04/25/2013 2:05PM

Hastings: Shrug gets first local try in George Royal Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Shrug will make his first start at Hastings in the George Royal Stakes on Sunday.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Shrug was good enough to win a $93,000 stakes race on grass for Swift Thoroughbreds Inc. at Del Mar last year, so he has to be considered a major player the $50,000 George Royal Stakes for 3-year-olds and up when he makes his first start at Hastings on Sunday.

Shrug is the kind of horse Swift has done very well with at Hastings. They have had a lot of success buying horses – mostly from Darley Stable – that had great pedigrees but didn’t live up to their potential. Darley is looking for Grade 1 winners. Swift is happy to win stakes at Hastings. Spendthrift Farm was probably hoping for a graded stakes winner when they paid $300,000 for Shrug at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale. He became available after he finished fourth in a $62,500 optional-claiming race at Santa Anita on April 12, 2012.

“We hope he runs as well up here as he did down there,” said Mark Mache, who is part of the Swift configuration that includes his wife, Naudia, and Horatio and Jackie Kemeny.

“He is a wonderful-looking, massive individual and he has faced a few beasts, such as Coil and Unbridled’s Note,” Mache added. “Hopefully, he can handle the shorter configuration of our track.”

Shrug wasn’t able to keep up with Unbridled’s Note in the Grade 3 Eddie D at Santa Anita, but he has been a handy horse for Swift. In seven starts for them, he has won two races in Southern California and placed in a couple of stakes at Golden Gate.

He has never won on dirt, but trainer Dino Condilenios is happy with how he has trained over the Hastings surface since he arrived here a few weeks ago. He was trained in California by Carla Gaines.

“So far, so good,” Condilenios said. “I like what I see. He’s handling the racetrack, and we’ll see how he fits against the likes of Commander.”

Shrug is coming off a third-place finish going six furlongs in the $50,000 Albany at Golden Gate on Feb. 18. It was a good field, and it produced three next-out winners.

“He’s been off for a couple of months, but he seems fit enough,” Condilenios said. “It should be a great race, and hopefully, he’s good enough.”

An eight-horse package of former Darley horses arrived at Condilenios’s barn Wednesday. They are all 3-year-olds, and the only winner in the group is Modern. He finished third when he debuted in a maiden special weight race won by Rolling Fog last August at Del Mar. The race was elevated when Rolling Fog came back to win the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity. It didn’t get any easier in his second start, when he ran into Santa Anita Derby runner-up Flashback. He found the company more to his liking at Turf Paradise in his third start, where he rolled to 2 1/2-length win in a $30,000 optional maiden claiming race going about 7 1/2 furlongs on turf.

“On paper, it looks like he’ll fit nicely here,” Condilenios said. “He hasn’t raced since January, so he won’t be ready to run for a while, though.”

Shooting Jacket and Tally Stick will be making their first starts in North America soon. Both horses ran as 2-year-olds in Great Britain and have been working steadily the past couple of months. Shooting Jacket has been based at Keeneland, and Tally Stick at Belmont.

“About all I know about them is they have been working and are ready to run,” Condilenios said.

Amazing Rozi impresses in debut victory

Amazing Rozi made a strong impression when he won his debut in a maiden special weight race for 3-year-olds last Saturday. Trained by Lenore Dubois and ridden by Richard Hamel, Amazing Rozi broke alertly, set fast fractions, and kept rolling to beat the 2-1 favorite Bluegrass Pride. His final time for the six furlongs over a track rated good was 1:11.64, and he received a 70 Beyer Speed Figure. He was a well-kept secret, paying $34.60.

He was purchased as a yearling for $64,000 by Nick and Pauline Felicella at the 2011 British Columbia Canadian Thoroughbred yearling and mixed sale.

Amazing Rozi has the pedigree to be a decent horse. He is out of multiple stakes winner Early Blaze, an earner of $393,945. His half-brother Early Wisdom won the Grade 3 Col. R.S. McLaughlin at Woodbine, and half-sister Mountain Dawn earned $272,457 and placed in the Grade 2 Mazarine.

He’s part of the first-crop of Rosberg who won the Grade 3 Premiers. A son of A.P. Indy, Rosberg was part of a package of horses Swift bought from Darley.

“We’ve liked him right from the start,” Dubois said. “He came out of the race perfectly. Hopefully, we can find a race for him in the next few weeks.”