Sunday, February 07, 2016

Marquee Miss. Credit Coady PhotographyDouble Pads Moquett’s Lead in Quest for First Oaklawn Title

A training double Saturday extended Ron Moquett’s lead in the Oaklawn standings. But, it’s still a long race, Moquett said Sunday morning – and one he doesn’t expect to win.

“It would surprise me,” said Moquett, 44, who lives in a home adjacent to Oaklawn’s backstretch. “There’s a lot more people with a lot more ammunition. All I want to do is win races and make money so my owners don’t yell at me.”

Through the first 14 days of the meet, Moquett, who is seeking his first Oaklawn training title, has saddled nine winners from 41 starts. Last year, he finished sixth in the Oaklawn standings with 13 victories from 105 starts.

Randy Morse, defending Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman and two-time Oaklawn training champion Jack Van Berg are tied for second with six victories.

Moquett’s winners Saturday were Rippin Ranger ($4.60) for longtime client Harry Rosenblum of Little Rock, Ark., and Tisdale ($12.40), a 3-year-old Friesan Fire colt who broke his maiden at 1 1/16 miles. Tisdale is named for the late Oklahoma basketball great Wayman Tisdale, Moquett said.

Whitmore, a Jan. 16 entry-level allowance/optional claiming sprint winner for the Arkansas native earlier in the meet, is a candidate for the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds Feb. 15 at Oaklawn.

Whitmore, among approximately 35 horses for the trainer, is scheduled to work Monday.

Multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Far Right, second in his Jan. 28 comeback race at Oaklawn, is unlikely to run in Saturday’s $100,000 Essex Handicap because “it’s too quick back,” said Rosenblum, who co-owns the ridgling with Robert LaPenta. His major spring objective is the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 16, Moquett said.

Multiple stakes winner Gentlemen’s Bet, also owned by Rosenblum, is scheduled to defend his title in the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 5 at Oaklawn, Moquett said.

“It’s all about the horses,” Moquett said. “If you get good horses and take care of them, anybody can win races.”

A Good ‘Miss’

Marquee Miss will be pointed for the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 12 at Oaklawn, trainer Ingrid Mason said Sunday morning. The filly will be bidding for her third consecutive Oaklawn stakes victory – and fourth overall – after edging heavily favored Nickname by a half-length in Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington.

Nickname, a Grade 1 winner, was making her first start since finishing fourth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland.

Despite winning her career debut in the $75,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes last summer at Arlington Park and $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 15 at Oaklawn, Marquee Miss went off 12-1 Saturday. Mason called the result, “a shocker.”

“I thought she was in double-tough,” Mason said. “I thought Asmussen’s horse was a monster. The one horse of Donnie’s hadn’t been beat, so I was worried about those two, for sure. My initial reaction was the race was very tough. I was extremely proud of her.”

A $20,000 purchase by Oklahoma owner Joe Ragsdale, Marquee Miss won for the third time in six career starts and increased her earnings to $164,925. She is a stakes winner at 6 furlongs (Dixie Belle), 7 furlongs (Arlington-Washington Lassie) and a mile (Martha Washington), her first victory around two turns. The Honeybee is 1 1/16 miles.

Marquee Miss struggled in her two starts last year around two turns, including the $400,000 Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at 1 1/16 miles Oct. 2 at Keeneland.

“I ran her in a Grade 1 after she broke her maiden in a stake because I was thinking that she could go two turns,” Mason said. “Until now, she really hasn’t shown me that. She’s a big filly. I think the big horses take a little longer to mature.”

Mason finished second in last year’s Martha Washington with Sarah Sis, who won the Honeybee in her next start. Sarah Sis is scheduled to run in next Sunday’s $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn. 

Finish Lines

Cutacorner, scheduled to run in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 at Oaklawn, worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.40 after the break Sunday morning at Oaklawn for Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg. … Prepping for Saturday’s $100,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn, multiple stakes winner Cougar Ridge went 5 furlongs in 1:01 Sunday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Randy Morse. … Multiple stakes winner Kiss Moon worked a limit 3 furlongs (:40) Sunday morning at Oaklawn for four-time Oaklawn training champion David Vance. The $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn is being targeted for Kiss Moon’s comeback race, Vance said. … Grade 2 winner High Dollar Woman will pass next Sunday’s $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn owner Alex Lieblong said. Trainer Steve Hobby of Hot Springs said the Azeri is the first major 2016 objective for High Dollar Woman, unraced since August because of a leg problem. … New York-bred stakes winner Get Jets moved closer to his 3-year-old debut by working 5 furlongs in 1:02 Sunday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Tony Dutrow. … Super Saks, prepping for the $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes Feb. 20 at Oaklawn, worked a bullet half-mile in :47 shortly after the track opened Sunday morning for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. … Multiple stakes winner Ghost Locket worked a half-mile in :50.20 Sunday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Don Von Hemel of Hot Springs. Von Hemel said Ghost Locket is returning from an ankle problem and could make her 2016 debut at the end of the Oaklawn meeting. … Jockey Jon Court is appealing his three-day riding suspension that was scheduled to begin Sunday, steward John Ferrara said. … Dakota Fred won Saturday’s first race to give Van Berg, 79, his sixth victory of the meeting, equaling his highest total in Hot Springs since 1995. Van Berg, D. Wayne Lukas (three) and Don Von Hemel (one) have combined for 10 training victories at the meet. Von Hemel and Lukas are 81 and 80, respectively.

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