Ivan Fallunovalot will attempt to remain unbeaten at Oaklawn in Saturday’s $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters at 6 furlongs. Probable post time for the Hot Springs, the sixth of nine races, is 3:39 p.m. (Central). A field of seven is entered.
Ivan Fallunovalot is the 6-5 program favorite for the Hot Springs, which will mark the gelding’s fifth career start at Oaklawn. He won a claiming race and an allowance/optional claiming event at the 2014 meeting, but has blossomed into one of the top sprinters in the Midwest, and, possibly, nationally in 2015.
Ivan Fallunovalot earned a career-high 108 Beyer Speed Figure with an 8 ¾-length victory in a Jan. 22 allowance/optional claimer. The gelding ran 6 furlongs in 1:09.74 that day, but was even faster in winning the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Feb. 7.
Ivan Fallunovalot ran 1:08.94 – less than a second off the track record – in winning by 2 ¾ lengths under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel. The gelding earned a 105 Beyer Speed Figure that day.
Trainer Tom Howard said he’s confident Ivan Fallunovalot has maintained his razor-sharp form since the King Cotton.
“I look for him to run, basically, about the same race as he’s been running,” Howard said Friday morning. “Everything’s going about right on schedule.”
Ivan Fallunovalot, whom Howard claimed for $25,000 last March at Oaklawn, is scheduled to break from post 6 under Borel and shoulder top weight of 122 pounds. Howard said the outside post should allow Ivan Fallunovalot to sit just off the pace, a spot the trainer prefers.
Ivan Fallunovalot completed major preparations for the Hot Springs by working a bullet half-mile (:47.60) between races Sunday. The gelding was allowed to breeze in the afternoon because winter weather has affected normal morning training hours in recent weeks.
“It worked out perfect,” Howard said. “He’s doing good, too. We didn’t go to the track, but we shed rowed him this morning. He’s happy. That’s put it that way.
The 3-1 second choice in the program is Gentlemen’s Bet, who finished third, beaten a half-length, in his Feb. 14 comeback race, a conditioned allowance sprint. Gentlemen’s Bet was making his first start since finishing third in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) after being sidelined last year with a foot injury. Gentlemen’s Bet is scheduled to break from post 2 under Ramon Vazquez and carry 115 pounds.
Zee Bros, the early 7-2 third choice, cuts back to 6 furlongs after running third in the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes (1 1/16 miles) Jan. 16 and 11th in the $250,000 General George Stakes (G3) Feb. 16 Laurel in Maryland. Zee Bros faded late in the 7-furlong General George and was beaten 8 ¼ lengths.
“I was disappointed in his race in Maryland because he had run spectacular the time before in Maryland,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “But I don’t know. It was freezing cold; the track was frozen dry. You try to evaluate that stuff, but sometimes you’re better off turning the page and going on to the next race.”
Zee Bros closed 2014 with a 2 ¾-length victory at 6 furlongs in the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Nov. 15 at Laurel. Zee Bros is scheduled to break from post 7 under Jon Court and carry 119 pounds. Also entered are Heaven’s Runway, Apprehender, Louies Flower and Unbridled’s Note. Work All Week, who would earn an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion male sprinter of 2014, won last year’s Hot Springs.