Thursday, July 02, 2015

Count Fleet Sprint Handicap Winner Alsvid Sets Sights on Smile Sprint Stakes

Alsvid is scheduled to race in Florida for the first time in Sunday’s $250,000 Smile Sprint Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park. But it’s not the first time Alsvid has been in Florida.

Chris Hartman, who won his first Oaklawn training title this year, unearthed one of the biggest bargains of the 2011 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s Spring Sale of 2-year-olds in training, a son of Officer out of the Afternoon Deelites mare, Reagle Mary.

Hip No. 29, better known today as Alsvid, has cranked out almost $1 million in earnings and emerged as one of the country’s top sprinters this year after winning his last three starts, including the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9 at Oaklawn.

Quite a resume for a horse who fetched a modest $55,000 at the prestigious Florida sale.

“His feet give him a little trouble from time to time, but outside of that, he never draws a bad breath of air,” Hartman said.

Hartman said he loved the way Alsvid breezed in his OBS under tack preview work (a furlong in :10), but his conformation and compulsive behavior probably turned off some bidders.

“I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Hartman said. “I liked the way the horse was balanced, but he sort of had a big head on him. He was a cribber and was just overlooked.” A cribber is a horse who grabs a solid object with its teeth while gulping air into its stomach.

Hartman found Alsvid for owner James Rogers (Black Hawk Stable), an Elk City, Okla., oil and gas businessman and one of the trainer’s biggest clients. The trainer saddled eight consecutive winners for Black Hawk at this year’s Oaklawn meeting (March 27 until closing day April 11).

Alsvid represented two victories during the streak – a March 27 allowance/optional claimer and the Count Fleet, Hartman’s most lucrative career victory.
 
Hartman saddled 34 winners at the meet – four more than three-time defending champion Steve Asmussen – including 11 for Blackhawk.

Alsvid was the only horse Rogers bought at the 2011 OBS Spring Sale of 2-year-olds in training.

“He was in the price range,” Hartman said of Alsvid. “The man sent me down there to buy one horse and my budget was $50,000, $60,000. He might go to $75,000, so we bought him Alsvid.”

Alsvid has bankrolled $994,225 off a 13-7-3 record from 30 lifetime starts. The gelding is a nine-time stakes winner. Hartman, who saddled his first winner in 1993, has never trained a millionaire.

In his last start, Alsvid won the $100,000 Aristides Stakes (G3) May 30 at Churchill Downs. Runner-up in that race was reigning male sprint champion Work All Week, who won the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes during the 2014 Oaklawn meeting.

Alsvid (post 4) and Work All Week (post 8) are among nine horses entered in the 6-furlong Smile Sprint Stakes. Also entered is Falling Sky, fourth in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) in 2013.

Alsvid has breezed twice since the Aristides Stakes. He worked 5 furlongs in :59.80 Friday at Churchill Downs.

Probable post time for the Smile Sprint Stakes is 4:43 p.m. (Central).
 
Big Apple Bound

Several Oaklawn-raced horses are entered for Saturday’s stakes-packed card at Belmont Park, including Promise Me Silver in the $150,000 Victory Ride (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs.

Promise Me Silver won her first eight career starts before finishing 10th in the $750,000 Acorn Stakes (G1) June 6 at Belmont Park. The filly, who is cutting back from a mile, won the $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes and $100,000 Instant Racing Stakes at Oaklawn.

Street Story swept the Dixie Belle and Instant Racing last year before winning the Victory Ride. Wildcat Bettie B won the Dixie Belle and Victory Ride in 2006.

Also entered in Saturday’s race are Super Saks, a Jan. 30 maiden winner at Oaklawn, and Kathballu, third in a March 14 allowance/optional claiming race at Oaklawn.

Probable post time for the Victory Ride is 2:15 p.m. (Central).

Bridget’s Big Luvy, last of eight in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11, is entered in the $500,000 Dwyer Stakes (G2).

Probable post time for the 1-mile Dwyer is 2:52 p.m. (Central).

The Big Beast, who beat Alsvid in a March 1 allowance race at Oaklawn, is entered in the $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship (G3) at 7 furlongs.

The Big Beast hasn’t started since finishing fourth in the $400,000 Carter Handicap (G1) April 4 at Aqueduct because of a foot problem.

Probable post time for the Belmont Sprint Championship is 5:23 p.m. (Central).

Finish Lines

Churchill Downs is scheduled to run the $175,000 Lukas Classic, formerly known as the Homecoming Classic, during its September meeting. The 1 1/8-mile race was renamed to honor Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, a four-time winner of the Kentucky Derby. Lukas is a two-time leading trainer at Oaklawn (1987 and 2011) and annually winters in Hot Springs. … Conquest Curlinate, a Jan. 31 maiden winner at Oaklawn, will miss Sunday’s $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine because of a minor injury, trainer Mark Casse announced Thursday morning. The 1 ¼-mile Queen’s Plate is Canada’s equivalent of the Kentucky Derby.

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