Tag Archives: Meadow Wise

Meadow Magic named MTOBA’s 2010 Horse of the Year

The connections of Michigan Horse of the Year Meadow Magic celebrate their victory with MTOBA president Patti Dickinson.

Meadow Magic took his place among Michigan’s elite after earning Horse of the Year honors at Sunday’s Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association year-end awards dinner.

The three-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding punched his ticket on the strength of his wins in this year’s Dowling Stakes and Michigan Sire Stakes, along with finishes on the board in the Mackinac Handicap and Lansing Stakes, all at Pinnacle Race Course. He was the only horse to win multiple stakes races during Pinnacle’s 2010 meet.

Meadow Magic is owned by Laura Jackson and Red Riding Hood Stable, the nom de race of George and Chrissy Kutlenios. He resides in the barn of trainer James Jackson. Those connections celebrated another award earlier in afternoon when Paris Prayer was named champion two-year-old filly.

Arnold Farm, perennially successful at the year-end awards, had another strong showing in 2010. The Hillsdale Mich. farm accounted for four trophies on the afternoon, including Breeder of the Year. Co-Stallion of the Year Meadow Prayer, who stood at Arnold Farm, sired the most award-winners in 2010, with three divisional champions, as well as the horse of the year.

Also taking home their fair share of awards was Owner of the Year Mast Thoroughbreds, who earned honors in both older horse divisions.

On a personal note, I took home my usual awesome haul in the silent auction. I came home with box seats and a dinner package from Arlington Park (got this last year and it was awesome), a gift basket from Hoosier Park and an American Racing Manual from 1972.

As one of the people who helped broker donations for the silent auction, I would like to personally thank Arabian Finish Line Magazine, Midwest Thoroughbred Magazine, Hoosier Park, ThoroFan and Hello Race Fans for their generosity. Others who donated include publications Thoroughbred Times, Blood Horse and Daily Racing Form; information services Equineline and BRISNet; racing organizations Breeders’ Cup and NTRA; stallion farms Adena Springs, Darley America, Hill ‘n Dale Farm and Winstar Farm; and many more, including contributions by several MTOBA members.

One final note related to the silent auction – The Zenyatta Breyer Christmas ornament is easily the Tickle-Me-Elmo of the 2010 holiday season. Its combination of low supply, high demand and the white-hot popularity of its subject make it a coveted item. There was one offered in the silent auction, and it did not take long for it to surpass its Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. For those that seek it, I can only wish them good luck on their journey.

For a list of all the nominees and winners from the 2010 MTOBA year-end awards, click the link below.

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Meadow Wise wins older males Sire Stakes

Meadow Wise staked his claim to Michigan’s older male of the year title with a dominant victory in his division of Saturday’s $50,000 Michigan Sire Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

The four-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding angled in at the start, but quickly corrected his course and shot to the front. He was soon passed by Hot Chili on the outside, followed closely by Red Bow Tie as they headed down the stretch. The trio came back to even terms heading into the first turn and became a duo when Hot Chili and Meadow Wise sped off to battle their way into the backstretch. Hot Chili led by a half length over Meadow Wise as they made their way past the barns with Red Bow Tie and Romeo Again less than a length behind him. As they made their way into the final turn, Hot Chili was swallowed up by Meadow Wise on the rail and Romeo Again on the outside.

The lead pair of Meadow Wise and Romeo Again battled neck-and-neck throughout the turn, with Hot Chili trying to regain position three wide. Meadow Wise emerged at the top of the stretch with a length and a half lead and ran down the shadow of the rail to win by 3 1/4 lengths under jockey Angel Stanley. Romeo Again battled Hot Chili for second place, and finished a length ahead of his foe.

Meadow Wise completed the mile and one eighth race in 1:54.76 on fast dirt. He left the gates as the favorite among the betting public at odds of 1.50-to-one.

Meadow Wise was bred in Michigan by James Arnold, Marcia Arnold and Deb Miley. He is owned by Mast Thoroughbreds LLC and trained by Robert Gorham. With the win, his second in stakes competition, Meadow Wise improved his lifetime record to six wins from 20 starts for earnings of $139,296.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

1 – Meadow Wise (Angel Stalney) 5.00 / 3.40 / 3.40
5 – Romeo Again (Federico Mata) 2.80 / 2.40
7 – Hot Chili (Ricardo Barrios) 4.20

One Mile and One Eighth
Time: 1:54.76

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2010 Sire Stakes Preview: Older Horses

Baba Booyah, Valley Loot square off in older females Sire Stakes

The old guard of Michigan’s older females division will try to hold off the youth movement for at least one more race in Saturday’s $50,000 Michigan Sire Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

Nine fillies and mares will compete to add a Sire Stakes win to her resume in the 1 1/8 mile race. Valley Loot has won the last two installments of the race in this division and will go for a third this weekend.

She will face a challenge from Moonbeam Handicap winner Baba Booyah. The four-year-old Daylight Savings filly pulled away to win by five and a half lengths in the Aug. 21 stakes race at Pinnacle. She enters the Sire Stakes off a third place finish in the Oct. 2 Farer Belle Lee Handicap. Trainer Robert Gorham will once again give Jeffrey Skerrett the leg up in the Sire Stakes for owner Mast Thoroughbreds LLC.

Valley Loot has had a down year in 2010, but the Sire Stakes is her realm. The six-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare has won three state runnings of the race, as a three-year-old in 2007 at Great Lakes Downs and as an older horse in 2008 and 2009 at Pinnacle. A three-time Michigan horse of the year, Valley Loot comes off two unplaced finishes in stakes races at Pinnacle, most recently the Farer Belle Lee. Regular rider Federico Mata will be in the irons for owner Lisa Campbell and trainer Ronald Allen, Sr.

Also entered is the 2009 Michigan three-year-old filly of the year Hakuna Matata. A four-year-old daughter of Meadow Prayer, Hakuna Matata is seeking her first victory since a rallying triumph in last year’s sophomore fillies Sire Stakes. In her most recent start, she finished fourth in the Farer Belle Lee. Owned by White Lake Farms, Inc., Hakuna Matata is trained by Larry Uelmen and will be ridden by Octavio Bernal.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Valley Loot / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 3-1
2. Shesashooter / T Molina / S M Spiess / 15-1
3. Guns And Giggles / J Cruz / S M Adkins / 10-1
4. Hakuna Matata / O Bernal / L R Uelmen / 7-2
5. Half A Glance / J J Delgado / J Gold / 20-1
6. She Could Be Good / A O Stanley / R M Gorham / 20-1
7. Baba Booyah / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 8-5
8. Secret Candy / R D Allen, Jr. / R D Allen, Sr. / 8-1
9. Stellar Star / R Barrios / D Cluley / 20-1

Romeo Again looks to start streak in older males Sire Stakes

The older males division of the $50,000 Michigan Sire Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course is all about streaks.

Romeo Again will be looking to build on his success in last year’s Sire Stakes, while Meadow Vespers will try to start a new one after having his four-race win streak in the series of races snapped.

Seven colts and geldings will enter the gates in Saturday’s 1 1/8 mile race. Last year’s installment was won by Bipolar Express.

As a three-year-old, Romeo Again pulled away to win his division of the Sire Stakes on his way to a share of his crop’s title. In 2010, the four-year-old Secret Romeo gelding won the Aug. 14 Michigan Breeders’ Cup Handicap. He enters the Sire Stakes off an unplaced finish in the Oct. 2 Frontier Handicap. Romeo Again will be ridden by Federico Mata for owners Lisa Campbell and II B’s Thoroughbreds. Patrick White will saddle Romeo Again in Saturday’s race.

After four straight victories in Sire Stakes races, Meadow Vespers’ signature late drive came up short in 2009 on his way to a fifth place finish. The eight-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding will attempt to get back on the winning track on Saturday. In his most recent start, Meadow Vespers missed by a half length for a runner-up finish in Frontier. Ronald Allen, Jr. will have the assignment for owner John Mack and trainer Richard Rettele.

Also entered is 2009 co-champion three-year-old male Meadow Wise. The four-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding’s most recent effort was a front-running fourth place finish, where he finished only 3/4 lengths behind the leaders. Owned by Mast Thoroughbreds, LLC, Meadow Wise will reunite with jockey Angel Stanley for Saturday’s race. Trainer Robert Gorham will give Stanley the leg-up.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Meadow Wise / A O Stanley / R M Gorham / 9-5
2. Elusive Furrari / J Cruz / S M Adkins / 20-1
3. Out With A Bang / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 10-1
4. Red Bow Tie / T Molina / D W Myers / 15-1
5. Romeo Again / F Mata / P L White / 2-1
6. Meadow Vespers / R D Allen, Jr. / R J Rettele / 5-2
7. Hot Chili / R Barrios / J R Jackson / 12-1

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Perfect Start aims to improve in Michigan Breeders’ Cup Handicap

Perfect Start will try to improve on his runner-up finish in the July 3 Wolverine Stakes in Saturday’s $20,000 Michigan Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.

The field of six older Michigan-bred males going a mile features four stakes winners from last year’s meet at Pinnacle. The purse for Saturday’s race has been decreased from its normal value of $50,000 in order to over the increased cost of regulation from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Perfect Start was one of the more buzz-worthy three-year-olds at Pinnacle in 2009, on the strength of his victory in the Mackinac Handicap and entry in the Ohio Derby (G2). The Jump Start colt ran second to Fiery Lake in the Wolverine and enters Saturday’s race off a third place in a Aug. 3 allowance contest at Thistledown. Alexis Ortiz will be in the irons for owner Charlie Williams and trainer Sandra Adkins.

Last year’s co-champion three-year-old male Meadow Wise will try for his first win in the handicap ranks in the Michigan Breeder’s Cup. The Meadow Prayer gelding won last year’s Dowling Stakes at Pinnacle and never missed the board in 2009. He enters the race off an Aug. 31 allowance victory at Pinnacle, where he won by 5 3/4 lengths. Meadow Wise is trained by Bob Gorham for owner Mast Thoroughbreds, LLC. Jeffrey Skerrett will get the leg up on Saturday.

Meadow Vespers returns to defend his title after winning last year’s installment of the Michigan Breeders’ Cup. The Meadow Prayer gelding is best known for his four straight victories in his division of the Sire Stakes from 2005 to 2008. Meadow Vespers comes in off an unplaced finish in the Wolverine Stakes. He is owned by J. Mack Enterprise, Inc. and trained by Richard Rettele. Jose Delgado will be the rider.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Bishop Casey / T Molina / R M Gorham / 8-5
1A. Meadow Wise / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 8-5
2. Romeo Again / F Mata / P L White / 3-1
3. Perfect Start / A Ortiz / S M Adkins / 5-2
4. Meadow Vespers / J J Delgado / R J Rettele / 7-2
5. Out With A Bang / O Bernal / R M Gorham / 10-1

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Champions collide in Wolverine Stakes

A well-decorated field of 10 will face off in Saturday’s $50,000 Wolverine Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

Included among the group are two co-winners of divisional awards from last year’s meet at Pinnacle, one from 2008 and a former Michigan Thoroughbred of the Year at the now-defunct Great Lakes Downs. Each horse in the field has won a stakes race at one or both of those tracks.

The six furlong race for Michigan-bred three-year-olds and upward is the first blacktype challenge for the state’s older male division during Pinnacle’s 2010 meet.

Meadow Wise heads up three entries from trainer Bob Gorham’s barn. The four-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding won last year’s Dowling Stakes at Pinnacle and never missed the board on the way to earning a share of the Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s top three-year-old male honors. He enters the Wolverine off a front-running 4 1/2 length score in a June 20 optional claiming event at Pinnacle. Jeffrey Skerrett will be in the irons for owner Mast Thoroughbreds LLC.

Last year’s Wolverine winner, Fiery Lake, returns to defend his title. The five-year-old Devil His Due gelding was a mainstay in Michigan’s older male division in 2009, with an additional runner-up finish in the Frontier Handicap and a fourth in the Michigan Breeders’ Handicap, both at Pinnacle. Fiery Lake enters the Wolverine off a second place effort in a June 15 optional claimer at Presque Isle Downs, where he closed on the rail to miss by a head. Randy Russell will saddle Fiery Lake for owner Samaron Stable. Ronald Allen, Jr. will venture over from Presque Isle to take the mount.

Well-traveled campaigner Speak Of Kings will make his debut at Pinnacle on Saturday in the Wolverine. The eight-year-old Announce gelding has competed at tracks throughout Kentucky and the Midwest, even venturing down to the Fair Grounds in Louisiana, and has won multiple times on dirt, turf and all-weather surfaces. During one of his occasional stops in Michigan, Speak Of Kings won the 2005 Lansing Stakes at Great Lakes Downs. He comes off a 1 1/4-length victory in a $16,000 claiming race on the turf course at Indiana Downs. J.J. Delgado will have the riding assignment for owners Sam Rogers, Ralph Postoian and Steve Vanovich. Gregory Foley trains Speak Of Kings.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Perfect Start / A Ortiz / S A Adkins / 8-1
2. Fiery Lake / R D Allen, Jr. / R R Russell / 7-2
3. Speak Of Kings / J J Delgado / G D Foley / 5-1
4. Meadow Vespers / R Barrios / R J Rettele / 10-1
5. Bishop Casey / O Bernal / R M Gorham / 20-1
6. Weatherstorm / T Molina / R M Gorham / 15-1
7. Romeo Again / F Mata / P L White / 6-1
8. Meadow Wise / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 5-2
9. Hot Chili / J R Martinez, Jr. / J R Jackson / 12-1
10. Demagoguery / L A Gonzalez / G S Bennett / 15-1

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Sire Stakes Preview: Sophomores

Meadow Wise looks to clinch honors in Three-Year-Old Males division

Meadow Wise will try to put a stamp on his 2009 campaign in the Sophomore Males division of the Sire Stakes.

Meadow Wise will try to put a stamp on his 2009 campaign in the Sophomore Males division of the Sire Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

In a fairly deep sophomore male crop where each stakes race appeared to produce an entirely different field, Meadow Wise has been the one horse to show up to every dance and come out at or near the top.

Meadow Wise will try to secure his position at the top of the class with a win in the $50,000 Sire Stakes for three-year-old males at Pinnacle Race Course. A win in Saturday’s 1 1/16 mile race could go a long way in locking up Horse of the Year honors, as well.

Meadow Wise has yet to finish worse than second during the 2009 Pinnacle meet, including a win in the July 25 Dowling Stakes and runner-up finishes in the June 13 Lansing Stakes and his most recent effort, the Sep. 5 Mackinac Handicap. The Meadow Prayer gelding will have a different rider in the saddle for the Sire Stakes in Jeffrey Skerret, replacing regular rider Angel Stanley, who has the mount on Jangle. In his lone start aboard Meadow Wise, Skerrett won a July 4 maiden special weight race at Pinnacle. Meadow Wise is owned by Mast Thoroughbreds LLC and trained by Bob Gorham.

Romeo Again has been knocking on the door for a first stakes win both for himself and his sire throughout his sophomore campaign. The Secret Romeo gelding finished second behind Meadow Wise in the July 25 Dowling Stakes at Pinnacle and ran third in the Sep. 5 Mackinac Handicap. He enters the Sire Stakes off a 7 1/4 length victory in a Sep. 21 allowance race at Pinnacle. Federico Mata will have the assignment for owners Lisa Campbell and II B’s Thoroughbreds. Ronnie Allen, Sr. conditions Romeo Again.

Coming off an impressive maiden win is Notaquitter. The Meadow Prayer gelding was never headed on his way to a 9 3/4 length victory in a Sep. 12 maiden special weight contest at Pinnacle. Notaquitter will make his first try at stakes competition in his third career start. Al Talsma trains Notaquitter for Wanda Talsma. Godofredo Laurente will be in the irons.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. The K Factor / T D Houghton / G S Bennett / 10-1
2. Notaquitter / G Laurente / A Talsma / 15-1
3. Meadow Wise / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 6-5
4. Romeo Again / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 5-2
5. Native Power / L J Frazzitta, Jr. / M A Barron / 12-1
6. Elusive Furrari / A Ortiz / S M Adkins / 5-1
7. Jangle / A O Stanley / D R Barron / 20-1

In other news from Michigan’s three-year-old male division, Mackinac Handicap winner Perfect Start is entered in Saturday’s Ohio Derby (G2) at Thistledown. The Jump Start colt will be ridden by Mountaineer mainstay DeShawn Parker and was one of three horses assigned the longest morning line odds in the field at 30-1. To see the past performances for the Ohio Derby field, click here.

Baba Booyah, Hakuna Matata battle for supremacy in Sire Stakes Sophomore Fillies division

Baba Booyah will likely be the post-time favorite in the Three-Year-Old Fillies division of the Sire Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

Baba Booyah will likely be the post-time favorite in the Three-Year-Old Fillies division of the Sire Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

This year’s crop of Michigan-bred three-year-old fillies has been largely dominated by the trio of Baba Booyah, Hakuna Matata and Moon Charmer. Each has their own marquee win and they never finish far apart from each other.

With Kentucky-sired Moon Charmer ineligible for Saturday’s $50,000 Sire Stakes for three-year-old fillies, Baba Booyah and Hakuna Matata will be left to settle their rivalry in the 1 1/16 mile contest at Pinnacle Race Course.

Baba Booyah brings a two-race winning streak into Saturday’s race. Her most recent victory came in the Sep. 5 Michigan Oaks at Pinnacle, where she prevailed by a half-length in a front-running fashion. The Daylight Savings filly is owned by Marion Gotham and trained by Bob Gorham. Jeffrey Skerrett will be in the irons on Saturday.

Hakuna Matata’s big win came as the beneficiary of a disqualification in the Aug. 1 Ann Arbor Stakes, where the first place finisher, Moon Charmer, was disqualified to third after knocking Baba Booyah off stride in the stretch drive. The Meadow Prayer filly enters the Sire Stakes off a third place finish in the Michigan Oaks. Hakuna Matata is trained by Larry Uelmen for owner White Lake Farms Inc.. Regular rider Angel Stanley will again have the mount for the Sire Stakes.

Also entered is Susie’s Prayer, who defeated both Baba Booyah and Hakuna Matata in a July 20 allowance race at Pinnacle. The Meadow Prayer filly did not fare as well against the pair in the Ann Arbor, her most recent start, where she finished fifth after a troubled trip. Susie’s Prayer will be ridden by J.J. Delgado for owners Valorie and Richard Powers and trainer Karl Waters.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Jig Is Up Now / T D Houghton / R M Gorham / 20-1
2. Secret Candy / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 12-1
3. Lexus Red / A Ortiz / D Cluley / 10-1
4. Hakuna Matata / A O Stanley / L R Uelmen / 2-1
5. Baba Booyah / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 9-5
6. City Tour / A A Marin / S M Spiess / 20-1
7. Stride To The Sky / G Laurente / D Cluley / 8-1
8. Susie’s Prayer / J J Delgado / K S Waters / 6-1

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Bubble Watch

Will Meadow Wise be Michigan's THoroughbred of the Year in 2009? He's as live as any.

Will Meadow Wise be Michigan's Thoroughbred of the Year in 2009? He's as live as any.

The Sire Stakes has a way of sorting things out when it comes to year-end awards.

In 2008, the winners of the marquee race’s six divisions accounted for all seven of the Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s awards (one for each division and horse of the year) and six of the seven awards from Pinnacle Race Course, as decided by the track’s announcer, Matt Hook. Though the purses for this year’s installment will likely be no higher than the average stakes prize of $50,000, the races will no doubt still hold a special weight with voters.

With the Sire Stakes a week away, most of the division honors are still very much up for grabs. This Saturday will give the horses on the bubble a chance for a statement win to pad their resume.

With that in mind, let us take a look at each of the divisions and see who is in the driver’s seat heading into the Sire Stakes, who has some work to do, and who is grasping at straws.

In my forecasting of the divisions and their awards, I operated under the assumption that the Pinnacle awards are based solely on performance at the Detroit racetrack, while the MTOBA awards took into consideration the entire campaign of Michigan-breds in and out-of-state. If I am wrong in my assumptions don’t hesitate to correct me.

While reading these projections, keep in mind this analysis is strictly the opinion of this blogger. The views, rankings and projections do not necessarily represent those of the people actually deciding the year-end awards. These predictions are based on the horses’ projected paths through the end of the Pinnacle meet. If one of these horses goes crazy and takes down a graded race in Kentucky or something along those lines, these predictions will obviously change.

Now touch gloves and fight clean…

Two-Year-Old Male: With only one of the three stakes races for juvenile males complete, Prince of Paulie is the clubhouse leader by virtue of his win in the Sep. 12 Patrick Wood Stakes. Finishing first in either the Sire Stakes or the Michigan Futurity ought to be enough for the Meadow Prayer gelding to lock the award down with both groups. The horse with best chance of moving up should Prince of Paulie falter could be the runner-up in the Patrick Wood, Power of Titus. A win in the Sire Stakes would go a long way in grabbing the voters’ attention, especially if Prince of Paulie finishes off the board. The two-year-old season is just getting started in Michigan, so much is left to shake out.

Two-Year-Old Female: Similar to their male counterparts, Hustle Now holds the top spot in both jurisdictions on the strength of her victory in the Sep. 12 Sickle’s Image Stakes, the division’s only blacktype race to date. One more stakes win would give her two out of three, which ought to be enough. Second place finisher Top Touch showed a lot of grit during her stretch battle with Hustle Now in the Sickle’s Image. However she will be hard-pressed to shake her rival from her post because Top Touch is not eligible for the Sire Stakes. Her sire, Touch Gold, stands in Kentucky. A win in the Michigan Juvenile Fillies and some help might get the job done, though. All things considered, it is much too soon to declare solid favorites in this division. The picture for both juvenile classes will be much clearer after the Sire Stakes.

Three-Year-Old Male: Meadow Wise has shown up to every dance and has yet to turn in a clunker. A finish in the top two next Saturday will put him in the driver’s seat for year-end honors. Juggle and Perfect Start both have stakes wins to their credit, but would need a win in their next race (and for Juggle, probably some help) to overthrow Meadow Wise in either poll. Perfect Start’s out-of-state sire will likely keep him out of the discussion for the Pinnacle honors because he can not compete in the Sire Stakes. However, the Jump Start colt could have a date elsewhere on Sire Stakes day, as he is nominated for the Oct. 3 Ohio Derby (G2) at Thistledown. Regardless of what Meadow Wise does at Pinnacle, a graded stakes win might be enough to persuade MTOBA’s voters.

Three-Year-Old Female: This division has been a game of musical chairs between Moon Charmer, Hakuna Matata, and Baba Booyah. Each has finished in the top three in the last two sophomore filly stakes races and the orders have been shuffled each time, once even further by a disqualification. Heading into the Sire Stakes though, Moon Charmer holds the upper hand based on her win against older company, including 2008 Horse of the Year Valley Loot, in the Sep. 12 Farer Belle Lee Handicap. That win will need to leave a lasting impression, because the Indian Charlie filly will not be eligible for the Sire Stakes. Her two rivals need to win the Sire Stakes by a serious margin to offset a win against older company. A second place finish or worse by Hakuna Matata or Baba Booyah will likely dash their hopes for the sophomore filly honors.

Older Male: Meadow Vespers controls his own destiny in this division. A fifth straight Sire Stakes win, or maybe even a strong second or third, will clinch the older male title in both jurisdictions. His closest rivals, All I Can Get and Fiery Lake, will not be in the gates for next Saturday’s race and have not shown enough this year to pass the defending champion, which works even further to Meadow Vespers’ advantage. If Meadow Vespers should come up empty in the Sire Stakes, a dominant victory (at least five lengths and visually impressive) could vault perennial runners-up Hot Chili or Demagoguery into the discussion, but they would both face an uphill battle.

Older Female: Valley Loot has had a pretty good year by most standards, with a stakes win at Mountaineer and a third place finish in a $100,000 race at Presque Isle Downs. She just hasn’t done much winning at Pinnacle. Still, a first place finish on Saturday would clinch the MTOBA award and give her the inside track in the Pinnacle race. Having the name recognition as the defending Horse of the year doesn’t hurt either. Yawm Estoora is the only horse on the grounds to have won two stakes races at Pinnacle this year, but her disappointing performance in the Farer Belle Lee and ineligibility in the Sire Stakes leaves her closing argument lacking. Her resume may be strong enough to win the Pinnacle award though, especially if Valley Loot runs poorly or skips the Sire Stakes for greener pastures.

Horse of the Year: If Meadow Wise wins his Sire Stakes race, he’ll hold all the cards for Horse of the Year in both polls. No one else will have run as consistently and successfully at Pinnacle throughout the meet. If he has an off day, the door is open for Meadow Vespers and Valley Loot, assuming they win their division’s races. Meadow Vespers would likely hold the advantage in the Pinnacle poll because he already has a stakes win at the track under his belt. Valley Loot’s complete body of work in 2009 would probably give her an advantage in the MTOBA awards. The wild card in this equation is Perfect Start. Michigan does not get too many graded stakes winners, so if he pulls the upset in the Ohio Derby, all bets are off, at least for the MTOBA award.

Those are my thoughts. Who do you think sits at the head of the class going into the Sire Stakes? Who has some work left to do? I invite your discussion on Michigan’s six divisions and Horse of the Year honors.

Look for previews of the Sire Stakes races throughout the upcoming week.

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Baba Booyah, Perfect Start prevail in Michigan Sophomore Championships

Baba Booyah leads at all points in Michigan Oaks

Baba Booyah was never headed on her way to a half-length victory in Saturday’s $50,000 Michigan Oaks at Pinnacle Race Course.

The three-year-old Daylight Savings filly moved quickly to the rail and set an easy pace in the early goings, as City Tour chased from a length behind. The field stayed closely bunched across the backstretch with little change in positions as the opening half mile was set at :50.95.

Baba Booyah began to pick up the pace heading into the final turn, as did stablemate Moon Charmer, who quickly overtook City Tour for the second position. Moon Charmer, the post time favorite, began to pressure Baba Booyah through the turn, but she was turned away by the leader, who still held a length’s advantage heading into the stretch. The challenger continued to stage bids throughout the stretch and was repelled with each attempt. As the finish drew near, Moon Charmer began to gain significant ground on Baba Booyah, but could not beat the wire, as Baba Booyah held on for a 1/2 length victory under jockey Jeffrey Skerrett. A late-running Hakuna Matata finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Moon Charmer for third.

Baba Booyah completed the 1 1/16 mile race in 1:49.45 over a fast surface. She left the gates as the third choice at odds of 2.30-to-one.

Baba Booyah is trained by Bob Gorham for owner Marion Gorham. She was bred in Michigan by Todd and Carol Weddon. The Oaks victory was Baba Booyah’s third win from ten starts, as well as her first stakes triumph. The win increased Baba Booyah’s career earnings to $63,590.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

5 – Baba Booyah (Jeffrey Skerrett) 6.60 / 3.20 / 2.20
4 – Moon Charmer (Federico Mata) 2.10 / 2.20
3 – Hakuna Matata (Angel Stanley) 2.10

1 1/16 Miles
Time:  1:49.45

Photobucket
Your winner, Baba Booyah (photo from a previous race).

Perfect Start overcomes troubled trip in Mackinac Handicap

During a conversation with Perfect Start’s owner Charlie Williams, he said the three-year-old Jump Start colt had the potential to be the best horse to run under his name.

Perfect Start took a major step toward fulfilling that prophecy with a pace-stalking victory in Saturday’s $50,000 Mackinac Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.

Perfect Start stuck to the outside hip of early pacesetter Juggle as the field made its first pass under the wire and into the clubhouse turn, where he then moved inside to the rail. After trying to get around Juggle on the inside failed to produce results, jockey Alexis Ortiz moved Perfect Start sharply to the outside of his rival as the two battled across the backstretch.

As this was happening, Juggle began to accelerate heading into the final turn and quickly found himself used up on the lead. Perfect Start capitalized and overtook the leader in the turn. Post time favorite Meadow Wise also began to approach the front on the inside after a ground saving start. A length separated Perfect Start and Meadow Wise at the top of the stretch, as the challenger was urged to gain ground on the leader . However, Perfect Start continued to power ahead of his rival under a right hand whip and prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths. Romeo Again led the second wave of horses and finished four lengths behind Meadow Wise for third place. Early leader Juggle faded to last.

The 1 1/16 mile race was completed in 1:47:87 over a fast surface. Perfect Start raced at final odds of 5.10-to-one.

Perfect Start is homebred in Michigan by Charlie Williams and trained by Sandra Adkins. With the victory in the Mackinac, Perfect Start improved his lifetime record to three wins in six starts and notched his first stakes win in the process. His career earnings now total $49,570.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

2 – Perfect Start (Alexis Ortiz) 12.20 / 5.00 / 4.20
8 – Meadow Wise (Angel Stanley) 3.20 / 2.60
6 – Romeo Again (Federico Mata) 3.60

1 1/16 Miles
Time: 1:47.87

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Your winner, Perfect Start (photo from a previous race).

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Michigan Sophomore Championships Preview

Ann Arbor trio gets rematch in Michigan Oaks

Hakuna Matata leads a field of five to the gates in Saturday's Michigan Oaks at Pinnacle Race Course.

Hakuna Matata leads a field of five to the gates in Saturday's Michigan Oaks at Pinnacle Race Course.

After a disputed finish shuffled the positions of the top three finishers in the Ann Arbor Stakes, the same trio will try to settle the score in Saturday’s 1 1/16 mile, $50,000 Michigan Oaks at Pinnacle Race Course.

The situation stems from the stretch drive of the Aug. 1 stakes race, where Moon Charmer repeatedly bothered stablemate Baba Booyah as they dueled for the lead. Baba Booyah was eventually forced to check and faded to third behind a late-surging Hakuna Matata.

The beneficiary of the change in positions was Hakuna Matata. The Meadow Prayer filly closed from well behind to cross the line second in the Ann Arbor, her last start, and was elevated to first following the stewards’ ruling. Angel Stanley will ride Hakuna Matata for owner White Lake Farms, Inc. and trainer Larry Uelmen.

An overly physical stretch drive sent Baba Booyah spiraling from a potential stakes victory to a fading third place finish. After the race, she was moved up to second. Baba Booyah enters the Michigan Oaks off a 3/4 length victory in an Aug. 14 allowance race at Pinnacle. The Daylight Savings filly is trained by Bob Gorham for his sister, Marion Gorham. Jeffrey Skerrett will have the assignment.

The offending party in the Ann Arbor, Moon Charmer, is also entered in Saturay’s race. The Indian Charlie filly was taken down to third in her last stakes effort, also her most recent start, after finishing 1 1/4 lengths ahead of her next closest rival. Moon Charmer is owned by Mast Thoroughbreds LLC and trained by Bob Gorham. She will be ridden by Federico Mata.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. City Tour / J J Delgado / S M Spiess / 20-1
2. Flint / A A Marin / J R Jackson / 20-1
3. Hakuna Matata / A O Stanley / L R Uelmen / 8-5
4. Moon Charmer / F Mata / R M Gorham / 5-2
5.  Baba Booyah / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 6-5

Gorham sends out three in Mackinac Handicap

Juggle is one of three horses entered by trainer Robert Gorham and owner Mast Thoroughbreds, LLC.

Juggle is one of the three horses entered by trainer Bob Gorham and owner Mast Thoroughbreds, LLC in Saturday's Mackinac Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.

So far, Michigan’s three-year-old male division has literally been a two-horse race.

In the division’s two stakes races in 2009, stablemates Meadow Wise and Juggle have locked horns when the race was on the line. The pair figure to do the same in Saturday’s $50,000 Mackinac Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.

Meadow Wise holds a two-to-one advantage over Juggle in the head-to-head matchup, and is only a nose in the June 13 Lansing Stakes away from having the sweep. In their most recent meeting, the July 25 Dowling Stakes, Meadow Wise prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths. The Meadow Prayer gelding enters Saturday’s 1 1/16 mile race off a win by a nostril’s margin in an Aug. 7 allowance race at Pinnacle. Bob Gorham trains Meadow Wise for Mast Thoroughbreds LLC.

After leading the Dowling for all but the final strides, Juggle will look to even the series against his stablemate. The Elusive Hour colt gave way near the wire and was passed by a late-moving Romeo Again for the second place spot. He will be ridden by Jeffrey Skerrett in the Mackinac.

Juggle is owned and trained by the same connections as Meadow Wise, but they will compete as separate entries. The Mast/Gorham connection will also send out Reasontobefoolish, who enters off a victory in a $5,000 claiming event.

The horse who nipped Juggle at the wire for the runner-up spot in the Dowling, Romeo Again, is also entered in Saturday’s race. The Secret Romeo gelding stalked the lead pack and got up to take second by a head. He enters the Mackinac off a fifth place finish in an Aug. 7 allowance race at Presque Isle Downs. Romeo Again is owned by Lisa Campbell and II B’s Thoroughbreds. Ronnie Allen, Sr. trains Romeo Again, and will give jockey Federico Mata the leg up in Saturday’s race.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Juggle / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 6-1
2. Perfect Start / A Ortiz / S M Adkins / 7-2
3. Run Up The Score / J J Delgado / J R Jackson / 15-1
4. Reasontobefoolish / G Laurente / R M Gorham / 20-1
5. Jangle / A A Marin / D R Barron / 20-1
6. Romeo Again / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 5-1
7. Scrimpy / R Barrios / J R Jackson / 8-1
8. Meadow Wise / A O Stanley / R M Gorham / 6-5

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Meadow Wise, Happenedindamoonlite prevail in weekend’s stakes races

Meadow Wise gets breakthrough victory in Dowling Stakes

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Meadow Wise (2x) drives to the wire to win the Dowling Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

After getting close in several stakes attempts but always coming up short, Meadow Wise finally earned a blacktype win in Saturday’s $20,000 Dowling Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

The three-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding took a wide path from the outside post in the early goings and sat in fifth as I Found Friday and Juggle pressed for the lead. Meadow Wise began his move near the end of the backstretch and had Juggle within his sights as the two entered the final straightaway. The stablemates did battle throughout the final two furlongs, with Meadow Wise drawing even in the middle of the stretch. He gained the advantage in the final hundred feet and pulled away to win the race by 1 1/4 lengths in a driving finish under jockey Angel Stanley. A late-closing Romeo Again nosed out Juggle for second.

Meadow Wise covered the one mile distance in 1:41.68 over a fast track. He was part of a three-horse entry sent off as the 1.80-to-one favorite.

Meadow Wise is owned by Mast Thoroughbreds, LLC and trained by Robert Gorham. He was bred in Michigan by James Arnold, Marcia Arnold and Deborah Miley. The Dowling was Meadow Wise’s second career victory from 10 starts, coming off a maiden triumph in his last effort. With the win, Meadow Wise increased his career earnings to $58,126.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

2x – Meadow Wise (Angel Stanley) 5.60 / 2.80 / 3.20
1 – Romeo Again (Godofredo Laurente) 6.40 / 3.40
2b – Juggle (Jeffrey Skerrett) 3.20

One Mile
Time: 1:41.68 

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Your winner, Meadow Wise; Angel Stanley, up.
 

Happenedindamoonlite wins at long odds in Stallion Service Sale Futurity

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Happenedindamoonlite (5) crosses the line ahead of I Do One Two Three (1) to win the GLQHA Stallion Service Sale Futurity at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

Perhaps it was an omen that the saddlecloths in Sunday’s $36,483 GLQHA Stallion Service Sale Futurity were all green, the color commonly associated with the number five horse. 

Whatever it was, it did not cause any confusion when the race’s five horse, Happenedindamoonlite, pulled off the upset at odds of 11.10-to-one.

The two-year-old Jewels First Moon gelding broke well and established a small lead over the tightly-bunched pack heading into main stretch. Happenedindamoonlite and post time favorite I Do One Two Three gained a length’s separation from the field, but the leader never yielded and powered ahead to a half length victory under jockey Harold Collins. I Do One Two Three finished a half length ahead of late-moving Kit Corona for third.

Happenedindamoonlite stopped the clock in the 350 yard race at 17.840 seconds over a fast track.

Happenedindamoonlite is owned by Jack Geer and is trained by Ron Raper. He was bred in Michigan by First Moon Farms. The Stallion Service Sale Futurity victory was the gelding’s second win in four starts and increased his lifetime earnings to $22,401.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

5 – Happenedindamoonlite (Harold Collins) 24.20 / 9.00 / 2.80
1 – I Do One Two Three (Julie Veltman) 260 / 2.10
3c – Kit Corona (Juan Delgado) 2.60

350 Yards
Time: 17.840 seconds 

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Your winner, Happenedindamoonlite; Harold Collins, up.

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