2013 has been a great year so far, highlighted of course by the spectacular victory of Michael With Us in the OBS Championship Stakes on March 11th (see below for details) But it was hardly a one horse show, as virtually all of our runners have turned in fine performances. We had 5 wins, 4 seconds and 5 thirds from just 21 starts for the first quarter of 2013, and the good results have continued right into the second quarter. Here's the latest news...
Michael With Us ready for turf debut
Heads for Lamplighter Stakes at Monmouth Park May 25th
Michael With Us is ready for the Lamplighter stakes at Monmouth, where he's expected to make his turf debut on May 25th. "Michael has run well on both conventional dirt and polytrack, which is closer to turf, and he's bred to like the grass, so we think it's the right time to try him on it" explained Kenwood managing partner H. Robb Levinsky. It's an experiment, but one well worth doing. After this race we'll know if he's more of a dirt horse, a turf horse, or one who runs equally well on both surfaces. We are looking for a good race from him here". Michael.rebounded from a disappointment on an off track in the Calder Derby with a fine 2nd in a Pimlico feature race allowance event on May 2nd. He was off half a step slow, wide for much of the race, conceded 11 pounds to the winner (when you are a stakes winner against allowance horses you are usually assigned added weight) and ran his heart out. He is clearly back on track after the only off the board finish in his career in the Calder Derby. That was on a very odd, drying out track and many of the horses in that race struggled on it, he had trained great since then, but anytime a consistent horse turns in a bad race you want to see him bounce back with a huge race, so this one was a relief.
Michael went into the feature race on OBS Championship day a maiden and left a stakes winner, with a dramatic upset win under hall of fame rider Edgar Prado in the $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes on Monday March 11th. We came into the race quietly confident that Michael was a very special horse ready for a breakthrough effort, and he didn't disappoint, although the race was not without some anxious moments. After saddling perfectly in the paddock and then warming up calmly in front of a huge crowd of onlookers in the charming country fair atmosphere at the OBS sales grounds, Michael saw something he didn't like as he was about to be loaded into the starting gate and promptly wheeled around and headed for the chute at the top of the stretch, nearly unseating Edgar Prado. Fortunately we had a hall of fame rider aboard, who was able to get Michael to return to the starting gate and re-load without further incident while everyone held their collective breath! Once the gate opened, Michael was all business. Prado was able to settle him in perfect postion in the early going, sitting a comfortable 4th behind the dueling leaders. As they approached the far turn Edgar went to work and Michael began to pick off runners with a ground gobbling stride. By the 8th pole it was down to a two horse race with the talented Brazilian Court, (winner of his last start by an incredible 19&1/2 lengths at Gulfstream Park) still almost two lengths in front. But Michael was gaining ground with every stride, finally passing his rival just before the wire to win by a widening 1/2 length. There was one final bit of drama for the delirious Kenwood crew watching on track and online at the OBS website, as the cameraman inexplicably followed the second horse around as the winner, while nobody could believe their eyes. When the error was corrected and the track announcer declared Michael With Us the winner, the large group of partners and co-owners on hand ran to the winners circle to greet Michael, hall of fame rider Edgar Prado, and trainer Steve DiMauro. Kenwood's managing partner H. Robb Levinsky, partners Allen J. Katz, Tom Christein, Tony & Gloria Varano, new co-owners Chris Driscoll and Emily Lyn, and Kenwood's bloodstock advisor and friend Adam Parker (who helped select Michael at the sale in 2012) posed for photos and a trophy presentation while accepting congratulations from numerous OBS officials and other well wishers. The celebration continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening, concluding with a special dinner at the famed Bern's Restaurant in Tampa. (We were confident enough going into the race to reserve a table well in advance and yes, partner Tom Christein did buy the wine as promised).
Purchased one year ago at the OBS March sale for the bargain price of just $57,000 and named to honor Robb Levinsky's friend of 20 years 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, and Kathie will be designating a charity in Sonoma County, Ca. where they lived together for over 25 years, to receive a percentage of Michael's future earnings as a gift from Kenwood Racing. "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. Michael devoted a great deal of his time and energy to a number of non-profit organizations, so it's fitting that a part of his namesake's future earnings go to a local environmental charity in Sonoma County, Ca. a place Michael and Kathie both love dearly". Michael With Us has developed into a talented and consistent runner. This horse has everything you could want; pedigree, conformation and a ground eating stride. If he lives up to his potential we are going to continue to have a very exciting year with him.
Piano Man Ted sat in the perfect spot, got a perfect trip, came up empty in the stretch to finish 4th at Monmouth Park on May 18th. The winner was a dropdown who won easily, nobody was beating him today, but ‘Ted’ should have been 2nd easily. He's an honest horse who just had an off day and should run a much better race next time out.
Previously, 'Ted' was 4th in a nice allowance event on April 6th at Calder Racecourse. Sent off the strong second choice, he broke very slowly at the start and was in last place early, costing him all chance on a very speed favoring track that aided none of our runners. 'Ted' did make a nice move on the turn to move into close contention, but was wide and flattened out in the stretch after challenging for the lead. 'Ted' got things going in March with a runaway win at Gulfstream Park on March 6th before a large and very happy crowd of partners, co-owners and friends to begin a huge week of racing and sales on a perfect note. Kenwood founder and managing partner H. Robb Levinsky celebrated in the winner's circle with associate managing partner Allen J. Katz and partners Marshall Katz, Tony & Gloria Varano, and a number of delighted friends. It was Piano Man Ted's third win in his young career; he has earned almost twice his $30,000 purchase price for us thus far.
Good to Gold couldn't get her 4th in a row on May 14th, finishing 5th
Jockey Clinton Potts, her regular rider, said she never felt really comfortable in the race, sound and
it but had trouble handling the track., Her 2 worst previous finishes (3rd and 4th, even her bad races
she tries) were at the same track, Parx, which has an unusual surface. Some horses like it, some don’t, clearly since she’s super consistent and her 3 worst races were here, no need to try her here again. She’ll back in a 2-3 weeks at Penn or Monmouth or Pimlico and should return to her winning ways. Previosuly this ultra consistent filly made it three for three in impressive style on April 26th. Sent off an underbet 5 to 1 against a very solid field, she went right to the lead at the break, widened to a sizable advantage on the far turn under regular rider Clinton Potts and coasted home for an easy win. Good to Gold brokeher maiden impressively March 6th at Penn National and got her second win in a row on March 28th at Laurel Park, holding off the late runners for a hard fought 3/4 length win for Kenwood partner Tom (The King) Christein and his wife Diane (The Seeg) Seeger, who were on hand to pose in the winners circle with trainer Mark Salvaggio, who has done a wonderful job this year with this ultra consistent three year old filly. Good to Gold broke her maiden at Penn National earlier this month just hours after Piano Man Ted's runaway win at Gulfstream for a "Pomery Double", as both she and Piano Man Ted are by the same Florida sire. Good to Gold is as consistent a filly as you can hope to find who has three wins and over $85,000 in purse earnings in just one year for us (she was purchased in April, 2012 at OBS) knows how to find value priced runners! We think the best is yet to come with this filly; she loves to run and as long as she keeps giving it her best she’s going to be a lot of fun and keep making money all year long.
The first day of the new season at our home base of Monmouth Park is always an exciting and much anticipated moment for the Kenwood team, and this year was no exception. Last year, Raro gave everyone a big thrill by breaking her maiden on opening day. This year, we had two horses entered who we felt were well placed in races where they figured to run well on May 11th. When the dust had cleared, a huge and highly enthusiastic crowd of partners & co-owners watched both horses finish closing thirds; not wins, but not bad efforts either. First up was Cool Under Fire, who was coming off a good 2nd at Calder on April 7th. Sent off the heavy favorite under leading rider Elvis Trujillo in a race rained off the turf, he was in close quarters for most of the race, finally shook loose inside the 1/8th pole, and rallied mildly to finish a well beaten third. In truth we had expected a better effort from him, and we were neither surprised nor disappointed to have him claimed from us. We ended up with a 2nd and two 3rds in the brief time we had this horse, not a bad outcome overall and we feel he was claimed away at the right time.
A few races later, Carl's Only Vice ran in a New Jersey bred maiden event at 6 furlongs and finished a fine closing third. The race was run in a very fast time, and Carl ran hard and well here. This horse has taken some time to come around, but we think he's developing into a nice runner and is going to be a lot of fun and make plenty of money for us at Monmouth this year. A huge crowd of Kenwood partners & co-owners were on hand for opening day, several of whom (like new co-owner Richie Spiesman, who drove 2 hours from eastern Long Island) traveled quite a distance to share a great day of racing with us. Everyone enjoyed a fun afternoon of racing from our parterre suite, had a chance to see their horses saddled in the paddock, and meet several of our newest co-owners. Thanks to Linda & Elliot Weisner, Alan Ingwer, Jeff & Irene Morrison, Chris Driscoll & Emily Lyn, Jack Czajkowski & his Mom, Carl D'Angelo (of Carl's Only Vice fame), Tony & Jeanne Montana, Darren Nebel, James & Ilene McDermott, Philip & TeresaTumminia, George & Marla Barrett, Rich Spiesman & Charlie & Jodi Spiler for sharing a great opening day with us!
Ginger My Love made her long awaited debut at Penn National on May 8th and finished a dull and disappointing 5th with no real excuse. It wasn't a strong field, she was well placed, and simply failed to fire when asked for run by jockey Clinton Potts. This filly is sound and honest and bred for grass/distance racing so we are hoping for some improvement in her next start for us towards the end of May.
Dimples journeyed to Philadelphia Park on May 7th for an allowance event and finished a dull 6th, never picking up her feet at any time in the race. It was a disappointment as she was coming into the race training very well, off of a nice 2nd at Calder in her last out. She appeared not just not handle the very cuppy surface at Parx, as she came out of the race perfect, so we are throwing this one out and looking for a much improved effort next time out.
She runs on turf and dirt, short and long, so we should have a lot of fun with her this summer.
IHermosillo had a little freshening at the farm this winter and made his 2nd start of the year on May 3rd at Penn National and finished 4th. It was a modest improvement over his 2013 debut on April 13th when he was 5th off a nearly 6 month layoff, tiring in the late stages while not being abused by rider Clinton Potts. Our goal was to have him back to the races in April and at his best when racing returns to Monmouth Park this spring, and Mark has done a fine job of getting him just where we hoped to be at this early point in the season. Hermosillo is 9 years old now, and every race is a gift. If at any time he can't comfortably compete or shows signs of wear and tear he'll be retired to a good, safe home for the rest of his life, but for now we are looking forward to another exciting year with him at Monmouth Park. Previously, Hermosillo yielded grudingly in the final 16th of a mile to finish a close third in the 2012 running of the Charles Hesse Handicap on September 15th at Monmouth Park. Cheered on by a truly massive crowd of excited Kenwood Partners Co-owners and friends, who applauded him from the time he appeared in the paddock to the time he walked off the track after the race, Hermosillo led most of the way under a well paced ride by regular jockey Chuck C. Lopez. When he finally managed to put away his early challengers turning for home and opened up a one length lead inside the 1/8th pole, it looked for a few moments like he was on his way to the winners circle for a record third time in the premier race for New Jersey bred runners. But it was not to be, as he tired in the final strides to fall short by a couple of lengths. Hermosillo won the Charles Hesse Handicap in 2011 at 9 to 1 odds en route to his award as New Jersey bred of the year. He also won the same race in 2009 at 35 to 1 odds. While he didn't have as good as year this year as he did in 2011, he gave it a great try in the Hesse once again in 2012.
Dragonfish was given some time off this winter after a lengthy campaign in 2012 and returned on April 4th when he was 6th, but beaten less than 5 lengths for the win in a race he obviously needed. We expected that race would set him up for an improved effort next time out but he disappointed with a dull 6th on May 1st. Dragonfish had some early success for us with a flying 2nd opening day at Monmouth in 2012, following up a win on April 9th in the feature allowance event on opening day at Calder in impressive style at 20 to 1 odds. We're hoping his next start will be an improvement on his first two races of 2013.
Previously, Coco Storm made her 3rd lifetime start on November 16th in a 10 horse field at Penn National and ran a fine closing 2nd despite being fanned very wide on the far turn. It was redemption for her previous start on October 20th when she was boxed in between horses almost from start to finish, finally finishing 4th after getting a little running room in deep stretch. In Coco's debut on October 3rd she was bumped soundly at the start by the horse next to her (who lost her rider) and found herself well behind in 5th in the early going. However, she was not intimated by the incident and rallied strongly under a patient ride by jockey Willie Otero to finishing a fast closing 2nd. This is a well bred Pennsylvania bred filly with class and talent, and we feel very fortunate to have been able to purchase her at the Fasig-Tipton two year old sale in Maryland in May. She had a little time at the farm this winter to mature and is now back in training. We look forward to a good three year old season, her debut should come in May.
Five purchased at April sale; Kenwood welcomes new co-owners
Two groups full in 48 hours...
Two co-owner groups were announced on April 30th, featuring an outstanding group of 5 horses purchased at the OBS April sale; the same venue where we purchased horses like Good to Gold for $30,000 (3 wins, over $85,000 in purses), Piano Man Ted for $30,000 (3 wins, $50,000 in purses) and Amelia Mar for $22,000 (4 wins over $80,000 in purses) among many others, and both groups were almost immediately fully subscribed for. Our April sale success was particularly noteworthy considering the sale was incredibly strong, with the venue posting all time record average/medians for the April venue. To have been able to find five horses of this quality at the prices we paid is a tribute to research, hard work, and a lot of patience waiting for the occasional really nice horse to fall through the cracks, something that happens every year in a sale with over 1000 horses for those who do their homework.
Our co-owner program is unique in offering a package of horses, all with no markups. We had two groups available; one priced at $4,700 for two horses, and the second priced at $5,900 for three horses, both for the usual 5% co-ownership interest, and both groups were fully subscribed for in less than 48 hours with a great mixture of first time and repeat co-owners. We are delighted to welcome repeat co-owners Robert & Anita Weiner, David Lowrey, Joe O'Halloran, Carl D'Angelo, Jeff & Irene Morrison, Christopher Driscoll & Emily Lyn, Alan Ingwer, Linda & Elliott Wiesner, Rich Spiesman, Gert Odendaal, Don & Cindy Giancoli, Jarrett & Christine DeWelde and Tony Montana, plus first time co-owners Bob Byington, Steve Cassidy and Alice & Douglas Stanley to the Kenwood Racing family!!! May the horse be with you all and our heartfelt thanks for your support.
We only buy horses we are willing to invest our own money in, since Kenwood always is the largest owner in each group. The OBS April sale has for decades offered exceptional value for the dollar; a sizable number of stakes winning horses are sold each year for modest prices (2012 Kentucky Derby & Preakness winner I’ll Have Another was purchased at OBS April for $35,000). We have a great history of coming out of this venue with some really nice horses and we expect this year to be no exception!
A Monmouth meet to remember...
Kenwood on Monmouth leading owners list again at elite summer meet...
2012 was another good year, with an especially exciting and highly successful summer season at our home base of Monmouth Park. Overall in 2012 Kenwood posted a record of 15 wins, 18 seconds and 13 thirds from 95 starts. When the main Monmouth meet closed on September 3rd, our stable was on the leading owners list for the 3rd time in the last four years with a total of 7 wins, 4 seconds and 4 thirds from 25 starts. Percentages of 28% win and 60% in-the-money are about as good as you can get in this business, better in fact than most of the other leading owners, the vast majority of whom made more starts and invested far more capital to achieve lesser results. Our team has a history of doing more with less, as these results clearly show.
2011 a banner year...
A record setting 2011 saw Kenwood runners win 24 races and earn over $650,000 in purses, an all time record for our stable. Our horses won at a 20% clip, with over 50% finishing in the money, led by stable star Hermosillo, who ran the table at the New Jersey Thoroughbred Breeders’ Awards at Monmouth Park on May 19th, winning the award as both Champion Handicap Horse and Horse of the Year for 2011. In addition to a beautiful trophy for each award, an official proclamation from the State of New Jersey, signed & sealed by the President of the State Senate and the Speaker of the General Assembly, was presented to the Kenwood Racing team honoring Hermosillo’s accomplishments. The proclamation read in part “Hermosillo displayed uncommon stamina and speed throughout 2011... Within all spheres, Hermosillo has established a model to emulate and set a standard of excellence toward which others might strive”. A large crowd of Kenwood Partners and Co-Owners including H. Robb Levinsky, Tom (The King) Christein, Jack Czajkowski, Carl D’Angelo, Gert Odendaal, and Darren, Barbara, Paul & Bryan Nebel were on hand to accept the award, and cheered loudly as replays of two of Hermosillo’s most memorable 2011 victories were played for the audience. It was a fitting moment to savor for our entire team.
The New Jersey Breeder's awards were an expected and fitting follow-up to Hermosillo's earlier award, presented on January 15th 2012 by the New Jersey department of Agriculture, who honored Hermosillo as the state's 2011 Thoroughbred of the year. Partners Jack Czajkowski and Tom (The King) Christein were joined by Kenwood Co-Owner Gert Odendaal to represent Kenwood and receive a beautiful trophy from New Jersey's Secretary of Agriculture commerating his incredible accomplishments. Overall, our horses won races in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida, at a variety of tracks, with trainers Steve DiMauro & Mark Salvaggio training the majority of our horses and producing the bulk of our wins.
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
Glenn Magala (alternate)
Yes - Group #14
Alice & Douglas Stanley, Paid 5/2
Richard Spiesman Paid 5/2
Christopher Driscoll and Emily Lyn
Tony Montan, Paid 5/3
Gert Odendaal Paid 5/2
David Lowrey paid 5/1