In his short career, Bridget’s Big Luvy has faced Grade 1 winner Frosted twice, graded stakes winner Barbados and multiple stakes winner Bayerd, among others. Now, after a sensational performance in winning the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel in March and becoming a late nominee for the Triple Crown, the 3-year-old son of Tiz Wonderful will take on division leader and last year’s Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old American Pharoah in the $1 million Arkansas Derby-G1 on Saturday, April 11.
Steve Haskin of The Blood-Horse caught up with the connections of Bridget’s Big Luvy and got the scoop on how the Dark Hollow Farm-bred runner got his name, got to the races and made his way to Arkansas. READ STORY
Enjoying every step of the way, BRIDGET’S BIG LUVY came out clean as a whistle over a muddy Laurel Park strip in the $100,000 Private Terms S. on Saturday, March 21, sprinting clear early and leading the entire mile and an eighth to score his first stakes win by more than two lengths.
Bred by Dark Hollow Farm, the bright bay son of Tiz Wonderful owned by Tom O’Grady had earlier displayed his affinity for an off track in his first win last October at Belmont Park. And trainer Jeremiah Englehart was confident in the 3-year-old colt’s ability to handle two turns for the first time. “I always thought he was a pretty nice horse,” said Englehart. “The first two times in New York he ran against some pretty nice horses. We always thought he would stretch out.” Jockey Angel Cruz was impressed: “When we got to the front, we got there so easy. He was really relaxed all the way, and coming out of the last turn he just kept going. I looked back and said, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ He galloped out really well. I think that he can go a longer distance.”
What a way to finish a career! Eighttofasttocatch became a new millionaire, won his fourth consecutive running of the historic Jennings Handicap, and now heads off in a new direction with a future as an event horse. It has been a career full of spectacular wins, great people and a love for racing – Eighttofasttocatch epitomizes what is so special about a Thoroughbred.
Owned throughout his racing career by Arnold and Sylvia Heft and trained by Tim Keefe, Eighttofasttocatch recorded his 12th stakes win with his Jennings score, and it was easiest one of all. Leading at every call over a sloppy track, he drew off to defeat eight others by nearly 11 lengths. The 1-mile Jennings has always been a tour-de-force for the handsome chestnut son of Not For Love, having won all four by daylight by an average winning margin of six and three-quarters lengths.
Bred by Dark Hollow Farm and Herringswell Stable out of the Nice Catch mare Too Fast to Catch, Eighttofasttocatch retires with a record of 17 wins, seven seconds and four thirds from 49 starts and career earnings of $1,072,970. He captured three runnings of the Maryland Million Classic and is a two-time winner of the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes. While he didn’t make his first start of 2014 until September, he recorded two stakes wins from three starts. His total earnings tally ranks him 19th among the all-time leading Maryland-bred earners.
BRIDGET’S BIG LUVY didn’t mind a little mud and a wide trip, getting his first career win at Belmont Park on Oct. 24! The leggy 2-year-old Tiz Wonderful colt rallied down the stretch and won going away in the lucrative $90,000 six-furlong maiden special weight.
Owned by Tom O’Grady and trained by Jeremiah Englehart, BRIDGET’S BIG LUVY defeated eight others over the muddy surface after breaking from the outside post under Joe Bravo.
Bred by Dark Hollow Farm, BRIDGET’S BIG LUVY showed his potential early, selling for $175,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearling sale, the second highest price of the sale. The colt is from the stellar Christiana Stables family that traces back to the blue hen mare OBEAH, dam of two-time champion and millionaire GO FOR WAND.
BRIDGET’S BIG LUVY is the third winner from four foals of racing age for his dam MEMORIES OF MYSTIC, who also produced Maryland-bred champion MYSTIC LOVE, a two-time stakes winner of $203,470. A winning daughter of Dixie Union, MEMORIES OF MYSTIC is also a product of Dark Hollow Farm, out of stakes-winning and multiple stakes-producer MYSTIC DANCE.
MEMORIES OF MYSTIC produced a Not For Love colt in 2013 and wasn’t bred for 2014. She is currently in foal to Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Midnight Lute.
The most recent Classic win was the result of a masterful training job by Tim Keefe, who had the 8-year-old son of Not For Love ready for his tour-de-force after only one prior start this year. EIGHTTOFASTTOCATCH proved right out of the gate in the one and an eighth mile Classic that he was ready to roll, as Forest Boyce bounced him out quickly, put him on an uncontested lead, and distanced the others in the $150,000 stakes. The victory moved EIGHTTOFASTTOCATCH to near millionaire status, pushing the chestnut gelding’s career earnings to $997,970.
Bred by Dark Hollow Farm and Graham and Anita Motion’s Herringswell Stables, EIGHTTOFASTTOCATCH joins an elite group of runners to win three Maryland Million events, adding his name to the list that includes Dark Hollow Farm-bred Hall of Famer Safely Kept and Ben’s Cat. He is the second Maryland Million Classic runner to be bred by and raised at Dark Hollow Farm, following in the footsteps of 2005 Classic winner PLAY BINGO.
EIGHTTOFASTTOCATCH is out of Dark Hollow Farm’s pensioned mare TOOFASTTOCATCH (by Nice Catch) and is a half-brother to stakes winner and Gr. 1-placed STORM PUNCH, stakes winner BAYONNE and nine other winners, who combined have earned in excess of $2 million. Keefe now will point his stable star to Laurel’s Jennings Handicap, a race EIGHTTOFASTTOCATCH has won the past three years.
It took a bit to figure things out, but when it clicked for the Dark Hollow Farm-bred 2-year-old COMBAT DIVER in his second start, the battle was on! Digging in and giving nothing away down the long Belmont Park stretch on Oct. 3, the chestnut son of Line of David held off odds-on choice Gold Shield to win the $75,000 maiden special weight by a nose after one and a sixteenth miles and a relentless stretch drive.
COMBAT DIVER is trained by Gary Contessa for Wounded Warrior Stables, which purchased the flashy chestnut colt out of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale for $100,000. COMBAT DIVER is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner JOY, and the second winner from as many starters for his dam SAFE JOURNEY.
A winning daughter of Flatter, SAFE JOURNEY descends from Dark Hollow Farm's foundation mare Safely Home. SAFE JOURNEY's dam, stakes-placed $114,923-earner Safe At the Plate, is a half-sister to Hall of Famer SAFELY KEPT and graded stakes winner PARTNER'S HERO. SAFE JOURNEY is a half-sister to graded stakes-placed runners Cognac Kisses ($178,094) and Kettle Won ($113,606) and $361,313-earner Glide Home.
SAFE JOURNEY is the dam of a 2013 colt by Archarcharch and a 2014 colt by Bodemeister born this past April. She was bred back to Alternation.
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