Tag Archives: Romeo Again

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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Top finishers in Michigan Breeders’ Cup meet again in Frontier Handicap

The horses of Michigan’s older males division will have one more opportunity to prove themselves before October’s Sire Stakes race in Saturday’s $50,000 Frontier Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.

Eleven Michigan-breds will contest the mile and one eighth Frontier; the largest stakes field the division has produced during the 2010 meet at Pinnacle. Last year’s running was taken by All I Can Get.

Romeo Again found the winner’s circle in the last stakes meeting of the older males division, with a driving half length score in the Aug. 14 Michigan Breeders’ Cup Handicap. The four-year-old Secret Romeo gelding has shown a preference for longer distances, having only missed the board once in six career races at a mile or longer. However, this will be Romeo Again’s first start at a mile and an eighth. Regular rider Federico Mata retains the mount for owners Lisa Campbell and II B’s Thoroughbreds. Romeo Again is trained by Patrick White.

Also entered is Michigan Breeders’ Cup runner-up Perfect Start. The four-year-old Jump Start colt has finished second in both of his stakes attempts at Pinnacle, having also missed by a head in the July 3 Wolverine Stakes. Perfect Start will be saddled by Sandra Adkins for owner Charlie J Williams LLC. Christian Pilares comes north from Ohio to take the mount.

Power of Titus will try to build on his recent stakes success by testing his skill against the older males division. The three-year-old Secret Romeo gelding has spent his 2010 campaign bouncing between Pinnacle and Mountaineer in West Virginia. He enters the Frontier off a length and a quarter win against his fellow Michigan-bred three-year-olds in the Sept. 4 Mackinac Handicap at Pinnacle. Octavio Bernal will have the riding assignment aboard Power of Titus for owner and trainer Del Waite.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Hot Chili / W P Rini / J R Jackson / 15-1
2. Perfect Start / C P Pilares / S M Adkins / 4-1
3. Scrimpy / L M Quinones / J R Jackson / 20-1
4. Fiery Lake / R Barrios / J Gold / 5-1
5. Romeo Again / F Mata / P L White / 7-2
6. Bishop Casey / T Molina / R M Gorham / 9-2
7. Bipolar Express / R D Allen, Jr. / G S Bennett / 10-1
8. Meadow Wise / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 8-1
9. Dream Victory / J J Delgado / J R Jackson / 15-1
10. Power Of Titus / O Bernal / L R Uelmen / 12-1
11. Meadow Vespers / A Hernandez-Lopez / R J Rettele / 20-1

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Romeo Again rallies in Michigan Breeders’ Cup Handicap

Romeo Again reeled in his rivals down the stretch to win Saturday’s $20,000 Michigan Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.

The Secret Romeo gelding was unhurried on the rail by jockey Federico Mata as post time favorite Meadow Wise took the early lead, followed closely by Perfect Start. Meadow Wise entered the turn with about a length over Perfect Start. The pair opened up three lengths on third place Romeo Again, but set a leisurely opening half mile at :50.19 seconds. Meadow Wise held off Perfect Start across the backstretch, but the Perfect Start took to the rail and drew even with the leader heading into the final turn, four lengths ahead of Romeo Again in third.

Perfect Start and Meadow Wise dueled throughout the bend and entered the top of the stretch neck and neck. Meanwhile, Romeo Again had chipped away from his margin behind the lead duo and prepared to make a three-wide move on the outside. Meadow Wise, out of gas, faded quickly down the stretch, leaving Perfect Start and a rapidly gaining Romeo Again to battle for the last 100 yards. Under left-handed urging from Mata, Romeo Again got up in the final strides to beat Perfect Start by a half length. Bishop Casey made a late bid for third place.

Romeo Again completed the one mile race in 1:48.06 on a fast dirt surface. He left the gates as the longest price in the field at odds of 4.90-to-one.

Romeo Again was homebred in Michigan by Felicia Campbell/Campbell Stables and also owned by II B’s Thoroughbred. He was saddled by Patrick White.

With the win in Saturday’s race, Romeo Again improved his career record to four wins from 16 career starts, including two wins in stakes company. His earnings now total $75,193.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

2 – Romeo Again (Federico Mata) 11.80 / 6.20
3 – Perfect Start (Alexis Ortiz) 6.40
1 – Bishop Casey (Tommy Molina)

One Mile
Time: 1:48.06

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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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Mata wins three in Michigan Sire Stakes

The following Sire Stakes recaps are presented without shots of the winning horse and rider courtesy of Sunlight Photography, Pinnacle’s track photographers who threatened to have my camera taken away if I photographed anything except the races themselves, which I was “allowed” to do. All of this happened despite having obtained a media photo credential from track management.

But enough about my day, let’s talk about some races…

Bipolar Express wins stretch battle in Classic
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Bipolar Express (4) duels to the wire with Demagoguery (7) and Hot Chili (1, inside) to win the Michigan Sires Classic at Pinnacle Race Course.

The streak is dead. Long live the streak.

After four years of Sire Stakes consistency by Meadow Vespers, Bipolar Express began a run of his own by winning his second straight October Classic race in Saturday’s $50,000 Michigan Sires Classic at Pinnacle Race Course.

The four-year-old Equality gelding broke with the front pack and battled for the early lead with Hot Chili and Mt. Factor before cooling off and taking a stalking position as the field headed into the first turn. Hot Chili dueled from the rail with Mt. Factor, who maintained a small advantage through the turn and across the first half of the backstretch. Bipolar Express sat two lengths behind the lead duo and began to make his move to on the outside with about five furlongs to go.

Bipolar Express gained the advantage heading into the final turn as Mt. Factor began to fall off the pace. As Bipolar Express and Hot Chili battled into the stretch, Demegoguery also began to gain ground. The lead pair traded bobs of the head throughout the stretch with Demagogurey chipping away on the outside. In the final strides, Bipolar Express put a head in front to prevail under jockey T.D. Houghton. Hot Chili finished a neck ahead of Demagoguery  for the runner-up money.

Bipolar Express stopped the clock in the 1 1/8 mile race with a time of 1:54.21 on a fast track. He left the gates as the second choice of 1.60-to-one. Post time favorite Meadow Vespers had his usual ground saving trip, but came up empty in the stretch.

Bred in Michigan by Gene and Phyllis Gilmore, Bipolar Express is owned by Winning Stables, Inc. and trained by Gerald Bennett. The Sire Stakes victory completes a successful re-claim by Bennett, who lost Bipolar Express to trainer Scott Lake for a $25,000 tag two races ago at Presque Isle Downs. Bennett claimed his charge back in the next race for $35,000

With the win, Bipolar Express improved his career record to seven wins from 27 starts. The race was also his second stakes win, after winning last year’s three-year-old Sire Stakes at Pinnacle. His career earnings now total $209,069.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

4 – Bipolar Express (T.D. Houghton) 5.20 / 3.60 / 3.20
1 – Hot Chili (Federico Mata) 6.80 / 5.60
7 – Demagoguery (Godofredo Laurente) 5.60

1 1/8 Miles
Time: 1:54.21

To view the rest of the day’s Sire Stakes action, click the link below.

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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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