Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rebel Stakes Runners Cherry Wine and Cupid Lead Indiana Derby Field

Oaklawn Rebel Stakes graduates Cherry Wine and Cupid are the program favorites for the $500,000 Indiana Derby (G2) Saturday at Indiana Grand. Cherry Wine, fourth in $900,000 Rebel (G2) March 19, is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the projected 12-horse field, while Rebel winner Cupid is the 3-1 second choice.

Following the Rebel, Cherry Wine ran in the final two legs of the Triple Crown, finishing second in the Preakness May 21 at Pimlico and seventh behind Arkansas Derby winner Creator in the Belmont Stakes June 11 at Belmont Park. Trained by Dale Romans, he is scheduled to break from post 2 under Luis Saez and carry 117 pounds.

Cupid has run twice since the Rebel, finishing 10th as the favorite in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16 at Oaklawn and last of five in the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes June 11 at Belmont Park. He underwent minor throat surgery following the Arkansas Derby and was rank as the favorite in the Easy Goer.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who won the Rebel and Indiana Derby in 2010 with champion Lookin At Lucky, has tapped Rafael Bejarano to ride Cupid, who is scheduled to break from post 11 under co-top weight of 124 pounds.

Also entered in the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Derby is Torrontes, who ran 14th in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 at Oaklawn.

Probable post time for the Indiana Derby is 8:41 p.m. (Central).

Back in Black

Black Bear seeks his first black-type victory in the $50,000 Don Bernhardt Stakes Saturday at Ellis Park. He won his first two career starts at the 2013 Oaklawn meeting for trainer Chris Hartman before finishing third in the track’s $100,000 King Cotton Stakes in 2014.

Black Bear didn’t run again for more than two years because of a serious leg injury and was claimed out of his last start, a June 30 victory at Churchill Downs, for $62,500 by trainer Randy Morse, an Oaklawn regular.

Black Bear is the 4-1 second choice in the program for the Don Bernhardt, which was won last year by Oaklawn maiden graduate Bagg O’Day for trainer Steve Hobby of Hot Springs. Bagg O’Day set a track record for 6 ½ furlongs (1:13.74).

Also entered in Saturday’s race is Speightsong, a Feb. 6 allowance/optional claiming winner at Oaklawn, and Bump Start, fourth in two allowance races this year in Hot Springs.

Probable post time for the Don Bernhardt is 4:10 p.m. (Central).

Finish Lines

Chris Hartman, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2015, has a string at Del Mar in Southern California. Hartman has two horses entered on Friday's opening-day card – Successful Runner and Madelyn’s Wild Max (both scheduled to be ridden by Stewart Elliott of Smarty Jones fame). Hartman won 26 races this year at Oaklawn to finish second in the standings and 17 at the recently concluded Churchill Downs spring/summer meet to finish third. … Brad Cox, Oaklawn’s fourth-leading trainer this year, begins Thursday with 497 career victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Cox’s lone entry Thursday, Dublinyourmoney, is the 3-5 program favorite in the first race at Belmont Park, a maiden-allowance event for New York-breds at 1 1/16 miles. Dublinyourmoney, a 3-year-old son of 2010 Arkansas Derby third Dublin, is owned by Oaklawn President Charles Cella. … Fournette, a 3-year-old Tizway colt, is scheduled to make his career debut in the sixth race Friday at Belmont Park for Cox and owner Staton Flurry of Hot Springs. Fournette, named for LSU All-American tailback Leonard Fournette, missed this year’s Oaklawn meeting after a tibia stress fracture was discovered in January. Friday’s race is 7 furlongs on the turf. … Jon Court, Oaklawn’s leading jockey in 2000, is scheduled to resume riding Friday at Ellis Park. Court, who has 3,976 career victories in North America, missed the final few days of the Churchill Downs spring/summer meet because of a rib injury. … Ricardo Santana Jr., Oaklawn’s leading jockey the last four years, is scheduled to ride Paid Up Subscriber in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (G1) Saturday at Delaware Park before heading to New York to prepare for the Saratoga meeting that begins July 22. … Oaklawn-raced Cash Control and Cabana are entered in the $100,000 Indiana General Assembly Distaff Stakes Saturday at Indiana Grand. … Oaklawn maiden graduate Big Changes is entered in the $100,000 Warrior Veterans Stakes and $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Stakes Saturday at Indiana Grand. Big Changes would be making his stakes debut. Also entered in the Schaefer are Oaklawn-raced Departing, Aces High, Mister Pollard, Bordini and Rocket Time. … Oaklawn-raced Conquest Curlgirl, Big Island Blonde and Pangburn are entered in the $100,000 Mari Hulman George Stakes Saturday at Indiana Grand. … Madtap, 12th in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn, is entered in the $200,000 Kent Stakes (G3) Saturday at Delaware Park.

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