Stable Update 3/7/2017
I hope this email finds everyone well. The month of March will continue to be a busy one for the stable members with starts to be made from coast to coast and several making starts in stakes or preps for future stakes. Let's get to it:
Eirigh (Todd Pletcher) - He has trained well out of his last outing in the G1 Gulfstream Park Handicap and it's a long year so there is no rush to get him back to the races. While he didn't place well in his last start it was basically made impossible from the ride he received. Considering what happened in the early stages, he actually ran fairly well against a field like that. With a lot of confidence I can say that Eirigh has the possibility to earn quite a bit of money this year with a little bit of luck. At this point his next possible start is the Appleton Stakes at Gulfstream on the first of April.
The 5 yr. olds
Keen Ice (Todd Pletcher) - Keen Ice is doing well in South Florida and has trained well out of the Pegasus Stakes. Keen Ice has a ton of talent and heart but he is one unlucky horse when it comes to his competition. He has had to face American Pharaoh, California Chrome, and Arrogate in nearly half of his career starts and don't forget about a monster like Frosted who looks like a mere mortal compared to the previously mentioned future Hall of Famers. It would be nice to not see one of them in the paddock before one of his races but there is no retreat in the will of Keen Ice; he keeps giving big efforts time after time. As Jerry stated yesterday, Keen Ice is headed to Dubai. I hope many partners are able to attend, as Dubai is one of the most amazing places to experience and I have a feeling that Keen Ice will give a top performance again. There is a lot that can change in terms of the competition at the World Cup between now and then.
Rock Shandy (Unassigned) - Rock Shandy is doing well in his training in South Carolina. Frank is bringing him along and he is happy with how he is training at the farm.
Brother O'Connell (Tom Morley) - He is doing fine as he gets over his tendon injury which just takes time to heal. We are still about two months away from re-scanning his injury to see how well it has healed.
Puca (Bill Mott) - Puca came out of her last race on the rock hard surface at Gulfstream a little jammed up but she is fine and will resume breezing soon. Mott is very high on her and more convinced than ever that she will be a Stakes winner.
The 4 yr. olds
Patrick's Day (Jordan Blair) - He is doing very well and is completely over his minor illness that halted his training a few weeks ago and he will return to the work tab this weekend. He will likely have one more run at Tampa Bay Downs in order to get him ready for a race at Keeneland during the spring meet. If he keeps on his current path, along with the Donegal horse's ability to run further than most, I think we will see him competing in stakes long on the grass the second half of the year.
Oatfield (Jordan Blair) - He has suffered a significant setback last week as he strained one of the tendons in his left front leg. However, after the inflammation came down his leg was re-scanned a few days ago and revealed that the injury is not as severe as first diagnosed. So instead of needing 6 months off he will only need five or six weeks. This is still very frustrating as he had been training well for his stakes debut on March 11th.
Shut the Box (Chris Richard) - He is back training at Oaklawn and is over his minor splint issue but then he got a sore hock a couple of weeks ago and that cost him some training time. At the moment everything wrong with Shut the Box has healed and he hasn't had any major problems just several little ones. We should see him return to the work tab soon and the Chris Richard team is confident that he will run at Oaklawn before the end of the meet there.
Ballagh Rocks (Bill Mott) - He is doing really well at Payson Park in South Florida as he tries to continue his winning streak (3 straight). I think that Ballagh Rocks is good enough to be a graded stakes winner this year with how well he has been running since his return to the races.
Donegal Moon (Todd Pletcher) - He is doing very well as he continues his return to the races, posting several strong moves since his return to training. He is likely to run in an allowance race at Gulfstream in the middle of March. We should all be very excited about what kind of year he can have and it will be nice to have his first race off the bench out of the way soon.
Vulcan's Forge (Todd Pletcher) - He has been given a bit of a vacation since his last race in NY.
The 3 yr. olds
Irish Freedom (Baffert) - He has come an incredibly long way in the last month and he wouldn't be able to be in this position if he weren't a very good horse. He is slated to run in an allowance race on March 9th at Santa Anita and his performance there will dictate his next start after that. Don't be upset if he barely wins or loses by a narrow margin, as he will still be facing some decent horses in that spot and his long layoff will be a major hurdle for him to overcome. It will be exciting to get him back to the races and a solid winning performance will no doubt register high on the Donegal Excitement Richter Scale.
Aife (Clement) - She is doing OK 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 has had a couple of solid works since her maiden breaking score and will likely run in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park at some point in the next few weeks. It's just more a matter of getting some luck with the condition book. It will also be exciting to see her run beyond a mile and who knows, she might greatly improve when that time comes.
Stefan O'Eishen (Morley) - He has arrived at Belmont Park in New York after escaping the Herpes Virus outbreak in Louisiana. He has been galloping well for a couple of weeks and will start breezing as soon as his cardio fitness gets a bit better and the weather cooperates in New York.
Blarney (Richard) - He is at Oaklawn giving the Chris Richard team headaches. He trained without incident during January and February and has had a couple of breezes that the clockers never got. However, this week he came up a bit sore in his right front ankle prompting the Richard team to back off of his training. This sort of thing happens to all athletes; small set backs are part of competition. The ankle was x-rayed and it looks good so more than likely Blarney wrenched his ankle at some point in the last few days. Hopefully by next week he is feeling 100% and can resume full training.
Gorse (Blair) - He is doing well at Tampa Bay Downs and had an excellent few weeks of training before his Sunday career debut. His career started off as unlucky as any Donegal horse I've ever seen, as he was taken out of his race nearly right from the start. We didn't get to learn anything from that and we will hope that his next start is a much more positive experience.
Beltany (Morley) - He has started back into light training which is another positive step in his recovery. He will have about another month or so of light training before he is ready to return to the racetrack. He is doing well and I expect him to have a good year on the track.
Manning (Morley) - Manning has come out of his last race no worse for wear. If Manning were a football player he would have to run laps after each practice for the entire season after the effort he gave in that spot. He did go too fast too early but he still did not try very hard after he got tired and then his jockey simply wrapped him up. This was very surprising based on his first start and how he had trained leading up to that. Horses, like people, can have bad days and he has been given the benefit of the doubt for now. He will breeze this weekend in order to get ready for another maiden special weight race in a couple of weeks at the Fair Grounds. He is way better than his most recent outing, it's just a matter of getting him going in the right direction again.
Arklow (Cox) - I was very surprised with the sort of effort that Arklow gave in the Risen Star. On paper that effort was not likely to happen as he was poised to take another step forward. I'm going to give him a pass under the presumption that he was having an off day or he didn't care for Shawn Bridgmohan being his rider, or a combination of both. As Jerry said, he will be pointed to a maiden on the grass to see how he takes to the turf. Arklow has shown above average talent in his two starts before the Risen Star so don't think he won't encounter any future success as he is definitely a stakes quality athlete.
Hy Brasil (Pletcher) - He has rejoined the Pletcher barn at Palm Meadows and will be on a weekly breeze schedule there for quite a while. If things continue to go well he might be able to make it to the races by the end of April.
Please don't hesitate with any questions.