Santa Anita Daily Double for Harris Farms-sired Runners

Arcadia, CA (June 13, 2020) – Reign of Fire, the 2-year-old daughter of Vronsky and Smiling Annie, the 5-year-old daughter of Smiling Tiger opened today’s card at Santa Anita with a Harris Farms-sired daily double.

Reign of Fire earned her maiden special weight victory over four and one-half furlongs on the main track with some help from the stewards. She pressed the pace and reached the wire best of all but one. The first under the line was disqualified for an midstretch incident not involcing Reign of Fire and she was moved up to the win.

Bred by Dr. Dorothee Kieckhefer, Lee Evans, and Sandy Evens, she is out of the Kafwain mare, Your Special Day. Racing for LeucadiaLand Stables, LLC, she is trained by Blake Heap.

Smiling Annie needed no help to earn her victory in the 2nd race. She popped out of the gate going five and one-half furlongs over the firm turf course and never looked back, claiming her victory by three and one-half lengths.

Smiling Annie races for her breeders, Al and Saundra Kirkwood and she is trained by Mark Glatt. She is out of the Go for Gin mare, Bootleg Annie.

Adoption Stories: Spot the Diplomat

Coalinga, CA (June 13, 2020) – Periodically, we will spotlight Thoroughbred Aftercare stories about horses with connections past and present to Harris Farms. John Harris is a passionate advocate of the racing industry finding caring homes for horses after their racing careers are over. Spot the Diplomat was bred and raced for Harris Farms early in his career. While he was not owned by Harris Farms at the end of his racing career, his aftercare story is a great place to begin this series.

Reprinted here courtesy of the Los Angeles Times:

Old Racing Horse is a Winner with Autistic Boys
(November, 29, 2010) – In horse racing terms, Grant and Greta Hays have had a rough trip. They have two young children, both severely autistic.

“After we had Jack, we wanted to have another child,” Grant Hays says. “We thought the odds of having a second with autism were really low.”

Jack is 6, Dylan 2. Neither speaks, except on rare spontaneous occasions. According to their father, they are antisocial kids, which is not unusual with autistic children. Grant says it creates a life of stress and tension, and cites research that says something like 85% of parents with autistic children get divorced.

The marriage of Grant and Greta apparently is going in the other direction. This is the story of how and why. It is also the story of a big, old gelded thoroughbred named Spot the Diplomat, who, through a series of coincidental circumstances, has carried this family to its own winner’s circle.

Spot the Diplomat had 41 races in a decent but unspectacular career. He won seven, was in the money in 14 more and totaled $342,231 in purses. He even ran in a couple of graded races, including the Grade I Bing Crosby at Del Mar on July 27, 2008.

But Spot will not likely make the Hall of Fame, at least not for his on-track performance. In his four-year career, he was ridden by 11 jockeys and ran in claiming races 18 of his last 20 starts.

He was owned most recently by Summit Racing, of which Bob Ike, nationally known handicapper and columnist, is a partner.

After two strong races this spring for Summit, Spot fractured a sesamoid in a workout and his racing career, but not his life, was over. While he healed on a nearby farm, Ike and his partners started thinking about a permanent home for him.

Ike occasionally filled in on one of the Sunday morning racing shows on AM 830, where Grant Hays was a producer. Hays knew lots about radio, but little about racing. But he, like an entire nation, had been captivated by the Zenyatta story and had started to pay attention.

Last spring, Hays took his family to a horse ranch in Texas run by author Rupert Isaacson, whose book on autistic children interacting with animals, “The Horse Boy,” was made into a movie. The Hays family spent time around animals and began to see the positives of interaction that Isaacson wrote about.

“Jack speaks no words,” Grant Hays says, “but we got off the plane and he turned to me and said, ‘Texas.’ I was stunned.”

The family stress level decreased dramatically there, but went right back to normal when they returned to Los Angeles. Hays asked another of the radio hosts, Jay Privman, about the chances of taking his sons to see Zenyatta. Privman arranged it, Zenyatta was quiet and gentle with the boys and they returned for another visit. Trainer John Shirreffs soon had them up and riding on a stable pony.

That experience convinced Hays that his family needed a more rural life. He was also convinced that he needed animals, and probably a horse, for his sons. Deciding to live off savings for awhile, he leased a three-acre plot south of Austin, Texas, and started shedding the trappings of life in L.A.

“We got rid of four TV sets,” he says. “We live in a single-wide mobile home. It is a lot less than we were used to in L.A.”

In a conversation with Ike before he left, Hays said he was looking for a horse. Ike said he and his partners had one.

They all went to see Spot the Diplomat at his rehab farm near Murrieta.

“Jack stood directly behind the horse,” Ike says. “I was kind of scared. Thoroughbreds can be touchy. But the horse never flinched, and I knew then that this might work.”

Grant Hays says, “Dylan ran under his legs and Spot never twitched.”

Spot the Diplomat had a new home. The Hays family had another 6-year-old. The horse was shipped to Texas, paid for by Summit Racing, in late August. That was a month after the Hays family had arrived.

“In Los Angeles, we were a stressed-out family,” Hays says. “Now, we are all happy. The boys are constantly with Spot. They play around him, ride him, sometimes sit on him for two or three hours at a time.

“He is an angel. He is perfectly behaved at all times. He’s protective of the kids. It’s almost phenomenal.”

Hays says they have found a place where his children are happier. He says all the doctors and specialists they saw provided very little direction and insight.

“So we created our own world,” he says.

Spot the Diplomat has no Triple Crowns or Breeders’ Cups in his resume. But he still gets to the wire first every day on the Hays family land in Texas.

Fashionably Fast Second in the G2 Triple Bend S.

Arcadia, CA (June 7, 2020) – Fashionably Fast, our Harris Farms homebred, stepped up into graded stakes company for the first time in his career today in the $200,000 Triple Bend Stakes (G2) going seven furlongs at Santa Anita Park. Although he did not come home with his seventh consecutive victory, we could not be prouder of his effort finishing second to the multiple G1 winner McKinzie.

Fashionably Fast broke swiftly and was quickly joined on the lead by the other Bob Baffert trainee, the multiple graded stakes performer, Ax Man. Around the turn, McKinzie joined the fray. Ax Man bowed out and Fashionably Fast matched strides with McKinzie until the final furlong. He had every right to back up as well, but he dug in and held off the closing graded stakes performers Dark Vader and Flagstaff. He was a length and one-half away from the winner at the finish.

Grinning Tiger Wire-to-Wire in Crystal Water S.

Controlling speed is always dangerous. Underestimated controlling speed even moreso. Grinning Tiger showed the field and the betting public that he was not to be overlooked with a frontrunning victory in the $101,500 Crystal Water Stakes going one mile over the firm turf course at Santa Anita.

The reigning Oregon-bred Horse of the Year had only sprint races under his belt this season and he certainly enjoyed the stretch out today. He opened up with a 23.46 quarter and a one length lead. He maintained that advantage through the half in 47.73 and six furlongs in 1:12.11. The closers began to rev-up, but the son of Smiling Tiger wasn’t done. Jockey Heriberto Figueroa asked him for more and he finished with two sub-twelve furlongs to finish the mile in 1:35.75 and score by a length and three-quarters. He was let off by the betting public at 92-1.

“I really did think we could get it done,” said an elated winning trainer Anthony Saavedra. “He shuts off (relaxes) so easy, he’s not a runoff. He will just bow that head and do whatever we want him to do. We were dying to try two turns…We were going to scratch him at the last minute, but we all came together and said he needs to run.”

Grinning Tiger races for Tyree J. Wolesensky and he was bred by Patrick Cosgrove. The 5-year-old gelding is out of the winning Pioneering mare, Karlee’s Kitten. His career record stands at 27-8-4-1 and he has earned $207,801.

Smiling Tiger had two of his other state-bred champions earn additional black-type today. Last season’s California-bred Champion 2-year-old El Tigre Terrible was second by a half-length in the $75,000 Desert Code Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Baja Sur, the 2019 Washington-bred Horse of the Year was second by three-quarters of a length in the $61,250 Albany Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

Super Patriot Salutes in Fran’s Valentine S.

Super Patriot is a bridesmaid no more. The 5-year-old mare, bred by Harris Farms, opened the stellar race card at Santa Anita Park with her victory in the $100,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for California-breds.

Settling off the pace for the one mile turf journey, whe was not hurried, despite a moderate pace by jockey Flavien Prat. She began to wind up around the far turn, but still had seven lengths to make up at the top of the stretch. She uncorked a stirring rally to run down the leaders and go onto win by a length and three-quarters. Final time was 1:35.66.

“She’s not easy to deal with, but she’s special,” said Baltas. “She’s got a great turn of foot. They were walking, but she was off the bridle and looked very comfortable. All I told Flavien was ‘Don’t get her stopped.’ She was inside, they he took her outside. He’s Flavien Prat!”

Super Patriot campaigns for the partnership of Little Red Feather Racing, Jeremy Peskoff, Jose Cruz Ramos, Raymond L. Salvatore, and her trainer Richard Baltas. A durable runner, her career records stands at 28-6-5-6 with a bankroll of $353,954. Sired by Unusual Heat, she is out of the winning Redattore (BRZ) mare, Patriot C H, who produced a filly by Desert Code on April 18 at Harris Farms.

Warren’s Showtime, who was raised at Harris Farms, finished third.

Streaking Fashionably Fast in G2 Triple Bend

Courtesy of ARCADIA, CA (June 6, 2020) – Fashionably Fast risks his six-race win streak in Sunday’s $200,000 Grade II Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita.

Fashionably Fast is by Lucky Pulpit, out of the Forestry mare Fall Fashion, was bred by Harris Farms, is owned by Harris Farms, Antonsen or Nicoletti and is trained by Dean Pederson.

He has seven wins in 16 starts, earnings of $449,745 and has won his last six starts, four of them stakes, most recently the Mar. 1 Tiznow Stakes.

Acclamation’s Take the One O One Wires the Field at Santa Anita

Arcadia, CA (May 22, 2020) – Take the One O One, the multiple stakes winning son of Acclamation, took the field on a merry gallop to win the 8th race on today’s card at Santa Anita, a one mile turf allowance with a purse of $51,000.

Hustled out of the gate by jockey Jose Valdivia, Jr., Take the One O One established a clear lead through the opening quarter. Halfway through, he felt some pressure from two different challengers, but he shook them off and was leading by three at the top of the stretch. He was kept to his business the rest of the way home, but not seriously threatened, in his length and one-half victory.

The 5-year-old Brian Koriner trainee has won or placed in nine of his thirteen starts and has earned $382,306 for owner Jay Em Ess Stable. Bred by Thomas Backman in California, he was produced by the multiple stakes producing Jump Start mare, North Freeway.

Smiling Shirlee Sparkles in Evening Jewel Victory

Courtesy of Santa Anita Park – Arcadia, CA (May 16, 2020) – Unhurried early from her rail post position, Smiling Shirlee, under confident handling from Mike Smith, came running late to overhaul a well meant Bella Vita in taking Saturday’s $150,000 Evening Jewel Stakes at Santa Anita.

Trained by Jeff Bonde, the 3-year-old daughter of Smiling Tiger got six furlongs in 1:10.49, which was .26 of a second slower than Big Sweep’s final clocking in the Evening Jewel’s counterpart, the Echo Eddie, run two races earlier.

Sponsored by the CTBA, the Evening Jewel is part of the lucrative Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired horses.

A one-mile state-bred allowance winner on March 6, Smiling Shirlee, who is owned by Edward Brown, Jr., Alan Klein and Phillip Lebherz, had been Cal-bred stakes-placed on three occasions and notched her first stakes victory today in her eighth career start.

“What a race she ran,” said Smith, who was aboard for the first time today. “I thought that if she ran back to her last race, she’d be hard to beat today. The two (Bella Vita) ran a big race but my filly dug in and got the job done.”

The second choice at 7-2 in a field of 10 sophomore fillies, Smiling Shirlee paid $9.60, $5.00 and $3.40.

“We had the extra time off and she’d been training extremely well for this race,” said Bonde. “We were concerned with the rail, but Mike fit this filly like a glove, he really did. Like I say, she’d been training well and she rewarded us today.”

Bred in California by Premier Thoroughbreds, LLC, Smiling Shirlee, who is out the Grand Slam mare Whobetterthanus, bagged $90,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $239,220 and her overall mark to 8: 3-2-1.

Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Bella Vita sat second around the turn, was three-deep at the top of the lane and finished second while besting Been Studying Her by one length. Off at 7-1, Bella Vita paid $7.60 and $5.20.

Off at 9-2 with Flavien Prat, Been Studying Her paid $4.00 while finishing 1 ¾ lengths in front of Warren’s Showtime, who had to wait for racing room turning for home.

Fractions on the race were 21.53, 45.08 and 57.88.

Songofthedesert Scores Santa Anita Allowance Win

Arcadia, CA (May 16, 2020) – The second day back to racing at Santa Anita Park produced a sharp performance from Songofthedesert. The 5-year-old daughter of Desert Code made it look easy in the 2nd race, a $51,000 allowance going five and one-half furlongs over the fast main track.

Breaking from post two, Songofthedesert had plenty of speed to lay claim to the inside run while sitting off the pair dueling for the lead. She quickly moved to the front going into the far turn and raced away from the rest of the field. She was all alone through the stretch and crossed under the wire best by four and one-half lengths.

Bred in California by Oakcrest Stable, she was produced by the Tale of the Cat mare, Unchanged Melody. She races for Johnny Taboada and she is trained by Jonathan Wong.

Harris Farms’ Civil Suit Dazzles in 14-Length Maiden Win

Arcadia, CA (May 15, 2020) – Harris Farm’s homebred Civil Suit blew the field away in her first start over the main track to break her maiden by nearly fourteen lengths in the 7th race as racing resumed at Santa Anita Park.

The 4-year-old filly had made her first two starts sprinting on the turf, finishing third on debut. Switched to the main track today, the daughter of Lucky Pulpit relished the surface change. She dashed away at the start and dueled for and gained the lead shortly after the opening quarter. Opening up by three and one-half lengths passing the quarter pole, jockey Assael Espinoza encouraged the blazed-face bay and she was eight lengths in front by mid-stretch. The margin increased again by nearly double in the final furlong as she galloped past the wire.

Trained by Dan Blacker, Civil Suit was produced by the winning Tiznow mare, Sioux Zen. Her dam foaled her half-brother on April 12 by Acclimation at Harris Farms. Her granddam is the multiple G1-winner Dispute.