Donegal Racing
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Stable Update 7/24/2017

July 24, 2017

Hi Team,
  
I hope this email finds everyone well. What a summer the stable is in the midst of having. Just taking a quick glance at the partnership/syndicate standings, it would appear that Donegal is leading the way at the halfway point in terms of earnings. I say "appear" because other partnerships look like they are getting credit for entire earnings of horses that have won major races, even though they own a minority share. The next month won't be slowing down as several members of the stable will be running in stakes around the country and some of the two year olds will be on the periapsis of starts as well. Let's get to it:

Eirigh (Kevin Attard) - He has been shipped to Woodbine in Canada this week and has arrived in good order. He will be trained by Kevin Attard again and Kevin is having a very good year at Woodbine. Eirigh is a Canadian bred and the plan is to try and earn as much as possible with him by taking advantage of some restricted races and stakes for Canadian breds between now and the end of the year. He likely won't need long to be ready for a race after getting settled into his new home. 
 
The 5 yr. olds

Keen Ice (Todd Pletcher) - He was ultra-impressive in his G2 Suburban win as he was the best off of his tough winter campaign. His performance was likely not an anomaly and we should see him recreate such runs over the next few months. Keen Ice has taken a lot of flak over the last couple of seasons but it seems the fact that he has won over $3 million in purses gets lost among his critics. This is an incredible achievement that everyone who is part of his journey should be very proud of. I don't see why he can't add another million to his earnings over the next few months. With the G1 Whitney or Pacific Classic likely his next target there will be lots of chatter on the backside amongst possible opponents asking, "Can we beat Keen Ice?"...probably not. 

Rock Shandy (Blair) - He is going to run on July 28th in a $30k claiming race. He should be one of the top two or three in his spot now that he got his first start out of the way. He has trained well out of his comeback race and let's hope everything adds up to a win for him. 
 
Brother O'Connell (Tom Morley) - He is doing fine as he has returned to training. He had a very similar injury to Oatfield and the first couple of months are slow and steady with equine athletes returning from tendon issues. Hopefully he will be able to start breezing in another four or five weeks. 
 
Puca (Bill Mott) - The queen of the stable continues to do well out of her latest win with another stellar breeze at Belmont before her departure for Saratoga. Her next race is up in the air as she provides multiple options of engagement as she can run well on turf and dirt. A stakes win for her of any kind will do a lot to her long term broodmare value and that is without question the goal between now and the end of the year. Her next start is slated to be August 3rd going long on the turf in a $93,000 allowance race with the distance slated to be just short of a mile and a half. 

The 4 yr. olds
 
Patrick's Day (Jordan Blair) - He ran 2nd in a small but very competitive allowance race at Ellis Park. Heavy rains the night before moved the race off the turf which was unfortunate as he would have been tough to beat on his preferred surface. He still ran well and picked up a nice 2nd place check for what essentially became a paid workout. His next start will likely be at Kentucky Downs unless the timing of another allowance race works out so that he can run at Ellis Park once more. 
 
Oatfield (Jordan Blair) - He is doing well and will start breezing again likely within the next ten days. So far his tendon injury has shown no signs of causing a problem again and after a few breezes he and his trainer will have more confidence as we move forward with him.  

Shut the Box (Chris Richard) - He is doing great out of his win at Churchill Downs in what was a super impressive effort to win the way he did. His next race will be another allowance race at Ellis Park at the end of this month. That will be his toughest race of his career but I think that he will be up to such a task. Some of his tougher competition may have traveled north to Saratoga but they don't give those kind of races away either. A second would not be too bad as that way he could keep the condition and run in a similar race at Kentucky Downs a month later for a massive purse.  
 
Ballagh Rocks (Bill Mott) - He is doing very well as he has now arrived in Saratoga where he will next run in the G1 Fourstardave Handicap on August 12th. The race will be two turns which should be to more of an advantage for BR than some of the others in that race. I'm not too concerned with the competition that will show up as there isn't a dominant member of his division in America right now. Let's hope his next couple of works go well and a win in the Fourstardave will give the stable another Breeders Cup starter.  
 
Donegal Moon (Todd Pletcher) - He is slated to run July 30th in the Monmouth Cup at Monmouth Park. The race could draw a couple that finished ahead of him in his last but this is a bit further which will help him. If the winner of his last race decides for something tougher at say, Saratoga, then I think Donegal Moon could be one of the top two to beat over a track we know he likes and a distance that should be in his wheelhouse. Another improving effort will be really nice to see and a win would be even better.  
 
The 3 yr. olds

Irish Freedom (Baffert) - He continues to train very well and has had five above average works in a row for the Baffert team. He is still not yet fit enough to run but he will be ready very soon for what will probably be an allowance race at Del Mar. He is very talented and has been very unlucky in terms of traffic in his last two races. I still think he is one of the better 3 yr. olds in the entire country and that will soon be proved to be fact or fiction. Getting him back to the races 100% will be a relief and his performance there at Del Mar will dictate a lot about what sort of races he will be running in the second half of the year.  

Aife (Clement) - I thought her career debut was very impressive. The Clement team had her ready for a big effort and she will run back in a similar spot and should be very tough to beat second time out. She encountered a fair bit of trouble plus the anxiety of a first start and still gave an excellent performance. She is slated to run Thursday the 27th of July in a $75,000 maiden claiming race and she should be tough in that spot with a good trip. I think she will run through her first couple of conditions within the next couple of months and like many members of the stable she should be one that keeps getting better as we get further into the year. Another exciting member of the stable. 
  
Fahan Mura (Clement) - She training right along. She needs to take another small step forward in terms of her development. This is frustrating to say but it might be this time a year from now that her membership in the stable pays off as there are not too many stakes for just 3 yr. old fillies in Pennsylvania as the 3 yr. olds have to take on older horses which is still very hard to do at this point in their careers. She could have a big year next year so we will continue to be patient with her as long as her trainer agrees. Her next start will also be the same day as Aife's on this coming Thursday in a competitive claiming race with a very nice purse. With a slightly improved effort she should be right there to hit the board with a smooth trip. 

Blarney (Richard) - He has had three good months in row which is fantastic considering his minor issues that kept coming up prior to that. His real work has begun as he will have about four more stiff breezes to get him ready for his first career race. That race will hopefully be towards the middle of August at Ellis Park. We have no idea how good Blarney is at this point but hopefully his next few works will give his trainer a decent indication as to what level he will debut in.  

Gorse (Blair) - He put in a very odd yet impressive performance last weekend in his most recent effort. He looked beaten coming off the turn but then re-rallied in the middle of the stretch to only loose by a neck and he was flying at the end coming home in under six seconds. His 79 Beyer also is quite good for a 3 yr. old at this point as well. He might have finished 3rd in a G3 at Delaware over the weekend with that kind of number. He will run back in a similar race at Ellis in a few weeks but a win there might prompt the need to look around for any turf 3 yr. old only stakes this fall. Gorse is a bit like a younger version of Ballagh Rocks in that if he keeps improving like this he could be another stakes horse for the stable as a 4 yr. old.  

Beltany (Morley) - He has arrived in Saratoga in good shape and will run on August 3rd in a maiden special weight going 5.5 furlongs on the turf. He did appear to like the turf in his last start but it was very soft so he might have not cared for that going. I think he will be pretty tough to beat in that spot and they run maiden special weights at Saratoga for fairly significant purses.   

Arklow (Cox) - He put in his first puzzling career performance and it was not an opportune time to happen, but that's horse racing and he will go on to fight another day. There might have been a combination of factors as he had over 60 days between races and the turf had gotten a lot of rain in the 48 hours leading up to the race so perhaps he does not like soft going at all. He also had some traffic trouble early in the race (imagine getting punched in the stomach before having to run a sub 5 minute mile). As Jerry stated, his next start could come at either Arlington or Saratoga with the Chicago race likely to draw some fierce competition. I'm not at all concerned as Arklow has had two excellent races on turf with one not so good one. I think there are more big efforts coming from him and he will get better as we inch towards the fall.  

Hy Brasil (Pletcher) - He was disappointing in his last effort at Gulfstream and has since been shipped to Monmouth Park. He will likely run in a maiden race towards on July 29th going two turns at Monmouth. His last race indicated that he would not be able to run to the level required to be a long term member of the stable. He will need to improve greatly from his last effort for that to change. 

The 2 yr. olds

The 2 yr. olds expectations from their trainers seem to change almost daily at this point in their careers. The most important thing is that our 2 yr. olds are in training and healthy...at this point there are a lot of owners and trainers that have next year's Kentucky Derby winner in their barn. We just want ours to get to the stage this fall when they can go two turns. 
 
Ciaran (Pletcher) - He is in Saratoga where he has now had four solid works but hasn't flashed any early speed yet. 
 
Tiz McNamara (Cox) - He just arrived at the Brad Cox barn in Louisville this week in good order and has begun his formal training at the racetrack.  
 
Taranis (Baffert) - He has arrived safely in California and has begun training. He has yet to breeze but that will hopefully start soon.  
 
Hello Tiz (Cox) - He has arrived safely in Louisville and has begun training. He has had a few breezes but nothing serious yet.  
 
Uncail (Blair) - He has arrived safely in Louisville and has begun training but has had an ankle issue pop that will hopefully be resolved soon.  
 
Seabhac (Pletcher) - He is in Saratoga where he has had a few solid works on the turf. He is probably going to be one of the first 2 yr. olds to start for the stable. Likely in one of the two turn turf races at Saratoga.  
 
Boru (Pletcher) - He arrived this week in Saratoga and has begun his formal race track training.  
 
Hyndford (Pletcher) - He is in Saratoga and has had a few works, he hasn't shown any early speed yet but that is fine at this point.  
 
Bodhran (Baffert) - He has been training very well over the last month in California and will likely be the stables first west coast starter for the 2 yr. olds as he continues to show signs of being above average at this point. 
 
Finvarra - He is still in South Carolina with Frank Smith.
 
Carrick - He is still in South Carolina with Frank Smith.
 
O' Caroline - She is still in South Carolina with Frank Smith and things are going well for her, however she needs to lose some weight as she appears to get fat on air.  

 

Please don't hesitate with any questions.
 
Warmest regards,
Conor 

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