Thursday, December 01, 2016

Barn Area Starting to Fill Up

Oaklawn had 353 horses on the grounds Wednesday night in advance of its Jan. 13 opening, racing secretary Pat Pope said. The total represented 24 percent of Oaklawn’s backside capacity, approximately 1,500.

“We’re getting there,” Pope said Thursday morning.

Among the trainers with horses on the grounds are Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, Jinks Fires of Hot Springs, Paul Holthus of Hot Springs, Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Donnie K. Von Hemel, Randy Morse and Chris Richard.

Oaklawn’s stable area opened Nov. 14. The track opened for training Nov. 21.

Like Father, Like Son

Tommy Vance of Hot Springs, the son of four-time Oaklawn training champion David Vance, has four horses on the grounds as he begins the next chapter in his training comeback. Vance, 55, took out his trainer’s license around Oct. 1 and had a 1-2-0 record from three starts at the recently concluded Churchill Downs fall meeting.

Vance won his first race in 1986, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization, and hadn't started a horse since 1994 before resuming his career this fall.

“I’m not burned out,” Vance said with a laugh during training hours Thursday morning. “I’m fresh because I’ve been out of the business for 20 years. I’m really enthusiastic about getting back in the horse business.”

After he quit training, Vance said he worked in liquor distribution and owned a donut shop. He said “brushed up on his skills” the last couple of years working for his father, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1976. David Vance won seven races at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting.

Tommy Vance, who has 78 career victories, according to Equibase, said his only client at the moment is longtime friend Allen Cherivtch.

“When I leave here, I hope to have eight to 10 horses,” Vance said.

Baby Talk

Several winners on Saturday’s “Stars of Tomorrow” card at Churchill Downs – all 12 races were for 2-year-olds – could be seen at the 2017 Oaklawn meeting that begins Jan. 13.

Blame Will, a son of 2010 champion older male Blame, began the program with a neck victory in a first-level allowance/optional claiming sprint for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. The colt ran 6 furlongs over a fast track in 1:10.29 under two-time Oaklawn riding champion Robby Albarado and paid $6.40 as the 2-1 favorite.

Owner Willis Horton of Marshall, Ark., purchased Blame Will for $600,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling Sale. Horton and Lukas teamed to win Oaklawn stakes events with recent Eclipse Award winners Will Take Charge and Take Charge Brandi.

Blame Will has a 2-1-1 record from seven lifetime starts and earnings of $111,354.

In the sixth race, late-running Young American ($34.40) broke his maiden at 1 1/16 miles for trainer Kenny McPeek. The son of Congrats ran the distance in 1:44.40 under Corey Lanerie.

Lukas and McPeek have homes in the historic Trivista neighborhood just north of Oaklawn.

Benner Island, owned by John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs, was a 3 ¾- length winner of the eighth race, a first-level allowance/optional claimer at a mile. The daughter of sprint champion Speightstown covered a mile in 1:35.85 under Albarado and paid $13.80.

Benner Island is out of Grade 2 winner Spacy Tracy, who finished seventh behind eventual Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and champion Blind Luck in Oaklawn’s $150,000 Azeri Stakes (G3) in 2011. Brad Cox conditions Benner Island.

Looking ahead, Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, Oaklawn’s third-leading trainer in 2016, is scheduled to send out unbeaten Petrov in the $100,000 King’s Swan Stakes for 2-year-olds Friday at Aqueduct.

Petrov (5-2 on the morning line) is scheduled to break from the rail under Irad Ortiz Jr. and carry 120 pounds. The Flatter colt was a 3 ¼-length winner of his Nov. 12 career debut at Churchill Downs.

Probable post time for the 6-furlong King’s Swan is 12:18 p.m. (Central).

Moquett is also scheduled to be represented by first-time starter Zip Van Winkle, a 2-year-old City Zip colt, in Thursday’s sixth race at Aqueduct. Zip Van Winkle was purchased for $300,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling Sale by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway, Ark. He is scheduled to break from post 6 under Jose Ortiz and is 7-2 on the morning line.

Probable post time for the 6-furlong race is 1:45 p.m. (Central).

Trainer Randy Morse, an Oaklawn regular, is scheduled to send out first-time starter Confederate Rags in Friday’s sixth race at Remington Park.

Confederate Rags is by 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags.

Finish Lines

Normal training hours (7 a.m.-10:30 a.m., Central) begin Saturday. The renovation break is 8:30 a.m. … Officially timed workouts begin Monday. … Jon Court, Oaklawn’s leading jockey in 2000, has 3,999 career victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Court is named on two horses Saturday at Turfway Park. … Suddenbreakingnews, winner of the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) in 2016 at Oaklawn, is training in Hot Springs for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel. Runner-up in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) and fifth in the Kentucky Derby, Suddenbreakingnews hasn’t started since finishing fifth in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G2) Aug. 6 at Mountaineer. He was gelded after the West Virginia Derby. … Trainer Chris Richard has horses in the new American Pharoah barn. … Sharp Art, a March 18 allowance/optional claiming winner at Oaklawn, is entered in the $110,000 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit Stakes Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

 

-30-