Donegal Racing
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Stable Update 12/2/2016

December 2, 2016

Hi Team,

First of all it was wonderful to see so many partners and their families and friends at the Breeders' Cup. I've got to get up to Iowa one of these days to check out the breeding ground for so many fun people. The last several weeks have been full of shocking results but Keen Ice's 3rd place finish was not for the Donegal Nation! Lots to get to below:

Finnegans Wake (Peter Miller) - Finnegan did not sell in the Fasig-Tipton sale and Jerry and the connections of Rockingham Ranch are currently trying to decide the best way to move on from our partnership as well as make sure Finnegan is well looked after.
Note from Jerry: We were offered $20K for Finnegan and Peter and I were not inclined to accept that offer since we want to be sure Finnegan is well looked after. Peter is inclined to place Finnegan at a farm in California where he can stand for those who are interested. So long as it is a good place I am fine with that. More as this develops.

Eirigh (Todd Pletcher) - He is doing well at Palm Beach Downs at the Pletcher team's southern base. Eirigh had a small splint issue that he is now over and has resumed normal training. A splint bone is part of mother nature's suspension system to absorb impact in the bone below the knee. That issue seems to be small and behind him. He will likely run towards the end of December at Gulfstream park if the next 30 days go well for him. He is another that I think will perform at a level beyond our expectations next year. If things continue to go the right way he should be able to make an allowance race by the end of the month. 

The 4 yr. olds

Keen Ice (Todd Pletcher) - Keen Ice ran tremendous in the Breeders' Cup as he battled back down the stretch to get 3rd. The top two are both horses that come around about once every ten years so to have to deal with two in one race was always going to be tough for Keen Ice. Hats off to the connections of both of those colts. Keen Ice has already arrived in South Florida where he will winter. His next start is slated to be the Pegasus at Gulfstream Park at the end of January and more details about that will come in the coming weeks from Jerry. It would be a miss to not mention both Richard Budge and Destin Heath at Winstar Farm and Todd Pletcher with the job they did with Keen Ice over the spring and summer. Keen Ice was not the easiest cadet to get back to the races and they did a tremendous job getting him ready to run 3rd in the biggest race run in North America this year.  

Rock Shandy (Unassigned) - Rock Shandy is doing well and has been given the green light to resume training after another week of allowing his removed screw to calcify over. He will head to Elloree soon to join the yearlings and get ready for his return to the races. 

Brother O'Connell (Tom Morley) - Update from Jerry:  Brother was diagnosed with a minor (as opposed to career ending) tendon issue yesterday and will be treated with stem cells and then turned out for six months.  His prognosis is said to be good but that is what the vets always say ;).

Puca (Bill Mott) - She finally made it back to the races after nearly 19 months off, which is a major accomplishment in itself. That effort will have helped her knock some of the rust off so to speak. Her race had a pace that was of no help to her. She should improve a lot from that effort and experience back at the races.
Note from Jerry: Bill says that given how well she ran both times against Lady Eli we need to give her a shot at the turf. I green lighted that on the condition we put a good jock on her for a change ;). 

The 3 yr. olds

Patrick's Day (Jordan Blair) - Patrick's Day is doing very well out of his impressive win a couple of weeks ago at Indiana Downs. We are trying to get  the racing office to put an "extra" up with his condition so that he could possibly run next week but we don't know if that will happen yet. Hopefully he gets to run before heading south for the winter to cap off a very solid year for him having won 4 of his 8 starts. Each week the Blair team reports that he seems to keep getting better which gives us enthusiasm towards a very good 4 yr. old campaign. If he continues on his path of progress he will likely be running in some stake races by March.  

Oatfield (Jordan Blair) - He has come out of his most recent effort in good shape and he was unlucky to not get in the clear sooner and finish 2nd. That was actually one of the best races run all meet at Churchill Downs. Oatfield actually broke the old track record but so did the winner and the horse that narrowly beat Oatfield. Like Patrick's Day, he has steadily improved each week and is another that looks like he will have a very exciting 4 yr. old campaign for the stable. Note from Jerry:  His trip sucked :)

Shut the Box (Chris Richard) - His turf experiment is over with for now as he has run two sub-par races in a row over the Churchill turf. He has already arrived at Oaklawn in Arkansas where he will hopefully have some luck at the entry box for their upcoming meet. I think he will do well down there and should pick up some nice cash as the allowance races he will be running in are worth $70,000. He is another that should be a profitable member of the stable next year.  

Ballagh Rocks (Bill Mott) - He rebounded well out of his lackluster Keeneland effort to record a very impressive victory at Churchill Downs earlier this month. I think this horse has a lot of talent and is another in the 3yr old group that should have a very nice 2017. He will head south to Florida to join the rest of the Mott stable at Payson Park, which is about an hour north of the Miami area. After he clears his next level allowance condition he will probably be running mostly in stake races for the year. Fingers crossed things continue to go well for him.  

Donegal Moon (Todd Pletcher) - He is doing well as he recovers from his bone bruising and will start light training this coming week. He should have a very big 2017 if he stays healthy. I will go check on him in the coming days to see how he has done for the last month. 

Vulcan's Forge (Todd Pletcher) - This colt threw in what Barry Irwin called a "clunker of a race."   

The 2 yr. olds

Irish Freedom (Baffert) - Irish Freedom is back to training at Los Alamitos. If Bob feels as though he is ready, we will point him to the Robert Lewis Derby prep on February 4th. If he's not ready for stakes company quite yet, there are Derby prep races in California on March 11 at San Felipe and on April 8 at Santa Anita.

Aife (Clement) - We have bad news to report about Aife as she has sustained a slab fracture in one of her legs. This will require at least 6 months off from training and it is especially disappointing since she has shown above average talent since being broken in Elloree. Once we know more about her prognosis we will be able to share the plan for getting her back to the track.  

Fahan Mura (Clement) - She has made two solid starts this year with a 3rd in her most recent outing. She needs to run well beyond a mile but unfortunately she won't get many opportunities at that until next spring. She was entered earlier this month to run but her race came off the turf. She has already arrived at the Clement Team's home base at Payson Park to prepare for her next start at Gulfstream Park.  

Green Moon Rising (Richard) - He was going to run on the 26th of this month in a maiden race on the turf at Churchill Downs but he did not draw in to the race. He has not been overly impressive in his last few works but is ready to run from a fitness standpoint. The Richard team is hoping that the race helps wake him up a bit mentally and it is always good to go ahead and get a 2 yr. old's first start out of the way before he heads south to Oaklawn for the winter. With his breeding he is likely to get better as a 3 yr. old. His first start will be a big part of the process to helping him mature into what is hopefully a good campaign over the spring in Arkansas.  

Stefan O'Eishen (Morley) - Tom Morley has not been happy with his training for the last couple of weeks so Tom sent him to a farm near the Fair Grounds just to give him a tiny break to allow his body a slight rest. This is only going to be a small break and will come back into training in about three weeks. Stefan basically flat lined in his development over the last five weeks and this is an attempt to help him.  

Blarney (Richard) - He is doing well off of his break and is back to galloping. He will head to Oaklawn where he will make his career debut in a couple of weeks with the rest of the Richard team. More to come on him once he starts breezing again at Oaklawn Park.

Gorse (Pletcher) - He has returned to full training and has rejoined the Pletcher team at Palm Beach Downs in south Florida. He will likely make his debut at some point in March at Gulfstream Park if things continue without interruption.

Beltany (Morley) - He was sent to Kentucky to have a couple of small chips removed from one of his ankles. While this is very frustrating news, his sprained ankle did reveal the extent of the chips and by removing them it has now stopped any damage they could have done to the joint capsule. This is a procedure that has a very high success rate and he will resume training once he gets clearance from Dr. Bramalage.  

Manning (Morley) - He has also arrived in New Orleans and is doing very well. He appears to love the Fair Grounds surface and has been training well over it. If he continues on his current trajectory of fitness he will run on December 17th in a two turn grass race. We don't know if he will like the turf but it's an easier experience for a young horse to debut over two turns on the grass than on the dirt. He will definitely need at least one start to bring him towards full fitness as he is a bit behind the rest of his class because of his foot infection he got last winter. However, he has been training very well for the last five or six weeks. Let's hope he continues to enjoy his new surroundings in New Orleans.  

Arklow (Cox) - I really liked his debut at the beginning of November but he did not progress from that start as he ran very dull in his first attempt going two turns on Saturday. It was a hot race in terms of talent but Arklow did not step forward from his first start. He will need to improve in one of his next couple of starts to restore our confidence in him and I'm still expecting that based on how well he ran in his debut. Let's just hope he was having an off day and we will see him move forward in his next start down south at the Fair Grounds. Note from Jerry: Arklow will have a new pilot in his next race.

Hy Brasil (Pletcher) - He is doing well as he is getting some needed rest and recovery to get over his minor injury. He will be rechecked on later next month to see how his injury is doing.  

Please don't hesitate with any questions.

Warmest regards,
Conor

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