News and Notes for June 27, 2013


Witt’s Five, a homebred for TTA Director Henry Witt Jr. won in his first race, a 5 ½ furlong maiden special weight at Lone Star Park on June 22.  Trained by Amanda Barton, the gelding by first-crop stallion Five Demon Bag is also the first foal produced by the Graeme Hall mare Taitt Hill.  The mare also has a yearling by Witt’s stallion Drums of Thunder.

Clarence Scharbauer Jr.’s homebred Fiftyshadesofgold exited her impressive eight-length victory in Saturday night’s Debutante at Churchill Downs in good order, according to trainer Bret Calhoun.

It was the first Churchill Downs stakes victory for the Scharbauer family’s familiar blue and white diamond silks since Clarence Scharbauer Jr.’s late wife, Dorothy, and daughter Pam won the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Classic with ’87 Kentucky Derby winner Alysheba. Keeping it in the family even more, Fiftyshadesofgold’s third dam is Grade 2 queen Alysbelle, who is a full sister to Alysheba.

Speaking about Peppers Pride, Frank Taylor of Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville, Kentucky  where the 10-year-old daughter of Desert God now resides says, “She just does everything right.”

Bred and owned by TTA director Joe Allen of Abilene, Peppers Pride did everything right during her racing career, too. From July 16, 2005, to Dec. 14, 2008, the mare had the longest undefeated career by a modern North American Thoroughbred. The 19-race streak included 14 stakes wins, and she earned $1,066,085.

Just as Peppers Pride’s mental attributes and personality made her an ideal racehorse, that disposition has endeared the mare to her caretakers at Taylor Made Farm, where she is boarded for Allen and Michael Stinson, who now co-owns her.

Now in foal to Hard Spun, Peppers Pride produced her third foal, a colt by Malibu Moon, on Feb. 22. Her first two foals are by Distorted Humor – a filly foaled in 2011 and a yearling colt. The filly, named Funny Pepper, is at a training center in New Mexico, preparing to join trainer Joel Marr’s string to see if she can follow in her mother’s large hoofprints.

Willcox Inn, who ran third in the Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Turf Cup at Sam Houston Race Park on January 26, continues to have solid results in graded stakes. The 5-year-old turf specialist is owned by Lael Stable and All In Stable, a group which includes Houstonian John Adger.

The Daily Racing Form reported that Willcox Inn will be pointed to the Grade 1, $500,000 United Nations Stakes on July 6 at Monmouth Park. Following the Connally, the Kentucky-bred runner finished second in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Handicap on March 30 at Fair Grounds and another game runner-up effort at Pimlico in the Grade 2 Dixie on Preakness Day.

Trained by Michael Stidham, Willcox Inn has bankrolled $835,443, and continues to impress his connections.

November 9th marks the nineteenth renewal of the M2 Technology La Senorita Stakes for 2-year-old fillies and the El Joven for 2-year-old colts and geldings at Retama Park.

Both have a $75,000-guaranteed purse and will be contested at one mile on the turf, with first preference given to stakes winners and second preference based on highest earnings.

For either race, there is a $100 nomination fee due on or before July 5th, with a $200 sustaining payment due August 9th.  Late nominations will be accepted on August 9th by payment of $500.  There is a $750 entry fee and a $1,000 fee to start.  Supplementary nominations may be made by the closing time of entries at a fee of $4,500 which includes all fees.

For more information, contact the Retama Park racing office at (210) 651-7040 or 1-800-4RETAMA.  Forms are also online at

A number of construction workers were injured last Saturday when a portion of the Texas A&M equine center under construction on the west side of the campus collapsed.

Workers were in elevated positions tying steel together on the 35-foot-tall, 300-foot-long barn on F&B Road near FM 2818 when they came down, College Station Fire Department spokesperson Bart Humphries said.

An executive with Gamma Construction Company said construction was going well before Saturday’s building collapse that injured five workers.  He also said construction was halted while the company is waiting for clearance from federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators.

OSHA regional spokesman Juan Rodriguez said federal investigators were in College Station on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. According to Rodriguez, the investigation could take up to six months to complete.

Ground was broken in October 2012 on the equine center. The first phase of the $80 million project was set for completion in 2014.

The British Horseracing Authority may add testing mane and tail samples from horses as it strives to improve testing measures and catch any illegal substances.

According to an article in The Guardian, BHA officials will more than likely add the drug testing of horsehair to their drug testing arsenal. The hair in a horse’s mane or tail can provide evidence of the substances in its body throughout the time that the hair has taken to grow. This would be “invaluable in detecting sustained use of steroids.”

NOTES: In his latest column at, Bill Finley says small field sizes for recent major races indicate a desperate need to cut down on the number of racing dates… Washington officials have released a list of 34 state agencies that will close on July 1 if the state’s legislature fails to pass a budget, including the Horse Racing Commission – and Emerald Downs…Texas Bling returned to Lone Star Park this week to begin serious preparations for the $400k Oklahoma Derby (Gr. 3) at Remington Park… Join LSP track announcer John Lies for Jockeys and Java on Saturday morning with special guests veteran Lone Star Park jockey Roman Chapa and leading owner Danny Keene…Dollar Day is this Saturday at Lone Star Park with $1 Beer, $1 Hot Dogs, $1 Soft Drinks, $1 Admission, $1 Programs and $1 Popcorn; it is also Fan Appreciation Day and patrons can enter before 2:00 pm to win cash, gift cards and more…Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of Jim Hudson, who passed away this week at age 70; services are scheduled for 1pm on Monday, July 1st in the Smith Chapel at Riverbend Church in Austin.

News and Notes will be on hiatus while I am on vacation in Nova Scotia for the next couple of weeks visiting my daughter.  Best of racing luck to everyone, and Happy 4th!