Thursday, March 24, 2016
Sprinter Alsvid Looks to Stretch Out in Count Fleet Prep
Alsvid is a stakes winner at a mile, but that was almost four years ago. Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn, the multiple stakes-winning sprinter and millionaire will attempt to win at a mile again in the eighth race, a conditioned allowance/optional claimer.
Trainer Chris Hartman said the race could serve as a prep for the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 10 at Oaklawn – a race Alsvid won last year – but also one to shake up the 7-year-old gelding, who has lost eight consecutive starts.
“He’s done it before,” Hartman said Thursday morning. “I always thought he would be a real good miler. I thought it might be a good time to try it. He’s getting a little long in the tooth to stretch him out, but he’s mature now.”
As a 3-year-old in 2012, Alsvid won the $60,000 Prairie Meadows Mile Stakes at Prairie Meadows. He also ran in the $250,000 Iowa Derby (G3) and $150,000 Zia Park Derby in 2012 before developing into one of the country’s top sprinters.
Alsvid recorded his biggest career victory in the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) last April, then toppled reigning male sprint champion Work All Week in the $100,000 Aristides Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs in his next start.
Alsvid hasn’t won since, running 13th in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland and third in the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 5 at Oaklawn in his last start. Hartman said Alsvid is still possible to cut back in distance for the 6-furlong Count Fleet next month.
“But we need to get him back to his ways,” Hartman said.
Alsvid is scheduled to break from post 3 Saturday under Oaklawn leading rider Ricardo Santana Jr. and carry 115 pounds.
Also entered are Recount, Paid Admission, Mal Guapo, Cougar Ridge, Ain’t Got Time, Natchez and Rocket Time. Ain’t Got Time and Cougar Ridge, who is entered for a $62,500 claiming tag, finished second and fifth, respectively, in the $100,000 Essex Handicap Feb. 13 at Oaklawn. The Essex is 1 1/16 miles.
Mal Guapo briefly held the 1 ¼-mile track record at Keeneland before it was smashed by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Oct. 31.
Mile races at Oaklawn end at the sixteenth pole, which Hartman said could be an advantage for Alsvid.
“It’s going to be a short lane,” Hartman said. “Most likely he’ll be in front leaving the turn. We’ll see how it shakes out from there.”
Probable post time for Saturday’s eighth race, which has an $80,000 purse, is 4:38 p.m. (Central).
Dothraki Queen Update
Trainer Kenny McPeek said Thursday morning that Dothraki Queen remains “possible” for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies April 9 at Oaklawn.
Unraced since finishing third in the $200,000 Golden Rod Stakes (G2) Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs, Dothraki Queen has had six published workouts at Oaklawn since mid-February, including a half-mile move in :48.60 Monday morning.
“She’s just not quite ready yet,” McPeek said. “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get a race in her here or not.”
Dothraki Queen won her first two career starts, including the $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes (G2) Sept. 12 at Churchill Downs, before running third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland.
Trainer Ingrid Mason said Thursday morning that her multiple stakes-winning fillies, Sarah Sis and Marquee Miss, are being pointed for stakes races in Kentucky.
Mason said Marquee Miss will run in the $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks (G3) for 3-year-old fillies April 2 at Turfway Park. She Miss won Oaklawn’s $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 15 and $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 6 before being distanced in the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 12.
The Honeybee was run over an off track, which Marquee Miss doesn’t handle, Mason said. Turfway has an all-weather surface. Mason had considered running Marquee Miss in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 9 at Oaklawn.
“This way, I don’t have to worry about the rain,” Mason said with a laugh. “I think it’s going to be much easier. I think the Fantasy is going to be real tough.”
Mason said Sarah Sis is pointing for the $300,000 Madison Stakes (G1) April 9 at Keeneland. The 4-year-old filly will be cutting back to 7 furlongs after finishing fifth in Saturday’s $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn. The Azeri is 1 1/16 miles.
“I think she can go around two turns, a mile,” Mason said. “I think a mile and a sixteenth is too far, depending on how much speed is in the race.”
Sarah Sis won Oaklawn’s the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) before closing her 3-year-old campaign with a victory in the $250,000 Raven Run Stakes (G2) Oct. 17 at Keeneland. The Raven Run was 7 furlongs, which Mason said she believes is the ideal distance for Sarah Sis.
Mason said Sarah Sis’ year-end goal is the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1), a 7-furlong race, Nov. 5 at Santa Anita.
Despite overnight rain, Oaklawn’s racing surface was rated good for Thursday morning workouts. … Defending champion Trace Creek is pointing for the $100,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes (open division) April 1 at Oaklawn, trainer Will VanMeter said. … Wilbo, a sharp Jan. 17 allowance/optional claiming winner at Oaklawn, is receiving a “much-needed break” and won’t run again at the meeting, trainer Chris Hartman said. Wilbo was nominated to the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters March 5 at Oaklawn. … Jockey Alex Canchari, tied for sixth in the Oaklawn standings with 20 victories, said he will be based at his home track, Canterbury Park in suburban Minneapolis, after the Oaklawn meet ends April 16. …Grade 2 winner Spelling Again, who recorded a 5-furlong bullet work (1:00.40) Saturday morning at Oaklawn, is targeting the $300,000 Madison Stakes (G1) April 9 at Keeneland for her 2016 debut, trainer Brad Cox said. … Bridget’s Big Luvy’s victory last Thursday at Aqueduct means all eight starters from last year’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn have at least one post-race victory. The runaway winner, American Pharoah, went on to capture the Triple Crown.