Saturday, January 09, 2016

Gentlemen’s Bet Waiting to Make First 2016 Start

Trainer Ron Moquett said he doesn’t expect multiple stakes winner Gentlemen’s Bet to make his 7-year-old debut in the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Jan. 30 at Oaklawn, the first of two major local preps for the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 10.

Gentlemen’s Bet recorded his third work at Oaklawn in the last month, breezing a half-mile in :52.40 over muddy surface Friday morning.

“I’m just thinking about letting everybody else run in that first one, and we’ll get the next two,” Moquett said. “The money’s at the end of the meet. There’s no sense in being in a hurry. I’m not going to run him in all of them.”

Oaklawn’s second sprint stakes for older horses is the $100,000 Hot Springs March 5, a race Gentlemen’s Bet won last year. In his final start last year, Gentlemen’s Bet (through a disqualification for interference on the backstretch) won the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes Nov. 14 at Laurel.

The De Francis marked the biggest career victory for Gentlemen’s Bet, who has earned $731,390 for owner Harry Rosenblum of Little Rock, Ark.

“Very proud of where he’s at,” Moquett said.

The King Cotton is expected to match most of the top sprinters on the grounds, including Alsvid, Ivan Fallunovalot, Bagg O’Day, Brewing and Hebbronville.

Ivan Fallunovalot, under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel, worked a half-mile in :49.20 about 10 minutes after the track opened Saturday morning for trainer Tom Howard of Hot Springs. The surface was rated muddy.

Ivan Fallunovalot and Alsvid finished ninth and 13th, respectively, in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland.

Gentlemen’s Bet ran third in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) before being sidelined all of 2014 with a foot problem.
 
The House Horse

Charles Cella may not have to wait long to see one of his horses run at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting.

Trainer Lynn Whiting said Spezia, a 3-year-old Speightstown colt owned by Cella, is pointing for a maiden-allowance sprint Jan. 16, the second day of the scheduled 57-day meet. He tuned up for his 2016 debut by working a half-mile in :49.80 Saturday morning.

Spezia was competitive in four starts last year, finishing third twice at Parx, second at Keeneland, and, in his last start, fourth as the favorite behind runaway winner Whitmore Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs.

Whitmore’s major local objective is the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16 at Oaklawn, trainer Ron Moquett said.

“His race was really good at Keeneland,” Whiting said of Spezia. “He caught a tough horse at Churchill. He trains like he’s a very nice horse, so I didn’t think he’d still be a maiden. If he’ll win at home, that would be a plus.”

Cella, Oaklawn’s president since 1968, named the colt for La Spezia, the capital city of the Province of La Spezia in northern Italy. His dam is Via Veneto, is also the name of a famous street in Rome.
 
Finish Lines

Multiple graded stakes winner and millionaire Departing worked a half-mile in :49.60 over a muddy track Saturday morning for trainer Al Stall in preparation for the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes Jan. 16 at Oaklawn. … Another scheduled Fifth Season starter, multiple stakes winner Smack Smack, worked a half-mile in :51 Saturday morning for trainer Don Von Hemel of Hot Springs. The 1 1/16-mile Fifth Season closed Friday with 30 nominations. … Friday’s $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes at Oaklawn closed with 26 nominations. … Patchofbadweather worked a half-mile in :51.20 Saturday morning for trainer Karl Broberg. Owner Staton Flurry of Hot Springs said the 2014 Lady Razorback Futurity winner is pointing a conditioned allowance race Jan. 28 at Oaklawn, then the track’s $100,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes Feb. 27. Both races are restricted to Arkansas-breds. … Multiple stakes winner Lasting Bubbles worked 5 furlongs in 1:03.40 Saturday morning for trainer Kevin Peek. … Tapster, a 3-year-old Tapit colt who was sixth in two strong maiden-allowance races in November at Churchill Downs, worked a half-mile in :49 Saturday morning for trainer Pat Byrne. … Three-time defending Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr., and Ramon Vazquez, Oaklawn’s second-leading rider in 2015, are now working horses in Hot Springs, according to their agent, Ruben Munoz. … Multiple stakes winner Far Right moved closer to his 4-year-old debut by working a half-mile in :47.40 Friday morning for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. Far Right won the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) last year at Oaklawn. … Oaklawn will have a special first post time (12:30 p.m., Central) for Friday’s opening-day program.
 
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