Thursday, July 16, 2015

Oaklawn Trio Take Aim at Indiana Derby

The last time Far Right, Mr. Z and Bold Conquest met, they faced racing’s ultimate roadblock in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11 at Oaklawn. American Pharoah breezed to an eight-length victory that day, then swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become the 12th Triple Crown winner, and first since 1978.

The Oaklawn-raced trio won’t have to deal with anything remotely close to American Pharoah in Saturday’s $500,000 Indiana Derby (G2) at Indiana Grand. An evenly matched field of eight is entered in the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Derby, including four horses campaigned in Hot Springs.

“We’ll renew our Oaklawn rivalry with Mr. Z and Bold Conquest and those guys,” said Ron Moquett, who trains Far Right.

Far Right was the early star of Oaklawn’s Triple Crown prep series, winning the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 19 and the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 22. But after finishing a distant second to American Pharoah in the Arkansas Derby, Far Right finished a disappointing 15th in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the $500,000 Ohio Derby June 20 at ThistleDown.

Moquett said Far Right’s late-running style was compromised by moderate fractions in both races, particularly the 1 1/16-mile Ohio Derby when Mr. Z won a three-horse photo after getting away with a :48.08 half-mile.

“When you deal with a closer, you’re subject to pace and trip,” Moquett said. “It just didn’t work out. On a front-running track going :48, it was just no good for us. The pace scenario is what we’ve got to outrun.”

Far Right, who drew post 7, will be reunited with Corey Lanerie Saturday. Lanerie guided the ridgling to a troubled third-place finish in the $1 million Delta Jackpot Stakes (G3) Nov. 22 at Delta Downs.

Mr. Z, the 2-1 program favorite, is scheduled to break from the rail under Joe Bravo. The Malibu Moon colt finished third in the Smarty Jones, Southwest and Arkansas Derby.

Bold Conquest, fourth in the Southwest and fifth in the Arkansas Derby, is scheduled to break from post 5 under three-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. Bold Conquest finished fourth in his last start, the $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes (G3) June 13 at Churchill Downs.

Under allowance conditions for money earned, Far Right and Mr. Z will carry equal top weight of 124 pounds in the Indiana Derby. Bold Conquest will carry 117. Far Right and Bold Conquest are both 12-1 on the morning line.

Also entered in the Indiana Derby is Deliverance Day (20-1), unplaced in two allowance races this spring at Oaklawn.

Probable post time for the Indiana Derby, previously run in the fall, is 8:41 p.m. (Central).
 
Indiana Oaks

Oceanwave and Pangburn, second and fourth, respectively, in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 4 at Oaklawn, are entered in Saturday’s $200,000 Indiana Oaks (G2) at Indiana Grand. Both horses are seeking their first career stakes victory. Oceanwave and Pangburn also finished second and third, respectively, in the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7 at Oaklawn.

Also entered in the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Oaks is High Dollar Woman, who finished a well-beaten fifth behind champion Take Charge Brandi in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 31 at Oaklawn.

High Dollar Woman was subsequently diagnosed with a problem involving her reproductive system, owner Alex Lieblong said, and didn’t resurface until June 26 at Indiana Downs (runner-up finish in a second-level allowance/optional claiming sprint). She will be making her second start for trainer Steve Hobby after previously being with Tony Dutrow.

Probable post time for the Indiana Oaks is 8:11 p.m. (Central).
 
Rocket Man

Wolf Man Rocket, winner of the $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes April 11 at Oaklawn, is out with a minor leg injury, according to Kathy Howard, racing manager for Frank Fletcher of North Little Rock, Ark., who owns the 3-year-old Mineshaft colt.

Wolf Man Rocket hasn’t started since finishing last of five in the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (G2) May 9 at Belmont Park. The colt came back to work three times at Churchill Downs, the last coming June 2, before being sidelined.

Howard said she believes Wolf Man Rocket, who is trained by Bob Baffert, will be able to race again this year.

Howard said Fletcher’s Roger Rocket, an entry-level allowance/optional claiming winner April 10 at Oaklawn, was sold privately after not selling at Fasig-Tipton’s July Sale. Fletcher purchased Roger Rocket for $375,000 as a 2-year-old.
 
Finish Lines

Ivan Fallunovalot, winner of the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Feb. 7 at Oaklawn, is pointing for the $75,000 David M. Vance Sprint Stakes Aug. 15 at Remington Park, according to Kathy Howard, trainer Tom Howard’s wife/assistant. Ivan Fallunovalot, who won the 2014 Vance Sprint Stakes, hasn’t started since running second in the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9 at Oaklawn. Howard said Ivan Fallunovalot was entered during the Lone Star meeting, but races didn’t go. … Oaklawn allowance/optional claiming winners Stealcase and Joy Boy are entered in Saturday night’s $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Stakes at Indiana Grand. … Call Pat, fifth in the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 10 at Oaklawn, is entered in Saturday night’s $100,000 Mari Hulman George Stakes at Indiana Grand. … Bagg O’Day, who broke his maiden at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting, is scheduled to make his stakes debut in Saturday’s $50,000 Don Bernhardt Stakes at Ellis Park. Also entered is four-time Oaklawn winner Evan’s Calling. … Gaines Landing, an unstarted 2-year-old half-brother to Grade I winnerThe Big Beast, had his first published workout Monday at Fair Hill, traveling 3 furlongs in :39. John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs, among the most successful owners in Oaklawn history, purchased Gaines Landing for $300,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The colt is from the second crop of Grade II winner Trappe Shot. The Big Beast, preparing for his comeback at the Saratoga meeting that beings July 24, worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 Saturday at Fair Hill. The Big Beast was a March 1 allowance winner at Oaklawn for owners Alex and JoAnn Lieblong and trainer Tony Dutrow, who also has Gaines Landing. … Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, nominated for an ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) in the “Best Championship Performance” category, was beaten out by LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers during Wednesday night’s annual awards ceremony.


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