Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sarah Sis Gets Back to Work

Multiple graded stakes winner Sarah Sis wasted little time in returning to the work tab, breezinga half-mile in :49 2/5 Thursday morning at Oaklawn. The filly arrived in Hot Springs Sunday after returning to trainer Ingrid Mason Nov. 28 following a 30-day freshening at WinStar Farm in Kentucky, the trainer said.

Mason said Sarah Sis could make her 4-year-old debut in the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes at 6 furlongs Jan. 23 at Oaklawn.

“She pretty much looks the same,” Mason said following training hours Wednesday morning. “She’s gorgeous. She’s not tall. She’s a small horse that’s just put together right. She’s just a mighty mite."

The versatile Sarah Sis won 4 of 10 starts in 2015, including the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles in March at Oaklawn. The daughter of Sharp Humor closed 2015 with a victory at 7 furlongs in the $250,000 Raven Run Stakes (G2) Oct. 17 at Keeneland, the biggest score of Mason’s career.

Owner Joe Ragsdale entered Sarah Sis in the Fasig-Tipton November Sale as a racing/broodmare prospect, but she failed to meet her $1.25 million reserve. Mason said she believes Sarah Sis, purchased for only $20,000 as a 2-year-old, can double her value by winning a Grade 1 race in 2016.

“That’s obviously what we want to do with her,” Mason said.

Mason said Sarah Sis will be pointed for mostly graded stakes events in 2016 and is under consideration for several races at Oaklawn, including the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 15. Her year-end goal, Mason said, is the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita. The Apple Blossom (1 1/16 miles) is around two turns. The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (7 furlongs) is a one-turn race.

“That’s what is cool about her,” Mason said. “She can do both, and probably run on any surface. Definitely seven-eighths, I think, is her best distance.”

Sarah Sis has won 6 of 13 starts and $566,400 in her career.
 
Jockeying for Position

Prominent Southern California-based jockey Corey Nakatani will return to Oaklawn for the 2016 meeting that begins Jan. 15.

Nakatani, now riding at Santa Anita, enters 2016 with 3,800 career victories since 1988, including 10 in Breeders’ Cup events, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

Nakatani, 45, will be represented by Gene Short of Hot Springs, who was the agent for newcomer Jeremy Rose when he won Oaklawn’s riding title in 2005.

In his only other full Oaklawn meet, the rider finished second in the standings during Oaklawn’s 2010 meet with 49 victories – 10 less than champion Terry Thompson. Nakatani, trailing Thompson 48-47, didn’t ride regularly the final six days of the meeting after shifting his tack to Keeneland.

Nakatani won 24 percent of his starts – easily the highest among regulars at the 2010 Oaklawn meet – and was one of five jockeys to finish with more than $1 million in purse earnings ($1,173,587).

Jay Fedor represented Nakatani at the 2010 Oaklawn meeting, but will have Chris Landeros and Joe Rocco Jr. in 2016.
 
Finish Lines

Oaklawn had 1,175 horses on the grounds Thursday morning. … The track will be closed for training Friday for New Year’s Day. … Unbeaten Knights Key, who could make his 3-year-old debut in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 at Oaklawn, worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.80 Thursday morning for trainer Steve Hobby of Hot Springs. … Another Smarty Jones candidate, Synchrony, went 6 furlongs in 1:15.80 Thursday morning for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel. … Alsvid, one of the top sprinters at the 2015 Oaklawn meet, is pointing for the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Jan. 30, trainer Chris Hartman said. The King Cotton is the first major local prep for the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 10, a race Alsvid won in 2015. … Marquee Miss, who the $75,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes last summer in her career debut, will make her 3-year-old debut in the $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 15 at Oaklawn, trainer Ingrid Mason said. … Trainer Jinks Fires of Hot Springs said his Arkansas-bred stakes winner Pistolpackinpenny was on her way to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital Wednesday afternoon to be examined for what could be a pelvis fracture. Pistolpackinpenny, who won the $75,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes last March at Oaklawn, went off during a routine gallop earlier this month, Fires said. Pistolpackinpenny is owned by Fires’ wife, Penny Fires, and ran third in the $100,000 Groupie Doll Stakes (G3) Aug. 8 at Ellis Park in her last start … Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel has multiple stakes Cabana for Oaklawn’s series of two-turn stakes events for older fillies and mares and said Cabana could make her 2016 debut in the $100,000 Pippin Stakes Jan. 17, although the $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) Feb. 14 is a more likely option.
 
 
 
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