Collected, Cherry Wine to Represent Oaklawn in Preakness
Two Oaklawn-raced horses are expected to be entered Wednesday for the Preakness, the second leg of racing’s Triple Crown.
Among the horses expected to challenge unbeaten Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist in Saturday’s 1 3/16-mile race at Pimlico are Collected, fourth in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15, and Cherry Wine, fourth in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19.
The Southwest and Rebel were Oaklawn’s final major preps for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16. Neither Collected or Cherry Wine ran in the Arkansas Derby or Kentucky Derby.
Collected has won both of his starts since the Southwest, taking the $415,000 Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes March 20 at Sunland Park and the $150,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) April 16 at Keeneland.
Cherry Wine’s only start since the Rebel was a third-place finish in the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (G1) April 9 at Keeneland.
Two other Oaklawn-raced horses, including Kentucky Derby fifth-place finisher Suddenbreakingnews, are passing the Preakness.
Suddenbreakingnews is awaiting the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown, June 11 at Belmont Park. The Donnie K. Von Hemel-trained gelding won the Southwest before finishing fifth in the Rebel and second in the Arkansas Derby.
Steve Landers Racing’s Dazzling Gem, who, like Cherry Wine, didn’t have sufficient points to run in the Kentucky Derby, is scheduled to run in Saturday’s $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico.
“That’s where we’re leaning,” trainer Brad Cox said. “Nyquist isn’t in there. That has a lot to do with it.”
A winner of his first two career starts this winter at Oaklawn Park, Dazzling Gem breezed a half-mile in 49.60 seconds Sunday at Churchill Downs. After back-to-back races at nine furlongs, including a third in the Louisiana Derby (G2), the Misremembered colt cuts back to a distance where he won Feb. 13 in his first try against winners.
“Honestly right now it might not be a bad thing to shorten this horse up a little bit. His last two races have been a mile and an eighth,” Cox said. “I’m not saying he can’t handle a mile and an eighth, but he certainly didn’t jump out that he wanted even more ground going a mile and three-sixteenths, so we’ll back him up a little bit and it’s softer competition in the Sir Barton as opposed to the Preakness.
“I think this will be a great stepping-stone to bigger and better things, hopefully, the rest of the year,” Cox said. “I think this is the most realistic spot for the horse and the best spot as far as moving forward.”
Jon Court, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2000, recorded his 500th career victory at Churchill Downs in Sunday’s first race aboard C Islandsurprise, according track communications director Darren Rogers.
According to Rogers, Court, 55, became the 13th jockey to win 500 races at Churchill Downs, and fifth Oaklawn riding champion to reach the milestone, following all-time leader Pat Day (2,482 victories), Calvin Borel (1,189), Robby Albarado (1,063) and James McKnight (883).
Day won 12 consecutive Oaklawn riding titles (1983-1994). Borel was Oaklawn’s leading rider in 1995 and 2001. Both are members of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Albarado was Oaklawn’s leading rider in 1996 and 1997, with McKnight topping the standings in 1970.
Court has 615 career victories at Oaklawn, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. His 600th victory in Hot Springs came aboard Sadie Be Mine in the ninth race Feb. 21. He finished with 29 victories – his highest total at Oaklawn since 2009 – to finish sixth in the standings in 2016.
According to Equibase, Court has 3,967 victories and $97,882,890 in purse earnings in his career since 1980. Court rode his first winner at Oaklawn in 1981.
I Will Score and Texas Chrome, second and third, respectively, in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters April 15 at Oaklawn, were next-out stakes winners over the weekend.
I Will Score ($8.80) won Saturday’s $100,000 Lazaro Barrera at Santa Anita under Martin Garcia, while Texas Chrome ($3.80) was a 10 ½-length winner of Sunday’s $75,000 Texas Stallion at Lone Star for trainer J.R. Caldwell and owner Danny Keene.
I Will Score covered 7 furlongs over a fast track in 1:21.30 for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Texas Chrome ran a mile over a fast track in 1:39.64 under Iram Diego.
Cupid worked a half-mile in :48.80 Monday morning at Churchill Downs, the 3-year-old colt’s first work since finishing 10th as the favorite in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16 at Oaklawn. Cupid underwent surgery following the race to correct a minor breathing problem. Cupid, who is under consideration for the June 11 Belmont Stakes, won the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn. … Supermason, fourth in last year’s $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn, set a 7 ½-furlong course record (1:26.93) in an allowance/optional claiming race Sunday at Lone Star Park for trainer Bret Calhoun. … Ramon Vazquez and Alex Birzer begin the week tied for first in the jockey standings at Prairie Meadows. Each has 15 victories. Vazquez (42 victories) and Birzer (30) finished second and fifth, respectively, this year at Oaklawn. … Danny Caldwell, Oaklawn’s leading owner the last three years, has a meet-high 10 victories at Prairie Meadows.