Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Mr. Z Works toward Southwest Stakes

Mr. Z took another step toward the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 16 at Oaklawn with a five-furlong workout just after the track opened Wednesday morning. Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Mr. Z worked in company with stablemate Will Did It, a 3-year-old Medaglia d’Oro colt who is winless in three career starts after being purchased for $700,000 as a yearling.

Mr. Z started seven lengths behind Will Did It, collared the front-runner on the inside at the eighth pole and was three lengths clear at the finish. The work was from the five-furlong pole to the regular finish line over a fast surface. The colt, under Jon Court, was credited with five furlongs in 1:01, second-fastest of 51 works recorded at the distance. He recorded internal splits of :11.20, :23.80, :35.80 and :48.20 for a half-mile. Will Did It went the same distance in 1:03.

“He worked good,” Court said. “Wayne told me to put him into the work like it was a race, behind a horse that broke off in front of me. He came home strong and finished up in front.”

Mr. Z was originally scheduled to work Tuesday morning, but the move was delayed a day after the track was closed for training Monday because of freezing temperatures.

Court rode Mr. Z to a troubled third-place finish in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 19 and will retain the mount for the Southwest, Lukas said Sunday morning.

Nominations to the 1 1/16-mile Southwest close Friday.
 
‘Sophia’ Returns to Kentucky

Grade 1 winner Don’t Tell Sophia left Oaklawn Wednesday morning to train at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., where she is based most of the year. Phil Sims, who co-owns and trains Don’t Tell Sophia, said the move will allow the 7-year-old mare to train over Keeneland’s five-eighths mile training track, which has a synthetic surface known as Polytrack.

Sims, who winters at Oaklawn, said he had hoped to launch Don’t Tell Sophia’s 2015 campaign in the $100,000 Pippin Stakes Jan. 17, but said weather-related training setbacks forced her to miss the 1 1/16-mile race she had won in 2013 and 2014.

Sims said Don’t Tell Sophia is “very, very” doubtful for the $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) Feb. 15, but “possible” for the $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 14 and the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 10.

Don’t Tell Sophia, who finished third in voting for champion older female of 2014, is the two-time defending Bayakoa champion. She scored her biggest career victory in the $500,000 Spinster Stakes (G1) Oct. 5 at Keeneland.

Rulings

Stewards fined jockey Julio Felix $100 after he misjudged the finish line aboard Sarah Sis in Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile. Sarah Sis was beaten a head by Take Charge Brandi after drawing abreast of the champion on the inside in the final 100 yards.

Mile races at Oaklawn begin and end at the sixteenth pole, but Felix continued to ride Sarah Sis, trained by his main client Ingrid Mason, to the regular finish line.

Felix has a 3-9-1 record from 29 mounts at the meet.
 
Finish Lines

Grade I winner The Big Beast, who is a targeting a comeback race around March 1, worked five furlongs in 1:03 Wednesday morning for trainer Tony Dutrow. … Three-time Oaklawn training champion Kenny Smith recorded his 993rd career winner when Swan Deer broke her maiden in Sunday’s ninth race for owner/breeder James Glover, a North Little Rock, Ark., truck parts and equipment dealer. … Eight older horses, including two-time defending champion Apprehender, are entered in Saturday’s $100,000 King Cotton Stakes at six furlongs. … Quality Way, an unstarted 3-year-old Quality Road filly, arrived at trainer Dan Peitz’s barn last Saturday. A $435,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate, Quality Way is a half-sister to Super Ninety Nine, a record 11 ¼-length winner of Oaklawn’s $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) in 2013 for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Peitz said he believes Quality Way, owned by Robert and Lawana Low of Springfield, Mo., will run at the meeting.


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