Oaklawn News

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Court Nearing Career Milestone

Jon Court, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2000, moved closer to a career milestone after winning two races Sunday at Ellis Park.

Court has 3,989 victories to rank 73rd in North American history, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Only 70 jockeys in North American history have reached 4,000 victories.

Court, 55, has been surging recently in the Ellis Park standings, winning two races on the last four cards. He Court is Ellis Park’s eighth-leading rider with 12 victories.

The rider is also approaching a milestone for career purse earnings, according to Equibase. His $98,400,541 ranks 50th in North American history. Only 48 jockeys have reached $100 million in career purse earnings.

Court was Oaklawn’s sixth-leading rider this year with 29 victories and has 615 overall in Hot Springs since 1981. He rode his first winner in 1980.

Baby Talk

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who annually winters at Oaklawn, scored with his second 2-year-old winner this year at Saratoga when Blame Will captured Saturday’s second race at 6 furlongs.

Blame Will, a son of 2010 champion older male Blame, earned a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 88 for his front-running neck victory under Luis Saez. The colt, who was making his third career start, ran 6 furlongs over a fast track in 1:09.87.

The 88 Beyer is the co-sixth-highest this year for a 2-year-old.

Owner Willis Horton of Marshall, Ark., purchased Blame Will for $600,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale. Lukas and Horton, in recent years, have campaigned champions Will Take Charge and Take Charge Brandi – both Oaklawn stakes winners.

Lukas won his first race of the Saratoga meeting Aug. 13 with 2-year-old Royal Copy, from the first crop of 2012 Arkansas Derby winner Bodemeister.

Lukas was Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 1987 and 2011.

Finish Lines

Arkansas Derby/Belmont winner Creator worked a half-mile in :49.33 Sunday over Saratoga’s training track for seven-time Oaklawn training champion Steve Asmussen. Creator is scheduled to run in the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) Saturday at Saratoga. … Four-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. has 11 victories at Saratoga to rank ninth in the standings. … A double Sunday at Ellis Park moved Brad Cox, fourth in Oaklawn’s 2016 trainer standings, closer to a career high for victories in a year. Cox has 87 victories in 2016 after a career-high 98 last year. Cox ($3,820,015) has already set a career high for purse earnings this year. Cox saddled his first winner in 2004. … Citing personal reasons, co-owner Ernie Semersky (Conquest Stables) will disperse his racing and breeding stock at the Keeneland November Sale. Conquest Stables won two races at the last three Oaklawn meetings, one being 2015 maiden graduate Conquest Curlinate, beaten a nose later that year in the $400,000 Illinois Derby (G3) at Hawthorne. Conquest Stables, which employs trainer Mark Casse, was launched in 2012. … Grade I winner Taris (bone bruising) has been retired and will be bred next year to two-time Horse of the Year Curlin. Taris suffered her first career loss in Oaklawn’s $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) in 2014, her first start around two turns. Taris won 8 of 13 career starts and earned $1,086,260. Curlin won Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby in 2007.