Friday, June 10, 2016

Arkansas Derby Winner Creator Leads Four Oaklawn Horses in Saturday’s Belmont

Arkansas Derby winner Creator is scheduled to break from the extreme outside, post 13, in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) Saturday at Belmont Park. Listed at 10-1 on the morning line, he is among four Oaklawn-raced horses entered in the 1 ½-mile Belmont, the final leg of the Triple Crown.

Creator, a last-to-first winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16 at Oaklawn, will be ridden for the first time Saturday by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Preakness runner-up Cherry Wine (8-1) is scheduled to break from post 3 under Corey Lanerie. The Dale Romans-trained colt finished fourth in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn.

Belmont entrants Suddenbreakingnews, winner of Oaklawn’s $500,000 Southwest Stakes in February, and Gettysburg finished second and fifth, respectively, in the Arkansas Derby. Kentucky Derby fifth Suddenbreakingnews (10-1) is scheduled to break from post 4 under new rider Mike Smith.

Suddenbreakingnews is the first graded stakes winner for owner Samuel Henderson, who has owned horses since the 1970s but had his first Triple Crown runner when the ridgling was a fast-closing fifth in the Kentucky Derby. The maternal grandson of 2005 Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex will be Von Hemel's first Belmont entrant as well.

“I haven't thought much about that," Von Hemel said with a laugh, “but I'm excited to bring this horse up there because I think the horse has a real chance. I'm looking forward to Saturday. You always think your horse is peaking at the right time and is the best he can be when you go into a race like this, but we're very happy with the way he's doing. We wouldn't be coming otherwise.”

Although Von Hemel will saddle his first Belmont horse Saturday, the trainer of 2011 Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb's Posse has enjoyed graded stakes success in New York. Caleb's Posse won the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga and Alternation took the Grade 2 Peter Pan and the Grade 2 Amsterdam in 2011.

Gettysburg (30-1) is scheduled to break from post 6 under Paco Lopez. Like Creator, he is trained by seven-time leading Oaklawn trainer Steve Asmussen after being transferred into the barn in recent weeks.

Preakness winner Exaggerator is the 9-5 program favorite for the Belmont, which has a 5:37 p.m. (Central) probable post time.

American Pharoah, last year’s Arkansas Derby and Rebel winner, won the Belmont to sweep the Triple Crown for the first time in 37 years.

Cupid Returns

Cupid is the 3-5 program favorite for the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes Saturday at Belmont Park.

The 1 1/16-mile Easy Goer, the first of 13 races on the Belmont Stakes card, will mark Cupid’s first start since finishing 10th as the 4-5 favorite in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16 at Oaklawn.

He underwent minor throat surgery to correct a breathing problem shortly after the race and missed the Triple Crown. Before the Arkansas Derby, Cupid earned a career-high 95 Beyer Speed Figure with a front-running 1 ¼-length victory in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn.

Florent Geroux is named to ride Cupid for the first time Saturday. The Tapit colt is scheduled to break from post 2 and carry top weight of 123 pounds.

Probable post time for the Easy Goer is 10:35 a.m. (Central).

Belmont Undercard

Forever Unbridled and Stopchargingmaria are among seven entrants in the $1 million Ogden Phipps (G1) for older fillies and mares. Forever Unbridled won the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 15 at Oaklawn in her last start. Forever Unbridled (4-1 on the morning line) is scheduled to break from post 6 under Joel Rosario and carry 121 pounds.

Stopchargingmaria (7-2) is scheduled to break from post 2 under Javier Castellano and carry 121 pounds. She finished fourth in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) in 2014 at Oaklawn.

Also entered in the 1 1/16-mile Ogden Phipps is Desert Valley, sixth in the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) in 2015 at Oaklawn.

Probable post time for the Ogden Phipps is 12:52 p.m. (Central).

Tiz Miz Sue, in her final career start, won the 2013 Ogden Phipps after finishing second in the Apple Blossom. Close Hatches won the Apple Blossom and Ogden Phipps in 2014 en route to an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion older female.

In other stakes action Saturday at Belmont, Guns Loaded is entered in the $300,000 Jaipur Invitational (G3) for turf sprinters; Counterforce and I Will Score are entered in the $500,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) for 3-year-old sprinters; and Blofeld, Upstart and Noble Bird are entered in the $1.25 Met Mile (G1).

Guns Loaded was an allowance/optional claiming winner at the 2014 and 2015 Oaklawn meetings.

Counterforce and I Will Score ran 1-2, respectively, in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes April 15 at Oaklawn.

Blofeld and Upstart finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 16 at Oaklawn. One race earlier, Upstart won the $350,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) March 19, the final major local prep for the Oaklawn Handicap.

Noble Bird was an allowance/optional claiming winner in 2015 at Oaklawn. The Grade I winner finished sixth in his 5-year-old debut, Feb. 21 at Oaklawn.

Also entered in the Met Mile is Marking, whose dam, Seventh Street, won the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) in 2009 at Oaklawn.

Finish Lines

Theogony is entered in the $150,000 Rags to Riches Invitational Friday at Belmont Park. Theogony wintered at Oaklawn and finished second in the $100,000 Pippin Stakes for older fillies and mares Jan. 17. … One True Kiss, an April 9 allowance/optional claiming winner at Oaklawn, is entered in the $150,000 Jersey Girl Stakes for 3-year-old female sprinters Friday at Belmont Park. … Holy Boss, winner of the $100,000 Bachelor Stakes in 2015 at Oaklawn, is entered in the $250,000 True North Stakes (G2) for older sprinters Friday at Belmont Park. … Synchrony is the 3-1 program favorite for the $65,000 Prairie Mile Stakes for 3-year-olds Friday at Prairie Meadows. Trained by Donnie K. Von Hemel, Synchrony finished third in Oaklawn’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 and sixth in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 before running third in the $150,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) April 16 at Keeneland in his last start. Other Oaklawn stakes graduates entered in the Prairie Mile are Torrontes and Luna de Loco. Probable post time for the Prairie Mile is 8:42 p.m. (Central). Von Hemel won last year’s Prairie Mile with Hillbilly Royalty, who suffered his first career loss with a fifth-place finish in the Southwest. … Black Ops, 10th in this year’s Smarty Jones, is scheduled to make his comeback in Saturday’s 10th race at Churchill Downs, an entry-level allowance sprint. Black Ops was freshened after a ninth-place finish in a first-level allowance race March 4 at Oaklawn. ... Defending champion Kiss Moon drew the rail for the $100,000 Mint Julep Handicap Saturday at Churchill Downs. Kiss Moon hasn’t started since finishing sixth in an April 7 allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn, which was her 5-year-old debut. Kiss Moon finished second in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) in 2014 at Oaklawn. Also entered in the grassy Mint Julep at 1 1/16 miles is Cash Control, who was fourth in this year’s Pippin. ... Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg turned 80 Tuesday. Van Berg was Oaklawn’s eighth-leading trainer this year with 14 victories, his highest single-season total in Hot Springs since 1987. Van Berg was Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 1983 and 1984.

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Thursday, June 09, 2016

 

Arkansas Derby Winner Creator Leads Four Oaklawn Horses in Saturday’s Belmont

 

Arkansas Derby winner Creator is scheduled to break from the extreme outside, post 13, in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) Saturday at Belmont Park. Listed at 10-1 on the morning line, he is among four Oaklawn-raced horses entered in the 1 ½-mile Belmont, the final leg of the Triple Crown.

 

Creator, a last-to-first winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16 at Oaklawn, will be ridden for the first time Saturday by Irad Ortiz Jr.

 

Preakness runner-up Cherry Wine (8-1) is scheduled to break from post 3 under Corey Lanerie. The Dale Romans-trained colt finished fourth in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn.

 

Belmont entrants Suddenbreakingnews, winner of Oaklawn’s $500,000 Southwest Stakes in February, and Gettysburg finished second and fifth, respectively, in the Arkansas Derby. Kentucky Derby fifth Suddenbreakingnews (10-1) is scheduled to break from post 4 under new rider Mike Smith.

 

Suddenbreakingnews is the first graded stakes winner for owner Samuel Henderson, who has owned horses since the 1970s but had his first Triple Crown runner when the ridgling was a fast-closing fifth in the Kentucky Derby. The maternal grandson of 2005 Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex will be Von Hemel's first Belmont entrant as well.

 

“I haven't thought much about that," Von Hemel said with a laugh, “but I'm excited to bring this horse up there because I think the horse has a real chance. I'm looking forward to Saturday. You always think your horse is peaking at the right time and is the best he can be when you go into a race like this, but we're very happy with the way he's doing. We wouldn't be coming otherwise.”

 

Although Von Hemel will saddle his first Belmont horse Saturday, the trainer of 2011 Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb's Posse has enjoyed graded stakes success in New York. Caleb's Posse won the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga and Alternation took the Grade 2 Peter Pan and the Grade 2 Amsterdam in 2011.

Gettysburg (30-1) is scheduled to break from post 6 under Paco Lopez. Like Creator, he is trained by seven-time leading Oaklawn trainer Steve Asmussen after being transferred into the barn in recent weeks.

 

Preakness winner Exaggerator is the 9-5 program favorite for the Belmont, which has a 5:37 p.m. (Central) probable post time.

 

American Pharoah, last year’s Arkansas Derby and Rebel winner, won the Belmont to sweep the Triple Crown for the first time in 37 years.

 

Cupid Returns

 

Cupid is the 3-5 program favorite for the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes Saturday at Belmont Park.

 

The 1 1/16-mile Easy Goer, the first of 13 races on the Belmont Stakes card, will mark Cupid’s first start since finishing 10th as the 4-5 favorite in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16 at Oaklawn.

 

He underwent minor throat surgery to correct a breathing problem shortly after the race and missed the Triple Crown. Before the Arkansas Derby, Cupid earned a career-high 95 Beyer Speed Figure with a front-running 1 ¼-length victory in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn.

 

"He's doing well," said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. "I would have liked to have run in the Belmont but I lost time with him after his throat surgery. We had to stop on him and couldn't do anything with him for three weeks. He's been training well and we'll see what he does.

 

Florent Geroux is named to ride Cupid for the first time Saturday. The Tapit colt is scheduled to break from post 2 and carry top weight of 123 pounds.

 

Probable post time for the Easy Goer is 10:35 a.m. (Central).

 

Belmont Undercard

 

Forever Unbridled and Stopchargingmaria are among seven entrants in the $1 million Ogden Phipps (G1) for older fillies and mares. Forever Unbridled won the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 15 at Oaklawn in her last start. Forever Unbridled (4-1 on the morning line) is scheduled to break from post 6 under Joel Rosario and carry 121 pounds.

 

Stopchargingmaria (7-2) is scheduled to break from post 2 under Javier Castellano and carry 121 pounds. She finished fourth in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) in 2014 at Oaklawn.

 

Also entered in the 1 1/16-mile Ogden Phipps is Desert Valley, sixth in the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) in 2015 at Oaklawn.

 

Probable post time for the Ogden Phipps is 12:52 p.m. (Central).

 

Tiz Miz Sue, in her final career start, won the 2013 Ogden Phipps after finishing second in the Apple Blossom. Close Hatches won the Apple Blossom and Ogden Phipps in 2014 en route to an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion older female.

In other stakes action Saturday at Belmont, Guns Loaded is entered in the $300,000 Jaipur Invitational (G3) for turf sprinters; Counterforce and I Will Score are entered in the $500,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) for 3-year-old sprinters; and Blofeld, Upstart and Noble Bird are entered in the $1.25 Met Mile (G1).

 

Guns Loaded was an allowance/optional claiming winner at the 2014 and 2015 Oaklawn meetings.

 

Counterforce and I Will Score ran 1-2, respectively, in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes April 15 at Oaklawn.

 

Blofeld and Upstart finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 16 at Oaklawn. One race earlier, Upstart won the $350,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) March 19, the final major local prep for the Oaklawn Handicap.

Noble Bird was an allowance/optional claiming winner in 2015 at Oaklawn. The Grade I winner finished sixth in his 5-year-old debut, Feb. 21 at Oaklawn.

 

Also entered in the Met Mile is Marking, whose dam, Seventh Street, won the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) in 2009 at Oaklawn.

 

Finish Lines

Theogony is entered in the $150,000 Rags to Riches Invitational Friday at Belmont Park. Theogony wintered at Oaklawn and finished second in the $100,000 Pippin Stakes for older fillies and mares Jan. 17. … One True Kiss, an April 9 allowance/optional claiming winner at Oaklawn, is entered in the $150,000 Jersey Girl Stakes for 3-year-old female sprinters Friday at Belmont Park. … Holy Boss, winner of the $100,000 Bachelor Stakes in 2015 at Oaklawn, is entered in the $250,000 True North Stakes (G2) for older sprinters Friday at Belmont Park. … Synchrony is the 3-1 program favorite for the $65,000 Prairie Mile Stakes for 3-year-olds Friday at Prairie Meadows. Trained by Donnie K. Von Hemel, Synchrony finished third in Oaklawn’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 and sixth in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 before running third in the $150,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) April 16 at Keeneland in his last start. Other Oaklawn stakes graduates entered in the Prairie Mile are Torrontes and Luna de Loco. Probable post time for the Prairie Mile is 8:42 p.m. (Central). Von Hemel won last year’s Prairie Mile with Hillbilly Royalty, who suffered his first career loss with a fifth-place finish in the Southwest. … Black Ops, 10th in this year’s Smarty Jones, is scheduled to make his comeback in Saturday’s 10th race at Churchill Downs, an entry-level allowance sprint. Black Ops was freshened after a ninth-place finish in a first-level allowance race March 4 at Oaklawn. ... Defending champion Kiss Moon drew the rail for the $100,000 Mint Julep Handicap Saturday at Churchill Downs. Kiss Moon hasn’t started since finishing sixth in an April 7 allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn, which was her 5-year-old debut. Kiss Moon finished second in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) in 2014 at Oaklawn. Also entered in the grassy Mint Julep at 1 1/16 miles is Cash Control, who was fourth in this year’s Pippin. ... Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg turned 80 Tuesday. Van Berg was Oaklawn’s eighth-leading trainer this year with 14 victories, his highest single-season total in Hot Springs since 1987. Van Berg was Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 1983 and 1984.

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