Tag Archives: Valley Loot

Michigan Thoroughbred of the Decade (2000-2010)

Another year is quickly coming to a close.

Year-end honors are being awarded or debated, while racing fans and participants alike are reflecting on the 2010 racing calendar.

The end of 2010 also allows for the opportunity to reflect on a much bigger scale. Depending on one’s guidelines for defining the decades, we are either wrapping up the current ten-year stretch or we are in the midst of the ’10s.

Either way, enough time has elapsed to discuss the last decade in Michigan Thoroughbred racing – the highs, the lows and all points in between. For the purposes of this post, we will focus on the highs.

Over the last 11 years (to account for both schools of thought and avoid confusion we’ll include 2010), Michigan has produced solid runners on the local, regional and national levels. Michigan has proven it can produce a Thoroughbred that compete anywhere.

This state has had some good ones in the ’00s, and it is time to decide who is the Michigan-bred Thoroughbred of the decade?

Behind the jump are ten horses whose careers have put them head and shoulders above the rest of their Michigan-bred counterparts. Some have exemplified dominance at Michigan’s Thoroughbred ovals, Great Lakes Downs and Pinnacle Race Course. Others have competed, and won, at some of the most prestigious racetracks in the world.

Each horse on the list has a reasonable claim to the title. The resumes for each candidate are included to display that claim and help voters make their decisions.

Does the flash of brilliance Cashier’s Dream showed in her tragically short career put her over the top? Tenpins’ graded stakes coups? Secret Romeo’s regional dominance? Valley Loot’s success in the latter half of the decade? Meadow Vespers’ near-invincibility in the Sire Stakes? That Gift’s transition from a stakes-level competitor to a hard knocker? Rockem Sockem’s staying power in the middle of the decade? Sefa’s Rose’s ownership of her division? Weatherstorm’s quick start? The early-decade success of Born to Dance?

To make your selection, just go to the poll on the left side of the page and click on the horse you feel is the most deserving of the title “Michigan Thoroughbred of the Decade”. Feel free to back up your vote or campaign for a horse in the comments. I look forward to hearing some constructive debate on the subject and reminiscence on the careers of the state’s best.

And the nominees are…

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Valley Loot regains form in older females Sire Stakes

After a year with more downs than ups, Valley Loot reminded fans why she is the state’s defending three-time horse of the year with a hard-fought win in Saturday’s $50,000 Michigan Sire Stakes for older fillies and mares, an astounding fourth straight victory for the mare in the series of races.

The six-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare broke alertly and battled Guns And Giggles for the lead coming out the gate. She settled back to third behind Guns And Giggles and She Could Be Good as the field made its first pass under the wire. Guns And Giggles stayed a couple paths off the rail down the straightaway and entered the first turn with a length advantage. The top three were each separated by about a length heading into the backstretch in the same order as they came into the turn. The two trailers began to draw closer to Guns And Giggles on the backetretch, with Valley Loot making the boldest bid three wide.

As the field entered the final turn, Valley Loot had drawn even with Guns And Giggles, while Baba Booyah moved up from the second flight to challenge She Could Be Good for third. Valley Loot quickly disposed of the pacesetter, but was then faced with a rapidly gaining Baba Booyah on her outside. The defending champion led her challenger by a half length at the top of the stretch, and under heavy urging by jockey Federico Mata, began to pull away. Baba Booyah attempted to re-rally at the sixteenth pole but could not reach the winner before the wire.

Valley Loot finished a half length ahead of Baba Booyah for her first win of 2010. Secret Candy improved her position late to finish third, five lengths behind the runner-up.

Valley Loot completed the mile and one eighth race in 1:56.23 over a fast dirt surface. She was the field’s second choice at odds of 2.40-to-one.

Bred in Michigan by Marilyn McMaster, Valley Loot is owned by Lisa Campbell and trained by Ronald Allen, Sr.. Both Campbell and jockey Mata finished the day with three wins in the six Sire Stakes races.

With her fourth Sire Stakes win in five starts in the series, Valley Loot improved her career record to 14 wins from 32 starts. Her career earnings now total $584,885.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

1 – Valley Loot (Federico Mata) 6.80 / 3.80 / 2.40
7 – Baba Booyah (Jeffrey Skerrett) 5.00 / 3.40
8 – Secret Candy (Ronald Allen, Jr.) 6.20

One Mile and One Eighth
Time: 1:56.23

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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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Farer Belle Lee Handicap draws full field

After two stakes races, a front runner has yet to emerge in Michigan’s older fillies and mares division. However, the picture may become clearer following Saturday’s $50,000 Farer Belle Lee Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.

A full field of 12 horses will enter the gates for the mile and an eighth Farer Belle Lee, including eight stakes winners. Last year’s race was won in a minor upset when then three-year-old Moon Charmer outkicked Valley Loot in the final strides to win by a head. Both horses are entered in Saturday’s race.

The division’s most consistent mare during the 2010 meet has been Equalitysdebutante. The five-year-old Equality mare is the only horse to hit the board in both of the division’s stakes races this year. She enters the race off a second place finish in the Aug. 21 Moonbeam Handicap following a five-length victory in the July 17 Larkspur Handicap, both at Pinnacle. Equalitysdebutante is owned by Richard Hammer and trained by Larry Penner. Octavio Bernal will be in the irons for the Farer Belle Lee.

Four-year-old Baba Booyah enters Saturday’s race on the momentum of a five and a half length victory in the Moonbeam. The Daylight Savings filly will make her first start at a mile and an eighth in the Farer Belle Lee. Her two career efforts at a mile and a sixteenth yielded a win in the 2009 Michigan Oaks and a fourth place finish in the same year’s Sire Stakes for three-year-old fillies, both at Pinnacle. Regular rider Jeffrey Skerrett once again has the mount for owner Mast Thoroughbreds LLC and trainer Robert Gorham.

Three-time Michigan horse of the year Valley Loot will seek to jump start an uncharacteristically lagging year in the Farer Belle Lee. The six-year-old daughter of Demaloot Demashoot is still seeking her first win of the year, and enters Saturday’s race off an unplaced finish in the Moonbeam. Trainer Ronald Allen, Sr. will give jockey Federico Mata the leg up for owner Lisa Campbell.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Equalitysdebutante / O Bernal / L Penner / 5-1
2. Half A Glance / R Barrios / J Gold / 20-1
3. Top Touch / C P Pilares / S M Adkins / 8-1
4. Moon Charmer / T Molina / R M Gorham / 6-1
5. In The Frame / L M Quinones / L R Uelmen / 12-1
6. Twilighted Thistle / A De Leon / R D Spiess / 20-1
7. Silent Sunset / G W Mayhew / J A Lewis / 30-1
8. Baba Booyah / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 7-2
9. Surprise Gift / J J Delgado / J R Jackson / 15-1
10. Valley Loot / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 3-1
11. Hakuna Matata / W P Rini / L R Uelmen / 10-1
12. Secret Candy / R D Allen, Jr. / R D Allen, Sr. / 30-1

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Equalitysdebutante, Valley Loot set for rematch in Moonbeam Handicap

After shocking the field at odds of 21.40-to-one in the July 17 Larkspur Handicap, Equalitysdebutante returns to prove her effort was no fluke in Saturday’s $20,000 Moonbeam Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.

Equalitysdebutante will face seven rivals in Saturday’s one mile race for older Michigan-bred fillies and mares. Last year’s installment of the Moonbeam was won by Yawm Estoora.

The purse for the race has been decreased from its normal $50,000 value to accommodate for additional race days of regulation from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Equalitysdebutante, a Michigan champion two-year-old filly in 2007, won the Larkspur by five lengths in a front-running trip. The win was the five-year-old Equality mare’s first stakes score since her Juvenile campaign and her most recent start. Larry Penner will saddle Equalitysdebutante for owner Richard Hammer. Octavio Bernal will pick up the mount for Saturday’s race.

Three-time Michigan horse of the year Valley Loot finished second to Equalitysdebutante in the Larkspur, also her most recent start. The six-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare is still seeking her first win of 2010 after running into buzzsaws in all three of her starts this year, finishing second each time. Regular rider Federico Mata will once again be in the saddle for owner Felicia Campbell and trainer Ronald Allen, Sr..

Also entered is the Larkspur’s third place finisher, Peak Of The Storm. The four-year-old Peaks And Valleys filly was the front-running winner of last year’s Regret Stakes at Pinnacle and seeks her first win of the year in the Moonbeam. Peak Of The Storm is a stablemate of Equalitysdebutante, owned by Richard Hammer and trained by Larry Penner. Ricardo Barrios will be in the irons

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Moon Charmer / T Molina / R M Gorham / 7-2
1A. Baba Booyah / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 7-2
2. Peak Of The Storm / R Barrios / L Penner / 5-2
2B. Equalitysdebutante / O Bernal / L Penner / 5-2
3. Half A Glance / A Ortiz / J Gold / 20-1
4. Hakuna Matata / J J Delgado / L R Uelmen / 4-1
5. Secret Candy / J E Collazo, Jr. / R D Allen, Sr. / 20-1
6. Valley Loot / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 6-5

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Equalitysdebutante returns to form in Larkspur Handicap

In October 2007, Equalitysdebutante romped in the two-year-fillies division of the Michigan Sire Stakes at Great Lakes Downs on her way to earning her crop’s top honors. Coming into Saturday’s $50,000 Larkspur Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course, she had only won a single race since.

The five-year-old Equality mare broke her two-year, 13-race cold spell in spectacular fashion with a dominant five-length score in the six furlong race for Michigan’s female handicap platoon.

Equalitysdebutante broke to the front and immediately opened up a length on the rest of the field. The Girl Rolls, Baba Booyah and post time favorite Valley Loot gave chase across the backstretch, with Peak Of The Storm soon coming into contention. The leader continued to maintain her now two-length cushion well off the rail heading into the turn, as Valley Loot emerged as her primary challenger. Equalitysdebutante continued to stay fairly wide throughout the bend and stretched out to a 3 1/2 length lead at the top of the stretch.

Under the intermittent right hand whip of jockey Carlos Garcia, Equalitysdebutante removed any notion of being caught by her rivals in the stretch and drew off to win the Larkspur by five lengths. Valley Loot was locked in a three-way battle down the stretch for second, and emerged 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Peak Of The Storm for the runner-up spot.

The final time for the Larkspur was 1:12.70 over a fast dirt surface. Equalitysdebutante lit up the tote board at 21.40-to-one, the field’s second longest odds.

Equalitysdebutante was homebred in Michigan by Dr. Richard Hammer and trained by Larry Penner. The win in Saturday’s race improved Equalitysdebutante’s lifetime record to four wins in 21 starts, and her third stakes triumph. Her career earnings now total $199,721.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

5 – Equalitysdebutante (Carlos Garcia) 44.80 / 8.00 / 4.80
6 – Valley Loot (Federico Mata) 2.20 / 2.20
8 – Peak Of The Storm (Ricardo Barrios) 3.60

Six Furlongs
Time: 1:12.70

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Former soph stars make handicap debut in Larkspur Handicap

After a 2009 meet spent beating each other up in stakes races, last year’s crop of three-year-old fillies graduated to the handicap ranks and have shown up in force to contest Saturday’s $50,000 Larkspur Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.

The six furlong Larkspur is the first stakes test of the year for older Michigan-bred fillies and mares. Of the nine entries in Saturday’s race, seven are four-year-olds. Last year’s installment was won by Yawm Estoora.

As in years past, the road to the older female division’s crown will go through three-time defending Michigan Horse of the Year Valley Loot. The six-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare was a stakes presence in Michigan, West Virginia and Pennsylvania in 2009, with marquee victories in the Golden Sylvia Handicap at Mountaineer Park and a third straight score in her division of the Sire Stakes at Pinnacle. She enters the Larkspur off a second place finish to 2008 Ashland Stakes (G1) winner Hooh Why in a July 6 allowance race at Presque Isle Downs. Regular rider Federico Mata will ride Valley Loot for owner Lisa Campbell and trainer Ronald Allen, Sr..

Making her first start of the year is Michigan’s 2009 three-year-old filly of the year, Hakuna Matata. The four-year-old Meadow Prayer filly sealed her division’s title with a 1 3/4 length victory in last October’s Sire Stakes, following a disqualification-boosted triumph in the Ann Arbor Stakes at Pinnacle. Her last start of the year was a runner-up finish in an Oct. 27 allowance race at Mountaineer. Hakuna Matata is owned by White Lake Farms, Inc. and trained by Larry Uelmen. J.J. Delgado picks up the mount.

One of Hakuna Matata’s biggest rivals during her sophomore campaign was Baba Booyah. The four-year-old Daylight Savings filly was victorious in last year’s Michigan Oaks at Pinnacle and placed second after being fouled in the Ann Arbor. She enters the race off an unplaced finish in a June 20 optional claiming event at Pinnacle. Baba Booyah will be saddled by Bob Gorham for owner Mast Thoroughbreds, LLC. Jeffrey Skerrett will be in the irons for Sunday’s race.

#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds

1. Moon Charmer / T Molina / R M Gorham / 10-1
2. Baba Booyah / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 9-2
3. Oh Fiddlestix / O Bernal / J R Jackson / 10-1
4. Hakuna Matata / J J Delgado / J R Jackson / 8-1
5. Equalitysdebutante / C Garcia / L Penner / 5-1
6. Valley Loot / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 2-1
7. In The Frame / J R Martinez, Jr. / L R Uelmen / 15-1
8. Peak Of The Storm / R Barrios / L Penner / 4-1
9. The Girl Rolls / A Ortiz / J R Jackson / 20-1

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