Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Texas Chrome Eying Return to Oaklawn in ‘17

Trainer J.R. Caldwell said Monday afternoon that multiple graded stakes winner Texas Chrome is scheduled to be stabled at Oaklawn for the 2017 meeting that begins Jan. 13. The multiple stakes winner, who began his 3-year-old season with a third-place finish in Oaklawn’s $150,000 Bachelor Stakes April 15, is pointing for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.

“We plan on being at Oaklawn with him and just see how he goes,” said Caldwell, who trains the colt for Texas plumbing company executive Danny Keene. “It changes from running against straight 3-year-olds. Now, he’s going to start running against older horses. It just kind of depends on if he keeps moving forward, and how well he does, where we go with him. But, we’ll probably campaign him, for sure, another year.”

Caldwell said he plans to freshen Texas Chrome after the Dirt Mile, which would be his eighth start this year. He has won his last three starts (all stakes), including the $400,000 Super Derby (G3) Sept. 10 at Louisiana Downs and $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (G3) Sept. 25 at Remington Park.

The $500,000 Razorback Handicap Feb. 20 highlights Oaklawn’s early season schedule for two-turn stakes horses.

Caldwell won four races at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting. Keene won six races this year in Hot Springs. Texas Chrome, a Texas-bred son of Grasshopper, is 8 of 13 overall and has earned $842,642.

Making the Grade

Forever Unbridled became a dual Grade 1 winner, taking the $400,000 Beldame Stakes for fillies and mares Saturday at Belmont Park. Trained by Dallas Stewart, Forever Unbridled won the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 15 at Oaklawn.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Forever Unbridled won the 1 1/8-mile Beldame by 2 ¼ lengths and paid $3.50 as the 3-5 favorite. Carry equal top weight of 123 pounds, she ran the distance in 1:50.24 over a muddy surface.

After winning the Apple Blossom, Forever Unbridled finished second in the $1 million Ogden Phipps (G1) June 11 at Belmont Park and third in the $750,000 Personal Ensign (G1) Aug. 27 at Saratoga. Forever Unbridled has a 5-3-3 record from 13 lifetime starts and earnings of $1,411,600.

Forever Unbridled, bred and owned by Charles Fipke, is scheduled to make her next start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.

Havre de Grace won the Apple Blossom and Beldame in 2011 en route to Horse of the Year honors. She skipped the Distaff that year and ran fourth against males in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

Finish Lines

Whitmore, one of the leading 3-year-olds at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting, returned to the work tab Sunday morning at Churchill Downs, covering a half-mile in :53.80 over a fast track for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. Whitmore, runner-up in Oaklawn’s $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) and $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), is unraced since the May 7 Kentucky Derby. Next-race plans are pending for Whitmore, Moquett said. ... Oaklawn winners Noble Bird and Hawaakom ran 1-2, respectively, in the $175,000 Lukas Classic Saturday at Churchill Downs. ... Win the Space, sixth as a maiden to American Pharoah in Oaklawn’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) in 2015, ran third to California Chrome in the $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes (G1) Saturday at Santa Anita. California Chrome was the 2014 Horse of the Year. American Pharoah was the 2015 Horse of the Year. … Floroplus, a 2-year-old City Zip colt, won his career debut Friday at Churchill Downs for trainer Randy Morse, an Oaklawn regular, and owner Tom Durant. Floroplus ran 5 ½ furlongs over a wet-fast track in 1:04.56 and paid $3.60 as the 4-5 favorite. Durant, a prominent Texas auto dealer, purchased the colt for $585,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s March 2-year-old in training sale. … Two-time Oaklawn riding champion Robby Albarado (1996-1997) rode 15 winners to claim the title at the 11-day Churchill Downs September meet that concluded Sunday.

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