Sunday, February 08, 2015

Far Right Completes Major Southwest Work; Is Among 66 Nominations

Far Right completed major preparations for the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), the highlight of Oaklawn’s special Presidents Day card Feb. 16 by working a half-mile in company just after the track opened Sunday morning. Much to the delight of trainer Ron Moquett, the Smarty Jones winner completed the distance over fast-rated surface in :49 under Greta Kuntzweiler. Stablemate Sakima, a lightly raced 3-year-old who broke his maiden Jan. 17, was credited with the same time.

Sunday marked Far Right’s second work since the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 19. Moquett said he wanted the pair to go a “shade under :49,” gallop out well and finish up together.

“It was exactly what I asked the riders to do,” Moquett said. “I was proud of my horses and proud of my riders because I told them to do exactly that. It’s very rare when you’re dealing with these guys that it works out exactly like you want it to do.”

Moquett said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will again have the mount on Far Right, who won the 1-mile Smarty Jones by 1 ¾ lengths over Bayerd.

Racing secretary Pat Pope said Sunday morning that nine horses remain early probables for the 1 1/16-mile Southwest. In addition to Far Right, Bayerd, Mr. Z, Private Prospect, Instant Replay, Kantune, War Story, Bold Conquest and The Truth Or Else are expected for the Southwest, Pope said.

Post positions for the Southwest, which closed with 66 nominations, will be drawn Friday. All 66 horses nominated are also automatically nominated to the $750,000 Rebel Stakes March 14 and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11. Last year, among the top 3-year-olds that competed in Oaklawn’s rich series were multiple graded stakes winner Tapiture, Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin, Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Danza, Belmont Stakes runner-up Commissioner and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern.
 
Still Working in Florida

Work All Week began galloping last week in Florida, and the hope is the country’s reigning champion male sprinter will arrive at Oaklawn by the end of February, the gelding’s trainer, Roger Brueggemann, said Sunday morning.

“He’ll come here whenever the weather stabilizes,” Brueggemann said.

Brueggemann said the major spring objective for Work All Week is the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9. Although Oaklawn’s final major local prep for the Count Fleet is the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 7, Brueggemann said he doesn’t expect Work All Week will be ready for that race.

Work All Week wintered last year at Oaklawn and won both his local starts, including the $100,000 Hot Springs. He went on to win 5 of 6 starts overall, including the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita. The 6-year-old City Zip gelding, who races for his breeder, Chicago-based Midwest Thoroughbreds, was freshened following his Breeders’ Cup victory.
 
‘Ivan’ the Great

Ivan Fallunovalot, who received a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 105 for Saturday’s scintillating 2 ¾-length victory in the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes, could make two more starts at the meeting, the gelding’s trainer, Tom Howard, said Sunday morning. Howard said Ivan Fallunovalot is under consideration for the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 7 and the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9.

“We’ll let old Ivan tell us, but the way it looks, the Count Fleet is possible - highly possible,” Howard said.

Under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel Saturday, Ivan Fallunovalot ran six furlongs over a fast track in 1:08.94, recording his fifth victory in six starts since being claimed for $25,000 last March by Howard on behalf of owner Lewis Mathews of nearby Bismarck, Ark.

“He ran a hell of a race,” Howard said.

It was the second-fastest King Cotton -  the race has been run at various distances since its inaugural running in 1948 – behind only Rapid Gray, who set the stakes record (1:08) in 1984.

Ivan Fallunovalot earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure for his 8 ¾-length allowance/optional claiming victory Jan. 22. He ran six furlongs that day in 1:09.74. He got away with a :46.03 half-mile in his front-running victory last month, but had to come from just off a torrid pace after breaking from the rail Saturday. Following a half-mile in :44.18, Borel had to wait for room turning for home, but the 5-year-old gelding stormed to the front on the outside in the upper stretch once clear.

“The early speed tried to take him out, but Calvin gave him a great ride, having the patience that he did,” Howard said.

Finish Lines

Jockey Julio Felix was excused from his mounts Sunday after injuring his wrist during training hours Sunday, steward John Ferrara said. … After watching For Greater Glory work a half-mile in :50.60 just after the track opened Sunday morning, trainer Steve Hobby said he plans to start the 5-year-old in Saturday’s $100,000 Essex Handicap at 1 1/16 miles. … Fifth Season winner Carve, who is passing the Essex, worked a half-mile in :50.40 Sunday morning after the break in preparation for the $250,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) March 14. Trainer Brad Cox called it “maintenance” breeze. … Pippin winner Mufajaah recorded a five-furlong bullet work (1:00) Sunday morning in preparation for the $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) Feb. 15. … Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said stakes-winner Gold Medal Dancer will likely make her 2015 debut in the Bayakoa. … Trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said 2014 Essex winner Right to Vote has been retired after coming up with a “little issue” last fall in Kentucky. Fort Smith, Ark., based owners B J D Thoroughbreds (Lee and Joyce Didier) privately purchased the now-6-year-old gelding following a third-place finish in a March 2013 allowance/optional claiming race at Oaklawn. Moquett, a Fort Smith native, said Right to Vote has been retired to the Didier’s farm in the Fort Smith area.
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