Monday, November 22, 2010

Pocket Aces Racing's Kaminari Begins Training

Based on feedback from our partners we have found that the process of purchasing young racing prospects and developing them into racehorses is a very significant portion of the enjoyment they receive from being members of Pocket Aces Racing. That is why we invite Here's The Deal and Pocket Aces Racing on-line followers to track a young filly's journey from the pasture to what we hope will be the winner's circle. Her name is Kaminari and from previous posts many of you are aware that she is the First Samurai filly Pocket Aces Racing purchased at the 2010 Keeneland September Sale.

In early October, shortly after her purchase, we "broke" (a very slow, methodical process in which the horse learns to accept a rider) her. By the end of the month she was being ridden , at a jog, in the shed row of the barn. She jogged in the barn for several weeks until she transitioned to the point in her training where she is currently, which is jogging and galloping slowly in an open field. Below please find video of her training.

We will continue to keep everyone updated on her progress.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pocket Aces Racing Gifts and Apparel Now Available On-Line

Just in time for the Holidays!!! Follow this link to find all of your favorite Pocket Aces Racing Shirts, Hoodies, Mugs, Calenders, etc.

Here are a few of my favorites

Monday, November 15, 2010

Q & A with Mr. Jim Hindman

For this installment of Here's The Deal we are profiling a close personal friend, mentor and key figure in the development of Pocket Aces Racing - Mr. Jim Hindman.

Jim and Dixie (namesake of Dixie's Hope) Hindman

HTD: Could you give our readers a brief background on yourself? Where you were born, where you live now, family, career, etc.

JH: I was born in Volin, South Dakota, on my grandfather's farm, but for the past 45 years I've lived in Westminster, Maryland on my own farm, with my wife Dixie. Our children, Tim and Cindi, live nearby with their own families. I've been involved in a number of business ventures, Jiffy Lube, Youth Services and so on, but my big project right now is Energy Savers. Our goal is to take your home from a cost center to a profit center with the latest and greatest in energy efficiency and alternative energy. (

HTD: What first drew you to the thoroughbred racing and breeding industries?

JH: I was first drawn to the thoroughbred business was a man named Jim Ryan, the founder of Ryland Homes. He was raising money for Operation Smile and put a horse up for syndication with the money going to charity, so I bought in on that partnership and got hooked. We really did well and won the forerunner. Everything about it was classy and great.

HTD: Could you tell us about a few highlights from your racing and breeding careers?

JH: There are a lot of very precious memories associated with breeding and racing horses, but one of my favorites includes the time we went to the Japan Cup with Slew Valley, one of the best horses I've ever raced. We went out to Japan poised for a big win, but wouldn't you know it, the jockey missed his flight! Unfortunately, that turned out to be a major setback and we didn't win, but we did represent ourselves well with the best horse from outside the country.

HTD: You’ve owned race horses outright and in partnership as a member of Pocket Aces Racing. There are advantages and disadvantages either way but from your unique perspective what do you see as the upside of being a member of a syndicate as opposed to owning 100% of a racehorse?

JH: The upside of being a member of a syndicate is the fact that you have a group to participate with. I know being a sole proprietor is okay, but it's not as much fun as you could have by being with partners. Joint ownership of a horse is a tremendous amount of fun and I recommend it highly. The reason I'm a member of Pocket Aces is because of my long-time relationship with Marc Wampler. It goes back 15 years – I knew him when he was a pup. The integrity, diligence and commitment is 100% and I think the old adage, “Knowledge is power” is where it's at, and he has developed a lot of knowledge over the years, as our present stable reflects.

HTD: What is your favorite racetrack?

JH: Saratoga is probably my favorite, though there are a lot of great ones all over the country.

HTD: If you could win any race, other than the Kentucky Derby, what would it be?

JH: Short of going back to win the Japan Cup, a Breeder's Cup win would be just fine by me!

HTD: What’s the best place for crabs in Maryland?

JH: I'm a big fan of the Cracked Claw, in Frederick, Maryland.

HTD: What do you see as the most important issue facing thoroughbred racing today?

JH: In my opinion, it is diminishing interest in the sport. The sport of kings has been replaced by auto racing in terms of popularity. It's an unfortunate but true fact that kids today almost don't know what a horse is. They're not the same priority in American life, automobiles are the exciting thing. When I was a kid, we had little toy horses, now they have little toy cars . They say, “As a child goes, so goes the man” and I think, unfortunately, that's where the battle is lost.

HTD: Outside of your thoroughbred endeavors I know your latest passion is global energy conservation. Can you tell our readers a little about your efforts in this field?

JH: There are always a lot of exciting new developments with Energy Savers. We've recently finalized our private placement document, which allows us to begin raising capital. Our company store is also flourishing, with many talented individuals manning our front lines. Overall, I'm prepared for a bright future with Energy Savers.

HTD: What are your hobbies and interests?

JH: My wife gets on my case a lot for this, but I'm a real workaholic. Some people get on me for always being so get up and go, but I always say it's better to wear out than rust out. I also love football with a nice cigar. Ain't it great!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dixie's Hope Runs 2nd In Huge Effort at Keeneland

Making her first start since breaking her maiden in stellar fashion at Presque Isle nearly 70 days ago Pocket Aces Racing's Dixie's Hope turned in another impressive run, finishing 2nd, at Keeneland Friday.

Breaking from the 4 hole, at odds of 13 to 1, jockey Shane Sellers expertly guided her into great position going into the first turn. Down the backstretch Sellers got the big, gray filly to relax as she settled in nicely behind the pacesetters. Sellers first asked her for some run in the far turn and by the time the field began to straighten up for home she had struck the lead. In deep stretch it appeared as though she would be the winner, however, within the last 100 yards, the 7 horse, Kitty Love, made a late charge near the middle of the track and was able to just get by Dixie at the wire.

Dixie's Hope earned a lifetime best 78 Beyer for the race while increasing her bankroll to $54,390. Her lifetime race record now stands at 6-1-3-1. She has only failed to hit the board once in her career.

Trainer Joe Deegan reports that Dixie' Hope has exited the race in great shape and that he will point her towards another allowance race at Churchill Downs if she continues to do well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dixie's Hope Entered to Run at Keeneland

Pocket Aces Racing color bearer Dixie's Hope, who was last seen at Presque Isle in August dominating a Maiden Special Weight field by almost 10 lengths, will return to action at Keeneland in an allowance level race on Friday, October 22nd.

In her most recent starts Dixie's Hope has been running over the synthetic surface at Presque Isle and while she has been able to "handle" that surface her pedigree suggests that she should relish Friday's race at Keenland which will be contested over a mile on the turf.

Dixie's Hope enters the race on Friday off a 60+ day layoff as she was given a mini vacation after her last race in an effort to freshen her up for the fall campaign. Despite the time away she has been training better recently than at any point in her career. Note the 10/16 bullet work on her form line.

Pocket Aces Racing is expecting a big performance out of Dixie and would like to wish all of it's Partners the best of luck on Friday.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pocket Aces Racing Acquires First Samurai Filly at Keeneland September

Pocket Aces Racing is pleased to announce the newest addition to our stable is a yearling filly by First Samurai out of a stakes winner mare that earned more than $380,000. First Samurai is a son of reigning North American champion sire Giant's Causeway and multiple Grade I winner of nearly $1 million. He has already established himself as one of 2010's most exciting first crop sires. His progeny have already won a Graded Stakes race and Maiden Special Weight Races at top level tracks such as Churchill Downs, Saratoga, and Belmont. The filly's dam, Bartok's Blithe, was an exceptional and very sound race mare that ran in 22 stakes races while sprinting and routing on both dirt and turf. She placed in seven stakes races, winning two, and earned $389, 656.

She is a good sized, leggy filly that looks like she still has quite a bit of growing to do. She stands over plenty of ground and has great strength and balance. All of the hip, shoulder and hind leg angles are just the way we like. She is as correct a filly through the knees and ankles as you can find and tracks perfectly. We lover her walk as she has a great stride behind and a very athletic, fluid way of moving. In addition, her vet work is completely clean and her throat scope was graded an "A".

The filly has been "broke" and is now in light training in Lexington with Derrick Faulkner. Derrick says that she is a lovely filly that is very smart and kind. He's had no problems with her, according to him she's been a "push button" horse so far. She will stay with Derrick for the next 2-3 weeks then she will go to our trainer, Joe Deegan, at High Point Training Center. She will stay there for the remainder of 2010, acclimating to life as a racehorse while we establish a good foundation with her, then she will go back to Derrick to wait out the worst of the winter at the farm. Sometime in early/mid spring (depending in large part on how much she grows) she will return to Joe and we will begin to prep her for racing.

Shares are currently available for $3,400 each. The initinal buy-in cover expenses through December 2010. Expenses will be billed at $300 per quarter per share beginning January 1, 2011.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pocket Aces Racing To Conduct Seminar at Keeneland September Yearling Sale

In an effort to educate and inform their partners, as well as any other interested parties, Pocket Aces Racing will be conducting 2 two hour seminars/tours at the Keeneland September Yearling sale on Sunday, September 19th.

Our goal is to familiarize everyone with the process we use to select and purchase the newest editions to the Pocket Aces Racing stable at public auction. Some of the information to be covered will be pedigree and conformation analysis, vetting, establishing credit, bidding procedures and post purchase care.

Those participating will also have the opportunity to tour Keeneland's beautiful sales grounds and receive and "insiders" perspective of how the sales work.

The seminars/tours will be conducted at 9:00am and 12:00pm on the 19th. Anyone who is interested can contact Marc A. Wampler at (859) 312-6272, or Jared Shoemaker at (606) 922-9325,

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pocket Aces Racing Batting a Thousand!!!

With her daylight victory at Presque Isle on August 13th Dixie's Hope raises Pocket Aces Racing's win percentage, from starters, to 100%! That's no small feat considering the fact that only around half of all horses make it to the track and only about half of the horses that make it to the track make it to the winner's circle! That makes your random odds of buying a winner around 25% but with Pocket Aces Racing it's a sure thing.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Pair of Aces

In this edition of Here's The Deal we ask a few questions of Pocket Aces Racing members Bob and Carol Leggett. Bob and Carol own shares in our promising 3-year-old Cozzene filly, Dixie's Hope, and our exciting 2-year-old Medaglia d' Oro colt named Posso Volare

HTD: Could you give our readers a little background information on yourselves? Where you're from originally, where you live now, careers, children, etc.

Bob: My family moved to Lexington, KY from Montgomery County, MD in the summer of 1970. While in high school, I met Carol and we have been happily married for more than 34 years. We have 3 children and 1 grandchild. After more than 30 years of public service, during which I provided oversight and management of several public pension plans with multi-billion dollar portfolios in executive director and chief investment officer capacities, I retired and returned to Kentucky. Carol and I have found a great community in Louisville to call home.

Carol: I grew up in Lexington, Ky where my parents still live as does one of my three brothers. Although I was a stay at home mom for several years when our kids were little, I have worked for almost 20 years with school support programs in Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Louisiana at the local, regional and state level. I am still working but only part-time now for the Kentucky Department of Education. As Bob said, we have one wonderful granddaughter who lives in Lexington, but, is a frequent visitor to our house. We have two grown daughters and a son who is a senior in college. As much as I enjoyed the places where Bob's work has taken us, it is nice to be back in Kentucky.

HTD: How where you introduced to the sport of thoroughbred racing?

Bob: While working part-time during the formative high school years, my employer and I would occasionally take brief excursions to Keeneland to enjoy the races; I've been a fan ever since then.

Carol: Horse racing was always a part of growing up in Lexington and I don't remember a time that I wasn't aware of it. But, the first time I actually went to the track (Keeneland) was as a college student.

HTD: Bob, imagine you have just been appointed to the imaginary position of "Commissioner of North American Thoroughbred Racing". What's the first thing on your to do list?

Bob: Promote the National Racing Compact, a proposed interstate compact for racing and wagering as a viable means to promote uniformity in the industry.

HTD: Carol, competition, socializing and risk reduction are all important components of thoroughbred racing partnership participation. Could you rank those three components in order of which is most important to you and give a brief explanation why?

Carol: While competition is an enticing factor and risk reduction by participating in the sport through a partnership is a key consideration, socializing is most important to me. It has been fun to meet new people and share the racing experience with them. I especially enjoy access to the paddock before the race along with other ownership amenities provided through Pocket Aces Racing like being with our partners and friends in the suites during the races.

HTD: If you could win one race what would it be?

Bob & Carol: The Kentucky Derby. It's the event that continues to live up to its billing as the two most exciting minutes in sports.

HTD: Bob, I know you are a pretty serious handicapper. What's your favorite track to play and why?

Bob: Arlington Park provides racing and wagering opportunities that fit best with my handicapping approach. Additionally, it is a beautiful track, with nice amenities, that offers yet another reason for us to visit one of our favorite cities.

HTD: Outside of thoroughbred racing, what are a few of your other hobbies and interests?

Bob: American history, reading, travel and wine.

Carol: Theater, movies, music, travel, reading, good wine, and spending precious time with my family.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

With today's edition of Here's The Deal we will begin a series of interviews with partners of Pocket Aces Racing, L.L.C.

We will start with Steve and Kate Wilt, both racing enthusiasts from Louisville, KY.

HTD: I know both of you have had very
interesting careers in aviation and marketing, could you give our readers a few details on what you have accomplished in those fields?
S: I was the Executive Vice-President of Braniff Airlines/Operations and a 3 year veteran of the White House Chief of Staff office and reported directly to General Alexander Haig. I was also decorated with a Bronze Star and 2 Purple Hearts while flying attack helicopters in Vietnam. Spinal injures, as a result of being shot down twice, curtailed my flying and executive careers.

K: I was the Manager of Young Adult Marketing for the Miller Brewing Company as well as holding the Managerial positions in the NYC sports and entertainment marketing world. I am currently the proprietor of My Racing Heart, L.L.C. working with Consumers Choice Coffee with marketing the My Racing Heart Artisan Roasted Coffee brand.

HTD: How were both of you introduced to the sport of Thoroughbred Racing?

S: My introduction was mainly through my wife but most importantly, to me, is why it appeals to me. Racing is akin to flying, there is a very high level of skill demanded from everyone involved, plus the personal commitment to be as good as you can be. Risk is a part of both endeavors but you minimize that risk by being prepared and alert.

K: I have loved horses and racing since the age of 6. I wouldn't say I needed an introduction really, they have always just seemed to be a part of my life.

HTD: Is Pocket Aces Racing your 1st experience with Racing Partnerships?

S&K: We have participated in 2 other syndicates and both were unpleasant experiences.

HTD: Why did you select Pocket Aces Racing as your partnership of choice?

S&K: First and foremost the communication with Pocket Aces Racing has been far superior to anything we experienced with the other 2 syndicates. We love the transparency in each deal too. In addition, we greatly appreciate the commitment Pocket Aces Racing has shown not just to their horses but the entire breed.

HTD: What Pocket Aces Racing horses have you invested in?

S&K: We own shares in each horse on Pocket Aces Racing's current roster. The rationale has been different for each:
Pure Victory - A friend introduced us and we really liked Pure Clan, a Grade 1 winning filly by the same sire - Pure Prize
Dixie's Hope - A share became available and she was ready to race.
El Corredror x Peanut Gallery 2008 - Sire breeds good fillies and the price was right.
Medaglia d' Oro x Retiro Park 2008 - Couldn't pass up.

HTD: If you could win 1 race what would it be?

S&K: A Breeders' Cup Race or dare we dream...The Kentucky Derby.

HTD: Outside of horse racing what are a few of your hobbies"

S: Watching Fox News, yard work, dogs and wine.

K: Cooking, Topsail Beach in N.C. and our dogs (Jezabelle, Nelliebelle, Clarabelle and Crawford),

HTD: Any suggestions for good restaurants in Louisville?

S&K: Rootie's (for wing's), Furlongs (for Cajun) and Napa River Grill (special occasion).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pocket Aces Racing Aquires 2 New Racing Prospects

Well, after several months and a few thousand miles travelling to Florida and Maryland to inspect nearly 2,000 horses Pocket Aces Racing has acquired 2 new racing prospects for its stable. We believe these are 2 very special horses as it has been extremely difficult finding 2-year-old horses in-training that meet our very rigid pedigree, physical and performance standards at prices that allow us to syndicate them affordably.

Our 1st addition to the stable is a filly by El Corredor, out of a stakes placed earner of over $250,000 named Peanut Gallery. El Corredor, a Grade 1 winner himself, is the sire of 6 crops to date with progeny earnings of nearly $20,000,000. In his short career at stud El Corredor has had amazing success with his female progeny as he is already the sire of 3 Grade 1 winning fillies – Adieu, winner of the Frizette-G 1 and earner of over $900,000; Backseat Rhythm, winner of the Garden City H.-G 1 and earner of over $800,000 and Crisp, winner of this year’s edition of the Santa Anita Oaks-G 1 and earner of over $250,000. Physically she is just a gorgeous filly with tons of substance, quality and athleticism. She has been in training since the beginning of year and her consignor tells us that she hasn’t missed a day due to soundness or any other health issue since she began. As of right now we feel like she should be a forward type that could be ready to run within the next few months. Shares in the filly are priced at $1,800 with no bills until October 1, 2010. If necessary, partners will be billed, beginning October 1, 2010, $300 quarterly for expenses. Half shares and discounts for multiples are available.

Our 2nd addition is a colt by the world class sire Medaglia d’ Oro, out of a Meadowlake mare that has produced a G 3 winner and nearly $250,000 earner named Snorter. We feel like this is a rare and extraordinarily special opportunity for our clients to invest in a thoroughbred with limitless upside. His sire, Medaglia d’ Oro, stands at Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stud for $100,000 and from just 3 crops of racing age he has already sired champion and horse of the year for 2009 Rachel Alexandra as well as Grade 1 winning colts Warrior’s Reward and Passion for Gold. Physically this colt reminds us a lot of his father, a 7 time Graded Stakes winner and earner of over $5,000,000, as he is a big, strong imposing horse with balance, scope and agility. Shares in the colt are priced at $2,600 with no bills until October 1. If necessary, partners will be billed, beginning October 1, 2010, $300 quarterly for expenses. Half shares and discounts for multiples are available.

Pocket Aces Racing looks forward to answering any questions you might have about our latest offerings. Please fell free to contact Marc A. Wampler (859) 312-6272 or Jared Shoemaker (606) 922-9325 at your convenience.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Here's The Deal Identifies 2010 Kentucky Derby Winner in January Blog Entry

Our post titled "Yes, It's Early but Here Are 5 Horses To Keep An Eye On For The Derby" dated January 26, 2010 identified eventual winner Super Saver as one of the leading candidates to win the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner. Please don't ask how the other 4 did but we got the 1 that mattered most.

Super Saver with the coveted Blanket of Roses

As we pointed out back in January Super Saver should, and did, benefit from his earlier experience over the Churchill Downs track and his expert human connections were a big key in getting this horse to peak at the right time.

Good luck to Super Saver, Calvin Borel, Todd Pletcher and the entire WinStar team at the Preakness!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Great Result in KY for Pocket Aces Racing, Frustration in FL

We’ve always known that Dixie’s Hope had the talent to be a very nice filly but it really wasn’t until last fall until she decided she wanted to be a racehorse. Ever since then the Pocket Aces Racing Team has been waiting anxiously for her to make her 1st start.

Well, she made that highly anticipated 1st start on April 17th on one of the sports grandest stages – the spring meet at Keeneland. As most of you already know she finished a very courageous 2nd as she was nearly last at the half-mile pole and was forced, in her career debut, to negotiate her way through a wall of slower horses from the far turn almost all the way through the stretch. Sal Gonzalez piloted her expertly and Joe Deegan and his staff did an excellent job preparing her for the race.

We’re looking for a turf race at Churchill Downs for her next start, mostly likely around the end of May. We think she’ll be even better on the grass so it should be exciting.

On another, less successful, note Pocket Aces Racing went to the Ocala Breeders’ 2-year-old in-training sale last week and was unable to purchase a horse. Our intent was to buy a colt, bred to go 2 turns, but we just couldn’t find one that met Pocket Aces Racing’s strict criteria that we could afford. We’ve re-grouped after the initial disappointment of not getting anything done and now have plans to attend the Fasig-Tipton Timonium 2-year-old in-training sale. Wish us luck!!! We’ll let everyone know if we get anything bought.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Career Debut for Dixie's Hope Drawing Near

Pocket Aces Racing's Dixie's Hope breezed 5/8 in company this past weekend over a heavy main track at High Point training center. The gray daughter of Cozzene started her work several lengths behind, and to the outside, of stablemate Stellar Hope. As the duo began to pick up the pace down the backstretch Dixie's Hope collared her 3-year-old male companion around the 3/8 pole. The pair ran stride for stride until they straightened up at the head of the lane, at which point Dixie's Hope kicked in another gear and began to pull away from Stellar Hope. Dixie's Hope crossed the finish line a length and a half in front of her work mate, stopping the clock in 1:05.0 - the fastest time of the day at that distance.

In polite circles the time of 1:05.0 would be referred to as pedestrian, however, the main track at the La Grange, KY training facility has long been known for slower times, due in large part to its configuration. On this day there was the added factor of just enough rain overnight to make the track deep and very heavy. I was told by the High Point clocker that 1:05.0 here today is the equivalent of 1:01.0 at most tracks.

Pocket Aces Racing trainer Joe Deegan was very pleased with the move. He also felt like the work should really tighten her up as he begins his final preparations for her first start. Deegan has selected tentative starting dates of April 15th and 17th at Keeneland for Dixie's Hope, both are Maiden Special Weight events on the polytrack.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

4 Emerging Broodmare Sires

BELONG TO ME- From a relatively small pool of cumulative foals Belong To Me was the Broodmare Sire of a very respectable 10 Stakes Winners in 2009. Leading the way was millionaire, multiple Grade 1 winner and 2-year-old champion Lookin at Lucky. Belong to Me is also the Broodmare Sire of 2009 Arkansas Derby-G 2 winner Papa Clem, who like Lookin at Lucky is bred along the same Smart Strike x Belong To Me cross.

Belong To Me is impeccably bred as he is by the legendary Danzig and hails from the female family that produced Eight Belles. He has been an above average Central Kentucky stallion for the better part of 2 decades but I believe his most significant contribution to the breed is most likely to be seen in the future through his daughters.

LANGFUHR - As a foal of 1992 Langfuhr is still young by Broodmare Sire standards but he is already the sire of the dam of 2008 3-year-old champion and Kentucky Oaks-G 1 winner Proud Spell. In addition to that $2,000,000 + earner he is also the sire of the dams of black type winners Augusta Proud, Treadmill, I'm Fuhr Real, Whatever Whenever and several others.

Langfuhr, like Belong To Me, is a son of Danzig and as such I don't see the early success that his daughters have had as an aberration. It is more likely that the same superior genetic make up that Danzig passed along to his daughters, he is passing along to his sons - who in turn are passing it along to their daughters, which is why I see no end in sight for Langfuhr's success as a broodmare sire.

UNBRIDLED'S SONG - As the sire of so many great race fillies over the years (Octave, Splendid Blendid, Magnificent Song, etc.) it's hard to imagine Unbridled's Song not becoming a successful Broodmare Sire. From a small cumulative foal total (455 to be exact, 2009's top 10 broodmare sires had an average of over 2,100 cumulative foals) he is already the sire of 2009 Toyota Bluegrass S.-G 1 winner General Quarters and Grade 2 winner Hold Me Back.

Unbridled's Song's 5-cross pedigree is filled with prominent broodmare sires such as Mr. Prospector, Fappiano, Caro and In Reality which is a further indication of why it should be no mystery as why his broodmare sire career has gotten off to such a great start.

HOLY BULL - His daughters have only produced 502 foals but you can count leading 2010 Kentucky Derby-G1 contender Conveyance, Grade 2 winner Munnings and many other stakes winners among that small group. In 2009 his daughter's produce earned a very respectable $4,300,000 and they are already on pace to eclipse that figure for 2010.

Holy Bull is an out cross on both sides of his family whose stud career has benefited from the breeds ever dwindling gene pool as he gives the multitude of Phalaris line mare owners a viable option. This should equate to success in the Broodmare standings as well.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pocket Aces Fillies Training Well, Dixie's Hope on Track to Make Her First Career Start at Keeneland's Upcoming Spring Meeting

I visited our 2 young racing prospects yesterday and am pleased to report that both are doing extremely well. As we have already reported to the syndicate members Pure Victory has developed into a big, very powerfully built filly that is already showing a great deal of promise in the early stages of her training. As for Dixie's Hope she is getting very close to making her debut - she is getting fitter and fitter by the day and despite the wicked weather we've had this winter in Kentucky she is still on schedule to run at Keeneland's April Meet.

Above is a video I took yesterday of the 2 fillies training on High Point's uphill gallop. The first time around both fillies are held to a gallop (Dixie's Hope, the grey, goes in front of Pure Victory). Dixie's Hope went by herself a second time and she was allowed to "pick it up" - doing more of a 2-minute lick.


Cozzene x Konvincha 2007


Pure Prize x By The Book 2008

Friday, February 19, 2010

Horse Themed Crossword Puzzle Contest!!!

2 of my favorite things are thoroughbred horses and crossword puzzles so I am combining them and making a contest out of it.

Below is a link to a horse themed crossword puzzle that I have created, click on the link - print out the puzzle and the first person to finish it correctly will win 2 box seats to the upcoming Keeneland Spring Meet courtesy of Pocket Aces Racing L.L.C.!!!

You can fax your submissions to 859 271-2010 or scan them in and e-mail them to Please include your contact information. Good Luck!!!

2 Box Seats good for 1 day. Excludes Bluegrass Stakes Day. The particular date to be determined by Pocket Aces Racing, L.L.C. but we will try to accommodate the winner with their date of choice.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Memories of a Ruler When He Was Just a Prince

I remember the first time I saw Roman Ruler but back then, in the summer of 2003, he was an unnamed yearling known only as Silvery Swan '02. I had been hired by a client to "scout" horses for the upcoming Keeneland September Yearling Sale which meant I would travel to as many consignors as I could before the sale and inspect their catalogued yearlings in an effort to get a leg up on the competition. One of my last stops before the sale was at Bill Betz' Needham-Betz Thoroughbreds. As I recall it was a typical mid-summer "scorcher" here in Central Kentucky, the kind where your shirt gets drenched with sweat just standing there. Bill must have shown me around 15 yearlings that day and they were all straight forward, easy to categorize types. No, No, No, Yes, No, Yes, No, No, etc. but I just couldn't wrap my head around that darned Silvery Swan '02. If I had spent 5 minutes apiece inspecting the other horses I must have spent 20 with him. I made him walk on the asphalt, then on the grass, then in a circle. I looked at him from the side, watched him walk head-on, stood him up square, stood him up in a conformation pose, etc. The groom went through 3 bottles of water and was becoming visibly frustrated.

The problem was in his front limbs. My client was a real stickler for leg conformation and there was no way around it - he wasn't perfect up front. I couldn't scratch him off the list though. He had a body to die for and moved like a leopard stalking its prey. Offset knees, base narrow be damned I was putting this horse on the short list.

In the end my client's didn't purchase Silver Swan '02 and like so many other hip numbers he faded from my memory until...

The next time I heard about him his name was Roman Ruler and he had just taken a MSW at Hollywood Park with ease, stopping the clock in a track sizzling :57.1. The bay son of Fusaichi Pegasus failed to disappoint his ever growing fan base throughout the summer and fall of that year by taking both the Norfolk S.-G 2 and Best Pal S.-G 2 by a combined 11 1/2 lengths. At 3 Roman Ruler won the most important race of his career - The Haskell S.-G1. The most important, not so much due to the race's Grade 1 status or $1,000,000 purse but its 9 furlong distance. What Roman Ruler proved in this race was that he was more than just a brilliant speed ball. He was a horse that continued to develop from 2 to 3 and a horse that could carry his speed over a route of ground.

Just like his racing career did 6 years ago Roman Ruler's stud career is getting off to a spectacular start.

Now it's 2010 and Roman Ruler is the leading 2nd Crop Sire in North America and he is represented by no fewer than 5 legitimate Kentucky Derby contenders. I believe that he first showed glimpses of the prowess he would have in the breeding shed in the 2005 running of the Haskell S.-G 1, as brilliantly fast 2-year-olds that carry their speed over a route of ground in Grade 1 competition are a rare breed and are usually the kind that make it big in the breeding game.

I have seen him several times since he was retired to stud at Hill 'n' Dale Farm and you can tell that as he matured and broadened through the chest a lot of the minor front limb conformation flaws I was hung up on in 2003 have gone away. Seeing this horse at such an early stage of his life and seeing what he has gone on to do has been a great learning experience. I am definitley looking forward to watching his sons and daughters rule the track for years to come.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fasig-Tipton's KY Winter Mixed Sale Small (but Well Needed) Victory for Sellers

Total Sales and Overall Average both increased significantly from 2009 at this year's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale. Gross Revenue was up 27% while the average rose nearly 37%. The median was unchanged.

Numbers alone don't always give you an accurate picture of a sales true performance but I can tell you the overall mood was quite optimistic and having spoken with several consignors they were happy enough and the horses they expected to sell got sold.

For my part I sold 2 horses with Castle Park Farm and while we didn't "break the bank" we did get both of them sold and at fair prices.

The top end of the market proved to be very strong as 13 horses sold for over $50,000, including $340,000 for the sales topper. This just goes to show that despite the worldwide economic down turn and the subsequent slide in the thoroughbred markets there are still plenty of buyers for top quality horses regardless of where they are offered.

Kudos also go out to Fasig-Tipton and its staff as they were all highly visible and seemed to be working feverishly at making sure the facility upgrades aren't just window dressing. I think I even saw Fasig-Tipton COO Dan Pride directing horses into the back walking ring - How's that for service?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Quality Road Lowers His Own Track Record in Donn Romp

Edward P. Evans' home bred Quality Road crushed a field of 8 others in yesterday's Donn H.-G 1 in route to lowering his track record to 1:47.49.

We predicted this result in our previous blog entry however the race did not unfold quite the way we expected. Inexplicably Past the Point's connections tried beating Quality Road at his own game by sending him out for the early lead only to see him fade badly to a 6th place finish in the stretch.

Past the Point was able to establish a lively early pace, which Quality Road was content to lay right off of but it wasn't enough to keep the 4-year-old Elusive Quality colt from bounding home an easy 12 length winner.

I'm not ready to annoint Quality Road as a super horse just yet, let's face it the Donn H.-G 1 field was weak this year and I want to see what he'll do with real Grade 1 quality older horses running on his flanks and pushing him from behind.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Will Quality Road Win The Donn H.-G 1? That Depends on What Past the Point Does

Quality Road is clearly the class of Saturday's Donn H.-G 1 at Gulfstream Park and as evidenced by his victories last year at Gulfstream in the Fountain of Youth-G2 and Florida Derby-G 1 he is one of those unique horses that can forwardly place themselves on a hot early pace and have enough left over to finish strong up to a mile and an eighth. This ability has the rest of this year's Donn H.-G 1 field "up against it" to say the least.

He should win Saturday but if a challenger like Past The Point (the closest thing to a speed horse in the race) were to press him early and force Quality Road out of his comfort zone then one or two of the horses he is giving up as much as 8 pounds to may be able to get past him late.

I don't think that scenario will play out though as Past the Point's connections will most likely ask pilot Edgar Prado to get their charge to relax and lay right off the leaders, much as the horse did back in 2008 when he was competing well in 2 turn Graded Stakes races, instead of rushing straight for the lead like he did in his most recent start in the 6 furlong Mr. Prospector-G3.

Unless another horse pulls a 180 with their running style Quality Road should have it "all his way" on the front end and win this year's Donn-H-G 1. I like Mambo Meister for 2nd and Past the Point for 3rd.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pocket Aces Racing, L.L.C. Forming First Partnership for 2010

Pocket Aces Racing, L.L.C. has announced that they will be attending the Ocala Breeder's April 2-year-old in-training sales this year looking to purchase a top-class racing prospect to form its initial 2010 partnership.

25 shares are available at $2,400 each. Partial shares are also available. Due to overwhelming interest in our most recent partnerships, we are offering potential partners the opportunity to "lock in their spots" now with a 10% deposit. Individuals "locking in" prior to April 1 receive a 5% discount on their total share(s). The balance is due April 30.

Since 2007 The Ocala Breeders' 2-year-old in-training sale has produced over 135 stakes winners, 15 of which are Graded Stakes winners, including Grade 1 winners Wicked Style, Blind Luck and 2009 champion 2-year-old filly She Be Wild.

For additional information or to secure your place in Pocket Aces Racing 2010 now, please contact Managing Partners Marc A. Wampler at (859) 312-6272 or Jared Shoemaker at (606) 922-9325 or email

Poll Shows Growing Support for Slots

A majority of Kentucky voters support slots at racetracks but an even larger number say voters, not state lawmakers, should have the final say on the issue, according to a new Courier-Journal/WHAS11 Bluegrass Poll. The automated phone survey, conducted Jan. 28-31 by SurveyUSA, shows that 59 percent of respondents favor slots at tracks while 37 percent oppose them. The margin of error on that question was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

This is the largest margin of support for gambling in a Bluegrass Poll since 2002.

However, 85 percent want the issue put to a vote rather than left to the General Assembly to implement; only 13 percent think the legislature should act unilaterally.

Gov. Steve Beshear included $780 million from expanded gambling in his two-year budget proposed last month but the measure was swiftly sidelined by Democrats and Republicans alike.

A separate bill, sponsored by Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, that would put a constitutional amendment allowing slots on the ballot for November has been on hold in a Senate committee for lack of bipartisan support. Horse industry leaders have said they oppose the bill because it would not guarantee that casinos go to racetracks and because they would face expensive campaigns to win statewide and local approval.

While 64 percent of the poll’s respondents think gambling will help state revenue, respondents were more ambivalent on what they think expanded gambling would do for Kentucky’s horse industry, which is in economic trouble. Only 43 percent said slots would help the horse industry; 18 percent said expanded gambling would hurt and 37 percent said it would have no impact.
- Janet Patton

Sunday, January 31, 2010

4 Young Stallions that Should Make a Big Impact on the 2010 Freshmen Sire List


Stands at Claiborne Farm for $30,000 in 2010

First Samurai was a top class 2-year-old. He was a multiple Grade 1 winner at 2, having won the 2005 editions of the Champagne S.-G 1 and Hopeful S.-G1, as well as placing 3rd in The Breeder's Cup Juvenile-G1.

His sire, Giant's Causeway, finished 2009 as the leading sire in North America, based mainly on his older progeny's earnings, but it should be noted that he sired a very respectable 23 2-year-old winners in 2009 and was actually tied for 1st with 5 2-year-old stakes winners in 2009.

I don't expect First Samurai's progeny to make a big splash early in 2010 but as the 2-year-old races in North America begin to stretch out to 5.5 and 6 furlongs his runners should start to excel.


Stands at Darley for $25,000 in 2010

Henny Hughes earned $644,820 as a 2-year-old on his way to winning both the Tremont and Saratoga Special S.-G 2. In addition, he was 2nd, at 2, to First Samurai in both the Champagne S.-G1 and Hopeful S.-G 1. Henny Hughes capped off his 2-year-old season with a near victory in The Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G 1. He had the lead at the 16th pole in the Juvenile but reluctantly let Stevie Wonderboy by him inside the last 50 yards. Had he won, he most likely would have been the champion 2-year-old in 2005 as he was able to turn the tables on his nemesis First Samurai in the race.

His race record combined with the fact that his sire, Hennessey, was a Grade 1 winner at 2 and former champion 2-year-old sire himself indicate that Henny Hughes has a great chance of topping the Freshman sire list by the end of the year.


Stands at Darley for $12,500 in 2010

Rockport Harbor was an undefeated, multiple graded stakes winner at 2 who won at distances from 5.5 to 9 furlongs.

While his paternal line isn't seen as a significant influence for early development, his sire, Unbridled's Song, is the sire of 2008 2-year-old champion Midshipman and he is out of a speedy Coplean mare.

I think you might see his progeny running, and running well, slightly earlier than the two listed above. His runners should stick around for the late summer and fall 2-year-old races too.


Stands at Three Chimneys Farm for $7,500 in 2010

I have to admit that I wasn't a big fan of Sharp Humor's when he was retired to the breeding shed, however, I have seen a great deal of his sons and daughters at the sales and have been very impressed with them physically. As I saw more of them that I liked at the sales I began to review his race record in more detail. During this process I realized that he did break his maiden at Belmont, in July, while posting a first half-mile of :44 and change and that he was champion 2-year-old in New York that year.

As it relates to becoming a successful Freshman Sire there are aspects of this guy's pedigree that I like. He is by Distorted Humor, who has sired a fair share of top-class 2-year-olds himself (Z Humor and Awesome Humor come to mind) as well as the fact that he hails from the female family of 2-year-old champion Forty Niner and Grade 1 winner at 2 Swale but I am mainly basing this one on his foals. They just look early to me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yes, It's Early but Here are 5 Horses to Keep an Eye on for The Derby.


This 3-year-old son of Stormin Fever broke his maiden at Philadelphia Park by more than 10 lengths back in November. He then came away a length and a half winner, over a sloppy track, in his 2010 debut in The Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream on January 9th at Gulfstream.

Because The Spectacular Bid is run over 6 furlongs extrapolating this horse's performance over the 10 furlong distance of The Kentucky Derby can be a little dicey but I liked his running style in the Spectacular Bid as he was content to layoff the real speed balls in the race. In addition, there are some significant stamina influences in his pedigree. His sire, Stormin' Fever, was 2nd in the Philip H. Iselin H.-G2 run over 9 furlongs and he has sired the likes Sweet Talker and Tarlow, both Grade 1 winners over 9 furlongs. The fact that he is out of an Alydar mare should help too.

The fact that A Little Warm performed so well on an off-track is no small matter either, we all know how notoriously fickle the weather can be during the first Saturday in May.

Here's a video link for the race


The 3-year-old bay gelding's performance 2 weeks ago in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park was impressive. In the end he won by 2 1/4 lengths over hard charging Pleasant Storm but jockey Calvin Borel had this race in the bag as soon as they turned for home. Another factor working in Dryfly's favor is that he has already won at Churchill Downs, taking an allowance race back in November, and as many of you know some horses just don't take to the surface there. Ask Holy Bull and Skip Away.

From a breeding perspective the Lynn Whiting trainee is bred to run all day. The average winning distance for his sire (Jump Start) and broodmare sire (Topsider) progeny, in non restricted, stakes races are a whopping 8.29 and 8.21 furlongs respectively so I don't think the Derby distance will be a problem for this guy.

Here's a link to his effort in The Smarty Jones S.


OK, so I'm a Jackson Bend homer because of his connection to Pocket Aces Racing but this horse made a real believer out me with last week's effort in the Holy Bull S.-G 3. Beating up on state breds in The Florida Stallion Series is one things but finishing an ultra game 2nd, despite a 4-5 wide trip the entire way, in a Graded stakes race is another.

This colt's performances over 2 turns indicate 10 furlongs shouldn't be a problem.

Here's a link to The Holy Bull S.-G 3


The Kentucky Derby never lacks for pace which is why top class closers like Ron The Greek seem to always have a chance in the race. I suspect The Lecomte S.-G 3, which this 3-year-old son of Full Mandate won last out, was run a lot like The Derby will be run. A lot of pace up front with an exaggerated stretch run both setting up perfectly for the pressers and closers. If the pace through 3/4 of a mile is a little too fast for the pressers a horse like Ron The Greek could be swallowing horses up late. It's a bit disconcerting that the Tom Amoss trainee began his career racing at lower level tracks like Hoosier and Delta Downs but he definitely helped solidify his class with the Lecomte S.-G 3 win.

Ron The Greek's pedigree leans toward speed but he didn't seem to have any trouble with two turns in The Lecomte S.-G 3 and his one run style should help him get the 10 furlong Derby distance.

Here's a link for the 2010 Lecomte S.-G 3


As we stated earlier the racing surface at Churchill Downs is very peculiar and any horse running there for the first time has to prove he can adapt, however, this won't be any problem for Super Saver as evidenced by his impressive victory last November in The Kentucky Jockey Club S.-G 2 at Churchill. The 3-year-old bay colt might have the "human connections" edge on the field too as he is trained by Todd Pletcher; owned by Winstar and ridden by Calvin Borel (I haven't heard anything from Calvin in the press but I would think that Super Saver is the early favorite to be his mount in The Derby).

Super Saver's breeding and race record indicate that he shouldn't have any problem with The Derby distance.

Here's a link to last November's Kentucky Jockey Club S.-G 2.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jackson Bend 2nd in Hotly Contested Holy Bull S.-G 3

Despite a wide trip Jackson Bend finished a game 2nd, beaten by only 3/4 of a length, in Saturday's Holy Bull S.-G 3 at Gulfstream Park. This was also the 3-year-old Hear No Evil colt's Graded Stakes debut and first start in over 90 days.

Jackson Bend broke alertly as the 8/5 favorite however an early speed dual between horses to his inside forced him to remain 4-5 wide down the entire backstretch. On the far turn he began to gain some ground and as they straightened up from the quarter pole it looked as though Jackson Bend had the measure of the leaders as he began to reel in Homeboykris and Thank U Philippe but it was becoming apparent that the layoff and wide trip were conspiring against Jackson Bend as he started to look a bit leg weary. Just as Jackson Bend may have gotten his nose in front for the first time Winslow Homer, a fresher horse, being the beneficiary of a better post position and therefore a much better trip, kicked in another gear and finally got past a very stubborn Jackson Bend in the last strides.

Jackson Bend definitely got the most out of this race and should only improve going forward and we here at Pocket Aces Racing can't wait to see what exciting updates he can bring to our filly, Dixie's Hope's, pedigree.

Here are a couple of links to a race video and chart.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jackson Bend, close relative of Pocket Aces Racing's Dixie's Hope, Favored for Holy Bull S.-G 3

Nick Zito trained Jackson Bend will try to stamp himself as one of the early favorites for The 2010 Kentucky Derby-G1 as he competes against 8 others in the The Holy Bull S.-G 3 at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. The 3-year-old colt owned in partnership by Robert V. LaPenta and Jacks or Better Farm, Inc., who has already bankrolled over $450,000, swept the 2009 Florida Stallion Series in the 2-year-old colt division.

Pocket Aces Racing, L.L.C will be rooting for Jackson Bend has he is closely related to their 3-year-old filly, by Cozzene, Dixie's Hope. Dixie's Hope is training well with Joe Deegan in LaGrange, Ky and is currently on track to make her debut at the Keeneland April meet.

Jackson Bend, who will break from the 9 hole, has been established as the 5/2 morning ling favorite for the One Mile event and will be piloted by Jeremy Rose.

Everyone at Pocket Aces Racing wishes Jackson Bend and his connections the best of racing luck!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

5 "Best Value" Kentucky Stallions for 2010

Here's a little background on how I selected these 5 stallions. First and foremost I was looking for dual threats, stallions that provided commercial breeders and those who breed to race an equal opportunity at success. There are a plethora of stallions whose fees represent excellent value if you are breeding to race, however, with the vast majority of those stallions the breeder is giving up any chance of a profitable sale. To be a true value I felt as though the selection must represent value to both types of breeders. I also avoided stallions in the $50,000+ stud fee range and stallions without any crops of racing age. Using very expensive and very young stallions, especially under the right circumstances, isn't necessarily a bad idea, it's just that the speculative nature of the game makes it difficult to call them a bargain .

So, without any further adieu, here are the 5 "Best Value" Kentucky Stallions for 2010

SKY MESA Stands at Three Chimneys Farm

Stud Fee $25,000

He is already the sire of 8 individual Graded Stakes winners from just 3 crops!!! He was the leading 2nd crop sire in 2008 and the 2nd leading 3rd crop sire in 2009. His progeny earned over $4.6 Million on the track for 2009. At auction his yearlings averaged nearly $90,000 apiece in 2009, with individuals fetching as much as $260,000.

FORESTRY Stands at Taylor Made Stallions

Stud Fee $17,500

Stud fees, like stock prices, are cyclical and just like the most profitable stock deals (buy low/sell high)purchasing seasons when an established stallion is experiencing a "lull" can often provide the best return on the track and in the sales ring. Currently things are pretty quite for this son of Storm Cat however from his 7 crops of racing age his progeny have earned $24,064,442 for an average earnings per year of $3,437,777. In addition he has sired 12 Graded Stakes winners, 3 of which Discreet Cat, Diplomat Lady and Forest Danger are Grade 1 winners. In 2007 he stood for $125,000, fresh from a 2006 year that saw one of his sons set a world record auction price of $16,000,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Calder 2-year-old in-training sale, the progeny from those mares bred in 2007 will be 2-year-olds of 2010.

SUCCESSFUL APPEAL Stands at Walmac Farm

Stud Fee $17,500

His progeny earned over $3.6 Million in 2009 with 9 of those individuals being stakes winners. He also has Grade 1 winning Appealing Zophie and Kentucky Derby-G 1 runner up Closing Argument to his credit. His yearlings averaged nearly $50,000 in 2009 with selected individuals selling for $400,000, $150,000 and $100,000. Great value for $17,500.

YES IT'S TRUE Stands at Three Chimneys Farm

Stud Fee $17,500

The 20th ranked sire in North America with progeny earnings in excess of $5.6 Million in 2009 and he stands for only $17,500. The average stud fee for the other 19 stallions in the top 20 is $69,583. They sell well too. The average price for his yearlings in 2009 was more than $53,000 with 8 individuals selling for 6 figures + and 2 selling for $200,000 apiece. That's value.

DEVIL HIS DUE Stands at Marguax Farm

Stud Fee $3,500

There aren't a lot of stallions in the lower stud fee ranges that give you an opportunity to breed a "big" horse but this is one. Devil His Due is the sire of Roses in May who won The Dubai World Cup-G 1 and Whitney H.-G 1 on route to earning over $5.4 Million for his career. He is also the sire of Grade 2 winner She's a Devil Due. His progeny's performance on the track continued to be solid in 2009 as well with 8 stakes wins and earnings of nearly $3.5 Million. While his sales results are modest, $18k yearling average in 2009, he does give breeders a chance at a big return too with individuals selling for as much as $35K to $60K.