Isabelle de Tomaso's home bred Irish War Cry has been named the 2017 New Jersey-bred Horse of the Year as well as New Jersey's 3-year-old of the year by the state's Thoroughbred Breeders' Association.
In his first start of 2018 and his first as a 4-year-old, the chestnut son of champion Curlin from the Polish Numbers mare Irish Sovereign battled hammer and tongs down the stretch with Economic Model before losing a 1-3/4-length decision in Gulfstream Park's $100,000, Grade 3 Hal's Hope Stakes On Feb. 24.
Irish War Cry lead all Jersey-breds in money won last year when he collected $966,660 from seven starts that included wins in Gulfstream's $350,000, Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes and Aqueduct's $750,000, Grade 2 Wood Memorial.
After those two wins on the road to the Triple Crown, Irish War Cry sustained some trouble at the start of the Kentucky Derby and finished 10th. After trainer Graham Motion decided to skip the Preakness, Irish War Cry rebounded in the Belmont Stakes. After leading for most of the mile and a half, he was bumped in the stretch and ended up second to Tapwrit by two lengths.
Mrs. deTomaso and Motion took dead aim at Monmouth Park's $1 million, Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, the track's flagship event that is named for Mrs. deTomaso's father, Monmouth Park founder Amory L. Haskell. Their colt was in a challenging position until they went wide on the far turn and finished fourth.
Despite making her homes in Palm Beach and in Italy in recent years, Mrs. deTomaso has been loyal to the Jersey-bred program by having her mares foal in the state before being shipped out for their initial training for the race track.
Motion prepared Irish War Cry for his 2018 campaign with three bullet works at his winter base in Palm Meadows.
His Feb. 3, 6-furlong work went in 1:12.15. A week a later it was 1:15 for the same distance. His final tune-up, one week before his start, was 6 furlongs in 1:13.60. All three of those attracted the eyes of the bettors who sent him off as the 19 to 10 favorite against six rivals in the one-mile Hal's Hope on Gulfstream's main track.
The colt was never farther back than fourth in the Hal's Hope but was stuck in traffic going up the backstretch. New York riding champion Jose Ortiz managed to get an opening near the quarter pole and set out after Klaravich Stables and Lawrence's Economic Model down the lane just outside his rival.
Through the stretch, it was the battle of the Ortiz brothers with Jose beating his older Brother, Irad, the rider on Economic Model for New York champion trainer Chad Brown. The 5-year old Economic Model stopped the timer in 1:36.50 after his trip over a fast track for his fifth win from 14 starts.
After the race, Jose Ortiz said Irish War Cry “...was coming off a long layoff. We didn't want to get caught in a speed duel. I finally got out at the quarter pole. I thought he was going to win. My horse hasn't run in a long time. I think he will improve."
New Jersey-Bred Awards
Anthony and Gaston Grant's Green Gratto received top honors as champion older male and champion sprinter on the strength of wins in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap and the Grade 3 Toboggan Stakes during 2017. The son of Here's Zealous from Starship Smokester, a Gaston Grant trainee, earned over $350,000 during the year. The 7-year-old was bred by Kaz Hill Farm at Hamptonburgh, N.Y.
Like What I See, a gelded son of Bold Warrior from the Lost Soldier mare After the Applause, was honored as New Jersey's 2-year-old after winning Woodbine's Colin Stakes. He was bred by Hal Snowden, Jr. at Wilmore, Ky. and was sold to Julienne Lewis, Martha K.Gonzolez, Richard Rizzo and Ralph Klicker at the Ocala 2015 Fall Mixed Sale for $13,000. Nicholas Gonzalez trains him for the ownership group.
Forbidden Isle produced the champion 3-year-old filly for the second year in a row. Her daughter by Cable Girl, Liz's Cable Girl, posted five wins from eight starts earning $148,120 for owners Lizabeth Dodd, John Cocce, Peter Donnelly, Gerard Melley and trainer Patrick McBurney. She was bred at Colonial Farms at Colt's Neck, N.J.
Bustin Out, racing in the colors of Joseph and Gayle Ioia, earned her second straight N.J.-bred championship as older female. The daughter of Bustin Stones from Disco Shaker was bred by Dianne Boyken. In 2017, the Chuck Spina trainee won the Eleven North Handicap and finished in the Regret and Pumpkin Pie Stakes to earn $107,920 for the year. She was retired with lifetime purse earnngs of $354,132,
Another Isabelle de Tomaso home-bred, Irish Strait, was voted turf runner of the year after wins in Monmouth's Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes, a second place in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes and a third place finish in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes. Irish Strait, a 5-year-old son of English Channel out of the Polish Numbers stallion Irish Sovereign, is also a Graham Motion trainee.
Mrs. de Tomaso also took home Irish Sovereign's second straight trophy as Jersey-bred Broodmare of the Year. Her 18-year-old mare has produced six winners from six off springs who have started including Irish War Cry.
Hey Chub, who stands at Danny Lopez' Joe-Dan Farm at Medford, N.J., was honored as stallion-of-the-year for the second time. The 18-year-old son of Carson City from from the Spend A Buck mare Donna Doo is the sire, among others, of Chubilicious, the winner of Maryland's Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash and the earner of over a half million dollars.
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