Thanks in large part to Commanding Curve’s second-place finish in the $2 million Kentucky Derby and his ninth in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables of Camden is enjoying a stellar spring.
Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and developed by Elser’s team at Kirkwood Stables, Commanding Curve has earned $504,000 from his four 2014 starts. Trained by Dallas Stewart, the 3-year-old Master Command colt has one win, two seconds and a pair of thirds from eight career starts while having bankrolled $542,434.
Another West Point-owned runner, 3-year-old Strong Stipulation, broke his maiden on his sixth try for trainer Graham Motion by winning a $36,000 one-mile race on the dirt at Delaware Park on June 11. Ridden by Alex Cintron, the Lemon Drop Kid colt won by 2 ¾ lengths to hike his earnings to $41,790.
Two days earlier at Delaware Park, the Kirkwood-developed Dominate broke his maiden in his 21st start for West Point Thoroughbreds in a $24,000 race. In his 21 starts, the 4-year-old Any Given Saturday colt, which is trained by Guadalupe Preciad,o has five seconds with six thirds for $80,030.
After having finished third in the Very One Stakes on Preakness Day at Pimlico, Quality Lass scored her first stakes victory as the Kirkwood graduate ran off with the $100,000 Satin and Lace Stakes at Presque Isle Downs on June 8.
Another West Point Thoroughbreds runner, the 5-year-old Exclusive Quality mare carried Antonio Gallardo to a win by a head that day for Preciado.
In 23 lifetime starts, Quality Lass has six wins, four seconds and three thirds for $274,265 in earnings.
Another Kirkwood grad and multiple stakes-placed runner, Every Way, was second in the $75,000 Minnesota H.B.P.A. Distaff at Canterbury Downs on June 7 for trainer Michael Stidham. The 4-year-old City Zip filly has four wins in 14 career starts with five seconds and a third for $204,454 in earnings.
Two Kirkwood colts scored maiden wins in impressive fashion. On May 30 at Churchill Downs, 2-year-old filly Unbridled Reward romped by 7 3/4 lengths in her debut in a $44,000 Maiden Special Weight for trainer Mark Casse, who gave Alan Garcia the leg up.
Wiring the field, Unbridled Reward drew away in the stretch while finishing in a clocking of 52.40. Her performance earned her notice by the Thoroughbred Daily News in its “Rising Star” section.
Kirkwood grads scored a pair of wins on June 1 with the Kip Elser homebred Shetan winning a $46,000 allowance race at PARX Racing. Trained by Graham Motion, the 6-year-old Johar gelding won for the fifth time in 18 starts. Shetan also has two seconds and three thirds while having earned $176,127.
At Mountaineer Park that same day, Southern Parkway won a $25,300 allowance race to raise his earnings to $189,731. The win was the fourth --- with five seconds and six thirds --- in 30 starts for the Lemon Drop Kid Ridgling.
Custom Care Equine piling up wins: Ninety Degrees, a graduate of Donna Freyer’s Custom Care Equine, scored her third consecutive victory by taking a $19,000 six-furlong allowance race on June 11 at Suffolk Downs. Her two previous victories both came at Pimlico in April and May.
Trained by Elizabeth Lezell, the 5-year-old Latent Heat mare has now won nine races in 33 starts along with three second and four fourths for earnings of $118,970.
CCE alum Walker’s Landing took the lead at the top of the stretch and extended it to 3 ¾-lengths to take the victory in a $21,000 race at Presque Isle Downs on June 7. The 6-year-old Theatrical gelding is owned and trained by Ben Renfro.
In a dozen career starts, Walker’s Landing has three wins, three second and a pair of thirds which have brought in $109,914.
CCE graduate Image of Anna, owned by The Elkstone Group LLC, added black type to her name by finishing second behind Joint Return in the $50,000 Our Mims Stakes at Delaware Park on June 4.
Trained by Richard Violette, the 3-year-old Ready’s Image filly, was 10th in the $500,000 Black Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico on May 16.
In six career starts, Image of Anna has two wins and a second for $92,667 in winnings.
CCE products Heavenly Cry and Mr. Vegas also found their way into the winners’ circle. In the instance of Heavenly Cry, the 4-year-old Street Cry gelding won for the first time in its fourth career start with a score in a $35,000 six-furlong maiden race at Presque Isle Downs.
With a first and three thirds from four starts, Heavenly Cry has earned $31,500.
Mr. Vegas, a 7-year-old veteran campaigner, won for the eighth time in 33 career starts by scoring in a $35,000 allowance race at Canterbury Park in Minnesota on May 24 for trainer Richard Scherer.
The Freud gelding, which has won races at Saratoga, Arlington Park, Belmont Park and the Fair Grounds over his career, also has eight seconds and two third which have helped him earn $366,651.
Fenwick grad Ready, willing and able: Rachel’s Ready, a 2-year-old developed at Wilhelmina and Fred McEwan’s Fenwick Farm, maiden her debut a winning one for trainer David Vance.
Running in a $44,000 maiden special weight at Churchill Downs on June 8, the More Than Ready filly, grabbed a one-length lead at the top of the stretch and went on to the 1 ¾-length victory in the five-furlong run on the dirt. Corey Lanerie was aboard for the winning ride.
(Turned from Home is a regular feature in the sports pages of the Chronicle-Independent spotlighting Thoroughbred flat horses, which were sent to the track from Camden, as well as local owners and trainers. Any persons having racing information which they would like to pass along and be included in this column should call the C-I sports department at 432-6157 or, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)