Charles Town Oaks Grand Prix (PA) Breeders Cup

Racing Biz article by Frank Vespe regarding HnR’s Grand Prix plans for Charles Town Oaks.  Frank does an excellent and accurate job of describing Grand Prix’s current status and plans.  

Racing Biz Charles Town Oaks Grand Prix’s Breeders Cup

by Frank Vespe

“Sometimes it’s the breaks you don’t get that turn out to matter most.

Take the case of Grand Prix. Her breeder, Hank Nothhaft, took her to the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2015, expecting to leave with more money but one less horse than he brought.

He set her reserve at $150,000. Bidding topped out at $145,000. No sale.

The sophomore is slated to make her next start in the Grade 3, $300,000 Charles Town Oaks September 23. The seven-furlong fixture tops the track’s “Race for the Ribbon” card.

“If you get into racing and you have a little moxie and a little luck, these horses can take you anywhere,” Nothhaft said. “It’s amazing.”

Grand Prix Inside Rail Photo Equi Photo @PARX

Grand Prix began her career in the California-based barn of Gary Mandella. It took her four tries to break her maiden, finally scoring on the synthetic at Golden Gate. She followed that up with a game second – beaten just a nose – in the $50,000 Golden Gate Debutante Stakes.

But for the most part, her West Coast exertions didn’t yield much benefit – just the single win in her first nine starts.

Though Nothhaft, a retired tech entrepreneur, lives in Northern California, he’s a Pennsylvania-bred, as is Grand Prix. So he decided to send the filly back East; though Mandella remains the trainer of record, Grand Prix now operates out of Keith Nations’ Parx Racing barn.

“To be a breeder and an owner to run in Pennsylvania, it’s so much better than the negligible program we have in California,” Nothhaft said.

Grand Prix &Jose Ferrer head to the Winners Circle post Garofalo Stakes

And Grand Prix has taken advantage of that rich program. She won the state-restricted New Start Stakes at Penn National on the Penn Mile undercard, followed up with a win and a second in allowance company, and last out scored by a length-and-a-half in the $100,000 Dr. Teresa Garofalo Memorial Stakes at Parx Racing, also a state-restricted event.

She has three wins and a second from four starts since coming east.

“All in all, she’s very consistent, fires each time, and seems to be improving,” her owner and breeder said.

In the Garofalo, Grand Prix took on older rivals, besting a field that included salty runners like the multiple stakes winners Power of Snunner and Discreet Senorita.

Still, Nothhaft acknowledges that the water figures to be deeper in the Oaks. The race has drawn 52 nominations. Among the expected runners is Shimmering Aspen, the Rodney Jenkins-trained filly who has dominated at sprint distances at Laurel Park this season.

“I think there’ll be some really nice fillies there,” Nothhaft admitted. “I think it’ll end up being a very interesting race. We would be very happy if she finished in the top three.”

To that end, Nothhaft and his trainers have developed what he called “a detailed plan” to help her acclimate to the surroundings at Charles Town, a place neither she nor Nothhaft has ever raced. She’ll ship in a few days ahead of the race and get a chance to gallop over the track a time or two prior to race day.

“If you’re going to go through all of the trouble of going, you want to make sure you do everything you can to give her a chance,” Nothhaft explained.

Nothhaft also intends to stick with jockey Jose Ferrer, who rode Grand Prix to victory in the Garofalo Memorial.

“First, he gave her a great ride that day,” Nothhaft said by way of explanation. “Second, he’s won (almost 4,200) races.”

For the longer term, Nothhaft hopes to race her through her five-year-old season. After that he intends to breed her. He has, he said, “no intention” of selling her despite her rising value.

Nothhaft has been involved in racing since 2008. He’s bred some good horses. He’s owned some good horses. He’s also slogged through all the ways that the sport can fool or foil you. He knows what sort of opportunity is there for Grand Prix.

“You really need these successes to get you over those valleys of despair,” he said. “For Grand Prix, this is our Breeders’ Cup.” “

 

Grand Prix (PA) Wins New Start Stakes-Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbreds Aug 2017

Around the Ovals Penn National-New Start Stakes

By Linda Dougherty

Around the Ovals Penn National Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred

Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Magazine August, 2017

After beginning her career in California, HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing’s homebred Grand Prix made the first foray in the state of her birth a successful one as she tri­umphed in the $100,000 New Start Stakes, the first stakes on the Penn Mile undercard.

A half-sister to champion Finest City, also bred by Hank Nothhaft, Grand Prix was sent off as the second choice behind 2016 Pennsylvania-bred champion 2-year­ old filly Rose Tree. With Javier Castellano aboard for trainer Gary Mandella, Grand Prix stalked the early pace set by long-shot Risque’s Diamond through the opening quarter of the 6-furlong test.

While racing outside horses, the winner then took the lead on the turn and increased that lead to 2 lengths in mid-stretch. Castellano kept her mind on business to the wire and she won by a length over the rallying Rose Tree. The final time was 1:09.61.

“As I watched the race and the splits unfold 21.90, 44.61, 56.77 and saw her hold off a really nice filly like Rose Tree, she actually exceeded my already­ high expectations,” said Nothhaft, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who races in California and in Pennsylvania, and is a strong supporter of the Pennsylvania breeding program. “My thoughts as she came across the finish line were one of pride and thinking how cool that she’s living up to her name- Grand Prix – as well as her big sister Finest City.”

Nothhaft, who stood the late stallion Silver Train at Northview PA, where Grand Prix was foaled, shipped the daughter of Tale of the Cat to Pennsylvania from California several weeks before the New Start Stakes to take advantage of the state’s incentive program . ” Grand Prix is a late foal [April 28) and is still maturing,” said Nothhaft.

“Also , she runs well on turf, dirt and Tapeta. Depending on her performance going forward I can shoot for the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes-G2 in September or fall back on the original plan to pursue the Pennsylvania-bred circuit.

Being from Sharon, Pa., the Masters is a special race for me, and maybe Grand Prix will get me back there for the fourth year in a row.” Living The Life (IRE), a multiple graded stakes winner and millionaire campaigned by Nothhaft, won the Masters in 2014 and ’15 and finished second in 2016. Grand Prix, out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Be Envied, earned S60,000 for the New Start and sub subsequently finished second in a June 26 allowance at Penn National against older mares to boost her career bankroll to $126,510.