Hot Springs, Ark. (Friday, Feb. 6, 2015) – Ivan Fallunovalot has been winning a lot, too and will shoot for his ninth victory in 15 lifetime starts in the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn. Trained by Tom Howard, he has been installed the 2-1 program favorite for the King Cotton, which drew a field of eight, including two-time defending champion Apprehender.
Ivan Fallunovalot has won 4 of 5 starts since Howard claimed the Texas-bred gelding for $25,000 on behalf of owner Lewis Mathews of Bismarck, Ark., last March at Oaklawn. He earned a career-high 108 Beyer Speed Figure in his 5-year-old debut, a front-running 8 ¾-length allowance/optional claiming victory Jan. 22 in which he covered six furlongs over a wet-fast track in a meet-best 1:09.74.
Howard initially said it was unlikely Ivan Fallunovalot would be wheeled back in the King Cotton, but said the gelding was doing too good physically to pass the six-furlong race.
“Why not put him in there and see what it looks like,” Howard said Thursday morning. “I’m not real fond of the 1 hole, but you never are.”
Ivan Fallunovalot is scheduled to break from the rail under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel and carry 119 pounds. Howard said he’s done “very little” in the morning with the gelding since his powerful victory in which he unexpectedly found himself on the lead through a comfortable :46.03 half-mile.
“I would like him to lay off the pace a little bit,” Howard said. “I certainly don’t like being the pace, for sure.”
Multiple stakes winner Brewing finished a well-beaten fourth behind Ivan Fallunovalot in his 4-year-old debut. Brewing, who won last year’s $100,000 Gazebo and $100,000 Bachelor at Oaklawn, was making his first start since May because of an ankle problem. Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, the Maimonides colt is normally fast away from the gate.
Apprehender exits a sharp allowance/optional claiming victory Nov. 27 at Churchill Downs. The Chris Richard-trained gelding won his seasonal debut in the 2013 and 2014 King Cotton.
Alsvid was runner-up in the 2013 and 2014 King Cotton, among five second-place finishes in five career starts at Oaklawn. Trained by Chris Hartman, Alsvid is a multiple stakes winner of $686,465.
Bull Dozer, Fabulous Kid, Hip Four Sixtynine and Sandbar complete the projected field. Fabulous Kid debuted with a neck victory over future Grade I winner The Big Beast last March at Oaklawn. Sandbar, a $30,000 claim last fall by high-percentage trainer Joe Sharp, had two workouts at Oaklawn before shipping to Fair Grounds and recording a 7 ½-length second-level allowance/optional claiming victory Jan. 15.
The complete field for the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes, in post position order, with riders and morning line odds: Ivan Fallunovalot, Calvin Borel, 2-1; Bull Dozer, Glen Corbettt, 20-1; Fabulous Kid, Ricardo Santana Jr., 15-1; Brewing, Alex Birzer, 6-1; Hip Four Sixtynine, Jon Court, 9-2; Apprehender, Shaun Bridgmohan, 4-1; Sandbar, Joe Rocco Jr., 6-1, and Alsvid, Cliff Berry, 9-2.
The 65th King Cotton is the eighth of nine races at approximate 4:38 p.m. Racing begins Saturday at 1 p.m.