Preakness Favorite Authentic Was Worth the Wait

September 29th, 2020

D’Angelo Following His Dream with Jesus’ Team

Pneumatic Seeks to Join Long List of Winchell Stars

Naming Swiss Skydiver Easy Call for Owner

BALTIMORE – A  connection formed with 2018 Triple Crown champion Justify has yielded 2020 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner and Preakness (G1) morning-line favorite Authentic.

Starlight Racing bought into partnerships that were racing Justify, Grade 1 winner Audible and this year’s top older horse Improbable before subsequently purchasing yearlings with another partner, SF Bloodstock. During the first year together buying young horses, SF and Starlight picked up Authentic for $350,000 at the Keeneland 2018 September sale.

The patience that was involved with the purchase of Authentic has been rewarded. The colt, now racing for Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse Stable, Starlight and Madaket Stables, has won five of six starts, earned over $2.8 million and tops the field of 11 entered in the Saturday’s 145th Preakness (G1) at Pimlico Race Course. Authentic and Thousand Words, both trained by Bob Baffert, are part of a group of Preakness runners that shipped from Kentucky to Baltimore late Tuesday afternoon.

Given the name Authentic by his breeder, Peter Blum, the son of top sire Into Mischief, was not viewed as one of the potential stars of the Keeneland sale, which front-loads talent in its massive catalogue.  Jack Wolf, who manages Starlight with his wife, Laurie, recalled that the bloodstock advisors during the initial year of the buying partnership spotted Authentic and were willing to wait for him to reach the ring.

“We didn’t buy him until Book 3,” Wolf said. “At the time, the first group of yearlings that we bought we had Donato Lanni, Frankie Brothers, Henry Field doing the short-list work. All three of them liked the horse, especially Frankie and Donato.”

Audible was the last of the 19 colts purchased by SF/Starlight for a total of $9,315,000. Thirteen of the others cost more than Authentic. The partnership purchased its 18th yearling, Ragtime Blues, in the fifth session of the sale and had to wait three days until Authentic, Hip No. 2,616, came to the ring.

“He is typical of the type of horse that those guys look at and buy,” Wolf said. “It’s the conformation, the balance. Secondly, would be the pedigree, although this horse has a wonderful pedigree. They look for athletes. Of course, all the horses go to Bob Baffert and Donato has been working with him for years. I don’t think Bob was around for Book 3, but Donato knows what Bob likes.”

SF and Starlight are listed as the buyers, but Madaket, managed by Sol Kumin; Fred Hertrich; John Fielding and Golconda Stables, were aboard when Authentic broke his maiden in his debut at Del Mar last November. After he rolled to two stakes wins during the winter in California, Spendthrift Farm stepped up to buy a controlling interest in the colt. Madaket and Starlight stayed in as racing partners. Spendthrift, which owns the breeding rights, sold a piece of its stake to, the company that markets in micro shares of horses.

Authentic ended up second to Honor A.P. in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in his first start for the Spendthrift-led partnership, then won the Haskell (G1) in July and handled Belmont Stakes (G1) winner and heavy favorite Tiz the Law in the Kentucky Derby.

D’Angelo Living His Dream with Jesus’ Team

Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Jose D’Angelo saddled his first winner in the U.S. with his third starter, Beach Dreaming, on June 27, 2019 at Gulfstream Park.

The 30-year-old South Florida-based trainer will saddle his first starter in a Triple Crown event Saturday, when he will send Jesus’ Team to the Pimlico racetrack for a clash with 10 other 3-year-olds in the Preakness Stakes (G1).

D’Angelo has taken the fast track to Thoroughbred racing’s center stage, but he is very well aware of the high level of competition he will face in the Preakness, including Hall of Famers Bob Baffert (Authentic, Thousand Words) and Steve Asmussen (Max Player, Pneumatic, Excession).

“I have grown up watching trainers like Bob Baffert and Steve Asmussen. To be in the same race with them is very special to me,” he said.

D’Angelo learned from the best in Venezuela, being the son of Francisco D’Angelo, who won numerous training titles in his homeland while based at La Rinconada Hippodrome.

“I went to the track every day, every week, because my father was a trainer,” said D’Angelo, who began training on his own in 2012.

Success came quickly.

“I won the Clasico Simon Bolivar, the most important stake in Venezuela, with Dreaming of Gold in 2014. That’s my best race until Saturday,” he said. “It was a great day because I was the youngest trainer to win the race.”

D’Angelo’s training career continued to flourish, winning the training title in Venezuela in 2018.

“I decided to come to the U.S.,” he said, “to follow my dream.”

And his father, who began training in South Florida in 2015.

“My relationship with my dad is amazing. I learned all my skills from him,” D’Angelo said. “He helps me with my horses, and I help him with his horses, because we’re a team.”

D’Angelo first ventured to the U.S. to saddle Venezuelan-bred Forze Mau for a second-place finish in a race on the Clasico del Caribe Internacional program at Gulfstream Dec. 9, 2017, before returning to Venezuela. Since his permanent move to the South Florida, he has saddled 29 winners from 139 starters.

Jesus’ Team, who is owned by Grupo Seven C Stable, joined his barn after breaking his maiden in a $32,000 maiden claiming race at Gulfstream for another trainer March 18. The son of Tapiture romped to a 6 ¾-length triumph for a $25,000 claiming price in his first start for D’Angelo before finishing a close second in an optional claiming allowance behind graded-stakes winner Sole Volante. He made a huge jump in class to run in the July 18 Haskell (G1) at Monmouth Park, finishing fourth behind Authentic, the Preakness morning-line favorite and Kentucky Derby hero. He went on to finish second behind Preakness rival Pneumatic in the Pegasus at Monmouth and second in the Sept. 5 Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga.

“I think in his last three races, he didn’t have any luck during the race. I think he’s a horse that is getting better with his races,” said D’Angelo, whose stable is based at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. “I’m very sure he’s going to run a good race.”

Pneumatic Seeks to Join Long List of Winchell Stars

Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Pneumatic arrived at Pimlico early afternoon Tuesday for a start in Saturday’s 145th Preakness Stakes (G1).

As racing manager for Winchell Thoroughbreds since 1980, David Fiske has seen horses such as Grade 1 winners Untapable, Tapizar and Summerly and graded-stakes winning millionaires Zanjero, Tapiture, Tenfold and Pyro come to hand.

In Pneumatic, who traveled by van from Saratoga, NY, Fiske sees a colt that is just now beginning to realize his potential.

A homebred by champion Uncle Mo out of the Tapit mare Teardrop, Pneumatic went unraced as a 2-year-old, spending time at the El Primero Training Center in Laredo, Texas owned and operated by Keith and Marilyn Asmussen. Their son, Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, is Pneumatic’s trainer.

Pneumatic broke his maiden at first asking Feb. 15 at Oaklawn Park, getting up by a neck while sprinting six furlongs, then beat Captain Bombastic – already a stakes winner who would go on to win two more – his first time facing winners April 11.

“He came out of Laredo pretty highly touted and flashing some talent,” Fiske said.

Pneumatic made his stakes debut in the 1 1/16-mile Matt Winn (G3), battling for the lead through the Churchill Downs stretch before yielding and running third, beaten 1 ¾ lengths. That effort earned him a date in the June 20 Belmont Stakes (G1), the traditional third leg of the Triple Crown that was shortened to 1 1/8 miles and moved up to the leadoff spot due to the postponements of the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness, finishing fourth.

“Like everybody else, we’ve had a little bit of trouble kind of getting our horses where we want them this year,” Fiske said. “The stakes schedule just got put into a blender. We’re talking about the Preakness and it’s the end of September.

“It’s just been hard to get on a schedule and a rhythm and get the right prep races and stepping-stones in place for where you want to be. [Pneumatic] has kind of suffered from that a little bit this year, but he’s doing well so hopefully he’ll run well.”

In his most recent start, Pneumatic rolled to a popular 2 ¼-length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Pegasus Aug. 15 at Monmouth Park under Joe Bravo, who will return to ride in the Preakness. They drew Post 10 in a field of 11 and were installed at 20-1 on the morning line.

Bravo has ridden in the Preakness four times, his best finish being his most recent, running fifth with Teeth of the Dog in 2012. Pneumatic prepared for the Preakness at the Oklahoma training track in Saratoga, following a bullet five-furlong move in 1:00.85 Sept. 21 with a maintenance half-mile in 50.20 seconds Sept. 28.

“Pneumatic is doing great. He seems to be coming up to the race in great shape,” Fiske said. “He’s typically forwardly placed and he usually breaks well … so we’ll see how it goes.”Asmussen is also scheduled to saddle Max Player and Excession in his quest to win a third Preakness, having previously been victorious with Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009).

William H. Lawrence’s Preakness contender Liveyourbeastlife arrived by van from Belmont shortly after Pneumatic Tuesday afternoon.

Naming Swiss Skydiver Easy Call for Owner

 In the name game, it’s tough to top Swiss Skydiver, Peter Callahan’s standout filly, who will face 10 males in the 145th Preakness Stakes (G1) Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.

Two months after trainer Ken McPeek purchased the filly for him for $35,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September yearling sale, Callahan received a video from his 20-year-old granddaughter showing her making a parachute jump over the Swiss Alps.

Callahan “Callie” Rasnake, then a student at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was studying in Europe and decided to fulfill something of a bucket list ambition to skydive over the Alps. So she did, paying the fee to jump out of an airplane in tandem with the instructor from about three miles up.

 When it came time to name his filly, a daughter of Daredevil, Callahan was ready.