Hot Stones Impressive at the Spa
August 01, 2013 12:54pm
09 August 1: the field breaks from the starting gate in the 5th race on Jim Dandy Stakes day at Saratoga Race Track in Saratoga Springs, New York.

The third time was the charm for Hot Stones, a green but impressive maiden winner on Wednesday for trainer Bruce Levine and local owner Roddy Valente.


A 3-year-old Bustin Stones filly, Hot Stones was entered main track only twice earlier in the meet, but scratched when the races stayed on turf. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite in her second career start, she won by 4 ¼ lengths under a hand ride from jockey Joel Rosario.


"That was impressive," Valente said Thursday morning.


A native of nearby Loudonville, N.Y., Valente owns the New York-bred Hot Stones with Charles Casale and Darlene Bilinski.


"I still think she ran green. She was taking dirt in her face and dropped back, and [Rosario] was scrubbing on her," Valente said. "Once she saw the outside, she just drew away. She's got some learning to do, but she's just going to get better with racing.


"She trains like a good horse. You always get excited about one like that, because you don't get excited about a lot of them. But, she showed a lot of ability in the morning."


Levine believes Hot Stones to be a stakes-caliber filly but has no plans to rush her along.


"She's the best Bustin Stones I've got," Levine said. "I think she'll be a stakes horse down the road with a little more experience. We'll let her run through her conditions and get some seasoning. I think late fall you'll see [her in a stakes]. I think there's still more in the tank."


Seeing the Bustin Stones progeny do well is particularly meaningful for Valente and Levine. Valente owned and Levine trained the New York-bred son of City Zip, whose career was cut short by injury after winning all six lifetime starts, including the Grade 1 Carter and Grade 2 General George handicaps as a 4-year-old in 2008.


Bustin Stones, who stands for $2,500 live foal at Waldorf Farms in North Chatham, had seven winners from 17 runners in 2012 as a first-crop sire, with purse earnings of $294,307. This year, has 11 winners from 22 runners and purses of $551,772.


"They're all precocious, kind of like him," Levine said. "The important thing is, the offspring are all sound. I was very hesitant because he was so unsound, but all the offspring are very, very sound. They all get starts and they make the races. It's good to see that. That's a big factor, especially today, to get a stallion to throw sound horses."


Levine is considering a 3-year-old Bustin Stones filly, Keep Bustin, for the $100,000 By The Light overnight New York-bred stakes on August 8. Keep Bustin has three wins and two seconds in seven starts this year and was third in an allowance optional claimer on June 19 at Belmont Park in her most recent effort.


"There's a two-other-than and a stake; we'll see which one goes and we'll be in one of the two of them," Levine said. "She's doing good. We'll keep our fingers crossed."




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