Thursday, June 01, 2017
Apple Blossom winner Stellar Wind returns in Grade 1 Beholder; Oaklawn allowance winner Senior Investment works toward Belmont and Madeforlucky leads $200,000 Mountainview field.
Apple Blossom Winner Stellar Wind Returns in Beholder Mile Stakes
Hronis Racing LLC’s Stellar Wind, winner of the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) for older fillies and mares April 14 at Oaklawn, is scheduled to return to action Saturday at Santa Anita. The champion mare drew post 2 for the $400,000 Beholder Mile Stakes (G1), which trainer John Sadler has been targeting since he saddled the champion to a 1 ¼-length victory in the Apple Blossom.
Stellar Wind, who made her 2017 debut in the Apple Blossom, won an Eclipse Award as the country’s top 3-year-old filly of 2015. Regular rider Victor Espinoza is named on the Curlin mare, who will shoulder equal top weight of 126 pounds.
The Beholder Mile honors Beholder, a four-time Eclipse Award winner who won the race last year when it was known as the Vanity Mile Stakes.
Stellar Wind is trying to become the eighth horse to sweep the Apple Blossom and Beholder Mile in the same year, following Bayakoa (1989), Gorgeous (1990), Paseana (1992), Escena (1998), Gourmet Girl (2001), Azeri (2002, 2003) and Zenyatta (2008, 2010). Bayakoa, Paseana, Azeri and Zenyatta are all members of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Only four other horses are entered Saturday, the most notable being Vale Dori, unbeaten in four starts this year for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Probable post time for the Beholder Mile is 4:30 p.m. (Central).
Apple Blossom runner-up Terra Promessa won the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (G3) May 19 at Pimlico in her last start.
Senior Investment Works toward Belmont Stakes
Fern Circle Stable’s Oaklawn allowance and Grade 3 Lexington winner Senior Investment posted a half-mile breeze early Wednesday morning in preparation for his expected bid in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, his first tune-up since finishing third in the Preakness on May 20.
Ridden by jockey Dylan Davis and overseen at Belmont by Kenny McPeek’s assistant trainer Jeff Odintz, the chestnut colt by Discreetly Mine completed the distance in 49.13 seconds shortly before 6 a.m. on the main track, going in splits of 12 2/5 and 24, and galloped out five furlongs in 1:02 2/5, according to NYRA clockers.
“Kenny wanted him to go an easy 48 and four, 49 [seconds], and let him do it on his own,” said Odintz. “And that’s exactly what he did, Dylan did a very good job. He came back fine, like he didn’t do anything. The track was nice and quiet, he was relaxed.”
Senior Investment was disqualified from first to seventh in his seasonal bow at Fair Grounds in January and came back with a three-length victory in an optional-claimer February 18 at Oaklawn Park. He joined the stakes ranks with a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, finishing 5 ¾ lengths behind Girvin, and posted a head victory in the Lexington at Keeneland on April 15.
In the Preakness, Senior Investment raced in ninth early with regular jockey Channing Hill aboard, 13 lengths behind dueling pacesetters Always Dreaming and Classic Empire, and closed with a rush to finish third, 4 ¾ lengths behind Cloud Computing and Classic Empire.
“I was around the horse when he ran at Oaklawn and he’s just a really nice horse,” said Odintz. “Professional, tall, he has a long stride and he knows what he’s doing. He can be tough to saddle in the paddock sometimes, but doing everything else, he’s a beautiful horse to be around.”
McPeek, who saddled Sarava to an upset victory over Triple Crown hopeful War Emblem in 2002, is expected to be on hand for the colt’s final work before the Belmont, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.
Two of American Pharoah’s pursuers during the 2015 Oaklawn meeting are entered in stakes races Saturday. Madefromlucky is scheduled to run in the $200,000 Mountainview at Penn National and The Truth Or Else is entered in the $100,000 Aristides (G3) at Churchill Downs.
En route to becoming the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, American Pharoah won the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) in 2015 at Oaklawn. Madefromlucky ran second in the Rebel and fourth in the Arkansas Derby. The Truth Or Else finished fourth in the Rebel and seventh in the Arkansas Derby.
Madefromlucky has made his last two starts at Oaklawn, finishing third in the $250,000 Essex Handicap March 18 and fourth in the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 15 for trainer Todd Pletcher. Pletcher’s Golden Lad won the 2015 Mountainview after winning the Essex and running fourth in the Oaklawn Handicap.
Probable post time for the 1 1/8-mile Mountainview is 6:10 p.m. (Central).
Other Oaklawn-raced horses entered in the 6-furlong Aristides are Wabel, Abbaa, Union Jackson, Wilbo and Recount. Abbaa won a meet-high four races this year at Oaklawn. Wilbo’s trainer, Chris Hartman, won the last two runnings of the Aristides with the now-retired Alsvid, winner of the 2015 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap.
Probable post time for the Aristides is 4:21 p.m. (Central).
Cistron, winner of the $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes for 3-year-olds April 15 at Oaklawn, is entered in the $500,000 Penn Mile Stakes (G2) Saturday at Penn National. Probable post time is 6:45 p.m. (Central). … Katie Clawson, Oaklawn’s leading apprentice this year, recorded her fourth career riding triple (all in May) Tuesday at Indiana Grand. Clawson has a meet-high 25 victories. She won eight races at Oaklawn. … Battle Tap represented the 481st career victory for trainer Paul Holthus of Hot Springs in Wednesday’s second race at Indiana Grand, according to Equibase, racing’s official data organization. Holthus won three races this year at Oaklawn. … Favored Hotshot Anna, fifth in the $125,000 Purple Martin Stakes for 3-year-old female sprinters March 25 at Oaklawn, won the $50,000 Northbound Pride Oaks Monday at Canterbury Park. Trained by Oaklawn regular Mac Robertson, Hotshot Anna ($5.40) was ridden by Alex Canchari, Oaklawn’s co-third-leading rider this year with 45 victories. … Geovanni Franco, who also rode 45 winners this year at Oaklawn, is expected to miss several more weeks after suffering a fractured wrist in a May 13 spill at Churchill Downs.