Tag Archives: Mr. Conclusive

Answers to the five burning questions of 2009

The success of Romeo Again helped his sire, Secret Romeo, establish himself as Michigan's breakout sire of 2009.

At the beginning of the year, I posed five questions about racing in Michigan to consider for the following year. Now that the year is almost over, it is time to look back at those questions and see how they were answered.

#1 – Who will be the breakout sire of 2009?

The Answer: In the original post, I singled out The Deputy (Ire) as a sire who could make some noise when his first crop as a Michigan-based stallion hit the track. As it turns out, I was right and wrong. The Deputy was the leading national earner among all Michigan sires who fit my criteria as a breakout candidate – sires considered “new”, “unproven” or in The Deputy’s case “new to Michigan”. However, he made most of his money in West Virginia.

The Petardia (GB) stallion ranked eighth in West Virginia by juvenile earnings with $62,178, highlighted by Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes runner-up Kid Kearny Gabe. The Deputy only sent three juvenile starters to the gates in Michigan to finish 29th in juvenile earnings, with no Michigan-bred stakes starters. However, the West Virginia contingent did show up to represent The Deputy in the Sire Stakes. Kid Kearny Gabe stepped up once again to finish second in the two-year-old males division of the fall classic.

When considering Michigan sires with success in Michigan, the label “breakout sire of ’09” would probably best fit Secret Romeo. The Service Stripe horse sired his first stakes winner when Romeo Again won the three-year-old males division of the Sire Stakes on his way to earning a share of the division’s top honors.

Secret Romeo ranked seventh in general earnings for Michigan-breds in 2009 with $159,612. His second crop hit the track in 2009.

#2 – How will Mr. Conclusive follow up on his dominant 2008 campaign?

The Answer: Not so hot. After a tumultuous winter and a long layoff, Mr. Conclusive missed the board in three starts during his 2009 campaign. Hopefully he can get it turned around for 2010.

#3 – Whose Sire Stakes streak will stay alive – Valley Loot or Meadow Vespers?

The Answer: At the beginning of the year, I predicted that Valley Loot would have a smoother road to a third consecutive Sire Stakes win based on the strength of her division and the quality of graduating three-year-olds she would face in 2009.

After an amazing four year streak that spanned two racetracks and two divisions, Meadow Vespers’ signature closing kick came up empty in the older males division to snap his run. Meadow Vespers, a seven-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding, finished fifth in that race to Bipolar Express, one of the previously mentioned newcomers to the division.

Valley Loot, on the other hand, kept her streak alive with a 1 1/2 length score in the older mares division. The five-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare also tallied her third straight Michigan Horse of the Year honors in 2009. Can she keep that streak going? That will be a question for 2010.

#4 – What will be new at Pinnacle Race Course?

The Answer: In terms of planned Phase Two developments, nothing much. The economic situation of the state, the track and the racing industry understandably made it difficult to expand at this time.

However, the track did make a small, but significant addition that made a day at the races much more enjoyable. The festival tent in in the grandstand area was a big step up from the temporary bleachers that occupied the space in 2008. Aside from providing some much-needed shade and protection from the elements, the additional tables, TV screens and mutuel windows it provided made it much more worthwhile to watch the races from that end of the track. Kudos to whoever came up with that idea.

#5 – How much of a difference will a few extra weeks of pre-meet training make?

The Answer: One of the issues many attributed to the field sizes in 2008 was that Pinnacle did not open up for training until a few days before opening day. A constant stream of heavy rains kept Pinnacle from opening the track, which lowered the number of race-ready horses when the meet began. This year, there were no delays.

The effect this extra time had on the field sizes at Pinnacle is hard to determine. In 2008, it seemed as though the fields were either really big or really small. In 2009, the number was more consistent, but it meant more six or seven horse fields – enough to play most exotics, but not enough to give them the kind of payoffs that make them lucrative. We’ll call this one a push.

Look for the Burning Questions for 2010 in the coming weeks.


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Lots of entries, few betting interests in weekend’s stakes races

Mr. Conclusive, last years Champion two-year-old male will look to keep his undefeated streak alive this Saturday.

Mr. Conclusive, last year's champion two-year-old male, will look to keep his undefeated streak alive this Saturday.

Mr. Conclusive makes ’09 debut in Dowling Stakes

A deflated purse did not scare the entries off, as an overflow field was drawn for Saturday’s $20,000 Dowling Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

The one mile race for three-year-old colts and geldings is one of four stakes races on Pinnacle’s schedule to be decreased from $50,000 to $20,000 to cover the cost of operations for the Office of Racing Commissioner.

The Dowling also marks the return of 2008 Michigan Two-Year-Old of the Year Mr. Conclusive from an extended hiatus.

Mr. Conclusive was undefeated in four starts in his juvenile campaign, winning all three of Pinnacle’s two-year-old male stakes races by a combined 17 1/4 lengths. His most recent victory was a 2 1/4 length romp in last year’s Michigan Futurity at the Detroit-area racetrack.

The Elusive Hour colt is owned by Charlie Williams and trained by Sandra Adkins. He will have the services of Thistledown rider Jane Magrell on Saturday.

The Robert Gorham/Henry Mast connection will send three entries to post, highlighted by Lansing Stakes winner Juggle.

The Elusive Hour colt outlasted stablemate Meadow Wise to take the Lansing by a nose on June 13. He enters the Dowling off a seventh-place finish against older company in the July 4 Wolverine Stakes. Juggle will be ridden by Jeffrey Skerrett.

Also entered is another part of the Gorham/Mast three-horse entry, Meadow Wise. 

The Meadow Prayer gelding rallied late, but missed by a nose to Juggle in the Lansing. Despite an active stakes campaign at two and three, Meadow Wise enters the race off his maiden victory, a 1 1/2 length driving win against Maiden Special Weight company on July 4 at Pinnacle. Angel Stanley will ride Meadow Wise in the Dowling.  

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds
1. Romeo Again / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 10-1
1a. I Found Friday / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 10-1
2. Reasontobefoolish / A Estrada / R M Gorham / 9-5
2b. Juggle / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 9-5
2x. Meadow Wise / A O Stanley / R M Gorham / 9-5
3. Scrimpy / R Barrios / J R Jackson / 6-1
4. Mr. Conclusive / J M Magrell / S M Adkins / 8-5
4d. Elusive Furrari / A A Marin / S M Adkins / 8-5
5. Red Bow Tie / J J Delgado / R J Rettele / 8-1
6. Countonsuccess / I R Gonzalez / D D Waite / 5-1

3c. Run Up The Score / A Estrada / J R Jackson / 6-1

Dials Corona for Me headlines Stallion Service Sale Futurity

Dials Corona For Me will seek her second straight stakes victory at Mount Pleasant Meadows this Sunday.

Dials Corona For Me will seek her second straight stakes victory at Mount Pleasant Meadows this Sunday.

After a driving win in her first stakes race, Dials Corona for Me will look to add some more blacktype to her resume in Sunday’s $36,483 GLQHA Stallion Service Sale Futurity at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

The two-year-old Corona for Me filly enters the 350 yard race for juveniles as the field’s lone stakes winner. She accomplished that feat in the June 14 Michigan Bred Futurity at Mount Pleasant, winning the race by a half length.

Owned and trained by Anthony Cunningham, Dials Corona For Me enters the race off a second place finish in the July 12 trials. She will be ridden by Oscar Delgado. 

After turning in the fastest time of the four trials, I Do One Two Three is part of the two-horse entry set as the morning line favorite. The Judy’s Lineage paint gelding finished a half length ahead of Dials Corona for Me to stop the clocks at :17.87 seconds in the 350-yard race. The trial was the horse’s first race at Mount Pleasant following three starts at Retama Park.

I Do One Two Three is owned by T Bill Stables and trained by Jay Hall. Julie Veltman will be in the irons for the final.

Also entered is Ron Raper charge Happenedindamoonlite. Owned by Jack Geer, the Jewels First Moon gelding finished second in the Michigan Bred Futurity. Happenedindamoonlite was a two-length winner in his trial, finishing the race with a time of :18.07 seconds. Regular rider Harold Collins retains the mount.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds
1. I Do One Two Three / J Veltman / J Hall / 7-5
1a. Alley Rose 123 / C Riley / J Hall / 7-5
2. Runnin Is My Game / L Gates / D N Gates / 6-1
2b. Tuff Southern Gal / N Alcala / D N Gates / 6-1
2c. Cc Cartel / M Holmes / D N Gates / 6-1
3. Dials Corona For Me / O Delgado / A F Cunningham / 2-1
3c. Kit Corona / J F Delgado / A F Cunningham / 2-1
4. Fearless Fred / R Rettele / C Rettele / 7-1
5. Happenedindamoonlite / H Collins / R Raper / 7-1
6. Playin Favorites / J J Delgado / C Rettele / 10-1

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Michigan Notebook: May 8, 2009

– As if the Michigan racing industry didn’t have enough on its plate fighting for next year’s Ag Equine Fund monies, Gov. Jennifer Granholm landed another haymaker on Tuesday. From the Michigan HBPA… 

GOVERNOR’S ORDER: An executive order to reduce the projected 1.2 billion shortfall for Michigan’s 2008-09 Budget was issued May 5, 2009 to cut 300 million dollars. In the order to restore a reduction in ORC funding of 3.8 million, 1.4 million was taken from the thoroughbred programs for 2009. In doing so, that leaves -0- for Michigan bred supplements, breeders awards, and stakes races. End result, the state saves .12%, but takes 100% from equine funds. Not certain .12% will have any significant impact on the states problems, certain  100% reduction surely eliminates the breeding industry in Michigan. Attempts will be made to restore funding to an industry that is and has been a producer for the state. It is difficult to understand the rationale to eliminate a revenue producing industry, especially when the revenue received for programs comes directly from the statewide thoroughbred simulcast signal.

This new twist is part of my continuing investigation regarding the state’s cuts to the racing industry. I know I have been teasing this for a while, but the story will be coming to fruition sooner rather than later.

– Representatives from the various facets of the horse racing industry testified Wednesday before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. A horsemen’s rally was held in front of the Capitol Building before the hearing, organized by the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association. Aside from gathering around the Capitol and holding signs, the horsemen took up the side of the road with trucks, trailers, tractors and other farm equipment. It was quite the sight. Though the event was put on by the harness people, whose numbers reached triple digits, it was also open to horsemen from the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse sectors, of which I am disappointed to say there were very few.

As for the hearing itself, the horsemen represented themselves very well in their testimonies, explaining the industry’s impact on the state economy and its struggles from within the state and elsewhere.

Speaking for the Thoroughbred sector was breeder/MTOBA Director Rick McCune, Michigan HBPA Executive Director Gary Tinkle and owner/trainer/HBPA Director Robert Gorham. Mount Pleasant Meadows was represented by  Great Lakes Quarter Horse Association Vice President Carolyn Bay and owner Mike Bale. I’m not going to claim that I know too much about the harness side of the racing business, but the MHHA’s president, Brett Boyd is one heck of a public speaker. His speeches during the rally and before the subcommittee were both top shelf. Also delivering a convincing testimony in favor of the racing industry was former Michigan Speaker of the House Larry Julian, who recieved applause from the capacity crowd afterward.

Now, we’ll see if any of it made any effect on the House members in attendance.

Once the House makes its recommendations, it will meet with the Senate for a joint session before sending their version of the budget to the Governor for her approval.

– This Sunday marks the rescheduled opening day at Mount Pleasant Meadows. The card filled, but the fields are still very small. Of the eight races, four feature five-horse fields and the other four will send four horses to the gates. 

– In some unfortunate news, I came out of the Great Lakes Downs online auction empty-handed. It looks like that moment of sweet redemption where I finally get that clump of dirt isn’t going to happen. Boo-urns. However, it appears the Muskegon Chronicle has picked up the slack in terms of recording the tearing down of the track in this article.

– Speaking of Great Lakes Downs, the two-plus-year investigation by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau finally produced some kind of results on Thursday. Tampa Bay Online reports that jockey Ricardo Valdes was “indicted Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit sports bribery.” Valdes is one of seven jockeys, including regular GLD riders T.D. Houghton, Joe Judice, and Jose Delgado, who faced scrutiny following a number of suspicious bets placed at Delaware Park on a race at Great Lakes Downs in 2006. Valdes was not a regular rider at GLD, but made occasional appearances at the Muskegon track during the 2006 race meet.

– Now that training has opened up at Pinnacle Race Course, a new feature I am going to try to get going is listing some of the notable workouts at Pinnacle for the previous week. Here is the trial run…

2008 MI 2yo of the year Mr. Conclusive – May 5 – 3f, 39.40b, 13/20
2008 Sickle’s Image winner Ittybittymeadow – May 5 – 3f, 38.20b, 8/20
4 1/2 furlong track record holder Weepster – May 5 – 3f 39.40b, 13/20
2008 Mackinac Hcp. winner Bishop Casey – May 5 – 4f, 51.20b, 3/5

– One more thing. Consider this your fair warning that the alternative wagering poll is coming down in the near future, likely sometime next week. After a long neck-and-neck battle, the slot machines are once again beginning to pull away from advance deposit wagering. Can they hang on? That’s up to you. Go vote!

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Five burning questions for Michigan racing in 2009

   Hubel Farms' The Deputy (Ire) is poised for a big year in 2009.

Hubel Farms' The Deputy (Ire) is poised for a big year in 2009.

First order of business: This is your last chance to vote in the “day racing vs. night racing” poll before I close the ballot box. If you have not already let your voice be heard, you still have time.

Now on to the matter at hand…

Last year was one of finding answers to important questions in Michigan racing.

Some of the more important ones, such as “where are we going to race this year” were answered, while questions about the sport’s long-term health in the state still linger. 

Every new year brings a new set of questions that must be answered, and this one is no exception. Here are five to ponder while you await the June 5 opening of Pinnacle Race Course…

1. Who will be this year’s breakout sire?

Every year, there seems to be one new or unheralded Michigan stallion whose progeny come up big and draw lots of mares to his breeding shed the following season.

In 2008, Elusive Hour’s second crop produced the top two finishers in the Michigan Futurity, including two-year-old male of the year, Mr. Conclusive. In previous years, Equality’s multiple stakes-winning freshman crop and Island Storm’s success with Weatherstorm generated similar buzz.

With a large juvenile crop ready to hit the track, the stallion with the best chance of claiming the unofficial title in 2009 could be The Deputy (Ire).

Purchased by Hubel Farms in 2005, The Deputy will send his first two-year-olds as a Michigan sire to the track this year. The 11-year-old Petardia horse began his stallion career at Kentucky’s Margaux Farm where he saw moderate, if underwhelming, success, siring Panamanian champion Happy Buy and stakes winners at Hawthorne Race Course, Retama Park and Portland Meadows.

Though success at the highest levels of Kentucky racing may have eluded him, the achievements of his foals at tracks of comparative class to Pinnacle could bode well for The Deputy.

Further aiding The Deputy’s chances for success will be that he should have the most tries at siring this year’s juvenile standout. In his first year as a Michigan sire, The Deputy covered 55 mares, producing 30 foals, both state-leading totals.

However, strength in numbers means little if none of his foals can live up to the hype on the racetrack.

Because none of The Deputy’s foals from his stint in Kentucky have ventured into Michigan for any kind of serious competition (there may have been a few odd ones appear in the claiming ranks, but none immediately come to mind), the only measuring stick available is the sight test.

Though I was exposed to only a small sampling of his foals, the ones sent through the ring at last September’s Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association yearling sale were among the best looking in the barn. In particular, a gray filly named Dance in Delight looked well-developed and could be one to watch in the coming years.

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Campbell Stables, Arnold Farm clean up at MTOBA year-end awards

After three years of success on the racetrack, the only question that remains surrounding Campbell Stables’ prized filly Valley Loot is where to go from here.

The four-year-old Demaloot Demashoot filly threw two more awards, including another Michigan Horse of the Year nod, onto her already impressive heap of honors at Sunday’s Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association awards banquet and silent auction.

I always enjoy going to the MTOBA banquet. It gives me an opportunity to talk to people in the business and acquire some memorabilia and reading material for the coming year in the silent auction.

However, being a quasi-broke college student in a room full of people with money (I know a lot of horsemen are hurting financially right now, but if you can afford to feed a double-digit herd for more than 15 minutes, you probably have more in the bank than I do) makes going home with the big-ticket items tough.

This year’s marquee item(s) was a set of paintings, one of Barbaro and one of Secretariat, signed by each horse’s owner and jockey. I do not recall how much the set sold for, but the last time I checked on it, the high bid was somewhere in the $500 range.

I was disappointed to see some of the higher-end items I had my eye on (an A.P. Indy halter and a print of a Keeneland painting) go for more than I was willing to spend, but I still managed to leave with $120 worth of books for me and Christmas gifts for the family.  

One more thing about the auction. It was surprising to see most of the stallion seasons go completely untouched.

Though I did not watch the bids that closely, the only stallion I saw getting any action at all was Service Stripe, who will make his return to Michigan in 2009 after standing in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.Unless someone placed some bids after I last checked their sheets, proven sires like Demaloot Demashoot and promising ones like Elusive Hour and Monetary Star did not receive a single bid. 

If I had a broodmare, I could have done quite well for myself, snagging up breedings to some decent Michigan stallions for less than half their posted stud fees. Of course, the breeding and sales industries are hurting so badly, both locally and nationally, that it seems no one is looking to breed, and rightfully so. From that standpoint, I can understand the lack of bids, but from the perspective of someone constantly looking for that good deal, I was left scratching my head.

But you’re not here to read about my fortunes in the silent auction, are you?

Let’s have a look at this year’s award nominees and see who took home the prizes…

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Valley Loot named Pinnacle’s top Thoroughbred

Jockey Mike Allen twirls his whip in victory after Pinnacle Horse of the Meet Valley Loot's Sire Stakes victory.

Jockey Mike Allen twirls his whip in victory after Pinnacle Horse of the Meet Valley Loot's Sire Stakes win.

Winning is nothing new to Valley Loot.

The four-year-old Demaloot Demashoot filly has done little else but finish first in her career, winning Sire Stakes races in two straight years and tallying up eight other stakes victories at Pinnacle Race Course and Great Lakes Downs.

All that success led to plenty of honors, including 2007 Michigan Horse of the year. Valley Loot added yet another trophy to her case on Saturday after winning the inaugural Horse of the Meet title at Pinnacle Race Course.

Pretty much all of the information in this post comes from the Daily Racing Form website. To see the original story by C.A. Shoemaker, click here.

If you are still here, I will go on…

The awards were presented in the Pinnacle Pavilion following last Saturday’s card. Track announcer Matt Hook selected the winners in each division, as well as leading owner, trainer, jockey and claiming horse.

While many of winners were fairly predictable, there were a few that could be open to debate, namely the three-year-old male division. However, considering that the awards were based solely on performance at the New Boston racetrack, not on the individual’s complete body of work, .

With that in mind, let us take a look at this year’s winners…
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Mr. Conclusive remains undefeated on Michigan Juvenile Saturday

Two-year-old Flint shows a little fire in the paddock before the Juvenile Fillies Futurity.

Two-year-old Flint shows a little fire in the paddock before the Michigan Fillies Futurity.

The races for Michigan Horse of the Year in the two juvenile divisions took another step toward sorting themselves out on Saturday following the Michigan Futurities at Pinnacle Race Course.

Also on the card Saturday was a $20,000 allowance race, pitting several competitors from this year’s Sire Stakes against each other for one more start in their home state.

With such a big day of racing on the card, I decided to head down to Pinnacle for one last day at the races before Sunday’s final date of the meet. I left the grounds with about $50 more than I came in with, so I would consider the day a rousing success.

Saturday was also one of Pinnacle’s giveaway days, with the free item being a newspaper-sponsored poster of the racetrack’s jockeys. In the patio area, said jockeys were made available to sign the posters. From what I saw, they were far from swamped with autograph requests, but I am glad to see Pinnacle trying to get the fans connected with the people on the track. At the moment, none of the faces on the poster have enough drawing power to make the promotion attract many more fans than an average Saturday afternoon (the people at the door were left with stacks of leftover posters), but perhaps after a few years, after a few of the jockeys get some inches in the local newspapers (and NOT for fixing races, guilty or not), the general public may single out some fan favorites. Either way, It is good to see Pinnacle trying things to draw people in.

Alright, less yappin’ more recappin’…
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