08/03/2012 4:42PM

Barretts purchase pays off for Knapp


DEL MAR, Calif. – For a $24,000 investment last fall, trainer Steve Knapp bought a stakes winner.

Knapp was at the Barretts October yearling sale when he spotted a full brother to Tribal Face, an ornery colt who was stakes placed for Knapp at Del Mar in 2009. The yearling colt seemed worth a gamble, Knapp thought at the time.

“I had his brother,” Knapp said. “That’s why I bought him.”

Knapp bought the yearling and later sold shares to Gino Roncelli and Bill and Sue Tomasic. In his fifth start, the $l00,000 Graduation Stakes at Del Mar last Wednesday, the colt, named Strong Wind, had his breakthrough performance, winning by 4 1/4 lengths.

He has earned $106,360, and is well-mannered, unlike his brother Tribal Face.

“Tribal Face always wanted to run off,” Knapp said. “This horse waits for you to tell him what to do.”

Strong Wind has turned out to be a bargain, and could produce even larger payoffs in coming months. With the launch of the Golden State Series of stakes for California-breds this year, stakes purses have soared for 2- and 3-year-old statebreds.

Strong Wind’s next start will be the $150,000 I’m Smokin Stakes over six furlongs on Sept. 3. Last year, the race was worth $100,000.

The opportunities are even more lucrative later this year. The purse for the California Cup Juvenile over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita on Oct. 13 has been raised from $100,000 to $250,000. The King Glorious Stakes at Hollywood Park in December is a $200,000 newly created race in the Golden State Series.

Later that month at Santa Anita, the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes will be run over a mile for $300,000. Last year, the race was worth $100,000 and was run over seven furlongs.

With those races on the horizon, Strong Wind is highly unlikely to be challenging the division’s best.

“Because there is so much money in the California division, this is no reason to go against open company,” Knapp said. “He’s developing. His body is developing, and he’s starting to figure it out.”

Strong Wind is by Tribal Rule out of Chalk Face, a mare by Memo. Strong Wind is Chalk Face’s most successful foal. Chalk Face, a two-time winner, is a sister to the multiple-stakes-winning California-bred La Feminn, who earned $366,430.

Strong Wind’s victory was Knapp’s first stakes win since Christiana’s Heat won the 2009 Irish O’Brien Stakes at Santa Anita. He won two $35,000 starter handicaps at Santa Anita in 2010 and earlier this year.

He said recent investment by his clients has boosted his stable.

“I haven’t had anyone buying horses,” he said. “We’ve got some nice 2-year-olds in the barn. If you don’t have people buying horses, you can’t win races.”

Bob Black Jack headed to stud duty

Bob Black Jack, who won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes in 2008 and three other stakes, will enter stud in 2013.

A 7-year-old by Stormy Jack, Bob Black Jack won 5 of 13 starts and $704,925, all for Jeff Harmon and Tim Kasparoff and trainer Jim Kasparoff.

Friday, Jim Kasparoff said that discussions have been held with a breeder in Pennsylvania about possible stud duty but that nothing has been finalized.

Bob Black Jack set the six-furlong world record of 1:06.53 in the Sunshine Millions Dash at Santa Anita in 2008. The record has since been broken.