Stable Update 12/22/2016
I hope this email finds everyone well. As the year draws to a close I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Speaking of new year, I think the stable looks poised to do some big things again in 2017. When you look at what Keen Ice, Puca, Donegal Moon, and Brother O'Connell might accomplish, along with several others that will likely be competing in stakes races beginning in March, we have a lot to hopefully look forward to. Safe travels to everyone over the holidays.
Eirigh (Todd Pletcher) - He is doing well at Palm Beach Downs at the Pletcher team's southern base. Eirigh had a solid five-eighths breeze last week and that should have him ready to run. He was entered to run on Monday, December 26 but his race was not used by the racing office. He will be re-entered as soon as the racing officials make a race available that he is eligible to run in.
Note from Jerry: Todd is very impressed with Eirigh at this point and is expecting good things.
The 4 yr. olds:
Keen Ice (Todd Pletcher) - He put in another tremendous performance in the G3 Harlan's Holiday last weekend. In a race that was without a doubt too short in distance for him he almost overcame that disadvantage and hopefully the race helps move him forward towards a big 2017. As Jerry has indicated, there are a lot of moving parts with his next start the Pegasus Stakes at the end of January. If he recreates his effort from Saturday he should be right in the mix for another substantial payday.
Rock Shandy (Unassigned) - Rock Shandy has arrived at Frank Smith's in South Carolina and has begun light training as he makes his way back to the races. His workload will pick up after the first of the year and he should be ready to head back to a racetrack around the end of February as long as Frank is happy with his development.
Brother O'Connell (Tom Morley) - He has arrived in Kentucky so that he can get some confined rest as we let his tendon injury heal. It was a small tear so there is a lot of reason to think that he should return to his old form. Let's hope his time off passes quickly and without incident.
Puca (Bill Mott) - She is doing great out of her recent win and had another solid work this week at Payson Park. She has several options available for her. She is eligible for her next level allowance condition or she could go back into stakes company. She could run in the G3 Marsha's River in the middle of January on the 14th or wait for the G3 La Prevoyante on the 28th of January. There is also the listed Wayward Lass Stakes on the 21st of January at Tampa Bay Downs.There are many races to choose from for her which is incredible considering that she wasn't even in training for the first half of last year.
The 3 yr. olds:
Patrick's Day (Jordan Blair) - Patrick's next start is still up in the air. It could possibly be the first ten days of January in an allowance race going a mile on the turf or we could wait a couple of weeks so that he can run in an allowance race going a bit further. If PD continues to do well he could test the stake waters after he has one more start in allowance company. Likely his best performances will come when he gets to run at least a mile and a quarter on turf. The way he has improved with nearly every start for the Blair team has been exciting.
Oatfield (Jordan Blair) - He is doing very well and has been entered in a turf race as a main track only entrant for a race this Friday but it will likely stay on the turf so he won't run. He will definitely run in an allowance race on December 31st which will be a two turn race on the dirt. I expect that he will be fairly tough to beat in that spot, but we won't look past his next start until we see how he has progressed since his arrival in Florida a few weeks ago.
Shut the Box (Chris Richard) - He has arrived at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He has been training just fine but he popped a splint this week. Now this is not a major thing but he will miss about a week of training in order to treat it. A splint is part of mother nature's natural suspension system and is a bone that runs down the outside of their cannon bones. It is a bit more rare for a soon to be 4 yr. old to get one but it really isn't a big deal. Instead of running towards the end of January he will likely run during the first half of February in an allowance race.
Ballagh Rocks (Bill Mott) - He is doing really well at Payson Park in South Florida as he gets ready for his next start, which will be December 26 at Gulfstream going a mile and an eighth. I think he will continue to improve as we move forward with him and he could have a very big 2017.
Donegal Moon (Todd Pletcher) - He is doing well and has started back to light training He will continue to do this until about mid-January when the pace of things will pick up. Likely by mid-February he will be able to rejoin the Pletcher string if he continues to do well each day.
Vulcan's Forge (Todd Pletcher) - He has been given a bit of a vacation since his last race in NY. It's tough to say when we might see him back at the races as he will need several weeks of training before being able to run again.
The 2 yr. olds:
Irish Freedom (Baffert) - He is doing fine as he now has two weeks of jogging and two weeks of galloping in him. Fingers crossed things continue to go well for him. If everything goes right IRISH can get in three races before the Derby.
Aife (Clement) - She is doing fine but will need extensive time off after the discovery of her injury a few weeks ago. She will continue to have several months of rest before she is able to go back into training.
Fahan Mura (Clement) - She was unlucky not to win her last race and I thought the stewards were going to do us a one-time favor but they kept her 2nd after our objection. She will likely run back in the same spot during the first half of January. Hopefully there will be a race going further than a mile and she should continue to improve as she is bred to do her best running the older she gets and the longer she goes.
Green Moon Rising (Richard) - He has not given any indication that he is going to be even an average racehorse so his career debut will come in a maiden claiming race at Oaklawn around the second half of January. Perhaps a race will wake him up but he does not seem to be the type of horse we want to keep around the stable.
Stefan O'Eishen (Morley) - He is going to have another ten days of rest and then will rejoin the rest of the Morley barn in New Orleans to begin serious training again.
Blarney (Richard) - He is back in heavy training and doing well. We should see him on a weekly breeze schedule starting with this weekend as long as the weather cooperates. If all goes well he might be able to run around the end of February.
Gorse (Pletcher) - He is at Palm Beach Downs with the Pletcher team and is doing well. He will continue to be on a weekly breeze schedule from now until his career debut which will hopefully be around the end of February to beginning of March.
Beltany (Morley) - He has come out of his minor surgery, to clean up the ankles in his joints, very well. He is going to get another 4 weeks of stall rest and then will be able to start training again.
Manning (Morley) - He had his first start this past Saturday at the Fair Grounds which resulted in a 7th place finish. He ran in that race in order to give him the experience of a race and it was viewed as more of a workout as the turf is likely not his best surface. However, it is more of a forgiving surface and just as good to give a first time starter over it as opposed to dirt. I thought he made a solid debut and it was his first start so having several with multiple starts in the race had quite the advantage over him. He ran like a dirt horse on turf so getting him on the dirt next time out should be very good for him. It might take him a couple of starts on the dirt to break his maiden but he has made up a lot of ground on his development. I'm excited for his next start which will probably come towards the end of January.
Arklow (Cox) - He is also down in New Orleans for the Cox team and is entered to run the day after Christmas on the 26th there. Arklow did not move forward in his second start from his career debut which was a bit puzzling as well as disappointing. He has drawn into a very solid group of 2 yr. old colts so a good showing by Arklow will lend some excitement to his development and a win would be a huge accomplishment. I think we will see an improved effort as perhaps he actually bounced a bit off of his career debut. I'll be happy if he is closing significant ground in the stretch of the race and we see him put in a solid effort over a good field going a distance that is probably just a bit too short for him.
Hy Brasil (Pletcher) - He is still getting over his injury and will be rechecked after the first of the year.
Please don't hesitate with any questions.