01/10/2015 - Ruefully Wins Fair Ground Allowance Wire to Wire

Ruefully broke well and set the pace on the inside. Still in the lead around the final turn, she did not back down and held on for the win under a brisk hand ride by jockey Miguel Mena. Ruefully is trained by Joe Sharp and gives Stone Farm a great start to the new year!

12/19/2014 - Hawkshaw Breaks his Maiden at Turfway Park

Hawkshaw broke his maiden his second time out on December 19, 2014 at Turfway Park in Race 8. A rocky start from the gate, Hawkshaw trailed the field on the inside around the first turn. Down the backstretch he kicked into first gear picking off opponents. Going wide around the final turn, jockey Perry Ouzts asked for more and Hawkshaw pulled ahead to rally in the stretch to win by 3/4 lenghts. Trained by Kenny McPeek, bred by Stone Farm, Hawkshaw is a 2yo Discreetly Mine colt out of Count To Six.

12/16/2014 - Blame Game Wins on Debut At Gulfstream

Courtesy of the Throughbred Daily News

BLAME GAME (c, 2, Blame--La Pascua {Swi} {SW-Fr}, by Caerleon), a 3-1 chance, rated just off the early pace in third down the backstretch, but kicked into gear on the turn. The bay cruised up to bid from the three path at the top of the lane, shook free from Ready Get Set (More Than Ready) in the stretch and finished 3 1/4 lengths the best. Blame Game becomes the eighth winner for his freshman sire (by Arch). Blame Game hails from the extended family of multiple champion, Classic winner and Arc hero Dancing Brave (Lyphard) as well as GSW Cozzetti (Cozzene).The winner is a half to Hot Hot Mama (Menifee), SW, $215,519; Pascal (Menifee), SW & GSP, $188,402; La Bomba (Menifee), SP, $179,892. Sales history: $200,000 yrl '13 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $21,600. Click for the VIDEO.
O-Alto Racing LLC. B-Stone Farm (KY). T-Todd A Pletcher.

12/6/2014 - Expression Takes the Garland of Roses Stakes in the Slop at Aqueduct

Expression, bred by Stone Farm and Joseph Sutton, won the $100,000 Garland of Roses Stakes on December 6, 2014 at Aueduct Racetrack. Coming from off the lead on a sloppy inner-dirt track, Expression made a bold four-wide move in the stretch to pass a game Winning Image to win.  This was Expression's first stakes victory and first win on an off track.

Bred by Stone Farm and Joseph Sutton, Expression is out of Exotic West and by Invasor.  Owned and trained by Charlton Baker. 

09/25/2014 - Ruefully Breaks Her Maiden!

Courtesy of the Thoroughbred Daily News

4th-KDX, $82,733, Msw, 3yo/up, f/m, 1mT, 1:38 1/5, fm.
RUEFULLY (f, 3, Bernstein--Ruthian {SW, $212,592}, by Rahy), was fourth two back going this distance over the Presque Isle Downs synthetic and finished fifth last time going 6 1/2 panels over that surface Aug. 28. Let go at 10-1 in this switch back to the turf, the dark bay raced comfortably in mid-pack through the early stages. Ranging up five-wide on the turn for home, Ruefully powered to the head of affairs just in time to secure a half-length victory over Silverville (Badge of Silver). The winner is a half to Rutherienne (Pulpit), GISW, $1,298,671; Ruthenia (Pulpit), GSW, $339,635; and Ruthville (Afleet Alex), SW, $148,518. Sales history: $95,000 RNA yrl '12 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 7-1-1-1, $63,765. Click for the brisnet.com chart or VIDEO.

O-Stone Farm. B-Payson Stud Inc (KY). T-Jonathan E Sheppard.

08/03/2014 - Trend Registers Breakthrough Performance in Jospeh Grace Handicap

Courtesy of the Daily Racing Form

Trend, with Dennis Carr aboard, earns his first career stakes victory in the Joseph Grace Handicap. The well-traveled Trend made his Northern California debut in the $54,210 Joseph T. Grace Handicap and scored his first career stakes victory Sunday at the Sonoma County Fair.

The 7-year-old Trend ($16.60) had three stakes seconds, including a pair in Grade 3 races, before his strong stretch run netted him his first stakes victory as he rallied from last to win the 1 1/16-mile turf race in 1:42.34, defeating Black Spirit by one-half length and Hudson Landing by 3 3/4 lengths as 7-year-old runners captured the top three spots.

07/28/2014 - Discreetly Mine Filly Gets It Done Second Out

Courtesy of the Thoroughbred Daily News

7th-DMR, $76,250, Msw, 2yo, f, 6f (AWT), 1:10 2/5, ft.
STARLET O'HARA (f, 2, Discreetly Mine--My Chanel, by Gilded Time) was off very slowly in her Los Alamitos debut July 4, but flew home to complete the exacta. Backed as the 2-1 favorite to go one better here and become her freshman sire (by Mineshaft)’s fourth winner, the $100,000 KEESEP yearling was again a bit slow to get going before tugging her way up to track from fourth along the rail. Switched out for a clear run entering the straight, the chestnut confronted second choice Make the Sun Shine (Malibu Moon) and, after a brief tussle, pulled clear of that rival to don cap and gown by 2 3/4 lengths. The winner is a half to Trend (Sligo Bay {Ire}), MGSP, $176,781. Her dam is a half to multiple graded stakes winners Wanderin Boy (Seeking the Gold) and Early Warning (Summer Squall). This is the same owner/trainer combination responsible for 2011 GI Kentucky Oaks heroine Plum Pretty (Medaglia d’Oro) among others. Lifetime Record: 2-1-1-0, $53,400. Click for the brisnet.com chart or VIDEO.
O-Peachtree Stable. B-Stone Farm (KY). T-Bob Baffert.

05/02/2014 - Moon Song Breaks His Maiden at Pimlico

Moon Song broke his maiden Saturday, May 2 in Pimlico's 6th race. Moon Song prompted the pace, was three deep leaving the turn, wrested command in upper stretch, was under brisk urging and drew clear. Ridden by Trevor McCarthy. Trained by Graham Motion. Bred by Darley, John H. Adger & Stone Farm. Moon Song is a bay colt, by Elusive Quality out of Ocean Moon, by Malibu Moon.

04/25/2014 - Kitty Wine Breaks Track Record at Keeneland

Kitty Wine was away in good order and opened clear to dictate terms, repelled the challenge of Keening and Artie R R midway through the turn, widened entering the stretch and drew away to score as the rider pleased. With a final time of 1:24.24 over 7 furlongs, Kitty Wine set the all-weather track record. Ridden by Jose Lezcano. Trained by Eddie Kenneally. Bred and owned by Stone Farm and Joseph Sutton.

03/06/2014 - Number Five Wins Race 5 from Post Position 5

Number Five pulled early, stalked outside a rival, bid three deep into the stretch, gained the lead in upper stretch, drifted in and held gamely under left handed urging. Ridden by Victor Espinoza. Trained by Richard Mandella. Bred and owned by Stone Farm.

10/25/2013 - First Whippoorwill Wins Friday Feature at Meadowlands

By John Heims

Stone Farm and Kenneth Tomlinson’s First Whippoorwill ran past favorite Raro inside the 1/16th pole to post a length and a half win in the $32,000 allowance/optional claiming feature as jockey Paco Lopez scored a grand slam, winning the first four races on the Friday afternoon card at the Meadowlands.

With Chris DeCarlo in the irons, First Whippoorwill stepped the mile over firm turf in 1:37 2/5 and paid $22.20, $7.60 and $4.60.  Odds-on favorite Raro, with Paco Lopez aboard, completed the $63 exacta and returned $2.80 and $2.60.  It was another half-length back to No Splits, who paid $6.40 to show.

A trainee of H. Graham Motion, First Whippoorwill is a 5-year-old mare by Mutakddim from the Dancing Count mare Lonesome Sound. She has won six of 18 lifetime starts.

Live racing continues at the Big M on Saturday, Oct. 26 – gates open 11:30 a.m., first post 2:15 p.m.  The all-turf Monmouth-at-Meadowlands meet runs through Saturday, Nov. 2.

03/18/2013 - Fair Grounds: Stakes Winners Icon Ike, Extravaganza Head to Keeneland for Next Starts

Courtesy of DRF. By Marty McGee


Icon Ike and Extravaganza, winners of the twin turf-sprint stakes at Fair Grounds in New Orleans on Saturday, will head to Keeneland for their next races while remaining in their niche.  Icon Ike rallied from well back to win the $73,500 Colonel Power by 2 3/4 lengths under Jimmy Graham, while Extravaganza eked out a nose victory over Storm’s Promise an hour later in the filly counterpart, the $73,500 Happy Ticket.

Icon Ike, trained by Larry Jones, will make his next start in the $100,000 Shakertown on the April 13 Blue Grass Stakes undercard. Extravaganza, trained by Mike Stidham, will run a week later in the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway at the Lexington, Ky., track.

Both Keeneland stakes cover 5 1/2 furlongs on turf, the same distance and surface as the Saturday races at Fair Grounds.

Icon Ike, a 4-year-old colt by Yes It’s True, earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure for his seventh triumph from 16 career starts. “What do you not love about Icon Ike?” asked Cindy Jones, the wife and assistant of Larry Jones. “He’s so fabulous. He’s such a professional.”

Extravaganza, a 6-year-old mare by Elusive Quality, has won 5 of 12 starts for Arthur Hancock, her owner and co-breeder. The Happy Ticket was her first stakes win. She earned a career-high 92 Beyer.

02/17/2013 - Extravaganza Wins Sunday Turf Feature

Courtesy of Graham Ross, Fair Grounds Race Course

Stone Farm's Extravaganza, away alertly but unhurried early, launched a belated bid outside rivals in the final furlong and was up to win Sunday's $53,000 allowance spring over a Stall-Wilson Turf Course rated soft by 1 1/4-lengths.

Sunday's grass sprint was designed as a prep for the upcoming $75,000 Happy Ticket Stakes for older fillies and mares on March 16.

Extravaganza, trained by Mike Stidham and ridden by Richard Eramia, returned mutuels of $15, $4.80 and $3.80, accomplished the about five and a half furlongs in 1:04.90 and increased her career earnings to $132,600 with her fourth win in 11 lifetime starts.

10/21/2012 - Keeneland: Upperline Closes Out Career by Winning Dowager

Courtesy of Matt Hegarty at DailyRacingForm.com. Photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography.

The 5-year-old mare Upperline went out a winner in what was most likely the final start of her career after wearing down the up-and-comer Ciao Bella in deep stretch of the 1 1/2-mile Dowager Stakes on turf on a sun-splashed Sunday at Keeneland.

Ridden by James Graham, Upperline stayed within closing range of the leaders as they carved out dawdling fractions through the race’s first mile. She began to pick off horses around the final turn, and by the top of the stretch, she had pulled even with Ciao Bella, who had been running freely on the lead for the previous half-mile. When Graham asked her to pick up her head, Upperline responded earnestly, pulling away to win by three-quarters of a length in a time of 2:32.19 over firm turf.

“She does what she does,” said Graham, who has ridden Upperline in her last nine starts, including a victory in the 1 ½-mile Bewitch Stakes on the grass at Keeneland last spring. “She’s a battle-hardened, tough, tough filly.”

Ciao Bella, a 3-year-old filly trained by Todd Pletcher trying turf for the second time after finishing fourth in her last start, the Grade 1 Garden City Stakes at Belmont, was nearly caught at the wire by a hard-charging Janicellaine but held on for second.

Upperline paid $6 to win as the favorite. With Ciao Bella, the second-choice, the exacta paid $25.60. Janicellaine, the third choice, filled out a $146.60 trifecta.

By Maria’s Mon out of the Caerleon mare Snowflake, Upperline was entered in the Fasig-Tipon November breeding stock sale on Nov. 5 prior to the Dowager. She is owned by a partnership including John Adger, Oakcrest Farm, and Stone Farm.

Arthur Hancock, the owner of Stone Farm, said after the race that “I might be there as a bidder” when the filly goes through the ring next month. Hancock said he owns a quarter of the filly.

“She’s a wonderful filly. Courageous, fought all the way,” he said. “She’s all heart.”

Hancock indicted that the decision to sell the filly was not unanimous among the partners.

“I was fortunate to be able to buy into her,” Hancock said. “She’s done plenty. But this is a tough business, and the owners want to sell her. And that’s the nature of this business. You gotta be able to pay everybody the next week.”

With the $75,000 winner’s share of the Dowager’s $125,000 purse, Upperline has won $772,988 while winning 9 of 25 career starts. She has 5 seconds and 3 thirds as well.

Upperline came into the Dowager after finishing third in the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland two weeks earlier. And despite her turf heavy pedigree, she has been equally adept on artificial surfaces, with five of her nine career wins coming on artificial tracks, including the Grade 3 Arlington Matron Stakes this summer.

10/21/2012 - Upperline Bows Out With Game Dowager Triumph

Courtesy ofJack Shinar at Bloodhorse.com. Photo courtesy of Coady Photography.

In the final start of her career, multiple graded stakes winner Upperline outfought Ciao Bella in the homestretch to prevail by three-quarters of a length in the $125,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes Oct. 21 on the Keeneland turf (VIDEO).

The winning 5-year-old daughter of Maria's Mon out of the multiple stakes-placed mare Snowflake, by Caerleon, is scheduled to be sold at the Fasig-Tipton November breeding stock sale.

The bay mare, bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable, is currently owned by Arthur B. Hancock III's Stone Farm, John H. Adger, Oak Crest Farm, and Michael Stidham, who trains her.

James Graham guided 2-1 choice Upperline to victory in the 1 1/2-mile grass test in a time of 2:32.19 over firm going. Ciao Bella saved the runner-up spot by a neck over a late-running Janicellaine.

A crowd announced at 19,134 was on hand for the Sunday program at Keeneland.

Upperline ran second in last year's Dowager to 16-1 outsider Senada, who finished fourth this year in the marathon event for fillies and mares. Upperline has won two of her three tries at the 12-furlong distance.

"She's been a superstar from the beginning," Stidham said approvingly of the winner. "She's been tough in all of her races, and we're just happy that she was able to do it like this. We're just sorry we hadn't started running her a mile and a half a long time ago. James (Graham) rode her great, and she's a great mare."

Third in the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) over Keeneland's Polytrack Oct. 7 Upperline won for the third time in eight starts this year. She was making the shortest turnaround between races of her career for the Dowager.

"I had a great trip," Graham said. "Great training achievement by Mike to have her back this good in two weeks off a grade I third. She did everything I asked her to do."

Eleven entered the starting gate for this year's Dowager. Ciao Bella ceded the early lead to For the Win and tracked her and Maid of Heaven on the outside as the race unfolded through a soft half-mile in :51.07 and six furlongs in 1:116.44. Ciao Bella, the 3-1 second choice, swept to the front after they completed the mile in 1:43.04. Though confronted on her outside by the favorite, she took a narrow advantage into the stretch.

Those two fought it out in the lane as Upperline put her head in front at mid-stretch. She began to get the better of her rival in the late going, inching away in the final strides under urging from Graham.

Ciao Bella, ridden by John Velazquez, gave a game effort in her first try beyond nine furlongs.

"She ran huge; a really, really big race," Velazquez said of the runner-up. "I thought she had a really good chance to win it. She was kind of drifting out a little bit. It she didn't do that, she probably would have won the race."

Irish-bred Janicellaine rallied from fourth at the quarter pole for Julien Leparoux to just miss second.

Upperline's last victory came in the Arlington Matron (gr. IIIT) May 26 at Arlington Park. She won the Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Keeneland turf in April, and also captured the Arlington Oaks (gr. III) in 2010 and the Allen LaCombe Memorial Handicap, Bayou Handicap, and Trillium Stakes last year.

Her overall record stands at 9-5-4 in 25 races with earnings of $772,988.

Carrying top weight of 123 pounds, Upperline paid $6, $3.20, $2.40. Ciao Bella returned $4.60 and $3.60, and the two favorites combined for an exacta worth $25.60. Janicellaine paid $4.20 to show.

Senada was followed by Bubbly Jane (BRZ), Thislilsoulofmine, Revelstoke, Maid of Heaven, Heart of Detiny, Charming She Is, and For the Win.

10/21/2012 - Upperline Wins Keeneland Feature Two Weeks Before She Goes Up for Sale.

Courtesy of Alicia Wincze Hughes at the Herald Leader, kentucky.com. Photo by Z - Keeneland Photo.

Though her catalog page for the upcoming Fasig-Tipton November horse sale has already been printed, Upperline was bound and determined Sunday to provide one last sterling update for potential buyers to ponder.

In her final career start before being sent through the ring at Fasig-Tipton on Nov. 5, the 5-year-old Upperline showed how much class is still in her when she fought off Ciao Bella during a determined stretch run to claim the $125,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes by three quarters of a length over the Keeneland turf.

The ninth victory of Upperline's 25-race career broke a four-race losing skid and came two weeks after the daughter of Maria's Mon had run third in Keeneland's Grade I Juddmonte Spinster.

The mare — who counts the Grade III Bewitch at Keeneland this April among her victories in graded stakes races — bounced out of that effort with enough energy to convince her connections one more shot at a swan song was warranted.

"She's a wonderful filly, courageous and fought all the way," said Arthur Hancock, who owns Upperline along with John Adger, Jack Hodge and trainer Mike Stidham. "She was all heart today. Mike (Stidham) said she was doing well after the Spinster so we figured it was right here; she likes Keeneland and was worth taking the shot."

With regular rider James Graham in the saddle one last time, Upperline tracked along on the outside throughout the 11/2-mile test, sitting just off of Ciao Bella as For the Win cut an opening half mile in :51.07.

When Ciao Bella advanced to overtake the pacesetter approaching the final turn, Upperline went with her on the outside and those two were nearly three lengths clear of the rest of the 11-horse field entering the stretch.

"James rode her great and she's a great mare," Stidham said. "We're just sorry we hadn't started running her a mile and a half a long time ago. She's been a superstar from the beginning."

Although Ciao Bella drifted out slightly toward her from the inside during the stride-for-stride stretch, Upperline finally edged away late to reward backers that made her the 2-to-1 favorite, hitting the line in 2:32.19 over a firm turf course. Janicellaine was a neck back of Ciao Bella for third.

With $772,988 in career earnings and enough pedigree to back up her on-track efforts, the consignors hope Upperline has ample suitors — though they may have to battle some familiar connections to get her.

"I might be in there as a bidder," Hancock said. "I own a fourth of her. I love this filly and she showed today all the heart in the world. I shouldn't talk too much, because someone might outbid me."

09/08/2012 - Cat Lore Scores Impressively at Kentucky Downs

Coming off a close nose-defining second at Arlington Park, Cat Lore was the favorite to win this six furlong Allowance on the turf at Kentucky Downs. Cat Lore stalked the pace 4 wide. Making a move around the final turn to second, she opened clear of the pack nearing the furlong marker, and widened down the stretch to win by 5 1/2 lengths. With Lebron Victor up, Cat Lore is trained by Michael Stidham and owned by Stone Farm.

08/04/2012 - Ruthville Rolls to Lady Canterbury Victory

Courtesy of The Blood-Horse.  Photo by Coady Photography

On a day that featured four stakes races worth nearly a quarter of a million dollars, Ruthville stole the show in front of a crowd of 8,259 fans at Canterbury Park Aug. 4, winning the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes as a part of the track's second annual Fillies Race for Hope.

Ruthville sat off of a suicidal pace set by local hopeful Rare Sunset, then challenged along the inside in mid-stretch. The 6-1 upsetter in the field of five inched away to a one-length victory under jockey Dean Butler for her first stakes tally.

Grade I winner Hooh Why, a lifetime earner of more than $1 million that would have been favored, was scratched.

The winner is trained by Michael Stidham and owned by Arthur B. Hancock III. Ruthville completed the mile in 1:37.45 over a turf course listed as good to defeat post time 13-10 favoriteBryan's Jewel. The runner-up was 6 3/4 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Zaphyra.

Ruthville, who was making her stakes debut after shipping in from Arlington Park, returned $15.40 to win. She boosted her career totals to 4-1-1 in 11 races with earnings of $144,252.

Bred in Kentucky by Payson Stud, the 5-year-old bay mare is by Afleet Alex out of the stakes-winning Ruthian, by Rahy.

The victory gave Stidham a sweep of Canterbury’s two richest races this summer. Last weekend, he shipped Hammers Terror to Shakopee and captured the inaugural running of the $161,250 Mystic Lake Derby.

08/04/2012 - Ruthville Wins the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes.
Canterbury Covered in Pink : Fillies Race for Hope Raises Money for Those Fighting Breast Cancer

Excerpt courtesy of Canterbury Park

The 20th running of this race, at a mile on the turf, originally had a seven-horse field but was reduced to five starters after two scratches, Our Lady in Red and morning line favorite Hooh Why.

The Lady Canterbury has a long history, dating to its first running in 1986 when it introduced grass racing to Minnesotans. It has brought in shippers over the years who have stolen the show, just as one did on Saturday.

Talk about racing royalty. The Kentucky Hancocks are long-time Kentucky barons in the sport, and Arthur B. the III sent his Ruthville to Canterbury for a shot at the $100,000 purse.

Ridden by Dean Butler, Ruthville ran past the very tired pace-setter Rare Sunset and Geovanni Franco and finished one length in front of Bryan’s Jewell and Derek Bell. It was another 6 ¾ lengths back to Zaphyra and Scott Stevens, who were 1 and ¾ lengths in front of Rare Sunset.

Assistant trainer Chris Davis handled the winner for Michael Stidham, just as he did last weekend with the Mystic Lake Derby winner. This time, however, there was no claim of foul and stewards inquiry and the tense moments that accompany those occasions.

“Yeah, that was just fine,” said Davis, who was none too concerned about the seven-length lead Rare Sunset had at the half-mile pole. The frontrunner faded like a red shirt in a hot wash after setting the quick pace (46 3/5 and 1:11 and 1/5).

“The turf was softer than usual so I wasn’t really worried,” said Davis. “If it had been hard it would have been another matter, but I was hoping for rain. That helped us since we’re going to come from behind anyway.”

Stidham trained the winner of the 2011 Lady Canterbury, too, winning with A She’s Adorable, owned by Skip Maas.

07/15/2012 - Montego Bay breaks his Maiden at Hollywood Park

Montego Bay won by 2 1/4 lenghts at Hollywood Park in the card's 8th race over one mile on the turf. After breaking from the gate, he settled a bit off the rail. He moved through the pack. picking off foes around the second turn. Under the vigourous handling of Garrett Gomez, Montego Bay bulled through horses on the stretch. Bidding between rivals, he gained the lead a sixteenth out and won clear. Montego Bay is trained by Neil Drysdale and owned by Shawn L. Dugan and Stone Farm.

06/06/2012 - First Whippoorwill Once, Twice, Three Times a Winner.

First Whippoorwill struck again for owners Stone Farm and Ken Tomlinson, and trainer Graham Motion in Race 4 at Belmont Park on June 6.  This has been her third win a row and fifth time in the money this year. Going off at odds 12-1, she relaxed around the first turn sitting mid-pack and ran steadily until given the green light by jockey Edgar Prado. She went past the eighth pole the leader and crossed the finish line first by 1 3/4 lengths.

05/27/2012 - Sound Effect does an Arlington Double

Courtesy of the Thoroughbred Daily News

SOUND EFFECT (c, 3, Rockport Harbor--Vickey's Echo, by Clever Trick) took five tries to break through, but when he did, the homebred was a stylish 13 1/4-length winner going nine furlongs over this strip May 4. Given a 9-2 chance this time, the grey enjoyed a pocket journey early. He required several adamant reminders in upper stretch from Julio Felix, but Sound Effect kept grinding down frontrunner Ratatat (Tapit)'s advantage, passing that foe late to secure a 2 1/2-length success. The winner is a half-brother to French Braids (Personal Flag), MSW & GISP, $607,685; Ruckus (Swain {Ire}), SP, $163,337; Supersonic Dave (Swain {Ire}), GSP-Eng & SP (N)-KSA; and Donegal (Menifee), SW & MGSPEng, SP (N)-Ire, 148,315. Lifetime Record: 6-2-1-1, $67,180. 

Owner/Breeder - Stone Farm (KY). Trainer - Michael Stidham.

APX, $42,000, Alw, NW1$X, 3yo/up, 1m (AWT), 1:39 2/5, ft.

05/28/2012 - Arlington : Upperline displays different style, same results in Matron

Courtesy of Marcus Hersh. Daily Racing Form. Photo Courtesy of Four Footed Fotos. 


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Every winter, Upperline spends about two months kicking back at Arthur Hancock’s Stone Farm in Kentucky, and every year, Upperline comes back into training a happy, healthy horse. She is on her third straight year of high-class racing, and on Saturday she won for the eighth time in 20 starts, dominating the Grade 3, $150,000 Arlington Matron with a four-length win over Hooh Why.

“Look at her,” trainer Mike Stidham said shortly after the Matron, pointing out the considerable bulk Upperline hauls around. “She’s just kept getting bigger and stronger.”

Historically, Upperline – who handles both turf and synthetic with aplomb – has been more of a grinding, steady type than a flashy performer. Last month, for instance, she won the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes over 1 1/2 miles on Keeneland’s turf by pressing a slow pace, wearing down her opponents. But Saturday, Upperline displayed a turn of foot. On the lead in the earliest part of the 1 1/8- mile Polytrack race, Upperline wound up racing along the rail in third as Hooh Why led Sea Level Drive though moderate splits of 24.45 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 48.70 for the first half. Still hemmed inside in upper stretch, Upperline and James Graham swung out for room past the three-sixteenths pole, and in a matter of strides collared and went past Hooh Why.

“She gives you a little at first, and then she keeps giving you more and more,” said Graham, who has ridden Upperline her last four starts.

Hooh Why stayed on to finish second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of Ariana D, who made a good move around the far turn but could not quite see out the nine-furlong trip. Then came Hemera, La Gran Bailadora, Sea Level Drive, and 2-1 second choice Kathmablu, who was dull. The winner paid $5.80 and was timed in 1:51.73.

Bred by Stonerside Stable and owned by Stone Farm, Oakcrest Farm, and Stidham, Upperline is a 5-year-old by Maria’s Mon. The winner’s share of Saturday’s race pushed her career earnings past the half-million dollar mark.

05/27/2012 - Upperline Scores in Arlington Matron

Courtesy of Brisnet.com

Stone Farm, John H. Adger, Oakcrest Farm and trainer Michael Stidham's Upperline was content to stalk the early pace set by Hooh Why in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Arlington Matron over the Polytrack at Arlington Park, but asserted her authority in the lane to take over and draw off for a four-length win. Jockey James Graham had piloting duties aboard the Maria's Mon mare, and the duo completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:51 3/5 to return $5.80, $3.80 and $2.60.

Hooh Why led the way on the backstretch through splits of :24 2/5, :48 3/5 and 1:13 3/5 while Sea Level Drive kept pace just off her flank. Kathmanblu ran in tandem with Upperline as Graham settled his 9-5 favorite down on the rail behind Hooh Why. The quartet maintained their positions until reaching the final turn, when Ariana D ran up to the outside of Sea Level Drive.

It was three across the track as Hooh Why hit the lane, but Graham kept Upperline on the inside as Sea Level Drive began backing up. The savvy rider angled his mount off the rail and sent her after Hooh Why, and the bay mare easily reeled in the pacesetter to grab command and pull away.

"She broke sharp today but somebody else wanted the lead, so I sat right off her," Graham said. "She picked up when she got room and off she went to the wire. I never had a worry at all. She kept finding and finding and finding more, picking it up late."

Hooh Why held well to take second by 1 3/4 lengths over Ariana D, while Hemera came with a game late run to fill the fourth spot. La Gran Bailadora, second in last year's running of the Arlington Matron, was next, while Sea Level Drive and Kathmanblue completed the order under the wire.

"What an honest mare," stated Hooh Why's rider, Francisco Torres. "I tried to slow it down as much as I could, and preserve as much as I could because you get paid late, not early. I can't fault her, she showed up and she tried hard, we just got outrun."

Upperline easily avenged her fourth-placing in last season's Arlington Matron with this win, which improved her scorecard to 20-8-4-2, $585,308. The bay five-year-old has been a hard-knocking sort, racking up wins in the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes, Grade 3 Arlington Oaks, Trillium Stakes, Bayou Handicap and Allen LaCombe Memorial Handicap during her four seasons on track. She also boasts five black-type placings on her resume, including the Grade 2 Golden Rod and Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes.

Bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable, Upperline is out of the Irish-bred Caerleon mare Snowflake, who ran second in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes in 2001, and has a stakes-winning four-year-old half-sister named Snow Fall. The siblings' second dam is the Reference Point mare Ivyanna, who captured the Group 1 Oaks d'Italia in 1992.

This black-type rich female line also includes Grade 1 scorer An Act and Group 2 victor Distinction, who placed in two editions of the Group 1 Gold Cup. Upperline's fourth dam is noted matron Durga.

04/26/2012 - Upperline Returns to Form in the Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes

Courtesy of Alicia Weincze Hughes. Lexington Herald Leader. Photo Courtesy of Keeneland, Coady Photography.

There are some horses who, as they age, begin to lose a step.

In the case of Upperline, her seasoning may be the reason she is finally finding her best stride.

The 5-year-old daughter of Maria's Mon notched her first graded-stakes win since 2010 Thursday when she split foes inside the final furlong and drew off in the lane to win the Grade III Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes by 11/2 lengths over the Keeneland turf.

Upperline hadn't won in four starts since taking the Trillium Stakes at Woodbine in June. The bay mare had, however, kept herself in admirable company, finishing fifth beaten just 4 lengths by eventual champion Stacelita in the Grade I Beverly D. in August.

In her second outing this year, Upperline led the eight-horse field past the grandstand for the first time in the 11/2-mile test before taking back and saving ground on the inside path while Shimmering Moment clocked the opening half in :54.01.

Senada came up on the outside to challenge and take over the lead coming off the turn for the final time, but she was reeled in by a hard-running Upperline coming down the middle of the track.

"She finished really well," jockey James Graham said after booting home the 2-1 second choice. "She's better with a little bit of a target but because she broke so sharp, I just let her run the first quarter of a mile. She's so good right now, and she finished the way she was supposed to."

Upperline hit the wire in a leisurely 2:33.28 over a course rated firm. Woodford Belle was second, three quarters of a length ahead of Senada who backed up to third.

Upperline is trained by Michael Stidham, who also owns her in partnership with Arthur Hancock, John Adger and Jack Hodge.

The Stonerside-bred mare won two of her first three career starts and was fifth in the 2010 Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland before taking the Grade III Arlington Oaks in July of that year.

The only time Upperline finished off the board in 10 subsequent outings came when she faced graded-stakes company. Now that she's back over the hump, another shot at top-level competition could be on the horizon.

"We've always thought that when she matured and got to this point we would try and focus on these kind of races," Stidham said. "She's blossomed, she's gotten so much broader and bigger. We're not really sure what is next but we've got some thoughts of the Beverly D. again."

04/26/2012 - Upperline Overcomes Slow Pace to Take Bewitch

Courtesy of Jason Shandler, the BloodHorse.com.  Photo by Mathea Kelley.

Upperline, runner-up in her last two stakes tries, found another gear in the late stages to win the $150,000 Grey Goose Bewitch (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by 1 1/2 lengths at Keeneland April 26.

The crowd of 11,253 fans on hand for Upperline's victory pushed Keeneland's total attendance to a new meet record of 251,909, with one day remaining in the 15-day spring meet. The total surpasses the previous record 250,163 from the 2011 fall meet.

Trained and co-owned by Michael Stidham, Upperline recorded her first graded victory since taking the Arlington Oaks (gr. III) in 2010. The 5-year-old daughter of Maria's Mon is also owned by John Adger, Oakcrest Farm, and Stone Farm. She was bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable and is out of the Caerleon mare Snowflake.

Jockey James Graham guided Upperline to victory, her seventh in 19 career starts. She has earned $497,108.

It was an interesting trip for Upperline in the 1 1/2-mile turf race, as she grabbed the early lead in a very slow first quarter of :26.96. She then allowed Shimmering Moment to go to the front, and Senada to pass her as well. The fractions got even slower, too, as Shimmering Moment ran a half-mile in :54.01, three-quarters in 1:19.79, and a mile in 1:44.66.

Upperline was third when they came off the final turn, and by that time Senada and Javier Castellano had the lead. But despite the slow fractions, Upperline was able to run down Senada in mid-stretch and zip to the wire a comfortable winner.

The final time on the firm course was 2:33.28. Woodford Belle closed well for second under Julien Leparoux, three-quarters of a length in front of Senada. Favored Here to Win was fourth in a field of eight fillies and mares.

Upperline’s most recent win came in the Trillium Stakes on the Woodbine Polytrack last summer. In her only other start this year she was beaten a neck in the March 31 Bayou Handicap at Fair Grounds.

The winner paid $6, $3.60, and $2.80. The exacta (5-4) returned $30.80, and the trifecta (5-4-3) was worth $112.60.

04/13/2012 - First Whippoorwill Wins Again

First Whippoorwill won her second race for owners Stone Farm and Sandy Bayou Stables, and trainer Graham Motion in the 5th at Pimlico Racetrack today, this time over a mile on the turf.  After finding her way out of a bit of traffic, this improving filly finished the victor by 1 1/2 lengths over second place Mimi's Shoes and third place runner Jersey Rambler. Now having proven herself on the dirt and turf, both times with jockey Sheldon Russel up, hopes are that this duo will continue to cross the finishline first many times again.

03/06/2012 - Sharp Maiden Winners, Comebackers

Excerpt Courtesy of Dan Illman, The Daily Racing Form.   Photograph Courtesy of Daniel Sigal

Maiden winner KITTY WINE earned a big Beyer last week and may be [a] 3-year-old to follow down the road.

Kitty Wine, a daughter of Lemon Drop Kid, scored second-out for trainer Eddie Kenneally while making her first appearance on grass [at Gulfstream Park].  She was stretching out a whopping 3 1/2 furlongs from her debut on February 3, a five-panel maiden special weight that was washed off the turf.  Beaten 14 lengths as the favorite that day, Kitty Wine improved greatly around two turns, going gate-to-wire and scoring by a head in 1:39 3/5 for the 1 1/16 miles.  A $27,000 RNA as a yearling, Kitty Wine earned a 94 Beyer.  She is a half-sister to Atwell, who placed in the Jersey Derby on grass in 2008.  The dam (by Devil's Bag), a multiple stakes-placed sprinter on dirt, is a three-quarter sister to stakes-winner Strodes Creek (finished second in the 1994 Kentucky Derby and third in that year's Belmont Stakes). 


03/03/2012  - Turfway : State of Play Edges Ill Conceived by head in Battaglia

Article courtesy of Marty McGee, The Daily Racing Form.  Photograph courtesy of Patrick Lang / Lang Photography.

State of Play won a photo over Ill Conceived after the pair hooked up leaving the half-mile pole Saturday in an exciting renewal of the $75,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park in northern Kentucky.

With Victor Lebron aboard, State of Play edged away down the stretch from Ill Conceived, who led most of the way in slow fractions, but then the two hit the wire together, with State of Play a head in front in finishing the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race in 1:46.55. Dynamical was another 3 1/2 lengths back in third. Mr. Prankster, the 4-5 favorite, and was never a factor in finishing 7 1/4 lengths farther back in fourth among the five 3-year-olds.

State of Play, a Kentucky-bred colt by War Front, returned $6 as second choice with his third win from five career starts. The Battaglia marked his first start over a synthetic surface after he raced three times on turf as a 2-year-old, then ran seventh on dirt in the Sam F. Davis Stakes in his seasonal debut last month at Tampa Bay Downs.

State of Play is owned by Team Valor International and trained by Graham Motion, the same team that won the Turfway showcase, the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes, last year with Animal Kingdom, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby in his next start. Motion said before the Battaglia that a return in the Spiral on March 24 was highly likely if State of Play ran well Saturday.

Ill Conceived, with Stewart Elliott aboard for John Servis, set fractions of 24.69 seconds and 49.83 before drifting off the rail leaving the half-mile pole, allowing State of Play and Dynamical to rally to his inside. By the quarter pole, after six furlongs in 1:14.69, Dynamical had faded out of it, leaving State of Play and Ill Conceived to battle to the wire.

Mr. Prankster, ridden by John McKee, was favored after winning the Turfway Prevue and WEBN Stakes over the Turfway surface. Although he likely was disadvantaged by the slow pace, the colt had no mishap in failing to threaten.

The Battaglia will be the last stakes at Turfway before Spiral Day. Turfway officials announced Thursday they were cutting purses and much of the remaining stakes schedule at the winter-spring meet.

*State of Play is bred by Stone Farm and Dell Hancock and is by War Front out of Valeta, by Procida.

03/03/2012 - First Whippoorwill Breaks her Maiden

First Whippoorwill broke her maiden in the 9th race on the dirt at Laurel Park on March 3. This filly, by Mutakddim and out of Lonesome Sound by Dancing Count, went out as the favorite and did not disappoint as she went over 7 furlongs in 1:27.1 to win the laurel over second place Stollen and third place Ottauquechee. First whippoorwill is owned by Stone Farm and Sandy Bayou Stables,  trained by Graham Motion, and ridden by Sheldon Russel.

01/22/2012 - Extravaganza Has More Success at Fair Grounds. Cat Lore Places.

Extravaganza and Cat Lore make another splash at Fair Grounds for the Stone Farm and Mike Stidham teams. Cat Lore went off as the favorite in the card's 4th race. Coming from mid pack, she managed to pass pace-setter Ingenue, but couldn't catch Unleash who won by 1 1/4 lengths.  In Race 6, Extravaganza came out of the gate and contested with Mahindar to the set the pace. After waivering momentarily at the seven-sixteenths pole and battling Sweet Little Sleet down the stretch, Extravaganza surged on to win by a 1/2 length once again under jockey Richard Eramia.

12/09/2011 - Extravaganza Wins Fair Grounds Allowance

Stone Farm and Mike Stidham have another win at Fair Grounds over 5 1/2 furlongs. This time with 5 year old filly Extravaganza and jockey Richard E. Eramia. After a 3rd at Fair Grounds two weeks prior and a 2nd during Keeneland's fall meet, Extravaganza held on to win by a neck. Extravaganza is by Elusive Quality and out of Shoppingwithbetty.

12/08/2011 - Cat Lore Breaks Her Maiden

Cat Lore wins her first race out over 5 1/2 furlongs at Fair Grounds on December 8, 2012. This 2 year old filly by Discreet Cat and out of Starlore went off as the favorite and crossed the finish line with an impressive 6 1/4 furlongs over her competitors. Bred and owned by Stone Farm, trained by Michael Stidham and ridden by James Graham.

10/23/2011 - Senada Snaps 11-Race Drought in Dowager Upset

Courtesy of Jack Shinar, The BloodHorse.com 

Sent off at odds of 16-1, Senada snapped an 11-race losing streak when she came from far off the pace to collar Upperline in deep stretch, capturing the $125,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes on the Keeneland turf Oct. 23.

The result was a pleasing one for Arthur Hancock III's Stone Farm, which bred the winner and is part owner of the runner-up. Senada, who won by three-quarters of a length, and 7-1 shot Upperline combined for a $326 exacta.

Cheetah, the 6-5 favorite in a field of 11 older fillies and mares, finished third. The final time for the 1 1/2-mile Dowager was 2:31.19 over firm going.

Trained by Barclay Tagg for Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Lael Stables, Senada is often close while rarely winning. In taking the Dowager, the $800,000 Keeneland September yearling registered her first victory since breaking her maiden in her fourth start in March 2010 on the turf at Gulfstream Park.

While the 4-year-old daughter of Pulpit out of the multiple grade II turf winner Owsley has now won just twice in 16 starts, she has four seconds and six thirds in her career.

Ridden for the first time by Edgar Prado, Senada raced in ninth while saving ground to the quarter pole before advancing from between horses and angling to the outside for the homestretch. Surging through the lane, Senada still had three rivals to beat at the eighth pole but reeled them all while edging away in the final strides.

“Having watched the filly run a couple times at Saratoga, it seemed like she had one big kick at the end," said Prado after recording his third win of the day at Keeneland. "Barclay told me to bide my time, save ground and come with a run at the end. I was very happy when I saw that she is out of Owsley. I won with Owsley here before. She handled the course beautifully and came home very strong.”

Upperline, stalking the leaders into the stretch for James Graham, took over approaching the furlong marker from Cheetah, who had grabbed the lead for Garrett Gomez on the final turn. Upperline finished three lengths clear of Cheetah, who held on by a head for third over late-running Askbut I Won'ttell.

Royal Madame, opening up by as many as six lengths on the field, stepped the opening half-mile in :49.46 and a mile in 1:40.62 before giving way to Cheetah, who had been tracking the front-runner in second.

Tagg said he realized Senada preferred a longer distance when she finished second by a neck to Emerald Beech in a 12-furlong overnight stakes on Saratoga's inner turf course Aug. 10. She followed that effort with a third-place finish in the 11-furlong Glens Falls Stakes (gr. IIIT) over a soft inner course at Saratoga Sept. 5, her most recent start.

“We just can’t find mile-and-a-half races for her very often," Tagg said. "We always thought she’d like it that way. Edgar (Prado) rode her to perfection and it worked out.”

Senada boosted her earnings to $184,876 with the winning purse of $75,000. The dark bay/brown filly carried 120 pounds to victory and paid $35.40, $13, and $5.20 as the sixth choice.

Grade III winner Upperline, rebounding from a last-place finish in the Kentucky Cup Distaff (gr. IIIT) at Turfway Park Sept. 24, returned $8.80 and $4.60.

British-bred Cheetah, making her first start since running ninth in the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) on a yielding Arlington Park turf course Aug. 13, paid $3. The trifecta was worth $1,110.00.

"I just kind of ended up having to make the front too soon with her," Gomez said. "She’s a European filly and she doesn’t stay on real well without having a nice little target out there.

Askbut I Won'ttell was followed by Dyani, Hasay, Grecian Maiden, Endless Expanse, Miss Laa di Da, Malibu Win, and Royal Madame. Speak Easy Gal scratched.

07/03/10 - Stone Farm co-owned Upperline surges to victory in Arlington Oaks

Courtesy of Neil Milbert, Special to the Chicago Tribune
After Upperline surged to the lead with three-eighths of a mile to run in Saturday's Grade III, $100,000 Arlington Oaks, she gave the 32,681 spectators a preview of the fireworks display that followed the racing program at

"She just exploded tonight," jockey E.T. Baird said.

When the smoke cleared, Upperline was 4 3/4 lengths in front of second-place Snow Top Mountain in the 1 1/8-mile race on the Polytrack.

Upperline broke sharply and stalked the pace set by Chantilly Nayla before asserting herself to give trainer Michael Stidham his fourth stakes victory of the meeting.

Fast-fading Chantilly Nayla wound up fourth in the field of six 3-year-old fillies, three-quarters of a length behind third-place Dundalk Dust and 12 behind Upperline, who won in 1 minute, 52.13 seconds.

Upperline's triumph was the third of her eight-race career and her first in a stakes race.

"From the get-go, we thought she was that quality horse," Stidham said. "Early on when we worked her with other 2-year-olds, she did some impressive things."

05/15/2010 - Rainbow View prevails in Gallorette Handicap G3

Courtesy of the Thoroughbred Times Today

Augustin Stable’s homebred Rainbow View ( who was foaled and raised at Stone Farm) rallied dramatically to win the $100,000 Gallorette Handicap (G3) in an effort her connections described as a confidence builder.

The four-year-old Dynaformer filly began her career in England, where in 2008 she was unbeaten in four starts
and was named Europe’s champion two-year-old filly.

Her eight races at age three, all Group or Grade 1 races, hardly were a failure— she won the Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes (Ire-G1) at Leopardstown—but owner George Strawbridge said Rainbow View seemed to lose some of her edge. "We’re trying to get her confidence back,” Strawbridge said. “We
were concerned she had lost something, having competed in eight Grade 1 races last year. Mind you, she won one of them and was placed in [three] others, but the year before she had such blistering speed, and we never saw that last year. “It’s the usual platitude—one step at a time—but the next one hopefully will be a Grade 1.”

Courtesy of the TDN

Drawn inside, Rainbow View broke well enough, but Leparoux was forced to take up and sit down in the saddle when shuffled back passing the stands for the first time. Settled sixth with just three behind, Rainbow View was shifted out to the three path once heads were straightened for home, swung back out and around Quiet Meadow inside the final furlong and prevailed. "Everything was great up until about the mid-point on the turn," winning trainer Jonathan Sheppard explained. "Then she kind of got jostled around. And even into the stretch, there was a little bit of bumping. She handled it, I thought, very well. (Leparoux) didn't panic. Some people might have. He's pretty chilly, Julien."

02/27/2011 - Upperline Wins Allen Lacombe Memorial at Fairgrounds

Courtesy of Bob Fortus, the Times-Picayune

Getting a smooth, stalking trip under jockey Rosie Napravnik, Upperline took charge entering the stretch and held off late challengers Category Seven and Forest Uproar to win the Allen LaCombe Memorial on Saturday at the Fair Grounds.

Upperline was racing for the second time this season, and the victory was her first since she won the Arlington Oaks in July at Arlington Park.

She ran about a mile and a sixteenth in 1:46.68, defeating Category Seven by a length and paying $7.40. Forest Uproar, the favorite, finished another half-length back in third in a field of seven older fillies and mares.

“It set up perfect,’’ trainer Mike Stidham said. “We were able to sit in that stalking spot and go when the time was right.’’

Napravnik said: “We got a great trip. The filly is extremely easy to ride, and she is very kind and puts you where you need to be, and she ran extremely well down the stretch.’’

04/16/2010 - Rainbow View Exudes Class in Keeneland Allowance

Courtesy of BRISNET

RAINBOW VIEW (Dynaformer), Europe's champion juvenile filly of 2008, made a stylish debut for trainer Jonathan Sheppard in Friday's 8TH race at Keeneland. Dispatched as the 4-5 favorite in the stakes-quality turf allowance, the Augustin Stable homebred was confidently handled by Julien Leparoux throughout. The bay was reserved in fourth early, advanced on the far turn, and easily overtook the pacesetting My Baby Baby (Bernstein) in the stretch. Rainbow View crossed the wire a comfortable 1 1/2-length winner with something in reserve. The classy filly negotiated 1 1/16 miles in 1:43 on the firm turf course and returned $3.60, $2.60 and $2.10.

My Baby Baby, who had gotten away with leisurely splits of :24 2/5, :49 1/5 and 1:13 2/5, held second by 2 1/2 lengths from the closing You Go West Girl (Mr. Greeley). Bon Jovi Girl (Malibu Moon), a half-sister to dual champion Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat), tired to fourth in her first outing for Bill Mott, and Hightap (Tapit) trailed. Danzon (Royal Academy) and War Tigress (War Chant) were scratched.

Rainbow View's victory lifted her into the millionaires' club with $1,029,445 in earnings from her 13-6-2-1 record. Formerly based in England with John Gosden, she was undefeated during her championship campaign at two, capturing the Fillies' Mile (Eng-G1), May Hill S. (Eng-G2) and Sweet Solera S. (Eng-G3). Things did not fall into place as readily for Rainbow View last season. After suffering her first loss when fifth in the One Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1), she met with interference en route to her fourth-place effort in the Oaks (Eng-G1), and she endured traffic trouble when third in the Coronation S. (Eng-G1).

Rainbow View then finished fourth to Goldikova (Ire) (Anabaa) in the Falmouth S. (Eng-G1) and runner-up to Midday (GB) (Oasis Dream [Ire]) in the Nassau S. (Eng-G1), but finally regained the winning thread when defeating older distaffers in the Matron S. (Ire-G1). That turned out to be her final European start, for she concluded 2009 with a pair of unsuccessful efforts in North America. Runner-up in the E.P. Taylor S. (Can-G1) at Woodbine, she checked in fifth in the November 6 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1) on the Pro-Ride at Santa Anita. In the aftermath of the Breeders' Cup, Rainbow View was transferred to Sheppard with a view toward a North American campaign at four.

Sheppard was asked Friday if he thought that Rainbow View might have thickened up a little bit over the winter.

"Yes, I think she has, a little bit," the Hall of Famer said, adding that he had gotten her "at the tail end of a busy campaign."

Sheppard also responded to a question regarding Rainbow View's temperament, for the filly had been known to be rather willful, if not outright fiery, in her European days. He has already seen evidence of her unique personality.

"Mainly when she comes off the track," Sheppard said, describing how she tends to jump up in a display of high-spiritedness after exercise.

The Kentucky-bred Rainbow View is a half-sister to two other prominent Sheppard trainees -- Northern Dancer Turf S. (Can-G1) winner Just as Well (A.P. Indy), who is entered in Sunday's Ben Ali S. (G3), and multiple Grade 3 queen Winter View (Thunder Gulch), who garnered the 2009 Bewitch S. (G3) and All Along S. (G3).

Sheppard noted that there is a familial trait that the three siblings share. "They're not very big, but they all have a long stride," Sheppard said.

They are all out of Grade 1 heroine No Matter What (Nureyev), herself a half-sister to multiple Grade 2-winning sire E Dubai (Mr. Prospector), who has also produced a juvenile colt named Utley (Smart Strike) and a yearling full sister to Rainbow View. This is the same family as Raven's Pass (Elusive Quality), winner of the 2008 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) and Queen Elizabeth II S. (Eng-G1); 2009 Lexington S. (G2) hero, Advice (Chapel Royal); and 1986 Belmont S. (G1) scorer, Danzig Connection (Danzig).

Sheppard has not pinpointed the next objective for Rainbow View, but "just wanted to get past this race" first before deciding. He underscored that there are "lots of options," and that they're "not sure what her best distance is yet."

One thing is clear, however: Rainbow View will follow a different itinerary from fellow Augustin colorbearer and stablemate Fantasia (GB) (Sadler's Wells). Owner George Strawbridge Jr. had kept his two star fillies apart last season in Europe, and that policy will continue now that both are in the United States.

Sheppard indicated that Fantasia, a rallying runner-up in her U.S. bow at Keeneland Sunday, will aim for the May 1 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2). That race would have come up too soon for Rainbow View in any event, and she could reappear in the latter part of May or the first weekend in June.


10/26/12 - UPPERLINE

Multiple graded stakes winner Upperline, who captured the listed Rood & Riddle Dowager Stakes at Keeneland last weekend, has been retired by her connections.

Originally scheduled to be sold at the upcoming Fasig-Tipton November sale, owners Mike Stidham, John Adger, Jack Hodge, and Arthur B. Hancock III have decided to keep Upperline and have sent her to Hancock's Stone Farm near Paris, Ky.

The 5-year-old Upperline (Maria's Mon - Snowflake, by Caerleon) has won nine of 25 career starts, and has earnings of $772,988. In addition to the Dowager, Upperline notched victories in the Arlington Matron (gr. III), Arlington Oaks (gr. III), and Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT).

01/02/2011 - Forever Together, No Matter What, Arthur Hancock IV and a visit to Stone Farm  
By Barbara Livingston
Courtesy of the Daily Racing Form

There is a comfort to a traditional horse farm, the type that lacks bells and whistles and chandeliers. The moment you step onto Stone Farm, with its touches accented with grey and yellow, you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. The farm’s simple motto: “We’re trying to raise you a good horse.”

When I visited last week with a friend, Arthur Hancock III and his son Arthur met us in the office. The older Arthur, who created the farm in 1970, is known far and wide not only for his horsemanship but also for his gift for storytelling. It didn’t take much goading for him to share a few tales of immortal horses he’d known such as Forli, Buckpasser, and a bold foal who grew up to be Fusaichi Pegasus.

He also discussed the farm’s method of introducing maiden mares to their new life as broodmares. Before maiden or barren mares are put together in a field, they are placed in stalls across from each other so they can ‘talk.’ Then they are put out together and eventually moved into fields with more mares.

We could have listened all day, but there were horses to see - two of George Strawbridge’s most accomplished mares. I’m a big fan of Mr. Strawbridge’s breeding program and have been honored to photograph some of his best mares, primarily at Derry Meeting Farm – including Annie Edge, First Approach, Reiko, Heartbreak, a cantankerous and amazing mare named Waya….

On this day, young Arthur was kind enough to assist us with No Matter What and Forever Together.

Broodmares are fascinating, although many people barely notice their names. A sire’s name is bandied about regularly. Handicappers talk knowingly about the brilliance of Elusive Qualitys or the ability of Broad Brushes to get a distance. But most mares seem mere words, in small font, listed after the stallions in programs and past performances.

Everything about No Matter What should be bold-faced. Bred by Arthur Hancock III and Stonerside Ltd., the daughter of Nureyev – Words of War won the Grade I Del Mar Oaks and a listed French stakes, while earning $185,726.  But No Matter What’s Grade I racing career was just a prelude. Now 13, she has already produced three stakes winners: millionaire Rainbow View (G1), Just as Well (G1) and Winter View (multiple graded stakes winner).

All of those Grade Is have seemingly left her difficult to impress. The farm staff had No Matter What beautifully prepared, and even her hooves were scrubbed clean. Her rounded body reflected a broodmare in foal, and her lovely feminine features were softened beneath a bright red winter coat. Her class and beauty were readily evident as they stood her up for a portrait.

But while she was very polite, she was as difficult to photograph as any I remember. It was nearly impossible to get her ears forward, although we tried everything we could imagine. No dice. In perhaps 15 minutes, she pivoted both ears forward only twice – and for only the briefest time. Usually, one ear – or both – stayed back.

We finally gave up and let her back into her paddock. With that, her ears propped forward and, with a light step, she eagerly jogged back to her paddock-mates. Soon joined by a dark bay friend, she burst into a relaxed gallop, and they quickly disappeared over the horizon.

Broodmare manager Jerry Hobbs, who has worked with No Matter What for several years, said of her lack of interest: “She’s a well-mannered horse, and it’s a pleasure taking care of her. But she just likes to eat and be with her friends.”
Forever Together, meanwhile, had been at the farm only a few weeks, having retired after the Breeders’ Cup. She and her new paddock friend, Extravaganza, were waiting in the barn. Forever Together was led out, and she was comfortable and responsive for portraits. Her 6-year-old body still shouted ‘racehorse,’ and her dapples and points were still rich and dark.

After formal shots, the assistant broodmare foreman Joey Littrell led Forever Together to an expansive paddock, while young Arthur partnered with Extravaganza.

I’d visited Forever Together nearly a year ago at Jonathan Sheppard’s Pennsylvania farm and been fascinated by how she clearly ruled her paddock. Informed Decision and two other paddock mates paid heed whenever she approached for, while she seemed innocent enough, she might suddenly pin her ears and pivot her powerful hind end their way. No one debated her superiority, at least the day I was there.

But such was not the case at Stone Farm. Extravaganza obviously had not read about Forever Together’s Breeders’ Cup victory, Eclipse Award or reputation for being quirky, or perhaps she simply felt her pedigree and record – the daughter of Elusive Quality had won at Keeneland in April – were worthy of respect.

When released together, they moved gingerly around the snow-crusted field, each carefully striding out on the slick footing. Forever Together occasionally pinned her ears, tossed her head and swung her hips toward the young bay. Extravaganza? She pinned her ears and offered her own backside, without ever really trying to connect.

When Forever Together couldn’t intimidate the filly, she instead approached me with mischief in her eyes. I waved my white flag immediately and backed away.

The mares quickly made peace and settled in to graze, and as they wandered around the large paddock seeking out the best browse, they stayed close to each other – like best buds. Fascinating animals. Blessed are the broodmares, indeed.

Despite the cold morning, the tall young Arthur helped with an unusually positive attitude and good nature. His handsome features, from sandy light hair to blue eyes to a strong jaw line, were nearly obscured beneath a large knit black hat. But his smile, showing clearly how he loved working on his family’s farm, was enviable.

Arthur, 24, is one of six children, and the only son, of Arthur III and his delightful wife Staci. Gato Del Sol won the Kentucky Derby three years before Arthur IV was born, and he was too young to remember Sunday Silence in 1989. He remembers crying when Menifee got beat in the 1999 Kentucky Derby, falling a head short in his drive to catch Charismatic. And he remembers, with laughter, the day a yearling bred by Stone Farm and Stonerside, later named Fusaichi Pegasus, sold at auction for $4 million.

“I remember sitting in the front row with a bunch of my friends, and freaking out when they hit $2 million and kept going,” he said. “I obviously didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now. I wish we could do it again, because now I understand the significance of it.”

He does seem to understand the significance of things in a manner belying his youth. But then again, his childhood was anything but ordinary.

“I think I was nine years old when I broke my arm in the foaling barn,” he said. “A mare started to foal and I ran to call someone, and I tripped over a chair and broke my arm. I used to watch mares from six at night till about ten, and do my homework there, when I was a kid.”

He smiled broadly recalling his time working with a bay yearling a few years back, a feisty daughter of No Matter What.

“Rainbow View and I used to have some good battles in the paddock. When you turned out the babies, she would drag people around in big circles. I was pretty good at holding onto the scrappy foals because I was still playing sports then. We had a lot of fun together,” he laughed.

Like his father and the rest of his family, Arthur is unusually grounded with a love of the land and the horses.

“I think we’ve all kind of lost touch, with cell phones and stuff, but not all people my age are crazy,” he said. “People are just unfocused. I live out in the country and try not to watch television. It’s been kind of tough to deal with as a young person, but the farm life is good, and the horses are good because (you know the saying): there’s something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”

Just before we left, he smiled and added, “Hopefully, one day I’ll be an old man full of quotes, like my Dad.”

Courtesy of the Thoroughbred Times Today
By Mike Curry

Forever Together, the 2008 champion turf female for owner Augustin Stable, has been retired to Stone Farm in Paris, Kentucky, after finishing sixth in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) on November 5 at Churchill Downs for trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

The six-year-old Belong to Me mare was beaten by two lengths in the Filly and Mare Turf, a race she won in 2008 to cement that year’s Eclipse Award for turf female. She amassed nine wins, five seconds, and seven thirds from 26 starts and earned $2,957,639 in five seasons.

“She went to Stone Farm a couple days ago,” said Barry Wiseman, assistant to Sheppard. “She only got beat four necks and a length last week.”

The gray or roan mare won graded stakes in Kentucky, California, New York, and Florida, and finished her career with four wins at the top level.

Bred in Kentucky by White Fox Farm, Forever Together is out of the Relaunch mare Constant Companion. She earned her first graded stakes win on dirt in the Forward Gal Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park in 2007 and subsequently finished second on the synthetic Polytrack surface at Keeneland Race Course in that year’s Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (G2). She won her turf debut in May 2008 in the Reluctant Guest Stakes at Arlington Park, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Forever Together won right off the bat, but it wasn’t until we put her on the grass that she showed her true form,” Wiseman said. “She went to Chicago and won the Reluctant Guest with Earlie Fires and then ran third in the Just a Game [Stakes (G1)]. After that race, [Sheppard] said, ‘I think we can go places with this filly.’ ” In addition to the Filly and Mare Turf, her other Grade 1 wins came in the 2008 and 2009 Diana Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course and the 2008 First Lady Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.

Champion Forever Together Retired
Courtesy of the Blood-Horse

Forever Together, who was voted the 2008 champion turf female after winning the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), has been retired from racing to become a broodmare for owner George Strawbridge Jr.

The 6-year-old daughter of Belong to Me is boarded at Arthur B. Hancock III’s Stone Farm near Paris, Ky., and will be bred to Smart Strike . When bred to Belong to Me mares, Smart Strike has sired this year’s leading 3-year-old male Lookin At Lucky and 2010 grade II winner Papa Clem.

Campaigned by Strawbridge’s Augustin Stable and trained by Jonathan Sheppard, Forever Together was a two-time stakes winner on the dirt before she embarked on a career on the grass. She won her first three races, including the Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II), and then was beaten a neck in the Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II). After losing her next four starts, she was switched to the turf and promptly won the Reluctant Guest Stakes the year of her championship. Forever Together also captured the First Lady Stakes (gr. IT) and the first of two consecutive runnings of the Diana Stakes (gr. IT) leading up to her victory in the Filly & Mare Turf.

Forever Together went winless in six starts this year but managed to place in four graded stakes. She finished sixth in this year’s Filly & Mare Turf but was beaten just two lengths. She was retired with nine wins and a dozen placings from 26 starts and earnings of $2,957,639.

White Fox Farm is the breeder of Kentucky-bred Forever Together, whose dam, Constant Companion (by Relaunch), is a half sister to four stakes winners and three stakes producers, including the dam of grade II winner and successful sire Broken Vow .

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