Robertson Has High Hopes for Xtreme Gem

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

Contact: Jennifer Hoyt, or (501) 363-4305

Monday, December 27, 2021

Photo credit: Coady Photography

Robertson Has High Hopes for Xtreme Gem

Xtreme Gem, trainer Mac Robertson’s pricey 2-year-old filly, has recorded two workouts this month at Oaklawn in advance of her next start, possibly in mid-January.

Xtreme Gem is owned by Xtreme Racing Stables (Vicki and Mike McGowan), which purchased the filly for $625,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in May. Xtreme Gem is by Tapit, among the most influent sires in racing history, out of Grade 1 winner Gomo. The filly worked an eighth of a mile in :10.20 during the sale’s under tack preview.

“We were trying to buy good horses at the sales, two or three,” Robertson said. “If you give that kind of money for them, you would like them out of a good mare and that mare won a Grade 1 at 2. If you’re going to take a swing, whether it’s $200,000 or $600,000, you’d like them to be out of a good mare.”

Xtreme Gem has started just once, finishing fourth in a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weights event Oct. 24 at Keeneland. The race was originally scheduled for 5 ½ furlongs on the turf. Xtreme Gem was beaten 2 ¾ lengths after stalking the early pace.

“She didn’t break very fast,” Robertson said. “Just kind of ran around there, but you would hope she would run long. I think if she had broken well, she would have run third.”

Xtreme Gem has two published workouts since arriving at Oaklawn following a brief freshening at a nearby farm. She covered a half-mile in :50.80 Dec. 13 and a half-mile in :48.80 Dec. 20. Robertson and Xtreme Racing Stables teamed to win the $150,000 Gazebo Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters at the 2021 Oaklawn meeting with Sir Wellington. Xtreme Racing Stables purchased Sir Wellington for $55,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in May 2020.

Robertson unearthed two of his most prominent runners to date, millionaire multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Win Willy and multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Amy’s Challenge for $25,000 and $20,000, respectively, at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale and Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale.

“Those 2-year-old sales are different,” Robertson said. “You go to the 2-year-old sales, they’re already working and breezing. Yearlings, you can buy an immature yearling that’s going to look good, but not pay a lot of money. You see the money they pay for these horses now. The sales were incredibly strong this year. Keeneland stayed strong. Maybe the last day it tailed off a little bit, but they gave $200,000 or $300,000 for horses that went for $50,000 or $60,000 a couple of years ago.”

Amy’s Challenge was bred this year to Tapit, Robertson said. Xtreme Gem is the second foal out of Gomo, who won the $400,000 Alcibiades Stakes (G1) for 2-year-old fillies in 2015 at Keeneland for trainer Doug O’Neill.

Finish Lines

A double Sunday, Dec. 19, the last day of racing until Dec. 31, extended Brad Cox’s lead in the trainer standings to 9-5 over perennial champion Steve Asmussen and 2020 leader Robertino Diodoro after nine days of the scheduled 66-day meeting. Cox won the fifth race with Dare Me ($8.40) and the sixth race with Como Square ($21.20) for breeder/owner John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs. Both sprint races were for 2-year-old fillies. Como Square, unbeaten in two lifetime starts, is by super sire Into Mischief and a half-sister to Caddo River, who captured the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes for 3-year-olds at the 2021 Oaklawn meeting for Cox and Anthony (Shortleaf Stable). … Caddo River crossed the finish line first in last Sunday’s featured eighth race, a 1-mile conditioned allowance, but was disqualified by stewards and placed second for interference in deep stretch. Atkoa ($13.20) was elevated to first for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Caddo River was making his first start since June. … Favored Princess Lilli Bug ($6.60) gave trainer Melton Wilson his first career Oaklawn victory in last Sunday’s second race. A homebred for Arkansas owner Eugenia Thompson-Benight, Princess Lilli Bug is out of Our Quista, champion 3-year-old Louisiana-bred filly of 2014. Our Quista was campaigned by Thompson-Benight and trained by Wilson’s protege, Al Cates of Hot Springs. … Trainer Norman McKnight and owner Bruno Schickedanz teamed for two victories last Sunday. They won the first race with Bachelor Pad ($7.80) and the third race with Hoping for a Ring ($29.40).