Sunday, March 27, 2016

Shadwell Farm has two top 10 Derby prospects, including high-ranked Mohaymen, homebred Shagaf

By Stepper Toth
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media 

Shadwell Farm, which has two of its four locations in the Midway area, has not had a horse in the Kentucky Derby since 2006. This year, it expects to have two horses in the Derby, and both are top 10 prospects to win the May 7 race.

Mohaymen beats Zulu in the stretch to win the Fountain of Youth
Stakes at Gulfstream. (Photo by Adrianna Spadoni/Coglianese)
Mohaymen, bought by Shadwell for $2.2 million as a yearling, is the Derby favorite or co-favorite among handicappers.  Shagaf, who was homebred at Shadwell, is another top prospect.

Of 30,000 thoroughbred foals born every year in the United States,”Only 20 of those are going to make it to the Derby every year,” Shadwell Farm Stallion Manager Kent Barnes said. “So your odds of getting just one horse to the Derby are pretty long, but to get two, I mean, that is really something.”

Mohaymen “is very, very talented and very well bred,” trainer and Lexington native Kiaran McLaughlin said in a telephone interview from his base in New York. “He is five for five now. He won his first three in New York; his second race was a Grade II,” the second highest level of stakes races.

“His third race was a Grade II, a mile and an eighth, so [the Derby’s] mile and a quarter should not be an issue.”

Shagaf wins the Gotham Stakes. (New York Racing
Association photo by Adam Coglianese)
Shagaf is more lightly raced, but Shadwell Farm Vice President and General Manager Rick Nichols said the colt has not only both good pedigrees and good conformation, but he has it in his heart, making him a top Derby prospect.

"He’s bred to stay a little better than a lot of horses we’re breeding nowadays, Nichols said. "Has 50 points, which is enough to get him into the Derby.”

Qualification for the Derby is based on a points system for 34 stakes races. Points are awarded to the top four finishers on an increasing scale of 10-4-2-1 and their multiples, most recently 100-40-20-10. The top 20 point earners can earn a spot in the Derby.

Mohaymen led the standings with 70 points after winning the Nashua, Remsen, Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth stakes, but dropped to third after Gun Runner won the Louisiana Derby, worth 100 points for a total of 151. Lani, a Japanese horse, won the UAE Derby over the weekend, earning 100 points for second.

Regardless of Derby points, Mohaymen remains the favorite of many racing observers. He got nine of the 14 first-place votes in the DerbyHQ Top 20, rankings by horse-racing writers compiled by The Courier-Journal. Nyquist was ranked second with three first-place votes.

Shagaf recently won the Gotham Stakes, giving him all his 50 points. He is tied for fifth in the official Derby rankings, with Cupid and Danzing Candy. In the DerbyHQ Top 20, Shagaf is eighth and the lowest-ranked horse with a first-place vote -- from Jon White of Santa Anita Park, who has ranked him first all along.

“Shagaf had an excellent workout Saturday morning in New York while preparing for the April 9 Wood Memorial, White wrote. “Just a week ago, Shagaf had a workout that his trainer, Chad Brown, called 'outstanding'.”

Nichols told the Midway Messenger that Shadwell has avoided racing Mohaymen and Shagaf against each other before the Derby due to their connection.

Mohaymen and Shagaf each have one more race before the Derby. Mohaymen’s next race is the Florida Derby on April 2, in a field including Nyquist.

Sign at Leestown Road farm entrance (Photo by Stepper Toth)
Beyond racing, Shadwell Farm’s main focus is to produce offspring for its owner, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the 28-year-old crown prince of Dubai.

“Sheikh Hamdan races primarily in England, Ireland, and France,” Barnes said. ”He has the U.S. stable, and he has three trainers in the United States. He has a stable in Dubai and he has a stable in South Africa. He will ship out from some of those bases to race in Japan, Italy, over the place.” In addition to the farm in Lexington, he owns a farm in England and a farm in Ireland.

The newest additions to Shadwell are the farm on Leestown Road west of Midway, and a 400-acre layup facility on Georgetown Road in Franklin and Scott counties, also with a Midway address. The layup facility is used to keep racing horses that need a rest or rehabilitation.

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