08/21/2008 11:00PM

Lecesse strikes gold with 'Tin Cup'


Displaying the grit that kept him unbeaten in his previous six starts, Tin Cup Chalice repulsed a host of challengers in the Albany Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 20 to become the first winner of the Big Apple Triple.

In doing so, he collected a $250,000 bonus for Finger Lakes-based trainer Michael Lecesse, who co-owns Tin Cup Chalice with Scott Van Laer.

The bonus was instituted in 1999, and requires the winner to negotiate seven furlongs in the Mike Lee at Belmont Park, 1 1/16 miles in the New York Derby at Finger Lakes, and 1 1/8 miles in the Albany Handicap.

It is administered and awarded by the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund Corporation.

"We are obviously ecstatic to make the award to Tin Cup Chalice," said Martin G. Kinsella, executive director of the Fund. "This goes a long way to promoting the New York program even further and places us better on the road map."

Kinsella credited Joe Spadaro, former deputy executive director of the fund, for coming up with the bonus idea in the late 1990s.

Tin Cup Chalice, a 3-year-old gelded son of Crusader Sword, is out of Twice Forbidden, by the late New York sire Spectacular Bid.

Twice Forbidden is also the mother of New York Derby winner Don Corleone. Her colt by E Dubai sold for $230,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale this past spring. She is in foal to Forest Wildcat this year.

When Lecesse acquired Twice Forbidden she was at Foggy Bottom Farm in Geneseo, N.Y., where Crusader Sword stands for $1,000. So he bred her to Crusader Sword, the winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes and the Saratoga Special in 1987 at Saratoga.

Crusader Sword, bred and raced by Paul Mellon's Rokeby Stable, is a son of Damascus. He is also the sire of multiple graded stakes winner Isitingood, an earner of $1.2 million.

Heading into the Albany Handicap, Tin Cup Chalice was the fourth runner to have won the first two legs of the series. The others were Image Maker (2000), Ferocious Won (2006), and Chief's Lake (2007).

Tin Cup Chalice joins a list of Albany Handicap winners that includes graded stakes winners Fio Rito (1978), Fourstardave (1988), Private Emblem (2002), and Naughty New Yorker (2005).

Lecesse indicated after the Albany Handicap that Tin Cup Chalice might be pointed to the Grade 2 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on Oct. 4.

Lecesse's father, Raymond, owned Fio Rito, the Finger Lakes runner who captured the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga in 1981.

Third stakes winner for Raffie's Majesty

Raffie's Treasure captured the Statue of Liberty division of the New York Stallion Stakes series at Saratoga on Aug. 7, giving sire Raffie's Majesty his third stakes winner of 2008.

Bred and owned by Majesty Stud, Raffie's Treasure sent her career earnings to $118,000 with a record of 2 wins from 4 starts.

Raffie's Treasure is a full sister to Empire Classic winners Organizer and Dr. V's Magic. Her dam is the Summer Squall mare Treasure Always.

Treasure Always is a half-sister to Acceptable, winner of the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Classic and an earner of $713,020.

Majesty Stud's Digby Barrios, of Ridgefield, Conn., is also a participant in the partnership that stands Raffie's Majesty at Sugar Maple Farm in Poughquag, N.Y.

Known for getting dependable older runners going a distance of ground, Raffie's Majesty finished third in the Travers Stakes to Coronado's Quest and Victory Gallop in 1998.

His sons Stud Muffin and Tommasi, finished second and third in the $100,000 Solomon Northup Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 8.