Oaklawn Barn Notes Feb. 14

Feb. 14, 2014

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Coastline Looks to Prove Himself in Southwest

Coastline could fare no better than third in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes here last month, but trainer Mark Casse thinks John Oxley’s colt deserves another chance to prove himself in Monday’s $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), especially since there are Kentucky Derby qualifying points to be earned along with the purse money. The Road to the Kentucky Derby cuts through Hot Springs on Monday, with 10-4-2-1 points to be awarded to the top four horses under the wire. Coastline already has 2 points, earned in the Smarty Jones.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed that he got a little tired (in the Smarty Jones), but I wasn’t surprised,” said Casse, who gave the gray/roan son of Champion Sprinter Speightstown a respite after he almost fell out of the gate and wound up eighth when making his graded stakes debut in the Delta Downs Jackpot last November. “I may have rushed him back a little too quickly. But I’m happy with where we are and we got a race over the track so that should be to our advantage.”

The debacle at Delta Downs was Coastline’s only out of the money finish in five starts, and it was also his only effort traveling farther than one-mile. The Southwest (G3), the first of three graded stakes for 3-year-olds culminating with the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on closing day, was changed last year from one mile to 1 1/16 miles. The question that will need to be answered Monday is can Coastline get the distance?

“It’s hard to say,” said Casse. “He’s a horse we shipped out (from Florida) and he only had one little breeze over the track before he ran. He definitely got tired. We’re hoping it was just a matter of him needing a race and not a matter of him not wanting to go that far.”

Although Coastline was sired by a sprinter, his dam is Culinary, who won two stakes Southwest distance during her career. Even better, Coastline, a $190,000 purchase from the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale, doesn’t have a sprinter’s conformation.

“This horse is not the typical Speightstown, he’s a little longer,” said Casse, who also trained another son of Speightown, Delegation, who holds the track record at Woodbine of 1 ¼ miles. “If you’re going to look at a Speightstown that could get a route of ground, he’s one that would. “He’s very efficient in the way he moves and he’s built a lot longer and rangier. A lot of Speightstowns are a little shorter. He’s not that way. Maybe he takes after his mom.”

“He worked really good the other day,” continued Casse, who was in town February 5 to watch the colt breeze 5f in 1:03.20 in the mud. “The way he won the Street Sense at Churchill (October 27), it looked that day like he won’t have a problem running a route of ground. We know he likes Churchill and that’s a plus (for the Derby). I hope he likes Hot Springs as well.”

The $300,000 Southwest Stakes drew a field of 12 Friday. The complete field in post position order with riders and morning line odds: Tapiture, Ricardo Santana Jr.; Coastline, Shaun Bridgmohan; Tanzanite Cat, Corey Nakatani; Louies Flower, Luis Quinonez; Kendall’s Boy, Leandro Goncalves; Paganol, Norberto Arroyo Jr.; Walt, Ken Tohill; Strong Mandate, Joel Rosario; Ride On Curlin, Calvin Borel; Son of Dixie, Cliff Berry; Fire Starter, Robby Albarado, and Bourbonize, Ramon Vazquez.

New Orleans Shipper Kendall’s Boy Arrives for Southwest

Kendall’s Boy arrived on the grounds Thursday (Feb. 12) from trainer Tom Amoss’ base in New Orleans. The Sky Mesa colt will be looking to win his second straight race since making a successful 3-year-old debut January 11 in a $46,000 allowance/optional claiming race at the Fair Grounds.

“He’s a nice colt, but the question on him is whether he can successfully negotiate two turns,” said Amoss. “We’ve worked on that. At first glance, he tried it once at Keeneland and it didn’t go well.”
Amoss was referring to the day Kendall’s Boy was 11th of 12 in the Dixiana Breeders Futurity (G1) last October. “There were a lot of moving parts which made that race what it was, a disappointment.”

Amoss said that Kendall’s Boy came out of the effort with a small chip in his hind ankle, which was removed, and he ran an impressive race to reach the winner’s circle in his first time back.

“When you look at his form, you see he was second to (the highly-regarded) Havana in his first start so you walk away saying this is a very nice horse,” said Amoss. “But the question still remains will he successfully negotiate two turns. Like I said, we’ve worked on that and we’ll see.”
Amoss trains Kendall’s Boy for longtime owner Jerry Namy, who is also the co-owner with Phil Sims of the Oaklawn-based multiple graded stakes winner Don’t Tell Sophia. She defends her title in the $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes Sunday.

Amoss picked out Kendall’s Boy at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale and Namy signed the ticket for $100,000. The colt’s name holds a great deal of significance for his owner.
The colt is named for Kendall Hill, Namy’s close friend and partner in the horse business, who was killed when the two men, along with two others, were involved in a 2009 twin-engine plane crash while they were returning home to Dallas, Texas after watching one of their horses run at Remington Park.

Dr. Namy, the former CEO and president of Texland Petroleum LLC, suffered nine broken ribs, displaced vertebrae, a dislocated hip which broke into his pelvis, and a broken fibula. He spent a month in ICU and another month in rehabilitation. Bob Schumacher, Namy’s partner in Texland, also died as a result of complications from his injuries and the pilot survived.

Amoss said that even though there are Kentucky Derby points at stake in the Southwest, it’s premature to look that far down the road.

“First things first,” he said. “No matter where he runs in this race, you won’t see a better looking horse in the paddock. He’s a very athletic, good looking horse.”

Hartman’s Pair Heavy Favorites in Saturday’s Rescheduled King Cotton

Despite the week’s delay and the addition of three other horses, trainer Chris Hartman still holds a strong hand in Saturday’s $100,000 King Cotton Stakes, originally scheduled for February 8 before inclement weather forced cancellation of the card. Hartman will send out the entry of Alsvid and Black Bear, listed at 3-2 on the morning line.

Alvsid, who finished second in the race last year behind defending winner Apprehender, will be making his first start since Nov. 23 when he finished sixth in the Delta Mile. Overall, he has proven quite the six-furlong specialist with six wins and three seconds in 10 starts at the distance. Black Bear most recently finished second in his seasonal debut at Oaklawn Jan. 19.

“I think he’ll be pretty tough,” Hartman said of Alsvid. “He had a spectacular work and he’s ready to go. He always runs well fresh.

“He (Black Bear) trains himself,” Hartman said. “You don’t have to do much with him. He’s looking good.”

A horse that could be dangerous for the Hartman duo is Anillo (pronounced ah-knee-oh), who will break from post No. 2 under leading rider Norberto Arroyo, Jr.

“He’s a quick horse and he tries real hard every time,” said trainer Jeff Bonde, who is back at Oaklawn with a string after skipping last year. “He’s consistent animal. We came before Christmas and we’re waiting to play. I’m happy to be there. It’s been very exasperating because they’ve had a rough winter, but it didn’t matter anyway because it’s been the same problem all over the east coast. It’s been snow, snow, snow.”

Last year’s winner Apprehender was one of three horses from the original nomination list that entered for Saturday’s race, but was not in the original field. He will be making his first start since being eased in last year’s Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3). The other two new shooters were Jasizzle and Bull Dozer, although trainer Bret Calhoun said Friday he was likely to scratch.

“This is a tough spot coming in off a long layoff,” trainer Chris Richard said. “I almost would’ve preferred an allowance race, but the timing wasn’t possible.”

The King Cotton is the first stakes in the meet’s sprint series, which concludes with the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 10, part of the Racing Festival of the South.

The complete list for the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes, in post-position order with riders and morning line odds: Mico Margarita, Ricardo Santana Jr., 9-2; Anillo, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 10-1; Wildcat Country, Alex Canchari, 30-1; Jasizzle, Channing Hill, 20-1; Picko’s Pride, Seth Martinez, 3-1; Heaven’s Runway, Jesus Castanon, 15-1; Bull Dozer, Luis Quinonez, 6-1; Apprehender, David Mello, 10-1; Black Bear, Cliff Berry, 3-2, and Alsvid, Ken Tohill, 3-2.