Dear Saratoga Ten Members
This section of the War Dancer web site is dedicated to our race partnership. We will post photos, updates, and generally do our best to keep the group informed. If you have suggestions for the site, please feel free to let us know.
JANUARY 21, 2021
Today we had our ZOOM call with Michelle Nevin. Michelle went through the roster, gave updates on each of the horses and answered questions. I think having these occasional calls is a great way to get first-hand information about our horses, and to hear what other Partners have to say.
I had promised to record the ZOOM call, but my lack of ZOOM knowledge led me to record incorrectly, so once again I ended up sending a summary, which I have posted below:
Show Me the Honey: (Sugar Plum Farm, Saratoga)
She had a chip in her knee – more like a flake – which moved around and became uncomfortable. The chip was removed, and the filly is at Sugar Plum Farm, where she is now on full turnout. She’s doing well and is expected to return to Michelle in mid-February.
Dance Hall Queen: (Sugar Plum Farm, Saratoga)
This filly showed that she was mentally & physically immature, and not ready to race. She also had trouble keeping on weight. She was sent back to Sugar Plum Farm, where she has matured, gained weight and is on full turnout. She’s expected to return to Michelle in mid-February.
Pop the Bubbly: (Sugar Plum Farm, Saratoga)
Michelle was pleased with her performance. She is a nice filly, with potential, but the deeper track did not suit her. Because she was a bit sore, she’s come to Sugar Plum Farm for some time off until returning to Michelle mid-February.
Pivotal Run: Niall Brennan Training Center, Florida)
Pivotal Run was sore and after trying to evaluate the cause, with no luck, Michelle decided to have a bone scan done. This is a procedure where ink is injected that lights up on the camera when a “hot spot” is detected. In the case of Pivotal Run, it indicated bone bruising, and the decision was made to give him time off. He was sent to Niall Brennan Training Center in Florida, where he will be started back in training with a gallop out and a couple 3/8 breezes before heading back North to Michelle at the end of March.
You’ve Got Male: (Michelle Nevin)
You’ve Got Male was too busy worrying about the other horses to focus on his race, and Michelle believes that since he’s very green and easily distracted, he will likely benefit from the addition of blinkers in his next race. She’ll be able to tell more from his 2nd start.
War of Thrones: (Michelle Nevin)
Although he’s always been a bit behind, Michelle was pleased with War of Throne’s first start. She said that he had good gate speed, and although he weakened in the stretch a bit , she felt he ran well.
Spanish Dreamer: (Niall Brennan Training Center, Florida)
After her colic surgery, Spanish Dreamer needed time to recuperate before going back into training. We felt that she would be better recuperating in Florida where she can be turned out all day in the warmer weather and started back slowly before she returns to racing.
JANUARY 12, 2021
With the coming of the New Year, all Thoroughbreds turned a year older, and our 2 year-olds are now 3 !!
After getting a late start due to the restrictions and shutdowns caused by the COVID virus, our horses finally shipped to Saratoga in the early summer to begin their training at the track under Michelle Nevin. Over the past months we’ve (remotely) followed their progress as they matured from gangly teenagers to young adults now at ease on the track. We’ve had a few hiccups, typical to the horse business, but an overall successful year since our first race on September 4th, with earnings of $58,000 !
War Dancer, the Sire of our horses, has also had a great year, with his 2 year-olds earning over $475,000. He is the #1 First-Crop Sire in New York, as well as the #1 Sire of 2 Year-Olds in New York !
I know we all look forward to seeing our now 3 year-olds race. Michelle has done a great job of identifying their running style and surface preference, and will continue to look for races with the best conditions for our horses. I am planning a ZOOM call in the next week or so, when we can all chat directly with Michelle, and will keep everyone apprised of the details.
DECEMBER 30, 2020
I hope you all had a lovely Holiday.
It’s been a while since I updated you on all our horses, so I thought an end of year email was in order !
Pivotal Run’s exercise rider reported to Michelle that the horse seemed a bit off behind. After having him checked for fractures and finding none, Michelle recommended a full body scan. The result of the scan showed Pivotal to have mild bone bruising, a very common condition in young athletes, and the recommendation was made for 60 days turnout to give the bones time to remodel and strengthen. Because of the unpredictable winter weather in New York, we felt it best to send him to Florida, where he will be able to be outside in the warmer weather. He will be going to Brennan’s Training Center in Ocala, this week.
War of Thrones & You’ve Got Male
Michelle is looking for a race in New York in the next several weeks. Although she believes that they both may be better suited for turf, she wants them to have the opportunity to run on dirt so that she can evaluate their style. I sent off an email of their most recent works to you this morning.
As you know, Spanish Dreamer is at the Brennan’s Training Center in Ocala, and continues to do well.
Show Me The Honey
You may recall from my email of December 7th, she had presented with a swollen knee and upon examination was found to have chips in both knees, which were arthroscopically removed at Cornell on December 8th. The surgery was successful and the next day she returned to Sugar Plum Farm, where she was placed on a stall rest/hand walking regime. Once given the ok by our Vet, Honey will be allowed on light turnout, and should be ready to return to training in February .
Dance Hall Queen
In November, Michelle felt that she needed some R&R and time to grow into herself and subsequently sent her to Sugar Plum Farm on November 12th. Dance Hall Queen has made tremendous progress, going from 879 pounds on arrival, to her current 928 pounds. She is relaxed and happy and once she reaches an optimal weight, will go back into training.
Pop The Bubbly
She continues to train well, and Michelle will be looking for a race for her in January. In addition, she seems to be versatile with the surface she prefers, which makes her a good candidate for a January Maiden Special Weight.
All my best for a happy & healthy New Year,
OCTOBER 20, 2019
Today we had a ZOOM call with our Trainer, Michelle. Many partners participated and we had a very productive call. This is a great way for everyone to ask questions and hear about our horses directly from the Trainer, and it’s something I plan to continue to do.
OCTOBER 3, 2020
Congratulations to US ! Our filly, SHOW ME THE HONEY won her first time out today.
SEPTEMBER 4, 2020
Our first horse ran today at the closing of the Saratoga Meet. It was an exciting race as PIVOTAL RUN came out of nowhere to challenge for the win , finishing 2nd behind STEP DANCER – another son of War Dancer !
“It’s so exciting to have a first-time starter win, but to have War Dancer progeny take first and second—it doesn’t get any better than this,” said Robin Malatino, the managing partner of War Dancer’s owning syndicate.
JULY 1, 2020
This has been an unusual Summer for everyone in the racing business, as COVID-19 has kept us away from the sales, barns and racetrack. Although getting to visit our horses is part of the fun, safety has been the number 1 priority of ours and of the New York Racing Association and we’ve had to be creative with our plans.
Early in the Summer a group of us gathered at the fence outside the Oklahoma track to watch our horses breeze and chat with our Trainer, Michelle Nevin. In August we arranged a get-together at National Golf Course to watch Dance Hall Queen’s race, but cancelled when we found that the race had been taken off the turf and Dance Hall Queen scratched. Finally, on Friday, August 4th, we saw first time starter, Pivotal Run come in 2nd to another War Dancer, Step Dancer, in a Maiden Special Weight on the Turf at Saratoga. It was a spectacular race not only for Saratoga Ten, but for War Dancer’s value as a sire, and Robin and I were thrilled to be there to watch.
Meanwhile, back on the farm, we had a bit of a scare last night when Spanish Dreamer began showing signs of colic. After hand walking and vet treatment she was still in distress, and we made the decision to take her to Rood & Riddle veterinary clinic, where they discovered that she had a twisted gut. Surgery was performed immediately and her intestine, in good condition otherwise, was successfully untwisted and she was sewn back up.
Today she is comfortable and appears no worse for wear. Although she will be home in a couple days, she will need 30 days stall rest, followed by 30 days turn out before going back in training.
JUNE 16, 2020
I just wanted to follow up on my last email. Below is an update on the remainder of our horses. As you know, horses are like people, mature at their own rate, and like any athlete, may have setbacks along the way. We’ve been fortunate that our group has had relatively few issues, and feel that the best course of action is to make sure the horses are ready for the track before they are moved. (Notwithstanding the fact that day rates at the racetrack ($115 per day) are much higher than the training center ($72 per day) !
Pop The Bubbly (2018 Sonic Sound)
This filly was treated in April for an issue with her shins. The injury and subsequent treatment required time off and hand walking. She responded well to the treatment, was started back in training slowly, and will soon be ready to breeze. She should be ready to ship to NY in approximately three weeks time.
War of Thrones (2018 Tipthetrolleygirl)
Barry and his Team were concerned because this colt was distracted in training, and felt that gelding him would make a difference. This is a standard procedure for young colts who are unable to concentrate, or become hard to manage, and the “equipment change” can make all the difference in his racing career (Think Funny Cide, John Henry). He was gelded in April, and after a break, was put back into training. In a few weeks, when the raging hormones have worked their way out of his system, he should be settled and ready to come to New York.
This Magic Moment (2018 Street Magic)
This filly developed and is being treated for tendonitis. Tendonitis is a common problem in young horses, requiring treatment and stall rest. Barry reports that the filly is doing well and will be checked again by a Veterinarian in 30 days, at which time her readiness for training will be reevaluated.
Fancy Schmancy (2018 Dramatic Moments)
This filly developed a lameness problem back in November, which subsequently became a recurring issue. After consulting with Barry, it was clear that she would not sustain the rigors of training and needed at least a year off. We decided that the best course of action was to cut our losses and return her to the breeder, who has since had her shipped back to his farm in New York.
To recap: At this point five of our horses are training in Saratoga, two are just weeks from coming to New York, one is layed up, and we have stopped on one.
MARCH 4, 2020
Our Ocala visit was a great success. We dined Friday evening at a cool Southern restaurant and had drinks in their vintage themed speakeasy. Early Saturday morning at Abracadabra Farms, we had breakfast on the rail, watched our horses train, and matched horses with their new names ( which have now been approved by the Jockey Club, and are listed below).
Trainer and Owner of Abracadabra Farms, Barry Berkelhammer, was a gracious host, taking time to explain various aspects of the training and racing process; and later treating us to a visit to see the exotic animals housed on a special section of the farm.
18 Air Mail
You’ve Got Male
18 Dramatic Moments
18 Honey Child
Show Me the Honey
18 Kimberly Jean
Dance Hall Queen
18 Spanish Ice
18 Sonic Sound
Pop the Bubbly
18 Street Magic
This Magic Moment
18 Time Marches On
War of Thrones
DECEMBER 12, 2019
As we don our hats and mittens here in Saratoga, our horses are enjoying the warm days at Abracadabra Farms, in Ocala, Florida. Our Trainer, Barry Berkelhammer sent the following report today:
The babies are training on the track every day and increasing their distance. We are at a mile now and will get them up to a mile and a half before beginning to breeze. They’re filling out and looking less like babies and more like racehorses every day !”
NOTES FROM THE WAR DANCER OFFICE
For some of you there may be, from time to time, terms that you are unfamiliar with. Today’s quote from our trainer, for instance, talks about breezing a horse. Below is a brief explanation of the term. As always, feel free to contact me personally with any questions.
The purpose of breezing is education and development. Traveling easy eighth miles in 13 or 14 seconds, the horses breeze “in company”, or with a partner. The first breezes are meant to get them into the bit and teach switching leads. (Switching leads refers to altering which set of legs advances forward to the greatest extent when a horse is galloping).In addition to familiarizing the horse with a routine, breezing also allows the Trainer to assess a horses’ mental and physical readiness. Horses, like people, develop at different speeds, and are trained accordingly. We feel confident that our horses will head to the track with a solid foundation, both physically and mentally.
OCTOBER 25, 2019
Thanks to all of you who have gotten your checks and contracts back to me. We have a couple left to finalize, which I expect to receive in the next few days.
As you know, our horses shipped to Ocala in September. Before they left we had a fun Bon Voyage get-together at the farm, which many of you attended, complete with Mimosa’s and Aperol Spritzes! Enthusiasm was high, the weather was delightful, and Tony and Robin led an informative tour of the barn and paddocks.
Our horses are settling in at their new farm, and adjusting to their training routine. They are being lunged (When you lunge a horse, it moves around you in a circle on the end of a line) under saddle in the round pen, and as they progress, will begin to be introduced to having a rider on them. Once they’ve progressed a bit more, we’ll be having regular training reports, which I’ll share with you.
Great news from The Jockey Club – Our silks have been approved ! I have attached a rough mock-up (below) – my artwork is pretty basic, but you’ll get the general idea. I think they’re great, and even the woman at the Jockey Club complimented them. They are described as: Plain black body with orange collar and logo on chest and back. Orange sleeves with yellow diamonds on seam. Solid black cap.
SEPTEMBER 19, 2019
Members and family of Saratoga Ten LP visited Sugar Plum Farm Sunday to have a tour and say goodbye and good luck to the partnership yearlings who left this morning for Florida.
It was a great turnout and lots of fun ! Call anytime to come visit the farm.