A Smart Work
Synchrony moved closer to his scheduled 3-year-old debut in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 at Oaklawn with a 5-furlong workout just after the track opened Friday morning for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel. Breezing with stablemate Facets of Ice over a muddy, sealed surface, the colt was credited with 1:00.40. Facets of Ice, an unbeaten 3-year-old filly, went in 1:00.60.
Friday’s work marked the fourth local move since Dec. 17 for Synchrony, a chestnut son of Tapit who will be making his stakes and two-turn debut in the 1-mile Smarty Jones. A winner of 2 of 3 career starts, Synchrony races for his breeder, Josephine Abercrombie’s Pin Oak Stable.
Pin Oak also bred and raced Synchrony’s dam, the Von Hemel-trained Brownie Points, who won 9 of 27 career starts, including the $50,000 Martha Washington Stakes in 2006 at Oaklawn, and earned $951,230. The mare also ran second to future Horse of the Year Zenyatta in the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) in 2008 at Oaklawn.
Moquett Weighing Options with Whitmore
Trainer Ron Moquett said Friday morning that lightly raced Whitmore is “50-50” for the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 at Oaklawn, the first major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16.
Whitmore, in company with two stablemates, worked a half-mile over a muddy, sealed surface in :48.40 after the break Friday morning in preparation for the 1-mile Smarty Jones, or an entry-level allowance sprint Jan. 16.
“He doesn’t lack anything on talent,” said Moquett, who also co-owns Whitmore. “He wants to run a route of ground, but it’s about schooling and catching him up with everybody else.”
Whitmore, a gelded son of Breeders’ Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup winner Pleasantly Perfect, was a 7 ¼-length debut winner sprinting Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs. In his only other start, Whitmore finished fifth, beaten 14 ¾ lengths, in the $1 million Delta Jackpot Stakes (G3) Nov. 21 at Delta Downs. That race was his first start around two turns.
“If they were to split the Smarty Jones, where it’s two, eight-horse fields, I’d definitely run in the Smarty Jones,” Moquett said. “But, I don’t want to be going a flat mile here with 12 horses, which is what it will be. I just need some experience. He’s a little green, but he’s very, very talented.”
Moquett said the Smarty Jones or the entry-level allowance race will be Whitmore’s bridge to the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 at Oaklawn.
The $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19 is the final major local prep for the Arkansas Derby.
“Our goal is to get to the Arkansas Derby ready to run,” Moquett said.
Taking His Time
Trainer Steve Hobby of Hot Springs said he’s in no hurry with Grade 2 winner High Dollar Woman, but has circled the $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn as the first major 2016 target for the 4-year-old daughter of Super Saver.
High Dollar Woman returned to Hobby’s barn in early December following a 90-day break related to a problem with a suspensory ligament in a hind leg, the trainer said. She worked 3 furlongs in :37.40 New Year’s Eve, her first move toward a comeback race.
“Breezed super the other day,” Hobby said. “We’ll probably shoot for the Azeri. We may try to get a race in her before then, but we’ll let her tell me.”
A $675,000 2-year-old in training purchase, High Dollar Woman hasn’t started since a poor start the $100,000 Monmouth Oaks (G3) Aug. 22 at Monmouth Park. One race earlier, she was a front-running winner of the $200,000 Indiana Oaks (G2) July 18 at Indiana Grand.
High Dollar Woman has earned $212,945 off three victories from eight career starts. She races for Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway, Ark.
Multiple stakes winner Heykittykittykitty has been retired to be bred, trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said. Owned by Little Rock, Ark.-based Westrock Stables LLC (Joe and Scott Ford), Heykittykittykitty retires with a 10-8-1 record from 21 lifetime starts and earnings of $495,161. The 5-year-old Oklahoma-bred daughter of Tactical Cat won two allowance races at the 2015 Oaklawn meeting before capturing two consecutive stakes in the fall to close her career, including the $75,000 Mahoning Valley Distaff Nov. 23 at Mahoning Valley in what was her final start. “She retired sound,” Moquett said. “You’d like them all to go out like that. She’s done all she needs to do here.” Moquett said Westrock hasn’t announced who Heykittykittykitty will be bred to this year. … Multiple graded stakes winner Sarah Sis, a candidate for the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes Jan. 23 at Oaklawn, worked a bullet 5 furlongs in 1:00 after the break Friday morning for trainer Ingrid Mason. … Reigning Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) winner Alsvid worked a half-mile in :48.80 after the break Friday morning for trainer Chris Hartman, who is pointing the gelding for the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Jan. 30 at Oaklawn. … Multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Brewing, also prepping for the King Cotton, worked a half-mile in :49.40 after the break Friday morning for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. … Fournette, an unstarted 3-year-old colt named after LSU All-American tailback Leonard Fournette, worked 5 furlongs out of the gate after the break in 1:01 for trainer Brad Cox. … Two-time Churchill Downs winner Durango remains on target to make her 3-year-old debut in the $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 15 at Oaklawn, trainer Randy Morse said. Durango recorded a half-mile bullet work (:47) Friday morning. … Entries for Oaklawn’s Jan. 15 opening-day card will be drawn Tuesday.
A Smart Work