Ogermeister was dominant in the first two year old MSW at Belmont 2013
Silver Train Colt Leads U.S. Invaders in Windsor Castle Stakes
From a historical perspective, Ascot Racecourse, founded in 1711, has offered almost continuous racing for over 300 years and 164 years of racing before the first Kentucky Derby. The race program has evolved over time, especially since 1945 and the end of World War II. Ascot is inextricably tied to the British Royal Family, which adds to the tradition and attractiveness of the summer meet known as Royal Ascot. It is easily one, if not, the most famous and popular race meeting in Europe. Think Saratoga compressed into one week with a classy, tradition that attracts 300,000 guests.
Given the distance and stress of international travel and the general dominance of European horses on turf surfaces, Royal Ascot has not been a hot bed of success for American horseman. In 2009, Wesley Ward overcame these barriers. Ward made an instant impact at the royal meeting in 2009 with two wins courtesy of Jealous Again in the Queen Mary Stakes and Strike The Tiger in the Windsor Castle plus a second place with sprinter Cannonball in the Golden Jubilee Stakes. He became the first American trainer to win a stakes race at Royal Ascot.
Since then Ward has not been able to duplicate this success and did not participate in 2012. He is back this year with three two year olds hoping to rekindle the magic of 2009. The trio of two-year-olds, arrived in Britain on Thursday, June 13th, headed by Queen Mary Stakes entry Sweet Emma Rose, who won on her debut before fading after showing early speed against colts when fourth in the Rollicking Stakes at Pimlico.
Ogermeister, a six-length winner of his only race at Belmont Park who goes for the Windsor Castle Stakes, and Keeneland winner No Nay Never, a possible for either the Coventry Stakes or the Norfolk Stakes, joins her.
All three will be ridden by leading US jockey Joel Rosario.
Ogermeister is owned by Wesley Ward who is widely known for his ability to win with juveniles, to the point that his 2-year-old entries are routinely bet down based on this proclivity alone. The colt was bred by Mrs. Gerald Nielsen and is out of NY bred, To the Good Times, a non-winner in two career races, by Polish Numbers. Ogermeister is also a NY bred and was purchased by Ward for $40,000 at the Fasig Tipton August 2012, NY Yearling Select Sale. After his maiden win with Rosario up, Ogermeister has been training at Keeneland on the turf course before heading over to Ascot. According to Ward, though Ogermeister’s breeding is a dirt pedigree, he has taken to the turf. Anyone following Silver Train’ knows that he is producing a wide range of successful sprinters dirt or turf.
The breeding nick services are somewhat uninspired by the cross which features Northern Dancer inbreeding 5m x 4m cross. Werk Enicks rates the Silver Train-To the Good Times as a C. True Nicks rates it a D. Relay Bill is the only stakes winner noted on this cross.
Ogermeister will be entering the Windsor Castle Stakes, a listed stakes named after the London Residence for the Queen and one of the U.K.’s most popular tourist attractions. This historic race started more than 20 years before the U.S. Civil War having started as a 1 mile turf race in 1839. Over the years the race morphed to a 5 furlong sprint for 2 year olds only and is a real speed test. It is the final race of the first day of Ascot, Tuesday June 18th.
This is a race that favorites have a hard time winning. Over the last 10 outings the favorite has prevailed twice leading to many big payouts including Flashman’s Papers win against 24 other runners at 100 to 1 in 2008. Wesley Ward’s win in 2009 with Strike the Tiger was a punter’s delight at 33 to 1. The field for this year’s race isn’t settled yet, but the pre race nominations stand at 28 entrants. The morning line favorite is Anticipated who has won twice at 5 furlongs. He is listed at 5.2 to 1. Ogermeister who is in the 16th PP is the 2nd favorite at 7.6 to 1.
I will post updated information on the outcome of this race.
Henry R. “Hank” Nothhaft
Silver Train Enjoying a Fast Start as a 4th year Sire
In promoting a Stallion to prospective breeders, owners rightfully emphasize money earned, winners, and repeat winners. Also, a “homerun” at an auction for the sale of an off spring at a good price is almost certain to result in immediate outward promotion of the Stallion.
Recently, “Blood-horse Magazine” published a study by Research Today sponsored by the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation tracking two additional key metrics valuable in making breeding decisions. These are important if you breed to sell because they will help determine what others will be willing to pay for your foal, but if you breed to race they are invaluable because they will likely determine your profitability not to mention how much excitement, enjoyment and fun your horse will generate for you.
One is Lifetime % of Foals of Racing Age Started. In order to be listed, a sire had to be in the top 200 official ranking for 2012. With the % of horses that reach the races around 70%, leaders in this category are seen to be way above average. Approximately 75% of Silver Train’s foals reach the starter’s gate making him a very attractive choice based on these criteria.
The other key criteria in this study are average starts per starter. The decline in this metric is seen as an indicator of the “decrease in the durability” of thoroughbreds. According to the Grayson Jockey Club study the average starts per year for North American starters have decreased from 11 in 1960 to 6.31 in 2012. It has been under 7 since year 2000. There are many reasons for this decline, but undeniably, one is the soundness and economic viability of the offspring of a Sire. If a thoroughbred is sound, generates modest veterinary bills, and at least comes close to covering its’ upkeep, the horse will continue to race.
Only one 4th crop sire made the Grayson-Jockey Club list because they have a limited number of older horses that are racing. Therefore, it is revealing to compare Silver Train to the top 25 Sires in his Sire Class. Only one stallion has better races per starter rating than Silver Train’s current 11.85 starts per starter. Silver Train’s races per racer number have continued to improve rapidly and were 11.1 three months ago in December 2012
What does this all mean? If you are breeding in the Mid-Atlantic region and you want to produce a profitable racehorse, you should give serious consideration to Silver Train. He is 2nd in PA and 5th in the Northeast based on earnings. He has earned this status even though he is just a 4th year sire. He is also, 2nd in PA in winners, 3rd in the Northeast and 31st Nationally. When it comes to repeat winners, he is 1st in PA and 1st in the Northeast and 4th Nationally.
Couple this with 75% foals of racing age getting to the starter’s gate, 11.85 starts per starter and a fair priced $5000 stud fee, Silver Train represents real value, if not The Best Value among stallions in the Mid-Atlantic.
Henry R. “Hank” Nothhaft
Silver Train Emerges as a Leading Sire in 2013
Silver Train standing his fourth crop sire year at Northview PA has launched with a successful first quarter by any measure. From 99 runners, Silver Train has produced 32 winners (actually 34-Press to Play and Sweety Alika wins have not been posted yet). He also has a very robust 9 repeat winners for a total of 41 wins (adjusted 43 winners). Earnings are $704,330. This has been accomplished without producing the proverbial “big horse.” Beeliner at $38,630 is his top earner year to date. Finally, his races per starter have improved from 11.2 in the fourth quarter to 11.85 races per starter at the end of the first quarter from a total of 217 lifetime starters.
This places Silver Train as the second leading sire in earnings in the competitive Pennsylvania sire market standing only behind recent import Rockport Harbor. His 32 winners places him 2nd while his 9 repeat winners places him 1st in Pennsylvania.
In the Northeast, Silver Train stands 4th in the rankings based on total earnings behind Rockport Harbor, Bluegrass Cat and Posse all of whom stand at stud fees substantially higher than Silver Train. In terms of winners, Silver Train stands 3rd. In the important repeat winners category, Silver Train stands 1st in the Northeast.
Nationally, Silver Train stands 70th in terms of total earnings. Silver Train’s 32 winners place him 26th on the national list. He is 5th nationally in terms of repeat winners. Taking all of this into consideration, Silver Train is off to an extremely encouraging performance in his 4th crop year.
Henry R. “Hank” Nothhaft
Photo of Ogermeister winning MSW @ Belmont on May 16th courtesy NYRA
Anybody involved in horseracing knows that things don’t always go as planned or expected. This was not the case for Ogermeister and his connections on May 16th at Belmont Park. Ogermeister by Silver Train was bet down to 2 to 5 odds by the public for his debut race. He did not disappoint, breaking so sharply from the gate that it looked like his competitors were somehow stuck in time. After bolting out for a multi length lead in the first few hops, Ogermeister and Joel Rosario settled in for an all business ride that resulted in cruise drive, a bit of an effort at the head of the stretch and geared down the last 1/16 of a mile. This resulted in an uncontested win of 6 lengths in a very respectable time of 58.25. This was the first two year old winner at Belmont this year.
The trainer, who is one in the same as the owner, Wesley Ward is well know for his success with two year olds and also getting his horses trained to break smartly from the gate. Therefore, Ogermeister’s performance came as no great surprise and perhaps was even expected. What will be exciting and interesting to see if there is some substance with Ogermeister that will go beyond this great early start.
Henry “Hank” Nothhaft
Silver Train’s Performance in 2013 provides a long list of selling points across all metrics including earnings, winners, wins, stakes horses and durability as measured by races per starter. Coupled with a modest $5,000 stud fee, Silver Train is a sterling value proposition, especially for Mid-Atlantic breeders.
Silver Train is off to strong start for 2013 both on the track and in the breeding shed.