Castle Village Farm’s Alston Gunter, who’s nominated for the $75,000 Mister Diz Stakes at Pimlico April 6th, turned in a bullet 47.4 half-mile breeze at Belmont this morning (April 1), galloping out well and scoping clean afterward. The breeze was the best of 24 at the distance. Steve Zorn and trainer Bruce Brown will make a final decision on Wednesday whether to enter the Pimlico stakes, a race in which MD-bred Alston Gunter finished a close-up 4th last year.
As of the close of the Aqueduct inner-track meet, Castle Village Farm horses had earned a total of $3,964,384 in purses since we began with our first horse, Flippy Diane, back in 1999. With three horses likely to be racing in the near future — Afternoon Treat, Alston Gunter and Megalithic — we’re hoping to cross the $4 million threshold sometime in the next few weeks.
As of today, Afternoon Treat is entered at Aqueduct on April 3rd, and Alston Gunter has been nominated to a state-bred stakes race at Pimlico on April 6th. With a little luck, they could get us across the line.
Castle Village farm’s new claim, Afternoon Treat, is entered in the 7th race at Aqueduct on Wednesday, April 3rd. It’s a starter allowance at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf for horses that have run for a claiming tag of $16,000 or less. Afternoon Treat, with Mike Luzzi aboard, will break from post 5 in a 7-horse field.
Since the claims of Tom Cat Allie last fall and Victory at Last in February, we’ve been looking for their replacements, and we’ve found them.
On February 22nd, we claimed Alston Gunter, a six-year-old Maryland-bred gelding. His first outing for us is scheduled to be the Mr. Diz Stakes on opening weekend at Pimlico, a race where he ran 4th last year, beaten just a length and a half.
And then on March 16th, we claimed Afternoon Treat, a six-year-old New Jersey-bred gelding with an excellent record at Monmouth. We’ll give him a couple of vraces at Aqueduct and then take aim at the Jersey Shore.
Our third horse, Megalithic, is due back from his winter vacation early in April and will likely return to the races on the turf at Belmont.
Castle Village Farm will be sending all its partners their K-1 forms on Monday, February 11th. Since partnerships themselves have to wait for 1099 and W2 forms that aren’t due until January 31st, that’s just about as fast as humanly possible. We’re happy to make the effort so our partners aren’t delayed in filing their own tax returns — especially if partners are expecting refunds!
Castle Village Farm’s mare Victory at Last was claimed out of Aqueduct’s 8th race on Sunday, February 3rd. The race was a NY-bred N1X allowance/optional claimer in which Victory at Last, coming off a win on January 11th, was the third betting choice at 4-1. But apprentice Keibar Coa took away all chance for our mare when he buried her on the inside on the turn, then couldn’tb make up his mind where to go coming into the stretch. Victory ended up 7th out of 8. One more jockey on the “do not use — ever” list.
Castle Village Farm’s five-year-old NY-bred mare Victory at Last drew off in the stretch to take Aqueduct’s 9th race on January 11th, winning by almost five lengths.
Ridden by hot apprentice Jose Ortiz Jr. and trained by Bruce Brown, Victory at Last stalked the early pace-setter, Mollie’s Prize, through moderate early fractions, then took charge on the far turn and was never threatened. Victory at Last was sent off at 5-2, the 3rd betting choice in a 10-horse field.
The win follows a strong second-place finish for Victory at Last in the same N3L claiming condition on New Year’s day. She was feeling so good following that effort that Bruce Brown and racing Manager Steve Zorn decided to bring her right back on short rest, a decision that paid handsome dividends.
12-year-old Diligent Gambler, the winningest horse in Castle Village Farm’s history, and later a much-loved stable pony at Belmont, died suddenly of an apparent heart attack on January 3rd, 2013. Racing in our colors from 2004-07, Diligent Gambler had a record of 8-7-8 from 28 starts. After he was claimed away from us, we bought him back in order to retire him and then had him retrained for his new career as Leah’s pony, a role he truly enjoyed.
We’ll miss him.
Castle Village Farm’s five-year-old NY-bred mare, Victory at Last, finished a strong second in the 5th race at Aqueduct on New Year’s Day. Ridden by Jose Ortiz and trained by Bruce Brown, Victory at Last tracked the early pace of odds-on favorite Superstitious Love, then moved with 2nd choice Lily Lynn at the quarter pole, and both of those ran down Superstitious Love in the stretch. Victory at Last held off a late challenge from Mess in a Dress to preserve the place.