7 wins in 11 starts highlights fall season..
5 race winning streak is one for the ages (read our blog post!), and the beat goes on...
Be My Love & Charlie Renee both post back to back wins
Hug a Tree, Alarming Affair, Listening Ears, Big Apple Brit all win easily
In one of the most impressive winning streaks any racing stable has put together in recent memory, Kenwood won five races in a row by a total of 2, 11, 11, 5 & 1/2 and 3 lengths in one amazing 8 day period from October 25th to November 2nd. After the streak was broken with a loss at Philadelphia Park on November 4th, we came right back with two more wins to remain red hot! Here's all the details...
Charlie Renee, a filly Steve DiMauro felt from the start had a world of potential, validated his confidence with her second win in a row on December 1st at Philadelphia Park. Sent off a shocking 17 to 1 in a race where she was the logical morning line second choice, she took the lead shortly after the break and held off the grossly over bet 1 to 9 favorite for a gritty 3/4 length win. Kudos to jockey Joe Hampshire for a perfect ride, and to trainer Ron Dandy for an excellent job training her at Philadelphia Park. This race was scheduled for the previous week when racing was cancelled due to cold and high winds and it was worth the wait for a very impressive victory. Kenwood Co-Owner Chris Driscoll was on hand to cheer Charlie home and greet her in the winner's circle. It was Kenwood's 7th win in our last 11 starts and our 21st victory of 2013. Previously, Charlie had a resounding wire to wire 5 & 1/2 length maiden victory at Aqueduct Racecourse on November 1st. Jockey Chuck C. Lopez took the lead soon after the start and when he asked her for run on the far turn she exploded to win going away. Kenwood managing partner H. Robb Levinsky and partner Jack Czajkowski braved the New York traffic to see Charlie run on Breeders' Cup Friday and were rewarded with a memorable winner's circle celebration on opening day of the Aqueduct fall meet. Co-Owner Irene Morrison named the filly for her new granddaughterand and she is naturally overjoyed to see Charlie emerge as a promising runner. Lucky co-owner Group #13 has three 2 year old fillies (Hug a Tree & Listening Ears are the others) with very bright futures! As for Charlie Renee, her next start is likely to come either in an allowance race in New York, or in a Maryland bred stake at Laurel Park at the end of December. Stay tuned!
Listening Ears journeyed to Laurel Park for a tough allowance race on November 23rd off her easy maiden win at Penn National and finished 6th Actually not a bad effort in a large and competitive field but was a bit overmatched here. This improving filly broke her maiden in style on October 26th, beating up on a modest field of maiden two year old fillies at Penn National to win by 11 (count 'em!) widening lengths for Kenwood's 2nd win in a row, coming just a day after Alarming Affair won impressively at Laurel Park. It was a huge turnaround for this attractive filly, who was making her 3rd career start after stopping badly in both of her previous races. In her previous start at The Meadowlands she tired badly after engaging in a torrid head to head speed duel for most of the race to finish a well beaten 7th. Despite stopping to a walk in the stretch, we were encouraged by the speed she showed and felt confident she'd run very well here, but even we were pleasantly surprised at just how impressively and easily she won. This filly is a perfect example of how some horses need time to mature, she comes from a fine female family and could develop into a nice horse next year. A special congratulations to Kenwood co-owners Robert & Anita Weiner, members of lucky group #13, who named this filly for their grandchildren.
Good to Gold made a nice return off a brief freshening with a good 3rd at Penn National on November 21st. Made a bold move on the far turn and flattened out in the stretch in a race she really needed. We think she'll move forward off this effort. This is an ultra consistent filly who won three races in a row this spring and has been a real money maker for us; we expect her to have a fine winter season for us.
Hug a Tree journeyed to Laurel Park for the $100,000 Smart Halo Stakes on November 16th, looking to remain unbeaten after two impressive wins but it was not to be as she pressed the pace early before tiring in the stretch to finish 5th. Could have been a bit quick running back in just 18 days after her blowout win at Philadelphia Park, or just a bit over matched against a very tough field that included 4 stakes winning two year old fillies. Several Kenwood partners and co-owners made the trip to Laurel to cheer Hug a Tree on, including Tom (The King) Christein, Chris Driscoll & Emily Lyn, and Alan Ingwer. Tom showed up lugging an oxygen tank after a recent illness, talk about a devoted partner! While the result was a disappointment, this is a very nice filly with a great future ahead of her. Previously, after an impressive maiden win September 15th at Monmouth Park, she journeyed to Philadelphia Park on October 29th looking to remain unbeaten against a solid field of allowance runners in the feature race of the day and blew away the field to win by 11 widening lengths. It easily could have been a lot more than that; as the official chart put it "drew off under mild handling" or as jockey John Bisono (who rode her perfectly and always rides well for us) said "when I asked her she just took off, she had plenty left". Co-owners Chris Driscoll & Robert Weiner made the trip to Parx to join H. Robb Levinsky for a very happy appearance in the winner's circle, while fellow co-owners Alan Ingwer, Bob Byington, Linda & Elliott Weisner, Jack & Irene Morrison, Joe O'Halloran, Steve Cassidy, Carl D'Angelo and David Lowrey were cheering Hug A Tree on from various locations.
Big Apple Brit, who had showed little in his first three starts at Monmouth and Meadowlands, was sent to Penn National for some class relief and came through with a much improved performace, albeit against much lesser company, drawing away to an easy win on November 8th. Jockey Clinton Potts sat patiently in last, but not far off the dueling leaders, and when he asked 'Brit' for run down the backstetch he responded nicely, taking over the lead turning for home and winning by 5 widening lengths. Congratulations to Kenwood co-owner group #14, who waited patiently for this horse to come around and were finally rewarded with a much better effort here. This horse really impressed us at the OBS April sale and with a little easier competition and time to mature, we think he'll continue to move forward. His win, coming just 4 days after our five race win streak ended with Carl's Only Vice at Philadelphia Park, gave Kenwood 6 wins in our last 7 starts.
All good things eventually come to an end, and so it was with our 5 race winning streak when Carl's Only Vice was 7th in a tough Philadelphia Park allowance event on November 4th. Closer than usual in a paceless race, he just couldn't close any ground. Previously, Carl was a closing 3rd on the grass in a Meadowlands allowance event October 12th, coming from far back to just get up for the show, his 8th straight in the money finish dating back to May. Previously on September 28th he faced a solid New Jersey bred allowance field at Monmouth, his 2nd race in a week, where he was a fast closing 2nd. The previous Saturday on NJ Breeder's day at Monmouth he faced sprinters and made a huge run in the stretch, gobbling up ground with every stride to miss by 1 & 1/2 lengths at the wire, finishing 3rd and galloping out well ahead of the field after the wire. It took Carl awhile to mature but we think he is going to be a very nice four year old for us, a perfect example of how some horses don't reach their peak until later in their careers.
Be My Love made it a historic five wins in a row for Kenwood runners by winning her 2nd race in a row on November 2nd, the final day of the Meadowlands thoroughbred meet for the year. Sent off a shocking 8 to 1 despite having won the same featured allowance event on October 14th, she broke sharp, pressed the pace early, took over the lead on the far turn, and draw away to an easy 3 length going away win under apprentice rider Jonathon Zayas, who got the mount while leading rider Paco Lopez, who rode her to a win in her last start, was out of town. Jonathon ride a (winners circle) picture perfect race and was greeted in the winner's circle by a wildly cheering crowd of Kenwood partners & Co-owners including H. Robb Levinsky, Jack Czajkowski, Joe O'Halloran, Carl D'Angelo (both of whom were also on hand for her previous win) Lorraine & Mike Mann and Glenn & Shelly Magala along with family and friends. It was an even more impressive effort than her win over a solid field of allowance runners in the feature race turf sprint on October 14th. Reserved just off the early leaders by jockey Paco Lopez, she closed with a rush to get up in time for a neck win in the final strides at 7 to 1 odds. The impressive back to back victories are sweet redemption for Kenwood and co-owner group #15, who claimed this filly for $40,000 this summer at Monmouth Park and watched her struggle through several disappointing efforts when blocked on the grass in her Kenwood debut and then failing to fire in two races moved from turf to sloppy dirt tracks by heavy rains. "This is what we were expecting when we claimed this filly" explained trainer Steve DiMauro. "She's a nice runner in turf sprints and has really come into her own this fall after a very unlucky summer."
Alarming Affair, started off our historic five race winning streak on October 25th at Laurel Park. She had rebounded from a dull 7th with no excuse on September 21st at Monmouth with a fine closing 3rd October 9th against open company at Laurel. Bumped at the start and again as she was making a big move late in that race, she closed stoutly to miss the win by less than 2 lengths. This time she had a clean trip under a picture perfect ride by jockey Daniel Centeno, sitting off the pace early, making a bold move into contention on the far turn, and drawing away in the stretch to win by almost 2 lengths. An extra special shout goes out to group #16 co-owners Denine & David Hasan, who drove three hours each way from New Jersey to Laurel to cheer Alarming Affair on, and were rewarded with a richly deserved visit to the winners circle. Both group #16 horses have now won for their happy partners & co-owners, several of whom are new to the game. Alarming Affair has been on the board in three of her four starts for Kenwood and looks like a solid filly who should have a productive winter season for us.
Long May You Run stopped badly to finish 7th and last at Laurel Park on October 2nd. Close up early and full of run, he stopped to a walk in the stretch. Given how game he had been in this previous starts, it was no surprise to find he came up with a minor problem in the race that will require a couple of months off at the farm. This talented colt had a nice two year old year and we expect him to return running this winter. Previously, Long May You Run went to the post at Presque Isle off a thrilling and impressive maiden win at Penn National August 9th and finished 5th after a terrible start and a rough trip, where he was shut off badly on two separate occasions when trying to mount a rally. It was a long van ride (6 hours each way) and while nothing went right for him here, we know he has talent so this is a race to toss out. Long May You Run was cheered on to victory August 9th by Kenwood partners Tony & Gloria Varano and their daughter Tracy while fighting nose to nose for almost the entire race with the same horse who had beaten him in his debut, finally prevailing in the final jump by a head. It was a fitting birthday present for Gloria, promised to her by Kenwood managing partner H. Robb Levinsky the night before. "He cut it a bit closer than I had expected but he sure delivered" Robb explained. "We loved this colt when we purchased him in the OBS Select sale last March and he looks like a good one".
Coco Storm was facing winners for the first time September 28th after breaking her maiden at Penn National on September 11th (winning easily by just under 4 lengths) and stopped badly to finish a well beaten 6th after making the lead easily and running well for the first part of the race. No obvious excuse here for a filly who has run very consistently for us, earning over $50,000 in her career.
Michael With Us points for 2014 season...
Brief rest in Ocala, then back to training...
Stable star Michael With Us will have very much the same schedule as he did last year; he'll get a few weeks of R&R at T-Square Stud in Ocala, Fl., then ship into Steve' DiMauro's barn at Gulfstream Park right around New Year's day, with an eye towards some Gulfstream Park stakes in March, with probably an allowance prep in late February if all goes according to plan. Michael had an excellent three year old season. He came into 2013 a maiden and ended it having won a $100,000 stake and placed in two others, including a second in the $200,000 Grade III Kent Stakes September 7th at Delaware Park. Hindered when the solid favorite was allowed to set a very slow early pace, Michael made a determined run in the stretch to take home 2nd money by a head at the wire over the horse who beat him in his previous start in the Restoration Stakes at Monmouth Park. That day, Michael had a horrible trip, coming from 10 lengths back with a tremendous run, only to be denied victory in a heartbreak photo finish after being stopped badly when making his move at the 1/8th pole by the tiring favorite. The official chart says it all "rallied, was bumped, forced to check, brushed the rail, then closed gamely to just miss". http://www.equibase.com/static/chart/pdf/MTH081713USA11.pdf . His talent, courage and heart make him a threat to win literally any kind of race and we are looking forward to a great four year old season with him in 2014. Purchased one year ago at the OBS March sale for the bargain price of just $57,000 and named to honor Robb Levinsky's longtime friend Michael Friedenberg who died of cancer last year, Michael With Us seemed to carry Michael's amazing spirit with him from day one. Michael's devoted wife Kathie Schmid came up the name to honor Michael. "I asked Kathie if she could help me come up with a name to honor Michael's memory for our favorite purchase from the 2012 sales" Kenwood founder & managing partner H. Robb Levinsky explained. "She was delighted at the idea and I think the name aptly represents the fact the Michael has never left the hearts of any of the incredible number of people he touched in his wonderful, vibrant life.
Kenwood partners Jack Czajkowski, Tom Christein and Co-Owner Gert Odendaal receive Hermosillo’s award as New Jersey’s Thoroughbred of the year for 2011 from New Jersey's Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher