Stable notes for Spring, 2017

July 10, 2017 at 12:09 pm • By Robb Levinsky

There was plenty of Kenwood Racing news to report for the spring of 2017. Here’s a recap of the highlights…

It actually came at the end of the winter, but we were delighted to announce the birth of Exchanging Fire’s 3rd foal, by the leading sire in the Mid-Atlantic region, Jump Start, born at Daydream Farm in Hamburg, Pa. on February 25th at 6am. An exceptionally strong healthy baby, he was up and nursing quickly and has developed into a very attractive youngster over the spring. He’s almost as tall as his mother already and has a bright future ahead of him. This is the brother to our lovely two year old filly by E Dubai, named Exchanging Ember, who is expected to make her debut for us this fall. 


Jump Start-Exchanging Fire foal, photo courtesy of Paul Callahan.


Some people may recall that Exchanging Fire lost her first foal at birth and aborted another foal halfway through her term. Breeding is NOT a simple or easy business, there are never any guarantees, so to get a healthy colt like this by a top sire is truly a gift to all of us. A great way to celebrate the spring season!

Next up, some sales news. After three days of strike outs, we got a real bargain at the end of the OBS April sale, purchasing the two year old filly Thanks Mom on April 28th. We didn't expect to be able to buy her in our value range, based on how strong the sale was. Very reminiscent of the Scat Daddy filly, Lisa Limon, we purchased at OBS in March, lost at the end of the sale and bought for below value. Note we had four horses we loved at this sale, all very comparable in our ratings; they brought $105,000, $72,000, $85,000, and the filly we purchased brought $30,000.  Hip #849, the other filly in the group, worked in the identical time (a fast 10.1), and was by a promising but unproven new sire (Rattlesnake Bridge), while the filly we bought is by Majestic Warrior, proven sire of 15 stakes winner and 2 champions, out of a stakes winning mare. This purchase certainly made a very long sale and a lot of work worthwhile!!!! 


Majestic Warrior filly Thanks Mom. Photo courtesy of Adam Parker.


Our sales success continued on May 23rd, with the purchase of one very nice horse at the right price at the Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic venue in Maryland. Named Charming Emmy (to honor Kenwood partner Emily Lin), she’s by Sky Mesa (sire of over 60 stakes winners and three champions & counting) and is a FULL sister to a filly, Sapphire Sky, who won over $325,000 and multiple stakes in New York. She worked in a quick 10.2 at the sale, galloped out in 22.1 and did it all easily with speed to spare. So far, "Emmy" has trained exceptionally well at Monmouth Park and we are expecting her debut to come in July.


Sky Mesa filly Charming Emmy. Photo courtesy of Kenwood partner Chris Driscoll.


We were hoping for 2 or 3 horses here and much like OBS April (where we purchased the filly Thanks Mom and got out bid on everything else), we ended up with one really nice horse as we were unwilling to either overpay or settle for a secondary group of horses. Better a smaller group of quality horses at the right price, than a larger group of lesser quality or a group of overpriced horses when we are investing our own and our client’s money. OBS April and Fasig-Tipton May featured record setting prices, we shopped carefully and are very happy with our purchases.

Charming Emmy was paired with Thanks Mom for group #38, which was fully subscribed for in less than 2 weeks,

In racing news, High Five Cotton sat just off the early speed, under a picture perfect ride by Paco Lopez on June 18th, took over the lead in deep stretch and won impressively at Monmouth Park. He was drawing away at the finish and galloped out well in front of the field. Cotton was coming off a good third on June 3rd, after a layoff of several months and took the step forward we were looking for. This is a nice horse who is finally coming into his own as a three year old. Congratulations to the large group of partners and co-owners who were on hand to celebrate his win on a beautiful Father’s Day. 


High Five Cotton wins race 3 at Monmouth Park on June 3, 2017. Photo courtesy of Brian Leckie, Monmouth Park racing ambassador


On June 30th, as spring turned to summer, we celebrated another win at Monmouth Park when Fifty Eight OG made a late surge to get the money by ¾ of a length. We had claimed this horse in March at Gulfstream Park for just $16,000 and after a good 2nd in his debut for us in a Gulfstream allowance on April 7th, followed by a disappointing 6th against older runners at Parx on June 6th, he reached the winner’s circle for Kenwood and partner Wasabi Ventures Stables three weeks later. He’s scheduled to run back for us in July at Monmouth.


Finally, we began the 2nd half of 2017 by welcoming two new owners to the Kenwood Racing family on July 1st. George Katzenberger and Shannon Kelly, & Concrete Properties LLC (Steve & Lisa Denholtz and Steve & Arielle Cassidy owners) are wonderful people, who have been co-owners with us for quite some time and share a passion for Kenwood and the thoroughbred business.

Originally from Essex County, NJ, George & Shannon presently live in Monmouth Beach with their son Matt and attend races at Monmouth Park regularly. Shannon is an executive in the financial services industry while George, who holds a PhD. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, after over 2 decades in the insurance industry, is presently active with property renovation and management in Oceanport and Long Branch.

Both the Denholtz and Cassidy families live within minutes of Monmouth Park and attend races at Monmouth regularly.  Steve Denholtz is the C.E.O. of Denholtz Associates, a real estate development firm based in Old Bridge, New Jersey that owns-manages properties throughout the east coast from New York to Florida. Under his stewardship, the Company has grown to more than 60 employees and owns-operates more than 5,000,000 square feet of commercial properties. Stephen Cassidy is President of Denholtz and Associates and oversees the operations and finance functions of the Company’s multi-state portfolio from its headquarters in Matawan, New Jersey.

We are delighted to welcome our newest owners to the team as we look forward to an exciting and busy summer season with a promising crop of two year olds. 

Stable notes for winter, 2017

March 21, 2017 at 8:49 pm • By Robb Levinsky

Winter is usually a slower part of the year for Kenwood Racing, with many of our best runners on the farm for some R&R, but there still was plenty of news to report. Here’s a recap of highlights for the first quarter of 2017…

Story Spinner, one of our two year purchases from 2016, began the New Year with a nice closing 3rd on January 6th at Penn National in his career debut. Well back early, he rallied late while still well back of the winner. Then, on January 29th he journeyed from Penn to run at Laurel Park and ran a hard-trying 2nd, far behind the winner and well ahead of the rest of a scratch shortened 7 horse field. He was claimed from us out of the race, and while we’d have been happy to keep him and break his maiden ourselves, he showed in his first two races that he’s an honest horse likely worth about what he was claimed for, so he was properly placed and it was a decent result for us.

Kenwood’s first winner of 2017 came on January 28th, when Three Arch Bay won her 2nd lifetime start at Penn National. Dead last for most of the race, while running into a slow pace that favored front runners, she turned for home far behind and exploded in the stretch under a superb ground-saving rail trip by jockey Andrew Wolfsant to get up in the final strides, winning by a head. This filly had run consistently for us in lower level claiming races last year. After time off this summer and gradually improving races last fall after her return, she appeared ready to win in her previous start, only to turn in a unexpectedly dull 6th on January 13th to begin the New Year. Trainer Mark Salvaggio felt that race was a throw out on a speed favoring track and his confidence was justified with her win.

On February 10th, Wandagonenotastray had an exceptionally game career debut at Aqueduct. He was bumped very badly coming out of the gate (read the chart comment), shuffled back, but managed to run a closing 3rd despite it all. After the race, we found he grabbed a quarter when he was bumped, yet still ran every step of the way. The injury fortunately was not at all serious, but the fact that he ran with a bleeding foot and still tried hard for the entire race showed he’s a game, hard-trying horse with a future ahead of him. Wanda had another tough run in a tough 10 horse field at Laurel Park, where he drew the highly unfavorable 1 post on a sloppy track on February 25th. Down inside with mud hitting him in the face, he dropped back to last on the backstretch and looked like he was going nowhere. When they straightened for home and he got clear sailing, he exploded, picking off horses with every step, finally finishing 4th, beaten in a photo for 3rd and a length behind the 2nd horse (the heavily favored winner was much the best and won easily). In another few strides, he would have been 2nd and while it was a shame not to hit the board with such a good effort, both rider and trainer felt he ran exceptionally well and will improve at a little longer distance. This horse has had two tough debut races as described above, yet he's run hard and well both times. We are confident he’s going to be a nice horse for us, worth more than his modest purchase price last year at the sales. Anyone owning this horse has reason to look forward to a lot of fun with him this year.

At Aqueduct on February 11th, Win Money My Honey saddled perfectly, calm but on her toes, broke very well, sat in an excellent stalking position under a fine ride by jockey Jacqueline Davis, but dropped back badly on the far turn to finish 8th of 9 runners. Jacqueline said after the race, “she’ll improve a lot off this, she has a very nice stride, acted good, showed speed, when she got a lot of dirt in her face on the turn she totally lost it, but when I got her clear in the stretch she was starting to run again. I really think going longer with this one under her she’ll do well, I really like the way she moves.” 

Does this mean she’ll be a good or even decent horse? Who knows. Obviously we didn’t want to see her back up badly, but she did handle her debut well in many respects; saddled well, broke well, and the rider felt she had horse under her. She is bred to go a longer distance, so this is one where the next race or two will tell us a lot. If she indeed moves forward, as a NY bred running for large purses against restricted company, we’ll be ok. If she backs up again and runs 8th then we probably just have a horse with little talent. We shall see, stay tuned!

Kenwood’s first co-owner group of 2017, #34, closed with all available shares sold in just 8 days in February! Our lovely homebred by E Dubai out of Exchanging Fire, a multiple stakes winning mare who earned nearly $250,000 on the track in her great career is a filly who we hope and think is going to make her owners very happy this year (and beyond)! She’s presently in training at T-Square Stud in Ocala, Florida with Adam Parker, and will ship north to Monmouth Park in May to join trainer Ben Perkins there.


On February 24th, we had a very fine Kenwood debut for Cape Mist, who was a flying 3rd from far back, beaten less than 2 lengths for the win and gaining with every stride at Gulfstream Park. On March 16th, Cape Mist came back with an exciting win at Gulfstream, when she tracked the early leaders and drove through a narrow opening on the rail in the stretch under a very heady ride by Jose Ortiz to win by 3/4 of a length. Partners Allen & Marshall Katz and Tom (the King) Christien celebrated with trainer Jane Cibelli and Robb Levinsky in the winner's circle. Congratulations to Wasabi Ventures Stable, our partner in this nice filly!

On February 25th, Kenwood delighted in the birth of Exchanging Fire’s 3rd foal, by the leading sire in the Mid-Atlantic region, Jump Start. He was born at Daydream Farm in Hamburg, Pa. at 6am and is a strong, healthy baby who was up and nursing in a matter of minutes. This is the brother to our lovely two year old filly by E Dubai, who is in training at T-Square Stud in Ocala. Exchanging Fire lost her first foal at birth and aborted another foal halfway through her term. Breeding is NOT a simple or easy business. There are never any guarantees, so to get a healthy colt like this by a top sire is truly a gift to all of us. He’s doing great, as he approaches his first month in the world and is as good-looking a foal that has ever been seen!


Turning to auction news, Kenwood celebrated some real success at the OBS March two year olds in training sale, with the purchase of two fillies and a colt, all for prices hard to believe for horses of this quality. We were thrilled to purchase Hip #658; a filly by top sire Scat Daddy and the first foal out of a mare who earned over $240,000 from a super stakes winning family, Hip #441, a strapping colt from the first crop of Flat Out, out of a stakes winning mare, and hip #207, a Kitten's Joy filly who is a full sister to a stakes winner of $230,000+.


We sent out a pre-sale analysis to our partners and co-owners just prior to the sale that stated in part "The trend over the last year has been towards an increasingly bifurcated market, where the highest priced horses of all types (weanlings, yearlings, broodmares and two-year-olds) continue to rise in average while the remaining 90% + of the market has shown a lot of “soft spots”, with slippage in prices and more RNA’s (horses that failed to meet a reserve and went home unsold). Basically, a few billionaires have no limits on what they will spend to compete with each other for the horses they want, while there not sufficient commercial buyers like ourselves, operating within budgets, to support the rest of the market. IF this trend continues at the March sale, it will probably offer some attractive buying opportunities. This sale has a higher overall average price than April OBS or Fasig-Tipton May, but frequently some very nice horses in the optimum value price range detailed above “fall through the cracks” here because the high-end buyers are focused on the large number of super-expensive horses”.

Bottom line, this is exactly what happened, more horses sold for 1 million + than ever, yet the median was down, the buybacks and scratches (people scratch horses when it becomes obvious they aren't likely to get their price among other reasons) way up. There was less competition in the "middle market" than we've ever seen, and that allowed us to buy three horses who were all in our absolutely top list, the ones we rated the highest and wanted the most.

As spring approaches, we look forward to the opening of Monmouth Park and a great year of racing up and down the east coast, from Saratoga – Gulfstream, stay tuned! We thank all the members of the Kenwood Racing family for their support.

Stable notes for November - December 2016

December 25, 2016 at 9:43 pm • By Robb Levinsky

The end of the year is typically a quiet time for Kenwood, with a number of our better horses off to the farm for some winter R&R. This year while we had as usual a limited number of starters, there was a lot of action and a great end to the year for our runners. Overall we had 13 starters for November – December with an excellent record of 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 2 thirds, outstanding winning and in-the-money percentages.

Things started off in November 6th with a disappointing 5th for High Five Cotton, but he redeemed himself with an impressive maiden-breaking win in December (see below). Then on November 9th, running after a longer than expected layoff, Patton Proud was a solid 2nd in his Kenwood debut at Aqueduct and was claimed from us. While we obviously would have preferred to run sooner and have had more starts with this horse, we feel we did well to get a good race from him and focus on other-better horses, so this was not a bad outcome at all.

High Five Cotton rebounded from a disappointing 5th place finish with a good 2nd  at Parx on November 28th, battling hard to re-gain the place after taking the lead early and dropping back to 4th in the stretch. It proved to be a sign this talented but erratic horse was finally coming to hand for us, as he started off a big week with a big win in his next start on December 17th, going wire to wire victory in a maiden special weight at Penn National. He was game as could be, as he broke well, made the lead, and held off the two favorites the entire way to win by 1&1/2 lengths in a fast time. Cotton was Kenwood's third two year old winner of the year. We were extremely high on this horse and our team all expected him to win early, rather than be our 3rd winner of the year, at the end of December in his 6th lifetime start. But they are racehorses, not race cars! Some horses just take more time to come around than you'd think, while others win at first asking. To win a maiden special weight with a horse that cost just $35,000 is an achievement. Having 4 of our 9 two year olds hit the winner's circle (average purchase price $43,000) when just 11% of all two year olds (including those selling for $200,000+++) win a single race at two is grossly over-performing. A Hearty congratulations to all our Group #30 co-owners and trainer Ben Perkins! We hope and think the best is yet to come here (and High Five Cotton is not the only promising runner in our co-owner group #30)!

Nominal Dollars finished a game 2nd on December 10th at Aqueduct, beaten just over 1 length for the win by the other logical horse in the race (they were co-favorites), who dropped down in class and went wire to wire. Last in the early going after a bobble at the break, he made a big wide move on the far turn, drew alongside the leader at the top of the stretch and just couldn’t get by him. He was claimed from us out of the race, as expected, and while our hope was to win here and come out with a large profit, even with 2nd money, we did well with him. Nominal Dollars made five starts for us and never ran a bad race, with a 4th, three 3rds, and the 2nd. With the generous purses in New York, even without a win that more than paid the training bills with positive cash flow, to boot. In a tough game like this, if they all came out this way, we’d have no complaints. Just as a brief teachable moment here, if this horse had run in the exact same races at Gulfstream with less than half the purses, we’d have lost a considerable amount of money. Keep that firmly in mind the next time you think how “fun” it is to race in Florida. Kudos to trainer Gary Gullo for a job well done with this horse for us.

Three Arch Bay was a closing 3rd on December 21st, missing 2nd by a nostril in a photo and beaten 3 lengths for the win. This filly is coming around for us again after a summer layoff and should be productive in lower-level races at Penn this winter.

December 22nd was proof of the saying ‘the truth is stranger than fiction’, or as Kenwood Racing co-owner George Katzenberger put it, “you can’t make this up”. Kenwood had two runners (one at Gulfstream Park, the other at Penn National). Both horses ran well, both finished a close second, and in both races the winner was disqualified and our horse was placed 1st. About 1 in 200 horses are disqualified each year in a race, so statistically the odds of two horses being disqualified in any two back to back races you run in, are 200 to 1 x 200 to 1, or 40,000 to 1. The odds of your horses finishing 2nd in both of these races and being placed 1st is literally beyond calculation. Suffice it to say, it’s something we can safely wager nobody reading this will ever see in their lifetime again.

Lost in the unusualness of the day’s uniquely good fortune was how well both horses ran. First up, Bobby Blue Eyes ran a super race at Gulfstream Park. He broke sharply, was sent to the lead, as instructed by jockey Nik Juarez, led all the way and got caught right before the wire to finish 2nd, beaten just under 1 length for the win. He was placed 1st when the favorite was disqualified for impeding the 3rd finisher in the stretch (nothing to do with our horse so we were simply lucky here). Bobby ran absolutely super; he deserved a break and he (and we) got it today. 

At Penn National, a few hours later To Honor Stephanie broke well, but was outrun to the first turn and shuffled back to 4th in the early going. He rallied between horses to take over 2nddown the backstretch, set sights on the early leader, drew alongside him in mid-stretch, but just couldn’t get by, losing by a head in a photo. Trainer Mark Salvaggio could see from his vantage point on the track that the reason Stephanie failed to pass the other horse was because the tiring leader was bearing out on him the entire length of the stretch, bumping him right before the wire, and immediately claimed foul. The Penn National stewards simply couldn’t ignore what they saw on the video replay and placed Stephanie first. He would clearly have won going away, if he wasn’t impeded and the stewards fortunately did their job properly.

Kenwood ends the year on a tear with three wins, two seconds and a third from 7 starts in December. Bobby Blue Eyes won for the 2nd time as a two year old, while To Honor Stephanie’s win gives us 4 two year old winners from our 9 two year old purchases in 2016. That’s 44% two year old winners, almost exactly 4 times the national average of 11.4% of two year olds who hit the winner’s circle at age two last year. In other words, if you bought 9 two year olds randomly, you should expect to have 1 winner (11%) and 5 or 6 not even make it to the races by the end of their two year old year. In 2016, six of our nine two year olds started (66% compared to the national average of 37.6% starters) and four won. Not to mention that the three who have yet to start are just a few weeks away from their debuts. Hard to fault our record with our two year old crop in 2016 and we look forward to enjoying their progress as three year olds in 2017.

Our best wishes to all the Kenwood family for a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous new year

Stable notes for October, 2016

October 30, 2016 at 6:43 pm • By Robb Levinsky

October was an up and down month for Kenwood Racing that began with lot of horses running off the board and ended with an impressive maiden win for Pink Cashmere and two other good in-the-money finishes. Overall, we had 1 win, 1 second, and 2 thirds from 11 starters for the month.

This was the first month since Steve DiMauro retired from training to take an executive position at Gulfstream Park. Most of our horses he had been training went to longtime friend and outstanding horseman Benjamin Perkins Jr., with a couple horses moving over to Mark Salvaggio’s barn at Penn National and the very promising filly Authentic Kitten going south with trainer Jane Cibelli to train in Florida for the winter. Several of our two year olds who had been given a little time at the farm this summer, including Story Spinner, Win Money My Honey and Wandagonenotastray all returned to training this month, with eyes upon debuts before year’s end.

Turning to racing for the month, nothing went right for Pink Cashmere on October 6th at Monmouth Park at The Meadowlands, when she was bumped badly at the start and was never really in the hunt, finishing 6th in her turf debut, against a very tough field of two year old fillies. It was not a great start to the month, but (see below) she made up for it in a big way in her next start. A couple of races later, Huamantla was a good 2nd at the Meadowlands in what would prove to be her final start before being retired to New Beginnings Thoroughbreds along with Silver Bouquet, where both fillies will be adopted out to safe, loving homes.

After a string of disappointing off-the-board finishes by Lead Investor, Bobby Blue Eyes, Three Arch Bay, Lady Tutu and Silver Bouquet in the middle of the month (not a good couple of weeks to say the least!), Nominal Dollars began to turn things around with a very game 3rd in a Belmont Park allowance event on October 21st. He was beaten just over two lengths for the win, in a highly competitive race, nosing out the heavy favorite (who had beaten him soundly in his last start) for 3rd money while posting a lifetime best Beyer (speed rating). 

Next up, was what looked like another disappointment for Pink Cashmere on October 28th at Laurel Park, but she managed to overcome a very tough trip and end up in the winner's circle. After bobbling badly at the break, she quickly dropped back to 8th in the early going and it appeared she would be hopelessly beaten. However, jockey Angel Cruz allowed her to settle and she began picking off horses on the far turn. Turning for home, she was four wide, then shied from another filly at the top of the stretch while going six wide, but despite turning her head, she still managed to grind down the leaders to win by ½ length in a four horse photo under an excellent, patient ride. The chart speaks for itself, she overcame much and displayed heart and talent, along with some obvious immaturity! Pink Cashmere had faced much better horses in her three previous starts, including male horses once. With patience and a little luck, her class showed and she got the win despite trouble. We think she’s going to be a nice New Jersey bred for us next year at Monmouth Park, which was the plan all along. We’ll give her one or two more starts this year, then a little time to mature mentally and physically at the farm, and have her ready when Monmouth opens next spring for some very generous New Jersey bred purses. Congratulations to trainer Benjamin Perkins Jr. and all the partners and group 31 co-owners! 

A little later that evening at Penn National, To Honor Stephanie took a nice step forward after two poor starts with a closing 3rd against lower level maidens. The class drop certainly helped, as did a little time and experience. Hopefully this will lead to a trip to the winner’s circle next time out.

This is a good place to note our previous blog on two year olds, which shows in 2015 there were 21,572 registered two year olds in North America. 8,105 (37.6%) made at least one start, 2,443 (11.4%) won at least one race and  258 (1.2%) were stakes winners. These stats change little year to year. Thus far from Kenwood Racing’s group of 9 two year olds we’ve had 5 starters (55%) and 2 winners (22%), far above these averages already and by year’s end, we’ll add to our out-performance. This game takes real patience and even then it’s tough sometimes! Over the last 6+ years 90%+ of all Kenwood's two year olds started and over 50% won, incredible stats! We keep our program affordable with groups of horses and one-time modest payments because it’s not easy to win races. With most two year olds it's a waiting game. If you can get them safely to the starting gate, get a race or two into them and have them mentally and physically sound going into their three year old season, you are doing your job. Many of the better horses are late developers, who given time and patience, will go on to better things as they mature if they are carefully handled early. 

Stable notes for September, 2016

October 3, 2016 at 5:44 pm • By Robb Levinsky

September was an up and down month that began and ended on a winning note, but lot of horses run off the board in-between. Overall Kenwood Racing had 2 wins, 1 second, and 5 thirds from 22 starters for the month and a lot going on. Here’s a recap of another exciting and busy month…

All good things eventually come to an end, and so it was with Long May You Run on September 2nd in his Monmouth Park debut, as he put in his usual game effort to finish 3rd, outrun by the heavily favored dropdown and just failing to hold 2nd late and was claimed from us out of the race. While not unexpected, all of us who have enjoyed having this horse in our barn for four great years of racing were understandably sad to see him go. Long May You Run made 25 starts for us from age two – five, with an excellent record of 7 wins, 3 seconds, and 4 thirds. We purchased him back in 2013 at the OBS March two year old sale for what we felt was a bargain price, given his excellent confirmation and racehorse pedigree. It’s hard to find good horses for $40,000 at any sale, let alone a select sale by the outstanding sire City Zip. Long May You Run proved to be a bargain indeed, earning over $175,000 for us while giving all his owners many thrills, winner’s circle photos, and making co-owner group #15 profitable. If all horses were like this, it would be an easy game. Kudos to our entire sales team, including Steve DiMauro and Adam Parker for selecting him at the sale, and especially to trainer Mark Salvaggio for managing his entire racing career so well from his Penn National base for the last four years.

Annual Mini-Golf Challenge: Kinsella stuns defending champ and last year's favorite in final strides, O'Halloran and Driscoll both no-shows...

Kenwood hosted its Annual Mini-Golf Challenge on Saturday, September 3rd at Bluegrass Mini Golf at Monmouth Park. Late entry Patrick Kinsella posted a blistering 20 on the final nine holes to steal the coveted crown from defending champion Jack Czajkowski and last year's favorite Robb Levinsky, who led for most of the contest and faltered on the final hole with a two over double bogey 4 in Kenwood’s 2nd annual mini-golf tournament held at the Monmouth Park on Sept.10th last year. Listed at 12 to 1 on the morning line with a note "late entry steals crown", Kinsella looked hopelessly beaten on the front nine with a score of 25 that had him languishing in 4th place in the star studded field of 6 world class competitors. But, a hole in one on the challenging 14th hole where his main competitors posted a 3 and a 4 put him back into contention and with a solid final four holes, Kinsella found himself with a score of 45, one ahead of Levinsky and Czajkowski, who tied at 46 after trading the lead several times during the match. Another late entry, George Katzenberger was four back at 49, while the two shippers Mark (MBF) Friedman and Richele (Fire) Grieb were never factors posting scores of 51 and 55 respectively. "The filly just couldn't keep up with the boys today" Grieb stated, i'm going home to lick my wounds and prepare for next year". "I'm stunned" said Levinsky "I played my best game for 16 holes and let it slip away on 14 & 18". "I was ill prepared and had faced weak competition on the NorCal circuit", explained Friedman". "Next year I'll prep against stronger competition prior to shipping to the east coast". "Congrats to new reigning champ Pat Kinsella" said George Katzenberger, who like Friedman, vowed to return next year prepared to take the coveted crown.

Joe O'Halloran, 2nd place finisher the previous year who had vowed revenge on winner Jack Czajkowski and Chris (Sky Ace) Driscoll, who was 4th in last year's tournament were both late no-shows and lost their coveted automatic invitations for future tournaments. Neither could be reached for comments directly after the match, but Driscoll later offered a commentary and O'Halloran issued a challenge to all the competitors to return the following week for another round "I checked the media reports this morning, and they are basically viewing this golf match as a wild card playoff with the championship still "in the balance" stated Driscoll. "I am inviting anybody who is willing to play THIS Saturday, the 17th. Time TBD" said O'Halloran. This was, of course, immediately rejected by all the players and the league. As last year's champion Czajkowski explained, "Sounds to me like 2 local golfers looking for excuses after they missed their Tee times and chance to compete with the pros. I think you two need to have a two person playoff just to see who gets to enter the next tournament". "I agree with Jack 1000%, excuses from golfers afraid to compete who missed their tee times" said Levinsky "The time was listed and you didn’t show, you are both lucky as neither of you would have stood a chance against the field this year".

Sonny's Pharoah finally was claimed from us on September 24th at Penn National, after a 4th place finish when she had a very rough trip. While we wanted very much to see her leave our barn on a winning note, this filly was a lot of fun for us. After showing nothing as a two year old last season, she won three races this year while honoring the memory of Kenwood co-owner Darren Nebel (who named her for his late father) and his family. Darren died in a tragic auto accident on July 16th, leaving behind his devoted wife Barbara, his two boys Paul & Bryan and a large group of loving family and friends, including everyone in the Kenwood Racing family. Darren's spirit had to be guiding Sonny right to the winner's circle when she blew away the field to win going away by 11+ lengths on July 20th at Penn National, for her second career victory after her maiden win on June 30th. Trainer Mark Salvaggio and Robb Levinsky prepared a tribute to Darren which the Penn announcer was kind enough to read before the race. He said among other things “I’m sure the entire Kenwood family is watching and cheering her on here and all over the country” and of that there could be no doubt. Sonny won three times with a second in nine career starts for us (for Darren & his family!).

Ending over 15 years of training horses for Kenwood Racing on a (winner's circle) picture perfect note, trainer Steve DiMauro's final starter for Kenwood, Bobby Blue Eyes, became our first two year old winner of 2016 on September 29th, with an easy win at Gulfstream Park. Congratulations go out to all the members of group #28, especially co-owner Ellen Gaynor (who named him to honor her late husband and our dear friend Bob Gaynor), and Co-Owners TK & Michele Kuegler and Eric Riedi, who celebrated their first wins as an owner (after several close, in-the-money finishes). Eric and co-owners Rafael Lopez, CynSeo and her daughter Nica all celebrated in the winner’s circle together, and a happy and attractive group it was!

Steve recently announced his retirement from the training ranks to take the position of one of three Stewards at Gulfstream Park. "As you can imagine, as a 2nd generation trainer who has worked with horses all my life this was not an easy decision for me", Steve explained. "The opportunity Gulfstream offers is simply too good for many reasons for myself and my family to pass up. I have trained for (Kenwood founder) Robb for over 15 years and it has been a great experience. Kenwood's co-ownership program is very special and has the potential to revitalize our industry by continuing to bring new owners into the game. I think Kenwood's future is very bright and I am glad to have been a part of it".

The 5 and 1/2 length maiden-breaking romp for Bobby Blue Eyes was a fitting way indeed to celebrate 15+ years training horses for Kenwood as part of a fine training career that saw Steve win over 1000 races, nearly $26,000,000 in purses, and dozens of major stakes. "We will all miss working with Steve" Robb Levinsky explained. "He's a class act from start to finish. I know this is the right decision for him and his family and we will be seeing plenty of him in his new position at Gulfstream".

Lead Investor is developing into a nice horse for us. In his debut on September 7th at Delaware Park, we weren’t expecting much from him because we felt he was bred to run a distance and would be better at age 3 than 2, so he just didn’t fit in a sprint debut, facing a talent laden field as the longest shot on the board at 39 to 1. Thus, we were thrilled after seeing him drop back to last early to then start picking off horses to finish a well-beaten, but fast closing third under a patient ride by veteran jockey Gabriel Saez. After the wire, he galloped out ahead of the first two runners, so off his debut, we had reason to feel confident this was going to be a solid horse for us as he matures and stretches out. In his second start on September 30th at Penn National, he took another step forward, coming from dead last on a sloppy track not favoring closers, to be a good 2nd, well behind the winner and well in front of the rest of the field. Trainer Mark Salvaggio reported he lost a shoe when bumped at the start, making the effort all the more impressive to say the least. We think this horse may be even better on grass and the best is yet to come here.


Stable notes for August 15-31st, 2016

August 28, 2016 at 7:57 pm • By Robb Levinsky

A good ending to August for Kenwood Racing, with 1 win, 1 second, 2 thirds and 2 fourths from 6 starts, just in the last two weeks. For August, we had 2 wins and 7 in-the-money finishes from our 13 starters.

August 19th saw an impressive and promising debut for Bobby Blue Eyes at Gulfstream Park. He broke well and then proceeded to drop back like a stone to be second to last, 12+ lengths back. This is typical of a first time starter who had no idea what he was doing. Just when it looked like he was going to be distanced, the light went on and he commenced a huge run on the far turn, going from far outside to the inside in the stretch to finally finish a closing 3rd. He looks like he clearly wants more distance than 5 furlongs. The race was run in a very fast time for the level and he was closing with every stride. Recall this horse started out crabby and showing no ability or interest in his training. Each work however was better than the last so we expected a decent effort here and we got it.

The next day, August 20th began on a good note in morning training at Monmouth Park, where all the horses trained well. Then, came two excellent races at Delaware Park, with 16 Kenwood partners and co-owners braving the traffic from NJ and Pa. to enjoy an impressive win by Silver Bouquet, followed two races later by an excellent debut 3rd by High Five Cotton.

Silver Bouquet came into her race off two very dull efforts, since we claimed her this spring. Trainer Steve DiMauro knows the filly well, having trained her previously, and his patience paid big rewards as she was on the bit from the start and overcame a tough trip, which saw her eight wide at the rear of the pack turning for home, to mow down the entire field and win going away. Kudos to Steve and his crew for a fine turnaround here! It was much appreciated by the happy crowd in the winner’s circle, who all cashed some nice tickets too at generous 14 to 1 odds.

Next up was the much anticipated debut of High Five Cotton, who has trained exceptionally well ever since his purchase at OBS this spring. Bet down to 5 to 1 odds off his 8 to 1 morning line despite, excellent works, which showed the quality of this field, he saddled like a veteran, never turning a hair. Cotton broke perfectly, battled hard for the lead in a very fast time and kept battling to the end, finishing a very good third, beaten by an exceptionally talented Union Rags colt (owned and bred by the owners of Barbaro), who looks like a sure stakes horse, and another Monmouth Park-based horse, who had the benefit of a race under his belt and was working blazingly fast for this one. It was nine lengths back to the rest of the field, so the first three really separated themselves in a race run in fast time, 1:10.78, for any two year old let alone two year old maidens. We are very high on this horse and his debut today did nothing to diminish our confidence in him.

The only down news of the day was that Lead Investor did not draw in off the also eligible list at Monmouth Park and thus did not get to run. The horse is doing well and hopefully there will be another race for him soon.

Then, on August 26th, coming back on 9 days rest, Huamantla kept the good times rolling, with a strong closing 2nd at Penn National. Well back early, she saved ground and closed stoutly to just get up for 2nd in the final strides. She’s had some hard luck this year with races rained off the turf when she was in winning spots, but she tries hard and usually gives a good account of herself when in the right spot. Note her running time when a close 4th on August 17th was the same (actually a hair faster), than when a close 2nd (ran a winning race, beaten a neck when bumped and blocked) on July 9th. The difference? She was 4th for $13,000 claiming and 2nd for $6,000 claiming, just as she was 2nd August 26th at a similar ($7,000) level. The level of the race really matters, folks. That’s why we always say “keep yourself in the best company and your horses in the worst company”.

Finally on August 28th, Pink Cashmere ran at Monmouth Park and it was a huge improvement over her debut, when she had trouble at the break, was shuffled back to last and never ran a step. This time, she broke like a shot and went right to the lead against male runners and held it to the stretch. After being passed by the two favorites (who look like nice colts), she battled hard to finally end up 4th, beaten in a photo for 3rd. It was a good effort, she showed the speed she had shown in previous workouts and hung in gamely throughout. If she had run poorly a 2nd time we’d have been really worried (and puzzled as she’s trained very well). Off this effort, she’ll be tough to beat against fillies next time, with a race scheduled closing weekend at Monmouth.

We have three horses entered at Monmouth for Friday, September 2nd to start off a new month and a very big holiday weekend. Wandagonenotastray and To Honor Stephanie making their debuts as an entry and Long May You Run shipping in from Penn National, to run for the first time in his career at Monmouth. Our two year olds are all getting to the races just as expected. Lead Investor is ready and we’re looking for a race for him, and Lady TuTu (the 3YO filly we privately purchased last month) is ready for her debut at Monmouth as well.

We have no less than 6 possible entries for horses for the Labor Day weekend in NY, NJ, Delaware, Pa., and Florida, so a lot of action is on tap. See our website for the all the details.

Happy to report Story Spinner is back in training! He arrived at Steve DiMauro’s barn at Monmouth the morning of August 28th, rested, sound, and ready to get going. Looks like the time off really helped, he’s much more relaxed and physically mature than he was out of the sale this spring.

It’s been every bit as good a summer as we have hoped and predicted so far, with outstanding winning and in-the-money percentages and wins all over the east coast. We hope and think there’s a lot more good times ahead as more of our two year olds reach the starting gate and our older horses continue to race from NY to Florida. Thanks to all our partners and co-owners for your support! Enjoy these great days and remember, it’s never as easy as it seems when you are winning and never as tough as it seems when you are losing. It’s a game of streaks for all, ups and downs. The people who stay in this tough, but thrilling business learn to handle the lows and revel in the highs.

Here also are some videos of our horses in training at Monmouth Park and at Saratoga Race Track. Enjoy!

Stable notes for the week of August 14th, 2016

August 15, 2016 at 2:09 pm • By Robb Levinsky

An up and down first half of August and when the dust had settled, Kenwood Racing had 1 win, 1 second and 1 third from 7 starts. Sonny’s Pharoah started the month off with a game 2nd on August 4th at Penn National. Moved sharply up in class off an 11+ length blowout win on July 20th at Penn National, she did everything right. While no match for the heavy favorite, she was clearly best of the rest of the field. This filly keeps on improving, she’s young and bred to have a future ahead of her.

After a great month in which almost every horse ran well in July, followed by Sonny’s Pharoah’s excellent 2nd to start things off on a good note for August, things hit a bump in the road on August 5th when two well-regarded horses ran very poorly. Our first two year old starter of the year Pink Cashmere broke badly at Monmouth Park and after getting dirt in her face early, never ran a step, finishing a dull and well beaten 8th. Rider (and all of us) thought she ran very greenly (immaturely), but no doubt we expected MUCH better from her. She saddled perfectly and it was a real disappointment, especially with 20+ people in attendance including her breeder, Esther De Jong, but horses frequently need a race or two to show their best and hopefully that will prove to be the case here. She came out of the race fine and is expected to run back at the end of August.

Then at Saratoga on August 5th, El Botas made his Kenwood debut in a tough race with a good post, where trainer Gary Gullo was brimming with confidence. He broke perfectly, was in the dream spot close up 3rd behind two battling early leaders, and simply stopped running. Pulled up by his rider who said he felt really uncomfortable on the turf (even though he’s run well on grass before, but this was a very hard turf course, the winner pulled up lame after the race and couldn’t make it to the winner’s circle) and as soon as he stepped back on the dirt after the race was run, felt totally fine. The good news for the day was that, as expected, he was claimed from us out of the race. Our plan was to win a big purse and get him claimed, we sure didn’t accomplish the first part, but took care of the 2nd. Claim notwithstanding, it was not the big day we hoped for, but that’s the racing game.

Our annual meeting was held for the first time this year at Monmouth Park at the Garden Room on August 6th, as with over 40 partners and co-owners in attendance, we had outgrown Kenwood’s office space (thank you all for your support!). This year’s meeting lasted just under two hours and was very well received. Our thanks to all who were able to join us, including several out of town guests. The winner for longest distance travel goes to co-owner Dick Davis, who drove up from North Carolina for the weekend. We were happy to have so many people on hand in person for an informative meeting with excellent questions and a fun day of racing afterwards.

On August 10th, Long May You Run shipped to Delaware Park, when nothing went for him at Penn National. He ran a super race, winning by ½ length in a race that was super tough for the level and was run in a sizzling fast 110.23. Pressured the entire race, his class showed as he simply refused to quit. This is yet again an example of running in the right spot, he was properly placed where he could return to his best form after 2 sub-par races. This horse would NOT be nearing $200,000 in career earnings, if we had not placed him in races where he could continue to be comfortable and competitive. We’ve done right by the horse and the owners by racing him where he can have a happy, safe career and continue to be competitive after 4 years of running for us.

Finally, August 14th was not the best day, but not a disaster with horses in three exceptionally tough spots. Little Cherie was a dull 4th at Monmouth Park, with no real excuse. To be fair, it was a tough allowance race against males, but she didn’t run nearly as well as she did when 2nd last time out. Dance N Denae ran very well at Monmouth one race later, despite ending up 8th (a LOT better than Cherie’s dull 4th). Dance N Denae sat a good trip, moved into 2nd turning for home, and simply was outrun by faster horses in the stretch. There’s an enormous difference between the $20,000 horses that she beat last time and the $35,000 horses she faced here. Finally, Nominal Dollars was badly bumped at the start in the 10th race at Saratoga, lost part of a rear shoe, and still ran very well to finish 3rd. He was moving up from $40,000 claiming non winners of 2 races lifetime to an allowance race, the toughest jump in the game perhaps. All things considered, he ran really well.

The three races above on August 14th are an excellent example of the difference the class of the race makes. All three horses were facing vastly tougher company and it showed. Yes, it feels really different finishing 8th than standing in the winner’s circle, but in truth while Little Cherie did regress, the other two ran as well or better finishing 8th and 3rd as they did the previous time when they both won impressively. What we (and other savvy owners) do, now that they showed they aren’t quite at this level, is to run them right back where they won at last time, and if someone wants to claim them so be it. A hard lesson for many to learn, but we’ll keep doing right by our owners and our horses.

Finally, we have two entries for the coming week as Bobby Blue Eyes is in the 10th race Friday, August 19th for his debut at Gulfstream Park, and on Wednesday, August 17th, Huamantla runs at Penn National. We are looking for races for the debuts of High Five Cotton and Lead Investor as well. May the horse be with us all for the rest of August and beyond!

Stable notes for the week of July 31, 2016

August 1, 2016 at 12:34 pm • By Robb Levinsky

Another great month for Kenwood Racing, with impressive wins by different runners and exciting new additions to the stable.

July 31st was Haskell Day at Monmouth Park, a great way to end a great month. Early showers turned to pleasant weather and it was a fantastic day of racing. A large and enthusiastic group of Kenwood partners, co-owners and friends filled six prime box seats and shared a memorable day, highlighted by Exaggerator’s impressive win and the thrill of seeing New Jersey bred Sunny Ridge nose out Champion Nyquist for 3rd money for our friend Dennis Drazin, who is the heart and soul of Monmouth Park. It’s a dream for any local owner to run in the Haskell. To see a horse bred in New Jersey run a super race at 31 to 1 off a 5 month layoff against the best 3 year olds in the country for someone who has devoted much of his professional career to keeping Monmouth Park running was for many of us, as much or more satisfying than Exaggerator’s impressive and well deserved Haskell victory.  

The day ended on a super note for Kenwood too, as less than 1 hour after the Haskell we claimed the three year old Nominal Dollars at Saratoga. He won by almost 4 lengths going away, and we won a 5 way shake at the claim box to get him. This is a lightly raced, rapidly improving horse and we are thrilled to have him in our stable. 

Kenwood Racing welcomes Patton Proud to stable

Kenwood Racing added another horse to our growing stable, with the purchase via claim, of the three year old colt Patton Proud on July 25th at Saratoga. He'll be trained by Gary Gullo and we expect him to make his Kenwood debut at Saratoga in August.

Little Cherie good 2nd in Kenwood debut

Kenwood Racing was pleased to have added the three year old filly Little Cherie to the stable via claim at Monmouth Park in early July and our confidence was rewarded with a fine 2nd  in her Kenwood debut at Monmouth Park on July 23rd. Jumping from claiming to allowance, probably the toughest jump in the business, she did everything right, couldn’t catch the winner but was drawing away from the rest of a small but very competitive field at the wire. She ran hard and well and looks like yet another very good claim and a horse with a future. This super consistent filly sports an overall lifetime record of 4 wins, 4 seconds and a third from 13 lifetime starts.  The effort by Little Cherie gave Kenwood 2 wins, 2 seconds and 1 third in five starts at the Monmouth meet so far this year.

Sonny's Pharoah wins 2nd in a row to honor Darren Nebel & family

Sonny’s Pharoah ran on July 20th at Penn National to honor the memory of longtime Kenwood co-owner Darren Nebel (who named her last year as a two year old in loving memory of his late father). Darren died in a tragic auto accident on July 16th, leaving behind his devoted wife Barbara, his two boys Paul & Bryan, and a large group of loving family and friends, including everyone in the Kenwood Racing family. Darren's spirit had to be guiding Sonny when she blew away the field to win by 11+ widening lengths. Trainer Mark Salvaggio and Robb Levinsky prepared a tribute to Darren which the Penn announcer was kind enough to read before the race. He said among other things “I’m sure the entire Kenwood family is watching and cheering her on here and all over the country” and of that there was no doubt.

Nothing can take away the sadness we all feel at Darren’s loss, but hopefully this beautiful moment gave his family just a tiny bit of peace. Sonny has now won two in a row for us (for Darren & his family!). If ever there was a fitting time for a horse to win, it was this. Darren would have absolutely loved the tribute and the moment, and the filly did him proud. We all miss him and hope for her to keep safe, healthy and make many more visits to the winner’s circle in his and his family’s honor. “

Kenwood Racing welcomes Lady Tutu to stable

Kenwood Racing welcomed the three year old filly Lady Tutu to the stable on July 19th via private purchase. By the fine Florida sire, Awesome of Course, she was owned by an estate that was selling their entire thoroughbred interests following the recent passing of the owner. "It was an opportunity to buy a nice filly at a value price" explained Kenwood racing manager H. Robb Levinsky. "We think she'll be a lot of fun for us this year and hopefully will make a number of visits to the winner's circle". Lady Tutu joined trainer Steve DiMauro’s barn at Monmouth Park and is expected to make her debut around the end of August.

Scuba Sue 3rd, claimed, in Monmouth return

Scuba Sue, a horse we purchased in Ocala in April of 2014 who did well for us as a three year old, returned to Kenwood again via (re)claim on March 10th, 2016, this time for our new active racing group #27. Claimed out of an impressive winning effort at Gulfstream Park, she ran very poorly for us under the care of Jeremiah Englehart in three starts. We moved to her trainer Mark Salvaggio after her last race, a tired 5th at Penn National on June 24th, and Mark did his usual fine job to get her back on track. We decided to run her at Monmouth Park, the site of many of her best previous efforts, on July 17th, feeling she'd run much better and she did, finishing a game 3rd after running hard and well every step of the way. She was claimed from us out of the race and while really like this filly and would have been glad to have her longer, it was good to see her return to form and to come out with some $ from what was not looking like a promising situation with the previous trainer.

Dance N Denae wins impressively at Monmouth

She may not have looked like a good claim when she finished a dull 8th the day we claimed her, but we always say it's not how they run nearly as much as how they come back to the barn. That was proven once again with Dance N Denae, who followed up a good 2nd in her Kenwood Racing debut on June 26th, with an impressive win on July 17th at Monmouth Park. The race had originally been scheduled for the grass and we were a bit concerned when it was taken off the turf due to heavy rains the night before. She had been training well and had decent past dirt form, but she appears to be a better grass horse. When old friend Awesome Challenge (claimed from us off a thrilling win opening weekend at Monmouth) made the lead on her early and Dance N Denae found herself in tight on the rail it didn't look good, but jockey Jose Ferrer had a lot of horse all the way. When Awesome Challenge began to tire turning for home, he made a dramatic move from the inside. She quickly opening up a large lead and coasted to the wire almost 2 lengths to the good of a late closing runner and far ahead of the remainder of the field.

This is a nice filly who runs on both dirt and turf. She's turned into a fine claim and we think the best is yet to come here. A hearty congratulations to all the members of our active racing group. With this filly and Little Cherie who was a fine 2nd in her Kenwood debut off the claim (see above), we have a lot to look forward the rest of the racing season at Monmouth.

The Pink Cashmere Story continues: After the Sale Ring (ABR video)

America's Best Racing followed up their 2015 series "After the Runway", featuring Pink Cashmere, bred by international model Esther de Jong with a new video "After the Sale Ring". The new video follows Kenwood Racing's Pink Cashmere's progress in training for her racing career. You can view the video here.  

Our barns in NY and NJ are loaded with really promising claims (Nominal Dollars, Patton Proud, El Botas, Dance N Denae, Little Cherie), along with 9 exciting two year olds, which should make for a very exciting second half of the year for us (building on an excellent first half!). 

Stable notes for the week of July 17, 2016

July 17, 2016 at 9:44 pm • By Robb Levinsky

We expect July – September to be very busy and exciting for Kenwood Racing, with a lot of action for our horses at Monmouth Park (and elsewhere, but particularly at Monmouth) and so far, July has lived up to its billing! It took a little while to come up with the claims we wanted and two year olds need time to train before they can make their debuts, but the reward for our patience should be a lot of runners for the heart of the summer racing season. We have a nice group of older horses to race in NJ-NY who have been pointed and primed for these months, plus seven two year olds stabled at Monmouth. Trainer Steve DiMauro has tentatively scheduled Aug. 5-7 as possible debut dates for several of the two year olds.

A fine day at the office on July 17th at Monmouth Park, with two horses running. When the dust had cleared, we had an impressive win and a good third. First up was Dance N Denae, who was coming off a game 2nd in her Kenwood debut on June 26th. The race was taken off the turf due to heavy rains the night before and we were a bit concerned, as even though she’d been training very well and had shown decent past dirt form, she is a better grass horse. When old friend Awesome Challenge (claimed from us off a thrilling win opening weekend at Monmouth) made the lead on her early and Dance N Denae found herself in tight on the rail for most of the race. It didn't look good, but jockey Jose Ferrer had a lot of horse all the way and when Awesome Challenge began to tire turning for home, he made a dramatic move to grab the lead from the inside. She quickly opened up a large lead and coasted to the wire almost 2 lengths to the good of a late closing runner, far ahead of the remainder of the field. She may not have looked like a good buy when she finished a dull 8th the day we claimed her, but we always say it's not how they run nearly as much as how they come back to the barn, and that was proven once again here. This is a nice filly who runs on both dirt and turf and we think the best is yet to come here. A hearty congratulations to all the members of our NJ based active racing group. With this filly and Little Cherie who we claimed recently and the NJ bred Silver Bouquet we have a lot to look forward to in the weeks and months to come.

Then it was Scuba Sue’s turn, a horse we purchased in Ocala in April of 2014 who did well for us as a three year old, returned to Kenwood again via (re)claim on March 10th, 2016, this time for our active racing group in New York. Claimed out of an impressive winning effort at Gulfstream Park, she ran very poorly for us under the care of Jeremiah Englehart in three starts. We moved to her trainer Mark Salvaggio after her last race (a tired 5th at Penn National on June 24th), and Mark did his usual fine job to get her back on track. We decided to run her at Monmouth, the site of many of her best previous efforts and were pleased to see her finish a game 3rd after running hard and well every step of the way.

Kenwood’s record so far for the Monmouth meet is 2 wins, 1 second and 1 third in four starts. Obviously a limited number of runners but there’s a LOT more action to come the 2nd half of the meet and we are certainly off to a red hot start!

Previously, a really nice workout for El Botas as he readies for his Kenwood debut, which should come shortly at Saratoga. He worked fast without being asked

El Botas (5-Year-Old Gelding)

Date: July 16, 2016
Distance: Four Furlongs
Time: 47:85 Breezing
Track Condition: Fast
Surface: Dirt training
Rank: 3/73

Recent claim Little Cherie is expected to make her Kenwood debut July 23rd at Monmouth Park.

On Thursday, July 7th America’s Best Racing visited Kenwood’s barn at Monmouth Park to follow the story of our two year old filly Pink Cashmere, who we purchased at the OBS April sale this year. This lovely filly by the hot young sire Eskendereya was bred by the international model Esther de Jong at her farm in New Jersey. Take a look at this must see 3 minute video.

Pink Cashmere is training very well. Trainer Steve DiMauro feels she’s advanced quickly and if her next two works are as good as her previous ones, she’ll be ready to run in a race at Monmouth on August 5th . As mentioned so many times previously, selecting two year olds is like trying to decide who the future NBA or NFL all-star will be from a group of 14 year old high school kids. Bobby Blue Eyes trained very poorly the first couple weeks at Gulfstream and has been training really well for the last month (see work eblow). Until they run a few races, it’s a guessing game!

Bobby Blue Eyes (2-Year-Old Colt)

Date: July 13, 2016
Distance: Four Furlongs
Time: 49:05 Breezing
Track Condition: Fast
Surface: Dirt
Rank: 8/22

On July 9th, one race away from retirement, kept in training and brought back on 8 days rest on the advice of trainer Mark Salvaggio, Huamantla woke up with a vengeance at Penn National, flying from near last turning for home after being bumped at the break to finish 2nd by a long nose in a photo finish. While it was a lower level race, it was also a 12 horse field, she had to make up a ton of ground from far back in a very short race, and they finished in a super-quick time for the level, 57.30. While she’s still not about to become a good horse, we are in a totally different situation than we had been off her horrible race the previous week, when it appeared giving her away to a good home was our only option. Mark insisted she just couldn’t handle the dirt; we agreed to take one last shot on grass with the right spot sitting there 8 days away, and it worked.

The final seminar of the year at our office on Saturday, July 9th was as always our most popular subject. “Purses & Claiming” had an overflow crowd in attendance in person and online via GoToMeeting. Look for our seminar series next year!

The following day, July 10th,  our 2nd “Business of Thoroughbreds” seminar of the year in conjunction with Monmouth Park was another sold out affair. Guests enjoyed morning training, followed by an afternoon of racing in a private Parterre Suite, along with visits to the paddock and the racing office. Our final tow seminars of 2016 are August 7th and September 10th, both are nearly sold out.

Our annual meeting for partners and co-owners will be Saturday morning, August 6th at 10am, please mark the date in your calendars.

Exchanging Fire is still IN-FOAL at Daydream Farm and her yearling filly is lovely!

It was a while coming and it was hardly the level of race we were looking for but Sonny’s Pharoah is a maiden no more as she won the first race of her career on June 30th at Penn National. While it was against a field of lower level claiming fillies, she won easily, wire to wire without being asked much in a very decent time for the level, beating the heavy favorite in the race.  With this one under her hoofs, perhaps she’ll have a little confidence now and can get back to the winner’s circle again shortly. Congrats. to group #23 as both of their horses have now reached the winner’s circle.

Saratoga is just around the corner, opening week is July 22nd. Several of the Kenwood partners have rented a house for the entire meet and we plan to run several horses there this summer!  

Stable notes for the week of June 26th, 2016

June 26, 2016 at 8:53 pm • By Robb Levinsky

We begin our stable notes this week with the happy news that Wise Honor, who Kenwood helped rescue from a kill pen a few weeks ago, is doing great at War Horses farm. Everyone who helped come to his rescue with a contribution has reason to feel very proud. Kenwood puts the welfare of the horses first, even those not in our care. Needless to say, the work Barbara Luna is doing (and many others like her) is the most important thing, but they need all the help they can get! The letter below from Barbara speaks for itself….

From: Barbara Luna []
Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2016 12:43 PM
Subject: To all of my favorite (and only) board members

You have probably heard of War Horses' situation with saving a 10yo gelding from slaughter 3 weeks ago. If not, instrumental in his saving was the generosity of Kenwood Racing (Robb Levinsky) and partners donating over $2,000 for his "bail" and shipping, with plenty left over for the blacksmith and his upcoming dental work (oh, and of course the 100 pounds of carrots he seems to consume).Kenwood partners did not know the horse, never had anything to do with him (registered name is Wide Honor, but now he's our little "Buddy.")  I asked for help, and in 24 hours they had pledged more than I ever could have asked for. All checks and Paypal donations were in my hands/computer within 3 days! Amazing! I am attaching what I hoped would be an appropriate letter to them for their generosity (Hermosillo, shown in the letter also, is their Champion Eddie Broome-bred NJ-bred from a few years back, who Robb and his partners also sponsor so he can live his life out with me in VA. If you ever see Robb at Monmouth where he currently has horses with Steve DiMauro, please thank him as well as the partners for us. You'll find them in the winners' circle, I am sure! You all will understand that there is always a horse out there that pulls at your heartstrings--Buddy is a sweet boy, and well deserved the ability to break out of the kill buyer's lot (after running through the New Holland auction) and retiring here. Upon first examinations, he seems fully adoptable and someone will be lucky to get him!Best to all of you. We all have buddies like our Buddy. Barbara

Turning to racing news, on June 5th Kenwood claimed the three year old filly Dance N Denae at Monmouth Park. When she stopped badly to finish a well-beaten 8th, some people might have understandably wondered if we had made an unwise move in claiming her, but as explained many times, it’s how they come back to the barn much more than where they finish that matters the most. On June 26th this was proven again in her Kenwood debut as she broke slowly, rushed up to battle for the lead and finished a good second, beaten about 1&1/2 lengths for the win while picking up over $3,000 for her effort. Having lost by 12 lengths the day we claimed her, it was an obvious turnaround, made even more impressive by the fact she was running on the dirt, not her preferred surface (it was our only option to run when a grass race failed to fill three times). Now we can look for a race on the grass next time and have reason to expect this filly to be a nice horse for us the rest of the season at Monmouth and beyond.

There was a full house on hand for our 3rd free seminar at our office and online via GoToMeeting on Saturday, June 25th on reading the Condition Book. Our final seminar of the year, Purses & Claiming, is July 9th and space is very limited.  

June 25th featured a fine morning of workouts at Monmouth, with 5 horses all making really good progress. Note that High Five Cotton, by far the quickest horse (not necessarily the best horse when all is said and done, but the fastest at 3 furlongs for sure) is shown as having one of the slower works. He worked in company (side by side) with Lead Investor and we kept them together and wanted them to go slow to teach High Five Cotton to harness his speed. Someone looking at work times would assume he’s one of the slowest of the horses below; if all five lined up together for 3 furlongs and went as fast as they can, right now at least he’d easily outrun all the others. A good lesson in what workout times do and do not mean.  What matters most with young, unraced horses is that they make steady progress and learn how to be a racehorse. If you compare the times just below for June 25th with the times from the previous week listed further below, you’ll see these horses are doing just that.

Authentic Kitten (KY)








High Five Cotton (FL)








Lead Investor (KY)








Pink Cashmere (NJ)








Win Money My Honey (NY)









Here’s some links to videos-photos of these workouts on our Vimeo and Instagram pages;

Kenwood Instagram Page:

Kenwood's Vimeo Page:

If you want to link directly to the videos from recent training dates, here are the direct links:

Authentic Kitten/Win Money My Honey (Saturday, June 25, 2016) 

Pink Cashmere (Saturday, June 25, 2016) 

Lead Investor/High Cotton (Saturday, June 25, 2016) 

Pink Cashmere (Friday, June 24, 2016)

 Win Money My Honey Gate Training (Thursday, June 23, 2016)

On June 24th, Scuba Sue broke nicely, made the lead easily, and simply had nothing left in the stretch, tiring to finish 5th. While it was a solid group and a fast run race and she was ½ length from 3rd, she was favored in here and should have run much better once she made the lead by herself. She’ll stay at Penn with Mark Salvaggio now and we’ll make a plan together to get her back to the winner’s circle.

June 19th featured a super morning of workouts as all the horses went well and in hand.  Just FYI, High Five Cotton had a sizzling fast work, best of the day. We’ll leave it to you to decide why that work doesn’t appear here….. Note that Lead Investor and Win Money My Honey worked together, side by side the entire way, head and head at the finish, and the different workout times below. Workouts and what matters is very different than the public perception folks!

Authentic Kitten (KY)








Lead Investor (KY)








Pink Cashmere (NJ)








Win Money My Honey (NY)









June 18th was the date of our first “Business of Thoroughbreds” seminar at Monmouth for 2016, another sold out event. 12 lucky guests began their day viewing morning training, then headed to a private Parterre Suite for an afternoon of racing, food, drink and a visit to the paddock and the racing office. Our 2nd seminar in July is sold out, a very few spaces remain for the seminars in August and September.

June was a busy and exciting month, and July should be even better! Thanks to all our partners, co-owners and friends for your support.