Monday, January 19, 2015

Well-Traveled Phil Sims Back in Hot Springs

Oaklawn-based trainer Phil Sims was moving as fast as one of his horses over the weekend. Sims said he was in Kentucky Friday night, flew Saturday morning to south Florida to attend the 44th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony and was back in Hot Springs before noon Sunday.

“Weather was warmer,” Sims said Monday morning. “That was about it.”

Sims traveled to Florida because he trains and co-owns Don’t Tell Sophia, one of three finalists for an Eclipse Award as champion older female of 2014. Don’t Tell Sophia finished third in the voting from the three voting entities (NTRA, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers And Broadcasters), behind Close Hatches (155) and Dayatthehspa (64). Don’t Tell Sophia received 19 first-place votes.

Don’t Tell Sophia is training at Oaklawn and could begin her 7-year-old campaign in the $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes Feb. 15, Sims said. She is the two-time defending Bayakoa champion.

Sims said he had hoped to start the mare in last Saturday’s $100,000 Pippin Stakes, but decided to pass the race after missing training because of winter weather.

“The track’s starting to get better now, so we’ll get back in the flow,” Sims said.

Don’t Tell Sophia also won the Pippin in 2013 and 2014.
 
A New ‘Den?’

The last time Den’s Legacy ran at Oaklawn, the now-5-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro was under the care of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and on the Kentucky Derby trail. That was 2013, when Den’s Legacy ran sixth in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1).

Following a seventh-place finish in an Oct. 10 allowance/optional claimer at Santa Anita - the horse’s 17th con-secutive loss - Den’s Legacy was moved to trainer Ron Moquett in hopes that a change of scenery will jumpstart a once promising career.

“I’m going to try him in an allowance race and see if I can’t restart the fire,” said Moquett, who is based in the Midwest. “He seems happy. You can’t ask for a horse to be any better looking or happy.”

Den’s Legacy moved another step toward his 2015 debut by working a half-mile in :48.20 Monday morning.

Den’s Legacy scored his biggest career victory to date in the grassy $100,000 Generous Stakes for 2-year-olds in November 2012 at Hollywood Park.

Den’s Legacy has won 2 of 24 starts overall and earned $492,520.

The owners of Den’s Legacy, Little Rock, Ark.-based Westrock Stables LLC (Joe and Scott Ford) have horses on the West Coast with Baffert and at Oaklawn with Moquett and trainer Clay Loetscher.

Also working a half-mile Monday morning for Moquett was Gentlemen’s Bet, unraced since finishing third in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint because of a foot injury. Moquett said he’s shopping for an allowance spot for Gentlemen’s Bet, who covered a half-mile in :48.20.

Moquett saddled Right to Vote to win last year’s $100,000 Essex Handicap, but said the gelding is receiving an extended break from racing. The trainer said Right to Vote still should run before the meeting ends April 11.
 
Thursday’s feature

Multiple stakes winner Brewing is scheduled to make his 4-year-old debut in Thursday’s feature, a money-conditioned allowance/optional claimer at 6 furlongs.

Brewing won two sprint stakes for 3-year-olds at last year’s Oaklawn meeting - the $100,000 Gazebo and $100,000 Bachelor – before running second in the $100,000 Chick Lang Stakes May 17 at Pimlico.

Following the Chick Lang, Brewing was sidelined for the remainder of 2014 with an ankle injury, said the colt’s trainer, Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas.

“He’ll go into the stakes group right away after this one,” Lukas said. Oaklawn’s first sprint stake for older horses is the $100,000 King Cotton Feb. 7.

Brewing completed major preparations for his comeback with a bullet 5-furlong work Sunday morning (1:00.80).

Lukas has given the mount to Jon Court, who guided the son of Maimonides to his Gazebo and Bachelor victo-ries. Overall, the Zayat Stable homebred has won three of four starts at Oaklawn.

Six other horses are entered, including stakes winners Officer Alex, Hogy and Ivan Fallunovalot. Probable post time for Thursday’s featured eighth race is 4:42 p.m. (Central).
 
 Finish Lines

Agent Gene Short said he’s now representing apprentice jockey Mario Rodriguez, who is named on three horses Thursday. Rodriguez rode five winners last year, according to Equibase, including two at Delaware Park. Short, who also represents Malcolm Franklin at Oaklawn, said Rodriguez gallops horses for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. … Two-time defending Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. has ridden 21 winners over the last 11 days of racing, dating to last year’s meeting. Of the 21 winners, 15 have been for three-time defending training champion Steve Asmussen. … The 33 claims through the first four days of racing have totaled $561,250.
 
 
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