Tag Archives: Nate Alcala

Opening day 2011 at Mount Pleasant Meadows

Opening day at Mount Pleasant Meadows was the climax of a roller coaster year for the central Michigan track. Porsche Pink is led to the winner's circle with Nate Alcala aboard.

On the track’s Aug. 1 closing day last year, the idea of Mount Pleasant Meadows hosting Michigan’s lone Thoroughbred meet seemed outlandish.

A lot can happen in a year.

The central Michigan racetrack’s July 24 opening day was last stop of a roller coaster offseason that included the shuttering of Pinnacle Race Course and months of “Will they? Won’t they?” tension as the state, the track and the horsemen all worked to get on the same page.

The pressure went down to the wire, as the Michigan Gaming Control Board balked on approving Mount Pleasant’s live meet until just days before it was scheduled to commence. Once the paperwork got signed, the gears got turning – and with little time to spare, they got turning fast.

Since Mount Pleasant called it a meet last year, I have been to more racetracks around the country than I can count on two hands. At no point was I more genuinely excited for a day of racing than I was for this year’s opening day.

By the time the horses came over for the first race, I could hardly contain my giddiness, and it lasted throughout the card. The tension that built up with every event that made it look like the place would never host another race had finally come uncoiled. This feeling could have also been due in no small part to mild dehydration, but it was still pretty amazing, nonetheless.

I have been watching and playing the races at Mount Pleasant for years, but for the first time since I first picked up a program, I had absolutely no idea how the races were going to shake out. Would the native horses and riders have a home-track advantage until the new ones figured out the four furlong bullring? Would class prevail regardless of the racing surface? Would horses and bloodlines that succeeded at five-furlong Great Lakes Downs recapture the magic? Would the horses bred for Pinnacle be able to adapt? As it turns out, the answer for just about all of these questions was “yes.” Every bettor on the grounds was on a level playing field, and it was an exciting time.

The best thing about opening day was, without a doubt, getting to see everyone in the same place – Thoroughbred people, Quarter Horse people, Arabian people and other fellow racing enthusiasts. Mount Pleasant is a very communal track, and that spirit was not lost on its new residents. I was glad to see this.

The crowd was robust – easily double the average attendance, if not more. I have never been good at eyeball estimating a crowd, so whenever I want to gauge the attendance at Mount Pleasant, I look out at the parking lot. On a normal day, the cars usually make two rows. On this day, they made four very long rows. It was kind of beautiful.

But enough talk, lets look at some pictures…

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Catch Me Ridin Dirty named A.R.A.B. of Michigan’s Horse of the Year

The connections of Arabian Horse of the Year Catch Me Ridin Dirty celebrate the gelding's victory at A.R.A.B. of Michigan's High Point Awards.

Two years after a 5 1/2-length maiden score on a June afternoon in 2009, the Arabian colony at Mount Pleasant Meadows is still playing catch-up with Catch Me Ridin Dirty.

The gap got a little wider after Catch Me Ridin Dirty was honored with his second Horse of the Year title at last Saturday’s Michigan Association of Racing Arabian Breeders High Point Awards at Stanton’s Clifford Lake Inn.

The five-year-old Aransas HF gelding, who goes by the barn name “Louie” when away from the racetrack, made the most of a shortened 2010 meet, with wins in three of his four starts for earnings of $7,509.

Catch Me Ridin Dirty’s showcase win came in the July 11 Independence Open, where he led at every point of call and drew off in the stretch to win by 3 3/4 lengths over a muddy course.

Homebred in Michigan and trained by Nicole Holst, Catch Me Ridin Dirty was also named Horse of the Year as a three-year-old in 2009. Holst, who earned Trainer of the Year honors, said her gelding will return in 2011 to defend his title once again.

Jockey of the Year Nate Alcala has ridden Catch Me Ridin Dirty in all 10 of his career starts, all at Mount Pleasant. The pair won eight of those starts, including two in stakes company, to earn $19,134.

Catch Me Ridin Dirty finished the evening with additional awards for top four-year-old male and Michigan-bred male.

Leading the evening’s award-winners was Tom and Joyce Fritz’s Hickory Lane Farms, Inc. The Sidney, Mich. farm took home four equine awards, along with the prizes for top owner and breeder.

The standout horse to run under Hickory Lane’s neon green colors was three-year-old-male of the year Get R Done.

The Virgule Al Maury gelding finished a perfect two-for-two in 2010 by a combined 29 lengths. A 23-length victory in the Aug. 1 Michigan Arabian Juvenile Stakes helped Get R Done earn a Darley Award nomination for champion three-year-old colt or gelding.

Michigan-bred Get R Done is trained by Mario Fritz for owner and breeder Tom Fritz. He has amassed career earnings of $5,150.

Get R Done was a runner-up for Horse of the Year honors, along with Stars and Stripes Distaff winner Shestheone and award-winning older male Zanthus Fury.

Behind the jump is the full list of winners from Saturday’s awards and their 2010 statistics.

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A.R.A.B. of Michigan names finalists for 2010 awards

Catch Me Ridin Dirty and Nate Alcala are strong contenders to defend their respective titles as Michigan's Arabian Horse and Jockey of the Year.

The Association of Racing Arabian Breeders of Michigan has released the list of year-end award nominees from the 2010 Mount Pleasant Meadows meet.

The winners will be decided Jan. 22 during the organization’s awards dinner at the Clifford Lake Inn in Stanton, Mich.. For more information on the dinner, or to make reservations, click here.

Four horses lead all finalists with nominations in three categories a piece. Defending Michigan Arabian Horse of the Year Catch Me Ridin Dirty shares that honor with Michigan Arabian Juvenile Stakes winner Get R Done, Stars and Stripes Distaff winner Shestheone and stakes-placed allowance winner Zanthus Fury. All four horses are finalists for Michigan’s Horse of the Year title.

On the human side of the awards, Nicole Holst leads all nominees as a finalist for champion owner, breeder and trainer.

A list of nominees from each category can be found behind the jump.

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Shestheone clear winner in Stars and Stripes Distaff

Shestheone - Nate Alcala 7@
Shestheone coasts to the wire to win the Stars and Stripes Distaff at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

A convincing turn of foot heading into the final turn carried Shestheone to victory in Sunday’s $6,200 Stars and Stripes Distaff at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

The five-year-old K A Czubuthan mare was hustled out of the gate and chased early leader French Fling from second as the field made its first pass in front of the grandstands. French Fling, Shestheone and post time favorite Mi Valentine Dancer drew even heading into the clubhouse turn and dueled for the lead throughout the bend. As they approached the backstretch, Mi Valentine Dancer and Shestheone pulled away from French Fling and opened up six lengths on the rest of the field. Mi Valentine Dancer led by as much as a half length on the outside of Shestheone, but the distance was quickly made up when Shestheone accelerated past her rival heading into the final turn.

Shestheone continued to separate herself from Mi Valentine Dancer and led by five lengths at the top of the stretch. She remained unchallenged and widened her advantage to 9 1/2 lengths at the finish line under jockey Nate Alcala. Mi Valentine Dancer held on for second by 3/4 lengths over late-moving Shezablessing.

The final time for the Stars and Stripes was 1:20.67. Shestheone was the field’s second choice at odds of 1.60-to-one.

Homebred in Texas by Tricia Schibik and also bred by Bruce Schibik, Shestheone is conditioned by Julie Post. The Stars and Stripes was Shestheone’s sixth win from 18 career starts, and her first stakes victory. With the win, her career earnings now total $12,845.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

3 – Shestheone (Nate Alcala) 5.40 / 2.80 / 2.40
4 – Mi Valentine Dancer (Oscar Delgado) 2.40 / 2.20
6 Shezablessing (Juan Delgado) 2.20

Six Furlongs
Time: 1:20.67

Shestheone - Nate Alcala 2
Your winner, Shestheone; Nate Alcala, up.

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Catch Me Ridin Dirty wires field in Independence Open

Catch Me Ridin Dirty - Nate Alcala 19@
Catch Me Ridin Dirty and jockey Nate Alcala come down the stretch to win the Independence Open at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

After a storm blew through the area earlier in the card and turned the racing surface into a mud pit, Catch Me Ridin Dirty stayed tight to the dry rail and led at every call to win Sunday’s $6,500 Independence Open at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

The four-year-old Aransas HF gelding was forwardly placed coming out of the gate, with Double Djeopardy and RFR Silver Crescent flanking him on both sides. Catch Me Ridin Dirty and Double Djeopardy quickly distanced themselves about three lengths from the rest of the pack and dueled for the lead heading onto the main track. As the field crossed the wire for the first time, Catch Me Ridin Dirty overtook his rival and moved over to the rail. He held a length and a half advantage over Zanthus Fury, who had come into contention on the outside, heading into the clubhouse turn.

Catch Me Ridin Dirty held a comfortable two-length cushion across the backstretch as Zanthus Fury and Double Djeopardy battled for position behind him. A well-urged Double Djeopardy inched closer to the leader coming out of the final turn, but the Catch Me Ridin Dirty repelled the challenge and was hand-ridden to the wire by jockey Nate Alcala on his way to a 3 3/4 length victory. Double Djeopardy finished two lengths ahead of Zanthus Fury for second place.

Catch Me Ridin Dirty completed the six furlong race in 1:26.58 over a fast dirt surface. He went off as the 0.90-to-one post time favorite.

Homebred in Michigan and trained by Nicole Holst, Catch Me Ridin Dirty improved his career record to seven wins from nine starts, and a perfect two-for-two in stakes company. His effort in the Independence Open increased his earnings to $17,384.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

3 – Catch Me Ridin Dirty (Nate Alcala) 3.80 / / 2.10
2 – Double Djeopardy (Oscar Delgado) 2.10 / 2.10
5 – Zanthus Fury (Juan Delgado) 2.10

Six Furlongs
Time: 1:26.58

Catch Me Ridin Dirty - Nate Alcala 6
Your winner, Catch Me Ridin Dirty; Nate Alcala, up.

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Alcala, Shestheone reunite in Stars and Stripes Distaff

Shestheone and jockey Nate Alcala will try to re-create their past success in Sunday's Stars and Stripes Distaff at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

Sometimes a horse and rider just click.

That seems to be the case jockey Nate Alcala and Arabian Shestheone, who will join forces after some time apart in Sunday’s $6,500 Stars and Stripes Distaff at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

A field of six will meet for the Stars and Stripes, a six furlong race for Arabian fillies and mares, three years old and up.

Nate Alcala will have the mount aboard Shestheone for the first time in two races. In their last two starts together, the duo won both races by a combined 19 lengths. The five-year-old K A Czubuthan mare then finished off the board in her next two starts without Alcala. She enters the Stars and Stripes off an unplaced finish in a June 27 allowance race at Mount Pleasant. Nicole Holst trains Shestheone for owner Tricia Schibik.

Holst will also saddle Mi Valentine Dancer in the Stars and Stripes. The five-year-old Line Dancer mare owns a win and a runner-up finish at Mount Pleasant after racing in Texas and Colorado in 2009. Her most recent effort was a victory by a head’s margin in a June 20 allowance race at Mount Pleasant. Owned by Lapco Arabians, Mi Valentine Dancer wil be ridden by Oscar Delgado.

Also entered is Tom Fritz’s Shezablessing. The five-year-old Baron Pasb mare has registered thirds of all three of her starts in 2010, the most recent coming in a July 4 allowance race at Mount Pleasant. Trainer Mario Fritz will give Juan Delgado the leg up aboard Shezablessing on Sunday.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. French Fling / L Gates / T Briggs / 10-1
2. Fly Without Wings / J Ritchards / L A Roberts / 8-1
3. Shestheone / N Alcala / N Holst / 2-1
4. Mi Valentine Dancer / O Delgado / N Holst / 7-5
5. Sey Proofs Lavitra / Q Bernard / T Briggs / 6-1
6. Shezablessing / J F Delgado / M Fritz / 4-1

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Montis Grand Concept wins Michigan Bred Futurity

Trainer Dave Gates completed his sweep of Sunday’s stakes races when Montis Grand Concept showed a big final kick to win the $20,000 Michigan Bred Futurity at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

The One Grand Concept filly broke from the rail and quickly took a slight lead in the opening strides. She held a nose advantage entering the main stretch over Livinggood, Who Wants What, Striking Rolla and Justa Struttin who all dueled for the lead. Montis Grand Concept accelerated as the wire approached and separated herself from the scrum to win by 1 1/4 lengths under jockey Nate Alcala. Livinggood carried on for second by a neck over Who Wants What.

Montis Grand Concept stopped the clock in the 300-yard race at 15.885 seconds over a fast track. She was part of a four-horse entry from the Gates stable that went off as the post-time favorite at odds of 1.20-to-one.

Montis Grand Concept was bred in Michigan by Sue Belden and is owned by Lawrence Belden. Montis Grand Concept’s record stands at two wins from three career starts for total earnings of $10,950. The Michigan Bred Futurity was her first stakes victory.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

1 – Montis Grand Concept (Nate Alcala) 4.40 / 2.80 / 3.40
3- Livinggood (Oscar Delgado) 2.80 / 2.40
1C – Who Wants What (Aron Hunt) 4.40 / 2.80 / 3.40

300 yards
Time: 15.885 seconds

Montis Grand Concept - Nate Alcala 1
Your winner, Montis Grand Concept; Nate Alcala, up (Photo from a previous race).

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Mount Pleasant Meadows in photos

The Mount Pleasant Meadows 2010 meet is off and running; as is Thoroughbred Sweet at Best, ridden by Nate Alcala.

The first two weeks of Mount Pleasant Meadows’ 2010 meet are in the books.

I’ve been telling a lot of long-winded stories lately, so for the beginning of Mount Pleasant’s season, I’m going to let the photos do most of the talking. Between stakes races and general goings-on, more than enough will be written about the central Michigan track in due time.

For those interested in a written description of the track, my review of last year’s opening day can be found here. A few names and faces may have shuffled since last year, but the general feel of the place remains the same.

Before we commence with the photos, this seems as good a time as any to once again plug the Mount Pleasant Meadows Facebook page, to which I have been contributing. Readers interested in learning more about the track are encouraged to become “fans” by visiting the page and clicking on the appropriate button.

Now, without further ado, behind the jump are photos from the last two week’s worth of races at Mount Pleasant Meadows. Enjoy!

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Holst leads award winners at A.R.A.B. year-end dinner

Catch Me Ridin Dirty, jockey Nate Alcala and trainer Nicole Holst were each well-represented in A.R.A.B. of Michigan's year-end awards.

Trainer Nicole Holst wrapped up a successful 2009 campaign by securing an armload of awards for herself and her charges at the Association of Racing Arabian Breeders of Michigan’s year-end awards dinner.

The awards were presented Jan. 9 in Mt. Pleasant.

Holst led all trainers with six awards for horses in her stable, including Horse of the Year Catch Me Ridin Dirty. She also took home two individual awards as Michigan’s champion trainer and breeder.

Catch Me Ridin Dirty earned three awards on the evening, the most of any horse. In addition to Horse of the Year, the Aransas HF gelding also picked up honors for champion three-year-old male and Michigan-Bred of the Year. His dominant meet at Mt. Pleasant also earned Catch Me Ridin Dirty national attention when he was named a finalist for the Darley Award as champion three-year-old male.

Owner Tom Fritz was also well-represented with three awards, including Owner of the Year. Fritz’s award-winning stable included the champions in both four year-old divisions – Zanthus Fury (male) and ARC Midewst Maturity Distaff Stakes winner Pachet (female).

To view the preview for the awards, including the full list of nominees in each category, click here.

A full list of winners (with pictures!) can be found behind the jump.

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Catch Me Ridin Dirty nominated for Darley Award

Catch Me Ridin Dirty's dominant 2009 campaign earned the gelding a Darley Award nomination for champion three- year-old male.

Michigan-Bred Arabian Catch Me Ridin Dirty is a Darley Award finalist for champion three-year-old male.

The Darley Awards are the Arabian equivalent of Thoroughbred racing’s Eclipse Awards. The winners will be announced March 13 in Houston, Texas.

Catch Me Ridin Dirty was Michigan’s top three-year-old male in 2009. He notched five wins from six starts in his juvenile season for earnings of $11,625. His lone defeat was a second-place finish to an older horse.

The Aransas HF gelding was campaigned in 2009 by owner Diana Jackson and trainer/breeder Nicole Holst. Nate Alcala rode Catch Me Ridin Dirty in every start.

Catch Me Ridin Dirty capped off his 2009 campaign with an emphatic 12 1/2 length victory in the Sept. 27 Michigan Juvenile Stakes at Mt. Pleasant. His five wins last year were by a total of 29 1/2 lengths.

Other three-year-olds nominated for the award include stakes winner A Ladys Man, multiple stakes placed Full of Fiesta, multiple stakes winner Lacy Crazy Vaz and Grade 2 winner Quite a Show.

Another Darley nominee with experience at Mt. Pleasant is MW Bonnie Z. The K A Czubuthan mare, who is a finalist for champion older mare honors, was a stakes winner at the Michigan track in 2008. She did not make any starts at Mt. Pleasant in 2009.

For more information on the Darley Awards and to see the full list of nominees, click here.

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