Friday, April 07, 2017

 

Silver Dust Works toward Arkansas Derby

 

Silver Dust worked in company for trainer Randy Morse on Friday morning Oaklawn in advance of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15.

 

Breezing over a fast track following the renovation break, Silver Dust and stablemate Conquest Wildcat were both credited with a 5-furlong bullet :59.40 (they worked from the half-mile pole to the seven-eighths pole). Clockers caught both horses in :22.80 for their final quarter-miles and galloping out 6 furlongs in 1:13.80.

 

Owned by Tom Durant, Silver Dust is coming off a fifth-place finish in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18, the final major local prep for the Arkansas Derby. The gray son of Tapit, finished fourth in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20 in his 3-year-old debut. Durant purchased Silver Dust for $510,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co’s March sale of 2-year-olds in training.

 

Conquest Wildcat, a 3-year-old Wildcat Heir colt, was a sharp first-level allowance/optional claiming winner sprinting March 17.

 

There are 10 early probables for the Arkansas Derby, according to the Oaklawn racing department: Classic Empire, Conquest Mo Money, Lookin At Lee, Malagacy, One Liner, Petrov, Rockin Rudy, Sonneteer, Silver Dust and Untrapped.

 

One Liner and Malagacy, both trained by Todd Pletcher, are unbeaten in three career starts. One Liner won the Southwest; Malagacy won the Rebel.

 

Post positions for the Arkansas Derby will be drawn Wednesday.

 

The 1 1/8-mile race offers 170 points (100-40-20-10) toward starting eligibility for the May 6 Kentucky Derby.

 

$2 Million Man

 

Four-time defending Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. became the first jockey at the meet to reach $2 million in purse earnings when favored Swing and Sway ($4) won Thursday’s eighth race, a first-level allowance/optional claiming sprint for 3-year-old fillies for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs.

 

Santana ($2,013,298) reached the milestone on the 50th day of the scheduled 57-day meeting. He set a single-season Oaklawn record for purse earnings last year ($4,064,073).

 

Santana is involved in a hotly contested race for leading rider. With seven days remaining in the meeting, Ramon Vazquez tops the standings with 42 victories, followed by Santana (41), Geovanni Franco (40) and Alex Canchari (39).

 

Vazquez and Canchari also recorded victories Thursday. Canchari won the third race on Our Addi Belle ($7.20) for trainer Tim Martin and Vazquez won the fifth race aboard favored Strike Perfection ($5.80) for trainer Scott Young.

 

Santana and Vazquez, Oaklawn’s second-leading rider the last two years, are both represented by Ruben Munoz.

 

“Right at this point, I’m very grateful to be so close to the top,” Munoz said Friday morning. “I’m very happy to be so close, and I think both will finish strong.”

 

Hail to the Chief?

 

Chief Cicatriz will work Saturday morning under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel toward a possible start in the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) for older horses April 15, trainer Shawn Davis said Friday morning.

 

The Turf Paradise-based Chief Cicatriz suffered his first loss in six career starts in the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 11, the final major local prep for the Count Fleet. He was beaten 13 ¼ lengths by Whitmore, who is scheduled to make his next start in the Count Fleet.

 

“We want to see how’s feeling and everything,” Davis said. “The last time, he wasn’t quite right. His blood count was a little off.”

 

Chief Cicatriz, who remained at Oaklawn under the care of trainer Mike Johnson following the Hot Springs, worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 last Saturday. 

 

Borel is the regular rider of multiple stakes winner Ivan Fallunovalot, who will miss the Count Fleet because of an ankle injury, trainer Tom Howard of Hot Springs said Thursday morning.

 

Finish Lines

 

Trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs has dropped his appeal of the race-related disqualification of Our Majesty from her 1 ½-length victory in the $150,000 Purple Martin Stakes for 3-year-old filly sprinters March 25, state steward Stan Bowker said Thursday afternoon. Stewards disqualified Our Majesty and placed her fourth for interference shortly after the 6-furlong race started. The Arkansas Racing Commission had been scheduled to hear Moquett’s appeal Saturday. … Co-owner/trainer Ingrid Mason said Friday morning that she’s leaning toward the $250,000 Pat Day Mile (G3) May 6 at Churchill Downs for unbeaten late Triple Crown nominee Rapid Dial’s next start. Rapid Dial (2 for 2 at the meeting) is also under consideration for the $250,000 Illinois Derby (G3) April 22 at Hawthorne, Mason said. Rapid Dial worked a half-mile in :49.80 after the renovation break Thursday morning. … Mason said she hopes to run Jan. 28 maiden special weights graduate Seven Forty Seven in a first-level allowance race before the meeting ends April 15. Seven Forty Seven finished fifth in the $125,000 Gazebo Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters March 4 in his last start. … Trainer Grant Forster, a former Oaklawn regular who has been based at Fair Grounds during the winter in recent years, said he plans to start two horses before the meeting ends. … Through Thursday, the 50th day of the scheduled 57-day meeting, 393 claims have totaled $5,256,750.

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