Tisdale Ready for Stakes Audition
Saturday’s second race at Oaklawn is a stakes audition for lightly raced Tisdale, said Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, who trains the 3-year-old Friesan Fire colt. That stakes race could be the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16 at Oaklawn.
“We’re trying right now to let him gather momentum and experience and see where he takes us,” Moquett said.
After breaking his maiden in his two-turn debut Feb. 6 at Oaklawn, Tisdale was under consideration for last Saturday’s $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2), which is the final major local prep for the Arkansas Derby. Moquett decided not to run the Pennsylvania-bred colt and entered him in two first-level allowance/optional claiming races this week at Oaklawn. He was scratched from a Friday sprint in favor of another two-turn race (1 1/16 miles) Saturday.
Tisdale has been a workmate of the Moquett-trained Whitmore, who finished second in the Rebel. The colt, who will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., will be making his fourth career start. He finished sixth in his Sept. 20 career debut at Parx and second in his 3-year-old debut, Jan. 17 at Oaklawn.
“The thing that we have in our back pocket is he’s a PA bred,” Moquett said. “There’s lots of races on the East Coast for this horse.”
Friesan Fire was the 2009 Kentucky Derby betting favorite.
Multiple stakes winner Ivan Fallunovalot is unlikely to run in the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 10 at Oaklawn because of lingering problems with a quarter-crack, trainer Tom Howard of Hot Springs indicated Saturday morning.
Howard said Ivan Fallunovalot hasn’t returned to the track since a half-mile workout in :48 Sunday morning at Oaklawn because his left front foot is “still a little tender” and time is running out to make the Count Fleet, a race the gelding finished second in last year.
“It’s going to be close, very close,” Howard said. “We haven’t pulled the plug yet, but it’s very close.”
After winning the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Jan. 30 at Oaklawn in his 2016 debut, Ivan Fallunovalot developed a quarter-crack on the inside of his left front foot in late February.
The injury was patched, but it forced Ivan Fallunovalot to miss a scheduled start in the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 5 at Oaklawn. Sunday’s work was the first for Ivan Fallunovalot since Feb. 13.
“We’ve changed up some things up and just giving it a few days to settle down,” Howard said. “But I’m running out of days.”
Owned by Lewis Mathews of nearby Bismarck, Ark., Ivan Fallunovalot has a 12-3-1 record from 21 lifetime starts and earnings of $536,910. He also won the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes in 2015 and finished ninth in the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland.
On behalf of Mathews, Howard claimed Ivan Fallunovalot for $25,000 at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting.
Three of a Kind?
As Oaklawn heads into its final three weeks of racing, Danny Caldwell is in good position to land his third consecutive owner’s title.
Through Friday, the 41st day of the 55-day meeting, Caldwell tops the standings with 15 victories from 98 starts. Runner-up Steve Landers has eight victories.
“It’s been a very tough meet,” Caldwell said. “There are a lot of good horses, a lot of good horsemen here. I’ve worked harder this meeting claiming horses. I’ve lost so many shakes, it’s just unbelievable. But, I’ve had to work hard, and it’s all paid off.”
Caldwell won 24 of 80 starts to claim the 2014 Oaklawn title. Caldwell repeated last year after winning 18 of 101 starts. The owner said his 15 percent strike rate this year reflects how competitive the racing is at Oaklawn.
“One reason I win so many is I’ve got so many horses,” Caldwell. “It’s not like we’re winning at 40 percent. We’re winning at 15 percent. We’d like to be around 25 percent, so we’re not winning the percentage that we would really like to win at. That’s due to how tough this track is.”
Caldwell, who has approximately 30 horses on the grounds with trainer Federico Villafranco, has won owner’s titles the last two years on his circuit of Oaklawn, Prairie Meadows and Remington Park.
Caldwell will again be based at Prairie Meadows after the Oaklawn meeting ends April 16.
Caldwell’s best horse in training, Domain’s Rap, is pointing for the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 16. The gelding ran second in last Saturday’s $350,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn.
Polishing the Chrome
Champion California Chrome won’t run this year at Oaklawn, but multiple stakes winner Texas Chrome “definitely” will be seen in Hot Springs before the meeting ends April 16, owner Danny Keene said.
Texas Chrome, a 3-year-old Texas-bred son of Grasshopper, hasn’t started since finishing fifth in the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes Nov. 6 at Remington Park. Keene said the colt had knee chips removed, but has been training steadily at Oaklawn for his 2016 debut.
“We’ve about got him ready to go,” Keene said. “I’m trying to decide on Texas Chrome, where I want to put him. He will run before that meet is over.”
Texas Chrome, who was nominated to Saturday’s $100,000 Gazebo Stakes at Oaklawn, has had three published local works this month, including 5 furlongs in 1:01.60 Saturday morning.
He won 4 of 6 starts last year, including the $100,000 TTA Sales Futurity July 11 at Lone Star Park and $100,000 Gold Rush Futurity Aug. 16 at Arapahoe Park.
Terra Promessa, pointing for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 9 at Oaklawn, recorded a 5-furlong bullet work (1:00.40) over a fast track Saturday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Steve Asmussen. Terra Promessa won the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 12 at Oaklawn in her last start. Unbeaten stablemate Taxable, also pointing for the Fantasy, went 5 furlongs in 1:01. … Terra Promessa shared the bullet with multiple stakes winner Kiss Moon, who is nearing her 2016 debut. Trainer David Vance said he decided to pass last Saturday’s $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn because Kiss Moon wasn’t quite ready physically. … Multiple stakes winner Gentlemen’s Bet worked a half-mile in :49 Saturday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. Moquett said Gentlemen’s Bet is pointing for the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 10 at Oaklawn. … Trace Creek worked 5 furlongs in 1:02 Saturday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Will VanMeter. Trace Creek is scheduled to defend his title in the $100,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes (open division) Friday at Oaklawn, VanMeter said. … Also breezing Saturday at Oaklawn was Financial Modeling, who worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.40 for trainer Brad Cox. Financial Modeling is pointing for the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 16 at Oaklawn, Cox said. … Cox ($1,016,846) became the third trainer to surpass $1 million in purse earnings at the Oaklawn meeting when Double Dare won Friday’s seventh race, a $50,000 maiden-claiming sprint for 3-year-olds. Cox had already set a single-season personal best for purse earnings at Oaklawn, eclipsing the $799,384 last year, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Cox is tied for second in the Oaklawn standings with 19 victories this year. … Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg said he will be based at Churchill Downs after the Oaklawn meet ends April 16. Van Berg, Oaklawn’s co-eighth leading trainer this year with 11 victories, had been based in the summer at Lone Star Park. … Van Berg said plans are pending for Cutacorner, who finished eighth in last Saturday’s $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn. … Grade 2 winner High Dollar Woman has been sold to WinStar as a broodmare prospect according to owner Alex Lieblong of Conway, AR. The 4-year-old daughter of Super Saver finished unplaced in last Saturday’s $350,000 Azeri Stakes.