Friday, April 17, 2015

Oaklawn Runners Look to Make Mark on Illinois Derby

Oaklawn will try to have another dynamic impact on the $400,000 Illinois Derby (G3). Dynamic Impact won last year’s Illinois Derby after breaking his maiden at Oaklawn, and Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile race at Hawthorne features four entrants who wintered in Hot Springs – Kantune, Conquest Curlinate, Phenomenal Phoenix and Private Prospect.

Like Dynamic Impact, Kantune (6-1 on the morning line) and Conquest Curlinate (8-1) broke their maidens at Oaklawn and are trained by Mark Casse.

Phenomenal Phoenix (6-1) hasn’t started since beating Kantune in a March 26 entry-level allowance race for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel.

Private Prospect (12-1) finished a good fourth in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 19, but wasn’t a factor in his last two starts, including the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 22.

Probable post time for the Illinois Derby is 5:40 p.m. (Central). It goes as race 9 on a 10-race card.
 
Queen Z’s first

Cozmic One, the first foal out of 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, is scheduled to make his career debut in Friday’s second race at Santa Anita (probable post time of 3:27 p.m., Central). Cozmic One, a 3-year-old son of Bernardini, is owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, the same team who campaigned Zenyatta.

Zenyatta won 19 of 20 career starts, including the $500,000 Apple Blossom (G1) in 2008 and 2010.

Arkansas Derby winning jockey Victor Espinoza is named to ride Cozmic One, who drew the rail for the 1-mile maiden-allowance race. Cozmic One is the 4-1 third choice on the morning line. Seven horses are entered.
 
Eight is Enough

The Black Hawk Stable of Oklahoman James Rogers played a major role in Chris Hartman’s first Oaklawn training title this year. Hartman saddled eight consecutive winners for Black Hawk between March 27 and last Saturday, closing day.

The streak included two victories by Alsvid – a March 27 allowance/optional claimer and the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9 – before it ended when Forty Nine Watts ran fourth in last Saturday’s sixth race.

“I wasn’t aware of it, to be honest with you,” Hartman said. “I don’t ever really recall an owner doing that – period.”

Black Hawk had won with its first two starters last Saturday. Quality Council won the first race and Storm Devil won the fourth race. Hartman’s triple last Saturday allowed him to finish with 34 victories, four more than perennial Oaklawn training champion Steve Asmussen.

Black Hawk won 11 races from just 29 starts at the meet to finish as Oaklawn’s second-leading owner.
 
Santana Update

Ricardo Santana Jr., who captured his third consecutive Oaklawn riding title this year, was scheduled to have a chest X-ray Friday as he continues to recover from what his agent described as “double pneumonia.”

Ruben Munoz said the jockey was scheduled to complete his medication Friday, but “still gets tired quickly,” even though he hasn’t ridden in more than a week.

Santana, 22, rode the first race April 8, then was admitted to CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs, Munoz said.

Munoz said the jockey was released from the hospital April 10, with the hope that he could return for the final day of the meeting to ride Bold Conquest in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) and Tapiture in the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2). But Santana wasn’t physically ready to ride.

“He was really, really sick,” Munoz said.

Santana did appear last Saturday at Oaklawn to accept the trophy for leading rider. He finished the meet with 53 victories, two more than runner-up jockey Ramon Vazquez, who was also represented by Munoz.

Santana also led all jockeys at the meeting in purse money ($2,100,185) and became the first jockey to win three consecutive Oaklawn riding titles since Hall of Famer Pat Day captured 12 consecutive (1983-1994). He rode 22 winners at this year’s meet for his major client, trainer Steve Asmussen.

Santana will ride at Churchill Downs following the Oaklawn meeting, Munoz said. Vazquez will be based this spring and summer at Prairie Meadows, where he will be represented by Vincente Hakspiel.
 
On the Sideline Again

Grade 2 winner I Spent It will spend a minimum of 90 days at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky., following his sixth-place finish in the $100,000 Bachelor Stakes for 3-year-olds April 10, co-owner Alex Lieblong said.

Lieblong said an examination earlier this week at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., indicated I Spent It is suffering from “bone remodeling” in his lower right front leg, a problem that isn’t related to having a small knee chip removed from the same leg last fall.

I Spent It wintered at Oaklawn, and in his first start since knee surgery, finished last of six in a March 18 mile allowance race after being made a late Triple Crown nominee.

Three Chimneys bought a minority interest in I Spent It following his runner-up finish in the $350,000 Hopeful Stakes (G1) Sept. 1 at Saratoga. I Spent It, the first winner at stud for 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, won the $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) last August.
 
Cat Calls

Two winners on the April 4 Oaklawn card are scheduled to return to stakes action later this month. The con-sistent Heykittykittykitty is pointing for the $55,000 Will Rogers Downs Classic Distaff Sprint April 27 at Will Rogers Downs, trainer Ron Moquett said.

Heykittykittykitty, who is owned by Little Rock, Ark.-based Westrock Stables LLC (Joe and Scott Ford), won two allowance/optional claiming races at this year’s Oaklawn meeting and also finished second in the $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes Feb. 21. A 4-year-old Oklahoma-bred daughter of Tactical Cat, Heykittykittykitty has fin-ished first, second or third in 13 of 14 career starts. She is a two-time stakes winner against state-bred competi-tion.

Heykittykittykitty made her first three career starts for trainer Federico Villafranco and two-time Oaklawn lead-ing owner Danny Caldwell before being sold privately and moving to Moquett’s barn shortly before the 2014 Oaklawn meeting.

About an hour before Heykittykittykitty won a conditioned allowance/optional claiming sprint April 4, Doctor Peter scored a powerful victory at a mile. He stormed home by 4 ¾ lengths in the conditioned allowance/optional claimer to win for the first time since last June.

Trainer Doug Anderson said Doctor Peter is pointing for the $75,000 Gus Fonner Stakes April 25 at Fonner Park.

Anderson claimed the 5-year-old gelding for $40,000 out of a 2014 Arkansas Derby Day victory. Doctor Peter then strung together three consecutive victories before finishing second in the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Handi-cap.

The 1 1/16-mile Gus Fonner Stakes closed Wednesday with 26 nominations. Also nominated is Joy Boy, who won a Jan. 25 allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn for trainer Kellyn Gorder. Joy Boy ran fourth behind Doctor Peter earlier this month.
 
Finish Lines

Trainer Chris Hartman, now based at Churchill Downs, said Alsvid will be freshened after winning the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9. ... Two-time Oaklawn stakes winner Spring Included ($100,000 Spring Fever Feb. 21 and $100,000 Carousel April 8) “more than likely” will make her next start in the $100,000 Winning Colors Stakes (G3) May 25 at Churchill Downs, owner Alex Lieblong said. … Lieblong said March 1 allowance winner The Big Beast is under consideration for the $500,000 Churchill Downs Handicap (G2) May 2. … Multiple stakes winner Flashy American is to be bred 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, trainer Kenny McPeek said, adding the 6-year-old mare could return to train or race in foal. Flashy American hasn’t started since finishing fifth in the $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 14. … Mufajaah, third in the Azeri, has been bred to multiple Grade I winner Quality Road, trainer Dan Peitz said. Mufajaah won the $100,000 Pippin Stakes Jan. 17 and the $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) Feb. 15.
 
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