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Thursday, July 20, 2017
Featured Photo: Credit Coady Photography – 2017 Honeybee Stakes – Eight of the 10 runners in this year’s Honeybee Stakes have gone on to win stakes and/or allowance races, including Lovely Bernadette, entered in Thursday’s Ta Wee Stakes at Indiana Grand.
Six of the 10 horses entered in Saturday’s Don Bernhardt Stakes at Ellis Park, including 2-1 morning line favorite Wilbo, have all raced at Oaklawn in recent years; Lovely Bernadette, among eight horses from the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 11 at Oaklawn to return and win, is entered in the $100,000 Ta Wee Stakes today at Indiana Grand.
Oaklawn Runners among Favorites for Ellis’ Don Bernhardt Stakes
Saturday’s eighth race at Ellis Park will look a lot like a race at Oaklawn. The $50,000 Don Bernhardt Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs has drawn a field of 10, including several familiar runners the last few years in Hot Springs.
Wilbo, the 2-1 program favorite, was an allowance/optional claiming winner at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting for Chris Hartman, the track’s leading trainer in 2015. Wilbo, third in a pair of allowance/optional claimers this year at Oaklawn, is coming off a second in the $100,000 Aristides Stakes (G3) June 3 at Churchill Downs. He is scheduled to break from the rail Saturday under Corey Lanerie and carry 120 pounds.
Also entered are Oaklawn winners Speightsong (30-1), Black Bear (6-1), Big Squeeze (10-1) and Manhattan Mischief (6-1) and Oaklawn-raced The Truth Or Else (5-2) and Hebbronville (30-1).
The Truth Or Else, third in the Aristides, chased eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at the 2015 Oaklawn meeting.
Hebbronville ran third in the $100,000 Gazebo Stakes and $100,000 Bachelor Sakes at the 2015 Oaklawn meeting for the late Lynn Whiting. Hebbronville, who will be removing blinkers Saturday, was transferred to trainer Steve Hobby of Hot Springs following Whiting’s death in April. Hobby won the 2015 Don Bernhardt with Bagg O’Day, who set a track record for 6 ½ furlongs (1:13.74). Bagg O’Day broke his maiden at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting.
Black Bear, who won his first two career starts at the 2013 Oaklawn meeting for Hartman, finished seventh in the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 15 in Hot Springs. Black Bear is now trained by Randy Morse.
Probable post time for the Don Bernhardt is 4:10 p.m. (Central).
Lovely Bernadette, among eight horses from the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 11 at Oaklawn to return and win, is entered in the $100,000 Ta Wee Stakes Thursday at Indiana Grand. Also entered in the mile turf race is Oaklawn maiden special weights graduate Sameeha. Probable post time for the Ta Wee, which goes as race 9, is 4:49 p.m. (Central). ... Perfect Wife, unraced since the Honeybee, returned to the work tab Saturday at Keeneland, covering 3 furlongs in :36.60. … Walter De La Cruz, among Oaklawn’s top 10 riders this year, rode four winners Wednesday at Thistledown, where he is the runaway leader in the standings. … Texas Chrome ($990,762) can surpass $1 million in career earnings in the $50,000 Assault Stakes Saturday at Lone Star. Texas Chrome, in his 4-year-old debut, ran sixth in the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 15 at Oaklawn. Probable post time for the 1-mile Assault, which is restricted to Texas-breds, is 9:03 p.m. (Central).