Spiced Perfection Prevails in Madison Stakes

Mark Mahan Photo

By Frank Angst
A trip from her Southern California base paid dividends April 6 for Spiced Perfection as she prevailed in a stretch duel to win the $300,000 Madison Stakes (G1) by a neck over a game Amy’s Challenge at Keeneland.

Spiced Perfection also won the La Brea Stakes (G1) Dec. 26 at Santa Anita Park, which, like the Madison, was contested at seven furlongs. Winning trainer Peter Miller is thrilled with the 4-year-old Smiling Tiger filly, who races for Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable, and Peter Deutsch and entered off a close runner-up finish in the Barbara Fritchie Stakes (G3) Feb. 16 at Laurel Park.

“To win for these owners with this filly, it means a lot to me—and to win here at Keeneland,” Miller said. “(It was a) great ride by Javier, and I’m happy for the whole team. She ran great, she deserved it. She’s got a huge heart. She’s not a big filly. She’s not impressive to look at, but she’s impressive to watch run.

“We’re going to leave her here in Kentucky and give her a couple of easy weeks. Hopefully, we can run her in the Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs on Derby weekend.”

Spiced Perfection and jockey Javier Castellano tracked Amy’s Challenge as the latter worked her way toward the rail after starting from post 4. Those two cruised through a quarter-mile in :22.56 before opening on their other seven rivals through a half-mile in :45.53. It proved a two-horse race, with Spiced Perfection seizing the lead in midstretch and holding off a re-rally attempt by Amy’s Challenge and jockey Alex Canchari.

Spiced Perfection completed the seven-furlong test in 1:23.49 on a fast track.

It marked a third straight day for Castellano with at least one stakes win at Keeneland. He took the opening day Palisades Turf Sprint Stakes aboard Bulletin and the April 5 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania Stakes (G3T) on Avie’s Flatter. He also won three of the first six races Saturday at Keeneland.

“When this filly passed (Amy’s Challenge), she thought, ‘OK, I’m done.’ I had to ride her a little hard to keep the rhythm,” Castellano said. “I liked the way she did it. Very professional. Wonderful filly.”

Spiced Perfection returned $11 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.20 to show. Amy’s Challenge paid $4 and $3.20 for the minor awards. Late Night Pow Wow earned her first grade 1 placing by finishing third, paying $2.80 to show.

Champion female sprinter and favorite Shamrock Rose never threatened the top two and finished fifth.

Cathedral Reader broke down near the quarter pole. Kentucky Horse Racing Commission chief veterinarian Bruce Howard said the filly was euthanized following the catastrophic injury to her right front leg.

Bred in California by Premier Thoroughbreds out of the Pleasantly Perfect mare Perfect Feat, Spiced Perfection was purchased by Michael Faber’s Dare to Dream Stables from Checkmate Thoroughbreds’ consignment to the 2017 Barretts March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. Before the Barbara Fritchie, she was sold privately to her current owners.

Trainers Dinner

April 1, 2019-Debbie Winick, Kim and Sean McCarthy, Per Antonsen, John Harris and Dean Pederson

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Spiced Perfection is CTBA Horse of the Year

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2019)–Grade I winner Spiced Perfection was named the 2018 California-bred Horse of the Year at the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner at the Sheraton San Gabriel on Monday, Feb. 25.

Spiced Perfection is by Smiling Tiger, out of the Pleasantly Perfect mare Perfect Feat, was bred by Premier Thoroughbreds, is owned by Dare To Dream Stable and trained by Peter Miller. In 2018 she had four wins in eight starts, earnings of $455,125 and won the Grade I La Brea Stakes, as well as the Betty Grable and Evening Jewel Stakes. She also earned top honors as: Champion California-bred Three-Year-Old Female, Champion California-bred Sprinter.

Also honored at the annual meeting were:
Champion California-bred Three-Year-Old Male – Take the One O One (Acclamation-North Freeway, by Jump Start), bred by Thomas Bachman, owned by Jay Em Ess Stable, trained by Brian Koriner.

Champion Sire of California Conceived Foals by Number of Winners–Lucky Pulpit, property of Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams.

Champion California-bred Two-Year-Old Male – Cruel Intention, (Smiling Tiger-Perfect Feat, by Pleasantly Perfect) bred by Premier Thoroughbreds LLC, owned by Jungle Racing LLC, LNJ Foxwoods & Nexus Racing Club, trained by Bob Baffert.

Clubhouse Ride Sires First Winner Moon House

Vassar Photo

Albany, CA (February 15, 2019)-Clubhouse Ride sired his first winner when Moon House graduated from the maiden ranks by taking a maiden special one mile race at Golden Gate Fields.

Moon House, tracking a slow pace, made a five wide steady move to win going away by a length on the Tapeta surface.

Produced from the Shergar’s Best broodmare Anasazi Mud, Moon House was bred by Frank E. Edmunds and is owned by Frank and Jeff Edmunds. Moon House has now earned $43,261.

Clubhouse Ride is by leading sire Candy Ride and stands for $2,500 live foal. He was a graded stakes performer from ages two through five who earned $1,341,132. He won or placed in the Californian S. (G2) twice, Santa Anita H. (G1), the Santa Anita Gold Cup (G1), Cash Call Futurity (G1), Charles Town Classic S. (G2), San Antonio S. (G2), and Daytona S. (G3). He earned eight triple digit Beyers numbers in his career.

Life is Sweet for Apache Princess

Benoit Photo

By Santa Anita Publicity
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2019)–A California-bred daughter of Unusual Heat, KMN Racing’s homebred Apache Princess relished a change in surface from Santa Anita’s hillside turf course to 6 ½ furlongs on a sloppy main track as she rallied up the rail to take the $100,000 Sweet Life Stakes by 3 ¼ lengths. Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his Hall of Fame brother Kent, Apache Princess got the distance in 1:16.82 despite the fact Kent dropped his stick inside the furlong pole.

“That’s embarrassing, but (it’s) the second time I’ve done that with her and she’s won the race for me,” said Kent. “She proves that she doesn’t need it, she just needs encouragement with my mouth. If I kiss at her, shake the reins at her, throw crosses and she continues…”

A maiden winner down the hillside turf two starts back and a 3 ½ length allowance winner over the hillside course on Jan. 21, Apache Princess was off as the 6-5 favorite in a field of five sophomore fillies and paid $4.60, $2.60 and $2.40.

Out of KMN Racing’s Indian Charlie mare Puskita, Apache Princess, who became the first three-time winner at the meet, now has three wins from six starts and with the winner’s share of $60,000, increased her earnings to $171,960.

English-bred Thriving, who was head and head for the early lead with eventual fourth place finisher Nomizar, was off at 9-2 and paid $3.80 and $2.60 while finishing a nose in front of Splashy Kisses.

Ridden by Heriberto Figueroa, Splashy Kisses was off at 2-1 and paid $2.40 to show.

Fractions on the race were 22.35, 45.12 and 1:10.15.

Originally a Grade III on turf, today’s Sweet Life Stakes result will be evaluated by the American Graded Stakes Committee in the coming days to determine if today’s race will retain its graded status.

With the surface changed announced prior to today’s fifth race, there was one late scratch out of the Sweet Life, Irish-bred Ginger Nut, a turf specialist, who was to have made her U.S. debut for trainer John Sadler.

Ferrin Peterson – Great person, jockey, soon to be vet!!!

Vassar Photo

By Dennis Miller
It takes athleticism, strength, determination and perseverance for a person to become a horse racing jockey.

It takes discipline, intelligence, determination, and well, perseverance for a person to master the eight years of school work to become a veterinarian.

Confused as to drawing parallels between being a jockey and being a vet? What if I told you there was someone in the process of being both? Hard to believe perhaps, but it’s true.

Meet Ferrin Peterson – a jockey in Northern California, as well as a fourth-year veterinary student at U.C. Davis.

Peterson is truly an amazing person, combining intelligence, determination, perseverance, as well as personality and charm in becoming adept at pretty much everything she does.

I have covered horse racing for over 30 years and one of the best things about the sport is the people are as down to earth and real as you can find. There are no pretenses and I’ve established a lot of good friendships.

Peterson is among the most enjoyable I’ve had the chance to talk with and that’s not to demean others but a testament to the type of person she has become.

How did she get to this point at 26-years-old?

Growing up in Roseville, Peterson was around horses growing up and rode, first English, followed by Dressage. After graduating from Oakmont High School, Peterson went to the University of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and took her horse with her so she could continue to ride in college while earning a degree in Animal Science.

Oh, I forgot to mention she was a pole vaulter at Oakmont, setting a school record that still stands. She took her track and field talents to Cal Poly where she competed as well.

But in the back of her mind she aspired to be a jockey, something that didn’t jive with family desires.

“The vet school option happened, and I decided I wanted to be a track vet,” said Peterson.

Ironically, it was while attending veterinary school at the University of California, Davis that her jockey dreams begun to come to fruition.
“I was working at the UC Davis Equine ICU and met Monica Romero who also worked there,” explained Peterson. “She told me her husband was a jockey and they had a farm 15 minutes away where they could teach me to be a jockey.”

After that, she went to work for trainer Ellen Jackson, helping break horses. An exercise rider for Jackson further helped Peterson learn the ropes of being a jockey.

The key for any jockey to get mounts, especially a new one, is to show up in the mornings to work horses for the trainers. Be seen and show them you have what it takes.

It’s a grind for jockeys that live in the area, but when you are in school in Davis and need to get to Golden Gate Fields in Albany daily, it gets a lot tougher.

“I wake up at 4:15 a.m. and am on my first horse (at Golden Gate Fields) at 6 a.m.,” explained Peterson. “I ride until around 7 a.m. then literally run back to the car and head back to Davis.”

Once back at school, she works at the Clinic until 7 p.m. or so. Sometime the shifts may go later and are followed by studying and then to bed before doing it all over again the next day.

Weekends are a time when students can get extra studying done and that’s the case for Peterson, but with a twist.

“Weekends I would stay (at the track) after working the horses and ride the races,” said Peterson. “Since I am a female, I had my own room, so I brought my computer and books. I study in between races. It’s the perfect study break! (Riding) is a great way to get your blood pumping.”

All the hard work has paid off, but not without some trying moments. School has demanded internships and Peterson has traveled the world learning.

She has spent time in Kentucky, New York, Japan, Hong Kong and most recently Dubai, working in the Dubai Equine Hospital, which is owned by Sheikh Mohammed.

Each time she has been gone, her jockey career took a back seat and with a lot of trainers living by the “what have you done for me lately,” creed, her riding suffered.

Trainer Aggie Ordonez stuck by Peterson and it paid off when she rode her first winner – Lovely Lioness at Golden Gate – on March 11.

“My schedule had gotten busier as I had a number of internships and I thought it would be hard to get many mounts after being away,” said Peterson. “And it was. But Aggie (Ordonez, a trainer) gave me a mount and we won. I just wanted to show trainers I was ready to ride.”
Ordonez then gave Peterson a dream – a mount at Del Mar on Chocolate Goddess.

“Aggie gave me that mount and it was awesome,” said Peterson. “I have to thank Aggie for a lot of what I have been able to do. I would have never thought I would ride a race at Del Mar. It has been a trip I never thought I would go on.”

One overlooked aspect of Peterson’s double life is how her riding portrays the sport. Animal rights organizations are always quick to condemn horse racing as cruelty to the horses.

Yet in Peterson we have a person set on saving animals competing in the sport.

“I am hoping my story is good for horse racing,” said Peterson. “To me this is a natural form of equine athleticism. (Horses) love to run fast and run in races. Those that don’t like to compete don’t – you can’t make a horse run if they don’t want to run.”

The sky seems to be the limit for Peterson as her credentials from her schooling and internships seem to call for success as a vet. But as to where she wants to be in five years….?

“I would love to be riding in the Triple Crown,” said Peterson. “That would be the best-case scenario. That seems unachievable, then again, I never thought I would be where I am now.”

Regional Sires for 2019

by The Thoroughbred Daily News
Smiling Tiger has come a long way since his discovery as a yearling at the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Sale, or indeed since throwing his jockey three times before his debut in a four-furlong maiden at Golden Gate Fields. He won by daylight that day, promptly added a stakes win before sharing the podium with champion Lookin At Lucky (Smart Strike) at both the Grade II and Grade I level. With maturity he won three Grade I sprints–the Bing Crosby S., Ancient Title S. and Triple Bend H.. He was also beaten a nose in the GI Malibu S. and twice made the frame in the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint, besides winning four other graded stakes.

Smiling Tiger also landed running at stud, as California’s leading first-crop sire in 2017, and last year his 32 winners included five at the black-type level–a tally surpassed nationally, in his intake, only by the stellar Violence (Medaglia d’Oro). These were crowned, in the final days of the year, by a breakout Grade I winner in Spiced Perfection, who turned herself from a $6,500 yearling into a La Brea S. winner.

Smiling Tiger‘s dam Shandra Smiles (Cahill Road) produced another Grade I winner by a son of Storm Cat in She’s A Tiger (Tale Of The Cat), winner of the Del Mar Debutante and Eclipse champion despite her demotion in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies; and it’s a bottom line loaded with Florida speed, the second dam being by Ta Wee’s son Great Above (broodmare sire of Housebuster).

So there’s both class and dash on the page; while Smiling Tiger was as terrifically sound and hardy as he was fast. All in all, the kind of commercial package many a Kentucky farm would be proud to offer.