Petrov Works Toward Southwest Stakes
Petrov had his first work since a runner-up finish in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes for 3-year-olds Jan. 16 at Oaklawn, breezing a half-mile in :48 just after the track opened Saturday morning for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs.
Over a fast track and temperatures in the low 30s, Petrov worked from the half-mile pole to the wire in company with Trading Cash, a 3-year-old Trappe Shot maiden, in preparation for the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20. Petrov, on the outside under Greta Kuntzweiler, started about a length behind Trading Cash and finished heads up with his stablemate. Clockers caught the colt’s final quarter-mile in :23.20 and galloping out 5 furlongs in 1:00.60.
“It was just what I needed,” Moquett said. “It was just a maintenance breeze and that will set us up perfectly for the next one.”
Petrov, in his two-turn debut, was beaten 5 ¼ lengths by Uncontested in the 1-mile Smarty Jones under Jose Ortiz. Moquett said the New York-based Ortiz, a finalist for an Eclipse Award as the country’s top jockey in 2016, will ride Petrov in the 1 1/16-mile Southwest.
Uncontested worked a half-mile in :48.40 Friday morning for trainer Wayne Catalano in preparation for the Southwest.
Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said Saturday morning that Rowdy the Warrior, third in the Smarty Jones, is under consideration for the Southwest and a first-level allowance race.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Friday morning that he was leaning toward the Southwest for Warrior’s Club, fourth in the Smarty Jones.
Hail to the Chief
Trainer Brad Cox said Chief Know It All will be considered for the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds Jan. 16 following his front-running two-length victory over Jerrid in Friday’s eighth race, a first-level allowance/optional claimer.
Under Joe Rocco Jr., Chief Know It All – in his two-turn debut – ran the mile over a fast track in 1:38.93 and paid $6.60 as the 2-1 favorite.
“He fought to win,” Cox said Saturday morning. “He’s a very hard-trying horse. He’s had some rough trips.”
Friday’s victory was the second in six career starts for Chief Know It All, a gray son of Flashy Bull who races for his breeder, Louisville, Ky.-based Lucky Seven Stable (Mike Mackin).
Cox said he believes Chief Know It All would have cleared his first allowance condition in an Oct. 30 sprint at Churchill Downs, but the colt was bumped, blocked and altered course in the stretch and finished a closing third. The trainer add that the colt also ran a troubled third in his last start at 2 – a first-level allowance/optional claimer at a mile – Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs. The winner, Guest Suite, captured the $200,000 LeComte Stakes (G3) last Saturday at Fair Grounds.
“He’s got some ability and talent,” Cox said of Chief Know It All. “It almost looks like he gets himself in a little bit of a tight spot sometimes. Yesterday going down the backside the first thing I thought was, ‘OK, well, we don’t have to worry about getting shut off.’ So it worked out well. Joe did a good job, and we talked it over – warm him up good and put him in the race.”
Lucky Seven Stable campaigned one of the top 3-year-olds at the 2001 meeting in Crafty Shaw, who finished third in the Southwest, won the $100,000 Rebel Stakes (G3) and ran seventh in the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (G2) for now-retired trainer Pete Vestal.
Crafty Shaw was later sold to Oaklawn President Charles Cella and earned $1,046,440 in a 44-race career.
Cox said he began training for Lucky Seven Stable last spring and has four horses for the family operation. Lucky Seven Stable previously had horses on the East Coast with trainer Tom Proctor, but wanted to race in the Midwest.
“They just decided they wanted to be home, in Kentucky,” Cox said.
Cox said Arklow, fourth as a maiden in the LeComte, will be nominated to the Southwest, but more than likely will remain at Fair Grounds and possibly target the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G3) Feb. 25.
Late-running Suddenbreakingnews emerged in good order from his 4-year-old debut, a fourth-place finish in an allowance/optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles Friday, trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said Saturday morning.
He beaten 4 ¾ lengths by front-running Shotgun Kowboy in his first start as a gelding and first since a fifth-place finish in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G2) Aug. 6 at Mountaineer.
“I wasn’t surprised to see ‘Shotgun’ win,” Von Hemel said. “I think he’s a very nice horse. And you might have had to been closer to the pace yesterday than what we were. Got a race under our belt, so I think we can move forward from there.”
Suddenbreakingnews was a last-to-first winner of the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) last year at Oaklawn before running second in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) and fifth in the Kentucky Derby.
Von Hemel said Suddenbreakingnews will be considered for the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) Feb. 20.
“We’ll see what happens between now and then,” Von Hemel said.
Powerful Jan. 15 allowance/optional claiming sprint winner Whitmore worked a half-mile in :49 Saturday morning for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs for his yet-to-be announced next start. … Leading rider Ramon Vazquez – 13 victories through the first 10 days – is appealing a three-day suspension (Feb. 2-4) to the Arkansas Racing Commission, his agent, Ruben Munoz, said Friday afternoon. Stewards cited Vazquez “for making contact with his hand to the head of Set the Trappe” during the stretch run of last Saturday’s first race. After Hours (ridden by Vazquez) crossed the wire first by a head over Set the Trappe in the $12,500 maiden-claiming sprint, but was disqualified and placed second following a stewards’ inquiry. … Vazquez ($487,606) is poised to become the first jockey at the meet to surpass $500,000 in purse earnings Saturday. … Alex Birzer rode two winners Friday – Itasca Falls ($7.60) in the fourth race and Shotgun Kowboy ($9.20) in the seventh race – to push his North American career total to 2,990, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Birzer is trying to become the 174th jockey in North American history to reach 3,000 career victories. … Jon Court, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2000, is nearing another career milestone, according to Equibase. Court has $98,875,523 in purse earnings to rank 50th in North American history. The top 49 riders all have more than $100 million in career North American purse earnings. Court has 4,003 career North American victories, including three this year at Oaklawn, to rank 70th, according to Equibase. Court is named on two horses Saturday. … Trainer Ingrid Mason saddled two winners Friday: Favored Teriat ($4.20) in the second race and Mango’s Muse ($15.80) in the third race. … Ty Kennedy, riding at Oaklawn for the first time this year, won his first race of the meeting Friday aboard Bittersweet ($11.40) in the sixth for co-owner/trainer Doug Anderson of Hot Springs.