Book’em Danno Leads New Jersey-Bred Trifecta in Smoke Glacken Stakes

by Bill Finley

   In the end, Steve McGarrett, played by Jack Lord, in the TV show Hawaii Five-O (1968-1980), always got his man. Each episode of the classic cop series ends pretty much the same way. McGarrett collars the latest villain, runs down the list of their crimes, and then says to his right-hand man Danny Williams, "Book 'em, Danno!"

   McGarrett never came out on the losing end. So, it’s fitting that a group of six friends based on the Jersey Shore named a New Jersey-bred 2-year-old Book’em Danno. There will come a day when he loses a race, but it hasn’t happened yet. Now 2-for-2 after beating open company in the $100,000 Smoke Glacken Stakes at Monmouth on Sept. 9, he looks like a New Jersey-bred bound for bigger and better things. By Bucchero, he won the six-furlong stakes by two lengths and earned an 88 Beyer in the process.

   “Besides getting married and having my kids, this was one of the most exciting things that’s ever happened to me,” said co-owner Jay Briscione. “The highs of this game are so high and the lows so low, so it’s nice to be on the high side for once.”

   The Smoke Glacken turned into a shining moment for the New Jersey-bred program as state-bred Sea Streak finished second in what was his career debut. Ship to Shore, also a Jersey-bred, was third. The second and third-place finishers are both sons of Sea Wizard and are campaigned by Holly Crest Farm.

   Book’em Danno, who is trained by Derek Ryan and owned by Atlantic Six Racing, began his career with a 9 1/2-length win in a Jersey-bred maiden on Aug. 12. While Ryan liked the horse, he never expected him to blow away the competition the way he did.

   “I figured he would run well first time out,” Ryan said. “I expected him to be very close but I wasn’t expecting him to win it as easy as he did. I don’t crank them up for their first starts. A good horse will win anyway and he’s a good horse.”

   In between races, Ryan worked Book’em Danno with a tough 5-year-old allowance horse in Counterfeitcurency on Aug. 27. The 2-year-old more than held his own as both horses worked in 47.40. It was then that Ryan figured he could not lose the Smoke Glacken.

   “He improved a lot off his first race,” Ryan said. “I have an older horse who is a pretty decent work horse. After he worked with him, I said I don’t care who’s in that stakes. Unless they have Secretariat they aren’t going to beat him.”

   Atlantic Six Racing LLC is made up of six friends who reside on the Jersey Shore. They are Frank Camassa, Jeff Resnikoff, Mark Rubenstein, James Rubenstein, Jim Scappi and Briscione. It was Mark Rubenstein who came up with the name Book’em Danno.

   The friends had owned horses off and on for years but came back together to privately acquire Counterfeitcurency, who has earned $188,288. That gave them some money to play with and they started asking around about modest-priced prospects that might be available. Bloodstock agent Chris Graci put them in touch with breeders Greg Kilka and Christine Connelly of Bright View Farm.

   They had a Bucchero yearling out of the unraced Ghostzapper mare named Adorabella that they were willing to sell. This was in August and just a few weeks earlier, Adorabella’s first foal, a filly by Fast Anna named Girl Trouble, had broken her maiden at Monmouth. What no one knew at the time was that Girl Trouble would go on to win a pair of stakes races at Parx.

   “At that time, Girl Trouble had broken her maiden but hadn’t done much else,” said Atlantic Six Racing’s Jay Briscione. “But as Girl Trouble progressed, we got really excited.”

    The dam Adorabella has become a big part of this story. She was bought by Kilka for just $14,000 at the 2020 Keeneland January Sale. She has produced two stakes winners from her first two foals. The third foal is a Jersey-bred yearling by Classic Empire who will sell as hip #3 at Fasig Tipton Timonium October Sale.

   Atlantic Six sent Book’em Danno and a New York-bred baby they also owned to Randy Rentz in South Carolina to be broken.

   “Randy didn’t start breezing him until April,” Briscione said. “He also had our New York-bred. They breezed in company and he had a really good bottom underneath him when he got to Derek. Randy said they were nice horses, but you never know until you get into a race. But he had never done anything wrong. We actually thought he would be a little short for that first race, but he was very impressive. I never thought he would win by 9 ½ lengths and go in ‘4 and change.’”

   The Book’em Danno team hasn’t decided what’s next for their 2-year-old, who has been shipped to Belmont Park. Ryan listed the Oct. 1 Pilgrim Stakes, a “Win and You’re In” prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. But the horse has never raced on the grass or beyond six furlongs. The Oct. 8 Futurity, a grass sprint and a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint is also a possibility.

   Briscione said he’s not sure they should aim that high at this point in the colt’s career.

   “We’ve talked about a lot of races,” he said. “I think his family is well suited to the grass. But we're trying to be realistic and look for some low-hanging fruit. We don’t want to bang heads yet if we don’t have to. I would think something shorter. Girl Trouble never showed that she could go two turns. This horse runs well late, so it doesn’t appear that he’ll have that issue. But why risk it? We would like to pick off some sprint stakes. We will let him take us where he takes us and not get crazy.”

   Long, short, dirt or grass, every option seems to be within reach. He’s done with Jersey-breds for the year and it looks like his next race could come in a graded stakes. A start in a Breeders’ Cup race is not out of the question. It’s not too early to get excited.

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