Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Spezia Gets Career Started

Spezia, a 2-year-old Speightstown colt owned by Oaklawn President Charles Cella, is scheduled to make his career debut in Tuesday’s fifth race at Parx (probable post time 1:43 p.m., Central).

Spezia has recorded three half-mile workouts this month at Churchill Downs, including two from the gate, in preparation for his debut at 5 furlongs. Miguel Mena is named on Spezia, who is scheduled to break from post 9 in the nine-horse field.

Although Whiting is based in Kentucky, the trainer has again turned to Parx, which has a more lucrative purse structure than Ellis Park, as a launching pad for a debuting 2-year-old. Hebbronville, a 3-year-old Majesticperfection colt who wintered at Oaklawn with Whiting, won his first two career starts last summer at Parx.

Hebbronville won the $100,000 Jersey Shore Stakes (G3) Sunday at Monmouth Park.

Cella named his colt for La Spezia, the capital city of the Province of La Spezia in northern Italy. In addition, Spezia’s dam is Via Veneto, also the name of a famous street in Rome.
 
An American Arrival

A day before shipping to the East Coast, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah completed major preparations for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) by working a half-mile in :48.80 Tuesday morning at Del Mar.

Following splits of :12.60, :25.20 and :37.20, American Pharoah galloped out 5 furlongs in 1:01 and 6 furlongs in 1:14.40.

Next up is a trip to New Jersey. American Pharoah is scheduled to arrive at Atlantic City International Airport at 1 p.m. (Central) Wednesday, according to a news release by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

American Pharoah will be arriving via an H.E. “Tex” Sutton flight originating in Southern California, where the colt has been based since June 18. He will then be vanned from Atlantic City International Airport to Monmouth Park – roughly 80 miles north – for Sunday’s Haskell, which will be his first start since becoming racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner in the Belmont Stakes June 6.

Monmouth officials said American Pharoah will be going into the barn of trainer Kelly Breen and likely gallop over the main track Thursday, Friday and Saturday between 6:30 a.m.-6:50 a.m. (Central) – a window reserved for Haskell starters.

Post positions for the 1 1/8-mile Haskell will be drawn Thursday.

American Pharoah began his 2015 campaign with victories in Oaklawn’s $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14 and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11.

Oaklawn Plans Haskell Watch Party

Oaklawn will be offering the complete simulcast of the stakes-filled Haskell Day card from Monmouth Park Sunday, Aug. 2, highlighted by the $1 million Haskell Invitational. The doors will open early at 10 a.m. and the Haskell, featuring Arkansas Derby and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is schedule to be run at 4:52 p.m.

In celebration of American Pharoah making his first start since becoming Thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner and first since 1978, Oaklawn will be giving away free American Pharoah posters while supplies last. In addition, there will be a special Haskell Day Twin Quin.  
 
Seeing Red

Ecleto Red, a two-time winner in starter-allowance company this year at Oaklawn, scored his first career stakes victory in Saturday’s $50,000 Prairie Meadows Handicap at Prairie Meadows. Under Alex Birzer, Oaklawn’s 11th-leading rider this year, he finished a neck ahead of Hazards of Love after leading throughout the 1 1/16-mile race.

Ecleto Red, a 5-year-old Master Command gelding, was coming off a runner-up finish in his stakes debut, the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap June 27 at Prairie Meadows.

Golden Lad, a multiple Oaklawn stakes winner, overhauled Ecleto Red in deep stretch to win the Cornhusker.

Ecleto Red made his first nine starts for trainer John Henry Prather before moving to Lynn Chleborad’s barn a little more than a year ago. The gelding broke his maiden for a $30,000 claiming tag in his second career start, Feb. 24, 2013, at Oaklawn. Overall, He has won 10 of 23 career starts and $219,919. The gelding has earned $153,240 this year after winning 5 of 9 starts.

Ecleto Red was originally purchased for $2,600 at Fasig-Tipton’s 2011 Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale.

Chleboard is Prairie Meadows’ leading trainer this year with 43 victories, three more than another Oaklawn regular, Federico Villafranco.
 
Finish Lines

Multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Street Story ($100,000 Dixie Belle and Instant Racing in 2014) is among five fillies and mares entered in Wednesday’s $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap (G2) at Saratoga. Also entered in the 6-furlong race is reigning female sprint champion Judy the Beauty. Probable post time for the Honorable Miss is 1:39 p.m. (Central). … Feathered, seventh as the favorite in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 4 at Oaklawn, finished second in Thursday’s $200,000 Lake George Stakes (G2) at Saratoga. … Impressive Oaklawn work horse Rock Star Status, unstarted since finishing second in his March 20 career debut in Hot Springs, is entered Friday at Monmouth Park. The 3-year-old Street Cry colt, a $425,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sales graduate, is owned by Mary and Gary West and trained by Wayne Catalano. Following a string of fast workouts at Fair Grounds and Oaklawn, Rock Star Status was beaten a nose as the 3-5 favorite in his career debut.
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