Ax Man Cuts Through Competition in Sir Barton

By Meredith Daugherty, The Blood-Horse:

https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/227637/ax-man-cuts-through-competition-in-sir-barton

Cutting through dense fog over a sloppy (sealed) track at Pimlico Race Course, 3-year-old Ax Man led at every point of call to snag the May 19 $100,000 LARC Sir Barton Stakes and take home his third win of the season. 

In a portent of things to come, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and fellow Hall of Famer Mike Smith found themselves in the winner's circle only an hour before the Preakness Stakes (G1) as Patti and Hal J. Earnhardt III's homebred Ax Man proved uncatchable in the 1 1/16-mile test over the Baltimore oval. 

With the field halved by early scratches due to inclement weather, Ax Man broke second from post 4 in a field of six 3-year-olds, charging to the front to set the pace. Title Readymanaged to drive up to his flank but couldn't muster the speed to edge ahead as Ax Man hit the six-furlong mark in 1:11.30.

Turning for home, the bay colt opened up by a length with a strong kick, and he crossed the finish line in a final time of 1:42.53, 6 3/4 lengths ahead of Title Ready. 

"Oh man, he just skipped over it. End of story," Smith said. "He broke sharp and skipped over it, no problem. He's exciting." 

Prince Lucky finished third, followed by Pony UpDream Baby Dream, and Navy Commander.

Sent off as the 1-2 favorite, the winner paid $3.20, $2.40, and $2.20. 

A son of multiple graded stakes winner Misremembered, Ax Man broke his maiden on debut with an easy, 9 1/2-length victory over six furlongs at Santa Anita Park. After running fourth in his next effort and first try in graded company in the San Vicente Stakes (G2), Ax Man rebounded to win a one-mile optional-claiming allowance race by another handy 8 1/2 lengths before heading to Maryland. 

"He was a little anxious when he got up here. He was fine until he got to the paddock, but once he got away from the crowd, he settled down," Baffert said. "It's just a lot of raw talent. … I chose this race just to keep him two turns, ship him, and see how he handles it. We've still got to work on some things. He's still a little young." 

Bred in Kentucky by Hal J. Earnhardt, Ax Man is out of the Flying Chevron mare Shameful, who produced 2007 champion 2-year-old filly and 2008 champion female sprinter Indian Blessing and grade 3 winner Roman Threat, as well as two other stakes winners. Ax Man has a record of 3-0-0 in four starts with earnings of $138,000.

View Race on NBC here: https://www.nbcsports.com/video/ax-man-sets-pace-wins-sir-barton-stakes-pimlico

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Cal-bred Brings $250,000 at Ocala

From CTBA: 

http://ctba.com/cal-bred-brings-250000-at-ocala/

OCALA, Fla. (Apr. 24, 2018) – A California-bred son of Strong Mandate sold for $250,000 at the OBS April Sale of Two-Year-Olds on Tuesday.

The colt is from the first crop of Strong Mandate, out of the Henny Hughes mare Diva’s Tribute, was bred by Richard Barton Enterprises, consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, agent, and purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & ERJ Racing.

He is a half-brother of Spectator, winner of the Grade II Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar and third in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante. The colt worked one-eighth of a mile in :10.1.

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Cat Burglar Retired to Barton Thoroughbreds

by Eric Mitchell, The Blood-Horse:

https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/227093/cat-burglar-retired-to-barton-thoroughbreds

Multiple graded-placed, black-type winner Cat Burglar has been retired sound from racing and will enter stud for the 2018 season at Barton Thoroughbreds in Santa Ynez, Calif., for $2,500. 

The son of Unbridled's Song won the 2016 Santana Mile Stakes at Santa Anita Park, finished second in the Precisionist Stakes (G3), and came in third in the TVG San Diego Handicap (G2) and Brooklyn Invitational Stakes (G2), among other graded stakes performances. He compiled a 6-6-4 record from 22 starts, with earnings of $538,720.

"He has perfect conformation and a great pedigree," said Bob Baffert, who trained Cat Burglar initially for the ownership team of Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, and then later for Michael Lund Petersen. "Cat Burglar was able to sprint or run a mile and a half with the best company."

Cat Burglar is out of the unraced Forest Wildcat daughter Be My Prospect, who is a half sister to graded stakes-placed, stakes-winning sprinter Away (Dixieland Band), the dam of grade 2 winner and Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Eight Belles. Be My Prospect is also a half sister to black-type turf winner Rich Find (Exploit), who is the dam of grade 1-placed winner Broken Spell (Broken Vow) and three other winners. 

Cat Burglar is available for inspection at the farm. 

 

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Bartons More Than Spectators at OBS

By Jessica Martini, TDN:

http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/bartons-more-than-spectators-at-obs/

Longtime California owner Richard Barton, who consolidated his breeding operation at the former Magali Farms in Santa Ynez last summer, purchased over 30 mares at the 2015 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale with the intention of supporting his family’s stallion Champ Pegasus. One of those mares was Diva’s Tribute (Henny Hughes), who Barton purchased for $4,700. Then five, the unraced mare had a weanling filly by Jimmy Creed and she sold in foal to Strong Mandate. The filly went on to become graded stakes winner and multiple Grade I placed Spectator, while the Strong Mandate colt will go through the sales ring as hip 281 during Tuesday’s opening session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s April Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds.

“We were excited about Strong Mandate and wanted to have a few from his first crop,” Barton’s daughter and racing manager Kate explained of the mare’s appeal. “And we did really like that she was by Henny Hughes. It fit our program to bring her out to California to bring her to our stallion Champ Pegasus. It turned out nicely.”

The plan was originally to sell the colt as a yearling, but some setbacks which now seem fortuitous saw him rerouted to the 2-year-old sales.

“When we were doing yearling evaluations last year, we really liked the colt,” Barton, whose father is founder of the cardboard packaging company California Packaging, said. “We were going to enter him in the summer for the July sale at Fasig-Tipton and we just had a few little setbacks with him, so we decided to wait with him. And then Spectator made her debut and so we were definitely waiting then.”

Racing for breeders Rick and Sharon Waller, Spectator began her career with a 5 1/4-length debut romp at Santa Anita in June. She won by that same margin when taking the GII Sorrento S. in her second trip to the post at Del Mar in August. She concluded her juvenile campaign with a third-place finish in the GI Del Mar Debutante and was most recently second in the Apr. 7 GI Santa Anita Oaks.

Hip 281, who has been with Niall Brennan in Ocala since last September, worked a furlong in :10 1/5 during Tuesday’s second session of the under-tack preview of the April sale.

“I was really happy with his work,” Barton said. “I was thinking he would work :10 flat or :10 1/5, so he did really well. He’s a big horse, so you have to take that into consideration. I’ve heard such great things about him from Niall. He thinks he will continue to improve and he will be better on dirt. He said he was a really good, smooth honest colt.”

The Bartons have enjoyed success purchasing mares on a strict budget in Kentucky and shipping them west to California. The family’s 35 purchases at the 2015 November sale averaged just $5,463 and the highest-priced purchase was $25,000.

“When we are bringing out these mares and foaling these Kentucky-sired Cal-breds, I think we have an advantage in the marketplace here because people are looking at these Kentucky sires that are eligible for the state-bred bonus program,” Barton said. “So that’s an advantage for us. And we’re maybe able to get away with a little bit of a weaker page or what-have-you. I think with the sheer numbers that we do have, we are bound to get lucky with a few updates here and there. And a few times we’ve gotten lucky with some good updates like Spectator.”

Diva’s Tribute produced a filly by Champ Pegasus in 2017 and a colt by the stallion, who stands at Barton Thoroughbreds for $5,000, this year. Spectator’s success prompted a return trip to the Bluegrass for the mare.

“The mare is back in Lexington,” Barton said. “She is going back to Jimmy Creed.”

As for future plans for the mare, Barton continued, “It would be nice to continue to have a mare like that in our band since she’s only eight. But I can’t say for sure what we are going to do yet. It depends on the rest of the year. We are just really excited to have her right now.”

The Barton broodmare band numbers some 200 head and most of the sales horses are offered at the yearlings auctions. The family branched out in the juvenile market for the first time this year. In addition to the Strong Mandate colt at OBS, Barton Thoroughbreds offered a handful of 2-year-olds at the Barretts Spring Sale.

“This is the first year we’ve had horses in the 2-year-old sales,” Barton said. “We normally just focus on the yearling sales. Especially with the Strong Mandate colt, it was a timing issue. It was hard to find the right sale when he was ready and we wanted to give the colt the ultimate chance to succeed.

“At Barretts, we just wanted to try it out and see if we could get Champ Pegasus babies out to other people and give them a chance to show themselves on the training track,” she continued. “The results were ok. It was one of those things where we didn’t know if we would keep the horses ourselves or sell them and we ended up putting through the sale the more precocious ones. I think it was a learning experience. We’ll maybe have to change how we evaluate in the future to sell there.”

Barton said the family’s new base in Santa Ynez has helped move the breeding program forward.

“It has been great,” she said of the new farm. “It is so nice to have a centralized operation and I think it will help to improve our evaluation of our babies through their different stages where we can look at them weekly or monthly and it’s not a big to-do. It’s been great to have everything in one spot.”

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2 Year Olds by Barton stallions catalogued in Barretts Spring Sale

There are five hip numbers by Champ Pegasus and three by Coil catalogued in the Barretts Spring Sale of 2 year olds. The sale will take place on April 4th at Del Mar at 2 pm. The breeze show will take place Monday April 2nd. 

Hip Numbers by Grade 1 Winning Champ Pegasus (click to view pedigree):

5    7    15    93    151

Hip Numbers by Grade 1 Winning Coil (click to view pedigree):

39    50     70

For full catalog: click here 

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Why California is the only place to be for this ambitious Thoroughbred operation

By Emily Shields: 

https://www.thoroughbredracing.com/articles/why-california-only-place-be-ambitious-thoroughbred-operation/

The Thoroughbred industry could fall on either side of the glass half full or half empty debate. Race dates and foal crops are dwindling, but there are resurgences in handle and field size. Kate Barton and her family only see the positives, and are devoted to California horse racing in a way that invokes nothing but optimism. They have purchased a sprawling farm, have a fleet of broodmares and stallions, and are seeing sparkling results on the racetrack.

“We’re definitely invested in it,” Barton said of racing in the Golden State. “This is our home, this is where we want to breed and race. We’re here to stay.”

Before consolidating their program to one farm, Richard and Beth Barton had an oversized operation strung out across the Western United States. “We were at a point with our numbers that it made sense to buy something of our own,” Kate explained. “We had mares at a variety of farms here and at a ranch in Utah. Having everything under one roof will help us grow into what we want to become.”

The 27-year-old Barton never expected to be in the industry, let alone in such a position. “I was too involved in sports at my school,” she admitted. But, after working for her father at the family’s California Packaging business, she got tangled up in the sport. “We would pop over to a Barretts sale, or run to the races to watch one,” she said. “I fell in love completely.”

Kate Barton with homebred Shulace, who broke his maiden first time out. Photo: Emily Shields

Despite her newfound passion, Barton was still headed down a different path.

“I was really into business and majored in marketing,” she said. “I was debating on going to law school, but at the deciding point I realized I couldn’t do law school full time and still head to the sales, check on the foals, or head to the races when I wanted to. So it was either choosing law school and giving up the horses, or joining my parents and working with the horses. So I made a life change.”

Now she’s an authority figure on the farm. “I guess you could call me the vice president of Barton Thoroughbreds,” she said. “Obviously my father is the final say in big picture stuff, but on a day to day basis it’s me. Who are we breeding to? Who will we sell? Where are we getting our hay from? Where do we buy our supplies? I’m involved with all that.”

She helps to head the 25-person team working the ranch, which is sequestered in the quiet valley of Santa Ynez. “I didn’t know I would like it here so much,” Barton said of the sleepy California town. “But there is a slower pace and I really like it.”

Richard Barton had been in and out of the game, investing in various ways and then backpedaling. He acquired the stallion Prime Timber in 2010; that G1-placed Graded stakes winner ran fourth in the 1999 Kentucky Derby. After originally standing in Utah, Prime Timber moved to California, and was joined by Barton acquisitions Champ Pegasus and Atticus. The latter two are still standing at the new ranch.

Champ Pegasus, a G1 winner over a route of ground as an older horse, threw precocious youngsters in his first crop. The Barton homebred colt Shulace broke his maiden first out going 4½ furlongs, while Utah Ute won second out, going five panels. The latter was involved in the San Luis Rey Downs fire, but has since come back to win.

Other stallions on the farm include Santa Anita Handicap winner and Candy Ride son Misremembered, sire of the promising 3-year-old Ax Man; Haskell Invitational winner Coil; and Carter Handicap hero Dad’s Caps. The royally-bred Nureyev son Atticus is 26 years old but is still standing stud as well.

“We have the five stallions, 225 broodmares, and over 100 yearlings,” Kate Barton said. “We are expecting about 140 foals altogether this year. We are taking on outside mares and hopefully that will grow as we become more well known.”

The Barton family has already begun revamping their new property, adding a Eurocizer to the layup side of the farm. They also added sand paddocks for horses that need to go barefoot, and the front office is getting redone. “Later we will renovate some of the layup barns to be yearling sales prep barns,” Barton said. Trainers such as Hall of Famer Bob Baffert use the farm as a rehabilitation facility.

In racing’s sometimes turbulent climate, the Bartons have reasons for their optimism. Kate cited Frank Stronach’s commitment to expanding breeding in the state as a reassuring sign, and that the bonus program for horses bred in California as a high point.

“A big part of what we’re doing is bringing out mares that are in foal to Kentucky stallions, and they foal here as California-breds,” Barton said. “We’ve had colts by Street BossDaredevil, and Cairo Prince. I’m excited for a Will Take Charge that we will have. We really have quite the variety of studs with the mares we bought. I’m really excited about it; this will be the best group of babies we’ve had.”

In addition from the hopeful outlook at the farm, they have horses on the racetrack this season worth watching. Schulace has returned to training after some time off, during which Barton noted that he “was starting to get feisty”, and the stakes-placed runner will look to improve on that title. The Bartons have a son of English Channel named Drizzy, who broke his maiden first out and was twice stakes placed last year.

“We think he’ll have a good 3-year-old year,” Kate said. “We are excited about him.”

Mike Machowsky trains the Barton string, with 20 runners stabled at Santa Anita. He had high hopes for both 3-year-old colts before they ever made their debuts last year.

More racetrack wins and a successful breeding season would continue the Bartons down the pathway towards their goals.

“We want to be seen as the best farm in California,” Kate said. “We are hoping one of our stallions really hits. We are hoping to do well in the sales market. We are hoping to be competing in Graded stakes races on the track. We just want to stand out in California.

“Maybe one year we could be leading breeder. The sky is the limit, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Misremembered featured in "The Rise of Candy Ride"

by Eric Mitchell, The Blood-Horse

https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/225596/the-rise-of-candy-ride

Had it not been for Arrogate , Lane's End's Candy Ride would have been lauded as the leading North American sire for 2017.

The 19-year-old Argentine-bred son of Ride the Rails finished the year with seven graded stakes winners and $15,432,953 in progeny earnings. His top performer for the year was leading Horse of the Year candidate Gun Runner , who earned an impressive $6,950,700 in purses.

No one, however, could overcome the $13 million head start that Arrogate gave his sire, the late Unbridled's Song, in the first half of the racing season when he won the world's richest races: the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and the $10 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1).

Candy Ride has been a steady presence in the upper ranks of North America's leading sires for several years. He first broke into the top five on BloodHorse.com's general leading sire list in 2014, when his progeny earned more than $10 million for the first time in a single season and put Candy Ride fifth among the leaders. The sire's annual progeny earnings have not fallen below $10 million since then.

An undefeated, three-time grade 1 winner campaigned at 4 in the United States by Sid and Jenny Craig in 2003, Candy Ride entered stud at John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Farms and achieved early success. He was the third-leading sire of his freshman sire class in 2008 by earnings and ranked fifth by earnings and fourth by black-type winners for both his second-crop and third-crop years.

In 2009, shareholders decided to relocate Candy Ride to Lane's End, where his stud fee doubled to $25,000 for the 2010 breeding season. As it turned out, 2010 would be a breakout year for the sire who was represented by four grade 1 winners that season: El Brujo (Pat O'Brien Stakes), Misremembered  (Santa Anita Handicap), Sidney's Candy (Santa Anita Derby), and Twirling Candy  (Malibu Stakes).

Candy Ride was tied that year with Dynaformer and Giant's Causeway as the leading North American sire by number of grade/group 1 winners.

Gun Runner attracted the spotlight in 2017, but Candy Ride had 16 other black-type winners that included six other graded stakes winners. His other top performers of the year included grade 1 winners Ascend, Candy Sugar Lady, and Separationofpowers, along with graded winners CrewmanMastery , Paid Up Subscriber, and Unified .

Through Jan. 14, Candy Ride has sired 71 (6%) black-type winners, of which 31 have won graded/group stakes. His graded/group winners include 11 that won at the highest level. A champion miler in Argentina, Candy Ride has sired four champions to date. His only North American champion is Shared Belief, a five-time grade 1 winner from 2013-15, who was honored as champion 2-year-old male for 2013.

Once a sire starts regularly occupying the upper echelon of the rankings, his sons grow in appeal as stallion prospects. Ten sons of Candy Ride have published fees for the 2018 season, with five just entering stud. The following is a summary of those sire/sons starting with the new sires of 2018.

...

Misremembered (Beyond Perfection, by Quack). Bred by trainer Bob Baffert and raced by his wife, Jill, in partnership with George Jacobs, Misremembered won or placed in eight graded stakes, including a victory in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1). He retired with a 6-5-0 record out of 13 starts and earnings of $1,306,709. Misremembered entered stud in 2011 in Kentucky and then relocated to California last year. This year he is standing at Barton Thoroughbreds for $2,500. Misremembered has sired 37 winners to date, including Ax Man, who won by 9 1/2 lengths Jan. 1 at Santa Anita Park, in his first start. He also sired black-type winner Nightly News and grade 2-placed winner Dazzling Gem.

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