Grade One Winner Tom’s Tribute to Rancho San Miguel

San Miguel, CA (August 2, 2017)-Grade One winning Tom’s Tribute has moved to Rancho San Miguel for his third breeding season. Winner of the Grade One Eddie Read in a stellar career that saw him win six of sixteen starts and $634,880 under the tutelage of James M. Cassidy.

Tom’s Tribute, under the ownership of DP Racing, will join the Rancho San Miguel stallion roster for a fee of $2,000 Live Foal.

Tom’s Tribute, a 2010 son of Lion Heart out of Halloween Fun by El Prado, was a $310,000 Ocala juvenile sale graduate that won or placed in seven stakes from 2 to 4; before an untimely fetlock injury while preparing for his five-year-old campaign.

Winner of his second lifetime start, Tom’s Tribute was off the board only once as a three-year-old and only twice as a four-year-old.

During his four-year-old campaign Tom’s Tribute came roaring down the stretch to win the Thunder Road Stakes at Santa Anita Park equaling the course record set by Wise Dan for a mile on turf in 1:31.78.

As an up and coming son of the successful sire of sires Lion Heart, Tom’s Tribute will be following such prominent sires as Kantharos and Line of David.

Rancho San Miguel has on site a number of 2017 foals from the first crop of Tom’s Tribute. Clay Murdock, farm manager, points out “their size, their scope and overall balance are giving these foals a real racehorse look. Across the board our clients are saying they are extremely pleased with their Tom’s Tribute sucklings.”

For more information, contact Clay Murdock at Rancho San Miguel 805-467-3847 or

He’s Not Grey Debuts a Winner in Emerald Downs Express

By Mary Rampellini

He’s Not Grey made his career debut a memorable one on Sunday, when he came rolling through the stretch for a 3 1/2-length win over Bullet Drill in the $50,000 Emerald Downs Express. The race was one of two stakes for 2-year-olds on the card. Bella Mia wired her rivals in the $50,000 Angie C.

Both of the stakes were run over 5 1/2 furlongs.

He’s Not Grey ($24.80) was content to stalk the pace set by Elliott Bay, who ran the opening quarter in 22.25 seconds while under pressure from Brown Tiger. He’s Not Grey advanced on the turn, came four wide into the stretch, and rolled past the leaders in the lane. He covered the distance on a fast track in 1:05.04.

“He’s been the talk of the barn, how good he’s been doing,” said winning owner John Parker. “He showed he can run.”

Juan Gutierrez was aboard He’s Not Grey for trainer Candi Tollett. The winner is a son of Slew’s Tiznow and for his effort Sunday he earned $27,225. He’s Not Grey was bred in California by Eagle Ridge Racing and Rancho San Miguel.

Clay is the Rancho San Miguel Potter


California Thoroughbred Breeders Association member Clay Murdock has come a long way since his days as a jockey in the bush-league racetracks of Idaho. He recently celebrated 30 years at Rancho San Miguel, where he is the general manager. A knowledgeable and dedicated horseman, Murdock is in charge of more than 400 Thoroughbreds and has proved himself exceedingly capable.

When he was just 12 years old, Murdock learned how to exercise his father’s racehorses, joking that he was riding “in the bushes of the bush.” Although his father had a “real” job, father and son spent weekends racing Quarter Horses and a few Thoroughbreds in Idaho and Montana. Murdock was riding races as soon as he turned 16, and eventually he started training horses in his early 20s.

“I had a desire to come to California,” Murdock recalled.

(Clay) built the infrastructure, recruited and developed the most professional and knowledgeable staff he could assemble and has worked diligently every day to build a reputation beyond reproach for the farm.”
— Tom Clark, owner Rancho San Miguel

He took a job galloping horses at Bay Meadows to get started in the Golden State, then was offered a position by Quarter Horse trainer Russell Harris to head up a breaking and training facility in Southern California.

“I bounced around for six or seven years,” Murdock said. “I was breaking 70 or 80 head of Quarter Horses when Dr. William Marano was looking for someone to run a Thoroughbred farm. There were only 15 or 20 head, so it looked like a drop down. But I really wanted to move on with Thoroughbreds.”

That farm was Rancho San Miguel, a breaking and training facility with just one stallion, and in 1987, Murdock began managing it. When Tom and Nancy Clark bought the farm in 2000, they put their emphasis on breeding by expanding the property, adding a stallion barn, and recruiting new studs while phasing out the majority of the training.

Three generations of the Murdock clan: patriarch Cal Murdock with son Clay, holding his grandson Kenton

“Nancy and I bought the farm because we had complete confidence in Clay’s ability to manage the operation,” said Tom Clark. “He has proved that our faith in him was well founded. Clay led the difficult transition of Rancho San Miguel from a training facility to now one of the leading breeding operations in the state. He did this at a very difficult and challenging time for the Thoroughbred industry in California. He built the infrastructure, recruited and developed the most professional and knowledgeable staff he could assemble, and has worked diligently every day to build a reputation beyond reproach for the farm.”

With hundreds of horses on the property, Murdock finds his days busy.

“My routine is to check the foaling barn first, looking at how those that foaled are doing, and notify owners of foals being born,” he said. “I check in with Dr. Stacy Potter, our resident veterinarian, as she and the techs go around the farm. I palpate and check some mares myself, and by mid-morning I’m updating clients on their mares’ status. I sell stallion seasons, promote the stallions, look up mares and their breeding nicks, and certain nights I help with the foal watch.”

Of Murdock’s numerous duties, Clark said, “Clay possesses the leadership skills and management acumen to run the complex nature of a large breeding farm, and he is a horseman of the highest regard. His primary focus every day is to make sure the horses are given the very best care and attention humanly possible and that our clients receive the best service.”

Murdock lives on the property with his wife; together they have raised five children on the farm. He has two daughters, ages 12 and 14, who are still there, while two sons and a third daughter have grown up and moved on.

“My oldest daughter was just a year old when I first came to the farm,” Murdock said.

Clay Murdock, blue shirt center, is honored for his 30 years’ service at Tom and Nancy Clark’s Rancho San Miguel

Although he has handled thousands of horses in his life, Murdock was most fond of Sudden Hush. Te California-bred won the Graduation Stakes and was second in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) in 1992.

“He was a neat horse during his breaking and training days, and a horse that I really liked,” Murdock said. “I used to enjoy watching the horses I trained run, but now in a general sense I enjoy watching our foals develop and tracking our stallion’s progeny.”

Murdock cited the 2017 El Camino Real Derby (G3) as an example. Slew’s Tiznow, who stands at Rancho San Miguel, had his offspring run first and second in the race, with Zakarof scoring by a half-length and More Power to Him getting moved up to second via the disqualification of Ann Arbor Eddie.

“Those two were in pastures together when they were young, so it was neat to see them in a graded stakes,” said Murdock. “When it’s ones you’ve raised, it’s special.”

One of Murdock’s tasks is to show the farm’s 11 stallions to clients and prospective breeders.

“I think we have a very strong roster,” he said. “We have a lot of variety, and a lot of pedigrees that cross well with different mares.”

At the top of the roster are grade 1 winner Haynesfeld and near-millionaire Comic Strip, both standing for $5,000. The royally bred stallions Curlin to Mischief, a half brother to Beholder and Into Mischief; and U.S. Ranger, by Danzig out of a Red Ransom mare, command fees of $3,500 and $3,000, respectively. Slew’s Tiznow, a full brother to graded stakes winner Slew’s Tizzy, is $2,500. Marino Marini, Southern Image, Northern Causeway, Rousing Sermon, Typhoon Slew, and The Pamplemousse round out the roster.

“It’s a versatile group of turf horses and dirt, sprinters, middle, and long distance,” Murdock said. “Anything you need, we have here.”

Murdock’s long history of horsemanship has not gone unnoticed.

“Clay has dedicated 30 years of his life to Rancho San Miguel,” Clark said. “He has accomplished so much during this time. Nancy and I are blessed to have had the opportunity to know and work with him so closely. Clay is not only the manager of our farm, but we consider him one of our closest friends.”

Velazquez’s Timing Gives Hay Dakota Mystic Lake Win

By Marcus Hersh

Haynesfield son Hay Dakota dropped too far behind a slow pace last summer at Canterbury Park in the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, his strong rally falling a neck short of victory. But his rider Sunday in the $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile, Denny Velazquez, timed things better and Hay Dakota won an exciting edition of the one-mile grass race by a neck.

Coady Photography

Hay Dakota’s trainer, Joel Berndt, also timed things well. He brought Hay Dakota back from a four-month break May 27 in a Canterbury allowance prep for Sunday’s race. Hay Dakota finished third, but got just what he needed to move forward into the Mystic Lake Mile.

Way Striking, coming off a good dirt-stakes win at Prairie Meadows, went to the front Sunday and set up shop on a clear lead while running his first quarter-mile in 24.08 seconds and a half in 48.03. Majestic Pride to the outside and One Mean Man to the inside crept into contention around the far turn, and by then Velazquez had gotten Hay Dakota out of sixth and into a golden spot just behind the leaders.

“When I saw the three of them were battling, I thought I’d wait to make my move,” Velazquez said.

Hay Dakota pounced at the top of the stretch and appeared to be on his way to a decisive victory, but Majestic Pride, racing between horses, stayed on gamely, as did Way Striking, who was ever so slightly gaining again in the final yards. One Mean Man, the 2-1 favorite, couldn’t finish with the top three and was fourth, 1 1/2 lengths out of third. Hootenanny, the 3-1 morning-line favorite, was an early scratch.

Hay Dakota ran one mile on a course officially rated good in1:35.37 and paid $15.80 to win.

Alice Mettler owns Hay Dakota, a 4-year-old by Haynesfield out of the Harlan’s Holiday mare Churchill By the Sea, he has earned of $216,580. Berndt said last summer he remembered Chicago-based jockey Carlos Marquez Jr. telling him following a dirt breeze at Hawthorne several months before Hay Dakota even tried turf that Berndt and Mettler had a grass horse on their hands. After four dirt losses to start his career, Hay Dakota’s connections risked him for a $20,000 maiden-claiming tag in his Canterbury and turf debut.

Hay Dakota wasn’t taken, and by the end of 2016 he had become a graded-stakes winner after upsetting the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes last fall at Churchill.

“It’s very rewarding,” Berndt said. “He had some gate issues; that’s why we ran him for the $20,000.”

Hay Dakota won’t be running for a claiming tag anytime soon.

Haynesfield Daughter ‘Profound Moment’ Dominates $50,000 Washington State Legislators S.

AUBURN, Wash. (June 17, 2017)

Rising star Profound Moment won a race-long battle with Citizen Kitty and edged clear for a two-length victory in the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes for older fillies and mares Saturday at Emerald Downs.

Ridden by Javier Matias at 119 lbs, Profound Moment zipped 6 ½ furlongs in 1:14.90 and paid $6, $3 and $2.60. Mike Puhich is the winning trainer for co-owners Dr. Mark Dedomenico of Redmond and Mike Waters of Seattle.

For Waters, last year’s co-leading owner at Emerald Downs, it was his first stakes win, and interviewed in the winner’s circle said, “This is awesome. I’m speechless.”

A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred by Haynesfield, Profound Moment began her career at Emerald Downs with a 13-length maiden win last year. She shipped to the Midwest this year and scored a pair of six-furlong allowance wins at Oaklawn Park before finishing fifth in a mile and one-sixteenth allowance at Churchill Downs last month.

“(Trainer) Jack Van Berg did a great job with her all year long and she came back to Washington in great shape,” Puhich said. “And I want to say it’s great that Mike Waters got his first stakes win.”

Profound Moment earned $27,500 for the victory to push her career bankroll to $110,826. She has a 4-3-0-0 record in seven lifetime starts.

Citizen Kitty, the 8-to-5 betting favorite ridden by Eswan Flores at high weight of 123 lbs, ran gamely to finish second and paid $3.20 and $2.40.

Winner of the Hastings Stakes last month, Citizen Kitty, with intense pressure from Profound Moment, led through fractions of :22.82 for the quarter-mile and :45.21 for the half. Profound Moment attacked from the outside, and the two raced head-and-head to mid stretch when Profound Moment finally got the better of Citizen Kitty and edged away for the victory.

U S Officer is Saluted as Winner of the $50,000 Ragin Cajun S

OPELOUSAS, LA (April 15, 2017)

U S Officer has faced some tough competition in his past, with two of his losses coming to 2017 Louisiana Derby winner, Girvin, and 2017 Arkansas Derby winner, Classic Empire, and in the $50,000 Ragin Cajun at Evangeline Downs on Saturday, the colt wasn’t even the betting favorite. However, that didn’t matter as he scored a victory as the 2-1 second choice in a field of four, covering the seven furlongs in 1:24.54 over a fast track.

The betting favorite in the Ragin Cajun was Laughingsaintssong, who was sent off at odds of 3-5. He ended up dueling throughout the early stages of the race with Jilotepec. That pair set solid fractions of 22.56 seconds for the quarter-mile and 45.11 for the half-mile. U S Officer tracked that twosome under rider Diego Saenz before making a strong three-wide move to take the lead as the field came to the final furlong. From there, U S Officer was able to move away to win by 1-1/4 lengths, with Laughingsaintssong outlasting Jilotepec by a head for second. Maiden Classic Brahms finished last in the field of four.

U S Officer was bred in Kentucky by part-owner, Jerry Durant. Durant is co-owner of the bay colt with Bill Jordan and Danny Pish is the trainer. U S Officer is by U S Ranger and out of the Officer mare, Lacey Officer. He has now won four of his nine lifetime starts. Two of those wins are stakes, as U S Officer also took the $100,000 Clever Trevor at Remington Park last November. The $30,000 first-place purse increases his lifetime earnings to $166,565.

U S Officer paid $6.80 to win and $2.20 to place. Laughingsaintssong returned $2.10 to place. There was no show wagering with the field being scratched down to four horses.

Southern Image Colt Takes Santa Anita Allowance Event

Arcadia, CA (April 14, 2017)

Boy Howdy a four-year-old son of Southern Image took a Santa Anita five and a half furlong $56,000 allowance race by a handy half length.

Out of the stakes placed broodmare Sophisticated Sis (by Millennium Allstar) Boy Howdy was a $45,000 Barretts yearling purchase by Jon Lindo and is currently owned by Acker, Tom, Allen, Lori and Beauchamp, Smith and Whitney LLC. He has an overall record of six lifetime starts with two wins, a second and a third totaling $92,065.

From the postrace chart “Boy Howdy dueled three deep to the stretch, gained a slim advantage in upper stretch, drifted in some and held on gamely under urging.”

Southern Image is a multiple grade one winning millionaire that is standing for $1,500.

Haynesfield Filly She’s So Fine Wins Another

OZONE PARK, N.Y. (Apr. 1, 2017)

She’s So Fine, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Haynesfield, ran her win streak to four in Saturday’s $80,000 Karakorum Elektra Stakes for fillies and mares at Aqueduct.

She’s So Fine has five wins in 16 starts, earnings of $201,737 and has won all four of her starts this year, including a $20,000 claimer.

She’s So Fine a four-year-old filly ran the seven furlongs in 1:26.53 and won by over three lengths at odds of 5-2 in a field of six.

Bred by Brereton C. Jones and owned by Ben Mondello She’s So Fine is out of the Value Plus broodmare Speed Has Value.

Haynesfield is currently the third ranked sire on the 2017 California general sire list. He is the top son of sire-of-sires Speightstown standing outside of Kentucky. Haynesfield is standing for $5,000 and Share the Upsides are available.

For further information contact Rancho San Miguel farm manager Clay Murdock or (805) 467-3847.

Haynesfield Colts Bring $130,000 and $42,000 at Barretts

Del Mar, CA (March 30, 2017)

Haynesfield had two juvenile colts cataloged for the March Select Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale and hip 132 was knocked down at $130,000 to William R. Peeples Also selling was Haynesfield’s hip 22 fetching $42,000 from Red Baron’s Barn & Rancho Temescal.

Hip 132, named Hayne’s Pal, was consigned by Havens Bloodstock Agency, Inc., Agent and is out of the Friends Lake broodmare Mountain Buddies Hayne’s Pal previewed with the third fastest two furlong move in 21 2/5. Previously, as a weanling, he sold for $40,000.

Hip 22, now named Sacred Field, previewed in 10 and one for consignor Crane Thoroughbred Services, Agent. He is out of the multiple stakes producing Sacred Sue.

Haynesfield is currently the fifth ranked sire on the 2017 California general sire list. He is the top son of sire-of-sires Speightstown standing outside of Kentucky. Haynesfield is standing for $5,000 and Share the Upsides are available.

For further information contact Rancho San Miguel farm manager Clay Murdock or (805) 467-3847.

Jeff and J’s Dream Rallies Late for Big Win


VINTON, LA. (March 11, 2017)

Delta Downs closed out its 2016-17 Thoroughbred season on Saturday night with a 10-race program that included the final pair stakes races for the meet. The $50,000 Owners’ Appreciation Day Stakes featured an upset as Jeff and J’s Dream rallied late to win under jockey Juan Larrosa while Vieja Luna scored big in the $50,000 Owners’ Appreciation Day Distaff Stakes with jockey Roberto Morales in the saddle.

Jeff and J’s Dream used a strong late kick to get past millionaire and race favorite Rise Up in the final strides of the Owners’ Appreciation Day Stakes. The winning margin was one length as Great Minds finished third another half-length behind the runner-up. Jeff and J’s Dream covered the one-mile distance of the race in 1:39.23 over a fast track.

Jeff and J’s Dream is owned and conditioned by David C. Gomez, who found the race especially pleasing as it was his first ever win as a trainer. The victory marked the second win of Jeff and J’s Dream’s career and the $30,000 first-place prize raised his overall bankroll to $67,630.

Jeff and J’s Dream is a 4-year-old colt by Marino Marini, out of the Thunder Gulch mare Dream Day. He was bred in Louisiana by J. E. Nichols & Miller Thoroughbred Farm, Inc.

Sent to the gate at odds of 16-1 in a short field of just five runners, Jeff and J’s Dream paid $34.20 to win, $11 to place and $7.80 to show. Rise Up returned $3.20 to place and $2.40 to show. Great Minds was worth $2.10 to show.