HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Patricia and Frank Generazio have profited greatly by keeping it in the family. The Massachusetts natives have enjoyed many visits to winner’s circles across the country with homebred horses, a good share of the time out of mares and by stallions that were also homebreds.
The stunning success of the Generazios’ breeding program was once again on display at Gulfstream Park Saturday, when Wicked Tune outran nine rivals to capture the $75,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint. The 7-year-old turf campaigner is by Concorde’s Tune and out of Pretty Wicked, both bred and campaigned by the Generazios, who enjoyed Grade 1 success last year with homebred filly Discreet Marq.
“We owned Concorde Bound and his son Concorde’s Tune and we bred most of our mares to them. We’ve had nothing but positive results,” Patricia Generazio said in the winner’s circle. “My husband (Frank) is responsible for that, not me. He picks all the matings. It’s been amazing.”
The Turf Sprint victory was the first stakes success for Wicked Tune, an old warhorse who has won nine of 32 starts and $288,083 in purses. The 9-1 longshot saved ground directly behind pacesetter Bold Thunder along the backstretch and far turn during the five-furlong sprint, before finding room and outkicking his rivals to score by three-quarters of a length.
“It was a perfect trip. The two horses were on the lead and he just sat behind. When we came into the stretch I was just waiting for a spot to open,” jockey Elvis Trujillo said. “The other horses swung over a little bit and I went inside to the rail and away he went. I didn’t have a lot of room, but I had a lot of horse, and he ran big.”
Travelin Man, a multiple-stakes winner making his first start on turf, overcame crowding and bumping at the start to finish second with a late rush under Joel Rosario. Determinato and Jesus Rios finished third another three-quarters of a length back. Tightend Touchdown, the even-money favorite ridden by Javier Castellano, was never a factor after bumping at the start and finished eighth.
Florida-bred Wicked Tune ran five furlongs in 56.98 seconds over a turf course that was rated “good” despite a few days of rain that gave way to blue skies Saturday. The victory was his third in four starts over the Gulfstream course.
“He does like this turf course. It’s hard and fast, that’s what he likes. This course has amazing drainage. It’s amazing how they can get it firm,” trainer Jane Cibelli said. “I just got him a year ago and he was on the downslide. He had a couple problems and we fixed them, and we’re seeing the results. We’ll take it how it comes. We’ll look for turf sprints, that’s it. We’re not trying to invent the wheel.”
Cibelli earns 2012 Monmouth Park leading trainer title
For the second year in a row, Thoroughbred horse trainer Jane Cibelli has clinched the Monmouth Park leading trainer award. The English-born 51-year old Cibelli who resides in Oldsmar, Florida still reigns as the first and only female trainer ever to win this distinguished award in the horse track's 66-year history.
With an impressive 30 wins out of 137 starts, Cibelli has captured in 2012 over $800,000 in purses as of October 6 with one day left in the season. Cibelli surpassed wins of rival trainers Juan Serey who accumulated 25 wins and Edward Plesa, Jr. who had 24 wins. Neither trainer will be able overtake Cibelli this year as Monmouth Park live racing will close on Sunday, October 7.
When asked how she felt about winning the title for the second year in a row, Cibelli explained, “Of course, it feels just as good the second time around, actually a bit better because this year we ran a lot of horses out of town due to the races not ‘going’ here at Monmouth so at times it was a little frustrating. But I truly believe if you do what’s right for the horse and the owner, at the end of the day you will come out ahead.”
Even though Cibelli clinched the prestigious award in 2011, she took nothing for granted during the 2012 season and continued to work hard along with her assistant trainer Robbie Holman and the rest of her team.
“Nothing was different as far as the daily routine, explained Cibelli. “I did, in fact, think it would be harder this year because I had better horses on the whole so, of course, they run in tougher races and not as often. Last year I felt I was fortunate inasmuch as I caught a few races that came off the turf, therefore scratching down to a short field. I was lucky enough to have horses who could go either way in those instances.”
Cibelli has been training race horses seriously for the past eleven years. As a young girl growing up in Leicester, England, she rode and worked with show horses. Jane came to the U.S. in 1983 when she switched her focus to horse racing. She races primarily in New Jersey in the summer and fall and at Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream Park in the winter and spring.
In addition to training for local breeders such as Rock Talk Farm who raced the popular New Jersey-breds Fuzzy Muzzle and Punchin’ Chudy, Cibelli has recently started a racing syndicate called Goodwood Racing where she purchases young Thoroughbreds to train for the racetrack for a group of owners who share a percentage of the horse. One acquisition was Purple Egg, the Kentucky-bred son of Lion Heart out of the Prized mare Luminous Prize who won a $40,000 maiden special weight by nearly five lengths. Others include Busted Again with two wins, two second place finishes as well as the undefeated Taradise.
Cibelli’s overall career statistics to date are quite impressive with over 3,000 starts, 486 wins and about $9 million in purse earnings.
As far as aiming for a third straight training title at Monmouth Park next year, Cibelli said, “I just keep my head down, keep working, doing the best I can. If I and my team end up on top then great. But as long as we do the best we can, well, that’s what counts.”
Monmouth Sees Increase in Attendance, Declines in Handle; Trujillo, Cibelli, Generazio Take 2012 Titles
For the 65-day meet, which ran from May 12 through Oct. 7, the average attendance was 8,403, a 10.9% increase over last year’s average of 7,574. On-track wagering came in at $30,617,780 for an average of $471,043. Last season, the Oceanport racetrack showed on-track average handle of $490,999. Average daily all-source wagering on Monmouth in 2012 was $4,060,335, a 13.5% decrease over the $4,695,424 averaged during the 71 days in 2011.
“Based on what we knew coming into this meet, we anticipated a drop in our handle numbers,” Drazin said. “This was our first meet at the helm and it should provide a good starting point to build on in the future.”
On May 4, 2012 the NJTHA entered into an agreement with the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) to lease Monmouth Park for five years, with a horsemen’s option for three 10-year extensions. The NJSEA had operated Monmouth Park since 1986.
“We have now put a punctuation mark at the end of the era of uncertainty and will move forward with our plans to revitalize Monmouth Park,” Drazin said. “Expanded gaming opportunities, new family entertainment and continued world-class Thoroughbred racing will be the cornerstones of our future. No idea will be too small and no goal too big to reach. We’re committed to our fans, the racetrack, the community and our horsemen to build a Monmouth Park which provides entertainment at the Jersey Shore that is second-to-none.”
Prior to opening the 2012 racing season, the NJTHA installed four large-screen video boards at the racetrack and welcomed a new on-track caterer. In addition, just last week, Bluegrass miniature golf, located at the north-end of the Monmouth Park property, opened for business.
“These projects were the results of vision and hard work by all interested parties,”added Drazin. “But it’s really just the tip of the iceberg of what the future holds here. Not only are we excited about the opportunity to operate Monmouth Park, but more importantly committed to continuing the tradition of Thoroughbred racing while building a more vibrant entertainment destination for locals and Shore-goers, alike.”
Taking home meet-end honors were Elvis Trujillo, who piloted 110 winners during the meet. It was Trujillo’s third overall title and second in a row following his victories in 2009 and 2011. Jane Cibelli, who made Monmouth Park history last year by becoming the first female to win the training championship, successfully defended her title, winning 30 races this year. Patricia Generazio, whose charges visited the winner’s circle 17 times, was the meet’s leading owner.
Trainer Jane Cibelli develops a winning touch at Monmouth
Published: Saturday, May 26, 2012, 5:40 AM
Jane Cibelli can be brutally honest, nearly to a fault.
Last spring, the 50-year-old trainer looked up and down the stalls at the horses in her Florida barn and didn’t see a lot of fast ones looking back.
Cibelli is at the barn at 4 a.m. every day — earlier than most trainers — and spends the extra time searching for clues.
“There was a fellow I worked for when I first got out of school named Tony Cooper. And he did a lot of things with horses — broke babies, this that and the other,” she said from the small office inside Barn 33 at Monmouth Park this week. “He told me: ‘If you get inside a horse’s mind, you’ll figure out how to make that horse do whatever it is you want it to do.’ ”
Cibelli spends the pre-dawn hours looking for signs of the horses’ moods. She looks for which horses eagerly stick their head out of the stall and which ones cower in the back. “If they aren’t happy, they aren’t going to run,” she says. “If they’re not eating, there’s a reason they aren’t eating.”
In the spring of 2011, Cibelli didn’t feel confident about her horses and contemplated not shipping the string of thoroughbreds to Monmouth, a place her training operations have been based for the last 10 years.
Still, Cibelli came north and, after a slow start, became the first female trainer to win the Monmouth training title in 66 years of racing in Oceanport. Cibelli saddled 32 winners in 119 starts to beat the outfits of Greg Sacco (27 winners) and Scott Volk (26).
“It’s a huge achievement,” Cibelli said.
Cibelli, with the help of assistants Robert Holman and Nicole Romans, enjoyed her most successful year in 2011. The horses won 70 total races in 267 starts with 50 percent finishing in the money, and Cibelli totaled more than $1.5 million in purse money.
Cibelli, born in Leicester, England, came to the United States at age 21 after a friend called her about a job galloping race horses in Florida. She got her training license in 1987 and bounced around, working first as a private trainer and then as an assistant to Ray Stifano at Suffolk Downs in New England. Cibelli was frustrated by the atmosphere: the horses were bad, the weather was poor.
“I woke up one morning and said, ‘What the heck are you doing? You can’t keep going down this road.’ ”
Cibelli went out on her own again and moved to the Meadowlands, where she trained a couple of horses with minimal success and maintained a steady income by exercising horses for trainer Linda Rice — the first woman to win the Saratoga training title in 2009.
But then in 2002, Cibelli fell off a horse while galloping and broke her back.
“That’s when I think I got serious about life,” she said. “Up until that point — you know I’d gallop some horses, I’d buy a horse here, I’d sell it, I’d make a few dollars here, a few dollars there. Never really got serious about life until after that.”
Cibelli’s success at Monmouth in 2011 came within the claiming game. Once a new horse comes to her barn, Cieblli and her staff start over with a new exercise regimen. Cibelli is one of the few trainers who believes horses should exercise every day, from a strenuous sprint to just a gallop.
A good example was 5-year-old gelding Bombast, a New Jersey-bred, who won four straight last year after Cibelli claimed him. This year, Cibelli switched strategy and put Bombast in a turf race at the Meadowlands on May 5. In his first attempt over the grass course, he finished second by half a length in the Dan Horn Stakes.
“We got lucky,” Cibelli said while chuckling. It is the out-of-the-box approach that has worked for Cibelli and she will run Bombast, with jockey Elvis Trujillo aboard, at 5 furlongs in the sixth race today at Monmouth.
Cibelli is looking to move up into higher levels, like stakes competition. The talent level in her barn is slowly rising with a couple of promising 2-year-olds, including Purple Egg, a colt who is the son of Lion Heart, winner of the Long Branch Stakes and Haskell Invitational in 2004.
Cibelli has six horses entered at Monmouth this weekend, including 3-year-old filly Prickly Pear, who will run in tomorrow’s $60,000 Little Silver Stakes at one mile on the turf.
CIBELLI’S VERSATILITY REAPS TRAINER OF THE MONTH HONOR - Tampa Bay Downs
If Thoroughbred trainer Jane Cibelli had her druthers, her racing stable would be comprised mostly of horses bred by her clients or purchased at yearling sales.
“I enjoy taking young horses and turning them into winners,” said Cibelli, who is the recipient of the Hurricane Grill & Wings Trainer of the Month Award. “All my stakes winners have been horses that I created.”
That group includes Chirac, who won the Grade III Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth in 2009 as a 4-year-old, and stakes winner A Unique Treasure, a gelding who was second in the 2010 Turf Monster at Philadelphia to subsequent Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Chamberlain Bridge.
The sport’s economic realities dictate that Cibelli’s barn is split roughly 50-50 between homebreds or sales horses and horses she claims off the track. Her proficiency with both classes of runners has raised her stature in Florida and throughout the Northeast.
Bombast, a gelding claimed by Cibelli last June at Monmouth for $12,500, won his next three starts and finished second in the $50,000 Claiming Crown Express Stakes at Fair Grounds in December. D’cats Meow, now a 5-year-old mare, posted two consecutive allowance victories and was second in the Mongo Queen and the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper after being claimed for $20,000 by Cibelli last summer.
Cibelli enjoys celebrating her successes – to a point.
“On Wednesday (Feb. 8), I had two starters here at Tampa Bay Downs, and they both won,” said Cibelli, referring to John Falcone’s 4-year-old gelding Funfaha and Robert Caporella’s 3-year-old gelding Dance to the Roar. “Then I had a horse in at Gulfstream that day that ran third.
“I went home in a bad mood. I like to win.”
More often than not lately, Cibelli has left the racetrack smiling. Going 6-for-13 during a recent stretch elevated her to 10 victories, tied for fifth best at the meeting. Almost half of her starters (19-for-39) have finished in the money.
At Tampa Bay Downs, Cibelli trains 30 horses for a variety of clients. She keeps a string of 10 at Gulfstream and has posted six victories there from 22 starters. Cibelli employs about 20 people between the two operations, and credits her assistant at Tampa Bay Downs, Robert Holman, with “paying attention like I am paying attention.”
Cibelli sent out 70 winners in 2011, with total earnings of $1.5 million, and saddled 26 winners at Tampa Bay Downs last season. That was merely a warm-up for one of the crowning achievements of her career: winning the training title at Monmouth in New Jersey with 32 victories, the first woman to do so.
“Monmouth was huge – not because of being the first female trainer to win the title, but being the leading trainer at a very tough meet. That’s what I was proud of,” Cibelli said.
Plans for Chirac and A Unique Treasure to compete in the Breeders’ Cup were derailed by injuries, but Cibelli understands as well as anyone setbacks are part of racing. As Kipling penned, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster/And treat those two impostors just the same…”
“A lot of it is luck sometimes,” she said. “When your races go and your horses are ready to run, you get that momentum going.”