Oaklawn Report by Robert Yates

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Oaklawn Maiden Winners Seek Stakes Victories at Arlington

Three Oaklawn maiden winners are among the horses entered in stakes races for Saturday’s Million Preview Day at Arlington Park. Raagheb and King of New York are scheduled to run in the $100,000 American Derby (G3) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on the grass. For Greater Glory is entered in the $100,000 Stars and Stripes Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 ½ miles on the grass.

Raagheb, who broke his maiden March 7 at Oaklawn, will be making his turf and stakes debut Saturday. The Street Cry colt is coming off consecutive runner-up finishes at Churchill Downs. King of New York broke his maiden March 14 at Oaklawn, approximately a half-hour before future Triple Crown winner American Pharoah won his 3-year-old debut in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2). King of New York, who will also be making his stakes debut Saturday, is coming off an entry-level allowance victory on the turf June 5 at Churchill Downs.

For Greater Glory, a 5-year-old son of Afleet Alex owned by Alex and Joann Lieblong of Conway, AR, broke his maiden at the 2013 Oaklawn meeting but is still seeking his first stakes victory. For Greater Glory ran third in the $200,000 Dwyer Stakes (G2) in 2013 at Belmont Park, seventh in this year’s $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and second in the $100,000 Louisville Handicap (G3) May 23 at Churchill Downs. The Louisville Handicap was 1 ½ miles on the grass. Before winning a second-level allowance/optional claimer March 12 at Oaklawn, the Steve Hobby-trainee ran fourth in the track’s $100,000 Fifth Stakes Jan. 16 and the $100,000 Essex Handicap Feb. 14.

Probable post time for the American Derby is 3:19 p.m. (Central). Probable post time for the Stars and Stripes Stakes is 4:52 p.m. (Central).
 
An American ESPY?

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah has been nominated for an ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) in the “Best Championship Performance” category, a first for horse racing since ESPN began presenting the awards for sports performance and achievement in 1993. American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, and 12th overall, with a victory in the June 6 Belmont Stakes.

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

An ESPY selection committee also nominated San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner (World Series Most Valuable Player), Florida softball player Lauren Haeger (Women’s College World Series Most Outstanding Player) and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA Finals leader in points, rebounds and assists) for Best Championship Performance.

Online fan voting (espn.go.com/espys/2015/) is open until Wednesday. The ESPY Awards ceremony is Wednesday at 7 p.m. (Central) on ABC.  
 
Finish Lines

Three-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. is named on full-siblings Everything Bling ($50,000 Valor Farm Stakes) and Texas Bling ($50,000 Assault Stakes) Saturday night at Lone Star Park. Everything Bling broke her maiden Jan. 19 at Oaklawn; Texas Bling ran second to eventual 3-year-old male champion Will Take Charge in Oaklawn’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes in 2013. Texas Bling, who made two starts at this year’s Oaklawn meeting, has lost six consecutive starts since winning the 2014 Assault. Both Everything Bling and Texas Bling race for their breeder, Lewis Hall, and trainer Danele Durham. Also entered in the Assault is March 26 Oaklawn allowance/optional claiming winner Texas Air, who captured the $200,000 Texas Mile (G3) May 1 at Lone Star. … Weast Hill, winner of the $75,000 Rainbow Stakes for 3-year-old Arkansas-bred colts and geldings March 29 at Oaklawn, ran second in a second-level allowance/optional claiming sprint Tuesday afternoon at Indiana Grand. The 5-furlong race was originally scheduled for the turf, but moved to the main track because of rain. … Get Happy Mister, who wintered at Oaklawn in 2013 and won the closing-day $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes, has been named Colorado’s 2014 Horse of the Year by the Colorado Thoroughbred Breeders Association. The 5-year-old gelding won the $100,000 San Simeon Stakes (G3) April 19 at Santa Anita. Get Happy Mister, trained during the 2013 Oaklawn meeting by Kelly Von Hemel, has won 11 of 14 lifetime starts and $384,928.
 
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