Tropical Racing and Circle 8 Ranch Runners Enjoying Sensational Summer Run!

September 30, 2020

Versailles, Kentucky, USA – September 30, 2020 —­ In the short span of 48 days, four fillies and a gelding from Tropical Racing and Circle 8 Ranch have warmed up hotter than the weather at four tracks from Hallandale Beach north to the bluegrass. From August 8 to September 24, 2-year-olds Yafa and Toretto, 3-year-olds Aizu and Tizemotionalgold, and 4-year-old Margaret’s Joy combined for one victory, four seconds and three thirds in eight races for trainer Michelle Nihei – collecting $86,500 in the process.

The star was Florida-bred juvenile filly Yafa, (the Jewish name for “beautiful”), and that’s the only way to describe her latest effort at Gulfstream Park. The filly, by Handsome Mike and out of the Smarty Jones mare Red Baroness, had prepped for her maiden-breaking score with a sharp second on August 8, falling just a neck short that day, and earning a check for $11,600. On September 18, as the prohibitive 1/2 favorite, Ronnie Allen Jr. guided Yafa to her first victory, a turf stunner by 8 lengths which was worth another $24,950.

The latest sensational effort was turned in by Toretto, a 2-year-old gelding making just his second start who rallied from last place in a 12-horse field to finish second at Gulfstream. The son of Handsome Mike, out of the Smarty Jones mare Angry Dragon, was literally out of the TV picture heading down the backstretch in the one-mile turf race, and he remained there for a half mile. When jockey Marco Meneses switched him into overdrive, Toretto closed a big gap on the turn, made up seven lengths in the stretch, then missed by a neck of overtaking the winner at the wire. He earned $7,630.

Aizu, Yafa’s Florida-bred half-sister by Japan, added to the haul on September 11, finishing second in a one-mile race at Gulfstream after leading all the way, and collecting $9,400. She has a record of 0-3-2 in six starts and is sitting on her first win.

Tizemotionalgold, a Kentucky-bred by Tiznow, out of Golden Motion, finished third at Ellis Park on August 14, earning $4,620. She came back at Churchill Downs on September 17 and finished second at odds of 16-1 behind a 1/2 favorite. Her payday was $15,000.

Margaret’s Joy, the oldest of the four fillies, made two starts during the span, beginning with a third on August 9 at Ellis Park in which she closed with a strong run from well off the pace only to fall short by less than a length, and banking $4,300. On September 9, the Kentucky-bred daughter of English Channel and the Kitten’s Joy mare Spooky Kitten, showed up at Kentucky Downs and was third again, missing second by a neck and adding $9,000 to the quintet’s total. 

Based on the latest results, it should prove to be a fruitful fall and winter season for the fortunes of Tropical Racing, Circle 8 Ranch, and trainer Michelle Nihei. 

Strategically located in Kentucky, Circle 8 Ranch is recognized by the Kentucky Horse Commission as an official Training Center to record official timed workouts. Circle 8 Ranch features three barns with a total of 36 stalls, several tack rooms, wash stalls, and office. The yearling barn has eight 15-by-15-foot stalls, and there are 14 fenced paddocks, six large grazing fields, a 5/8ths-mile turf track, and a 5/8ths mile uphill woodchip gallop track. Circle 8 Ranch is in an ideal position to prepare partnership horses for racing at a variety of venues.

For more information about partnerships and investments available at Tropical Racing and Circle 8 Ranch, visit our websites: and or email Contact Troy Levy at 561-513-8767.

@jonathanstettin Wonderful article! You’re a great ambassador for the game! We’ve been spoiled with elite equine athletes in recent memory.

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