Milestones? Al Stall Jr. won his 1,500th race Saturday afternoon when Behavioral Bliss won a 7-furlong maiden early on Whitney Day. Off to a fast start at Saratoga, Stall is 3-for-8 so far. (Originally published in the Aug. 7 issue of The Saratoga Special)
With 13 horses at Saratoga, 20 at Churchill Downs and another 20 at Evangeline Downs, Stall’s roster runs the gamut from Woodward hopeful Tom’s d’Etat to Louisiana-bred debut winner Andthebandplayedon to Amsterdam runner-up Excitations.
Since beginning his career in 1991, Stall has campaigned Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame, West Virginia Derby winner Departing and Star Guitar, winner of 24 races from 30 starts. The Louisiana wunderkind is off to a strong start as a stallion.
“The Star Guitars are popping, it’s unbelievable,” Stall said. “We had a 2-year-old win Thursday night. My main assistant, Pam Fitzgerald, told me the horse could really run, 3-5 on the board, 59 and 1 like it was nothing. He’s been doing that pretty regularly. I’ve got about half a dozen Star Guitars. We never clipped him in six years, he was an oil painting for six years, his coat never grew out in the winter, he was always as slick as a seal. He won the last 10 races of his career, 10 in a row.”
Early on Whitney morning, The Special’s Sean Clancy talked to Stall about his Saratoga arsenal.
Tom’s d’Etat: One of the barn’s winners at the meet, he earned possible spot in Grade 1 Woodward field with easy victory in July 27 allowance. “He’s our hope. He ran phenomenally the other day, we’re pointing for the Woodward, he came out of it nice, we’re doing a vigil in front of his stall. We think he’s a top animal, he’s a good physical and the pedigree matches. Frankie Wooten and I picked him out. He was a little sleepy as a young horse, got a P1 chip, which was fine, more time. We had trouble finding a race to get him started, because we didn’t want to sprint him, we threw him on the grass, that didn’t work, as soon as we went back to the dirt, he’s been strong, really strong. His figs are unbelievably good. He’s got the looks of a nice horse. We’re going for it, you don’t tell a man who’s won a Super Bowl, ‘Let’s try a little Grade 3 somewhere.’ We’re excited, that will keep us going for the rest of the meet.”
Segment: Adele Dilschneider’s 2-year-old filly by Algorithms out of Detach shows two half-mile breezes at Saratoga after four at Churchill Downs. “She’s a half to Apart, who we won the Super Derby with, and a half to Unlatch, who won the Woodchopper for us. Forward, Algorithms seem to be precocious, we’ll run her in the last book.”
Minnie Blip: Beau Lane homebred daughter of Algorithms finished ninth in Saturday’s Grade 1 Test after winning allowance June 22. “She shipped up well, trained well.”
Blip n’ Th Bye: Beau Lane homebred by Tale Of Ekati won last spring’s Cajun Miss at Evangeline and finished second in Grade 2 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs. She finished sixth in turf allowance July 27. “Caught soft turf the other day, should have scratched, they took all the races off and left that on, she struggled. We’re going to make sure we find the right race on firm ground, either surface. Nice filly, Grade 2 placed. Three-other-thans are tough to find, We’ll regroup on her and find her a spot we’re comfortable with.”
Kilroy Was Here: Two-year-old son of Distorted Humor is out of Miss Kilroy, by A.P. Indy. He’s worked three times at Saratoga, including a half in :50.37 on the main track July 30. “We’re going to try to run him in the third book, out of A.P. Indy mare, looks like a miniature Cloud Computing, I hope he’s somewhat like that.”
Excitations: Fair Grounds Racing Club’s 3-year-old son of Into Mischief finished second in the Grade 2 Amsterdam, improving on a fifth in the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs June 17. “Came out of the Amsterdam well, ran second, ran hard, we are back on track. He got lost and I got lost this spring at Churchill, we’re both happy to get back on track. I don’t know what happened this spring, I know one was two turns and the Pat Day Mile was in knee-deep mud, I don’t know what happened. I’m thinking, ‘what?’ We loved this horse at the Fair Grounds, we loved him when he ran off the screen at Keeneland, then all of a sudden, he’s a bum? And there’s not a pimple on him. I was happy to see him get back into it. We’ll take a good look at the Allen Jerkens.”
Aubenas: Richard Colton Jr.’s, Stella Thayer’s and Mark Blieden’s French-bred finished 10th in his U.S. debut in Saturday’s Fasig-Tipton Lure Stakes. Before the race Stall offered the following: “If he wins, it’s my training. If he loses, it’s theirs, that’s the gameplan. Nice horse. We love the horse, nice, sound and strong, he’s Americanized already.”
C Z Rocket: Frank Fletcher Racing Operations spent $800,000 on unraced 3-year-old son of City Zip last year. He’s breezed four times at Saratoga, including 5 furlongs in 1:01.88 on the main track Sunday. “Big, growthy horse, never run, we took a lot of time with him, he’s actually looking like a horse. You know what City Zips look like, I could give you a list of 100 sires, I guarantee you City Zip would be in the fifth quintile, maybe the last horse you would guess. He is a big beast.”
Hold Me Black: G M B Racing’s 3-year-old Virginia-bred son of Hold Me Back just missed in Aug. 3 allowance going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf, finishing second by three-quarters of a length at 13-1 to Dream Mover. A $20,000 buy at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale, he’s won two of 11 and earned $87,956. “Ran super hard from the 12 hole Thursday, got beat right at the wire. Va-bred, we were trying to get the 30 percent bonus. He tried, we’ll run him in the last book.”
Behavioral Bias: Another winner for the barn, 3-year-old Shackleford gelding broke his maiden in 7-furlong maiden Aug. 5. Brittlyn Stables owns the Kentucky-bred, who was purchased for $27,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May 2-year-olds in training sale. “Trains sharp, shipped up well, acclimated well, we are looking forward to running him, seven eighths, he had a nice comeback race at Churchill off the layoff, he’s set up to run well.”
Economies Of Scale: Klaravich Stable’s unraced 3-year-old daughter of Congrats out of the Carson City mare Wicked Delight cost $105,000 as a yearling. He’s breezed four times in Saratoga, including half-mile on the Oklahoma turf in :50.29 July 28. “Stretchy, long, a galloper, seems to have a little quality to her. We entered her for Wednesday.”
Likeitlikethat: Three-year-old son of Midnight Lute drops into claiming ranks for first time for $50,000 tag in today’s fourth. Winless in five starts, he finished third in 6-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill June 25. “He’s in for 50 Monday. Hard-trying horse, bought him as a young horse, he’s sorted himself out at this level.”
Amity: Columbine Stable’s 2-year-old daughter of Street Sense out of winning Awesome Again mare Intimacy breezed 5 furlongs from the gate Sunday in 1:02.77. “She’s going to run on the grass later in the meet, she’s done very well up here, I’ve seen a lot of filling in and growing, she’s got a champion, Forever Together, in her second dam. She breezed once on the turf, did fine, you can only breeze maidens twice on the grass, so we’ll save her other one.”