by Ron Gurfein
In the spirit of this holiday weekend it will be nice to remember our friends from The Deck who are no longer with us. I am sure I will leave someone out and if I did please tell me and I will mention them at a later date.
Sonny Antonacci (father to Frank the elder) and Frank Antonacci (Crown Stable), Geoff Stein, John Cashman, George Berkner, Fred Monteleone, Howard Beissinger, Angelo Cardin, Bill Perretti and Ollie Bach.
CORRECTION: In addition to Murray Brown, David Reid (Preferred Equine) and HRU providing the breakfast on the deck the past few weekends, kudos should also be given to Stephanie and Myron Bell for providing friends and guest to a wonderful array of goodies on numerous weekends this past season. My sincerest apologies.
The Deck was filled with new faces Saturday thanks to the Antonacci family and David Reid for inviting the entire first year class of Godolphin Flying Start to that morning’s training session. At one point it was like being at the track as they were all cheering for Philip Antonacci, one of their classmates, in a set of trainers from Lindy Farms.
Godolphin Flying Start is a 2-year program sponsored by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, to develop future thoroughbred industry leaders. They try to select the most talented people worldwide to contribute to the long-term success of the industry. “The program starts with over 150 applicants and they interview 50 or 60 prospects with 12 accepted into the program,” said Amy Buckley. “The class goes from Ireland to England, America, Australia, Dubai and back to Ireland.”
Various industry standards and practices were discussed, such as weight of driver/ jockeys, number of times horses start per year, stallion book limitations, objections lodged by jockeys vs. harness drivers and number of days on the bench for careless or rough riding and/or interference. Additionally, each Flying Start participant experienced a trip around the Sunshine Meadows track in the Lindy Farm double-seated jog cart under the tutelage of assistant trainer Patricio Ancora before heading off to Gulfstream Park for the Florida Derby card. The group also appreciated a visit to see former older trotter of the year Obrigado in the Paul Kelley Stable and noted that leading thoroughbred trainer Chad Brown once worked in his stable at a young age.
Kelley said that many of the members of the group showed the same traits that Chad showed in regards to high-level thinking, enthusiasm, and intrigue when he first arrived in the Kelley Stable. It appears the future is very bright with the group and this initiative should be considered for our industry. It was delightful to see the young trainees come to learn about the standardbreds. To learn more about Godolphin Flying Start follow this link: godolphinflyingstart.com.
The training is getting fast and furious. I watched Beat the Wheel’s track record of 1:58.3 fall to two Tony Alagna trainees. Mach Domi driven by Matt Kruger and Studio Girl tripped the timer in 1:58/:29 with a strong headwind. Truly an amazing mile especially for the Brittany and Mel Hartman-owned filly.
Casie Coleman-Herlihy’s barn was in full swing showing off for their visitor Andrew Harris. Wanna Hall, Travel Passage and Summer Travel (already has a 2-year-old record of 1:50) all looked great going a mile in 2:02/:29. Play The Bell and Alexis Faith (winner of the NYSS final, after a slow start of 33 seconds, hit the half in 1:01.3 and went their mile in 2:00.4 both in hand at the wire.
I caught Belle with Scott Zeron in a mile in 2:05/:29.3.
Doug Miller and Jan Johnson had a nice pair of 2-year-olds, a Credit Winner out of Mayberry and a Father Patrick from Southwind Allaire in 2:27/:34.
From the Paul Kelley barn came a nice set of 3-year-olds With Me Always (Muscle Hill—Quick Credit), Fast Love (Chapter Seven—Love Me Two Times) and Byway (Muscle Mass—Passage Way) in 2:05/1:00/:29.3.
Lindy Farms had a good-looking set of 2-year-olds, an unnamed Muscle Hill colt from Kinda Crazy Lindy, Quaterbackbluechip (Cantab Hall colt—Southwind Caitlin), Throw Out The Tab (colt by Cantab Hall from Victoryn Treasure) and my favorite Kings County (colt by Muscle Hill out of Brooklyn). They were all together at the wire in 2:24/:33.
The Alagna Army was out again in force with two sets of 2-year-old pacers in 2:16/1:07/:33. The first included Mollydooker, Passion Struck, Odds On St Lucie, Keywest and Midnight Romance The second, all by Captaintreacherous, were: US Captain, Odds On Boca Raton, Shipshape, Bronson, Major Deception and Captain Ahab.
Have a wonderful week and please keep your questions coming to Ask The Guru (GurfTrot@aol.com)