Oaklawn News

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Big Beast Has Hot Springs Stakes on Radar

Trainer Tony Dutrow said Sunday morning that he’s targeting the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 7 at Oaklawn for The Big Beast’s 4-year-old debut. The Grade 1 winner moved closer to his 2015 debut by breezing a bullet five furlongs (1:00) after the renovation break Sunday morning under Ricardo Santana Jr. Clockers caught the massive chestnut son of Yes It’s True galloping out 6 furlongs in 1:13. The fastest of seven recorded works at six furlongs Sunday morning was 1:15.80.

Dutrow said The Big Beast “will be ready” for the six-furlong Hot Springs, the final major local prep for the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9, the colt’s primary objective.

“I feel the horse, for the most part, is ready to run,” Dutrow said. “The timing is good.”

The Big Beast hasn’t started since winning the $500,000 King’s Bishop Stakes (G1) Aug. 23 at Saratoga. He had a tiny ankle chip removed shortly after the 7-furlong race and didn’t resume training until the fall.

Santana, Oaklawn’s two-time defending riding champion, worked The Big Beast because Shaun Bridgmohan had travel problems after riding Saturday at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Dutrow said. Bridgmohan worked The Big Beast Feb. 12 and will have the mount for his comeback race, owner Alex Lieblong said.

The Big Beast ran a troubled second in his March 29, 2014, career debut at Oaklawn. His other four career starts were made last spring and summer in New York. He has won his last three starts.
I Spent It Update

Trainer Tony Dutrow said he’s ruled out the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14 for I Spent It’s 3-year-old debut, adding everything will have to go perfectly for the Super Saver colt to run in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11.

A Grade 2 winner at 2, I Spent It had his third workout since knee surgery last fall, covering a half-mile in a sharp :48.40 Sunday morning under Ricardo Santana Jr. The breeze was the fastest of 183 recorded works at the distance.

Dutrow said I Spent It is “about four weeks from running,” meaning the $100,000 Gazebo Stakes at 6 furlongs March 21 is a possibility. But, Dutrow stressed that he won’t push I Spent It to make the Arkansas Derby, unless it’s the desire of co-owners Alex and JoAnn Lieblong. The Lieblongs live in Conway, Ark.

“You’re talking about a mile and an eighth race, and the horse has never been anywhere near that distance,” Dutrow said. “We’re running out of time to get there, anyway. It’s got to be a perfect world and something that Alex Lieblong and his wife want to do.”
I Spent It won 2 of 4 starts last year, including the $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) Aug. 10 at Saratoga. He had a small bone chip removed from a knee after finishing last of six in his final start at 2, the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (G1) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park.
Blinkers On

Phenomenal Phoenix is scheduled to race in blinkers for the first time in Sunday’s $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said he decided to add blinkers after the Summer Bird gelding finished second, beaten a length, in a Jan. 19 entry-level allowance/optional claimer at      1 1/16 miles. Von Hemel said believed Phenomenal Phoenix was going to win the race in midstretch, but then “he quit running.”

“A horse came by him on the outside, and was one was coming on the inside,” Von Hemel said Saturday morning. “It looked like both were going to pass him. He just took off after the horse on the outside and ran second, so there’s more than he showed us, I believe.”

Von Hemel said isn’t sure if Phenomenal Phoenix was distracted by the starting gate parked in the infield or the grandstand.

“We’re trying to keep him a little more focused,” Von Hemel said.

Phenomenal Phoenix broke his maiden by 5 ½ lengths at mile Nov. 5 at Remington Park before running fourth in the $250,000 Springboard Mile Stakes Dec. 14 at Remington.

The 2012 Springboard Mile runner-up, Will Take Charge, ran sixth in the Southwest before emerging as the country’s champion 3-year-old male of 2013.
Honeybee Promise?

Trainer Bret Calhoun said Thursday morning that he’s leaning toward running unbeaten Promise Me Silver in the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7. Promise Me Silver moved to 6 for 6 in her career with a front-running 9 ¾-length victory in the $75,000 Two Altazano Stakes Feb. 14 at Sam Houston Race Park.

Promise Me Silver was the 1-9 favorite in the 7-furlong race. The 1 1/16-mile Honeybee would be Promise Me Silver’s first start around two turns.

“There’s a pretty chance you’ll see her in the Honeybee,” Calhoun said. “I don’t have a lot of great options right now.”

Promise Me Silver, a gray daughter of Silver City, opened her 3-year-old campaign with a neck victory in the $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 15 at Oaklawn. The 6-furlong race was scheduled to be run Jan. 9 – opening day of the Oaklawn meeting – but delayed six days because of winter weather that closed the track.

Calhoun said he hoped to stretch out Promise Me Silver in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes (mile) Jan. 31, but it came back “too quick” because the Dixie Belle was run almost a week later than originally scheduled.

“I got out of sync and off schedule,” Calhoun said. “It’s not really how I planned to come into that race (Honeybee) at a mile and a sixteenth, her first two-turn race. The seven-eighths race the other day was a good stepping stone.”

Promise Me Silver is a five-time stakes winner of $259,355. The Honeybee would be her first graded stakes race.
Finish Lines

Training was extended 30 minutes Sunday because of winter weather that has played havoc with normal hours the last six days. Oaklawn is normally open for training from 7 a.m.-10:30 a.m. (Central). … Carve, scheduled to make his next start in the $250,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) March 14, worked a half-mile in :49.20 Sunday morning for trainer Brad Cox. … Super Saks, scheduled to make her next start in the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7, worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.40 Sunday morning for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. … Multiple stakes winner Sugar Shock, scheduled to make her next start in the $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 14, worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.20 Sunday morning for trainer Doug Anderson. … Trainer Kenny McPeek said Flashy American, runner-up in last Sunday’s $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3), will be pointed for the Azeri. … Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said Gold Medal Dancer, third in the Bayakoa, will “most likely” make her next start in the Azeri. Von Hemel said he will monitor the potential field, particularly shippers, before making a final decision. … Gentlemen’s Bet, third in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, worked a half-mile in :49.20 Sunday morning for trainer Ron Moquett. … Razorback Futurity winner Touchdown Arkansas worked a half-mile in :49.60 Sunday morning under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel. Trainer Tom Howard said the goal for Touchdown Arkansas is the $75,000 Rainbow Stakes March 29, a six-furlong race restricted to 3-year-old Arkansas-bred colts and geldings. ... Multiple stakes winner Kiss Moon, a candidate for the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 10, is about 10 days away from her first breeze this year, trainer David Vance said. … Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero’s daughter, Canela, is visiting Oaklawn. Her godmother, Kim Dutrow, is the wife of Oaklawn-based trainer Tony Dutrow.