Thursday, February 02, 2017
Apprehender Returns in Search of Third King Cotton Stakes
Ivan Fallunovalot isn’t the only two-time King Cotton Stakes winner entered in the $125,000 race for older sprinters Saturday at Oaklawn. Apprehender won the 6-furlong King Cotton in 2013 and 2014 for trainer Chris Richard.
Now with trainer Gene Jacquot, Apprehender, an 8-year-old Posse gelding, bids for a record third King Cotton victory, facing, among others, two-time defending champion Ivan Fallunovalot.
“I think we have a good shot,” Jacquot said during training hours Thursday morning. “There’s speed in the race, and he’ll come running.”
Apprehender exits a runner-up finish, beaten 2 ¾ lengths by Whitmore, in a Jan. 15 second-level allowance/optional claiming sprint. The final time of 1:08.81 marked the fastest 6 furlongs ever run in January at Oaklawn.
Only a few months earlier, Jacquot said Iowa owners John and Christine Robson (Dream Farm LLC) were considering retiring the consistent Apprehender, who has bankrolled $456,869 off an 8-9-6 record from 31 lifetime starts. Jacquot’s response? Why?
“He’s just getting good again,” Jacquot said. “They asked me, ‘Would you take him and give him a good home as a lead pony?’ I said, ‘Absolutely, but I want to run him.’ ”
Jacquot said he advised the Robsons to give the gelding – winless in four starts last summer at Prairie Meadows – a shot at Remington Park.
Apprehender responded by running second (at odds of 52-1) to Ivan Fallunovalot in a Sept. 1 allowance sprint, then won a Sept. 17 allowance race in a sizzling 1:08.60 for 6 furlongs.
Apprehender, who can eclipse $500,000 in career earnings with a victory Saturday, will be making his fourth appearance in the King Cotton. He ran fourth in the 2015 King Cotton, then, in his final start for Richard, finished third in the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 7, 2015, at Oaklawn.
Richard said shortly after the Hot Springs that Apprehender injured a rear ankle during a routine gallop. Jacquot said the problem involved a suspensory ligament and was serious.
“I took quite a while to get him back,” Jacquot said. “Chris quit coming to Iowa, so Mr. Robson asked me if I would train him.”
Apprehender resurfaced May 28, 2016, at Prairie Meadows and finished second in the $65,000 Ed Skinner Memorial Stakes. He has made eight subsequent starts, finishing first, second or third six times.
“He’s a cool horse,” Jacquot said.
In addition to Ivan Fallunovalot and Apprehender, Helooksthepart, Mr. Z, Storm Advisory, Conquest Twister, Recount, Rockport Kat and Crewman are also entered in the King Cotton.
Probable post time for the King Cotton, the eighth of nine races, is 4:38 p.m. (Central).
Racing begins at 1:05 p.m.
Trainer Scott Young said Thursday morning that he plans to start lightly raced Jerrid in a Feb. 18 entry-level allowance/optional claiming race rather than the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20, Oaklawn’s second major prep for the Kentucky Derby.
In his 3-year-old and two-turn debut, Jerrid finished second, beaten two lengths by Chief Know It All, in a first-level allowance/optional claimer Friday at a mile. A son of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, he finished ahead of a stakes winner, All Right, and Young American and Cu Rahy, sixth and ninth, respectively, in the $300,000 Springboard Mile Dec. 11 at Remington Park.
“We’d like to try and make the Southwest, but I think he still needs a bit more experience before the tougher races,” Young said.
Jerrid broke his maiden at 6 ½ furlongs Dec. 2 at Remington Park.
Young said he was pleased with the colt’s performance against Chief Know It All, who was making his first start since finishing third, beaten 7 ½ lengths by Guest Suite, in a first-level allowance/optional claimer Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs. Guest Suite returned to win the $200,000 LeComte Stakes (G3) Jan. 21 at Fair Grounds.
Jerrid pressed the pace from the start Friday, a day that favored front-runners and stalkers.
“I think it helped him, but I don’t think he has to be as forwardly placed as he was,” Young said. “First time two turns, I think he was a little charged up to get in the game early. But we were very happy with the way he settled, and he kept fighting down the lane.”
Both the Feb. 18 allowance/optional claimer and Southwest are 1 1/16 miles.
Locally based horses pointing for the Southwest include Uncontested and Petrov, first and second, respectively, in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16.
Uncontested galloped just after the track opened Thursday morning for trainer Wayne Catalano. Southwest candidate Warrior’s Club, fourth in the Smarty Jones, worked a half-mile in :48.60 just after the track opened Thursday morning for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Chief Know It All is under consideration for the Southwest, trainer Brad Cox said.
The track was rated fast for workouts Thursday morning.
Alex Birzer, Oaklawn’s co-third-leading rider this year with eight victories, is named on six horses Thursday as he continues to pursue a career milestone. He needs nine victories to become the 174th jockey to reach 3,000 in North America, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.
Birzer, 43, rode his first winner in 1992. He is also nearing a career milestone at Oaklawn, with 289 victories since 1999.
Birzer has 10 career Oaklawn stakes victories, including the $125,000 Dixie Belle Jan. 21 aboard Chanel’s Legacy.
Trainer Paul Holthus of Hot Springs said he’s shopping for an allowance race for Miss Mo Kelly, who ran fifth in the $125,000 Pippin Stakes for older fillies and mares Jan. 14. Miss Mo Kelly was coming off a victory in the $100,000 She’s All In Handicap Dec. 11 at Remington Park. … Nominations to the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Feb. 11 close Friday. … Projected Martha Washington starter My Sweet Stella worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 over a fast track Wednesday morning for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. The time equaled the fastest recorded at the distance. … Through the first 12 days of racing, 93 claims have totaled $1,218,500. … Madefromlucky ($1,035,000) surpassed $1 million in career earnings with a third-place finish in the $400,000 Poseidon Handicap Saturday at Gulfstream Park, becoming the third graduate of the 2015 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn to reach seven figures. Madefromlucky finished fourth in the $1 million Grade I race, behind runaway winner American Pharoah ($8,650,300) and third-place finisher Mr. Z ($1,177,003). Madefromlucky also finished a distant second to American Pharoah, the eventual Triple Crown winner and 2015 Horse of the Year, in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) a month earlier at Oaklawn. Mr. Z is entered in the $125,000 King Cotton Stakes Saturday at Oaklawn.