Donegal Racing
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Stable Update 8/24/2016

August 24, 2016

Hi Team,

I hope this message finds everyone well. What an exciting weekend with Irish Freedom's very impressive debut. The weeks ahead should be very busy as more of the 2 yr. olds will be making their debuts or getting close to them. Also, some of the stable members that have gotten a bit of a break will be closer to their returns as well. Let's get to it:

Finnegans Wake (Peter Miller) - Finnegan ran 6th Saturday in the G2 Del Mar Handicap and he was unlucky not to get a better placing. Two things worked against him as the race unfolded. First, they did not go as quickly as we needed them to go up front and this allowed the front runner to go wire to wire and it also bunched up the field. The other thing that likely hindered his chances was being trapped down on the inside as FW has given his best efforts when he is on the outside of the field and can run freely in the stretch. While his placing was disappointing his effort was not. His next start will be determined by how happy Peter Miller is with how he trains out of the Del Mar Handicap. 

Eirigh (Todd Pletcher) - He has resumed serious training in Ocala, Florida and they are very happy with how he is training. He is going to have about four or five breezes there before rejoining the Pletcher stable towards the end of next month, but they are very  happy with how he is training which is wonderful news.

The 4 yr. olds

Keen Ice (Todd Pletcher) - Keen Ice is doing well at Saratoga and has now had his second breeze there going a solid half mile Friday morning. This is tremendous progress as he continues his journey back to the races. We just need him to continue training well and everything else should fall into place. 

Note from Jerry: Pletcher told me this a.m. that he could not be happier with what he is seeing out of ICE. Todd asked me to decide whether to point him to the Breeders' Cup Classic or the ten million dollar Pegasus. Yesterday we received a call from connections who own a stall in the Pegasus gate asking if we would partner with them. Also this week there were tweets from folks commenting on how good he looks.

As is usually the case, I believe that ICE has to answer those questions for us and not vice versa. :)

Rock Shandy (Unassigned) - Rock Shandy is doing well in Kentucky as he gets over his reoccurring shin injury. He is now turned out in a paddock 24 hours a day to allow the pressure of movement help stimulate healing. He will be re-x-rayed next week to see how his injured shin is doing and that will help determine when he can go back into training. 

Brother O'Connell (Tom Morley) - He has come out of his win in Boston in good shape. How appropriate that Donegal is now undefeated in Boston. He is going to run next in the West Point Stakes at Saratoga on Friday August 26th against fellow NY breds going a mile and sixteenth on the turf. He won't breeze between starts as Tom Morley would like to keep him as fresh as possible. The older turf division for NY breds is as tough as the closest bar to a naval shipyard but BOC is good enough to compete against the current crew. Looking towards next year he should be one of the tougher ones to deal with, but that's next year. If BOC can rate and settle well enough he will have a big chance as he has been breaking very well all year in his races. Already one major obstacle was avoided by drawing to the outside for the race. BOC has not done well when drawn to the inside of the field making it tougher for him to relax, so hopefully he can sit just off the lead the way he has in a couple of his wins this year.   

Note from Jerry: I love the wee Irishman's confidence but BROTHER's field is double dog tough. I'd take third in a heart beat but would sooner guess fourth or fifth. That said, trainer Tom Morley is hotter than two rats making love in a wool sock so who knows...(See Conor, two can play that game)

The Big Wind (Bill Mott) - The Big Wind sustained a career ending injury last week due to a hairline fracture in his ankle and a blown check ligament in his ankle as well. We are in the process of donating him to an organization to become a riding horse for someone.  

Puca (Frank Smith) - Puca remains in Elloree, South Carolina with Frank Smith. She continues to do well and Frank is very happy with her progress. Frank is going to work her one more time and make sure that she comes out of that work in good shape and then she will be ready to go back to the racetrack. Frank and his team have done a tremendous job getting her back to this point.  

The 3 yr. olds:

Patrick's Day (Jordan Blair) - Patrick's Day is doing well and is preparing for a start at Kentucky Downs on September 10th in an allowance race going the very odd distance of a mile and 5/16ths. Oatfield is going to be entered in the same race and if only one is allowed to run then PD will scratch as there is a race ten days later in the Churchill Downs condition book that he will likely win. He will breeze this coming weekend in preparation for the marathon-like distance of his possible next start.   

Oatfield (Jordan Blair) - Oatfield is doing well out of his maiden win and breezed last Saturday. He is being pointed towards the same race as Patrick's Day because there aren't any races beyond a mile at Kentucky Downs that he is eligible for during the meet. There are massive amounts of entries for these races so if only one is able to get in, Oatfield will run. It is not ideal to ask him to run nearly a mile and a half against winners in his 3rd career start but Jerry's formula captures horses that are able to run that far. I'll be happy to see him get back on a normal flat track as he will have plenty of options this fall going a mile and an eighth over dirt or turf at Churchill Downs and Keeneland. 

Shut the Box (Chris Richard) - Shut the Box is slated to run September 3rd in an allowance race at Kentucky Downs for a purse of $140,000 over the distance of a mile. We don't know if he will like the turf but he is training well and how could we pass on a purse that big against a field that has only won one race? His next start after that will likely be back on the dirt and if he keeps improving, I think he is the type of horse that could earn a lot of money early next year at Oaklawn Park.  

Ballagh Rocks (Bill Mott) - I thought he ran very well in his comeback race. It was actually a winning effort since his jockey felt the need to run an extra eighth of a mile further than the rest of the field. He will be a very short price favorite and should get the job done in his next start during the Belmont meet. BR has always shown above average talent and don't be surprised if we see him headed for stakes company after a few more starts. He is poised to have a big 4 yr. old year now that he is back in action.  

Donegal Moon (Todd Pletcher) - DM is getting some time off in Kentucky to help him get over some bruising at the bottom of his cannon bones. This is actually very common in horses that have been in training for long durations as DM has been. Rest and some time does the trick for a large majority of bone bruising cases. He should come back just as good towards the end of the year.  

Vulcan's Forge (Todd Pletcher) - He made his dirt debut earlier this week as his race came off the grass and he earned a 3rd place finish in the race. It really does seem as though most races are going to be too short for him as he wants to run beyond a mile and an eighth on either turf or dirt. He should be a better 4 yr. old as he will be stronger next year and will be able to beat up on up and coming 3 yr. olds. His next race will likely be an allowance race back at Belmont when racing returns there next month 

The 2 yr. olds

Irish Freedom (Baffert) - He won his career debut in smashing style Sunday evening. His effort was very impressive and gave every indication with his running style that the further, the better for him. At this point I would rank him as being one of the top five 2 yr. old colts in the country. He simply looked special in his debut and he should lead the charge for his fellow 2 yr. old stablemates this fall. 

Aife (Clement) - She is at Saratoga with the Clement team and has been working well at Belmont Park for the last month. As Jerry said yesterday, she is getting close to her debut and could be entered to run sometime within the next ten days if the Clement Team is happy with her.  

Fahan Mura (Clement) - She made her first start on Sunday at Monmouth against a full field on the grass. Visually, she looked like she wasn't sure what was happening for most of the race so the experience should help her a lot next time out. I think we will see a much improved effort from her next time out over similar conditions.  

Green Moon Rising (Richard) - He has settled in well to the Chris Richard barn and had his first breeze this week for his new trainer. The half mile breeze was a very solid one and pleased the Richard team. He will likely have three or four more breezes and then likely run during the Churchill Downs September meet.  

Stefan O'Eishen (Morley) - He is training right along for the Morley team. He will breeze this weekend going five furlongs in Saratoga. He likely won't run during the Saratoga meet and will probably run at Belmont Park when racing switches back south on the NY circuit. 

Blarney (Richard) - He seems to be a bit behind Green Moon Rising as he has not been into his works mentally since he arrived in Kentucky. Typically this is something that fixes itself with equipment and time. We will continue to be patient with his development.  

Note from Jerry: Blarney will be given the ultimate equipment change as he will be gelded in the next few days.

Dirty Day (Cox) - He had a very solid half mile breeze for the Brad Cox team Friday morning at Churchill Downs. The work was a very solid one and his first since moving south to Kentucky. We will know more about when he might run after he has been able to breeze a few more times for his new trainer.  

Gorse (Pletcher) - He is being given a short rest in order to help him get over some minor tendinitis. He will be checked in on in about four weeks to see if the swelling in his tendons has gone away. This is a very common thing for 2 yr. olds to get. 

Beltany (Baffert) - He hasn't missed a beat since his arrival in California and is doing very well there for the Bob Baffert team. He is based in Los Angeles at Los Alamitos and had another good work this last weekend as he gets ready for his first start. They are very happy with him up to this point. 

Arklow (Cox) - He was given two weeks off to get over some tendinitis (swollen tendons) and has now resumed breezing. The Cox team is very happy with him. This is one to keep your eye on!

Hy Brasil (Pletcher) - Hy Brasil has sustained a minor ankle fracture (as minor as they can be) and will be shipped to Kentucky for surgery by Dr. Bramlege. Prognosis is very good and Todd believes he will return to full strength. His last two breezes have been solid, so full strength would be very good.
 
Please don't hesitate with any questions.

Warmest regards,
Conor  

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