Blacktype, Itsonlyactingdad score breakthroughs on Monmouth turf

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 31st, 2016

On a soggy Haskell Day that saw all the turf races other than the Grade 3s transferred to dirt, it was somehow fitting that French-bred Blacktype earned his first career stakes credit in the $158,500 Oceanport (G3). Under a well-timed ride by Joe Bravo, the Christophe Clement trainee rallied from well back to deny Kharafa by a neck. The 5-2 favorite negotiated 1 1/16 miles on a yielding turf course in 1:45.64.

Yet it would be wrong to suggest that Blacktype was dependent upon the rain-affected conditions. On the contrary, he’s reveled on firm turf, most recently when capturing an allowance at Belmont on July 3. Both of his victories in his native France came on the all-weather at Lyon La Soie. And when his prior stakes appearances came on rain-softened ground, he wound up fifth in both the 2014 Hill Prince (G3) and the May 7 Fort Marcy (G3).

His Oceanport victory was rather a case of an in-form horse taking the next step in his progress. The five-year-old gelding was reserved near the back as Nonna’s Boy scampered forward through fractions of :24.72 and :49.64. Almasty engaged the leader at the six-furlong mark in 1:14.38, and took a brief lead, only to be overhauled by the surging Kharafa in midstretch. But Bravo had Blacktype in pursuit, and his late momentum proved inexorable.

Kharafa, the elder statesman in the field at the age of seven, ran a winning race in a tough beat. War Dancer finished with interest for third, followed by Captain Dixie, Almasty, Infinite Wisdom, Nonna’s Boy, and comebacker Winning Cause, who was never involved.

Campaigned by Jump Sucker Stable, Blacktype sports a mark of 18-6-2-5, $350,678. He was bred by E.A.R.L. Haras du Quesnay and sold for just $9,603 as a yearling at Arqana November. The first black-type winner for his sire, the Highest Honor stallion Dunkerque, Blacktype is out of the winning Anabaa mare Theorie. His fourth dam is Natalma, dam of the breed-shaping Northern Dancer. 

Two races later, Bravo likewise steered Starlight Racing’s Itsonlyactingdad to a new career high in the $110,000 Matchmaker (G3). Also the 5-2 favorite, she uncorked a powerful closing punch to defeat Tammy the Torpedo in a final time of 1:52.27 for nine grassy furlongs.

Itsonlyactingdad handed Bravo his fourth win on the card (including the Monmouth Cup [G2] aboard Bradester as the first leg of his graded treble), and made it a four-timer for Pletcher as well.

With a trip reminiscent of Blacktype’s, Itsonlyactingdad conserved energy in the latter part of the field. Even in the absence of last-minute scratch Cali Thirty Seven, a contentious pace unfolded early. Means Well grabbed command through an opening quarter in :24.64, and Invading Humor was a pestering presence through splits of :49.38 and 1:14.38. Although Means Well won that battle and shook free turning for home, she lost the war.

Tammy the Torpedo was gliding up from midpack, and Itsonlyactingdad followed her through on the rail. When Tammy the Torpedo struck the front, Itsonlyactingdad was already on the premises, and blew past to win going away by 1 1/4 lengths.

Uchenna got up for third from Bureau de Change in a blanket finish. Heath, last early, made belated headway in fifth. Sea Coast, Means Well, Pink Poppy, and Invading Humor rounded out the order under the wire, and Nakuti and Industrial Policy were the early scratches.

Itsonlyactingdad, whose prior claim to fame was finishing second to Lady Eli in last summer’s Belmont Oaks (G1), improved her record to 9-4-3-0, $371,350. Successful in her reappearance in a February 27 allowance at Gulfstream, the Giant’s Causeway filly was eighth behind Tepin in the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland, and a fast-finishing second at Belmont last out.

Bred in Kentucky by Bluegrass Hall, Itsonlyactingdad brought $270,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling. Her dam, the unraced A.P. Indy mare Indy Business, is a half-sister to Grade 2 winner and multiple Grade 1-placed Real Cozzy, from the further family of dual classic stars Real Quiet and Majestic Prince.

The Matchmaker is sponsored by WinStar, which sweetens the prize money by offering seasons to stallions Paynter, Fed Biz, and Take Charge Indy.

Photos courtesy of Equi-Photo (Blacktype by Ryan Denver and Itsonlyactingdad by Taylor Ejdys)