Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Gentlemen’s Bet Earns Biggest Victory of his Career in De Francis Dash

Gentlemen’s Bet has returned to his Churchill Downs base following his biggest career victory in Saturday’s $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes at Laurel and is scheduled to race as a 7-year-old in 2016, trainer Ron Moquett said.

Moquett said Gentlemen’s Bet, owned by Harry Rosenblum of Little Rock, Ark., will again be pointed for Oak-lawn’s series of sprint stakes for older horses, although he could make a start before the meeting begins Jan. 15.

Gentlemen’s Bet crossed the wire second in the 6-furlong De Francis Dash – beaten three-quarters of a length by Trouble Kid – but was placed first following a stewards’ inquiry and foul claim by jockey Daniel Centeno, rider of Gentlemen’s Bet, against the unofficial winner for interference on the backstretch.

“It was a speed-biased track and we had to check and spot a bunch of lengths,” Moquett said. “We made up a lot of them on a speed-biased track. I was very proud of him.”

The victory was the sixth in 17 starts overall for Gentlemen’s Bet and increased his earnings to $731,390. Gen-tlemen’s Bet also won the $125,000 Iowa Sprint in 2013 at Prairie Meadows and the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 7 at Oaklawn.

Although ungraded this year, the De Francis boasts a rich history (winners since 1990 include sprint champions Housebuster, Cherokee Run and Smoke Glacken) and was once a Grade 1 event. Smoke Glacken won Oak-lawn’s Mountain Valley Stakes and Southwest Stakes in 1997 before winning the De Francis Dash in his final career start that year en route to being named champion sprinter.

“That’s a cool race for a sprinter,” Moquett said.

Moquett said nothing is set in stone regarding the next start for Gentlemen’s Bet, but “we’re entertaining other opportunities.”

“Just considering giving him a race instead of training him all the way through Oaklawn,” Moquett said. “Might be easier on him.”
 
2-year-old Watch

Synchrony cleared his first allowance condition with a head victory at 7 ½ furlongs Saturday at Churchill Downs. It was the second consecutive victory for the son of Tapit, who is trained by Donnie K. Von Hemel, normally among Oaklawn’s top conditioners.

Thursday night at Remington Park, Von Hemel saddled unbeaten Secret Passage (a son of Curlin) to win an entry-level allowance race by two lengths at a mile and 70 yards.

Synchrony and Secret Passage are homebreds for Von Hemel’s longtime client, Pin Oak Stable (Josephine Aber-crombie).

Whitmore, a Pleasantly Perfect gelding, drew post 4 for Saturday’s $1 million Delta Jackpot Stakes (G3) at Delta Downs. He won his Nov. 6 career debut at Churchill Downs Moquett. Last year, the trainer finished third in the Jackpot with Far Right, who won both the Smarty Jones and Southwest Stakes during the 2015 meet.

Aptly named The Big Mo, an imposing son of Uncle Mo, is scheduled to make his career debut Friday at Aque-duct. The Big Mo is trained by Tony Dutrow, who saddled Grade 1 winner The Big Beast to win a March 1 al-lowance race at Oaklawn.
 
Finish Lines

Oaklawn’s barn area opened Monday and trainers Ron Moquett and Scotty Mullins were the first to arrive. The track opens for training this coming Monday, Nov. 23. … Three-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo San-tana Jr. had three winners Sunday at Churchill Downs to move into second in the fall meet standings with eight victories. One of Santana’s victories was for 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman, another for main client and six-time Oaklawn training champion Steve Asmussen. The Asmussen trainee was Terra Promessa, a 2-year-old Curlin filly who broke her maiden at 1 1/16 miles. … Chris Richard, a top five trainer in 2015, has saddled a co-meet-high seven winners at the Churchill Downs fall meet. … Treasure Box, unraced since a March 13 career debut victory at Oaklawn (tibia fracture), worked 7 furlongs in 1:27.20 Saturday at Churchill Downs for trainer Gary “Red Dog” Hartlage, who also trained the 3-year-old filly’s half-sister, On Fire Baby, a millionaire and winner of Oaklawn’s $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) in 2013. On Fire Baby is in foal to 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper. Ornate, the dam of On Fire Baby and Treasure Box, is in foal to 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. … Fuhriously Kiss, another Hartlage trainee, ran fifth in her career debut Sunday at Churchill Downs, beaten 13 ¼ lengths by Terra Promessa. Fuhriously Kiss is out of French Kiss, winner of the $50,000 Pippin Stakes in 2009 at Oaklawn. Ornate also produced French Kiss. … Sassy Miss Sue, a 2-year-old full sister to two-time Oaklawn Azeri winner and millionaire Tiz Miz Sue, worked a half-mile from the gate in :49.20 Friday at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Hobby of Hot Springs. Hobby also trained Tiz Miz Sue, a Grade 1 winner.
 
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