09/07/2006 11:00PM

West Virginia is Sheikh Rashid's new gem


Sheikh Rashid al-Maktoum, 25, the son of Godolphin owner Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, added another good horse to his already strong Zabeel Racing International stable last month when he purchased top New York-bred older runner West Virginia.

A 5-year-old horse by New York sire Tomorrows Cat, West Virginia had been racing for his breeders, Donald and Mary Zuckerman.

West Virginia will remain with trainer Todd Pletcher, who has saddled him to victories in the Grade 3 Iselin Handicap and Grade 3 Excelsior Breeders' Cup and placings in five other graded stakes in the last 12 months.

West Virginia has finished on the board in the Pimlico Special and the Stephen Foster and Whitney handicaps, all Grade 1, in his last three starts.

He is out of Kennedy Road's daughter, Wild and Wonderful, a half-sister to Monmouth Oaks winner Pampered Star.

West Virginia has a record of 7-5-4 in 25 starts with earnings of $960,918.

West Virginia has been a stakes winner at ages 2, 3, 4, and 5, and is a grandson of Storm Cat.

Races under consideration for West Virginia include the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap on Sept. 16 and the Empire Classic on New York Showcase Day, Oct. 21.

Zabeel Racing International also campaigns the brilliant sprinter Henny Hughes, winner of the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga in his last start.

Chief Officer continues to dominate

Chief Officer stamped herself as the best New York-bred juvenile filly with an authoritative victory in the $250,518 New York Breeders' Futurity on Labor Day at Finger Lakes Race Track.

Bred by Sequel 2003 and Lynda Richter and owned by Zayat Stable, Chief Officer was coming off a victory in the Lady Finger Stakes on Aug. 19, the local prep for the Futurity.

Her time for the six-furlong Lady Fingers was 1:11.51, which was 0.78 of a second faster than Endless Circle's time of 1:12.29 in the Aspirant for colts on the same card Chief Officer won the six-furlong Breeders' Futurity in 1:11.16.

Chief Officer became the 10th filly to defeat males in the 44-year history of the Breeders' Futurity.

Prior to the Lady Finger, Chief Officer placed in the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga on July 26.

She won her maiden over statebreds in her career debut on June 30.

A daughter of Officer, Chief Officer has career earnings of $262,076 with a record of 3-0-1 in 4 starts. She was purchased by Zayat Stable for $230,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Chief Officer is out of Guilty Pleasure, by Pine Bluff, who is also the dam of Ready to Please, winner of the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes and the third-place finisher in the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park.

Ready to Please is a full sister to Ready's Gal, winner of the Grade 3 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga.

Admiral Bird shows good turf potential

Another promising New York-bred juvenile is Admiral Bird, who finished second by a nose in the open With Anticipation Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Saratoga on Sept. 1.

Cot Campbell's Dogwood Stable purchased the son of Royal Academy for $250,000 at the Keeneland April 2-year-olds in training sale from the consignment of Gabriel Dixon, agent.

Admiral Bird, trained by Christophe Clement, won his maiden at the Spa over statebreds on Aug. 10 with a determined late run.

"He has certainly gotten off to a good start," said Campbell. "We're delighted with him. He had one of the fastest turf works at the sale and I thought I wouldn't be able to buy him after that."

One week before the sale, he worked a quarter-mile in 21.20 seconds on turf

Admiral Bird is out of Mt. Livermore's daughter Sea Puffin, an unraced mare whose dam, Curlew, placed in a division of the Grade 3 Nijana Stakes on the Saratoga turf.

This is a family with strong New York connections, as Curlew is also the dam of Merion Miss, the dam of New York-bred Arkansas Derby winner Private Emblem; Rhum, winner of the Ticonderoga Handicap; and Taghkanic, who placed in the Broadway Handicap.

Private Emblem, an earner of $783,152, also won the Grade 3 Essex Handicap, the Southwest Handicap, and the Albany Handicap during his career.

Admiral Bird was bred by Dr. Doug Koch's Berkshire Stud in Rhinebeck, N.Y.