Letter from the President - August
I write to you this month from Saratoga Springs, the summer mecca for thoroughbred racing. Each year I eagerly look forward to Saratoga, and this year I am more excited than ever. This could be attributed to the tremendous run we've experienced these past few months. July picked up where June left off as the first week of the month produced two more graded stakes wins.
We set off our own Independence Day fireworks when High Finance won the Grade 2 Tom Fool at Belmont. High Finance is such a neat horse. For those of you who've followed his development, you know that he's had an uphill battle as a racehorse. He's had physical challenges throughout his career, but we stuck with him knowing that he had a race like this in him. I'm just glad he was able to show the racing world how good he is. We're now pointing High Finance for the Grade 1 Forego Handicap at Saratoga.
While High Finance kicked off the holiday weekend in style, Dream Rush put an exclamation point to the week when she dominated the Grade 1 Prioress. There has been little doubt in anyone's mind that Dream Rush is a Grade 1 caliber filly, and she confirmed her class that day. She hasn't run a bad race yet. As a matter of fact, you'd be hard pressed to find another three-year-old filly outside of Rags to Riches that is as consistently brilliant as Dream Rush. We're going big game hunting with Dream Rush next time out when she runs in the Test on August 4th. Everyone wants to win a Grade 1 at Saratoga, and we're no exception.
Dream Rush has certainly made a name for herself this spring, but we have another filly getting some attention of her own. Lear's Princess' career did not start until April of this year, but she's quickly risen to the top of her class. She broke her maiden in rather spectacular fashion at Keeneland when her jockey, Elvis Trujillo pulled her up at the wrong wire. As a testament to her raw talent, she was able to win the race galloping out (fortunately for us). After that, Lear's Princess rolled through an entry-level allowance on the turf. She then came back on July 1st to win the Tweedside Stakes on the turf at Belmont. Our plan was to run next in the Lake George opening weekend at Saratoga, but sometimes the best laid plans change?
The defection of Rags to Riches from the CCA Oaks left the race with a small field. Plus, many of the other capable three-year-old fillies had avoided Rags by running the prior week in the Delaware Oaks. We took our shot and ran second - not bad for a horse making her fourth start. If you saw the race, you'd know that she zigzagged her way from the sixteenth pole to the wire. Yes, I'll admit that she's still very green and has a lot to learn, but if we can figure out how to get her to run in a straight line, she'll be dangerous. We believe Lear's Princess has the chance to improve even further, so we plan to come right back in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga. Nobody is quite sure what's going to happen with Rags to Riches, but regardless of what she does, we think Lear's Princess can win the race.
I would be remiss if I did not also point out Awesome Gem's impressive runner-up finish in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar. He's another horse that is as useful as the day is long. Like Lear's Princess, he can run on any surface. A mile and a sixteenth is probably a little short of his optimal distance, but he ran a huge race without getting the best trip. We're going from there to the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. Awesome Gem needs to step his game up a notch or two, but he looks poised for a breakout race as we think he will truly relish the mile and a quarter distance.
Finally there's Flashy Bull. We hoped to set the tone for the Saratoga meet when we ran Flashy Bull in the $750,000 Grade 1 Whitney Handicap. Unfortunately, we ran into a buzz saw named Lawyer Ron in the Whitney. It simply wasn't his day when the latch sprung for the race. We'll be back though.
With a July that would be the envy of virtually any stable in the country and a slew of horses slated for graded stakes, it makes sense that I am excited for August. I've worked my whole life to be a legitimate competitor in the racing industry, and now I'm blessed enough to have 5 different horses pointed to graded stakes at the best race meets in the world. That said, nobody on the west Point team sees this as an opportunity to rest on our laurels. It means we've raised the bar even higher.
I know that August holds some great excitement for all of us and that they don't just give these races away. I'm fully prepared for however the chips may fall, but I'm sure going to have fun taking a shot.
Until next month...