Oaklawn Stakes winner Ivan Fallunovalot Returns Saturday
One of the top sprinters at this year’s Oaklawn meeting, Ivan Fallunovalot, returns to action in the $75,000 David M. Vance Sprint Stakes Saturday at Remington Park. Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel retains the mount on the gelding, who drew post 3 for the 6-furlong race. Probable post for the Vance Sprint is 9:20 p.m. (Central).
Ivan Fallunovalot, the defending Vance Sprint champion, hasn’t started since finishing second to Alsvid in the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9 at Oaklawn.
Kathy Howard, the wife/assistant of Ivan Fallunovalot’s trainer, Tom Howard, said the gelding was entered at this summer’s Lone Star Park meeting, but races didn’t fill. Before running second in the Count Fleet, Ivan Fal-lunovalot scored a sharp allowance/optional claiming victory in his 5-year-old debut Jan. 22 at Oaklawn, then recorded his biggest career score in the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Feb. 7 at Oaklawn.
Ivan Fallunovalot earned a career-high 108 Beyer Speed Figure for his Jan. 22 victory, a 105 for his King Cotton victory and a 105 for a runner-up finish behind Gentlemen’s Bet in the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 7, the final major local prep for the Count Fleet.
On behalf of owner Lewis Mathews of Bismarck, Ark., Tom Howard claimed Ivan Fallunovalot for $25,000 out of a 3 ¾-length victory March 6, 2014, at Oaklawn – the first of four consecutive victories for the Valid Expecta-tions gelding.
The fourth victory came in the Vance Sprint. Ivan Fallunovalot was freshened for a return at the 2015 Oaklawn meeting after finishing fourth in the $150,000 Remington Park Sprint Championship last September.
Ramon Vazquez, Oaklawn’s second-leading rider this year, is named on millionaire and multiple stakes winner Delaunay for the Vance Sprint.
Win machine Ecleto Red is among 11 horses entered in Saturday’s $175,000 Governor’s Cup at Remington Park. Probable post time for the 1 1/8-mile race is 10:16 p.m. (Central).
Ecleto Red is one of country’s winningest horses this year, with five victories from nine starts for trainer Lynn Chleborad. Two of Ecleto Red’s victories came in starter company at Oaklawn.
Following the Oaklawn meeting, Ecleto Red finished second in the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G3) June 27 at Prairie Meadows, and, in his last start, won the $50,000 Prairie Meadows Handicap July 25.
The Cornhusker marked the first career stakes race for Ecleto Red, who made his first nine starts for trainer John Henry Prather before moving to Chleborad’s barn a more than a year ago.
The 5-year-old gelded son of Master Command broke his maiden for a $30,000 claiming tag in his second career start, Feb. 24, 2013, at Oaklawn. Ecleto Red, originally purchased for $2,600 at Fasig-Tipton’s 2011 Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale, has won 10 of 23 career starts and $219,919, including $153,240 this year.
He is scheduled to break from post 10 under Alex Birzer and carry equal top weight of 124 pounds.
Also entered in the Governor’s Cup is defending champion Code West, who will be making his first start since finishing sixth in the $100,000 Essex Handicap Feb. 14 at Oaklawn.
Essex winner Golden Lad subsequently caught front-running Ecleto Red in deep stretch to capture the Corn-husker by 1 ½ lengths.
Texas Air, a March 26 allowance/optional claiming winner at Oaklawn, returns after running eighth in last year’s Governor’s Cup. The gelding recorded his biggest career victory in the $200,000 Texas Mile (G3) May 1 at Lone Star Park.
Russellin is seeking his first victory since taking an allowance/optional claimer in his 4-year-old debut Feb. 7 at Oaklawn. He also ran eighth in the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 11 for Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman.
Chris Hartman, Oaklawn’s leading trainer this year, said the next major goal for standout sprinter Alsvid is the $250,000 Phoenix Stakes (G3) Oct. 2 at Keeneland. The Phoenix is a “Win and You’re In” event for the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland.
Hartman said Alsvid has been on “R and R” since finishing fifth in the $250,000 Smile Sprint Stakes (G2) July 5 at Gulfstream Park. He had won his previous three starts, including the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9 at Oaklawn.
“We’re going to try to find an easy spot – hopefully find something before the Phoenix,” Hartman said Thursday morning. “He hasn’t worked in the last 30 days. I just gave him a little break.”
Alsvid, a 6-year-old Officer gelding, surpassed $1 million in career earnings in the Smile Sprint.
What’s in a Name?
Telling Metzie, an unstarted 2-year-old Telling filly, moved closer to her career debut by working a half-mile from the gate in :48.40 Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway, Ark., Oaklawn’s fourth-leading owners this year, purchased Telling Metzie for $180,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s 2014 August Yearling Sale.
Telling Metzie is from the first crop of Telling, who won the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational (G1) in 2009 and 2010 for the Lieblongs and trainer Steve Hobby, an Oaklawn regular. Telling was groomed by Hobby’s wife, Metzie.
“Steve did a very good job with Telling, but I believe Metzie did better with him,” Alex Lieblong jokingly said.
Telling Metzie has eight published workouts since mid-June at Churchill Downs and received favorable reviews in her early training, Lieblong said.
“The guy who broke her was high on her from the get-go,” Lieblong said.
Telling stands at Prestige Stallions in Florida. His 2015 fee was $10,000.
Sarah Sis, who missed last Saturday’s $500,000 Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga because of a minor health setback, recorded a 5-furlong bullet workout (:59) Thursday morning at Arlington Park for trainer Ingrid Mason. Sarah Sis won the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7 at Oaklawn. … Remington Park opens its season Friday night. Ramon Vazquez (jockey), Steve Asmussen (trainer) and Danny Caldwell (owner) are defending cham-pions. Caldwell was Oaklawn’s leading owner this year, while Vazquez and Asmussen finished second in the standings. … Chris Hartman, Oaklawn’s leading trainer this year, will again be based at Churchill Downs when the track reopens next month. Hartman won 11 races at the Churchill Downs spring/summer meet, his first after previously being based at Prairie Meadows. Hartman, who is overseeing 33 horses in Kentucky, was based at Remington Park last fall.
Oaklawn Stakes winner Ivan Fallunovalot Returns Saturday