Coming Up Aces

Anyone else feeling the post Triple Crown, pre-Saratoga/Del Mar summer doldrums?

It's nothing to be ashamed of or feel bad about. It happens every year in late June. We just need to make it through these next few weeks and all will be well in the racing world. By then, the mid-summer classics will be underway, the Breeders' Cup Challenge series will be in full flight, and best of all, we can begin dissecting the next spots for Rachel and Zenyatta. What could be more exciting than that?

To pass the time, here's an interesting story about an undefeated 2-year-old that was sired by a teaser. For those of you who do not know, a farm uses a teaser to gauge a mare's level of heat before the real stallion comes in to breed. The teaser is then whisked away back to his stall and is relegated to cold showers. You get the picture.

Anyway, the teaser in this case was Jet Phone, a now 9-year-old son of Phone Trick-Jet Route who resides at Clarence Scharbauer's Valor Farm in Pilot Point, Texas. Jet Phone didn't win a lot of money for Scharbauer, who also bred and owned him, winning just three of nine starts for earnings of $30,115. But according to Valor general manager Ken Carson, the horse had talent.

"He had blazing speed, but there was always something wrong with him physically," Carson said. "We would take him to the paddock on race days and people would ‘ooh and aah' over him. He looked like a miniature Phone Trick. Just beautiful; a very good-looking horse. He could fly through the turns, but he had back problems and he eventually bowed a tendon, so we brought him back to the farm.

"He didn't have enough of a racing record to stand him, so we bred him mostly to some of our Quarter Horse mares."

Carson said Jet Phone was also bred to two Thoroughbred mares a while back, but one mare did not get in foal and the other had a foal that died.

"We pretty much gave up on him," Carson admits.

That should have been the end of the story, but in 2007, Ed Dodwell, owner of Diamond D Ranch in Lone Oak, Texas, which is located about 50 miles east of Dallas, asked Scharbauer if he could breed one of his mares, Pure Mischief, to Jet Phone.

"(Diamond D) have broken our horses forever and they have supported our stallions. We had no problem with it. It was more of a complimentary thing than anything else," Carson said.

Dodwell's son, "Scooter," said they had trained Jet Phone during his early years and knew he had talent. Even so, he didn't quite understand his father's line of thinking.

"Dad always liked him," said Scooter Dodwell, who is the racing manager at Diamond D, which is also co-owned by Caroline Dodwell. "But I thought he had lost his mind a little bit. I think he kind of did it on a whim. But there was no cost for it and I guess he was trying to save a little money."

Pure Mischief had also shown some ability during her racing years. She won six of 10 starts mainly in Texas, including a couple stakes.

"She was a pretty nice filly around these parts," Dodwell said. "She had one foal that won some decent money. We've always liked her."

The colt that was produced from Jet Phone-Pure Mischief was eventually named Aces N Kings. As a yearling, Dodwell said it was easy to see that he was a racehorse.

"The first time we breezed him we knew he was something different," he said. "He went :34 and change, which is about as fast as I've seen one go."

Dodwell has seen some pretty good ones in his time at Diamond D, which has been in operation since 1981. The farm, which is used for boarding, breaking, training, and lay-ups, has raised over 200 stakes winners. You may have heard on of one of them. Her name is Rachel Alexandra.

"Yep, we've broken yearlings for Dolphus (Morrison, Rachel's breeder and former owner) for years. We had Rachel here in August of her yearling year to May of her 2-year-old season. We broke her and got her ready to run. We also trained her mom, Lotta Kim."

Dodwell said they breezed Rachel only once, a quarter-mile over their training track. He decided to call Morrison to suggest that he hold onto the filly.

"She worked pretty quickly-not as fast as others I have had-but still pretty nicely. I told him he might want to think about holding onto her," said Dodwell. "He sells a lot of horses and I knew he was thinking about selling her and a Royal Academy filly at the Calder in-training sale. He said he would think about it and let me know. A couple days later he called me back and said he decided to keep her and sell the Royal Academy filly. It turned out to be a pretty good decision. The rest is history."

Dodwell said, believe it or not, Aces N Kings worked faster than Rachel. In fact, he said the dark bay horse "went as quick as any I've had come through here. He did it so effortlessly."

The Dodwell's decided to debut Aces N Kings this past April at Lone Star Park, and he did not disappoint, breaking his maiden by nearly seven lengths. He won his next two starts as well, including the $60,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity on June 5.

"He's really fast," Dodwell said. "He lets up a little when he has the lead, but we're working with him."

Normally, the next logical spot for a Texas-bred 2-year-old would be in the Texas Stallion Stakes series, however, that is not possible for Aces N Kings, who is trained by Robert Young.

"Jet Phone was not a registered stallion back when Aces N Kings was conceived, so he is not eligible," laughed Dodson. "He's registered now though."

Aces N Kings will instead be pointed toward the Minstrel Stakes at Louisiana Downs on July 3.

As for Jet Phone, it looks like his teaser days are over. He has since sired a 2010 filly out of Pleasuretohave, and Pure Mischief was bred back to Jet Phone earlier this year.

"We decided to stand him this year. Hopefully he'll get a few mares now," said Carson.

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