Thursday, February 09, 2017

 

Silver Dust to Make Debut in Southwest

 

Churchill Downs maiden graduate Silver Dust will make his 3-year-old debut in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20 at Oaklawn, trainer Randy Morse said Thursday morning. Morse said Corey Lanerie will ride Silver Dust in the 1 1/16-mile race, Oaklawn’s second of four Kentucky Derby preps.

 

A lightly raced gray son of Tapit, Silver Dust ran fifth in his Oct. 30 career debut at Churchill Downs before breaking his maiden by 3 ½ lengths Nov. 20 in his last start. He was ridden by Lanerie in his maiden victory and covered a mile over a fast track in 1:36.66.

 

Prominent Texas automobile dealer Tom Durant purchased Silver Dust for $510,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co’s March sale of 2-year-olds in training.

 

“I just pick them out and Mr. Durant does the bidding,” Morse said. “He’s a Tapit. He has all the pedigree. But at this point, he hasn’t done anything. He’s got to prove it.”

 

Silver Dust has a half-dozen published workouts at Oaklawn since New Year’s Eve, the last a 6-furlong move from the gate in 1:14.20 Tuesday morning.

 

Other locally based horses scheduled to run in the Southwest include Uncontested, Petrov and Warrior’s Club, 1-2-4, respectively, in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16, and Lookin At Lee, fourth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 5 at Santa Anita in his last start.

 

Nominations to the Southwest close Friday.

 

Oaklawn’s Kentucky Derby prep series continues with the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18 and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15.

 

On the Grounds

 

Gun Runner and Lookin At Lee arrived at 3:15 p.m. (Central) Wednesday for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen after previously being based with his Fair Grounds division.

 

Both horses are scheduled to run Feb. 20, with Gun Runner making his 4-year-old debut in the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) and Lookin At Lee launching his 3-year-old campaign in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3).

 

Gun Runner won the $500,000 Clark Handicap (G1) Nov. 25 at Churchill Downs in his last start.

 

Lookin At Lee finished fourth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 5 at Santa Anita in his

last start.

 

View from the Top

 

Three trainers have reached double digits for victories through the first 16 days of racing, including Robertino Diodoro’s meet-high 13. Diodoro has made a huge splash since he first wintered at Oaklawn in 2015, winning 31 percent of his starts (44 of 143), including four stakes.

 

Diodoro tied for fifth in last year’s standings with 22 victories, but is poised to make a run at this year’s title because he has numbers (approximately 40 horses) and is active at the claim box.

 

“I’d be lying if I tell you we’re not looking at that, but at the same time we don’t want to cook our whole barn for that,” Diodoro said. “I have done that in the past at other racetracks.”

 

Diodoro, whose Oaklawn division is overseen by Rob Atras, recorded his fourth local stakes victory in Saturday’s $125,000 King Cotton for older sprinters with Storm Advisory ($26). A $62,500 claim last June, Storm Advisory turned the tables Saturday on three horses who had beaten him last fall.

 

Two-time King Cotton winner Apprehender ran third as the 11-1 fourth choice. Ivan Fallunovalot, the two-time defending King Cotton champion, finished fourth as the 2-5 favorite. Rockport Kat, also trained by Diodoro, finished fifth as the 5-1 second choice.

 

Storm Advisory was coming off a sharp allowance victory Dec. 9 at Remington Park.

 

“The chief here said Storm Advisory was training better than ever,” Diodoro said, referring to Atras. “He’s a horse that’s going into his 5-year-old year and showing signs of getting better, too. Even a couple of guys that hang out in the grandstand in the morning made comments about how this horse was training like a machine.”

 

Diodoro said the hope is Storm Advisory will make his next start in the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 11, a race the trainer won in 2016 with Subtle Indian. Oaklawn’s biggest race for older sprinters is the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 15. Subtle Indian also won last year’s Count Fleet.

 

Diodoro is also the runaway leader in the trainer standings at Turf Paradise and leads Federico Villafranco (12 victories) and Ron Moquett (10) at Oaklawn. He has a 13-5-7 record from 40 starters at the meeting and purse earnings of $483,703.

 

Wayne’s World

 

Warrior’s Club, in company, worked a half-mile in :47.60 over a fast track Thursday morning for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas in preparation for the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds Feb. 20.

 

Warrior’s Club, who races for the non-profit Churchill Downs Racing Club, finished fourth in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16 in his 3-year-old debut.

 

Lukas, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 1987 and 2011, has saddled four winners at the meet, including two other horses nominated to the Triple Crown.Dilettante (by Unbridled’s Song) broke his maiden by 2 ¾ lengths at a mile Jan. 29. Horse Fly, a son of Mineshaft, broke his maiden by a nose at 1 1/16 miles in Saturday’s ninth race.

 

Both Dilettante and Horse Fly race for Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley). Dilettante received a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 88 – a career high – for his breakthrough victory. He ran the mile over a fast track in 1:38.53. Runner-up Vandelay, a Triple Crown nominee who was making his two-turn debut, received a career-high 83 Beyer.

 

“That may be a pivotal race right there,” Lukas said.

 

Dilettante was winless in six starts as a 2-year-old, but ran second twice, including a 1-mile maiden special weights event to the promising Silver Dust Nov. 20 at Churchill Downs.

 

Dilettante finished fourth, beaten 2 ¼ lengths, in his 3-year-old debut Jan. 13. Asked why it took so long for the colt to break his maiden, Lukas said: “Two horrible trips.”

 

Lukas noted Dilettante had trouble in the January mile race (breaking in and racing five-wide on the first turn). The trainer said he has no immediate plans for Dilettante.

 

Finish Lines

 

Suddenbreakingnews worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 after the renovation break Thursday morning for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel, who said the 4-year-old gelding is under consideration for the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) Feb. 20. Suddenbreakingnews won the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) last February at Oaklawn. Thursday’s time equaled the fastest of 12 works recorded at the distance. … Seven Forty Seven, a Jan. 28 maiden special weights graduate for co-owner/trainer Ingrid Mason, worked a half-mile in :48 before the renovation break Thursday morning. Seven Forty Seven is a 3-year-old gelded son of Tiz Wonderful. … Jockey Alex Birzer has 2,992 career victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. … Arkansas-bred standout Weast Hill (6 for 6 at Oaklawn) is the 1-2 program favorite for Thursday’s eighth race, a state-bred allowance sprint. … Torrent is the 3-1 program favorite for Saturday’s $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Nine horses are entered, including Perfect Wife (7-2), who beat Torrent in the $100,000 Trapeze Stakes Dec. 11 at Remington Park. … Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said he has no immediate plans for multiple stakes winner Discreetness, a recent addition to the trainer’s barn. Formerly with trainer Jinks Fires of Hot Springs, Discreetness has lost seven consecutive races since winning his 3-year-old debut, the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes, last year at Oaklawn. Owner Dwight Pruett (Xpress Thoroughbreds) also moved Will Munnings – winner of last year’s $100,000 Gazebo Stakes at Oaklawn – to Moquett earlier this year. Moquett said he had previously trained for Pruett, who also continues to employ Fires.

 

 

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