Thursday, March 19, 2015

Far Right Works toward Arkansas Derby Start

Far Right continued preparations for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11 by working five furlongs after the renovation break Thursday morning at Oaklawn under Greta Kuntzweiler. Far Right, who worked in company with stablemate Peteizum, a 5-year-old starter-allowance gelding, was credited with 1:00.80 over a fast-rated surface. According to clockers, He covered his final quarter-mile in :24.40 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.80. Peteizum went 5 furlongs in 1:01.40.

Trainer Ron Moquett said early Thursday morning that he would monitor the track surface before deciding when to breeze Far Right for the second time since his victory in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 22.

“I’ve read all the quotes from the Derby trainers over the years,” Moquett said moments after the work. “It doesn’t matter whether they worked 1:05 or :58, it was: ‘Exactly what they were looking for.’ As long as he came back good, that’s all I care about.”

Far Right, in his first work since the Southwest, breezed five furlongs in 1:04 March 9. He also won the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 19 in his 3-year-old debut. Moquett said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, aboard for both the Smarty Jones and Southwest, is scheduled to again ride Far Right in the Arkansas Derby.
 
No Equipment Change

Although Kentucky Derby candidate Far Right has been listed as a colt, the son of Notional will be denoted as a ridgling “going forward,” trainer Ron Moquett said Thursday morning. Far Right was listed as a colt for both the Smarty Jones and Southwest.

“He was always a ridgling,” Moquett said. “He’s always been the same way. We never changed the papers on anything, but we just wanted to make sure we had it clear going forward. That is the definition of what he is.”

Although Far Right has one undescended testicle, Moquett said the condition hasn’t impacted his racing career, and won’t stop him from becoming a stallion. “He’s very much a stud,” he said. One of thoroughbred racing’s most famous ridglings is A.P. Indy, who excelled on the track and in the breeding shed.

Harry Rosenblum of Little Rock, Ark., privately purchased Far Right last summer, following his second career start. Rosenblum sold a minority interest in Far Right to Robert LaPenta before the Smarty Jones.

Stuck in Mud

Doug Anderson finds himself in the same position he was a week ago – monitoring the weather forecast. It still doesn’t look good.

Anderson co-owns and trains multiple stakes winner Sugar Shock, who is entered in Friday’s eighth race, a conditioned allowance/optional claimer for older fillies and mares at a mile. But, Anderson said Sugar Shock will be scratched if there’s an off track because the 4-year-old Candy Ride filly doesn’t handle the mud.

Sugar Shock was entered in last Saturday’s $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) but scratched because of an off track.

There is a 100 percent chance of rain Friday, according to The Weather Channel

“If things don’t fall right, we’ll have to go to a different plan,” said Anderson, who hopes to use Friday’s race as a prep for the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 10.

Anderson said if Sugar Shock is scratched from Friday’s race, the $350,000 Madison Stakes (G1) April 4 at Keeneland is “back on the table.” “If we don’t run tomorrow, that’s probably where we’ll end up having to go,” Anderson said.

Sugar Shock hasn’t started since winning the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes Jan. 24 in her 4-year-old debut.
 
Talk Derby to Me

The winner of Friday’s second race could punch his ticket to a stakes race, perhaps the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11. The 1 1/16-mile allowance event for 3-year-olds has lured a field of six, including Poseidon’s Way, a winner of 2 of 3 career starts for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel.

Von Hemel opted for another allowance test after passing last Saturday’s $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2).
Poseidon’s Way, a son of Stormy Atlantic, won an entry-level allowance race by two lengths at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 19. Still, Von Hemel said the Rebel, which featured champion American Pharoah, was a “little deep” for Poseidon’s Way to make his stakes debut. The colt had finished a troubled sixth in his 2015 debut Jan. 19, also at 1 1/16 miles.

“The first time here, he just had about as bad a go as you can have in a race,” Von Hemel said. “He came back and ran like we thought he could, anyway. That was fun.”

Poseidon’s Way, who won his Nov. 13 career debut sprinting at Remington Park, earned a career-high 77 Beyer Speed Figure for his Feb. 19 victory.

Poseidon’s Way is scheduled to break from post 3 under regular rider Luis Quinonez and carry top weight of 122 pounds.Von Hemel said Poseidon’s Way would be under consideration for races like the Arkansas Derby or the $250,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) April 11 at Keeneland with a victory Friday.

Poseidon’s Way is the 7-2 third choice in the program. Also entered are Holiday Man, Academy Bay, Oak Brook, Instant Replay and 2-1 program favorite Private Prospect. Multiple stakes winner Private Prospect, scratched from a Wednesday starter-allowance race, is coming off a seventh-place finish in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 22.

Von Hemel said his other top 3-year-old prospect, Hillbilly Royalty, is “pretty set” for the $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes April 11. Hillbilly Royalty won his first two career starts before finishing fifth in the Southwest. The Langfuhr gelding worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.60 just after the track opened Thursday morning.
 
Brandi’s back

Champion Take Charge Brandi returned to Oaklawn on Tuesday following surgery March 12 at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Thursday morning.

Following 60 days of rehabilitation, Lukas said he believes Take Charge Brandi will be ready for the Saratoga meet that opens July 24.

Take Charge Brandi, who won an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 2-year-old filly of 2014, was scheduled to challenge males in last Saturday’s $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) before being diagnosed with a non-displaced chip in her right knee March 10. A pin was inserted two days later to accelerate healing, Lukas said.

Lukas said the clock has started on Take Charge Brandi’s rehabilitation – 30 days of stall rest and 30 days of hand-walking. Lukas said he’s targeting “May 15” for Take Charge Brandi’s return to training.

“We’ll walk her twice a day in that second 30-day session, and she won’t lose much conditioning,” Lukas said. “She’ll be ready for the opening of Saratoga, for sure.”

In her only start this year, Take Charge Brandi won the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 31.
 
Finish Lines

Future plans are pending for Grade 2 winner I Spent It, who finished last of six in his 3-year-old debut Wednesday, co-owner Alex Lieblong said. Lieblong said I Spent It, a late Triple Crown nominee, returned with superficial cuts on a back leg, which probably occurred at the start, and tired, but was otherwise fine. …  Oaklawn surpassed $4 million in claims at the meet Wednesday, the 35th day of racing. The 280 claims have totaled $4,061,250. … I Got It All was scratched from Saturday’s $250,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) because he doesn’t like an off track, said Tom Swearingen, who trains and co-owns the 4-year-old gelding. … Mr. Z will race without blinkers in the $750,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) March 28 at Fair Grounds, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. Mr. Z has worn blinkers in his last five starts, including third-place finishes in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 19 and the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 22. Mr. Z has worked without blinkers since the Southwest.



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