Honey Creek Farms

Farm Life And The Great Outdoors

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Age of Fire to Cambridge Stud

Te Akau Racing’s Age of Fire (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}–Dragon’s Tail {Aus}, by Galileo {Ire}), a winner of the G1 Levin Classic and runner-up in the G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas, will stand at Cambridge Stud in New Zealand upon his retirement, Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis confirmed on Te Akau’s website. Brendan and Jo Lindsay, who will take up the reins at Cambridge Stud in April, secured an ownership share in the bay, who will stand alongside fellow Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards trainee and G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas hero Embellish (NZ) (Savabeel {Aus}). A winner of three of his six starts for earnings of $203,178, the son of Coolmore Australia’s champion sire Fastnet Rock will arrive in Sydney next week for an Australian campaign.

“As an athlete, this colt is one of the very best: he is as good a moving horse as you will ever see, athletic and strong, he floats over ground with a terrific action; has a superb attitude and most importantly–he possesses a real will to win,” said Ellis of his A$400,000 Inglis Easter yearling purchase.

“Given the competitive nature of the stallion market, we believe that securing Group 1 winner Age of Fire as a future stallion is important for Cambridge Stud and the New Zealand breeding industry,” added incoming Cambridge Stud CEO Henry Plumptre.


Gus Gus – Arabian Horse (Live on KEXP)

Gus Gus – Arabian Horse (Live on KEXP)

Gus Gus perform “Arabian Horse” live at the KEX Hostel in Reykjavik during Iceland Airwaves ’11. Recorded 10/12/11.

Sound: Aron Arnarsson
Cameras: Jamie Alls, Jim Beckmann, Shelly Corbett & Scott Holpainen
Edits: Shelly Corbett


Terry Finley Joins WHOA

Terry Finley, founder and CEO of West Point Thoroughbreds, has joined the Water Hay Oats Alliance. In announcing his support for WHOA, a grassroots organization formed to support the passage of federal legislation to prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of horse racing, Finley released the following statement:

“For many years, I thought bringing in an outside entity to manage our sport’s drug testing and anti-doping programs was a bad idea.

My outlook has changed.

Think about this–on Jan. 27, 1934, The BloodHorse published an article describing the extensive efforts of the National Association of State Racing Commissioners and their goal of achieving the “adoption of uniform rules, penalties, and enforcement” among racing states.

84 years later–and racing is still waiting.

The current anti-doping structure (38 different drug testing/anti-doping programs) is the biggest threat to the future of our great game–it is unmanageable, indefensible, and unfair to our horses, owners, bettors, trainers and our industry. Any system that is not uniform and not independent can only fail, and our current system is failing us.

Let’s stop kicking the can down the horsepath. We need a national drug testing/anti-doping program.

The one way we can do that is by supporting the Horseracing Integrity Act and bringing the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) into our world. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization with a proven track record of successfully addressing serious anti-doping problems in many other sports.

It’s time to make a move.”

Old MacDonald – A Song About Vegetarianism & Organic Farming

Old MacDonald – A Song About Vegetarianism & Organic Farming

Soul2Soul Educare presents “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” – the Vegetarian version – a song honoring our animal friends and organic farmers. Sing along with the old familiar “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” but this time Old MacDonald saves the animals and uses his farmland to grow organic veggies! This song is from our “Spiritual Nursery Rhymes” CD collection available on our website store: www.soul2souleducare.org and Amazon.

McCarthy: An “Optimistic Realist”

Trainer Mike McCarthy waits in the Santa Anita grandstand opposite the winning post, a pair of binoculars resting on his knees, for recent GI Malibu S. winner, City of Light (Quality Road) to work under Malibu-winning jock Drayden Van Dyke. While he’s waiting, McCarthy weighs up a question I’d just posed, about how he views the start he’s made to his training career, now turning into its fifth year. He carefully measures his words, calls himself “an optimistic realist,” then adds, with tongue firmly in cheek, “I’m an optimistic realist with a touch of pessimism.”

Minutes later, McCarthy would have every reason to be optimistic about the way his stable standard-bearer worked–a bullet five furlongs in :58:80, which keeps the 4-year-old son of Quality Road firmly on course towards a President’s Day appearance in the $500,000 GIII Razorback H. at Oaklawn Park Feb. 19.

And the colt’s sharp form is one of many reasons Todd Pletcher’s former assistant should be feeling rather more optimistic than pessimistic about, not only the past four years, but the next chapter of his career–something he’ll admit to later on that morning, in his office, horses trained and the mercury spidering upwards, when he says, “We’re pleased with what we’ve done, and we’re getting better.”

Then, like a nervous tick, the realist in him surfaces once again: “Certainly though, we’re always hungry to do better. We’re always striving for more.”

Mind you, that same hunger has been gnawing at him throughout his career. Not that the Ohio-born, California-raised McCarthy, 47, comes from a long racing lineage. His father is in the office furniture business. His poor mother, a homemaker, is “still recovering from raising my brother and I,” he says (tongue back in cheek). When he started out in California, he worked as assistant to the likes of Ben Cecil. Then came the 11-plus years as assistant to Pletcher, before, in 2014, McCarthy pitched his own coat of arms at Santa Anita, where he now runs a barn 30-horses strong.

By most benchmarks, the past four years have been on the whole something of a home-run. Each one has brought more winners and more money in the coffers. In 2014, he sent out six winners and bagged $213,810 in prize money. Last year, those totals had swollen to 27 winners and more than

$1.3 million in the kitty. What’s more, the quality of horse standing behind the white, grey and blue McCarthy webbings has steadily been on the improve.

Illuminant was McCarthy’s first top-flight winner since striking out on his own. Her 2016 win in the GI Gamely S. at Santa Anita was one of three stakes victories for the Quality Road mare, who sold for $1.1 million to Shadai Farm at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November Sale. If City of Light, who has yet to race farther than seven furlongs, sees out the 1 1/16 miles of the Razorback, he could spend the summer locking horns with the nation’s top milers in races like the GI Metropolitan H. and the GII Pat O’Brien H.

“He’s a big horse, physically imposing, and just needed time to come together,” says McCarthy, about his kid-gloves approach to the colt’s early career. “He was a little coarse as a yearling. Wonderful frame. Big hip. Nice shoulder. Plenty of leg. Two years later, he’s blossomed into something stunning. I would say he’s the best example of his sire from what I’ve seen.”

It’s not just City of Light that has McCarthy dreaming big. Paved, a 3-year-old filly by–guess who–Quality Road, broke her maiden last month, and McCarthy is eyeing races like the

GI Belmont Oaks and the GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup. First, however, Paved could take in the GIII El Camino Real Derby against the boys or an allowance back at Santa Anita.

“Both would serve as a nice prep for the [GIII] Providencia S.,” he says. “A filly like her certainly has you thinking about these sorts of races.”

Before responding to a question, McCarthy chews on it a few seconds then parses the words out deliberately. This habit, however, is understandable given how McCarthy spent more than a decade as assistant to a trainer whose usual offerings to the media have the carefully crafted veneer of a corporate press release.

“I think that what I’ve taken away is learning by example,” he says, of Pletcher. “How do you argue with a trainer who’s got like seven Eclipse Awards.”

Still, one assumes that when assistants fly solo, they’re eager to shake off the feathers of their former employer. Not McCarthy.

“I don’t need to shed that tag,” he says. “Some people are proud that they went to an Ivy League school. Some people are proud that they’re part of a certain organization. I’m very proud that I was able to be a part of something that, for me, set the foundation of what I’m doing today.”

McCarthy’s training regime, he says, is similar to that of Pletcher’s, at the heart of which are two essential qualities. One is good organization.

“I think that reflects on the horses,” he says. “They’re liking what they’re doing. They’re liking the routine.”

The other hues close to obsession.

“To me, the dedication that a Todd Pletcher brings to the game is unparalleled… and we like to spend a lot of time here,” he said. “We like the staff that we’ve built up around us. In turn, I like to think they like doing the job that they do”

When I suggest he has shown thus far a tad more patience with his youngsters than Pletcher (trainer of a couple Eclipse Award winning 2-year-old colts), he doesn’t argue, and offers an explanation.

“I just don’t have his numbers,” says McCarthy. “The horse population here in California isn’t quite as robust as it is in the Midwest and along the Eastern Seaboard…So, we’re probably a little slower to the party because of that–because there aren’t as many opportunities.”

There are elements of the whole training game that his apprenticeship didn’t quite prepare him for. One relates to what he coins an “instant gratification” culture, where the internet and social media can put trainers on the back-foot in the dissemination of news.

“There’s so much available information out there,” he says. “Your horse goes out and works 5/8ths of a mile, and through things like XBTV and social media, there are [owners] calling you before you get back to the barn.”

Another hard-earned element has been in fine-tuning those skills necessary if a trainer not only wants to maintain his client base, but wants to see it grow and expand–a difficult-to-balance alchemy of diplomacy and self-aggrandizement.

“I think for any trainer who’s going out on their own, who has spent any time in one operation, you become a creature of habit,” McCarthy said. “This [training] takes more cultivating of relationships, going out, going to sales, going to the races. It’s about managing expectations.”

Mind you, “I’m very grateful to the owners who have supported us,” he says.

And those owners who have supported him are grateful in return.

“I think he’s the complete package,” says Aron Wellman, over the telephone the following day. Wellman is president and founder of Eclipse Thoroughbreds, patrons of the stable since the beginning. The two men have known each other for years, even before McCarthy’s Pletcher tenure, and Wellman said that his old friend is “just starting to hit his stride” as a trainer.

“I think we’ve seen the scope of his capabilities in the sense colts, fillies, turf, dirt, short, long–he’s developing horses the right way,” Wellman says. “He’s exhibiting patience. He’s giving them opportunities to succeed. The attention to detail, the professional organization and manner in which the barn is run and the horses are cared for, it’s second to none.”

With a solid footing now beneath him, McCarthy’s keeping one eye on the kinds of races “that put you on the map.” The Triple Crowns. The Classics. The sorts of contests he routinely figured in when joint-second in command at Team Pletcher.

“For me, those are the races I want to be involved with,” he says. “To compete in a Grade I, it’s special in itself. But to win a Grade I, it’s vindication of what you’re showing up for every day. Knowing what you’re doing is right. Trusting your opinion.”

When you’re an optimistic realist, that’s the only sort of vindication that counts.

Amy’s Challenge On Honeybee Path

Undefeated Amy’s Challenge (Artie Schiller) is set to return to the work tab early this week as she prepares to stretch out in trip for the first time in the GIII Honeybee S. at Oaklawn Park Mar. 10.

Owned by Joe Novogratz and trained by McLean Robertson, the dark bay bested the boys in a pair of juvenile appearances, including a tough win in the Shakopee Juvenile S. The $20,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky bargain made it three-for-three in her career with a hard-fought defeat of ‘TDN Rising Star’ Mia Mischief (Into Mischief) in the six-furlong Dixie Belle S. at the Hot Springs oval Jan. 20.

The Honeybee is the final local prep for the GIII Fantasy S. Apr. 13.

Hempfling – Connecting with shy Arabian Horse

Hempfling – Connecting with shy Arabian Horse

This green horse was just uneducated, nervous and restless as it came to Klaus.
Here you see KFH working on trust and confidence with a arabian colt. This video describes important parts of the fundamental work of the horse therapist Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling. For a better and correct understanding and to avoid misunderstandings, it is important to connect the shown video with his background, which we are adding in the following lines:
Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling continues shaking up equestrians all over the world, with response in all fields like natural horsemanship, horse whispering, classical and freestyle dressage, equestrian sports, western riding, endurance and eventing. He is at the forefront of new ideas on working and interacting with horses and is known for amazing groundwork, considering the horses’ individuality. He considers the horse’s psyche and communicates via body language with these beautiful creatures. His first book, ‘Dancing with Horses’ met with overwhelming international success, especially in pleasure riding and natural riding.
One of his specialties is the work with difficult horses – he transforms dangerous, nervous, traumatized horses into cooperative companions. They recognize him as their leader, and become willing partners in groundwork and under saddle.
With a handful of known names like Monty Roberts and Pat Parelli, KFH is influencing the natural equine handling at top level.
Very important for Hempfling is in general to interact in all field as long as the activities accord to the horses nature. He is therefore also training and coaching horse-people from fields like show jumping, baroque and artistic dressage, driving, racing, working equitation, doma vaquera and garotcha.
KFH also talks about issues like join-up, round pen, bullfight with horses, and barefoot riding, natural hoof care, bareback riding, rein-less and bridle-less riding. His own riding system Balanced Weight Riding starts with thorough groundwork and lunging at liberty, building up the potential for the exercises of the High School Dressage (Haute Ecole), like shoulder-in, Spanish walk, passage, piaffe, half-pass, flying change, which all origin in the horses natural movements and may be performed at completely loose reins, in contrast to English dressage (represented by names like Helgstrand and Grunsven), and the conventional classical dressage (represented at Cadre Noir, the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre and the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art).
Genetic changing in breeding, horse characters and horse types are also topics in KFHs repertoire, which he employs with all horses (What Horses Reveal). You will often find him with horses of baroque breeds like Lusitano, PRE, Lipizzan, Knapstrup, and Friesian but he is also very attached to the natural horse types like Arabian, Criollo, Welsh, Welsh Cob, Haflinger, Icelandic and Connemara. His approach is valid for all horses and everyone may feel at home in these authentic basics of Equus. In his courses therefore also riders and breeders from totally different styles are learning how to gain the friendship of their horses, often associated with breeds like Quarter, Thoroughbred, Pinto, Appaloosa, Irish Cob and other horse types.
One may say that he is meanwhile one of the leading names in the issue animal and especially horse welfare, as well as wildlife, roots in nature and animal communication.
Hempflings professional background is in the fields communication, art, theater, music, study of native people and cultures. He lives on a small island in the Danish Archipelago where he conducts exclusive courses for people from all corners of the world.

Littlemore in Control on NHC Day Two

Retired autoworker Chris Littlemore was in control with two mandatory races left in Saturday’s 19th National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas. Littlemore leapfrogged Keith Fenton mid-afternoon and booked his ticket to Sunday’s semifinal round with a string of solid scores. He led with 273.10 cumulative points to Fenton’s 241.50. Daniel Hart, Mike Yurczyk and Earnest Powers completed the top five. 10% of the 700 entries, or 70 entries, will make Sunday’s semifinal. From there, the top 10 players advance to the afternoon’s Final Table, where a winner will be crowed. The tournament victor will bank $800,000 and earn an Eclipse Award as Horseplayer of the Year. Other notables who looked on their way to the semifinal included Friday’s Day 1 winner Michael Ryan (13th at the time of writing), the 2015 NHC champ Jonathan Kinchen (31st), and Ten Strike Racing’s Clay Sanders (39th). Track announcer Vic Stauffer was on the outside looking in at 87, but was within striking distance.

LRF’s Fenton Enjoys NHC Tour Success

Early last year, Gary Fenton told his wife one of his goals was to make it to the National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas. It didn’t take long to make it happen. In his first year on the NHC Tour, Fenton finished fourth among all rookies, 113th of 3811 overall, and booked his ticket to Treasure Island with a late-season tournament win just before Thanksgiving.

“I know a lot of horseplayers, and have always had a lot of respect for what they do,” said Fenton. “Being on the tour this year, I have an even better appreciation for what they go through–the grind of it and the mentality it takes.”

Fenton is better known to most in the horse business as the co-managing partner of Little Red Feather Racing Club. But he hopes to add another title in the coming years: NHC champion. Fenton is already handling the tournament scene like and old pro. In Thursday’s Last Chance Tournament at Treasure Island, Fenton finished ninth, earning a second NHC entry.

Midway through Saturday’s action, Fenton was within striking distance of making Sunday’s semifinal: he was in 87th with 117.80 points. The top 70 make the semifinal.

Fenton might’ve had a few more bucks to his credit if contest rules didn’t state that players must declare ownership interests and forbids them from playing a race in which they own a horse. On Friday, LRF’s Secret Spice (Discreet Cat) ran a strong second in a Santa Anita allowance.

“It hurt me a little bit, because I didn’t cash in the Oaklawn race I had to play instead, and would’ve had her–she was training great,” he smiled. “But that’s happens.”

Fenton was always a racing fan growing up in Beverly Hills, and handicapping became a part of his love of the sport.

“My grandfather was a big gambler in Vegas, and I grew up gambling a little bit,” he said.

Fenton and LRF founder Billy Koch grew up a few blocks away from each other, and by the early 2000s, the men were putting together partnerships of college buddies, using different monikers for each one.

They went through four or five different names before a horse named Singletary came along under the Little Red Feather banner. The 2004 GI Breeders’ Cup Mile winner cemented that name, and after his success, they put together an actual business plan and began raising money. Some 13 years and 140-odd partnerships later, LRF is maybe the most recognized syndicate in California.

With time running out to make the cut, Fenton said he was just relishing the experience.

“I’m just going to try and keep battling,” he said. “This is fun. Being in here with everybody and seeing the process, it’s important for the industry, and I hope it continues to grow and people support it.”


Organic Farming

Organic Farming

Boggy Creek Farm shows us how to farm organic

Jimmy Creed’s Kanthaka Rallies to Upset San Vicente

KANTHAKA (c, 3, Jimmy Creed–Sliced Bread, by Noonmark) sat back and allowed heavily favored Ax Man (Misremembered) and others involved in a swift early pace to falter and rallied to win comfortably in Santa Anita’s GII San Vicente S. Saturday. Rated well off the pace as Ax Man and Mr. Jagermeister (Atta Boy Roy) dueled through a half-mile in :44.25, he began to pick up steam on the turn, angled out for the drive and mowed them down in the lane to win going away. The final time for seven furlongs was 1:22.62. Kanthaka finished fifth on debut sprinting six furlongs at Del Mar Nov. 11 and improved to win at second asking over this same track and trip Dec. 26. Sales History: $38,000 RNA FTKJUL yrl ’16; $140,000 BARMAR 2yo ’17. Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-0, $153,440.

O-West Point Thoroughbreds. B-Spendthrift Farm (KY). T-Jerry Hollendorfer.


SAN VICENTE S.-GII, $200,345, SA, 2-10, 3yo, 7f, 1:22.62, ft.
1–KANTHAKA, 120, c, 3, by Jimmy Creed
1st Dam: Sliced Bread, by Noonmark
2nd Dam: Raise a Carter, by Dr. Carter
3rd Dam: Raise an Heiress, by Raise a Native
RNA Ylg ’16 FTKJUL; $140,000 2yo ’17 BARMAR). O-West Point
Thoroughbreds; B-Spendthrift Farm LLC (KY); T-Jerry
Hollendorfer; J-Flavien Prat. $120,000. Lifetime Record:
3-2-0-0, $153,440. Click eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
Werk Nick Rating: A.
2–Nero, 120, c, 3, Pioneerof the Nile–Ocean Goddess, by
Stormy Atlantic. ($950,000 Ylg ’16 FTSAUG). O-M. Tabor, M.
Magnier, D. Smith & Stonestreet Stables LLC; B-Thor-Bred
Stables, LLC (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $40,000.
3–All Out Blitz, 120, c, 3, Concord Point–Smart and Single, by
Smart Strike. O/B-Kaleem Shah, Inc. (KY); T-Simon Callaghan.
Margins: 3 1/4, 12, 3/4. Odds: 11.10, 9.10, 9.00.
Also Ran: Ax Man, Kris’ Rocket Kat, Mr. Jagermeister. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.