Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Spent It Returns in Today’s 8th Race

Only one 3-year-old is entered in Wednesday’s featured eighth race at Oaklawn, a $67,000 third-level allowance. But, it’s a 3-year-old of note. Grade 2 winner I Spent It is scheduled to make his 2015 debut in the mile race, which co-owner Alex Lieblong calls an audition for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11.

“If he does as well as we hope, then maybe there’s a second act,” Lieblong said. “It all depends on how he does.”

In case there’s a third act, Lieblong said I Spent It was made a late Triple Crown nominee. I Spent It hasn’t started since finishing last of six in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (G1) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park. He came out of the race with a small chip in a knee, which Lieblong said was surgically removed.

Although nominated to Saturday’s $100,000 Gazebo Stakes at 6 furlongs, I Spent It is scheduled to make his two-turn debut against older horses, including Grade 3 winner Den’s Legacy; C J’s Awesome, who finished ahead of eventual Horse of the Year California Chrome in last year’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G2); and Irish You Well, fourth in last year’s $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1).

“There aren’t any slouches in there,” Lieblong said. “This a tough spot for a young horse coming off a layoff.”

I Spent It has recorded three consecutive bullet workouts for trainer Tony Dutrow, including a half-mile in :48 March 8. I Spent It also worked 5 furlongs in :59.80 between races March 1.

A $600,000 2-year-old purchase, I Spent It won 2 of 4 starts last year, highlighted by the $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) Aug. 10 at Saratoga. When he won his July 2 career debut at Belmont Park became the first winner at stud for 2010 Kentucky Derby champion Super Saver.

Three Chimneys Farm purchased a minority interest in the colt before the Champagne.

Leading rider Ricardo Santana Jr. is scheduled to ride I Spent It, the 2-1 program favorite, for the first time Wednesday. Probable post time for Wednesday’s eighth race is 4:42 p.m. (Central).

New York State of Mind

The Big Beast moved closer to an expected start in the $400,000 Carter Handicap (G1) April 4 at Aqueduct with a five-furlong bullet workout Tuesday morning under Ricardo Santana Jr. The Big Beast covered the distance in 1:00.20 over a fast, but demanding surface, according to clockers. It was the fastest of 44 works recorded at the distance.

The Big Beast is also a candidate for the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9 at six furlongs, but owner Alex Lieblong said he’s “90-percent” certain the 4-year-old colt will ship to New York for the seven -furlong Carter.

Lieblong, a member of the Arkansas Racing Commission, said the move is a “pure economic deal,” noting a second Grade I victory would further boost The Big Beast’s value as a stallion prospect.

“The only reason we’re going there is for the stud value,” Lieblong said. “I’d give anything to run him here. If there wasn’t so much money involved, we would stay here. And we still might, if something comes up. But that’s the way we’re leaning right now.”

The Big Beast has been based this winter at Oaklawn with trainer Tony Dutrow. After finishing a troubled sec-ond in his March 29, 2014, career debut at Oaklawn, The Big Beast closed 2014 with three consecutive victories in New York.

The Big Beast recorded his fourth consecutive victory in a March 1 allowance comeback race at six furlongs, powering home by 1 ¼ lengths under Santana. He was making his first start since winning the $500,000 King’s Bishop Stakes (G1) Aug. 23 at Saratoga. He underwent surgery shortly after the 7-furlong race for a small bone chip in an ankle.

“He’s already somewhat made, so to speak,” Lieblong said, referring to The Big Beast’s value as a stallion. “That’s a relative term, but if you were to clip another Grade 1, it moves you up exponentially. I’d rather run him right here, but if I’m going to be able to buy more horses, I’ve got to do some of this other stuff as I go.”

Lieblong and wife JoAnn purchased the son of Yes It’s True for $150,000 at the April 2013 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s sale of 2-year-olds in training. The Lieblongs have become increasingly active in major yearling and 2-year-old in training sales in recent years.

They purchased Arkansas Derby candidate I Spent It for $600,000 last year and bought a son of Twirling Candy for $500,000 Tuesday at the OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Working in Hot Springs?

Work All Week, the country’s reigning male sprint champion, arrived Tuesday at Oaklawn, the 6-year-old geld-ing’s trainer, Roger Brueggemann, said after training hours Wednesday morning.

Work All Week has been training in Florida this winter, but Brueggemann said it’s doubtful the gelding will be ready for the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9. Brueggemann had said the Count Fleet was the first major 2015 target for Work All Week, who hasn’t started since winning the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, but weather concerns delayed his arrival at Oaklawn. Work All Week began galloping around Feb. 1 according to his trainer.

Brueggemann said Work All Week will probably have his first breeze at Oaklawn in the next few days.

“Maybe before we leave here, we can find some kind of allowance race for him,” Brueggemann said.

Work All Week wintered last year at Oaklawn and won both his starts in Hot Springs, including the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes. Overall, he has won 12 of 15 career starts and earned $1,357,571. The son of City Zip races for his breeder, Chicago-based Midwest Thoroughbreds.
 
Finish Lines

Street Strategy, a candidate for the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 11, worked a half-mile in :49.80 after the break Wednesday morning under regular rider Calvin Borel. … There will be no appearance in the Oaklawn Handicap for Ride On Curlin after finishing last of six in Saturday’s $250,000 Razorback Handicap (G3). Trainer Billy Gowan shipped his Oaklawn string, including Ride On Curlin, back to Kentucky on Tues-day. … Honeybee winner Sarah Sis, scheduled to run in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 4, worked a half-mile in :51.80 Wednesday morning for trainer Ingrid Mason. … Kantune, a disappointing 10th in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 22, recorded a five-furlong bullet work (:59.60) just after the track opened Wednesday for trainer Mark Casse. … Stakes-placed Devious d’Oro was sold as a broodmare prospect following a runner-up finish in a Feb. 26 allowance/optional claiming sprint, said Donnie K. Von Hemel, who trained the 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro. Devious d’Oro had a 2-8-2 record in 17 lifetime starts and earnings of $169,047. One of her two lifetime victories came in her Feb. 24, 2013, career debut at Oaklawn.
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