Owner: West Point Thoroughbreds, St. Elias Stable, Spendthrift Farm
Trainer: Tom Albertrani
Jockey: Luis Saez
- * Raced twice at 2, not breaking his maiden until March 10 at Gulfstream Park
- * He was declared a non-starter in his stakes debut, the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, after being compromised at the break
- * Rebounded with an eye-opening effort in the Grade 2 Peter Pan, going gate to wire to win by 13 ¼ lengths
- * Is named after part-owner Tom Wilson’s independent record label, Freedom Child Entertainment
WEST POINT THOROUGHBREDS, ST. ELIAS STABLE, SPENDTHRIFT FARM
Founded in 1991 by Terry Finley, West Point Thoroughbreds consistently ranks among the leading syndicate operations in racing. Since 2007, West Point has banked more than $19 million in purses, campaigning 26 stakes winners, 20 of them graded, including Grade 1 winners Awesome Gem, Dream Rush, Flashy Bull, Irish Smoke, Lear’s Princess and Macho Again, who was fifth in the 2008 Belmont. St. Elias Stable is the nom de course of Vincent Viola, the chairman and CEO of Virtu Financial, an electronic market-making and financial technological services company. Viola, who has served as the chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, is originally from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Having made his fortune in the self-storage business, B. Wayne Hughes bought 700-acre Spendthrift Farm in 2004. In addition to Freedom Child, Spendthrift also bred multiple graded stakes winner Kauai Katie.
The Brooklyn-born resident of Garden City, N.Y., got his start in horse racing as a hot walker at Belmont Park for his uncle, trainer Jack Abatemarco. He rode as an apprentice before taking a job as assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott in 1986 and was then hired by Godolphin, headed by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, to assist lead trainer Saeed bin Suroor. He returned to New York in 2005 to train for Darley, Sheikh Mohammed’s other outfit, in addition to opening a public stable. Albertrani trained Bernardini to victories in the Preakness, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2006 en route to the Eclipse Award as the nation’s top 3-Year-Old Male. He has had two previous Belmont starters, running 10th with Deputy Glitters in 2006 and third with Brilliant Speed in 2011.
A native of Panama City, Panama, the 21-year-old Saez rode five winners on May 31 at Belmont Park, two of them in dead heats, marking the 11th time in his career he has won as many as five on a single card. The other 10 have come in Florida, including six-win days at Calder in 2009 and 2012. Saez, who moved his tack from south Florida to New York in April, ranked fifth nationally with 281 wins in 2012 and has more than 900 career victories in North America since 2009. Saez graduated from the Laffit Pincay, Jr. riding school in Panama, at one time sleeping on a tack room floor at Presidente Remon racetrack. He came to the U.S. in August 2009 and won 105 of 479 races that year, and was runner-up in Eclipse Award voting as the top apprentice jockey.
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