Oaklawn News

Sunday, February 12, 2017


Chanel’s Legacy to Go For Third Straight in Honeybee


Chanel’s Legacy will be pointed for the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 11 at Oaklawn, trainer Lynn Chleboard said Sunday morning. She stamped herself the top 3-year-old filly on the grounds with a 2 ½-length victory over My Sweet Stella in Saturday’s $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes at a mile.


Ridden by Alex Birzer, Chanel’s Legacy covered a mile over a fast track in 1:38.51 and paid $28.20. She was coming off a 2 ½-length victory over My Sweet Stella in the $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes at six furlongs Jan. 21. The Martha Washington was her first victory around two turns.


“The other two route races, they were just not timed properly, and she was a better filly than what she showed,” Chleborad said. “It wasn’t like she ran horribly. But this time, instead of of losing weight and not having enough time between races and everything else, she maintained her weight and was doing wonderful.”


Before the Dixie Belle, Chanel’s Legacy had run fourth in two mile races – the $400,000 Delta Princess Stakes (G3) Nov. 19 at Delta Downs and the $100,000 Trapeze Stakes Dec. 11 at Remington Park. Chleboard said her confidence was boosted by the filly’s sharp half-mile work (:48) Feb. 4.


“The breeze took nothing out of her,” Chleboard said. “Two days later, she was jumping in the stall and we had to take her to the track because she’s got a big motor.”


Finishing behind Chanel’s Legacy in the Martha Washington were Torrent (third) and Perfect Wife (eighth), 1-2, respectively, in the Trapeze.


Saturday’s victory was the fourth in seven lifetime starts for Chanel’s Legacy and raised her earnings to $234,394. She earned 10 points toward starting eligibility for the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) May 5 at Churchill Downs.


The 1 1/16-mile Honeybee is the final major local prep for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 14.


A gray Iowa-bred daughter of Dominus, Chanel’s Legacy races for her breeder, Allen Poindexter, Oaklawn’s leading owner in 2010. Poindexter raised Chanel’s Legacy on his 60-acre farm in Rogersville, Mo., and also has her 2-year-old half-sister, Chanel’s Pride, a daughter of 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup.





Getting Closer


Alex Birzer rode two winners Saturday to move closer to becoming the 174th jockey to reach 3,000 North American victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.


Birzer has 2,995 victories after winning the third race aboard Tap the Admiral ($8.80) for trainer Jon Arnett and the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes aboard Chanel’s Legacy ($28.20) for trainer Lynn Chleboard.


“It’s within site,” Birzer said Sunday morning. “It’s like being at the top of the lane and looking at the wire.”


The Martha Washington was the 293rd career Oaklawn victory for Birzer, 43, and 11th local stakes score. He is Oaklawn’s co-fourth-leading jockey with 12 victories through the first 19 days of racing. He also rode Chanel’s Legacy to victory in the $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Jan. 21.


“We’ve had a great meet,” Birzer said. “Lynn’s filly has really stepped up to the plate. We’re really proud of her. She’s running big right now.”


Birzer is named on seven horses Sunday, seven horses Thursday and four horses Friday.


Birzer lives in Council Grove, Kan., about 140 miles southwest of Kansas City. The jockey said he hopes his family (Birzer has a wife and three children) can witness his milestone victory in person.


“It would be nice if the family was here,” Birzer said. “But they’ve got school. That comes first.”


Smack Talk


Multiple stakes winner Smack Smack worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.40 over a fast track Sunday morning in advance of a possible start in the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses Feb. 20. He breezed about a half-hour after the track opened for Don Von Hemel of Hot Springs, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 1981.


“I’m going to look at it (Razorback), but I’m not a cinch to run,” Von Hemel said Sunday morning. “He’s nice little horse and I hate to throw him to the wolves. There might be some wolves in that race.”


The 1 1/16-mile Razorback is expected to be headed by Gun Runner, who closed his 3-year-old campaign by beating older horses in the $500,000 Clark Handicap (G1) Nov. 25 at Churchill Downs.


Smack Smack, bred and owned by country music star Toby Keith, is coming off a runner-up finish in the $125,000 Fifth Season Stakes Jan. 13. A 6-year-old gelded son Closing Argument, He has earned $955,430 in his 31-race career. Von Hemel, 82, has never trained a millionaire.


Sunday’s breeze was the third for Smack Smack since the Fifth Season.


“Nice work,” Von Hemel said.


The Razorback closed Friday with 31 nominations.




Finish Lines


Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said Sunday morning that Rowdy the Warrior was “likely” for the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20. Rowdy the Warrior, in his last start, finished third in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16. Other locally based 3-year-olds pointing for the 1 1/16-mile Southwest include Uncontested, Petrov and Warrior’s Club, 1-2-4, respectively, in the Smarty Jones, Lookin At Lee, Chief Know It All, Silver Dust and Hence. … Von Hemel said Ready to Confess will run in Saturday’s $150,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares. Ready to Confess finished second in the $125,000 Pippin Stakes Jan. 14 in her last start. Other locally based horses scheduled to run in the 1 1/16-mile Bayakoa include Pippin winner Terra Promessa, Pippin third Streamline and multiple stakes-winning sprinter Super Saks. The Bayakoa closed Friday with 24 nominations. … Von Hemel said Sunday morning that’s undecided about the next start for Suddenbreakingnews, but the 4-year-old gelding remains under consideration for the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) Feb. 20. Suddenbreakingnews won the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) last year at Oaklawn. … Gun Runner (Razorback) and Lookin At Lee (Southwest) schooled in the paddock before Saturday’s fifth race for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. … Favored Mo for the Money ($3.80) became Asmussen’s first winner for Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway, Ark., in Saturday’s fifth race. Asmussen, a seven-time Oaklawn champion, began training for the couple last summer. Alex Lieblong, who has campaigned Grade 1 winners Telling, The Big Beast and Embellish the Lace, is chairman of the Arkansas Racing Commission. Mo for the Money was claimed out of Saturday’s victory for $25,000 by 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman. … There have been 150 claims totaling $1,881,000 through the first 19 days of racing.