Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rebel Stakes Runner-Up Madefromlucky Heading to Belmont after Peter Pan Score

Madefromlucky punched his ticket to the June 6 Belmont Stakes with a one-length victory in Saturday’s $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. The son of champion and 2010 Rebel Stakes winner Lookin at Lucky was making his first start since finishing a distant fourth behind American Pharoah in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11 at Oaklawn.

Madefromlucky earned a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 94 – a career high – for his victory in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan, which was dominated by Oaklawn runners. Conquest Curlinate, a Jan. 31 maiden winner in Hot Springs, finished second. Wolf Man Rocket, who broke his maiden in Oaklawn’s $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes April 11, was last of five, but beaten only 4 ¼ lengths after leading until the top of the stretch.

Madefromlucky became the third Arkansas Derby graduate in 11 years to win the Peter Pan, following Purge (2004) and Alternation (2011). Both Purge and Alternation ran fifth in the Arkansas Derby. Purge finished ninth in the Belmont.

Madefromlucky also became the second horse to win a graded stakes race after running in last month’s Arkansas Derby. American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby (G1) May 2.

Madefromlucky, who is trained by Todd Pletcher, also ran a distant second to American Pharoah in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14 at Oaklawn.
 
Milestone For Vazquez

Ramon Vazquez, Oaklawn’s second-leading rider this year, recorded his 2,000th career North American victory when Celtic Drama won Saturday’s first race at Prairie Meadows.

Vazquez, 31, has 2,004 victories according to Equibase, the bulk coming from 2002-2010 in his native Puerto Rico. Victories in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico are included in the jockey’s statistics compiled by Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Vazquez began riding regularly in the United States in the spring of 2011 and set a career high in purse earnings ($4,061,405) last year. He made his Kentucky Derby debut earlier this month aboard Mr. Z, who finished 13th for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Vazquez, who also rode Mr. Z to a third-place finish in the $1 million Arkansas Derby, rode his 2,000th career winner for Danny Caldwell, Oaklawn’s leading owner the last two years.  

Vazquez is currently tied for fourth in the Prairie Meadows standings with 13 victories from 49 starts. Vazquez has 64 victories from 370 starts overall this year and purse earnings of $2,199,030.

Hart to Hart

After a slow start, reigning Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman has started to heat up in his first season at the Churchill Downs spring/summer meeting.

Hartman is 4 for 11 since May 2, including a double Sunday, to move into a fifth-place tie in the standings. He is 4 for 22 overall, trailing Todd Pletcher and Steve Asmussen, who share the lead with six victories.

Hartman saddled 34 winners this year at Oaklawn to end Asmussen’s three-year hold on the title. Asmussen, who was seeking his seventh Oaklawn training title since 2007, finished second with 30 victories.
Hartman saddled two winners March 25 to snap an 18-18 tie with Asmussen and take the lead for good. Hartman went 16 for 45 (35.6 percent) during the final 13 days of the Oaklawn meeting.

Paganol ($30.20) gave Hartman his first victory of the Churchill Downs spring/summer meeting May 2. Hartman scored again Saturday with Belvin ($5.20). Hartman’s two victories Sunday were with Beach Hut ($4.20) and first-time starter Wilbo ($27.20). Paganol and Beach Hut were also March 15 winners at Oaklawn for Hartman.

Hartman had been previously based at Prairie Meadows during the spring and summer, but moved to Churchill Downs this year because of a stronger stable.
 
Oaklawn trainer dies

Don R. Smith of North Little Rock, Ark., a longtime Oaklawn trainer, died May 1. He was 81.

Smith, who hadn’t started a horse since the 2012 Oaklawn meeting, was best known for saddling multiple Arkansas-bred stakes winner Breezy Macbree to a victory against open company in Oaklawn’s $35,000 Dixie Belle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies in 1990. Breezy Macbree also won the $50,000 Rainbow Miss Stakes for Arkansas-bred 3-year-old fillies at the 1990 Oaklawn meeting.

Smith had a training track in North Little Rock and normally vanned his horses to Oaklawn to work and race.
 

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