The Truth Or Else completed major preparations for the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds with a strong 5-furlong workout Sunday morning at Oaklawn under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel. Breezing with stablemate Magic of Believing, The Truth Or Else covered the distance in 1:01.40 over a fast-rated surface.
It was the fourth-fastest of 66 works recorded at the distance and occurred following the renovation break.
Magic of Believing, a candidate for the $550,000 Spiral Stakes (G2) March 21 and the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) March 22, was credited with 5 furlongs in 1:02.20.
Both horses are trained by Kenny McPeek.
The stablemates started together at the 5-furlong pole, but The Truth Or Else – under no urging – began to ease away from Magic of Believing on the outside approaching the wire and finished approximately five lengths in front.
McPeek called the work “impressive” and said all systems are go for The Truth Or Else to run in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Rebel, which is also expected to attract champions American Pharoah (2-year-old male), Take Charge Brandi (2-year-old female), Bold Conquest, Madefromlucky and possibly Poseidon’s Way.
“He does everything right,” McPeek said. “Calvin was thrilled. We’re all set for next weekend.”
The Truth Or Else is coming off a runner-up finish in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 22.
The chestnut son of Yes It’s True was beaten three-quarters of a length by Far Right after making an eye-catching five-wide move turning for home in his 3-year-old debut.
“If we can get a little bit cleaner inside trip than we had last time, I think we’ll be fine,” McPeek said.
The Rebel highlights a blockbuster 11-race program that also features the $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares and the $250,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses.
Untapable, the country’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2014, is scheduled to make her 4-year-old debut in the Azeri. Untapable worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 Sunday morning at Fair Grounds. Also scheduled to run in the 1 1/16-mile Azeri are multiple stakes winners Mufajaah, Sugar Shock and Flashy American. All three horses worked Sunday morning at Oaklawn.
Mufajaah went 5 furlongs in 1:02.80, Sugar Shock a half-mile in :49 and Flashy American 5 furlongs in 1:02.
Multiple stakes winners Carve and Tapiture are scheduled to run in the 1 1/16-mile Razorback, along with Ride On Curlin and Race Day.
Tapiture worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 Sunday morning at Fair Grounds. He will be the 119-pound starting high weight Saturday.
Carve worked a half-mile in :49.20 Sunday morning at Oaklawn, while Ride On Curlin went 7 furlongs in 1:30.20.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez is scheduled to ride Madefromlucky and Race Day for trainer Todd Pletcher and Untapable for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Post positions for the Rebel, Azeri and Razorback will be drawn Wednesday morning.
Retirement for ‘Jan’
Arkansas-bred stakes winner Jan’s Perfect Star was retired following a sixth-place finish in Friday’s $75,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes, trainer Randy Morse said Sunday morning.
The 6-year-old daughter of Imperialism was good enough to win the $60,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes in her second lifetime start (March 2013 at Oaklawn), and beat open allowance company at historic Saratoga in upstate New York (August 2013) in her sixth career start.
But Jan’s Perfect Star was never able to regain her best form after suffering an ankle injury during the 2014 Oaklawn meeting, Morse said.
Owner Dave Clark of Little Rock, Ark., privately purchased Jan’s Perfect Star following a 12-length career debut victory at the 2013 Oaklawn meeting.
Jan’s Perfect Star retires with a 4-0-2 record from 11 starts and earnings of $173,808.
Morse said breeding plans for Jan’s Perfect Star are pending.
Hours after Daylight Saving Time began Sunday, Spring Included worked a half-mile in :49.80 in preparation for the $100,000 Carousel Stakes for older filly and mare sprinters April 8.
Spring Included worked moments after the track opened, her first breeze since a front-running 1 ¾-length victory in the $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes Feb. 21.
The 5 1/2–furlong Spring Fever marked the first career stakes victory for Spring Included, a 4-year-old daughter of Include, a Grade I winner of $1.6 million who was more adept around two turns in his racing career.
“Happy for the filly,” said owner Alex Lieblong of Conway, Ark., a member of the Arkansas Racing Commission. “She’s honest and tries hard. But who would have ever thought that you would get a sprinter by Include? Of course, Cigar wasn’t supposed to like the dirt, either, was he?”
Lieblong and wife JoAnn purchased Spring Included for $60,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Yearling Sale.
Spring Included had finished second in two other stakes races, including the $100,000 American Beauty Jan. 24. The Steve Hobby trainee was beaten a half-length by multiple stakes winner Sugar Shock after battling for the lead from the start of the 6-furlong race.
“She’s so gritty,” Alex Lieblong said. “She reminds me a lot Grand Sensation, only she’s not … she’s kinder than Grand Sensation.”
Grand Sensation earned $421,171 in his career, the bulk coming for the Lieblongs, who retired the 10-year-old gelding to a friend’s farm north of Conway following the 2014 Oaklawn meeting. Spring Included has earned $240,097 off four victories from 11 lifetime starts.
Grade II winner I Spent It moved closer to his 3-year-old debut with a half-mile bullet work (:48) after the break Sunday morning under Ricardo Santana Jr. …
Trainer Phil Sims said late Sunday morning that Don’t Tell Sophia is “50-50” to make her 2015 debut in the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 10. Don’t Tell Sophia has been based at Keeneland since Feb. 4, and Sims said her training there has been impacted by winter weather. … The surface was rated fast for the first time since Feb. 20 Saturday. … Saturday’s $150,000 Honeybee (G3) marked the first career graded stakes victory for trainer Ingrid Mason, 43, who saddled her first winner in 2005. Mason said Honeybee winner Sarah Sis will be pointed toward the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 4. Third-place Honeybee finisher Pangburn is also headed for the Fantasy, trainer Kenny McPeek said. … Treasure Box, a 3-year-old half-sister to 2013 Apple Blossom champion and millionaire On Fire Baby, is scheduled to make her career debut in Friday’s ninth race. Treasure Box, by Lemon Drop Kid, is in the same Oaklawn stall as On Fire Baby, who was scheduled to be bred this year to 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper. Treasure Box hails from the same team as On Fire Baby – owner/breeder Anita Cauley and trainer Gary “Red Dog” Hartlage.