a 65 Beyer for the effort.
Clover Street made her second start of the season on the heels of a narrow defeat in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint in February. She ended her juvenile campaign with a troubled seventh-place finish in the NYSSS Fifth Avenue on December 17 where she raced at the rear of the 10-horse field and had to steady before failing to fire down the lane.
“She’s come along well,” Hennig said. “She’s one we’ve had to be patient with. She got banged up in that race back in December and it took a little time to get her over that. She had a real rough trip and got cut up. We were able to take our time and Maggie Seidman is a great, patient owner. Now, she’s putting it together.”
Hennig, who has won eight races at the Big A winter meet, has also enjoyed a good run of form from Walter Downey’s Bavarian Creme, who has now won back-to-back starts when sprinting over the Big A main track. Her latest effort was a 2 3/4-length victory on March 5 from off-the-pace under Dylan Davis. That win followed a 4 1/4-length graduation in her seasonal debut traveling seven furlongs on February 10.
The dark bay Bayern mare debuted last January and made her first four outings at sprint distances before stretching out to one mile and beyond for the rest of the season. Hennig said both a return to sprinting and downtime between races has allowed Bavarian Creme to find her best stride this year.
“She came out of the race very well and sometimes winning a race gets them on a winning track and they start to realize what it takes. They start winning and they keep doing it,” said Hennig, with a laugh. “She’s turned a corner for us and I always thought a lot of her. I think sprinting and regrouping has helped her.”
Bred in New York by Tea Party Stable, Bavarian Creme is out of the three-time winning Gold Token mare Critical Cathy, a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winner and stallion The Lumber Guy.