Thursday, June 02, 2016

Alsvid Looks for Repeat Victory in Saturday’s Aristides Stakes

Alsvid will try to return to the winner’s circle for the first time in a year in the $100,000 Aristides Stakes (G3) Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Among the best sprinters the last few years at Oaklawn, Alsvid has not won since a two-length victory over reigning male sprint champion Work All Week in the 2015 Aristides. However, he has finished worse than third only three times during the losing streak. The gelding was runner-up in the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 10 at Oaklawn and most recently finished second in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3) on the Kentucky Oaks undercard.

Alsvid won the 2015 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap and has never finished worse than third in 14 career starts in Hot Springs.

“He’s coming into the race great,” trainer Chris Hartman said. “He’s definitely still got it. We just need to find the winner’s circle and see if he remembers how to get there. We’ll find out Saturday.”

Hartman previously considered sending the horse to Pimlico to run on the Preakness Stakes undercard in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint or the Maryland Sprint (G3) run on the main track.

“I’d rather just run him out of his stall,” Hartman said “It’s so much easier for him and me. He’ll run on either surface, but he likes the main track here. He gets over the surface really smooth.”

Alsvid tends to keep himself calm around the barn. 

“I sort of forget he’s here, he’s so easy,” Hartman said. “You never know he’s here. He’s quiet everywhere until you turn him around and start working him. He knows when it’s game time and he’s a very smart horse. He loves his job so that’s helps a bunch, too. He enjoys what he does.”

Chris Hartman, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2015, has tapped Chris Landeros to ride Alsvid in Saturday’s 6-furlong race. Landeros, a top-10 Oaklawn rider in 2016, guided Alsvid to his 2015 Aristides victory.

Alsvid, a career winner of $1,172,618, is scheduled to break from post 5 and carry equal top weight of 120 pounds.

The projected seven-horse field also features multiple stakes winner Toews On Ice and Union Jackson. Toews On Ice, a son of 2011 Arkansas Derby winner Archarcharch, finished sixth in his 3-year-old debut, the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 at Oaklawn. The Bob Baffert-trainee, who will be facing older horses for the first time, exits a two-length victory in the $100,000 William Walker Stakes April 30 at Churchill Downs.

Toews On Ice is scheduled to break from the rail under Channing Hill, who has 992 career victories as of June 2. Union Jackson, a son of 2007 Arkansas Derby winner Curlin, will be making his stakes debut for seven-time Oaklawn training champion Steve Asmussen. Union Jackson has won his last two starts, including a Feb. 26 allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn. He is scheduled to break from post 4 under four-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr.

Probable post time for the Aristides is 4:21 p.m. (Central).

Kobel Returns

Kobel, who made his last two starts at Oaklawn, is scheduled to return to stakes company in the $100,000 Lyman Saturday at Parx. He hasn’t started since finishing third in an April 16 allowance/optional claimer.

Kobel provided trainer Gerald Brooks with his only Oaklawn victory in a March 13 allowance/optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles. The sixth-place finisher in that race, Trace Creek, won the $100,000 Hanshin Cup (G3) May 21 at Arlington Park.

Brooks, who is based in the Mid-Atlantic region, brought a small string to Oaklawn after the meet opened in January. He finished 1 for 12 and was active in the claim box.

Kobel is now trained by Keith Nations, whose Morning Fire finished fourth in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes April 15 at Oaklawn. He ran second in last year’s Lyman, a 7-furlong race restricted to horses bred in Pennsylvania.

Also entered is Bump Start, fourth in a pair of allowance races earlier this year at Oaklawn for trainer Kellyn Gorder.

Probable post time for the Lyman Stakes is 4 p.m. (Central).

Finish Lines

Effinex worked 6 furlongs in 1:13.95 Thursday morning over Belmont Park’s training track, according to Daily Racing Form. Effinex won the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 16 at Oaklawn in his last start and is being pointed toward the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) June 18. … Alex Canchari, Oaklawn’s third-leading rider this year, has a meet-high 16 victories at the Canterbury Park meeting that began May 20. …Taris, who, in her two-turn debut, suffered her first career loss in the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) in 2014 at Oaklawn, is scheduled to face champions Beholder and Stellar Wind in the $400,000 Vanity Mile Stakes (G1) Saturday at Santa Anita. … Multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Spring Included is in foal to Grade 1 winner The Big Beast. Spring Included, retired earlier this year, won Oaklawn’s $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes and $100,000 Carousel Stakes in 2015 for owners Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway, Ark. … The Lieblongs are now employing seven-time Oaklawn training champion Steve Asmussen (four unstarted 2-year-olds) and trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs (unstarted 2-year-old) and with longtime Steve Hobby of Hot Springs. … Ride On Curlin, runner-up in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) in 2014 at Oaklawn, will begin a stud career next year at Pleasant Acres Stallions in Morriston, Fla.

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