Oaklawn News

Silver Dust Pointing Toward Rebel Stakes

Lightly raced Silver Dust is pointing for the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds March 18 at Oaklawn, trainer Randy Morse said Friday morning.

Silver Dust finished fourth in Monday’s $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) under Corey Lanerie, beaten 12 ¼ lengths in his first start since a sparkling 3 ½-length maiden victory Nov. 20 at Churchill Downs. He was making just his third career start Monday – first in a stake – and first around two turns in the 1 1/16-mile Southwest.

“He ran pretty good, I thought,” Morse said after watching Silver Dust train Friday morning. “He was tight. Overall, he galloped out real strong after the race. I know the jock’s high on him, so that’s good enough for me.”

Silver Dust, a son of Tapit, finished fifth in his Oct. 30 career debut at Churchill Downs. Both of his races last year were a mile. He races for prominent Texas automobile dealer Tom Durant, who purchased the gray colt for $510,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s March Sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Lookin At Lee, third in the Southwest, is also pointing for the 1 1/16-mile Rebel, Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen said.

Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said Thursday morning that he was leaning on starting Southwest runner-up Petrov in the Rebel. Moquett trains and co-owns the colt with Rialto Racing Stables (Catherine Adams Hutt).
Million Dollar Man

Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen became the first trainer at the meet to reach $1 million in purse earnings when Lipan, a 3-year-old Warrior’s Reward colt, broke his maiden in Thursday’s ninth race. Asmussen ($1,002,075) reached seven figures on the 26th day of the scheduled 57-day meeting.

Oaklawn’s leading trainer seven times since 2007 didn’t reach $1 million in purse earnings during last year’s meeting until Day 33. He still set a single-season Oaklawn record for purse earnings for trainers last year ($3,448,729) and surpassed $21 million in career purse earnings in Hot Springs with Gun Runner’s victory in Monday’s $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses.

The Razorback was the 70th Oaklawn stakes victory for Asmussen. He has at least one Oaklawn stakes victory each year since his first in 1996, the same year he recorded his first winner in Hot Springs.

Asmussen has 512 career victories at Oaklawn, the 500th coming when Hence broke his maiden in the seventh race Jan. 16.

He has 14 victories at this year’s meet to rank third in the standings behind Robertino Diodoro (19) and Federico Villafranco (17). Trainer Ron Moquett ranks fourth in victories (13) and second in purse earnings ($785,806).

Jockey Luis Contreras is named on two horses for Asmussen Sunday.  Contreras is moving his tack from Santa Anita (co-10th-leading rider this season with nine victories) to ride first-call for Asmussen at Oaklawn. Coleman Lloyd will have his book.

Contreras is a two-time Sovereign Award winner (2011, 2012) as Canada’s top jockey.
You Can Call Me Al

Trainer Al Cates of Hot Springs said I Be Jeannie B, 5-2 program favorite for Friday’s $100,000 Downthedustyroad Stakes for Arkansas-bred fillies and mares, will be scratched from the 6-furlong race in favor of an upcoming entry-level state-bred allowance sprint.

A 3-year-old daughter of Street Hero, I Be Jeannie B has never faced Arkansas-bred company in three career starts. In her 2017 debut, I Be Jeannie B ran fifth in the $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 21 and finished second in her last start, a first-level allowance/optional claiming sprint Feb. 10.

“She’s got so much natural speed,” Cates said before training hours Friday morning. “That’s why we put her in that open race.”

Cates said the two-week turnaround from the allowance/optional claimer to the Downthedustyroad “might have been too quick,” so I Be Jeannie B is being pointed for a race early next month. The trainer said the race is I Be Jeannie B’s planned prep for the $100,000 Rainbow Miss Stakes – the biggest event for Arkansas-bred 3-year-old fillies – April 1 at 6 furlongs.

Cates is scheduled to be represented in the Downthedustyroad by Nikki’s Rose, who broke her maiden Feb. 2.

The trainer has another Rainbow Miss candidate in Ms Fifty First St., a daughter of Street Hero who was a sharp Feb. 17 career debut winner under four-time defending Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr.

Cates said Rocsi Harbor, a 4-year-old Arkansas-bred filly by Rockport Harbor, is nearing her career debut. The trainer also said Cates said She’s Smoke, a 3-year-old Louisiana-bred daughter of Half Ours, could make her career debut before the meeting ends April 15. She’s Smoke has recorded two fast workouts this month.

“I really like my young horses,” Cates said.
Going Long

Dutch Parrot is being pointed for a two-turn allowance race after being scratched from Friday’s $100,000 Downthedustyroad Stakes for female Arkansas-bred sprinters, trainer Will VanMeter said.

Bred and owned by John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs, Dutch Parrot, a 3-year-old daughter of Eskendereya, has made her only two starts this year in state-bred company. She broke her maiden Jan. 15 before finishing second, beaten a neck, by defending Downthedustyroad champion Easter Indy Feb. 5.

Dutch Parrot has never raced around two turns in three career starts.

“She ran very credibly against older horses out of her conditions last time,” VanMeter said before training hours Friday morning. “But it just makes sense to run against your own age group, in your conditions. Not that she didn’t have a shot today, but when you have those opportunities, you might as well take them. We also thought she’d been nice all along, so we just want to see her stretched out and see if she’s one of those types of horses John Ed wants to have.”

VanMeter said Dutch Parrot is pointing for a 1 1/16-mile first-level allowance race for 3-year-old fillies in open company early next month. The filly  – at odds of 46-1 – finished fifth in open company in her Nov. 16 career debut at Churchill Downs.
Finish Lines

The track was rated fast for workouts Friday morning. … Balandeen worked 6 furlongs in 1:14.20 shortly after the track opened Friday morning for 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman, who said the son of Bernardini will make his 3-year-old debut in the $125,000 Gazebo Stakes March 4 at 6 furlongs. Balandeen hasn’t started since finishing fifth in the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) Nov. 19 at Delta Downs. Balandeen will be cutting back from 1 1/16 miles. … Also working just after the track opened Friday morning was Greeley and Ben, who moved closer to his 3-year-old debut by covering 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel. Trained by Gary Thomas, Greeley and Ben broke his maiden at a mile Nov. 13 at Churchill Downs in his last start. … Four-time defending Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. swept both ends of a split allowance/optional claiming sprint Thursday to maintain his lead in the standings, 30-28, over Ramon Vazquez. Santana won the sixth race aboard favored Jazzy Times ($5.20), who covered 6 furlongs over a fast track in 1:10.37 for trainer Brad Cox and owner Zayat Stables, LLC (Ahmed Zayat). Previously based in Southern California with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, Jazzy Times ran third in the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) Oct. 8 at Santa Anita. Santana won the eighth race aboard Candy Ruby ($6.80) for leading trainer Robertino Diodoro and Mercedes Stables LLC (Maria Vila and Ernest Moody). Candy Ruby ran 6 furlongs over a fast track in 1:09.27. The 5-year-old Candy Ride gelding was claimed out of the race for $40,000 by Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg. ... Trainer Kim Puhl won a 20-way shake to claim Jet Over out of Thursday’s third race for $7,500. … Didiel Osorio won Thursday’s fifth race aboard Midnight’s Fantasy ($14.60), the jockey’s fourth victory of the meeting, matching his 2016 Oaklawn total. Osorio is represented by agent Joe Santos, the son of retired Hall of Fame jockey Jose Santos.