Mshawish continues dirt success in Donn Handicap

February 10, 2016 04:45am


This time last year, Mshawish was winning the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. A new year and a new surface saw that very same dark bay runner adding the 1 1/8 mile Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park to his résumé.


From his far outside post, Financial Modeling crossed over the field to establish the lead. Immediately behind him, Valid and Mshawish traded the second and third running spots between the two of them. Sunshine Millions Classic winner Mexikoma took up fourth, followed by Madefromlucky, Itsaknockout, Closing Bell and Keen Ice.


Through the first three-quarters of the race, the field mostly maintained their initial running spots. The big exceptions were the last half of the field. Madefromlucky lost ground and was shuffled back to seventh from fifth. Closing Bell lost a spot and dropped to last while Keen Ice moved from last up to sixth.


Meanwhile, on the front end, Financial Modeling carved out reasonable splits of :24.12 for the opening quarter, :48.13 for the first half and 1:11.88 for 6 furlongs.


Entering the turn, Valid and Mshawish moved up on pace-setting Financial Modeling. Spinning for home, Valid had taken over the lead and set sail for home. To his inside, Financial Modeling continued to battle on while Mshawish moved up on his outside. Inside the final sixteenth, Mshawish drew on even terms with Valid before kicking away to hit the wire a decisive 2-length winner. The final time was a solid 1:47.89.


Valid held second and Mexikoma ran a very nice third in his second attempt at racing’s highest level. Itsaknockout passed tired foes to complete the superfecta and followed in order by Financial Modeling, race favorite and Grade 1 winner Keen Ice, Closing Bell and Madefromlucky.


Off 9-2 odds, Mshawish paid $11.20/$5.80/$3.60. Six-to-one shot Valid returned $6.40/$4.20 for the place, and Mexikoma returned $5.00 for the show. The $2 exacta paid $53.20, the $1 trifecta returned $113.60 and the $0.10 superfecta was worth $70.77.


“That’s what’s cool about it," said Pletcher. "He has a dirt pedigree. Some of the Medaglia’s go turf and dirt and he’s out of a Thunder Gulch mare so the pedigree was there and he had trained like it was possible,” said Pletcher, who saddled the son of Medaglia d’Oro for his first dirt victory in the Hal’s Hope (G3) at Gulfstream Jan. 9. “We knew he was doing well and just figured we’d see what happened.”


By Medaglia d’Oro and out of the Thunder Gulch mare Thunder Bayou, Mshawish is owned by Al Shaqab Racing, trained by Todd Pletcher and was ridden today by John Velazquez. The OTIF 2007 bred colt has seen the auction ring 3 times. As a weanling, he sold to Hot Pepper Farm for $25,000. He returned to the ring as a yearling and sold for a mere $10,000 to Brown Island Stables. Brown Island then pinhooked him for a nice $219,589 while selling him as a 2-year old in the Arqana 2012 Saint-Cloud Breeze-Up Sale in France.


Now a 6-year old, globe-trotting Mshawish has achieved international success. His wins include the Prix De Tourgeville at Deauville, the Group 2 Zabeel Mile at Meyden, and the El Prado Stakes, the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale, the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope and now the Grade 1 Donn, all at Gulfstream Park here in the U.S.


The son of Medaglia d’Oro made his dirt debut back in November in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. Facing a short field that included superstars Tonalist and Private Zone, Mshawish made his first dirt start a very good one, running 4th in the prestigious race by just 1 ¼-lengths. He then made his 2016 debut and second start on dirt a winning one, taking the G3 Hal’s Hope by a neck over now familiar runner-up Valid. Today’s success at the highest level on dirt certainly opens up his options. With grade 1 success on turf and dirt, Mshawish is now poised to be a big player in the handicap division as a double-threat. 


 

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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