Collusion Illusion Update

We are pleased to report we have officially come to an agreement for the sale of Collusion Illusion as a stallion prospect only. The 5-year-old son of Twirling Candy was purchased by Steve Kemp for a gross price of $315,000. Kemp is a breeder and owner, along with owning Ballycroy Farm, a training center in Ontario, Canada.

Currently, Kemp is building a state-of-the-art stallion facility in which Collusion Illusion will be his first stallion.

Collusion Illusion will be shipped to Ontario, Canada, where he will stand for the 2023 breeding season once Kemp’s new facility is complete.

While the outcome of this journey was not what we expected, there is no doubt based off of his recent performances that this was the best and only choice. When we first purchased into Collusion Illusion, he was arguably one of the top 3-year-old sprinters in the country and gave us a thrill in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes, a historic 3-year-old race, finishing behind Charlatan and Express Train, but unfortunately that form did not materialize at ages 4 and 5.

The account will be closed and reconciled within 60 days.

Collusion Illusion Update

Following discussions with our partners in Collusion Illusion, we have decided to re-explore sale possibilities for him as a stallion prospect.

While the 5-year-old came out of his race physically sound, it is apparent racing is no longer on his mind. We gave him every opportunity to turn his form around, but the last race was a clear indicator it’s best if his racing career comes to an end.

We are currently in the process of closing a deal for the sale of Collusion Illusion. This deal will likely take another two weeks to be finalized due to contractual agreements, necessary inspections, and other items necessary to formalize the sale.

During this time, Collusion Illusion has and will remain at Delta Downs with trainer Greg Tracy in order for him to continue looking in top physical shape.

As soon as we are able to share any additional information with our owners, we will provide another update.

Collusion Illusion Race Recap

A disappointing performance tonight from Collusion Illusion in the featured 8th race at Sam Houston Race Park with his non-threatening sixth-place finish.

Ridden by Lane Luzzi, the 5-year-old had one horse beaten down the backstretch of the six-furlong dirt race. He moved up to pass horses with an outside move entering the turn and was widest of all coming into the stretch, but then flattened out and did little running from there to the wire.

We had hoped the switch of circuits with some class relief would give Collusion Illusion a boost and improve his form but, unfortunately, that clearly was not the case based on tonight’s performance and it appears he does not have his mind on running.

In the coming days, we will check in with trainer Greg Tracy to see how the son of Twirling Candy exited the race — as well as check in with our racing partners in Collusion Illusion —  to discuss next steps for the horse and we will report back with an update.

Race Day Account Information

Here is the race day payout information for Collusion Illusion race later this evening at Sam Houston Park. Total purse for the allowance race is $39,000. MRH owns 25 percent of Collusion Illusion. Accordingly, the information in the graphic is reflective of MRH’s ownership in Collusion Illusion.

Race expenses include trainer, jockey, MRH commissions, race day expenses including transportation costs from Oaklawn to Louisiana (which we projected on the higher end of $1000; when invoices are received from the vanning company, we will make the change to actuals in the finalized financials).

Collusion Illusion Race Overview

Collusion Illusion will be receiving a major class drop as he makes his first start for trainer Greg Tracy on Thursday, March 3rd at Sam Houston Park.

Since returning from a layoff in the middle of the 2021 racing season, Collusion Illusion has simply never been able to match his 3-year-old form.  There is no doubt the journey has not been what we had hoped it would be to this point, but we are hopeful a race like this could bring some spark back to our Grade 1 winning colt. 

While Collusion Illusion has had a fair share of excuses and run into some tough luck between his feet issues, surface switch and bleeding episode, there should be no excuses against this group. The reason behind finding a race like this is to put Collusion Illusion in the easiest possible spot which as a result will hopefully boost his confidence. From a pure class standpoint, Collusion Illusion should win this race.  

Collusion Illusion, who is the morning-line favorite at 5-2, will be breaking from post position 3 out of 9 in the six-furlong allowance optional claiming event with jockey Lane Luzzi aboard. The race carries a purse of $39,000 and post time is approximately 7:22 p.m. CT. Collusion Illusion is not eligible to be claimed.

About the Competition (in post position order)

Adios Carlos (15-1) was fourth in his most recent effort against state bred competition.  He was returning off of nearly a six month layoff and had the right to tire but he will need to improve significantly to be a factor.

Doctor Leo (10-1) won back to back races to end 2021 and the start of the new year at Delta Downs.  The connections attempted to stretch him out in distance against Louisiana-bred stakes company, where he finished fifth beaten two lengths. He hung late after looming with a bid. He’s a winner of four races from 12 lifetime starts. Needs to improve to win here but would not be surprised if he finished underneath.

Red N Wild (4-1) is a winner over the Sam Houston surface two back but wasn’t able to handle the class test last out in the Stonerside Sprint Stakes.  The winner and runner up of that recent stake came right back to win which never hurts. This colt may be worth giving another shot.
  
Caddo Fox (8-1) makes his first start back since September 19th for trainer Danny Payne who is looking for his first win of the meet. This gelding’s race three back puts him in the mix but the competition here is a different ball game then the twice other than allowance group he beat. Work tab does not suggest he is cranked.

Bobby Brinkley (15-1) ran well sprinting on turf  last time out. Would expect this stakes placed gelding to naturally take a step up from that race but we are not sure if it will be enough. Imagine he would have to run a career best race from a Beyer Speed Figure standpoint to win this one.
 
Fast Breakin Cash (6-1) finally draws outside after three straight starts from the rail.  His recent form is solid but he was a non-factor facing better horses at Oaklawn Park last year.  He is a major contender against this bunch.

It Makes Sense (3-1) has the best recency despite his last win coming just short of a year ago at Turf Paradise. Jockey/trainer combo strike at 39% over the last 12 months. It is hard to bet on a horse who hasn’t won in so long at a short price, but he has faced some of the top horses in Oklahoma like Welder. 

Best of Greeley (12-1) looks to get back on track following an eighth place finish over a sloppy track.  He has run some solid races at the claiming levels at “A” circuits.  Has only two works since the last race on January 1st which does raise some questions. He is a factor on his best day.

Collusion Illusion Workout Report

Collusion Illusion had an easy maintenance work over a sloppy Delta Down’s main track this morning, covering four furlongs in 50.60 seconds. Trainer Greg Tracy relayed that everything went well. From a fitness standpoint, not a whole lot had to be done and given the track conditions, he was not looking for anything faster.

Pending all continues well out of the work, Collusion Illusion will ship to Sam Houston the morning of the race.

Be on the lookout for a race analysis next week.

Collusion Illusion Update

Since arriving at Delta Downs with new trainer Greg Tracy, Collusion Illusion has been in great order. The 5-year-old son of Twirling Candy is scheduled to breeze tomorrow at Delta Downs.

Collusion Illusion was entered this morning in an allowance race at Sam Houston in Texas (80 miles from Delta Downs) for next Thursday, March 3rd. A unique condition written for those which have not won two races other than maiden, claiming, starter or trial since September 3 or claiming price $50,000.

Collusion Illusion drew Post 3 in a field of nine horses. Lane Luzzi will take over riding duties.
We will follow up with a workout report following tomorrow’s breeze along with tentative shipping plans.

Be on the lookout for a race analysis this upcoming week.

Collusion Illusion Update

Following our most recent update, we explored all stallion options for Collusion Illusion but the timing proved too hard to overcome with the 2022 breeding season beginning a few days ago. While there was interest expressed in Collusion Illusion, for a farm to take on a stallion this late in the game provides a major marketing challenge in front of them. On top of that, with Collusion Illusion being out of form makes the challenge greater.

As a result, we will continue racing the 5-year-old horse with the hopes of getting him back into form. In order to do this, all parties feel some changes need to be made. Of course, we did consider staying put at Oaklawn and running in the next stake, the Grade 3 Whitmore, but when taking into consideration all factors over the past few months, it was mutually agreed that this race would not be the best fit for him from a competition standpoint. The Whitmore will likely come up a deeper and overall tougher field than the King Cotton.

After discussions with our partners and Mark Glatt over the past two weeks, Collusion Illusion will move to the care of trainer Greg Tracy at Delta Downs. Glatt and our partners have had a previous relationship with Tracy and this was a big aspect to the change. While Tracy might not be a major household name, he has a pretty impressive track record consisting of a 21% win rate in his career from over 7,800 starters.

Though Collusion Illusion will be stabled at Delta Downs to train, that is not necessarily where he is being pointed to race. One of the main factors into the move was track surface. With Collusion Illusion’s previous foot issues, between the recent quarter crack and grabbed quarter, training over the Oaklawn surface this time of year is not an easy task due to weather.

The Louisiana circuit (Fair Grounds and Delta Downs) also offers classified allowance races on a more frequent basis while also having the availability to use Lasix for those races, as well as for stakes, if we go that route. For example, a recent classified allowance race was just used at Fair Grounds, ending up with a five-horse field. Ideally, finding a spot like this would be the goal. He has trained way too well and we know he has way more ability than what he has shown of late. The idea is to put Collusion Illusion in the easiest and least stressful spots as much as possible, which will hopefully go a long way to limit any excuses he might have on race day.

Looking at the big picture, this next race will, hopefully, just be the catalyst to jump-start his form. Tracy also has a string on the Texas circuit, which would be an option for future targets, with races such as Lone Star Park’s Speighstown Sprint Stakes on May 30th or stretching him out in the Grade 3 Steve Sexton Mile on the same card.

Collusion Illusion Update

Collusion Illusion has remained at Oaklawn Park with Rene Amescua for the time being while next steps for the horse are determined. Collusion Illusion exited the race in good order from a physical standpoint, but his performance in the King Cotton Stakes raises questions regarding his future as a racehorse.

Collusion Illusion had trained exceptionally well leading up to the race and handled his shipping to Oaklawn Park in Arkansas like a pro and appeared to be sitting on a big effort. Johnny Velazquez said after a slightly sub-optimal break, he was traveling well until the kickback started to hit him down the backstretch. After he received the dirt in his face, he retreated fairly quickly.

The disappointing effort does not appear to be based on his athletic ability or some type of injury, he is just showing lack of interest in racing. He trains forwardly in the morning, but has clearly shown that running in the afternoons is not something he is very interested in doing at the moment. So the question now is; where do we go from here?

(1) If he had just not gone through a freshening (taking a couple of months off for some R&R) that would be a logical next step. However, since we just did that, there is not a ton of optimism that a break would rekindle his fire. It’s not 100% out of the question, but it is not our current disposition.

(2) Retiring him is also an option and being a Grade 1 winner out of Twirling Candy, his retirement could include a second career as a stallion. We would love to give him this opportunity, and have made a few calls to try and organize a stallion deal. The two challenges we face are timing (the breeding season starts in less than two weeks) and secondly, his recent form. Breeders have short-term memories and his recent on track efforts won’t have breeders lining up to send him mares. His back class and strong pedigree still should provide some optimism that we can get a deal, but it may take a bit of time. Our team is working on this now and will report back with our findings/opportunities in the coming weeks.

(3) Try a different approach to racing. We could find a new circuit (he can’t run in California anymore due to his inability to run on Lasix). We also could try and stretch him out, allowing him to “get in the race” earlier and get his mind on running. Since we know from his great works that talent is still there, this could be an interesting way of changing his mental disposition in the afternoon.

(4) Geld him. Not a very likely option for two reasons: First, we hope there is a stallion deal to be had and secondly, as an older horse that hasn’t really demonstrated a lack of focus or soundness issues, it’s a low probability this would be the catalyst for a major transformation.
Over the next couple of weeks we will explore these options more deeply, talk it over with our co-owners (we only own 25% of the horse) and will come back to you, the partners, with some more clarity on next steps.

Our goal is to ultimately maximize his value for all the partners and find an environment he can be happy and productive.