Thursday, October 01, 2015

Oaklawn Stakes Winners Take Step Toward Breeders’ Cup Sprint

Four Oaklawn stakes winners are entered in Friday’s $250,000 Phoenix Stakes (G3) at Keeneland. The 6-furlong Phoenix, which has drawn a loaded field of 12, is a “Win and You’re In” event for the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland. Probable post time is 3:57 p.m. (Central).

“Tough heat,” said 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman, who will saddle multiple graded stakes winner Alsvid.

The field also includes champion Work All Week and 9-5 program favorite Runhappy, exiting an eye-catching gate-to-wire victory in the $500,000 King’s Bishop Stakes (G1) Aug. 29 at Saratoga. Runhappy, who was nominated to races in Oaklawn’s series of 2015 Kentucky Derby preps, drew the rail for the Phoenix.

Gentlemen’s Bet (20-1 on the morning line) is scheduled to break from post 2 under two-time Oaklawn riding champion Robby Albarado. Gentlemen’s Bet won the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 7 at Oaklawn and also finished third in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Holy Boss (4-1) is scheduled to break from post 4 under three-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. Holy Boss, who will be tackling older horses for the first time Friday, won two races at Oaklawn, including the $100,000 Bachelor Stakes April 10.

Alsvid (15-1) was another two-time winner at the 2015 Oaklawn meet, highlighted by the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9. Alsvid is scheduled to break from post 8 under Chris Landeros.

After running fifth in the $250,000 Smile Sprint (G2) July 5 at Gulfstream Park, Alsvid was freshened, then returned with a runner-up finish in a Sept. 13 turf sprint at Churchill Downs.

Hartman said he hopes the Phoenix is a stepping stone to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

“We’re on a three-race cycle,” Hartman said. “We’re thinking that’s where we’re going, unless he just throws a dud. He’s not going to throw a dud. He’s going to run his race. The question is going to be: ‘Is he good enough, you know what I mean?’ ”

Reigning male sprint champion Work All Week (2-1) is scheduled to break from post 12. Work All Week wintered at Oaklawn in 2014 and won two races, including the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes. He also won the Phoenix and Breeders’ Cup Sprint last year. He trained at Oaklawn during the final few weeks of the 2015 meeting.
 
Shock Talk

Multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Sugar Shock is at a crossroads in her racing career, co-owner/trainer Doug Anderson of Hot Springs said. The trainer said Sugar Shock is entered in Fasig-Tipton’s November sale, but he also plans to run her in an allowance race this month at Keeneland.

Anderson said he will equip Sugar Shock, a 4-year-old daughter of Candy Ride, in blinkers for the upcoming allowance race.

Sugar Shock has lost six consecutive starts since the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes Jan. 24 at Oaklawn. She also won Oaklawn’s $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) in 2014.

“It kind of depends on what she brings at the sale,” Anderson said of Sugar Shock’s future. “If she brings enough, we’ll sell her. If not, we might breed her. We might even try to race her again next year and see how she goes from there.”

A $20,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase, Sugar Shock has a 5-1-1 record from 16 career starts and earnings of $475,619.
 
Still Around

Drogue, unraced since a record-breaking nine-length victory in the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes in 2014 at Oaklawn because of leg problems, is at Churchill Downs, trainer Mike Johnson said.

Johnson said he still hopes Drogue, bred and owned by Oaklawn President Charles Cella, can resume his racing career, although the trainer notes time is running out on the 7-year-old son of Victory Gallop.

“He’s still a racehorse right now,” Johnson said. “He’s trying to inch his way back, but it’s taking a little longer than usual.”

After recording the most lopsided victory in the Fifth Season’s 27-year history, Drogue was being pointed for the $100,000 Essex Handicap about a month later when a bone chip discovered in an ankle required surgery and sidelined the horse for the remainder of 2014.

Drogue wintered this year at Oaklawn, but was never close to a race.

Asked if he believed Drogue would ever run again, Johnson said, “Right now, I do.”

“Give me another month, month and a half, and I’ll be able to tell for sure,” Johnson said.

Drogue has a 5-3-3 record from 19 lifetime starts and earnings of $201,182. He’s won his last three races. The Fifth Season represented the biggest career victory for Johnson, an Oaklawn regular who saddled his first career winner in 2007.
 
Finish Lines

Champion Take Charge Brandi is entered in the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale after being retired Monday. The 3-year-old filly’s last victory was the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 31 at Oaklawn. Four-time Oaklawn stakes winner Don’t Tell Sophia, who trained in Hot Springs earlier this year before being retired in the spring, is also entered in the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. Don’t Tell Sophia is in foal to Medaglia d’Oro, who, in his final start for trainer David Vance, broke his maiden at the 2002 Oaklawn meeting. Medaglia d’Oro returned to Hot Springs to win the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) in 2003 for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. … Vance is scheduled to send out Kiss Moon, runner-up in Oaklawn’s $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) in 2014, in Saturday’s $400,000 First Lady Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. … Heykittykittykitty, a two-time winner at the 2015 Oaklawn meeting, is entered in Saturday’s $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. … Trainer Ingrid Mason said she’s unsure if multiple stakes winner Sarah Sis will race next year at 4 or be sold as a possible broodmare candidate. Under consideration for the $250,000 Raven Run Stakes (G2) Oct. 17 at Keeneland, Sarah Sis has had a productive 12-race career, winning five times, including the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7 at Oaklawn, and earning $416,400. “We’re playing it day-by-day, and I have no idea at this point,” Mason said, adding it “depends on what” owner Joe Ragsdale “wants to do.” “He may want to sell her,” Mason said. “I don’t know.” Ragsdale purchased Sarah Sis, a daughter of Sharp Humor, for $20,000 as a 2-year-old. … The career of the once-promising sprinter Black Bear is over, trainer Chris Hartman said. Hartman, Oaklawn’s leading trainer this year, said the 5-year-old son of Midnight Lute has “got issues” and doesn’t expect him to run again. Black Bear won his first two career starts at the 2013 Oaklawn meeting, but hasn’t started since finishing third in the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes in February 2014 at Oaklawn. Hartman said Black Bear’s owner, James Rogers, has had early discussions of a stallion deal. Black Bear won 6 of 11 starts and earned $187,603 in his career. … Patchofbadweather, unraced since winning the now-defunct $50,000 Lady Razorback Futurity for Arkansas-breds Nov. 8 at Remington Park because of a shin injury, is scheduled to make her 3-year-old debut in an allowance turf sprint Thursday at Remington. Owner Staton Flurry of Hot Springs said hopes to get one or two races into Patchofbadweather at Remington in advance of the 2016 Oaklawn meeting. … Champion Untapable and Diva’s Diamond, the 1-2 finishers, respectively, in the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 10 at Oaklawn, are entered in Sunday’s $500,000 Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. Also entered is Flashy American, winless in two stakes starts at the 2015 Oaklawn meeting.  


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