07/18/2008 12:00AM

Triple bid alive for Tin Cup Chalice


Tin Cup Chalice is one race away from becoming the first horse to win the Big Apple Triple and collect a bonus of $250,000.

The series, inaugurated in 1999, consists of the seven-furlong Mike Lee at Belmont Park, the 1 1/16-mile New York Derby at Finger Lakes Race Track, and the 1 1/8-mile Albany Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.

In his first start around two turns, Tin Cup Chalice won the New York Derby last weekend in a gritty performance, just 20 days after winning the Mike Lee.

The Albany Handicap will be run Aug. 20.

The 3-year-old gelded son of New York sire Crusader Sword remains unbeaten in six starts, with earnings of $225,720. Bred, trained, and co-owned by Michael Lecesse, Tin Cup Chalice has won his races by a combined 32 1/2 lengths.

He is out of the Spectacular Bid mare Twice Forbidden, who is also the dam of New York Derby winner Don Corleone. His sire, winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes in 1987, stands at Foggy Bottom Farm in Geneseo, N.Y.

Tin Cup Chalice is the fourth runner to capture the first two legs of the Big Apple Triple. He joins Image Maker (2000), Ferocious Won (2006), and Chief's Lake (2007).

Traffic Chief (2003) won the Mike Lee and Albany, while Naughty New Yorker (2005) won the New York Derby and Albany.

Tin Cup Chalice joins several top runners on the roster of New York Derby winners.

Fio Rito won it in 1978 and later captured the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga. Candid Cameron, the 1990 winner, won the Grade 3 Dominion Day Handicap, while 2005 New York Derby winner Accountforthegold also won the Grade 3 Stuyvesant Handicap.

Finger Lakes also hosted the Niagara Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on New York Derby Day, and Karakorum Katie posted her first stakes victory in the six-furlong event.

Owned by Karakorum Farm, she sent her earnings to $87,147 with a record of 3-0-0 in 7 starts.

Bred by Dr. Jerry Bilinski and Dr. Anina Lacour, Karakorum Katie is by Pure Prize out of La Finale, by In Reality.

La Finale is also the dam of Ninth Inning, winner of the Grade 2 Astarita Stakes, and of graded stakes-placed Stylish Encore.

Her family includes the classy runners Statuette, Academy Award, and Good Mood.

Birdstone gets winner at Belmont

Trainer Rick Violette sent out Robin A. Cardoza's Heir to the Stone to a sharp first-out victory at Belmont Park on July 10.

The 2-year-old son from the first crop of Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone won a restricted event at 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.78, receiving a Beyer Speed Figure of 85 while winning by 5 3/4 lengths.

Bred by Irene Habernickel, Heir to the Stone was purchased by Cardoza for $5,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale at Saratoga. He is out of Mi Mariposa, by Two Punch.

Mi Mariposa's dam, Princess Nicketti, by Tom Rolfe, is a half-sister to Lafayette Stakes winner Busted. This family includes graded stakes horses Get the Axe, Sambacarioca, and Penny Blues.

Habernickel used the Belvedere Farm of Marty and Cindy Takacs, in Paris, as her Kentucky boarding farm.

Heir to the Stone was foaled at Anstu Farm in Millbrook, N.Y.

Marty Takacs collaborated with Habernickel on the breeding to Birdstone, who stands at Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Ky.

"Birdstone was a horse that could really run and he's been underestimated," he said. "He might be a bit on the small side, but everything is in the right place. I bred to him myself last year and I can't wait to get that foal."

Heir to the Stone is nominated to the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga on July 24.

Museum honors N.Y. breeders

The National Museum of Racing will host the dedication of the Bongard Room at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 27, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The museum is located at 191 Union Ave., across the street from the main entrance to Saratoga Race Course.

The Bongard Room honors the accomplishments of New York Thoroughbred breeders over the last half-century. It was created in memory of the late Bertram F. Bongard, for whom the Bongard Stakes is named.

His daughter Ellen Bongard, of Rojan Farm in Saratoga Springs, will host the event.

All are welcome to attend.