FIRSTMATE wins the $100,000 Minnesota Oaks, as well as updates on other graduates
RSS Feeds Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Firstmate winning the $100,000 Minnesota Oaks in August 2018.  Photo by Coady Photography.


Congratulations to Barry and Joni Butzow for their filly, FIRSTMATE’s dominating win in the Canterbury Oaks.  This race is run on the highlighted week-end at Canterbury Downs when they also run the Canterbury Derby.  The Joe Sharp trainee looked magnificent and ran to her looks with a 4 ½ length victory.

  • Re-habbed at SSS and returned from her vacation at the farm in April with a fresh perspective for racing in 2018.
  • Also, it was Kevin and Erik’s coordination with the whole team (Camillo, Michele, Jessica) who were involved with her treatment and training that enabled her to go back to Joe in such excellent condition.
  • Kevin and Steve went up to the race to give support to the filly as well as to Barry and Joni. It was a very special weekend for everyone.

Firstmate training with buddy Kelamonster in March 2018.



Our 2016 foal crop is starting to make their presence known at racetracks in both the US as well as Europe.  In his second start, CASA CREED won an 85k Maiden Special at Saratoga on August 4th.  He was a nice, balanced foal who we sold as a weanling and to date, everyone who has touched him has profited nicely.

Casa Creed and his dam on the farm.

Casa Creed as a baby.




Another SSS graduate carried the SSS banner when XYLONIA’s 2 year old colt by POINT OF ENTRY, won a very nice maiden special race across the ocean in Cork, Ireland.  His trainer, Emmet Mullins, is directing him to the Golden Fleece (G2) on September 15th.  DUCKETT’s GROVE was always a big, strong boned colt who we thought would do very well going two turns on the grass, and apparently Mullins sees that in him as well. Gary Carroll, his jockey reported to Mullins when he jumped off, “.... he’ll develop into a magnificent three year old...”.

If he runs well in the Golden Fleece G2 he’ll be a pretty good two year old as well…

Duckett's Grove and his dam running in the paddock.

 Duckett's Grove as a weanling.



Racing horses is pretty simple, right?  Pick a race, train the horse, find a race, enter them and run them.  Simple...

OK, listen to the plan Kevin and Matt Frazier have laid out for Strongbox, our one-eyed horse who was competing over the jumps last year (he won over the hurdles BTW), and this is what we know about him: he loves the grass, “can run forever, loves to train (when he gallops 2 miles, Matt’s riders look like they’re water skiing when they try to pull him up), he’s a tough campaigner who’ll run through a wall if it’s in front of him, he’s “only 6 years old”, he’s as sound as a brass bell (has cannons like lead pipes), not a blemish on him, but we cannot lose track of the fact that, basically, on the flat he’s a $15 - $20K claimer at best.

After the jumping season closed last year (November) Strongbox came home for R&R through the winter, and the plan was to send him back to Bernie and Kate Dalton in SC for the late summer and early fall jumping season (apparently, according to Kate the fall season is a bit softer than the more competitive spring jumping season).

As Kevin was conditioning Strongbox to go to SC the first of August, he suggested that we should consider running him a couple of times for conditioning on the flat as opposed to just hammering  on him, and we’d have the possibility of bringing home few dollars if he could light the board.  That made sense.

Kevin and Matt found a 1 1/16th  claiming  for $15K race on the grass at Belterra, entered him, and he won it.  Sweet… getting him in condition, and won a purse.  Then these guys are looking at other options:  Kentucky Downs AND Woodbine.   KY Downs is a very unique meet because the purses are so phenomenally high, BUT when there’s a $10K starter allowance with at $50k purse turf race for horses who have started for $7,500 at 1 ½ miles, we have to consider the race. Originally, we didn’t qualify to meet the condition of running for $7.5K, until Kevin and Matt found a $7.5K claiming race at Ellis on Saturday.  It fit into his schedule, so we entered and held our breath.  He should have won, but got a lousy ride, however ended up running second AND DIDN’T GET CLAIMED!  Now, we’re eligible for the race at KY Downs – stay tuned…

The story’s not over yet.  Matt is keeping an eye on a series of distance turf races at Woodbine that have a points system for running in four races at Woodbine.  This is a second option and if we don’t make it this year, it’ll still be available next year. 

So you see there’s a whole lot more to running horses than just entering them – you need short-plans with long term goals.

Strongbox training on the turf at Ashwood in June 2018.

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