Saturday, February 13, 2016
Collected Gets Feel for Oaklawn Surface
Lightly raced Collected got his first feel of the Oaklawn surface Saturday morning, galloping after the renovation break for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert in advance of Monday’s $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3). The 5-2 program favorite for the Southwest, arrived early Friday afternoon in Hot Springs following a two-hour, 45-minute flight that originated in Southern California, said Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s top assistant.
“We’re just testing the waters,” Barnes said. “You want to see how they handle the new surroundings, a new surface. Collected did fine.”
Collected won the $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) Jan. 9 at Santa Anita, his second victory in three career starts. The Southwest will be the first race outside California for the chestnut son of City Zip, who will be seeking to give Baffert his fifth win in the race since 2010.
In addition to a record purse, the Southwest also offers 17 points to the top four finishers (10-4-2-1) toward starting eligibility toward the Kentucky Derby, which is limited to 20 starters.
Probable post time for the Southwest, the ninth of 10 races, is 5:09 p.m. (Central).
The Southwest field from the rail out: Collected, Martin Garcia to ride, 122 pounds; Whitmore, Mike Smith, 117; American Dubai, Walter De La Cruz, 115; Torrontes, Channing Hill, 115; Bird of Trey, Joshua Navarro, 117; Synchrony, Shaun Bridgmohan, 117; Z Royal, Gary Stevens, 115; Gordy Florida, Glenn Corbett, 115; War Stroll, Chris Landeros, 115; Cutacorner, Quincy Hamilton, 117; Siding Spring, Joe Rocco Jr., 115; Luna de Loco, Ricardo Santana Jr., 115; Suddenbreakingnews, Luis Quinonez, 117; and Discreetness, Jon Court, 122.
If the field remains intact, it will equal the largest in Southwest history (first run in 1959). The 1986 edition had 14 starters.
Synchrony and Suddenbreakingnews, both trained by Donnie K. Von Hemel, will be coupled in the wagering, as will American Dubai and Torrontes. Oaklawn’s infield tote board can only accommodate 12 wagering interests.
The Southwest is scheduled to bring back Discreetness, Gordy Florida, Synchrony and Luna de Loco, the 1-2-3-4 finishers, respectively, from the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 at Oaklawn.
Discreetness broke from post 5 in winning the 1-mile Smarty Jones, but the Southwest draw wasn’t kind to the Discreet Cat colt, trained by Jinks Fires of Hot Springs. Horses breaking from extreme outside post positions in route races traditionally struggle to win at Oaklawn. Discreetness is typically forwardly placed in his races.
“Everything looked good, so I wasn’t very happy with the 14,” Fires said. “But what are you going to do?”
Whitmore, co-owned and trained by Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, is the 5-1 second choice in the program. Discreetness is 6-1.
American Dubai was also entered in a first-level allowance race Saturday at Oaklawn, but, as expected, trainer Rodney Richards scratched the E Dubai colt in favor of the Southwest.
Torrontes and Siding Spring will be adding blinkers for the Southwest, boosted in value from $300,000 to $500,000 this year.
Springing into Action
Siding Spring punched his ticket to Monday’s $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn based on a workout Thursday morning in blinkers, trainer Mark Casse said.
Working in company with stablemate Oakton, who ran sixth in last year’s $1 million Queen’s Plate, Siding Spring covered 5 furlongs over a fast track in 1:00.60. The Queen’s Plate is Canada’s equivalent of the Kentucky Derby.
“He worked extremely well,” Casse said. “We called an audible at the line.”
Siding Spring will be making his first start since finishing unplaced in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland – his only start on dirt. He was beaten five lengths by unbeaten Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male Nyquist.
Casse said Siding Spring, prior to Thursday’s work, hadn’t been exceling in the morning at Oaklawn. The trainer said he shook up the Warrior’s Reward colt by changing a shoe and equipping him in blinkers.
“He had had an old quarter-crack, and we had been training him with a bar shoe on,” Casse said. “We pulled the bar shoe off and added blinkers, too. He was like an entirely different horse, so I don’t know if it was the blinkers on or if it was the changing of his shoe. The reason I had been reluctant to run was he’s a very good work horse.”
Joe Rocco Jr. is scheduled to ride Siding Spring, who will be racing in blinkers for the first time in the Southwest.
Ivan the Great
Multiple stakes winner Ivan Fallunovalot worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 over a fast track after the break Saturday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Tom Howard of Hot Springs.
Howard said Ivan Fallunovalot is pointing for the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 5 at Oaklawn. The gelding opened 2016 with a victory in the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Jan. 23 at Oaklawn.
Returning to the work tab after the break Saturday at Oaklawn was Dothraki Queen, third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland. Unraced since late November, trainer Kenny McPeek said Dothraki Queen could make her 3-year-old debut in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn, $500,000 Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland or in an unspecified grass race. Dothraki Queen won her career debut on turf. The Fantasy and Ashland are April 9 … Hebbronville, scratched from the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Jan. 30 at Oaklawn (hives), is entered in Saturday’s fifth race at Oaklawn, an allowance/optional claiming sprint. … Trainer Brad Cox said he’ll “consider” the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19 with a strong performance from Dazzling Gem in Saturday’s eighth race at Oaklawn, a first-level allowance race at 1 1/16 miles. Dazzling Gem, a son of Misremembered, won his Jan. 18 career debut at Oaklawn sprinting. “We hope it’s a stepping stone because we think a lot of him,” Cox said. Cox trains Dazzling Gem for prominent Arkansas automobile dealer Steve Landers. The Rebel is the final major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16. … Durango, fourth in last Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn, is being freshened and will pass the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 12, trainer Randy Morse said. The Honeybee is the final major local prep for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 9. Morse said Durango could resurface in the Fantasy. … Black Ops (foot abscess) has resumed training following his 10th-place finish in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 at Oaklawn, trainer Rodney Richards said. … Sassy Miss Sue, the 3-year-old full sister to Grade 1 winner and millionaire Tiz Miz Sue, worked a half-mile in :50.60 Saturday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Steve Hobby of Hot Springs. Sassy Miss Sue was scratched from a maiden-allowance race last Sunday at Oaklawn because of a minor illness, Hobby said.