Biggest Month of the Year!
Dear Partners and Friends,
The next 30 days will be, dare I say, HUGE for Donegal Racing ;)
Here are the specifics:
I. KEEN ICE
ICE is training up a storm for Todd Pletcher. Todd believes we should point ICE to either the Breeders' Cup Classic or the $10,000,000 Pegasus Stakes in January. Those decisions will be made down the road but the important part is that Todd is so bullish on his future.
We are eager to work out a fair deal on ICE's breeding rights and won't hesitate to do so whether before or after his end of year racing schedule. Look for ICE's first race back to be within the next 45 days.
II. IRISH FREEDOM
IRISH just had a terrific first breeze back following his MSW score at Del Mar. Quoting California partner Cliff Gold, "Bob Baffert really, really likes him." Bob and his foreman both tell me the longer the better with this colt. Bob indicated Tuesday that he would like to reserve all options on IRISH's next race. We will nominate IRISH to both the Frontrunner at Santa Anita and the Futurity at Keeneland, among others. I will see Bob at the sale this weekend and try to get more of an exact plan so that we can all make our travel arrangements. Both of the mentioned races are WIN AND YOU'RE IN, GRADE I Breeders' Cup races.
Poor BELTANY doesn't get much attention being out in California in the shadow of IRISH FREEDOM. Yesterday I spoke with Baffert forman Mike Marlow, who has been training BELTANY at Los Alamitos. Marlow said, "Jerry, this is a fast SOB." Mike says he will have his next two breezes with Bob at Santa Anita and then be ready.
After watching some darn good performances by SHUT THE BOX, BALLAGH ROCKS and of course DONEGAL MOON, OATFIELD is another DDDVII performer who is getting sneaky good. OATFIELD will head to Kentucky Downs on Saturday and run in a mile and five eighths $140,000 allowance race. While this might be too long for this colt, who is still new to the races, he is showing great potential and may just surprise folks. It is clear in retrospect that we had some really good horses in DDVII but unfortunately they were the victim of so many injuries.
V. THE TOP SIX TWO YEAR OLDS
Partners often ask me, "Who are our best two year olds?" Here is my best effort to give you the top six:
1. IRISH FREEDOM. He has already proven himself and figures to get only better. With the goal being a mile and a quarter next May, I can honestly say I don't know a two year old I would trade him for.
2. ARKLOW. This boy is a monster and that is what caused his tendonitis, which he is now over and back breezing with Brad Cox. He will go a mile and a half.
3. STEFAN O'EISHEN. He had his best breeze lifetime this week with Tom Morley, who is the hottest young trainer in the country. This colt will go as far as Arklow.
4. GORSE. Another big fella who developed some tendonitis. He will be back in training in a couple of weeks.
5. BELTANY. For the reasons mentioned above.
6. HY BRASIL. This colt was in the number one slot for a long time but his injury has put him on the sideline for sixty days.
VI. NEW HORSE ASSIGNMENTS
Our last two two year olds will leave Elloree within a week and both MANNING and TURF TO DIRT will go to Tom Morley. Manning will need close attention as we try to preserve a Triple Crown road for him to travel and Tom is equipped to give him that attention.
VII. DONEGAL VS. THE WORLD
The statistics keep smiling on Donegal Racing. Last year we blew away the competition with over $40,000 in win per start.
This year we are winning at a 25% clip, which is also within a point or two of the very top.
VIII. THE KEENELAND YEARLING SALE
By any definition this is the most important two weeks of the year. We have spent the last six weeks working nearly full time on our preparation and I can't say enough for the job Alex Cimino has done in helping me at my office.
Today Linda and I leave for Lexington in search of gems. We will begin daily sales reports to all of you on Saturday.
Derby Dreams IX will be formed on or about September 23 with signed contracts and funds due October 10. This schedule is the only way we can avoid the very high interest rates charged by Keeneland.
We have a significant waiting list for participation. If you would like to be on that waiting list let us know. We will, as always, allow existing members to join first.
We know some of you are coming to the sale but if others are thinking about it let us know! A great learning experience as you see the lengths we travel to find the right horses at the right prices.
IX. SARATOGA: A LOOK BACK
A special thanks to all who made the trip to Saratoga and Donegal House. What a special time at such a special place. If you didn't make it this year (or God forbid have never been) promise yourself right now you will make it next year.
Ray Smith and Paula Gillman were great hosts and made my job much easier. Thanks primarily to partner Ray Bryan, Donegal was saluted at a Gala on the Friday evening before the Travers. You may have seen coverage of the event on NBC. Thanks to Ray and all who put on the classiest of events as we looked back at a truly historic Donegal achievement from the year before.
All the best!
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