Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Arkansas Derby Third-Place Finisher Mr. Z Finally Gets His Stakes Win

Three horses who ran in Oaklawn’s signature event for 3-year-olds, the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11, have come back to capture major stakes races.

Perennial bridesmaid Mr. Z became the latest by winning the $500,000 Ohio Derby by a nose Saturday at ThistleDown, snapping a 13-race losing streak in the 1 1/16-mile race. Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Mr. Z had run second or third eight times during the winless skid. He finished third in Oaklawn’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 19 and $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 22 before running third in the Arkansas Derby.

This year’s Arkansas Derby also produced American Pharoah, who swept the Triple Crown after winning at Oaklawn and fourth-place finisher Madefromlucky, who won the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (G2) May 9 at Belmont Park.

Mr. Z is the third Oaklawn-raced horse in five years to win the Ohio Derby. Smarty Jones winner Caleb’s Posse won the race in 2011, while Title Contender won the 2013 edition after running second to multiple stakes winner Carve in an entry-level allowance/optional claiming race and finishing seventh in the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2).

Mr. Z finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the Preakness before winning the Ohio Derby. The Malibu Moon colt was privately purchased by Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) on the eve of the Preakness after making his first 13 starts for his namesake, Ahmed Zayat, the owner of American Pharoah.

Far Right, who won the Smarty Jones and Southwest, finished sixth in the Ohio Derby.

Pharoah Back Home

American Pharoah returned to Santa Anita Thursday after spending more than two months away from his Southern California home in pursuit of the Triple Crown.

American Pharoah had been based at Churchill Downs since April 13, arriving in Kentucky two days after his runaway victory in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1).

Owner Ahmed Zayat said American Pharoah, racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, could make his next start in the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) Aug. 2 at Monmouth Park or the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) Aug. 1 at Saratoga.
 
Secret’s Out

Cyber Secret returned to the work tab Thursday at Saratoga, covering a half-mile in :51.53 over the training track.

Not really.

The 2013 Oaklawn Handicap winner, campaigned by Oaklawn President Charles Cella, was actually in his stall at Journeyman Stud in Ocala, Fla., where the 6-year-old son of Broken Vow is trying to make his mark as a stallion.

“If he is at Saratoga, somebody stole him last night and my stud groom didn’t notice,” Journeyman owner Brent Fernung said Thursday afternoon. “It wouldn’t be him.”

Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization, reported what was a fictitious workout Thursday – confusion stemmed from another horse with a similar name breezing – before correcting the mistake Friday.

It was unraced 2-year-old Cyber Security who worked a half-mile in :51.53 Thursday at Saratoga.

Cyber Secret (ankle injury) was retired late last year after winning 8 of 19 career starts and $652,993, the bulk of the earnings coming after Cella privately purchased the horse as a 2-year-old in 2011. Trained by Lynn Whiting, Cyber Secret won all four of his starts at the 2013 Oaklawn meeting, including the $150,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) and the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2).

Cella and Whiting continued their search for another Cyber Secret at last week’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s June Sale of 2-year-olds and Horses of Racing Age. On behalf of Cella, Whiting purchased a Speightstown colt for $400,000 and a Super Saver colt for $230,000. The Speightstown colt equaled the eighth-highest priced horse sold. The Super Saver colt equaled the 14th-highest priced horse sold. The second dam of the Speightstown colt, Run Sarah Run, produced Grade I winner and millionaire First Dude.
 
The Leaders

Oaklawn regular Lynn Chleborad is the leading trainer at Prairie Meadows with 32 victories from 150 starts. She tied for 14th at this year’s Oaklawn meeting with nine victories.

Federico Villafranco, Oaklawn’s co-third leading trainer this year with 18 victories, has 29 victories at Prairie Meadows to rank second in the standings.

Alex Canchari (45 victories) and Ramon Vazquez (43) are 1-2 in the Prairie Meadows jockey standings. Vazquez and Canchari ranked second and co-eighth, respectively, this year at Oaklawn.
 
 
 
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