Gunpowder Farm LLC’s Divisidero’s victory in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) on the May 7 Kentucky Derby undercard has trainer William “Buff” Bradley excited about what the future could hold for his multiple graded stakes winner.
“It’s a big deal when you win a Grade I,” Bradley said. “It’s always real special and that goes a long way. It also helps the horse later on and make him a stallion. It’s the owners first Grade I win, too, so they’re pretty excited. He came out of the Woodford in super good shape. (Wednesday) was his first day back to the track. He was bucking and playing and he feels better now than he did going in to the race. We knew that the whole week leading up you get to the point where you think, ‘Man I wish that the race was today,’ because you know that they’re on top of their game, so now the chore is to keep him at that level and keep him happy and healthy up until the fall.”
Bradley had the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the radar for the son of Kitten’s Joy, who began his 4-year-old campaign with a third-place effort in the Canadian Turf, followed by a close second in the Appleton, both Grade III events at Gulfstream Park.
"We were hoping that this would be a race for him,” Bradley said. “Of course we had to get the first race under our belt to see that he was going to step up like we thought he would against older horses and come back stronger like he was running last year, and he did. He ran a nice and credible third first time out and finished strong. Then we had several different options to go to and we figured that another mile race wasn’t going to hurt his fitness and it would help him get to this race. The whole thing about staying at Gulfstream is that we didn’t have to ship anywhere to run and it was perfect timing with five weeks out from this race. We felt really good about our plan while it was in motion, but I think when you can have a plan like that but it doesn’t always work, so we’re glad that this worked.”
Bradley is no stranger to Grade I success on Derby Day as he scored a victory in the Humana Distaff with two-time Champion Female Sprinter Groupie Doll back in 2012.
“Any time you can win on Derby Day it’s huge,” Bradley said. “Even the race before the Derby is better because a lot of people are watching that and they know it’s the big grass race of the day, so I think it’s a pretty big race. A lot of people see it too; you’ve got millions of people watching you at that point.”
Future plans for Divisidero, who is now 2-for-2 on the Matt Winn Turf Course, could include a start in the $1 million Manhattan (GI) on the June 11 Belmont Stakes undercard.
“The Manhattan is the next logical spot so we’ve got it marked in and we’ll see,” Bradley said. “I haven’t talked to the owners yet, but I would love to go to Arlington later on. It [$1 million Arlington Million (GI)] is a pretty prestigious race and then obviously we would look to the Breeders’ Cup [Turf] in the fall. I don’t think he has distance limitations; he showed even last year in the Belmont Derby Invitational that he ran well and finished well, he was just far back on a slow pace. He finished just as strong as the winner did, he just couldn’t catch him.”
Divisidero’s Woodford Reserve triumph was not the only highlight of Bradley’s weekend. The following day, he took a trip to the Kentucky Horse Park to watch his former star athlete Brass Hat compete in a show held by the Thoroughbred Horse Show Association.
“He was in an all-thoroughbred show at the [Kentucky] Horse Park and he finished second in the jumping class. My 12-year-old daughter, Jett, rode him and had been training him at the farm,” Bradley said.
The now 15-year-old gelding, who banked $2,173,561 in a career that lasted seven years, has been enjoying his second career as a jumper.
“He lives at the farm and stays there but it’s great getting to see him compete and do well at the horse park him his second career,” Bradley said. “To see him do what he enjoys to do was no neat to be able to watch him compete. He did so much for the farm through his racing career but he’s been a big help on the farm since then. We’ll turn him out with the weanlings, he keeps them calm and he’s like a big babysitter. We’ll ride him a few days a week. My daughter will take him out over the jumps.”
CASSE TEAM SETS TARGETS FOR DERBY WEEKEND HEROINES TEPIN, CATCH A GLIMPSE – Trainer Mark Casse enjoy a successful Derby Week even though he didn’t have a starter in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI). His two 2015 Breeders’ Cup champions, Catch a Glimpse and Tepin, were able to showcase their talent in front of big crowds on both days.
Catch a Glimpse, winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GI), was victorious in the Edgewood (GIII) on the May 6 Kentucky Oaks undercard, while stablemate Tepin, reigning Champion Turf Female, was an effortless winner of the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII) the following day. It was a sixth straight trip to the winner’s circle for both champions.
“It’s obviously very rewarding to bring back two Breeders’ Cup champions and showcase them on Derby weekend,” said son and assistant trainer Norman Casse. “Obviously they performed the way that they were supposed to. It was an exciting weekend, even more so because all our friends and family were here.”
Tepin, who is expected to make her next start overseas in the Queen Anne (Group I) on June 14 at Royal Ascot, was under consideration for the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) on the May 7 Kentucky Derby undercard against the boys.
“We figured that if the goal was Royal Ascot that the Distaff would be a little easier, so we decided to go that route,” Casse said. “We’re just going one race at a time with her. She’ll come back from Royal Ascot. She’ll get a bit of a freshening and we’ll look at all of our options to get her to the Breeders’ Cup the best way possible.”
Catch a Glimpse is scheduled to make her next start in the listed $200,000 Wonder Again Stakes on June 4 at Belmont Park.
"She’s going to go to Belmont and go in the Wonder Again, but the goal with her is to win the Belmont Oaks,” Casse said. “A lot of people think that she is distance limited, but she just seems like a horse that waits around. When other horses come to her, she shows more so we won’t know what her true distance is until she actually runs it.”
Casse discussed Catch a Glimpse’s running style and how she appears to tail off when she makes the lead.
“You can see how professional she is until she makes the lead, and then she starts switching leads and starts waiting on the other horses,” Casse said. “It always looks like those other horses are going to get to her, but they never run by her, they never gallop out in front of her. When we tried her at a mile-and-a-sixteenth people said she wouldn’t be able to get the distance. We ran her here now people say she can’t get a mile-and-an-eighth. I guarantee the same thing will happen again if she runs in the [Belmont] Oaks, they’ll say, ‘Oh well she definitely won’t get a mile-and-a-quarter,’ but we’ll see. So it’s one of those things, she’ll give you everything that she has.”
ACAPULCO ENTERS SATURDAY’S UNBRIDLED SIDNEY WITH EYES SET ON ROYAL ASCOT – Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Acapulco is looking for another victory before heading to Royal Ascot in Saturday’s featured event at Churchill Downs, the $65,000-added Unbridled Sidney Overnight Stakes, where she will break from the rail as the 5-2 morning line favorite against seven other fillies and mares.
Trained by Wesley Ward, the daughter of Scat Daddy won at Royal Ascot last year as a 2-year-old taking the Queen Mary (Group 2) in only the second start of her career. She then followed this victory with a runner-up effort in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) at York, where she faced older horses.
“This is exactly what you would expect from a $750,000 purchase,” Ward said via telephone. “She’s always been an immensely talented filly and has had no physical issues whatsoever.”
Ward plans on sending Acapulco to Royal Ascot following the Unbridled Sidney to make a start in either the King’s Stand on June 14 or the Commonwealth Cup on June 17. Both races are Group I events.
“She’s a big and imposing filly and that being said after she ran last year against older horses in England, I just wanted to give her time to develop and mature,” Ward said. “Mr. [Michael] Tabor and I sat down and mapped out a plan after her race at York and we decided that the race we would be going to target were those two [the King’s Stand and the Commonwealth Cup].”
The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GI) on Nov. 5 at Santa Anita is long-term goal for Acapulco.
“We would like to culminate with the Breeders’ Cup,” Ward said. “She’s an immensely talented turf sprinter. With horses as fast as her you want to get her as sound as possible. She would likely have three more starts before the Breeders’ Cup. The July Cup (Group I) at Newmarket is race we would like to target. Unfortunately in the U.S. there aren’t very many big turf sprint races. Everything here is centered around the dirt and it would be nice to see that change some in the next few years.”
Jockey Robby Albarado, who guided the filly to a third-place effort in her career debut at Churchill Downs last year, will return to the irons.
Ward also trains Tesalina, who will be breaking from post 7 in the Unbridled Sidney.
“She’s coming in very, very well,” Ward said of Tesalina. “She was hit on the starting gate in her last race [the Giant’s Causeway on April 16 at Keeneland]. After the race she was bleeding out of the nose and we scoped her and it was nothing internal in her lungs; it was in her sinus membranes. I don’t know exactly where it occurred but it had an effect on the outcome.”
Julien Leparoux will pilot Tesalina.
The field for the Unbridled Sidney, from the inside post out (with jockey, weight): Acapulco (Albarado, 116), Late Spring (Corey Lanerie, 121), Fonepferesh (IRE) (Gary Stevens, 121), Two Wonders (Willie Martinez, 121), Amarachi (Sophie Doyle, 121), Calypso Run (Brian Hernandez Jr., 121), Tesalina (CHI) (Leparoux, 121) and Lindisfarne (Florent Geroux, 121).
QUIET MORNING FOR PREAKNESS PROBABLES AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Six horses under consideration for the 141st running of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (GI) had quiet mornings beneath the Twin Spires.
Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum Brands (GI) runner-up Exaggerator walked the shedrow at Barn 25.
Cherry Wine (Barn 4) galloped 1 ½ miles under Faustino Aguilar after the morning renovation break; Collected (Barn 33) galloped 1 ½ miles under George Alvarez before the break; Dazzling Gem (Barn 9A) galloped 1 3/8 miles under Fernando Espinoza after the break; Fellowship (Barn 36) galloped a mile before the break under Brian O’Leary; and, Gun Runner (Barn 38) jogged to the starting gate where he stood before galloping nearly once around under Carlos Rosas.
Collected, Cherry Wine and Dazzling Gem are scheduled for works here before leaving for the Preakness.