Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ride On Curlin Ready to Return to Stakes Action

Ride On Curlin will be returning to stakes action in the $100,000 Essex Handicap for older horses Feb. 14 at Oaklawn, the colt’s trainer, Billy Gowan, said Thursday morning.

“He’s doing really good,” Gowan said. “He came out of that last race real good.”

Ride On Curlin won his Jan. 15 comeback race – a second-level allowance/optional claiming sprint – by a head in his 4-year-old debut. Reunited with jockey Jon Court, Ride On Curlin covered six furlongs over a fast track in a sharp 1:10.40. He hadn’t started since the Belmont Stakes June 7.

Court had previously ridden Ride On Curlin to a runner-up finish in last year’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1). Joel Rosario rode the son of Curlin to a runner-up finish in the Preakness. And, Hall of Famers Calvin Borel, Kent Desormeaux and John Velazquez were also aboard the Curlin colt. Gowan said Court will retain the mount for the 1 1/16-mile Essex.

“I think I’ll stick with the same jockey for a while,” Gowan said with a laugh. “I gave them all an opportunity last year.”

Gowan said, weather permitting, Ride On Curlin could work Saturday or Sunday. The colt’s major spring objective is the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 11.
 
Setback for Hebbronville

Hebbronville, who finished a disappointing sixth in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes for 3-year-olds Jan. 19, is at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., after suffering a freak accident about four days ago, trainer Lynn Whiting said Thursday morning.

Whiting said Hebbronville lacerated his lower jaw - dislodging several teeth - after his mouth became hung in a hay rack in his stall. The trainer said Hebbronville was “getting a set of braces” Thursday morning.

“That’s something that I’ve never encountered,” said Whiting, who saddled his first winner in 1969. “But, if you live long enough with a racehorse, you’ll see everything happen.”

Whiting said Hebbronville is scheduled to return to Oaklawn Tuesday morning and that the injury won’t inter-fere with Hebbronville’s training, adding the problem is going to “set in front of the bridle.”

“The braces are just to support the jaw and prevent further injury,” Whiting said. “The teeth will be laced, to some extent, and then in probably 6-8 weeks, they’ll remove the braces. They’re actually wires.”

Whiting said Hebbronville should still be able to run again before the Oaklawn meeting ends April 11, but “more than likely” return to sprints. He said he believed Hebbronville could carry his speed at least a mile, which was the distance of the Smarty Jones.

“In all sense, he’s missed the boat on anything else,” Whiting said. “Even if you thought he was a mile and a sixteenth, mile and an eighth horse, the ship has sailed. He’ll be regulated to sprints.”

From the first crop of Grade I-winning sprinter Majesticperfection, Hebbronville won his first two career starts by a combined 11 ¾ lengths last summer at Parx. He was purchased for $250,000 last May.

Whiting is best known for saddling Lil E. Tee to win the 1992 Kentucky Derby.
 
Finish Lines

Jockey Ramon Vazquez’s five victories on Sunday’s card was one short of a single-day Oaklawn record. Hall of Famer Pat Day (1986, 1993 and 1995) and Larry Snyder (1969) share the Oaklawn record with six victories. Snyder is now an Oaklawn steward. … Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes for 3-year-old fillies drew seven entrants, including even-money program favorite Take Charge Brandi, the country’s champion 2-year-old filly. … Three-time Oaklawn training champion Kenny Smith entered Thursday with 992 career North American victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Smith and Gary “Red Dog” Hartlage tied for the training title in 1997 (26 victories). Smith won outright titles in 1998 (30 victories) and 1999 (39). Smith has won 4 of 22 starts through the first nine racing days this year at Oaklawn and has two horses entered today. … Oaklawn’s 2015 media guide can be downloaded through the media link on the homepage of the track’s website, www.oaklawn.com.


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