Features

Make way Fourstar Crook, Lubash, King Kreesa, Kharafa and the like of ultra-consistent turf runners produced by the New York breeding program, there’s a new member of the club who took it up another level in 2019.

Fifty Five, champion New York-bred 3-year-old filly in 2017 and a finalist for turf female honors in 2018, joined the above-mentioned group (plus some more historic runners such as Fourstardave and Irish Linnet) and collected another title in 2019 in a season that saw her add two wins in stakes she’d already won and two others in stakes where she’d been close in the past.

The victories came in the Ticonderoga for a third consecutive year and the John Hettinger for a second consecutive season, along with early season scores in the Plenty Of Grace (against open company) and the Mount Vernon. Fifty Five finished second in the Plenty Of Grace and Mount Vernon in 2018.

Fifty Five didn’t win a graded stakes in 2019, like she did in 2017 but came close when second in the Grade 3 Dr. James Penny Memorial at Parx Racing and fourth in the Grade 2 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa at Saratoga Race Course.

John Crowe runs the small breeding and racing operation Empire Equines with his wife Sandy, bred the Get Stormy mare and continues to marvel at her exploits year after year after year.

“It’s been a very pleasant and rewarding experience,” said Crowe, who sold Fifty Five privately to current owner Peter Brant in early 2017. “We had some mixed feelings about selling her, but we did well with the sale and Peter Brant did well with the purchase, so that’s pretty good . . . No matter who owns her, we bred her so we are still connected.”

Foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains in late April 2014, Fifty Five was produced by the late Brahms mare Soave. The Crowes bred Soave and purchased her dam, the New York-bred Cozzene mare Cozzekiki, for $14,000 at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale.

“At the time we purchased the mare, Cozzekiki, we liked the mare and everything but the only thing we didn’t like was that she was in foal to Brahms,” Crowe said. “He was one of those stallions who started off in Kentucky, went on the downswing and then ended up somewhere else.

“So it was kind of a negative, which is why we got the mare for what we got her for. That foal turned out to be Soave, who produced Fifty Five. So you never know. So many times things twist around a bit in this business.”

Fifty Five started her career for Empire and trainer Tom Bush, winning two of her first four starts with a third in her debut and a third in the Grade 3 Sweetest Chant at Gulfstream Park. She won the Grade 3 Florida Oaks, becoming the first graded stakes winner for Get Stormy, also trained by Bush, before being sold.

“Tom always said that since he started racing her she got better and better with each start,” said Crowe, also the breeder of 2-year-old male finalist Cleon Jones. “You can’t ask for more than that.”

Fifty Five continued to improve – and win – after the sale to Brant and transfer to trainer Chad Brown.

Fifty Five won three of six starts in 2018 and four of six in 2019. Her victory at 2-5 odds in the $210,700 Ticonderoga on Empire Showcase Day was worth $115,500 and pushed her bankroll to $1,033,288. Fifty Five sports a career record of 11 wins, four seconds and five thirds in 22 starts – the lone off-the-board finishes being a fifth in the Grade 2 Sands Point in 2017 and the Ballston Spa last summer when beaten just a half-length to stablemate Significant Form.

“She’s been super consistent for us,” Brown said. “What a pleasure to have in the barn. I can’t think of a horse who deserves to be a millionaire more than her because she earned it the hard way, a lot of starts and a very consistent record.”

Fifty Five was in training this winter in Florida while awaiting the return of turf racing in New York.

Fifty Five
B. m. 2014, Get Stormy–Soave, Brahms.
Breeder: Empire Equines.
Owner: Peter Brant.
Trainer: Chad Brown. 6-4-1-0.
2019 record: $372,000. 2019 stakes: Plenty Of Grace, Mt. Vernon, John Hettinger, Ticonderoga.

 

Other champion turf female finalists

Belle Of The Spa
Ch.m. 2014, Pure Prize–Awakened Beauty, Devil His Due.
Breeder/Owner: Anthony McCarthy.
Trainer: Bruce Brown.
2019 record: 4-2-0-0. $123,630. Won optional claimer in June to start season and two starts later upset Yaddo Stakes (at 31-1) at Saratoga. Dam sold for $15,000 at Saratoga and won twice for McCarthy and Brown before becoming a broodmare.

Fire Key
Dk.b./br. m. 2013, Friesan Fire–U R Key, Albert The Great.
Breeder/Owner: Backwards Stable.
Trainers: Joseph Catanese, Jim Ryerson.
2019 record: 10-2-3-1. $259,000. Stayed in open company all year and won the License Fee in April and Floral Park in October, both at Belmont Park, after competitive efforts in Florida to start campaign. Also placed in Grade 3 Intercontinental at Belmont. Up to nine wins and $743,785 in career.

Kid Is Frosty
Ch.f. 2016, Frost Giant–Murmure, Lemon Drop Kid.
Breeder/Owner: Bad Boy Racing.
Trainer: Brad Cox.
2019 record: 10-3-4-1. $327,570. Started 2019 as a maiden and finished as dual stakes winner (in the New York Stallion Series) on turf with $337,684 in lifetime earnings. Also placed in stakes and won maiden race on dirt.

Saratoga Treasure
B.f. 2015, Treasure Beach–Sky Gazer, Sky Mesa.
Breeder/Owner: Patricia Generazio.
Trainer: David Donk.
2019 record: 8-3-1-2. $196,808. Blossomed in the fall with optional claiming wins in September and November and an open-company stakes triumph in the Autumn Days at Aqueduct in December.