Into Mischief Colt Runs to the Money in Futurity

ENGAGE (c, 2, Into MischiefNefertiti, by Speightstown) was hammered down to 1-2 favoritism for this first black-type attempt in the GII Futurity S. and justified the public’s support with a decisive score. The bay caboosed the short field early as Red Peril (Jimmy Creed) ticked off early fractions of :22.52 and :45.26. Swinging out to the center of the stretch, he skipped past his rivals and cruised clear for an impressive victory. TDN Rising Star Barry Lee (Violence) was second. Purchased for $550,000 at OBS March after breezing in :09 4/5, Engage checked in second on debut at Saratoga Aug. 5 and earned his diploma next out there Sept. 4. Lifetime Record: 3-2-1-0.

O-Woodford Racing LLC; B-Woods Edge Farm (KY); T-Chad Brown.

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Observations on the European Racing Scene for Tuesday Oct. 10

Observations on the European Racing Scene turns the spotlight on the bestEuropean races of the day, highlighting well-pedigreed horses early in their careers,horses of note returning to action and young runners that achieved notable results inthe sales ring. Tuesday’s Insights features a Mastercraftsman (Ire) daughter of G1 Prix de Diane winner Time Ahead (GB) (Spectrum {Ire}).

6.15 Newcastle, Cond, 4,500, 2yo, f, 8f 5y (AWT)

Homebred Racing’s hitherto unraced TIME TO PERFECTION (IRE) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) is a daughter of 2003 G1 Prix de Diane runner-up Time Ahead (GB) (Spectrum {Ire}) and opens up for Sykvester Kirk here. Her nine opponents include the once-raced Consolida (GB) (Sir Percy {GB}), who is out of a winning half-sister to this term’s G2 Middleton S. victress and G1 Nassau S. runner-up Blond Me (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}), representing the Luca Cumani stable.

Fact of the Week: Heir Apparent

One of the highlights of the 2016-17 season has been the emergence of Arrowfield stallion Snitzel (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}) as a major force. His record year with 32 juvenile winners including eight stakes winners was truly remarkable. It’s not that we didn’t know about Snitzelthis is his ninth season with runnersthe fascinating thing with him is that it shows what’s possible once a stallion starts to receive the nation’s very best mares.

In Snitzel’s case, he’s become the hottest sire around and is poised to take over the baton from his illustrious father Redoute’s Choice (Danehill) at Arrowfield. As things stand, Snitzel has a 10.3% black-type winners-to-runners strike-rate, which places him behind only Redoute’s Choice (11.1%) among active sires in Australia and New Zealand. The question everyone’s asking now is can Snitzel start to match his excellent sire’s remarkable output. If he can, his access to the highest quality of mares in recent years will have helped significantly.

In his first four years at stud, the son of Redoute’s Choice covered less than 50 elite mares in total. Then from 2011 onwards, his opportunities started to increase markedly. That year he attracted 28 elite mares, followed by 49 in 2012, 99 in 2013. Last season’s juveniles are from a group of mares that featured 107 elite mares. Snitzel’s best 10 runners have a combined average Timeform rating of 120.3. He’ll need to get to a figure of 124.3 to match his great sire. That’s an average of four pounds per runner, but you couldn’t bet against him doing so.

Advantage Zhukova in the Flower Bowl

Sunday’s GI Flower Bowl S. at Belmont Park, a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race for the GI Filly & Mare Turf a month from now, is missing pro-tem divisional leader Lady Eli (Divine Park), but features the Chad Brown-trained duo that ran the quinella in the GI Beverly D. S. last time and a European raider for the always-dangerous Dermot Weld barn.

That would be Zhukova (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) who makes her second trans-Atlantic journey of the year, though she will square off with her peers this time around. That previous trip to Long Island resulted in a six-length demolition of a group of males in the GI Man O’War S. in May, the strength of which looks that much better in the aftermath of third-placed Sadler’s Joy (Kitten’s Joy)’s subsequent win later in the summer in the GI Sword Dancer Invitational S. To be fair, the Man O’War was run at a farcical pace over extremely soft turf, but Zhukova raced prominently and bolted away late. It will undoubtedly be firmer underfoot Sunday, but it looks another paceless renewal that could suit a sit-sprint sort of animal. The Flower Bowl will represent serious class relief for Zhukova, who exits an eighth in the G1 Irish Champion S. Sept. 9.

It’s nice to have won here before, commented the legendary conditioner, who sent out Dimitrova (Swain {Ire}) to win the 2003 Flower Bowl. It gives us confidence, that’s why we’re back there with her. The Flower Bowl is a prestigious race and we look forward to competing.

Brown has sent out the winner of this event in three straight years, including Lady Eli’s success 12 months back, and is double-handed here. Dacita (Chi) (Scat Daddy) is clearly the more accomplished of the duo, with her five Group 1/Grade I tallies in Chile and this country. Runner-up to Hawksmoor (Ire) (Azamour {Ire}) in the GIII Beaugay S. and sixth to that one in defense of her title in the GII New York S. June 9, Dacita came with a stinging late rally to outfinish Dona Bruja (Arg) (Storm Embrujado {Arg}) in the GI Beverly D. S. in Chicago Aug. 13.

But it is Grand Jete (GB) (Dansili {GB}) who will likely receive more pari-mutuel attention Sunday afternoon and with good reason. Showing a tremendous turn of foot in annexing her first two starts in the U.S., the Juddmonte homebred was all dressed up, but had nowhere to go in the Beverly D. and by the time she was able to get through, Dacita had crossed the wire first.

She had a nightmare of a trip down on the inside but ran well. She’s a tough filly, said Brown.

The extra sixteenth of a mile will not inconvenience Grand Jete, who will try to give her owner and breeder their first win in the Flower Bowl since the Henry Cecil-trained Yashmak (Danzig) scooped the prize in 1997.

Stephanie’s Kitten (Kitten’s Joy) represented parlayed a win in the 2015 Flower Bowl into victory in the Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland.

Stronach: Pegasus World Cup Will Be Fine

Despite reports that The Stronach Group is having difficulty finding owners willing to buy slots in the GI Pegasus World Cup, Frank Stronach said Wednesday that he is not at all worried about the race’s future.

There is no question the race will be run in 2018, he said. I am not worried at all. I think we will have a full field. Who doesn’t want to take part in something like that?

The race is scheduled for Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park. In order to compete in the race, an owner must pay $1 million for a starting slot. They then have the option of racing their own horse or selling the slot to someone else. Though specific numbers have been hard to come by, it has been estimated that the majority of the slot holders made a losing bet, with some perhaps coming out as much as $750,000 short. In a recent report on the website thoroughbredracing.com, several original stakeholders said they have already decided they will not return or have yet to make up their minds.

To date, there has been no word out of The Stronach Group so far as to who’s in, who’s out and who might replace the original stakeholder who no longer wants to participate in the race.

The decisions came after Stronach announced that he was upping the purse from $12 million to $16 million and that the fee to buy a slot would remain at $1 million. The additional $4 million would come from Gulfstream and The Stronach Group. The additional purse money was meant to cushion the blow for those whose horses failed to finish among the top finishers. Stronach said he has no intention of adding any more of his own money to the purse.

We have to make racing a more exciting sport and we have to grow this sport, he said. That’s why we created this race. We’re trying but we have a lot more work to do. I’m not the least bit worried about the future of the Pegasus.

Gingernuts Looms Large in Livamol

Fresh off a victory in the G1 Windsor Park Horlicks Plate at Hastings on Sept. 23, Te Akau Racing’s Gingernuts (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) is favoured to take the third and final leg of the Hawke’s Bay Triple Crown, the G1 Livamol Classic over 2000 metres at Hastings, on Oct. 7. A strong fifth to Windsor Park Plate bridesmaid Close Up (NZ) (Shinko King {Ire}) in the first leg, the 1400m G1 Tarzino Trophy on Sept. 2, the 2017 G1 New Zealand Derby and G1 Rosehill Guineas hero appears primed for a big effort prior to crossing the Tasman to compete in the G1 Caulfield Cup on Oct. 21.

Co-trainer Stephen Autridge told the NZ Racing Desk, Mark [Walker, who trains for Te Akau in Singapore] was back here last week and he brought up Princess Coup (Aus) (Sovereign Red {NZ}) running in all three legs at Hastings. He said Princess Coup got better with each one and not to worry about running Gingernuts in all three. He said she should have won the Caulfield Cup and the next one too.

That runner had won the 2007 Livamol for Walker, before a third in that year’s Caulfield Cup and a runner-up performance in the G1 MacKinnon S.

Autridge continued, The Caulfield Cup has always been the number one aim and we’ll make our minds up after that about the Melbourne Cup. He’s never been better. He’s at the top of his game. I’m happier that he’s drawn out there [barrier 17] than one, two or three. From out there he can get back beyond midfield and even if he drops out to last I won’t be worried. Opie [Bosson] can go round them whenever he wants and not be dictated to as he would be if he’d drawn in.

2015 G1 Rosehill Guineas hero Volkstok’n’barrell (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}) is looking to get back on track after a pair of fifths in his first two starts this season. The four-time Group 1 winner filled that position in a Sept. 2 1200m race at Ruakaka and in the wake of Gingernuts in the Windsor Park Plate on Sept. 23.