Vinery sire Mossman is gearing up for a feature double at Flemington and Churchill Downs this Saturday.
Mossman stallion Love Conquers All gets his chance for a well deserved G1 victory in the VRC Emirates Stakes (1600m) and a few hours later his NZ bred flyer Hoofit runs in the G2 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (1200m).
Hoofit (4g Mossman – Chuckle by Danehill) has overcome the odds to earn a place in the BC Sprint. He experienced an earthquake, a tornado and the aftermath of a hurricane on his way to the United States from New Zealand last year.
Hoofit had layovers in Australia, China, Alaska and New York but the harsh elements and world travelling didn’t hinder his racing game.
If anything, it had the opposite effect. “He was on the plane for about 35 hours but he came off bucking and kicking, so I think he survived it pretty well,” owner Gillian Johnston said.
Johnston bought Hoofit privately on the advice of Danny Boultinghouse. The California based agent was also responsible for picking out NZ bred mare Black Mamba who went on to win a Group 1 in the USA.
Johnston had plans to send him to California to race in January but his original flight got delayed due to an earthquake.
When Hoofit finally arrived in the USA, he was floated from New York to Johnston’s farm near Chattanooga in Tennessee. He survived a tornado that destroyed half the property and, in another twist of fate, he experienced the harsh storms of Hurricane Irene after being transferred to Graham Motion’s stables in Maryland,
Taking all those set backs in his stride, Hoofit began thriving and won first-up by three lengths at Presque Isle Downs on the Lake Erie shoreline in September.
“I just couldn’t believe how he won that race – it was extraordinary,” Motion said. “He did it so easily. Not many horses win like he did that night.”
The Breeders’ Cup wasn’t on the radar until the Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland came up light on October 7. “We took a shot and he won by a nose,” Motion said. “The winner received an automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup.”
Hoofit has been installed a 15-1 chance in the Turf Sprint under jockey Edgar Prado. He joins BC Classic candidate So You Think as the only New Zealand bred horses at Churchill Downs this weekend.
“I’d love to get a photo of the two of them,” Johnston said. “Running in the Breeders’ Cup seems ambitious but he’s a fresh horse and I don’t think there’s any downside.”
Hoofit was a $60,000 buy from the Shelby Park draft at the 2009 NZB Premier yearling sale at Karaka. His dam Chuckle was a Listed winner of the Dark Jewel Classic at Scone. Second-dam Clowning (Rory’s Jester) is a three-quarter-sister to the dam of 2009 G1 Blue Diamond winner Reward For Effort.
The Mossman gelding was a Listed winner of the Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie in September 2010 and he was sold off-shore after an unplaced effort in the Karaka Mile in January.