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New Jersey-bred Book’em Danno, most recently second in the Group 3 Saudi Derby, is the top-rated Mid-Atlantic bred sophomore in the first Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll of 2024.

Among older horses, Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Classic winner I’m Very Busy, a Pennsylvania-bred, is the top-rated. He is one of three graded winners among older Mid-Atlantic breds thus far in 2024 and one of two of the top five, along with fifth-rated Gigante, to have run in the Muniz Memorial.

Book’em Danno, who recently was honored as the top New Jersey-bred of 2023, started 2024 the same way he ended up last year: running. After winning two stakes as a juvenile, the Bucchero gelding dominated the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, winning by over a dozen lengths as the 1-9 betting choice.

In his follow-up, Book’em Danno was a tough-luck second in the Saudi Derby. He’s now 1-for-2 this season and overall has four wins and two seconds from six career starts to go with earnings of $560,625.

Book’em Danno was bred in New Jersey by Gregory Kilka and Bright View Farm and is owned by Atlantic Six Racing LLC. He is trained by Derek Ryan.

Book’em Danno is followed in the standings among sophomores by Grade 3 Withers winner Uncle Heavy, pointed to the Grade 2 Wood Memorial; flashy Beyond the Wire Stakes winner Determined Driver; Miracle Wood winner Speedyness; and Tocayo, who won Gulfstream Park’s Dania Beach.

Four-year-old I’m Very Busy has run two excellent races to start his 2024 season. The Cloud Computing colt finished second by just a half-length – at odds of 14-1 – in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf to kick off his campaign. Most recently he scored an easy triumph in the Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Classic, followed home by Virginia-bred Gigante.

I’m Very Busy is trained by Chad Brown for an ownership group including Team Hanley, Richard Schermerhorn and Paul Braverman. He was bred in Pennsylvania by Glenn E. Brok LLC & Mark Toothaker.

Following I’m Very Busy among older horses are Grade 3 Whitmore winner Jaxon Traveler; Grade 3 General George winner Post Time, being pointed to the Grade 2 Carter; Not for Love Stakes winner Take a Hint; and Gigante, who also finished fourth in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Stakes.

TOP MID-ATLANTIC BRED THREE-YEAR-OLDS


1. Book’em Danno (NJ)3G by Bucchero-Adorabella, by Ghostzapper; bred by Gregory J. Kilka & Bright View Farm and trained by Derek Ryan for Atlantic Six Racing, LLC.
2024 highlights: Won Pasco S., 2nd G3 Saudi Derby


2. Uncle Heavy (PA)3C by Social Inclusion-Expect Wonderful, by Tiz Wonderful; bred by Barbara Reid and trained by Robert Reid, Jr. for Michael Milam.
2024 highlights: Won G3 Withers S.


3. Determined Driver (MD)3F by Dialed In-Elevated Vision, by Great Notion; bred by 2500 Determined Stud and trained by Phil Schoenthal for D Hatman Thoroughbreds.
2024 highlights: Won Beyond the Wire S.


4. Speedyness (MD)3G by Great Notion-Hartigan, by Include; bred by Jagger, Inc. and trained by Jamie Ness for Morris E. Kernan Jr. and Jagger Inc.
2024 highlights: Won Miracle Wood S.


5. Tocayo (MD)3C by Always Dreaming-Spooky Tooth, by Ghostzapper; bred by Lugamo Racing Stables LLC and trained by Steve Klesaris for Lugamo Racing Stable LLC.
2024 highlights: Won Dania Beach S., 3rd G3 Kitten’s Joy S.

OLDER MID-ATLANTIC BREDS


1. I’m Very Busy (PA), 4C by Cloud Computing-Two Kisses, by Kissin Kris; bred by Glenn Brok and Mark Toothaker and trained by Chad Brown for Team Hanley, Schermerhorn, Richard and Braverman, Paul.
2024 highlights: Won G2 Muniz Memorial Classic, 2nd G1 Pegasus World Cup Turf


2. Jaxon Traveler (MD), 6H by Munnings-Listen Boy, by After Market; bred by Dr. and Mrs. Leonard Pineau and trained by Steve Asmussen for West Point Thoroughbreds.
2024 highlights: Won G3 Whitmore S., Bill Thomas Memorial S.


3. Post Time (MD), 4C by Frosted-Vielsalm, by Fairbanks; bred by Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Dr. Brooke Bowman & Milton P. Higgins III and trained by Brittany Russell for Hillwood Stable LLC.
2024 highlights: Won G3 General George, Jennings S.


4. Take a Hint (MD), 4G by Bandbox-Fancy Diamond, by Eastern Echo; bred by Mr. & Mrs. Charles McGinnes and trained by Gary Capuano for 57 Strong.
2024 highlights: Won Not for Love S.


5. Gigante (VA), 4C by Not This Time-Summertime Green, by Empire Maker; bred by Ann Mudge Backer and Smitten Farm and trained by Steve Asmussen for Diamond T Racing LLC and Iapetus Racing LLC.
2024 highlights: 2nd G2 Muniz Memorial Classic

Nine of the 10 horses in the two lists are males, with only Determined Driver representing the distaff set. Six were bred in Maryland, while two were bred in Pennsylvania with one each bred in Virginia and New Jersey.


The monthly Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred is the only publication devoted to Thoroughbred breeding and racing in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Racing Biz, an online publication, is the independent voice for mid-Atlantic racing and breeding.

The poll is conducted of media members and others involved in the Thoroughbred industry and restricted to horses that have run in 2023 and were bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Carolinas.

Participating Voters: Ted Black (freelance writer), Michael Campbell (Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey), Joe Clancy (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred), Cindy Deubler (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred), Linda Dougherty (freelance), Debbie Easter (Virginia Thoroughbred Association), Paul Espinosa (Charles Town Races), Cricket Goodall (Maryland Horse Breeders Association), Jim Hague (freelance), Nick Hahn (freelance), Carol Holden (West Virginia Breeders Classics), Tom LaMarra (Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association), Jeff Nations (freelance), Vinnie Perrone (freelance), Frank Petramalo (Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association), John Piassek (freelance), Gary Quill (The Racing Biz), David Richardson (Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association), Brian Sanfratello (Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association), Chris Sobocinski (Delaware Park), Dan Tordjman (freelance), Frank Vespe (The Racing Biz), Bill Watson (freelance), Lydia Williams (freelance), Bobby Zen (freelance).

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