13 Florida-breds nominated to 2022 Triple Crown

Make It Big photo credit: Lauren King

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Posted February 9, 2022 | By Michael Compton

A total of 312 3-year-old Thoroughbreds, including 13 Florida-breds, have been nominated to this year’s Triple Crown series when the early nomination period closed on Jan. 29. The number of early nominations this year (horses from the 2019 foal crop) dropped 4.3 percent from last year’s early nominations total of 326.

Each runner was made eligible for the Triple Crown through a $600 payment, which will allow them to compete in any Triple Crown race should they qualify. The 148th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) is May 7 at Churchill Downs; the 147th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) will take place at Pimlico Race Course on May 21, and the 154th Belmont Stakes (G1) is slated for June 11 at Belmont Park.

Trainers with Ocala/Marion County ties include a pair of Hall of Famers in Todd Pletcher, who led all trainers with 42 horses nominated to the Triple Crown, and Mark Casse, who is represented by 12 runners topped by Florida-bred Pappacap, a graded stakes winner last season at two and runner-up in the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

Following are brief snapshots of the 13 Sunshine State products that have been made eligible for this year’s Triple Crown:

(Brethren-Alexandra Rylee)
Owned and bred by Ocala’s Arindel Farm and trained by Juan Alvarado.
Most recently third in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park, Clapton finished third in last year’s Juvenile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

(Overanalyze-Real Ruffian)
Owned by Calumet Farm; bred by Giraluna Stables Inc.; trained by Keith Desormeaux.
Stabled in Louisiana at the Fair Grounds and a graduate of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s March sale in 2021, Jeeper has not started since a runner-up effort in a maiden event at the Fair Grounds last December.

Make It Big
(Neolithic-Ruby On My Mind)
Owned by Red Oak Stable; bred by SHH Ventures; trained by Joseph Saffie Jr.)
An undefeated colt in his first three starts, Make It Big is a two-time stakes winner for Ocala’s Red Oak Stable. After breaking his maiden by an impressive 8 ½ lengths at Gulfstream Park last October, the $120,000 OBS graduate immediately jumped into stakes company. He rattled off facile scores in both the Juvenile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream Park and he proved he could handle shipping out of state when he captured the Springboard Mile at Remington Park in Oklahoma. He is scheduled to make his next start in Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

“He really caught our eye at OBS when he breezed an eighth-mile in :10 1/5 (at the auction’s under-tack preview) and galloped out nicely,” said Rick Sacco, Red Oak’s racing manager, of the long-striding colt. “He’s a very smart horse and an exceptional Florida-bred. He kind of surprised us in his first race at seven furlongs, displaying that kind of speed in his debut. He’s a game-day horse. Then he showed another dimension in his second start. He got dirt kicked in his face and made a sweeping move to win. The race at Remington Park came up at the right time. The timing offered us a perfect opportunity to try  two turns (a route of ground), and he needed to ship out of state. He handled everything, and even the fact that the race was at night. We’re heading into a lot deeper waters on Saturday, but everything we have asked of him he has done.”

Make It Big’s trainer Joseph Saffie Jr. said about his charge’s next test on Saturday, “We didn’t expect the race to come up this tough, but I’m excited to see how he stacks up.”

(Social Inclusion-Peruvian Jane)
Owned by Santa Rosa Racing Stables; bred by Sergio Ripamonti; trained by Juan Avila)
A sharp 2 ½-length winner of the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 15, Markhamian broke his maiden in scintillating fashion in December, running his rivals off their feet with a 4 ½-length triumph in just his second career outing.

Mongolian Ninja
(Daredevil-Ashley’s Babe)
Owned by Mongolian Stable; bred by Katherine Devail and Nancy Gould; trained by Enebish Ganbat
Mongolian Ninja is unraced and has been training in Southern California at Santa Anita.

Mr Rum Runner
(Uncaptured-Jitterbug Blues)
Owned by Lanes Mark Racing Stable and Danny Pate; bred by J.F. Webb; trained by Patrick Biancone)
Mr Rum Runner is twice stakes-placed, having finished third most recently in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes on Jan. 1 at Gulfstream Park. He also finished second in last year’s Juvenile Stakes at Gulfstream after setting all the pace and will be facing Make It Big in Saturday’s Sam F. Davis Stakes.

(Brethren-Star Recruit)
Owned and bred by Arindel and trained by Carlos David
A two-time stakes winner last season as a 2-year-old, Octane captured the FTBOA Florida Sire Affirmed Stakes last August and the FTBOA Florida Sire In Reality Stakes in front-running fashion in his first try over a route of ground in September.

(Gun Runner-Pappascat)
Owned and bred by Rustlewood Farm and trained by Mark Casse
Pappacap had a busy summer in 2021. The handsome bay colt earned his first graded stakes victory in his initial stakes try last August, taking the Best Pal Stakes (G2) at Del Mar as he pleased by 4 ¾ lengths. A wire-to-wire winner in his career debut in his prior start, Pappacap went on to finish second to division leader Corniche in the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita and finished second to that rival again in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last November to close out his strong freshman campaign. He made his first start of 2022 in the Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds where he finished a determined third as the race favorite. Pappacap, who continues to train forwardly for Casse in Louisiana, has already banked $596,000 in his young career.

Pioneering Papa
(Classic Empire-Conquest Archangel)
Owned by Decker Racing; bred by English Range Farm; trained by George Papaprodromou
Pioneering Papa was purchased at OBS last year and has not started yet. He is based in California and is training at Santa Anita.

(Not This Time-Simply Confection)
Owned by Tami Bobo; bred by France and Irwin Weiner; trained by Antonio Sano
A game runner-up in last week’s Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park, Simplification tossed his head at the start and still ran admirably to finish second in the key prep for the Florida Derby (G1). Prior to the Holy Bull, Simplification was a dominant four-length winner of the $150,000 Mucho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Smarten Up
(American Freedom-Sarah Cataldo)
Owned by Happy Tenth Stable; bred by Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck; trained by Alfredo Velazquez
A nine-length maiden winner last year at PARX, Smarten Up, who sold for $50,000 at OBS last year, finished second in the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct on Jan. 1. He was unplaced in the Withers Stakes (G3) in his next start.

Owned and bred by Ocala’s Live Oak Stud and trained by Mark Casse
The gray or roan colt broke his maiden in his most recent start at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 8, wiring a field at one mile on the turf in his second career start.

(Uncaptured-Petunia Face)
Owned by Angela Adams, James Michael Connors, Paris Oliver Connors, and Richard Rasmussen; bred by Dennis Edward Foster; trained by Tim McCanna
A four-length winner of an optional claiming event at Golden Gate Fields in Northern California on Jan. 14, Unraptured was a $70,000 OBS graduate. He is a winner in 2-of-3 lifetime starts and has won on turf and over Golden Gate’s synthetic surface.

Horses not nominated during the early phase can be made eligible with a $6,000 late payment due by March 28.

A total of 13 horses have swept the Triple Crown series: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Florida-bred Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015), and Justify (2018).




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