Tuesday, July 07, 2015

American Pharoah Continues Working toward Haskell

American Pharoah breezed a half-mile in :47.60 Monday morning at Santa Anita, the champion colt’s second work since winning the Triple Crown June 6. He is scheduled to make his next start in the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) Aug. 2 at Monmouth Park.

Monday’s time ranked as the co-ninth-fastest of 52 recorded at the distance. American Pharoah returned to the work tab June 29 at Santa Anita, breezing 3 furlongs in :36.40.

Before sweeping the Triple Crown, American Pharoah won the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14 and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11 at Oaklawn.
 
King of the Hill?

Top Arkansas-bred 3-year-old sprinter Weast Hill is scheduled to make his grass debut Tuesday afternoon at Indiana Grand, a second-level allowance/optional claimer at 5 furlongs. Probable post time is 4:49 p.m. (Central).

Weast Hill has won 3 of 4 lifetime starts, including the $75,000 Rainbow Stakes for 3-year-old Arkansas-bred colts and geldings March 29 at Oaklawn. He tackled older horses for the first time in his last start, a May 31 entry-level allowance at Prairie Meadows, and was a powerful 4 ¼-length winner under regular rider Jesus Castanon.

Despite the dominating victory, Weast Hill wasn’t a candidate to return to Prairie Meadows for the $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap June 26 because trainer Brad Cox said he wanted to take the promising gelding through his allowance conditions. Cox said Weast Hill was “just kind of tagging along” with stablemate Allied Air Raid, who also shipped in to run third in the $75,000 Prairie Mile May 30 at Prairie Meadows. Weast Hill and Allied Air Raid are based at Churchill Downs.

Jon Court, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2000, is named on Weast Hill Tuesday because Castanon is still recovering from a fractured fibula and broken tailbone suffered in a June 12 spill at Churchill Downs.

Weast Hill, bred and owned by Starsky Weast of Star City, Ark., was a 7 ½-length winner of his Feb. 26 career debut at Oaklawn.

If Tuesday’s race is taken off the turf because of expected rain, it will be run at 5 furlongs on the main track.
Weast Hill is the 5-2 program favorite.
 
Five of a Kind, Again

Ramon Vazquez, Oaklawn’s second-leading jockey this year, rode five winners Saturday at Prairie Meadows.

Vazquez won the second race aboard favored Edgy Memorie ($4) for trainer Federico Villafranco, fourth race aboard favored Prefer Diamonds ($3.60) for trainer Chris Richard, fifth race aboard Brandini Moon ($7.80) for trainer Ray Tracy Jr., sixth race aboard Native Princess ($13.20) for Richard and the eighth race aboard favored Kims Star ($2.40) for Villafranco.

Vazquez leads all jockeys at Prairie Meadows in victories (61) and purse earnings ($1,212,557).  He rides first call for Villafranco, Prairie Meadows’ leading trainer with 38 victories. Villafranco trains privately for Danny Caldwell, Oaklawn’s leading owner the last two years.  

Vazquez rode five winners twice at this year’s Oaklawn meeting (Jan. 25 and April 9). He finished with 51 victories, two behind three-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr.
 
Team Alsvid Milestone

Alsvid earned $7,200 for a fifth-place finish in Sunday’s $250,000 Smile Sprint Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park to surpass $1 million in career earnings.

A 6-year-old Officer gelding, Alsvid has earned $1,001,425 for owner James Rogers (Black Hawk Stable) and trainer Chris Hartman.Alsvid represents the first millionaire for Hartman, who won his first Oaklawn training title this year after saddling 34 winners.

Alsvid has bankrolled $370,200 at Oaklawn off a 2-6-1 record from nine career starts.

Alsvid ran second in his first six starts, including five stakes, in Hot Springs before finishing third behind The Big Beast in a March 1 allowance race. After winning a March 27 allowance/optional claiming race, he recorded his biggest career victory to date in the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9. One year prior, he had finished second in the race.

Alsvid, a $55,000 2-year-old in training purchase, has a 13-7-3 record from 31 starts overall.

Hartman also trains Red Lead, a 9-year-old Red Bullet gelding who has earned $888,912 in his 66-race career. Red Lead, entered for a $5,000 claiming tag Saturday at Ellis Park, won the 1 ¾-mile Trail’s End marathon April 11. The Trail’s End is traditionally the final race of the Oaklawn meeting.

Hartman has 1,068 victories, according to Equibase, since saddling his first career winner in 1993. He recently surpassed $20 million in career purse earnings.
 
Finish Lines

Conquest Curlinate, a Jan. 31 maiden winner at Oaklawn, was retired after suffering a sesamoid injury training Thursday morning at Woodbine. Conquest Curlinate had been scheduled to run in last Sunday’s $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine, Canada’s equivalent of the Kentucky Derby. Stablemate Oakton, who made his first two career starts at Oaklawn, finished sixth in the Queen’s Plate. … Champion Take Charge Brandi posted a 3-furlong bullet workout (:36.80) Friday morning at Churchill Downs. Take Charge Brandi (non-displaced knee chip) hasn’t started since winning the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 31 at Oaklawn … It was a tough weekend for Oaklawn stakes winners. Race Day and Promise Me Silver, both two-time stakes winners this past meet, were both unplaced in their starts in the Salvatore Mile (G3) at Monmouth and Victory Ride Stakes (G3) at Belmont, respectively.
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