Thursday, October 15, 2015

American Pharoah Impresses in Breeders’ Cup Classic Work

American Pharoah recorded a sparkling 7-furlong workout Wednesday morning at Santa Anita, the Triple Crown winner’s final major move in preparation for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland.

Under regular workout partner Martin Garcia, American Pharoah covered 7 furlongs in a swift 1:23 and galloped out a mile in an eye-catching 1:35.40. It was his fifth work since a second-place finish in the $1.6 million Travers Stakes (G1) Aug. 29 at Saratoga. He is scheduled to have one or two more smaller works before shipping to Keeneland from his California base Oct. 25 or 27, according to his Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.  

“He went really well,” said Baffert. “We wanted to get a strong work out of him and it looks like he handled it really well.  He’s reaching, running (and he) looked like he came back happy, so we’re right on target. We put a horse out there in front of him…Madam Aamoura…he needed a target.”

American Pharoah began his year with runaway victories in Oaklawn’s $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1).

Curlin swept the Rebel, Arkansas Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2007 en route to Horse of the Year honors. Concern finished second in the Rebel before winning the Arkansas Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1994.

Pre-entries for this year’s 13 Breeders’ Cup races will be announced Wednesday, with the post position draw Oct. 26. The 1 ¼-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic is American Pharoah’s final scheduled career start before retiring to stud at Coolmore Stud.
 
Raven’s Run

Sarah Sis drew post 8 for the $250,000 Raven Run Stakes (G2) Saturday at Keeneland. She was among the leading 3-year-old fillies at the 2015 Oaklawn meeting, finishing second in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 31 and winning the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7.

In her last start, Sarah Sis, as the 3-2 favorite, finished last of six in the $350,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3) Sept. 19 at Charles Town. Trainer Ingrid Mason attributed the poor performance to what she said was the filly’s allergic reaction to lime in her stall before the 7-furlong race.

Sarah Sis, who worked 5 furlongs in 1:02 Oct. 8 at Keeneland, switches to jockey Florent Geroux for the 7-furlong Raven Run, which has drawn a field of 11.

Also entered in the Raven Run are Chide, who won her March 18 career debut at Oaklawn, and Kathballu, third in a first-level allowance/optional claimer March 14 at Oaklawn.
 
Probable post time for the Raven Run is 4:30 p.m. (Central).
 
Cat’s Meow

Heykittykittykitty is the overwhelming 1-2 program favorite for Friday’s $130,000 (estimated) Oklahoma Classics Distaff Sprint Stakes, a 6-furlong race restricted to fillies and mares bred in Oklahoma.

Heykittykittykitty was a two-time allowance/optional claiming winner at this year’s Oaklawn meeting for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs and owners Joe and Scott Ford of Little Rock, Ark. (Westrock Stables), former heads of global telecommunications giant Alltel. She returns to restricted races for the first time since winning the $55,000 Will Rogers Downs Classic Distaff Sprint April 27 at Will Rogers Downs.

Heykittykittykitty is winless in her last four starts (all stakes), but finished second three times, including the $100,000 Winning Colors (G3) May 25 at Churchill Downs and the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) Oct. 3 at Keeneland. Finishing third in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes was reigning champion female sprinter Judy the Beauty.

Didiel Osorio, who rode Heykittykittykitty to her victory in the Will Rogers Downs Classic Distaff Sprint, is named on the 4-year-old daughter of Tactical Cat, scheduled to break from post 6 Friday. Last year, she finished fourth in the same race.

Probable post time for the Oklahoma Classics Distaff Sprint Stakes, which kicks off an Oklahoma-bred card, is  7 p.m. (Central).
 
Geaux, Fournette

Riding the wave of three consecutive 200-yard rushing games this fall, LSU sophomore tailback Leonard Fournette has emerged as the early favorite for the Heisman Trophy. His namesake figures to be doing some running early next year at Oaklawn.

Fournette, a 2-year-old colt from the first crop of multiple Grade I winner Tizway, is scheduled to return to trainer Brad Cox Monday and could debut before the end of the year, owner Staton Flurry of Hot Springs said.

“Hope he runs as well as Leonard does,” Flurry said.

Flurry, who won two races at the 2015 Oaklawn meeting, said his father, from the small north Louisiana town of Homer, “passed on the LSU fandom to me,” adding an uncle also played football for the Tigers.

Flurry said he had no problem having the name approved by The Jockey Club, the official breed registry for thoroughbreds in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. He purchased Fournette for $105,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co’s March sale of 2-year-olds in training, the same month the owner said he named the colt.

Fournette was training forwardly for his career debut earlier this year before he was turned out 90 days because of a bone bruise, Flurry said.

Flurry said he doubts Fournette – the running back – is aware of Fournette – the horse – but that could change when LSU plays at Alabama Nov. 7. The owner said he will attend the game and believes he will be staying in the same hotel as LSU’s team.

Fournette’s second dam, Fantastic Look, won Oaklawn’s $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies in 1989.
 
Finish Lines

Donnie K. Von Hemel, Oaklawn’s co-ninth-leading trainer this year, sent out Secret Passage to win his career debut Wednesday night at Remington Park for major client Pin Oak Stable. Secret Passage, who ran a mile in 1:38.93 under 2007 Oaklawn riding champion Luis Quinonez, is by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin. Curlin won Oaklawn’s $300,000 Rebel Stakes (G3) and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G2) in 2007. Von Hemel was also represented by another 2-year-old homebred winner for Pin Oak Sunday at Keeneland in Synchrony, a son of Tapit. Synchrony, who was making his second start, is out of Brownie Points, winner of the $50,000 Martha Washington Stakes in 2006 at Oaklawn and second to future Horse of the Year Zenyatta in the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) in 2008 at Oaklawn. The Von Hemel-trained Brownie Points, another Pin Oak homebred, earned $951,230 in her 27-race career. … Uncle Brennie, a 2-year-old Uncle Mo colt, is scheduled to make his dirt debut in the $80,000 Street Sense Stakes Nov. 1 at Churchill Downs, owner Staton Flurry of Hot Springs said. Uncle Brennie, who has breezed on dirt, won the $75,000 Sunday Silence Stakes Sept. 12 at Louisiana Downs and was under consideration for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) before running sixth in the $250,000 Bourbon Stakes (G3) Oct. 4 at Keeneland for Brad Cox, Oaklawn’s co-third-leading trainer this year. … Unraced 2-year-old colts Mo for the Money (by Uncle Mo) and Play Big (Twirling Candy) worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 and 1:01.20, respectively, Wednesday at Fair Hill for trainer Tony Dutrow. The colts are owned by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway, Ark., Oaklawn’s fourth-leading owners this year. Alex Lieblong, a member of the Arkansas Racing Commission, said both colts are nearing their career debuts. … Lieblong said Dutrow, who also trains for prominent Arkansas lumberman John Ed Anthony, will return to Oaklawn in 2016. … Ride On Curlin, unraced since finishing last of nine in the $400,000 Alysheba Stakes (G2) May 1 at Churchill Downs, worked 3 furlongs in :38 Oct. 3 at Churchill. Ride On Curlin was an allowance winner in 2014 and 2015 at Oaklawn and also finished second in the track’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) last year. … Recently retired Secret Circle will stand at central Kentucky’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in 2016 for a fee of $5,000 (stands and nurses) or $7,500 (payable out of proceeds). Secret Circle won a division of Oaklawn’s $250,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) and the $500,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) in 2012 for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
 
 
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