Friday, February 12, 2016
Video: Collected arriving from California
Servis Hoping to Recapture Oaklawn Success
Trainer John Servis won the Southwest Stakes in 2004 with Smarty Jones. Servis will try to win Monday’s $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn again with, of all things, a son of the only horse to ever beat Smarty Jones.
Bird of Trey, a son of 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, is expected to be one of 14 horses running in the Southwest, a 1 1/16-mile race that is the second major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16.
In 2004, Smarty Jones won the Southwest, Rebel and Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn before capturing the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, the first two legs of the Triple Crown. But, in what would be his final career start, and only career loss, Smarty Jones was denied the Triple Crown when he was beaten a length by Birdstone in the Belmont.
Roughly a decade later, Van Buren, Ark.-based JRita Young Thoroughbreds (Rita and Everett Young) sent Servis a Pennsylvania-bred son of Birdstone named Bird of Trey.
“Listen, as long as they can run, I don’t care,” Servis said before training hours Friday morning at Oaklawn. “I told Mr. Young that when he told me he was sending me the horse. He goes: ‘You know he’s by Birdstone.’ I said: ‘I don’t care. If he can run, I don’t care who he’s by.”
Servis said Bird of Trey is only the second horse he’s had for JRita Young Thoroughbreds, following another Pennsylvania-bred “three or four years ago.”
Bird of Trey has a 2-2-1 record from six lifetime starts and earnings of $156,748. He won the $100,000 Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes Dec. 5 at Parx by 7 ¼ lengths in his final start at 2 (Smarty Jones won the race by 15 lengths in 2003).
“He’s a nice horse,” Servis said.
Bird of Trey, who enters the Southwest off a fourth-place finish in the $200,000 Jerome Stakes (G3) Jan. 2 at Aqueduct, is one of four horses Servis sent to Oaklawn last month.
In addition to Bird of Trey, Nasa, Percolator and Miss Inclusive are also housed in the Coaltown barn for Servis.
Nasa, a son of Smarty Jones, won an conditioned allowance race Thursday at Oaklawn.
In other Southwest Stakes news, Collected, who will be seeking to give trainer Bob Baffert his fifth victory in the race since 2010, arrived from California Friday afternoon, shortly after 1 p.m.
Cosmic Evolution will be pointed for the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 12 at Oaklawn, trainer Lon Wiggins said Friday morning.
The 1 1/16-mile Honeybee would be the two-turn debut for Cosmic Evolution, who cleared her first allowance condition by 1 ¼ lengths in her 3-year-old debut Saturday at Oaklawn under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel.
“Grabbed a quarter a little bit, but nothing big,” Wiggins said. “She’s been back to the track for a couple of days. Everything’s good.”
Cosmic Evolution broke her maiden in the $100,000 Debutante Stakes June 27 at Churchill Downs. Wiggins had been pointing Cosmic Evolution for Saturday’s race since December and hoped it would serve as a prep for her two-turn debut in the Honeybee.
“She’s answered every question so far,” Wiggins said. “I’ve been wanting to do it since last year, but the timing hasn’t worked out. She acts like she’ll go long.”
Dawn at Oaklawn
New Oaklawn track announcer Pete Aiello is the scheduled guest for Saturday’s Dawn At Oaklawn, which offers fans a behind the scenes look at the racing industry each Saturday from 7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. (Central) throughout the remainder of the meeting. This program is free to the public and complimentary coffee and pastries will be served.
Dawn At Oaklawn will feature barn tours and information seminars with racing figures. Barn tours begin at 7:30 a.m. on a first come, first serve basis and continue at 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. No reservations are necessary.
Oaklawn paddock analyst Nancy Holthus will host question and answer sessions on the south apron of the grandstand.
Aiello is a native of south Florida and a 2007 graduate of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program. He is also track announcer for the Gulfstream Park Summer and Gulfstream Park West meets in suburban Miami.
Hunter Henry, a 4-year-old Arkansas-bred gelding named after the former Arkansas Razorbacks All-American tight end, broke his maiden in Thursday’s first race, a $12,500 state-bred maiden-claimer, for owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs.
Hunter Henry – the horse – was turned out after failing to break his maiden in four starts at the 2015 Oaklawn meeting, specifically to try and win a race this year in Hot Springs.
“The only time people are going to see Hunter Henry run in Arkansas is if they come to the track,” Moquett said.
Hunter Henry – the tight end – decided last month to enter the NFL Draft rather than return to Arkansas for his senior season.
Moquett’s son, Chance, attended Arkansas with Henry.
Multiple graded stakes winner Sarah Sis is among nine older fillies and mares entered in Sunday’s $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn. Probable post time for the Bayakoa, the eighth of nine races, is 4:42 p.m. (Central).
Sarah Sis stretches out from 6 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles after finishing second in her 4-year-old debut, the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes Jan. 23 at Oaklawn. Trained by Ingrid Mason, she won four races last year, including the $250,000 Raven Run Stakes (G2) at Keeneland and the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn. Sarah Sis is scheduled to break from post 4 under Julio Felix and carry equal top weight of 119 pounds.
Streamline, winner of the $100,000 Pippin Stakes Jan. 17 at Oaklawn, drew post 2. Chris Landeros is scheduled to ride for trainer Brian Williamson.
Call Pat is scheduled to make her 2016 debut in the Bayakoa for trainer Brad Cox. Call Pat was under consideration for the Pippin, but had a minor setback in January, Cox said. She scored her biggest career victory in the $100,000 Groupie Doll Stakes (G3) last August at Ellis Park. She finished third in the $200,000 Falls City Handicap (G2) Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs in her last start.
Call Pat, who ran 10th in last year’s Bayakoa, is scheduled to break from post 7 Sunday under Joe Rocco Jr.
Meshell, Cabana, Pearl Turn, Tosha Talifero, Cowgirl in Love and Ribbon of Darkness complete the projected field.
Tosha Talifero (third), Ribbon of Darkness (sixth), Cabana (seventh) and Pearl Turn (eighth) all ran behind Streamline in the Pippin. Pearl Turn, who adds blinkers, will be making her final scheduled career start in the Pippin before being bred to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Comic Bird, an easy Feb. 4 maiden winner at Oaklawn, is pointing for the $100,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes Feb. 28 at Oaklawn, owner/trainer K.K. Jayaraman said. The Nodouble is a 6-furlong race restricted to Arkansas-breds. Also pointing for the race is Jan. 29 Oaklawn allowance/optional claiming winner Weast Hill. … Rated R Superstar moved closer to his 3-year-old debut by working 5 furlongs in 1:01.40 Friday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Kenny McPeek. … Haveyougoneaway, prepping for the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes Feb. 23 at Oaklawn, worked a bullet 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 Friday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Allen Milligan. … Black Bear, who won his career debut at the 2013 Oaklawn meeting, worked 3 furlongs in :37 Friday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Chris Hartman. Unraced for almost two years, Black Bear is attempting a comeback from injuries. … Unbeaten Wrath of Ruthie was scheduled to make her 4-year-old debut in Friday’s ninth race, a second-level allowance/optional claiming sprint, for trainer Steve Asmussen and owner LNJ Foxwoods.