The weights for the Ogden Phipps will be online today at nyra.com. Go to Horseman and click on Stakes Nominations and look for weights. There are five horses expected. The draw is around 2pm today. The weights will go up shortly after that. The five horses have changed. I just spoke to the racing office. The expected are: Joyful Victory, Disposablepleasure, Centring, Tiz Miz Sue and Believe You Can.
Joyful Victory had her final work just now at Churchill after the renovation break. She worked a great 5/8ths in 59 4/5s. Rosie remarked to Victoria who is celebrating her birthday today that it was “perfect”. She is flying to New York tomorrow morning.
Normandy Invasion is eating great and gaining weight little by little every day. He is still at Belmont and will stay there for a while because he is very happy and eating well. Chad does not want to disrupt anything at this point because he is gaining weight and training well. Chad is not training him at his normal pace but has backed off to give him the rest I wanted to give him instead of coming back in two weeks in the Preakness. If we had won the Derby, we would have come back in the Preakness but I felt, as did Chad, that rather than trying to win a classic race with two weeks rest, Normandy Invasion would become a better race horse by giving him a break and shooting for some big races like the Travers later in the summer. He is a very talented horse and we need to manage him in a way to get the most of him by winning big races as time goes by. I want him to be around as a four year old winning big races.
Unfortunately, we had to retire Winslow Homer. He had another suspensory injury and I didn’t want to go on with him since it looks like we can’t get past this suspensory problem. He was one of my favorites but the time had come to retire him. We have several people that are interested in him as a stallion. We will see how that develops. I will keep you up to date on him.
Linchpin, a full brother to Quality Road, is being trained by Larry Jones. He has been a problem since we broke him at the Vinery with Ian Brennan. He is a bit of a head case, as was his brother. Larry finally got him ready and he ran a very credible first race this week at Churchill. He will improve as the races get longer. He will mature and get experience as he races more. He is definitely a two turn horse but has a great turn of foot. Cairo Six ran a winning race on the grass at Churchill earlier this week but had a tough trip and wasn’t able to but his big closing run in. He wasn’t able to get clear in time to chase down the leader. Chad Brown did a great job with The Thinker as he won an allowance race at Belmont on the grass with a nice purse of $64,000.
Anna Pavlova, Smitten and Charade are all ready to go for Larry at Churchill. He is just trying to find races for them. Fame and Forture will be a month or so before she starts for Chad. We want to give her some more time. Our Republic, Rienzi, Coach and Navy Cross are all ready to run in the next couple weeks for John Servis.
Horsepower has been given the go ahead by Dr Bramlage as has Stourbridge Lion. It is great to have Dr. Bramlage back after his golf cart accident at Churchill. Beetlebomb is taking some time off in a paddock and Clark Kent is galloping nicely now. These four are at our new rehabilitation farm, WinStar. WinStar has state of the art facilities and equipment as well as a training track. They have great qualified personnel and are doing a great job for us. The Vinery was doing this work for us in the past but they are now closed in Kentucky and for sale. They have sold the operation in Ocala to Stonestreet.
Lastly, we are shipping out our first group of two year olds to Larry and Chad. I will list the names of the horses going to each trainer in the first shipment. These are the early group that have been broken and trained by Webb Carroll in South Carolina. He and his manager, Travis, are quite high on a number of our horses. Let’s hope they are right on some of them or most of them, even better. Larry requested 8 2yr olds and that is what I am sending him. He will receive 4 colts and 4 fillies. Only three are ready to go to him now and will ship out from South Carolina on Wednesday. They are Mary Rita, Kicker Bond and The Trunk Monkey. Mary Rita has been renamed after the wife of one of our Normandy veterans that attended the Kentucky Derby. His name is Bill Wilch.
I renamed four of our horses after each veteran. I renamed one USS O’Brien after the ship that Ray Woods was on when they hit Omaha Beach on D-Day. I renamed one Sir JJ after JJ Witmeyer who hit Utah Beach on June 6th, 1944, and lastly I renamed one General Ike after Alan Reeves who was assigned to SHAEF, which was the command headquarters led by General Dwight D Eisenhower. JJ Witmeyer as well as Alan Reeves and Bill Wilch all received France’s Legion of Honor Medal. This means they are referred to as Sir, thus the name Sir JJ. I am posting a link to a great article on Sir JJ and will post links shortly on the other three heroes that joined Fox Hill Farm on Derby Day. Read about JJ Witmeyer
I am so proud of these and all veterans who served our country in battle. The Normandy Invasion was probably the bloodiest and most brutal battles of all time for America. I am proud to salute all of those heroes that were part of that invasion named “Operation Overlord”. I especially salute all living and passed veterans who were part of the Normandy Invasion. Please visit Normandy if you possibly can. You will never forget it. We can never forget the men who fought it.
The remaining nine 2yr olds will be going to the two trainers when we feel they are ready to train at the racetrack with Larry and Chad. I will let you know when they are shipped to the trainers.
You can see pictures, pedigree and other information on our horses by clicking the “ROSTER” tab on our new web site, foxhillfarmstable.com. You can still be redirected there by going to our old web address www.rockportharbor.com.
I am looking forward to The Odgen Phipps Handicap on May 27th at Belmont. Joyful Victory will surely be the high weight. The weights will be announced next Wednesday and can be seen on www.nyra.com. Go to the Belmont page and look under Horsemen and then Stakes Nominations Past Performances and you should find it. It is going to be a small field inclulding Disposablepleasure, who just ran a huge race at Hawthorne in The Sixty Sales Stake. Tiz Miz Sue is very tough and just got beaten in this year’s Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn. Authenticity, who recently won the Grade 2 La Troienne Stake at Churchill, is tough and has speed to try and push the pace with Joyful Victory. Also running is Centring. Those are the only definite at this point and I think it will end up being a five horse field. Joyful will have to run a big race like she has been doing to win this race giving weight to all of them.
That is it for now. I will keep you up to date regularly, especially with Normandy Invasion. I will keep you up to date as much as possible on all other developments at Fox Hill Farm.