Thursday, February 11, 2016
Large Field Expected for Monday’s $500,000 Southwest Stakes
Oaklawn racing secretary Pat Pope said Thursday morning that he expects 13 horses to enter Monday’s $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3). Post positions for the 1 1/16-mile Southwest, the second major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16, will be drawn Friday morning.
Horses Pope said he expects to be entered are: American Dubai, Bird of Trey, Collected, Cutacorner, Discreetness, Gordy Florida, Luna de Loco, Suddenbreakingnews, Synchrony, Torrontes, War Stroll, Whitmore and Z Royal.
American Dubai is entered in an entry-level allowance race Saturday at Oaklawn, but owner Richard Keith said Thursday morning that he and trainer Rodney Richards are “just covering our bases.”
Discreetness, Gordy Florida, Synchrony and Luna de Loco finished 1-2-3-4, respectively, in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 at Oaklawn.
Gordy Florida worked a half-mile in :47.40 over a fast track after the break Thursday morning for three-time Oaklawn training champion Kenny Smith. Clockers caught Gordy Florida galloping out 5 furlongs in :59.80.
Collected, based in Southern California with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, is scheduled to be flown to Arkansas Friday, Pope said. He won the $100,000 Sham Stakes Jan. 9 at Santa Anita in his last start and will be seeking to give Baffert his fifth Southwest victory since 2010.
Collected (30-1), Discreetness (50-1) and Whitmore (50-1) are among 23 individual betting interests in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2 that runs Friday-Sunday. None of the three were included in Pool 1.
Claim to Fame
Seven older horses, including multiple stakes winner Cougar Ridge, are entered in the $100,000 Essex Handicap Saturday at Oaklawn. Probable post time for the 1 1/16-mile Essex, the ninth of 10 races, is 5:09 p.m. (Central). First post Saturday is 1:05 p.m.
Cougar Ridge, a 6-year-old Johannesburg gelding trained by Randy Morse, will be going for his fifth consecutive win. He has won three stakes races during the streak, including the $250,000 Delta Mile Nov. 21 at Delta Downs in his last start.
Morse claimed the gelding for $62,500 April 8 at Keeneland. Cougar Ridge was beaten a head in the race by Noble Bird, who would win the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) June 13 at Churchill Downs.
“His form was good,” Morse said. “He ran on dirt, grass. Got lucky. Good claim so far.”
Cougar Ridge is scheduled to break from post 7 under Corey Nakatani and carry top weight of 118 pounds.
Completing the Essex field from the rail out: La Macchina, Channing Hill to ride, 112 pounds; Midnight Hawk, Jon Court, 117; Sharm, Alex Birzer, 112; Carve, Ricardo Santana Jr., 117; Texas Bling, Glenn Corbett, 115; and Ain’t Got Time, Alex Cintron, 115.
Midnight Hawk, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, will be making only his second start since finishing second in the $250,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) last March at Oaklawn.
Carve, a powerful winner of last year’s $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn, will surpass $1 million in career earnings with a victory Saturday.
The $300,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) March 19 is the final major local prep for the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 16.
Money, Money, Money
Mo for the Money became the first Oaklawn winner sired by champion Uncle Mo when the 3-year-old colt cleared his first allowance condition by 5 ½ lengths sprinting Sunday under Joe Rocco Jr. From Uncle Mo’s first crop, Mo for the Money won for the first time since his Oct. 28 career debut at Belmont Park.
“He’s a horse that we really like,” trainer Tony Dutrow said. “Take him to Belmont Park the first time, and he ran the right way. Beat some nice colts. But, his next two races, he was so speed crazy.”
After winning his career debut, Mo for the Money finished a well-beaten third in the $150,000 King’s Swan Stakes Nov. 27 at Aqueduct and was a well-beaten fourth in his Jan. 4 route debut at Laurel – a first-level allowance/optional claimer.
After arriving at Oaklawn last month, Dutrow said he’s worked to slow down Mo for the Money during his morning training. In Sunday’s victory, Mo for the Money was able to lay 4 ½ lengths off a rapid :45.52 half-mile.
“Joe Rocco had been on him a couple of times and the horse relaxed, let the speed go and finished up,” Dutrow said. “I think the only problem we had was a young horse that was aggressive. Now, I think he’s grown up a little bit and matured some. His last race proved it. I do believe the horse will go long.”
Dutrow said next-race plans are pending for Mo for the Money, who is owned by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway, Ark.
Street Strategy, winner of the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes Jan. 16 at Oaklawn, “will be out a while” with a broken bone in a foot, trainer Randy Morse said Thursday morning. Street Strategy was pointing for the $300,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) March 19 at Oaklawn. … Multiple stakes winner Far Right will be pointed for the Razorback, trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said Thursday morning. Far Right was nominated to Saturday’s $100,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn, but co-owner Harry Rosenblum said the race came up too quick following Far Right’s runner-up finish in his Jan. 28 comeback race. Moquett said Far Right’s major spring target is the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 16 at Oaklawn. … Siding Spring, unplaced in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Oct. 31 at Keeneland, worked 5 furlongs in company in 1:00.60 minutes after the track opened Thursday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Mark Casse. … Grade 2 winner High Dollar Woman worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 after the break Thursday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Steve Hobby of Hot Springs. Hobby said High Dollar Woman’s first major 2016 objective is the $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn.