2017 Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour with David Cannizzo

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David Cannizzo grew up in a racing family and even though he excelled at lacrosse in high school and college, he always seemed destined for a career involving horses. (Originally published in Aug. 25 issue of The Saratoga Special.)

The 35-year-old trainer started walking horses for his father Ron at Finger Lakes at age 7, learning the game like most racetracker kids, before and after school, on weekends and holidays, vacations and any other time he was needed. Cannizzo eventually ventured away from Finger Lakes and worked for Dale Romans, Scott Lake and Bruce Levine before going out on his own in 2007.

Cannizzo, assisted by his wife Carolyn and bedded down in Mike Hushion’s old barn inside Clare Court for the first time this summer, is 4-for-33 at the meet with three seconds and two thirds heading into today’s Saratoga Showcase Day card.

Asked by The Special’s Tom Law to identify the best member of his Saratoga string Wednesday morning, Cannizzo played diplomat. “It’s pretty hard to say who is the actual best,” he said. “We’ve got a few nice horses, let’s just go through them.”

Royal Inheritance: Joseph Bulger’s 3-year-old New York-bred daughter of Regal Ransom cost $32,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds sale. She’s won four of five, including 6-furlong allowance here Aug. 6. “We gave her the right amount of time after that sale, she had some shins and stuff, let her come around and she hasn’t let us down. She’s pointing to the Prioress.”

Hookup: Owned by Cannizzo and Secure Investments, 3-year-old son of Union Rags is half-brother to graded stakes winners American Freedom and Gotcha Gold won first time out at Aqueduct in November then finished eighth in Grade 2 Remsen. Off until Aug. 19, he returned with third going 9 furlongs. “He came out of the Remsen and we gave him time to mature, the whole winter off. He made his first start the other day, had a brutal trip, a ton of trouble, probably was much the best. He’s got a very bright future. One of the better 3-year-olds I would say in the crop. He’s got to get some more maturity and he’s going to be a serious animal. I wanted to give him an easy race off the eight-month layoff. He ran big. Go back and watch the replay, it was an awful trip. He’s the real deal, probably the best horse in the barn.”

Hardened: Cannizzo’s and Secure Investment’s 3-year-old Hard Spun colt broke his maiden at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf Aug. 4 off more than nine-month layoff. “Turf horse, I got like one start into him in November, gave him the winter off. Big heavy horse, took me a long time to get him ready. He ran dynamite here. He’ll either run in an a-other than at the end of the meet or a straight 3-year-old stake at Belmont ($100,000 Allied Forces Sept. 10).”

Bellamy Way: A competitor in the state-bred stakes ranks at 2, 3, 4 and 5, Two Tone Farm’s son of Bellamy Road finished seventh in Grade 3 Excelsior at Aqueduct, won an open allowance at Belmont and finished fourth in allowance won by Tom’s d’Etat here July 27. “He’s a fan favorite, been there, done that. He’s won his share of races. We might be looking for a start toward Belmont. We ran him here in the open two other than, it was a tough spot, he didn’t care for the surface, a heavy, wet, drying out track. He’s a good horse with a big family.”

Fox Rules: Ivery Sisters Racing’s 8-year-old Roman Ruler gelding goes in today’s $150,000 West Point. A frontrunner in many of his starts, including a win three back at Belmont May 17, he’s expected to rate today. “We claimed him for 40. I’d been waiting to try and buy him for two years for a rabbit for a horse like Bellamy Way. Couldn’t get a deal done, Michelle Nevin took over the training for Mike Ferraro and put him in for 40. I was like, ‘you’re coming home with me.’ He’s done everything right since we’ve had him.”

Black Tide: Also owned by Ivery Sisters, 5-year-old Hold Me Back gelding opened 11-length lead in July 30 allowance and hung on to win. He’s expected to do the same in today’s West Point. “There’s no one that will be near him. He’ll be 10, 15 in front. Very interesting horse. I’d watched him run for a few years, he’d hang going short, hang going short, get in trouble. I said, ‘man, he’s all turf horse, we’re going to claim him.’ Claimed him from Michelle Nevin, thought he’s a funny horse and planned to just give him one race on the dirt going long. Run him, David Jacobson claimed him. I claimed him for the turf, I know Dave, I know the horse doesn’t really care for the dirt and figured we’d get him back for cheaper. We did, so we made $10,000 there on the re-purchase. Then I decided to sit on him. It was toward the middle to end of winter, so there wasn’t any point to send him to the farm so we kept him in training. I decided I’d stretch this horse out and let him do what he wants to do, blinkers and to the lead. We never looked back.”

Battle Midway: Claimed from Nick Zito for $16,000 last summer at Saratoga, 5-year-old by Quality Road has won four of 15 for new connections including the More To Tell Stakes on Aqueduct’s Claiming Championship Series in April. “He’s turned out to be an amazing claim and has made about $200,000 for us. Done nothing wrong and he’s up there as one of the best claims I’ve made. He’s still knocking. He was second to Rachel Alexandra’s brother (Fayeq), who’s in the Travers. He just keeps coming. I’m going to main track only him later in the meet, and if not there’s something at Parx at the end of September.”

Momameamaria: Five-year-old mare owned by Two Tone Farm finished second in the 2016 Shine Again and fourth this year. “Very nice filly. Pleasure to be around, going to be a great broodmare. I’m trying to get that one stakes win somewhere for her pedigree. Gives us everything. Sort of a funny horse, she’s got her quirks about her, real nervous. We train her a little different than the other horses and it’s always worked out. We keep her here in Clare Court, long walks before she goes to the track, long walks home, just let her do her own thing, keep her happy and quiet. She’s nervous so we’re just trying to keep the stress level down.”

Rachel’s Temper: Newtown Anner Stud’s 6-year-old daughter of Flatter won last year’s Summer Colony and finished fourth in same race here Aug. 20. She’s won six times and earned $387,755. “She ran through her conditions, I lost her, we bought her back. Came back off a long layoff the other day, needed the race, hung in the Summer Colony. On the mend back and going the right direction.”

Rectify: Claimed for Mike Repole for $40,000 here July 30. Finished last in Thursday’s eighth race, an $85,000 New York-bred allowance that attracted a strong field. “Solid New York-bred that I claimed off Charlie Baker the other day. (Thursday’s race was a) solid, solid field that’s like a stakes race. It’s like a Grade 3 how tough it came up. He’s a good competitor. I’ve worked for Mike for years, from Scott Lake to Bruce Levine to on my own. Great guy, great operation, wants to do good and wants you to excel.”

Chanel’s Legacy: Multiple stakes winner in Midwest and Southwest was recently transferred to Cannizzo by Poindexter Thoroughbreds. Sixth in Grade 1 Test Aug. 5, 3-year-old Iowa-bred daughter of Dominus has five wins in 13 starts. “She’s a solid filly that beat up on a lot of horses out west in Oklahoma and Arkansas.”

Ego: Allen Poindexter spent $20,000 last year for 2-year-old son of Quality Road. He’s breezed three times at Saratoga, including 3 furlongs in :38.09 from the gate Aug. 14. “He’s a very big 2-year-old. Probably more like a 3-year-old but should probably make his first start the second or third week of Belmont. We’ll get a race into him, see where we are.”

Classic Pursuit: Poindexter homebred 2-year-old by Street Sense shows four breezes at Saratoga, including a gate work Aug. 14 and a 5-furlong move in 1:02.67 on the main track Tuesday. “He’s a half to Joe Sharp’s good horse Cool Arrow that won the Springboard Mile and a couple other stakes. He could run here the last week of the meet.”

Dannie’s Deceiver: Z R J Stable’s 5-year-old by Quality Road finished fourth in Grade 1 Forego and sixth in Grade 1 Vosburgh last year. Three-time winner and $274,074 earner suffered suspensory injury and was vanned off in allowance race last November at Aqueduct. He’s not with the string but never far from Cannizzo’s thoughts. “He means everything to me. It ruined me the day he got hurt, it hurt me real bad. We’ve done everything with him, stem cell, PRP, he spent some time at Mike Schrader’s farm. If he makes it back fine, if not, we’ll figure something out. He’ll be with me until the time comes. He’s one of the five horses that you truly can’t let go and be without.”

Little Bear Cat: Multiple stakes-placed 4-year-old Bluegrass Cat filly is on the sidelines after going 1-3-2 in seven starts this spring, including a second in the Xtra Heat Stakes. Carolyn: “That’s my baby.” David: “We bought her as a yearling for $8,000. She’s the first yearling that we bought together. She won a two-other-than for $40,000 and she deserved a break. I squeezed her a lot, she doesn’t have the most talent, but she gives you everything she’s got. She went through all her New York-bred conditions. She’s my daughter’s horse.”

Blessed Halo: A maiden winner and ninth in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont this spring, son of Kantharos started comeback at Saratoga before it was cut short. “He went to the farm a week ago, was a little banged up and we’re going to give him some time.”

Virtual Machine: Second in last year’s Rushaway at Turfway and ninth in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on the Belmont Stakes undercard, he’s been off since a fifth in the State Dinner July 3. “We gave him a little breather too. He’ll be back for the winter, he loves Aqueduct and that’s where we’re going to look to do some damage with him. He’s 2-for-2 over there. He raced in some big races after the Westchester (second), and just wasn’t firing the same and needed a little freshening.”

Amigo: The barn’s ice-tea drinking 12-year-old pony lounged in his round pen just outside the shedrow Wednesday but was back in action with Carolyn aboard Thursday morning near Clare Court. David: “We purchased him this winter, after our old pony retired, from a client of mine out of Ocala, Secure Investments. He’s the mascot, gets everybody there and to. He’s the lifeguard of the pool. He’s like a big dog.” Carolyn: “He’s got some life. He’s a little spoiled. … He almost bucked me off on the turf course a week ago, caused a massive scene. Then he had a week off because I was so sore I couldn’t get on him. Today’s the first day I’ve been back on him.”