Tuesday, August 01, 2017
Apple Blossom Handicap winner Stellar Wind won her third straight Grade 1 of the year in Sunday’s Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar; Hot Shot Kid, an Oaklawn maiden winner, earned his fifth straight victory with his win in the $85,000 Minnesota Derby Saturday at Canterbury Park.
Stellar Win in Good Company after Clement Hirsch Win
Stellar Wind became the third horse in the last 15 years to sweep Oaklawn’s Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) and Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) in the same year with a narrow victory in the $300,000 event for fillies and mares Sunday at Del Mar.
Ridden by soon-to-be Hall of Fame inductee Victor Espinoza, Stellar Wind edged Vale Dori by a neck as the 1-2 favorite. The winner covered 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:43.92 and is now 3 for 3 this year, including the $600,000 Apple Blossom April 14 in her 5-year-old debut.
Stellar Wind follows Azeri (2002 and 2003) and Zenyatta (2008 and 2010) as horses to sweep the Apple Blossom and Clement L. Hirsch in the same year. Azeri was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2010. Zenyatta was a 2016 Hall of Fame inductee. Azeri was voted Horse of the Year in 2002, while Zenyatta claimed the same honor in 2010.
Two other Hall of Famers, Bayakoa and Paseana, also won the Apple Blossom and Clement L. Hirsch.
Stellar Wind, the country’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2015, increased her career earnings to $2,233,200 following her 10th victory from 15 starts. As part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, Stellar Wind earned an automatic berth into the $2 million Distaff (G1) Nov. 3 at Santa Anita with her victory.
Stellar Wind races for Hronis Racing LLC and trainer John Sadler. On April 15 at Oaklawn, they teamed to win the $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes with Cistron (co-owned with Little Red Feather Racing) and finish sixth one race earlier with Moe Candy in the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3). Moe Candy ran third in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) Saturday at Del Mar.
Stellar Wind is by Curlin, who won Oaklawn’s Arkansas Derby and Rebel Stakes in 2007 en route to Horse of the Year honors.
A Real Hot Shot
Odds-on favorite Hot Shot Kid recorded his fifth consecutive victory with a three-quarter length decision in the $85,000 Minnesota Derby Saturday at Canterbury Park.
Hot Shot Kid ($2.40) broke his maiden April 15 at Oaklawn (closing day) and is 4 for 4 at Canterbury, the last two stakes events.
A gelded son of Majestic Warrior, Hot Shot Kid is owned by Warren Bush and trained by Oaklawn regular Mac Robertson. Hot Shot Kid is regularly ridden by Alex Canchari, who won 45 races this year at Oaklawn to tie for third in the standings.
The mile and 70-yard Minnesota Derby was restricted to state-breds. Hot Shot Kid ran the distance over a fast track in 1:42.91.
Hot Shot Kid is among six maiden special weights graduates (all 3-year-olds) from the 2017 Oaklawn meeting to return and win a stakes race.
Smokin Now (Jan. 14) won the $65,000 Golden Circle April 28 at Prairie Meadows. Hence (Jan. 16) won the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) March 26 at Sunland Park and $250,000 Iowa Derby (G3) July 7 at Prairie Meadows. Five O One (Feb. 3) won the $100,000 Rainbow for Arkansas-bred colts and geldings March 31 at Oaklawn. Swing and Sway (Feb. 19) won the $50,000 Niagara for New York-breds June 19 at Finger Lakes. Ministry (March 5) won the $100,000 Rainbow Miss for Arkansas-bred fillies April 1 at Oaklawn.
Lone Star Stars
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen won 79 races to easily capture the title at the Lone Star Park meeting that ended Sunday. He also led all trainers in purse earnings at the meet ($1,072,886), according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization, and had a meet-high 31 victories as an owner.
Asmussen has won eight training titles at Oaklawn since 2007, including this year with 41 victories. He was also leading trainer at this year’s Churchill Downs spring/summer meeting.
Richard Eramia topped all jockeys in victories (68) and purse earnings ($1,023,083) at Lone Star.
Eramia, in his first stint riding regularly at Oaklawn, had nine victories and $808,741 in purse earnings this year in Hot Springs. He won his first Oaklawn stakes race aboard Illussion Artist in the $150,000 Carousel for older female sprinters April 8 and also rode Sonneteer, then a maiden, to a runner-up finish in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18.
Multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Ivan Fallunovalot, returning from an ankle injury, recorded a 3-furlong bullet work (:34.20) Saturday at Lone Star Park for trainer Tom Howard of Hot Springs. … Greeley and Ben, fifth in his 3-year-old debut, a March 18 entry-level allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn, resurfaced to win a first-level allowance event Saturday at Ellis Park under Hall of Famer Calvin Borel, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 1995 and 2001. Greeley and Ben broke his maiden Nov. 13 at Churchill Downs, edging Hence by a neck. Hence broke his maiden Jan. 16 (Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s 500th career Oaklawn victory) before winning the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) March 26 at Sunland Park and $250,000 Iowa Derby (G3) July 7 at Prairie Meadows. … Eskenformoney, second in the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares March 18 at Oaklawn, finished second in the $100,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3) Sunday at Monmouth Park. … Trainer Paul Holthus of Hot Springs has 487 career victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Holthus had three winners this year at Oaklawn.