Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Arkansas Derby winner American Pharoah Takes Preakness; Belmont Next

Arkansas Derby winners have recorded two of the six largest margins of victory in Preakness Stakes history following American Pharoah’s romp Saturday at Pimlico. American Pharoah splashed home by seven lengths, equaling the sixth-biggest blowout in the race’s 140-year history.

It was also the most lopsided Preakness victory since Arkansas Derby winner Smarty Jones’ record-setting 11 ½-length triumph in 2004. Like Smarty Jones, American Pharoah heads to the Belmont Stakes June 6 with a chance to become racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, and first since Affirmed in 1978. Smarty Jones suffered his only career loss in the Belmont – his final start – when he was beaten a length by Birdstone in the 1 ½-mile “Test of the Champion.”

American Pharoah is the third Arkansas Derby winner to secure two legs of the Triple Crown, joining Smarty Jones (Kentucky Derby and Preakness) and Afleet Alex (Preakness and Belmont in 2005). Afleet Alex ran third in the Kentucky Derby. He is the seventh Arkansas Derby winner to capture the Preakness, joining Elocutionist in 1976, Tank’s Prospect in 1985, Pine Bluff in 1992, Smarty Jones in 2004, Afleet Alex in 2005 and Curlin in 2007.

Before winning the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11, American Pharoah captured Oaklawn’s other biggest Kentucky Derby prep, the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2), March 14. American Pharoah became the fifth Rebel winner to capture the Preakness, following Pine Bluff, Smarty Jones, Curlin and Lookin At Lucky in 2010.

Illustrating the strength of Oaklawn’s Triple Crown series, Florida Derby winners have captured the Preakness three times since 1976. Winners of the Santa Anita Derby have also won the Preakness seven times since 1976.
 
Arkansas to Maryland

In addition to American Pharoah, several other Oaklawn-raced horses either won or placed in several important stakes on the undercard at Pimlico.

Holy Boss won Saturday’s $100,000 Chick Lang Stakes under three-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. Holy Boss was coming off two consecutive victories at Oaklawn, including the $100,000 Bachelor Stakes April 10. Trained by Steve Asmussen, the colt became the third Oaklawn stakes winner in the last decade to capture the Chick Lang, following Comedero (2010 Rainbow) and Lantana Mob (2008 Bachelor).

Sandbar, seventh in the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Feb. 7, won Saturday’s $150,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3).

In addition, Include Betty, who won the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 4, finished second in Friday’s $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) and Bold Conquest, third in the Rebel and fifth in the Arkansas Derby, ran second in Saturday’s $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes. Henry Jones, an April 1 entry-level allowance winner, finished fourth in the same race.
 
New York Tapping

Champion Untapable worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.65 Monday morning at Belmont Park in preparation for the $1 million Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) June 6 at Belmont. It was the fourth work for the 4-year-old Tapit filly since winning the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 10 at Oaklawn. Following the Apple Blossom, Untapable worked three times at Churchill Downs before shipping to New York.

Untapable is trying to become the second consecutive Apple Blossom winner, and third consecutive Apple Blossom graduate, to capture the Ogden Phipps. After winning the Apple Blossom, Close Hatches won the Odgen Phipps in her next start en route to an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion older female last year. Tiz Miz Sue finished second in the 2013 Apple Blossom before winning the Odgen Phipps in her next start.

Untapable, the country’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2014, also finished second in her 2015 debut, the $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 14 at Oaklawn.
 
Mac Attack

Trainer Mac Robertson, an Oaklawn regular, won three races on Saturday’s opening-day card at Delaware Park. He won the second race with Word Racer ($8), fourth race with Tweet Sense ($10.20) and seventh race with Manille ($6). All three winners were exiting races at Oaklawn. Manille, a 3-year-old daughter of Northern Afleet, equaled a track record in her front-running 5 ¼-length victory against maiden-allowance company by covering the 5 ½ furlongs over a fast track in 1:02.68.

Manille ran fifth and second in two starts this year at Oaklawn. She races for a partnership headed by Terry Adams of Hot Springs, who also bred the filly. Fudgesicle, a full brother to Manille, broke his maiden at the 2011 Oaklawn meeting for Adams and Robertson before running second in the $75,000 Quick Call Stakes that summer at Saratoga. Fudge E, a half-brother to Manille and Fudgesicle by E Dubai, broke his maiden for Robertson and Adams at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting. Manille, Fudgesicle and Fudge E are all out of Manila Fudge.

Robertson won 8 of 98 starts at this year’s Oaklawn meeting.
 
The Irish Pharaoh

Bill and Jane Lyon of Little Rock, Ark., haven’t started a horse in more than four years, but they do own a full brother to champion American Pharoah. Irish Pharaoh was born Feb. 13, a little more than three months after the Lyons purchased the colt’s dam, in foal to Pioneerof the Nile, for $2.1 million at the Fasig-Tipton November mixed sale. Littleprincessemma joined the Lyons’ broodmare band at Summer Wind Farm, the couple’s central Kentucky breeding farm.

Although the Lyons are better known as breeders, they did race multiple graded stakes winner India, who earned $630,859 in her 15-race career. Trained by Todd Pletcher, India won four stakes races, including the $175,000 Azeri Breeders’ Cup (G3) in 2007 at Oaklawn. India was eased in her next start, the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1), which is Oaklawn’s biggest race for older fillies and mares.

Littleprincessemma was winless in two career starts in the summer of 2008 for owner Zayat Stables LLC (Ahmed Zayat) and Steve Asmussen, Oaklawn’s six-time leading trainer. Ahmed Zayat, who bred and owns American Pharoah, named Littleprincessemma after his youngest daughter. Zayat put Littleprincessemma in last fall’s Fasig-Tipton mixed sale, but still owns a yearling full sister to American Pharoah.

Finish Lines

Carve, winner of the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes Jan. 16 at Oaklawn, worked a half-mile in :49.80 Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs. … Sarah Sis, winner of the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7 at Oaklawn, worked a bullet half-mile (:47) Saturday morning at Arlington Park. ... Far Right, the top locally based 3-year-old at this year’s Oaklawn meeting, worked a half-mile in :48.40 Thursday at Churchill Downs, the ridgling’s first breeze since finishing 15th in the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Ron Moquett said Far Right is under consideration for the $500,000 Ohio Derby June 20 at ThistleDown, the $250,000 Iowa Derby (G3) June 27 at Prairie Meadows and the $500,000 Indiana Derby (G2) is July 18 at Indiana Grand. Far Right won Oaklawn’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 19 and the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 22. … Owner Richard Hessee, who operates a breeding farm near Oaklawn, won Monday’s third race at Delaware Park. He was also the breeder of two winners Monday at Delaware Park, the second owned by his son. Hessee was 1 for 17 at this year’s Oaklawn meeting.
 
 

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