Jan. 25, 2014
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Oaklawn Loving Apropos Ready for American Beauty Challenge
Usually the 14-horse fields at Oaklawn are reserved for races like the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby, but that’s how many fillies and mares will line up Saturday in the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes. The six-furlong stakes will be the featured eighth of nine live races at 4:38 p.m.
Leading the field is 2-1 morning line favorite Apropos, who returned from a five-month layoff January 12 and demonstrated once again that the Oaklawn racing strip is very much to her liking. Two trips over the track have resulted in as many visits to the winner’s circle.
“She loves that track and that’s important at Oaklawn because it can be a little bit quirky and she seems to be the type of horse who relishes it,” said trainer Al Stall Jr., who trains the 5-year-old mare for owner/breeder Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. “If you look at her whole sheet, her two biggest Beyers have come in her Oaklawn races.”
Last March, also coming back from an extended break, Apropos took a first level allowance race here by 10 ½ lengths with a speed figure of 102, and in her last effort, she earned a lofty 122.
“She’s solid. We’re a little bit worried about coming back from such a big figure on short rest, but she’s big and strong,” Stall said.
Apropos is by First Samurai, whose progeny have proven best as sprinters or milers, and she is ideally suited for the six-furlong distance. She has a record of four wins, two seconds and one third in eight career tries and is 3-2-1 in seven starts at six furlongs. She will break from post #2 in a race loaded with speed and will carry 117 pounds, including Ricardo Santana, Jr., who gets the return call.
“I hadn’t dealt with him much at all in Kentucky in the fall, but I know his agent (Ruben Munoz) and I know he was leading rider there last year so I was happy to get him last time and I’m very happy to get him again for this race,” said Stall. “In this full field I don’t envision her being on the lead. She’s going to have to get out from being down in there so I’m not really sure what’s going to happen. I don’t see her being in front of some of those purse speed horses.”
Apropos, who was described as a grand-looking mare by her trainer, ran just twice in her three-year-old season and five times all last year.
“She’s a forward-training mare,” Stall said. “She’s had a few little problems here and there with her feet and some back-end stuff, but she’s never had surgery or anything like that. She had an entrapped epiglottis that cost her four or five months a couple of years ago so she’s just had some little things. Maybe they were a blessing in disguise because she got bits and pieces of time off that let her fill in and mature.”
Her connections hope that Apropos, who is out of the A.P. Indy mare Apt, is now at the top of her game.
“We want to get some black type in capitals for her. She's been stakes placed, so now that’s our goal,” said Stall.
The complete American Beauty Stakes field, in program order with riders and morning line odds: Apropos, Ricardo Santana Jr., 2-1; Dream Big, Francisco Torres, 20-1; Soft Whisper, Terry Thompson, 20-1; Twitter Pie, Ken Tohill, 30-1; Lady Diva Ga Ga, Jesus Castanon, 8-1; Beat the Blues, Migel Mena, 4-1; Livi Mackenzie, 12-1; Boss Barney’s Babe, 8-1; Ms Anna Destiny, 9-2; Bryan’s Jewel, Seth Martinez, 12-1; American Sugar, Alex Birzer, 30-1; Hurricane Girl, Alex Canchari, 15-1; All About Allie, Glenn Corbett, 15-1, and Chortle, Chris Emigh, 15-1.
Longshot American Sugar Could Bring Chleborad Closer to 1,000 Wins
Trainer Lynn Chleborad has four horses entered in three races Friday and depending on how those horses run, American Sugar could deliver career win number 1,000 with a victory in Saturday’s $100,000 American Beauty Stakes. Through Thursday, Chleborad has had 996 victories in her career that began in 1987.
On paper, American Sugar is listed at 30-1 in the American Beauty, but if she runs back to her races here last year, she could be a serious contender. She won the six-furlong Dixie Belle Stakes and finished third in both the Grade 3 Honeybee and Instant Racing Stakes. She ended 2013 with a fifth-place finish in an allowance race at Remington Park Dec. 16, but that was at a mile and 40 yards. The 4-year-old Harlan’s Holiday filly has never been worse than third in races at six furlongs or less.
“She’s doing really good,” said Chleborad. “I wish we hadn’t drawn the 13 hole, but what are you going to do. It is my lucky number and she’s doing great. Her attitude is really good. She’s matured since last year. She hasn’t gotten much taller, but she’s filled out. She really likes her job right now and there’s a lot of competitiveness to her.”
Chleborad says she’s tried not to think about the milestone she is quickly approaching.
“I’m just trying to think like every day is a normal day, but when I do think about it, it’s like ‘wow,’ that is a lot of races,” said Chleborad.