Wednesday, July 06, 2016
Smack Smack and Shotgun Kowboy Run 1-2 in Cornhusker
Smack Smack and Shotgun Kowboy nearly hit the wire together in the $350,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses March 19 at Oaklawn. It was the same story in the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G3) Saturday at Prairie Meadows, the marquee event of the Iowa Festival of Racing, but this time they were taking the top two positions. Smack Smack edged Shotgun Kowboy by a neck to give trainer Don Von Hemel of Hot Springs his biggest career victory since turning 82 May 14.
Shotgun Kowboy finished fourth in the Razorback, a nose ahead of Smack Smack. Smack Smack then finished second in two allowance/optional claiming races in April at Oaklawn.
Smack Smack, a 5-year-old Closing Argument gelding bred and owned by country music star Toby Keith, snapped a losing streak in the Cornhusker. His last victory had been in the $150,000 Zia Park Championship Nov. 25 at Zia Park, which represented the 2,502nd career North American triumph for Von Hemel, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.
Under Oaklawn regular Shane Laviolette, Smack Smack ($34.20) won the Cornhusker in 1:50.28 for 1 1/8 miles over a fast track. The win, his biggest career victory, increased his earnings to $747,850. The gelding has won 9 of 26 starts overall for Von Hemel, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 1981.
Hart to Hart
Chris Hartman, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2015, capped a stellar Churchill Downs spring/summer meet when millionaire Alsvid cruised to a front-running 1 ½-length victory in Saturday’s $67,000 Kelly’s Landing Stakes.
Hartman, based at Churchill for the second straight year, finished with 17 victories, four less than champion Mark Casse, who annually has a string in Hot Springs. He won 33 percent of his starts (17 of 52) and his horses finished in the top three 60 percent of the time (31 of 52).
Alsvid increased his career earnings to $1,274,618 following his 15th victory from 43 lifetime starts. The gelding won the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) in 2015 at Oaklawn and has never finished worse than third in 14 career starts in Hot Springs.
Hartman also won Thursday’s first race at Churchill Downs with Black Bear, who missed more than two years with a leg injury after finishing third in the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes in 2014 at Oaklawn. Alsvid ran second in that race. Black Bear, a 6-year-old son of Midnight Lute, finished third in his June 4 comeback race at Churchill Downs. He was claimed out of Thursday’s victory for $62,500 by trainer Randy Morse, an Oaklawn regular.
Seven-time Oaklawn training champion Steve Asmussen won 15 races at the Churchill Downs spring/summer meet to finish fourth in the standings. Asmussen (46 victories) and Hartman (26) finished 1-2 this year at Oaklawn.
Milestone for Canchari
Alex Canchari, who finished third in the Oaklawn standings, recorded his 500th career victory aboard Moonlight Basin in Monday’s seventh race at Canterbury Park, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.
Canchari, 22, began riding in December 2011 and won his first race Jan. 13, 2012, when Run Mama Beare Run ($14.20) captured the opening race of the Oaklawn meeting. Canchari’s second mount on the opening-day card, Simply Gone ($76.80), won the sixth race.
He was Oaklawn’s leading apprentice jockey in 2012 with 16 victories. His first career stakes victory came aboard Devil and a Half in the $60,000 Arkansas Breeders’ April 7, 2013, at Oaklawn.
Canchari rode 36 winners this year at Oaklawn and tops the Canterbury standings with 35 victories. He has 501 career victories.
Arkansas Derby winner Creator worked a half-mile in :51.40 Sunday at Churchill Downs, his first work since winning the Belmont Stakes June 11. … Haveyougoneaway surpassed $500,000 in career earnings with a victory in the $100,000 Dancin Renee Stakes for New York-bred filly and mare sprinters Sunday at Belmont Park. Under the care of trainer Allen Milligan, Haveyougoneaway broke her maiden at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting before winning the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes and $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes this year in Hot Springs. Haveyougoneaway was sold privately following a runner-up finish in the $100,000 Carousel Stakes April 14 at Oaklawn and transferred to New York-based trainer Tom Morley. Haveyougoneaway, a 5-year-old daughter of Congrats, has a 9-4-6 record from 24 career starts and earnings of $502,425. She is a four-time stakes winner. … Rated R Superstar, runner-up in two allowance races this year at Oaklawn, won the $150,000 Carry Back Stakes (G3) Saturday at Gulfstream Park for trainer Kenny McPeek. It was the first career stakes victory for the 3-year-old son of sprint champion Kodiak Kowboy, a 2008 allowance/optional claiming winner at Oaklawn. … The Pickett Factor, a career debut winner career in 2015 at Oaklawn, won the $125,000 Louisiana Legends Classic Stakes Saturday at Evangeline Downs for trainer Ralph Irwin of Hot Springs. The Pickett Factor finished fifth in a March 5 allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn. … Brad Cox, Oaklawn’s fourth-leading trainer this year, won three stakes races Saturday, including the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2) at Gulfstream Park with Spelling Again. Cox also won three stakes races Feb. 20 and has 495 career victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Spelling Again trained this year at Oaklawn. … Four-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. rode four winners Friday at Churchill Downs.