Sunday, February 26, 2017
Jockey Alex Birzer One Win Away from 3,000
Jockey Alex Birzer rode three winners Saturday at Oaklawn to move within one of becoming the 174th jockey with 3,000 career North American victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.
Birzer is named on six horses Sunday – Story Onthe Street (5-1 on the morning line) in the second race for trainer Chris Richard, Five Sisters (8-1) in the third race for trainer Brett Creighton, Sailing Shiksa (9-2) in the fourth race for trainer John Hall, My Man Kan (10-1) in the fifth race for trainer Steve Hobby of Hot Springs, Golden Moon (12-1) in the seventh race for Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg and Ribbon of Darkness (4-1) in the ninth race for trainer David Vance.
“Got six today and they all have shots,” said Birzer, 43, currently fifth in Oaklawn’s jockey standings this year with 16 victories. “So, hopefully, it happens.”
Birzer lives in Council Grove, Kan., about 140 miles southwest of Kansas City. Birzer said he believes his parents, who retired to Branson, will be in Hot Springs Sunday for the possible milestone moment.
“My mom said, ‘We’re staying until you get it done,’” said Birzer, who called Saturday “a great day.”
Birzer won the first race aboard Ship Disturber ($7.80) for trainer Stanley Roberts, sixth race aboard Cleverness ($74.20) for trainer Lynn Chleboard and seventh race aboard favored Apprehender ($4.80) for trainer Gene Jacquot. He had a chance to reach 3,000 career victories in the eighth race, the $100,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes, but finished third aboard 5-2 second choice Rock City Roadhog for trainer Jon Arnett. He didn’t have a mount in the ninth race.
Birzer rode his first winner in 1992. His first of 297 career Oaklawn winners came in 1999. He has 11 career Oaklawn stakes victories, including the $125,000 Dixie Belle Jan. 21 and $125,000 Martha Washington Feb. 11 aboard the Chleborad-trained Chanel’s Legacy, who is scheduled to make her next start in the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 11.
According to Equibase, Birzer has 2,999 victories and purse earnings of $48,200,560 from 22,151 career mounts.
Alex Canchari rode three winners Saturday to continue his climb up the jockey standings. He won the second race aboard Miss Shelby ($9.60) for trainer Ernie Witt II, third race aboard Roma Road ($15) for trainer Brett Creighton and fifth race aboard Battered ($9) for trainer Tommy Vance of Hot Springs.
Canchari had only five victories after the first 17 days of racing, but his recent surge – 13 wins the last 11 racing days – has moved him to fourth in the standings. He has 18 victories, trailing only four-time defending Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. (30), Ramon Vazquez (28) and Geovanni Franco (23).
Canchari, 23, was Oaklawn’s third-leading rider last year with 36 victories.
He is represented by agent Gene Short of Hot Springs.
Two leading candidates for the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters March 11 recorded bullet workouts within minutes of each other over a fast track, just after the track opened for training Sunday morning.
Multiple stakes winner Ivan Fallunovalot, under Hall of Famer and regular rider Calvin Borel, worked a half-mile in :46.20 for trainer Tom Howard of Hot Springs. Clockers caught Ivan Fallunovalot’s final quarter-mile in :22.20 and galloping out 5 furlongs in a sizzling :58.60.
“Pretty much routine for him,” though,” Howard said. “He’s pretty cool. Everything looks good.”
Howard said the work was the gelding’s final major move in advance of the 6-furlong Hot Springs.
Ivan Fallunovalot, in his 7-year-old debut, finished fourth in the $125,000 King Cotton Stakes Feb. 4. He had won six of his previous seven starts, including the King Cotton for a second consecutive year in January 2016.
Moments earlier Sunday, Whitmore worked 5 furlongs in :59.60 under Greta Kuntzweiler. Whitmore, who breezed with a stablemate, covered his final quarter-mile in :23.40, according to clockers.
“With him, you’ve got to keep somebody there to keep his attention,” co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said. “We made sure that we had somebody that could get out what we wanted to get out of him because the next breeze is going to be an easier one.”
Whitmore has never lost in four career sprint starts, including a third-level allowance/optional claiming score Jan. 15. The gelding ran 6 furlongs in 1:08.81, the fastest time ever for the distance during January at Oaklawn. The Hot Springs will be his stakes debut sprinting.
Whitmore was one of Oaklawn’s leading Kentucky Derby candidates last year, finishing second in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) and $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) and third in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1).
Other locally based horses pointing for the 6-furlong Hot Springs include Storm Advisory and Recount, 1-2, respectively, in the King Cotton. Nominations to the Hot Springs close Friday.
Perfect Wife, a troubled eighth as the favorite in the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Feb. 11, is scheduled to work Monday in advance of the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 11, trainer Kenny McPeek said Friday morning. … Trainer Lynn Chleborad said Sunday morning that she plans to breeze multiple stakes winner Chanel’s Legacy about nine days before the 1 1/16-mile Honeybee. …McPeek said Monday maiden special weights graduate Blueridge Traveler (3-year-old To Honor and Serve colt) should resurface in an entry-level allowance spot. McPeek said he doesn’t plan to run anything in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds March 18. … Trainer Tim Martin said All to Stormy, a 3-year-old half-brother to Arkansas-bred star Weast Hill, should run again at the meet following an 11th-place finish last Sunday against state-bred maidens. Martin said the gelding has been plagued by a lung infection. … Martin won Saturday’s $100,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes with Racer. Weast Hill finished second, his first loss in eight career starts at Oaklawn. … P C Cowboy, eighth in Monday’s $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds, will point for an easier spot, trainer John Ortiz said Saturday morning, adding the son of 2011 Arkansas Derby winner Archarcharch will run again before the meet ends April 15. “There’s a lot of options with him,” Ortiz said.