The proverbial highs and lows of racehorse ownership were encapsulated to a tee for our partners last week.
In the span of 72 hours, our owners celebrated beautiful wins from Iron Works and Salute to America, and experienced disappointment from the losses of A Mo Reay, Forbidden Kingdom, and Micro Share.
Ups and downs, for sure, but there was one constant theme — the enthusiasm of many of our owners who embraced their experiences, regardless of the results. One of our partners expressed his joy on social media, the morning after Micro Share’s defeat in the Santa Anita Oaks, with a family photo taken at the track with the words, “What a great day . . . best family vacation ever!!!” It’s satisfying to see our community of partners lean into the wild and unpredictable ride that is horse racing, and to be able to do so alongside their families and fellow owners.
We’ll dive into the wins first because they are the most fun to revel in, after all! On a dreary day in New York last Thursday, with a chilly rain falling, Salute to America’s partners were basking in sunshine as their colt splashed his way home a winner of a $70,000 Maiden Special Weight for New York-breds at Aqueduct. The 3-year-old’s astute trainer, Tom Morley, predicted it was going to take this burly colt a few races to hit his best stride, and he was correct. Salute to America, who was ridden to perfection by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, graduated to the winner ranks in his fourth start in this off-the-turf race.
The weather wasn’t much better at Keeneland on Saturday, with blustery conditions and the unwelcome presence of snowflakes, but Iron Works warmed the hearts of his partners with a powerful victory in a $110,000 allowance to win his second race from three starts for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Luis Saez. This 3-year-old son of Distorted Humor will likely step into stakes competition at some point this year.
On a warm and dry Saturday in California, our hopes of bringing our MRH partners to the Kentucky Derby for a second time, after we won with Authentic in 2020, were dashed when our two-time stakes winner Forbidden Kingdom finished sixth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby for trainer Richard Mandella. While it was a disappointing outcome, a likely reason for the defeat was found when the colt was scoped post-race and inflammation in his throat region was detected. Forbidden Kingdom will be sent for a video endoscopic exam to look under his epiglottis to see if there is an ulcer. We look forward to getting this very talented colt back to 100% and returned to competition.
Forbidden Kingdom’s stablemate, Micro Share, our promising 3-year-old filly, didn’t perform as we hoped in the Santa Anita Oaks, but Mandella suspects she “tied-up” before the race in the paddock, which is akin to a human having leg cramps.
Another reminder of how these equines are athletes, who can have their off days and produce some head-scratching results, whether it’s attributed to something physical or not, is A Mo Reay, who ran at Keeneland on Friday. Our grade-1 placed daughter of Uncle Mo — who was training very well heading into the race while working on par alongside Nest, who would win the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes later in the day — was eased by Luis Saez because she was bearing out during the running of the allowance race. Post-race nothing physically amiss was found by the Pletcher Team and this is one of those instances where the effort has to be tossed.
We must also mention that while the race results in Santa Anita were not what we had hoped for, we were very excited to have another opportunity to feature one of our wonderful owners on TVG who attended the races this weekend in sunny California. Shout out to Winford for participating!
With that eventful week in the books, we turn ahead to next weekend when we are looking forward to the career debut from Hero Status at Santa Anita, as well as a start from In Due Time, who competes for our partner program, Edge Racing, and is looking to pick up additional Kentucky Derby points in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.
We will be back later in the week with a full rundown of the action.