Thursday, May 05, 2016

Three Oaklawn Horses in Derby, Plus One Also Eligible

Four Oaklawn-raced horses, including Arkansas Derby winner Creator, were part of an over subscribed field entered Wednesday for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. If 20 horses start, purse for Saturday’s 1 ¼-mile race, the first leg of the Triple Crown, will be $2,391,600, second-largest in Kentucky Derby history. The purse for the 2005 running was $2,399,600.

Creator, who drew post 3, was installed the 10-1 co-third choice on the morning line for seven-time Oaklawn training champion Steve Asmussen. He will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., Oaklawn’s leading jockey the last four years.

Arkansas Derby runner-up Suddenbreakingnews is scheduled to break from post 2 under regular rider Luis Quinonez. The Mineshaft gelding, who won the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 at Oaklawn, is 20-1 on the morning line.

Also 20-1 is Whitmore, who finished third in the Arkansas Derby for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. The Pleasantly Perfect gelding, scheduled to break from post 10, will try to give jockey Victor Espinoza an unprecedented third consecutive Kentucky Derby victory. Before running third in the Arkansas Derby, Whitmore finished second in the Southwest and second in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn.

“He cracks me up. He's all attitude,” said Moquett, who described how Whitmore threw him a warning kick Thursday morning when he was in his stall. “It's got to be his way. If we get the trip, they're going to know who we are after the race.”

Cherry Wine (30-1) is the second of two also-eligibles and will need two defections before Friday’s scratch time (8 a.m., Central) to draw into the Kentucky Derby field. He ran fourth in the Rebel.

Probable post time for the Kentucky Derby is 5:34 p.m. (Central). NBC will provide live coverage.

Creator is trying to become the fourth Arkansas Derby winner to capture the Kentucky Derby, following Sunny’s Halo in 1983, Smarty Jones in 2004 and American Pharoah last year. He broke his maiden Feb. 27 at Oaklawn before running third in the Rebel and scoring a last-to-first 1 ¼-length victory in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16.

Creator became the first Arkansas Derby winner to have broken his maiden at Oaklawn since Temperence Hill in 1980. Temperence Hill wasn’t nominated to the Kentucky Derby, but won the Belmont Stakes en route to champion 3-year-old male honors.

Stakes Buffet

In addition to the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) and the Kentucky Derby, numerous Oaklawn-raced horses are entered in stakes races Friday and Saturday at Churchill Downs.

On Friday, Theogony is entered in the $300,000 La Troienne (G1); Marquee Miss and Nickname are entered in the $200,000 Eight Belles (G2); American Sailor, Alsvid, Weast Hill, Speightsong and Guns Loaded are entered in the $150,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3); Natchez, Departing and Noble Bird are entered in the $400,000 Alysheba (G2); and Adore is entered in the $150,000 Edgewood (G3).

Marquee Miss was one of Oaklawn’s top 3-year-old fillies this year, winning the $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 15 and $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 6.

Weast Hill is unbeaten in five career starts at Oaklawn, including the $100,000 Arkansas Breeders’ April 1 in his last start. The Arkansas-bred gelding will be making his grass debut in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint.

Alsvid won the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) in 2015.

On Saturday, Cash Control is entered in the $300,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2); Kobe’s Back and Holy Boss are entered in the $500,000 Churchill Downs (G2); Sarah Sis, Super Saks, Kathballu and Taris are entered in the $300,000 Humana Distaff (G1); Cutacorner is entered in the $300,000 American Turf (G2); and Discreetness, Ralis, Torrontes, Gray Sky, American Dubai and Unbridled Outlaw are entered in the $250,000 Pat Day Mile (G3).

Holy Boss won the $100,000 Bachelor Stakes last year. Sarah Sis won the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) last year.

Super Saks won the $150,000 Carousel Stakes April 14. Discreetness won the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18.

Eyes of Texas

Multiple stakes winner Carve will have another to crack $1 million in career earnings in the $200,000 Texas Mile (G3) Friday at Lone Star.

Carve, who has $975,640 in career earnings, most recently ran unplaced in the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 16 at Oaklawn. Before that race, Carve ran third in Oaklawn’s $100,000 Essex Handicap Feb. 13 and seventh in the $350,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) March 19.

Carve, a 6-year-old gelded son of First Samurai, will reach the career milestone with a top two finish in the Texas Mile. The 3-1 second choice in the program is scheduled to break from post 3 under Iram Diego, and carry equal top weight of 119 pounds.

Carve is owned by Mike Langford, who also campaigned multiple stakes winner Jonesboro, who  surpassed $1 million in career earnings with a victory in the 2009 Texas Mile.

Also entered in the Texas Mile are Aces High, a 2015 allowance/optional claiming winner at Oaklawn; Shotgun Kowboy, fourth in the Razorback; Hip Four Sixtynine, third in last year’s $100,000 King Cotton Stakes at Oaklawn; and Wolf Man Rocket, who broke his maiden in last year’s $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Now with trainer Tom Howard of Hot Springs, Wolf Man Rocket made three starts this year at Oaklawn, finishing second in two allowance events.

Probable post time for the Texas Mile is 8:57 p.m. (Central).

Finish Lines

Mal Guapo dead-heated for victory in Wednesday’s seventh race at Churchill Downs, a $50,000 claimer for older horses, to give 2000 Oaklawn riding champion Jon Court his 3,966th career victory, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Mal Guapo also represented the 478th career victory for Brad Cox, Oaklawn’s fourth-leading trainer this year. On behalf of owners Joel and Ali Rush of Hot Springs, Cox claimed Mal Guapo for $40,000 last May at Churchill Downs. Mal Guapo has won five races since being claimed, including a Jan. 28 allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn in his 6-year-old debut. Court was Oaklawn’s sixth-leading rider this year. … Big Red Rocket, runner-up as a maiden in the $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes April 16 at Oaklawn, is now at Churchill Downs with trainer Al Stall, said Kathy Howard of Hot Springs, racing manager for the colt’s owner, Frank Fletcher. Big Red Rocket began his career in Southern California with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert before being moved to Howard’s husband, trainer Tom Howard, in March at Oaklawn. Fletcher, who employs the three trainers, won the 2015 Northern Spur with the maiden Wolf Man Rocket, then trained by Baffert. … Rocket Time, an allowance/optional claiming winner March 26 at Oaklawn for Fletcher and Stall, is entered in Saturday’s first race at Churchill Downs. The mile race is another allowance/optional claimer. … Adhara, unplaced in two allowance races this year at Oaklawn, won the $65,000 El Paso Times Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Tuesday at Sunland Park. Seven-time Oaklawn champion Steve Asmussen trains the daughter of Cowboy Cal for owner/breeder Winchell Thoroughbreds.

 

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