Horse racing notes: 34-1 and 69-1 shots take top two spots in Turfway Park's Wintergreen Stakes

January 4, 2014 

Trainer Brian Michael (green cap, front) earned his first stakes victory with La Malaguena's win in the Wintergreen Stakes at Turfway Park on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014.

JOHN C. ENGELHARDT — Pat Lang Photography

Running in her first stakes race, 34-1 shot La Malaguena won the $60,000 Wintergreen Stakes at Turfway Park by half a length on Saturday. It was also trainer Brian Michael's first stakes victory.

Aggressive Elegance was second at 69-1, capping a $2,996.80 exacta.

The final time for the one-mile Wintergreen was 1:37.34.

Owner Alan Tennenbaum claimed La Malaguena for $20,000 from Peachtree Stable and trainer Dale Romans out of a race at Keeneland last spring.

Asked what caught his and Tennenbaum's attention, Michael said, "She'd run in California, Florida, and New York — she had literally been in every corner of the country, and she was running in some of the toughest maiden special weights in the country. And she was putting up some good numbers. She's small but she's very gritty. She's cool, calm and collected. She's just a smart mare. She keeps grinding and grinding, and she's just gotten better."

From 20 starts, 5-year-old La Malaguena now has five wins, five seconds, and four thirds and earnings of $148,282.

Noble Moon wins Derby prep race at Aqueduct

Noble Moon and Fierce Boots won stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday, the first major 3-year-old races of the season in New York.

Noble Moon, the 4-5 favorite, held off Classic Giacnroll by two lengths in the $200,000 Jerome. Irad Ortiz Jr. was aboard for trainer Leah Gyarmati as Noble Moon got his second victory in three starts. With the victory, Noble Moon earned 10 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

"It's a good sign that he can win and go two turns and fight them off, whether he's on the lead or not," Gyarmati said. "As a rider, you can maneuver him, so that's always handy. He's going to have to step it up again, obviously, because there are some nice horses out there beyond Aqueduct."

Fierce Boots, owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, scored a pacesetting 8-1 upset in the $100,000 Busanda for fillies. Her margin was also two lengths. Jose Ortiz was in the saddle for trainer Todd Pletcher. In winning for the second time in five races, Fierce Boots got 10 qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks.

Awesome Baby wins Santa Ynez at Santa Anita

Awesome Baby led all the way in a half-length victory at Santa Anita in the $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Ridden by Mike Smith, Awesome Baby ran 6 furlongs in 1:16.62.

The victory, worth $120,000, increased Awesome Baby's career earnings to $170,250 with two wins in four starts.

"She ran dynamite," Smith said. "She broke really well, was well in hand until I needed to ask her and I just showed her the whip and she kept running."

Shackleford's first foal a filly

Shackleford, a winner of the Preakness, Met Mile and Clark Handicap, sired his first foal when a filly was born on Saturday at Alastar Thoroughbreds near Nicholasville.

The chestnut filly — sporting a strong white blaze like her sire — is out of the stakes-placed Saint Ballado mare Angel Flying.

"She's gorgeous," said Luke Sullivan, manager of Alastar Farm. "She is a tall, racy filly with a face just like Shack."

Shackleford, who bred 168 mares in his first book, will stand the 2014 season at Darby Dan Farm for a fee of $20,000.

Two horses die in training accident at Belmont Park

Four-time graded stakes winner Caixa Eletronica and another horse died after a training accident at Belmont Park.

Caixa Eletronica was galloping on the training track Saturday morning when he collided with Six Drivers, who was running loose after dumping his rider behind the starting gate. Caixa Eletronica sustained a skull fracture and Six Drivers broke its neck.

Caixa Eletronica was owned by Mike Repole and trained by Todd Pletcher. The 9-year-old horse won seven stakes, including the Westchester, the Charles Town Classic and the True North Handicap. Caixa Eletronica had earned more than $1.8 million.

"He was such an iron horse," Repole said. "For him to pass away like this makes no sense. I told Todd, 'If this horse ever gets a pimple on his rear, I'll retire him.' Todd said, 'I wish my 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds were super sound like this horse.'"

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