Tuesday, June 06, 2017

 

Three Oaklawn-raced horses are expected to run in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes; Apple Blossom Handicap winner Stellar Wind Earned Her Second Straight Grade 1 victory in the Beholder Mile.

 

Three Oaklawn-Raced Horses Expected to Run in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes

 

Three Oaklawn-raced horses, including champion Classic Empire, are expected to be entered Wednesday for the 149th Belmont Stakes Saturday at Belmont Park.

 

Classic Empire, an Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male, worked a half-mile in :50 Friday morning at Churchill Downs in preparation for the 1 ½-mile Belmont, the final leg of racing’s Triple Crown. The Pioneerof the Nile colt won the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15 at Oaklawn before finishing a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Derby and second, beaten a head, in Preakness.


Also scheduled to run in the Belmont are Lookin At Lee, who made three starts at Oaklawn, and Senior Investment, a Feb. 18 entry level allowance/optional claiming winner in Hot Springs. Senior Investment worked a half-mile in 50.19 Tuesday morning at Belmont.


Lookin At Lee ran third in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20, sixth in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18 and third in the Arkansas Derby. Lookin At Lee also finished second in the Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Preakness. Senior Investment ran third in the Preakness.

 

Several other Oaklawn-raced horses are scheduled to run this weekend at Belmont, including Whitmore in Friday’s $250,000 True North Stakes (G2) for older sprinters and stablemate Petrov in Saturday’s $500,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds.

 

Lookin at Lee Works Toward the Belmont

 

Kentucky Derby runner-up Lookin At Lee breezed a half-mile in 48.33 seconds under the early morning sunshine on the Belmont main track Sunday as he prepares for the Belmont Stakes.

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Lookin At Lee’s four-furlong time was the eighth-fastest of 51 at the distance.

“He came back great and I thought it went perfect,” said Toby Sheets, assistant to Asmussen. “He seems to really like Belmont. We got great weather this morning, so that always helps.”

Sheets said Lookin At Lee, who finished fourth last out in the Preakness, is scheduled to paddock school on Thursday. Asmussen won last year’s Belmont Stakes with Creator.

Holy Boss also worked Sunday, breezing four furlongs in 49.50 on the Belmont training track. The 5-year-old is set to run in the Grade 2, $250,000 True North at six furlongs on June 9.

“So far, so good. Everything seems to be in order, knock on wood,” Sheets said.

Stellar Performance

 

Stellar Wind earned a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 100 for her neck victory over Vale Dori in the $400,000 Beholder Mile Stakes (G1) for fillies and mares Saturday at Santa Anita. Stellar Wind, the country’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2015, was coming off a 1 ¼-length victory in the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 14 at Oaklawn.


Under regular rider Victor Espinoza, the 5-year-old mare covered the distance over a fast track in 1:36.14 and paid $3 as the 1-2 Beholder favorite. She carried equal top weight of 126 pounds.


Stellar Wind, who races for owner Hronis Racing LLC and trainer John Sadler, surpassed $2 million with the victory, her ninth in 14 starts overall. A five-time Grade 1 winner, Stellar Wind has earned $2,053,200.

 

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 ran second in the 2016 Vanity.


Stellar Wind became the eighth horse to sweep the Apple Blossom and Beholder/Vanity in the same year, following Bayakoa (1989), Gorgeous (1990), Paseana (1992), Escena (1998), Gourmet Girl (2001), Azeri (2002, 2003) and Zenyatta (2008, 2010).


Stellar Wind is by Curlin, winner of Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby in 2007. Curlin was Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008.

 

Finish Lines

Cistron, winner of the $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes April 15 at Oaklawn, ran third in $500,000 Penn Mile Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds Saturday at Penn National. … Oaklawn-raced Wilbo and The Truth Or Else ran second and third respectively, in the $100,000 Aristides Stakes (G3) for sprinters Saturday at Churchill Downs. … Karl Broberg (176), Steve Asmussen (162), Robertino Diodoro (108) and Brad Cox (83) rank first, second, fourth and eighth, respectively, this year in victories nationally among trainers, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. All four trainers had divisions this year at Oaklawn.

 

-30-