Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Tiger Moth becomes the third starter from the Grade 1 Apple Blossom to win a stakes race when she captured the $100,000 Groupie Doll Sunday at Ellis Park; Four-time Oaklawn leading owner Danny Caldwell secured his fourth straight title at Prairie Meadows that concluded its meet Sunday.
Tiger in Her Tank
Tiger Moth, who raced three times this year at Oaklawn, was a three-quarter length winner of the $100,000 Groupie Doll Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares Sunday at Ellis Park. Bred and owned by John D. Gunther and trained by Brad Cox, Tiger Moth became the third starter from the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 14 at Oaklawn to return and win a graded stakes race.
Apple Blossom champion Stellar Wind won the $400,000 Beholder Mile (G1) June 3 at Santa Anita and $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch (G1) July 30 at Del Mar. Apple Blossom runner-up Terra Promessa won the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3) May 19 at Pimlico.
Tiger Moth ran fourth in the Apple Blossom after finishing third in the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 18 and winning a Jan. 22 allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn.
The Azeri is the final major local prep for the Apple Blossom, among the country’s most prestigious races for older fillies and mares.
Cox, third in Oaklawn’s trainer standings, also won the 2015 Groupie Doll with Call Pat. Call Pat won the Azeri in 2016 to give Cox his 100th career Oaklawn victory.
Tiger Moth, a 5-year-old daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, increased her career earnings to $348,207 following her fifth victory from 17 starts. She covered the mile over a fast track in 1:36.30 and paid $9.40 to win.
Pinch Hit, who broke her maiden for Cox March 23 at Oaklawn, ran fourth in the Groupie Doll.
The Apple Blossom, which will have a record $700,000 purse in 2018, is scheduled for April 13 next year.
Caldwell Secures Second Leading Owner Title of the Year
Two down, one to go for Danny Caldwell, Oaklawn’s leading owner the last four years.
Caldwell finished with a meet-high 71 victories to capture the owner’s title at Prairie Meadows and move closer to his fourth consecutive personal triple crown. Caldwell has led the owner’s standings at his annual circuit of Oaklawn, Prairie Meadows and Remington Park every year since 2014. Remington (Caldwell’s home track) opens Aug. 25.
Caldwell edged Karl Broberg’s End Zone Athletics, Inc. (65 victories) to capture his fourth consecutive owner’s title at Prairie Meadows, which closed Saturday. Caldwell also led all owners in purse earnings with $1,250,913, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.
Broberg was Prairie Meadows’ leading trainer with 75 victories. Federico Villafranco (Caldwell’s trainer) finished second with 71 and led in purse earnings ($1,254,220).
Villafranco and Broberg ranked fourth and 13th, respectively, in this year’s Oaklawn standings.
Ramon Vazquez, Oaklawn’s second-leading rider the last four years, led all jockeys in victories (118) and purse earnings ($2,318,413) at Prairie Meadows. Vazquez, Caldwell’s go-to rider, won 29 percent of his 414 starts.
Caldwell won 33 percent of his 214 starts. Caldwell had 22 victories this year at Oaklawn.
Ricardo Santana Jr., Oaklawn’s leading rider the last five years, had a double Monday at Saratoga. … Oaklawn-raced Lovely Bernadette ran third in the $100,000 Pucker Up Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Arlington Park. … Apprentice Brett Birzer had his first career riding double Friday at Prairie Meadows, where he finished the meeting 3 for 50. Birzer, 17, got on horses in the morning during the 2017 Oaklawn season and rode his first race June 25 at Prairie Meadows. His father, Alex Birzer, was Oaklawn’s sixth-leading rider this year and had three victories Friday at Prairie Meadows. … Odds-on favorite Major Munnings, a 3-year-old full brother to Oaklawn stakes winner Will Munnings, remained perfect in two career starts with an entry-level allowance victory sprinting on the turf Friday at Ellis Park. Jon Court, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2000, rode the winner for his father-in-law, trainer Jinks Fires of Hot Springs, and owner Dwight Pruett of Texarkana, Ark. Court, Fires and Pruett teamed to win the $100,000 Gazebo Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters in 2016 at Oaklawn with Will Munnings, another son of Munnings. … Pruett co-owns Noble Freud, a 3-year-old New York-bred daughter of Freud who won an allowance/optional claimer on the turf Sunday at Saratoga. Noble Freud won her Feb. 16 career debut at Oaklawn for Fires before Pruett sold a majority interest in the filly and she was transferred to Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown in New York. Noble Freud, a half-sister to 2015 champion female sprint champion La Verdad, had been an Oaklawn workout partner of the Fires-trained Colonelsdarktemer, who won his Feb. 18 career debut in Hot Springs and the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G3) Aug. 5 at Mountaineer in his last start. … Copper Bullet was a sharp four-length winner of the $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds Sunday at Saratoga for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who has led the Oaklawn standings eight times since 2007. Copper Bullet is co-owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Willis Horton Racing LLC. Winchell, also in partnership, campaigns Gun Runner, easy winner of Oaklawn’s $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses Feb. 20. Willis Horton campaigned recent champions and Oaklawn stakes winners Will Take Charge and Take Charge Brandi with Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.