Race of the Week 2017

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Zipse At The Track

The McAnally-Argentine Pipeline lives on in Suggestive Boy

John Henry was one of the most successful horses in American racing history. For his Northern Kentucky born trainer, Ron McAnally, he was the horse of a lifetime. It wasn’t that McAnally did not have many successes before the star gelding, but John Henry was that special. When the two-time Horse of the Year award winner finally retired in 1984, you had to wonder if the then 52-year-old trainer could remain on top and keep winning many of our nation’s biggest races. The answer for McAnally, in the post-John Henry era, came about as far removed from Covington, Kentucky as the veteran trainer could get. 
McAnally became the greatest importer of horse talent from South America our sport has ever seen. Finding future stars where others could not, the Hall of Fame trainer kept the major wins coming via Argentina. First came Bayakoa. A grade 1 winner in only eight starts in her native land, Bayakoa got off to a modest start to her American racing career at age 4. McAnally, known for his patience, watched Bayakoa blossom at the age of 5. She won five consecutive stakes races and finished a magnificent year by winning eight of her last nine races in 1989, many of the grade 1 variety. The year concluded with a Breeders' Cup Distaff win and a Champion Older Female Eclipse Award. Seven more stakes victories and a repeat victory in the Breeders' Cup Distaff allowed Bayakoa to take home another championship in 1990. In all the Hall of Fame mare won 16 stakes races after coming to America for McAnally and owners Janis and Frank Whitham. The McAnally-Argentine pipeline was officially born and it would not be long for more major success.
Before Bayakoa’s second championship season was complete, Paseana won her first grade 1 race in Argentina, and like his first Argentine champion, McAnally imported the mare after just eight races in South America.  Her Amercian success came even quicker than her champion predecessor. After a second place debut in the fall of 1991, Paseana would go on a seven-race unbeaten streak that included five grade I races. Her winning streak was broken against the boys in the Pacific Classic, but a romping win later that year in the Breeders' Cup Distaff left no doubt to her superiority in her division. As a six-year-old, Paseana did not win as often, but was still able to win grade I races in Arkansas, California, and in Kentucky. She was narrowly defeated by Hollywood Wildcat in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, but still collected her second consecutive Eclipse Award as Champion Older Female, giving McAnally and his Argentine mares four in a five year stretch. Paseana kept going for two more years, adding more graded stakes wins to her impressive win total. All told, she fell just two short of winning as many stakes races after being imported as did Bayakoa, with 14 of them for McAnally and owner Sidney Craig.
Several years would pass before the arrival of the next Argentine star for McAnally. An overpowering winner in all three South American starts as a three-year-old, Candy Ride was purchased for $900,000 by Sid and Jenny Craig on the advice of their Hall of Fame trainer. In 2003, the four-year-old colt made his American debut a winning one in easy fashion. He then switched to turf to take the Grade 2 American Handicap on turf before heading back to dirt for the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. In a performance many will not soon forget, Candy Ride rolled to a 3¼ length victory under Julie Krone in track record time of 1:59:11. In easily beating Medaglia d'Oro and earning a Beyer speed figure of 123, many considered the undefeated star the best horse in the country. Unfortunately, an injury would prompt the premature retirement of McAnally’s latest imported star. 
It’s been nine years already since Candy Ride, but now, at age 80, McAnally may have another Argentine star in Suggestive Boy. The four-year-old son of Easing Along made only six starts in Argentina, all in 2011, but was still able to score four grade 1 victories. Now in the States, Suggestive Boy has gotten off to the kind of American start that promises the McAnally-Argentine pipeline is alive and well. After a sharp local debut race in which he finished a solid second to Jeranimo in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park on June 30, Suggestive Boy was sent off as a 4-5 favorite in his second try in the country on Wednesday in the Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar. He did not disappoint.
It wasn’t just that he won by three-quarters of a length in racehorse time of 1:33.21 over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, but it was how he won it. In tight for the first half of the stretch-run, he busted through horses under Joe Talamo and rallied courageously to win like a horse that has a big future. Owned by the Pozo de Luna of Jose Cerillo, Suggestive Boy clearly has McAnally excited.
“He’s an extraordinary horse,” said McAnally in the winner’s circle. “I won’t be able to hold him on the ground tomorrow morning. He loves to train; he loves to race. “He eats everything in sight, including me. He just can’t get enough. I don’t know what’s next, but it will be something bigger and better.”
Bigger and better indeed; why not dream big with the track record McAnally has with Argentine imports. Perhaps he has another championship run in him. It could not happen to a nicer guy.


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Older Comments about The McAnally-Argentine Pipeline lives on in Suggestive Boy...

McAnally, one of the real good guys in racing
McAnally 80 years old, wow, horse racing keeps them young! Great story.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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