02/02/2017 12:10PM

Tencendur to stand in New York for owner Birsh

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Debra A. Roma
Tencendur was Grade 1-placed, finishing second behind Frosted in the Wood Memorial.

The Grade 1-placed New York-bred Tencendur will return to his home state for stallion duty at Mill Creek Farm in Stillwater.

The Warrior’s Reward horse, who raced as a homebred for Philip Birsh, the publisher of Playbill Magazine, will begin his stud career with a $2,500 fee. Stillwater, a town outside of Saratoga Springs, is about 25 miles from Birsh’s farm in Galway, where Tencendur was born and raised.

“We never saw his absolute talent or potential,” said Birsh, who said he plans to breed about a dozen mares to Tencendur this year. “He was very immature for his years. He was very big, very strong, very talented, but he was also young. He ran young a lot, but his physical talents were just tremendous. [Trainer] George Weaver’s greatest regret was that he didn’t run as an older 3-year-old and 4-year-old, but, you know, that’s horse racing.

“Physically, he’s almost perfect,” Birsh added. “He’s a beautiful horse, great temperament, and, of course, he ran clean his whole life. I think he will reproduce himself regularly because he’s just, what you see is what you get.”

Tencendur was trained by Weaver, who worked as an assistant to D. Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher before going out on his own.

“He has to be one of the best-looking horses I’ve ever trained, including my time with Wayne and Todd,” Weaver said. “He’s an eye-catching horse; he just looks like an athlete.”

Tencendur didn’t debut until December of his 2-year-old season but won his maiden at second asking against statebreds before competing in New York’s Kentucky Derby prep series. He finished second by two lengths to Frosted in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial; the winner went on to become a multiple Grade 1-winning older horse. That effort earned Tencendur a berth in the Kentucky Derby, where he was 17th behind Triple Crown hero American Pharoah.

Tencendur bounced back to finish second by a nose to millionaire Mr. Z in the Ohio Derby. An ankle injury derailed the colt’s summer campaign, and he made only one more start, finishing second in an allowance race last August at Saratoga.

“He was second to Frosted, and we obviously know how good Frosted was,” Weaver said. “He was just learning how to run.”

Birsh cited his long support of the New York-bred program and his long relationship with Mill Creek’s principals as some of the factors in standing Tencendur in his home state.

“New York is a great program – best in the country, most lucrative in the country,” Birsh said. “The program is designed to promote New York farms and preserve New York farmland. I believe in that 100 percent. And the New York program creates a lot of jobs in the state.”

Out of the Hennessy mare Still Secret, Tencendur is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Mother Russia. His fourth dam is a full sister to the prolific broodmare Best in Show, whose daughters include Kentucky Oaks winner Blush With Pride, the dam of multiple classic producer Better Than Honour. Best in Show also produced prominent broodmares Monroe and Minnie Hauk. More importantly for Tencendur, the extended family includes leading sires El Gran Senor, Redoute’s Choice, along with Try My Best.

Birsh said that Still Secret will be pensioned this spring after producing her final foal by New York stallion Micromanage. The mare produced a full sister to Tencendur last March whom the owner has high hopes for – even as she’s going through a growth spurt that mirrors her older brother’s.

“When he was a yearling, he looked like he was running downhill standing still,” Birsh said with a laugh. “His legs were long, his butt was high, his shoulders were low. All he was missing were braces on his teeth and corrective shoes. You don’t get to be almost 17 hands by not going through growth phases. His sister’s going through the same. But she’s big and strong like him, and I hope she’s as good.”