Oaklawn News

Oaklawn Report


Thursday, June 29, 2017


Vexatious, a troubled third in Oaklawn’s Fantasy Stakes is scheduled to make her first start since finishing fourth in the Kentucky Oaks in the $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park Saturday; Eight-time Oaklawn leading trainer and Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen will be represented in both Churchill Downs’ closing day stakes for 2-year-olds on Friday.


Fantasy Runner Vexatious Among Mother Goose Entries


Calumet Farm’s Vexatious is among seven 3-year-old fillies entered in the $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes (G2) Saturday at Belmont Park. She finished a troubled third in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 14 at Oaklawn and was fourth in her last start, the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) May 5 at Churchill Downs.


A daughter of Giant’s Causeway, Vexatious is scheduled to break from post 6 for her Hall of Fame connections, trainer Neil Drysdale and jockey Kent Desormeaux. All starters in the 1 1/16-mile race, which has a probable post time of 4:50 p.m. (Central), will carry 121 pounds.


Champions Davona Dale (1979) and Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Include Betty (2015) swept the Fantasy and Mother Goose. Dreams Gallore ran third in 1999 Fantasy before winning the Mother Goose, the first career Grade 1 victory for now-Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who has collected eight Oaklawn titles since 2007.


Dreams Gallore won the Honeybee Stakes (G3) in 1999, Oaklawn’s final major prep for the Fantasy.


Asmussen also won the Mother Goose with Rachel Alexandra and in 2014 with champion Untapable, and the trainer’s older brother, Cash, rode Wayward Lass to victory in the 1981 Mother Goose. Wayward Lass, who ran third in the Fantasy, won an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 3-year-old filly of 1981.


Asmussen Juveniles Poised For Bashford Manor, Debutante Stakes (From Churchill Notes)


Eight-time Oaklawn leading trainer and Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen has sent most of his Churchill Downs string of horses to Saratoga for the summer, but a pair of impressive juveniles, Copper Bullet and She’s a Julie, remain and look to jumpstart their careers with stakes victories in Friday night’s $100,000 Bashford Manor (G3) and $100,000, respectively.


Copper Bullet is the 8-5 program favorite for the Bashford Manor, which was won last year by future champion and Arkansas Derby winner Classic Empire. The colt (1 for 2 in his career) is co-owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Willis Horton of Marshall, Ark.


Copper Bullet was an eight-length winner in his second career start May 25 at Churchill Downs under jockey Florent Geroux.


“We won very easily that day,” Geroux said. “We had a bit of a tough trip in the debut but at Churchill he won very impressively.”


The $200,000 Keeneland September Sale purchase recorded one of the nation’s top speed figures for juveniles when he won last out, a five-furlong maiden special weight in :57.76.


“He actually looks like a 3-year-old,” said Churchill Downs’ official clocker John Nichols, who observes and records all workouts between 6-10 a.m. daily. “He’s just a big, good-looking, strapping colt. He’s got a lot of size to him. He’s one I think that might kind of like the grass down the line, but the way he won his second start here … he cleared that easy and the rider (Geroux) just really never asked him.

“He’s come back and trained well since. He’s been working head-and-head the last three weeks with She’s a Julie, who Asmussen is putting in the Debutante; she’s a nice filly – probably his best at this time of the year right now.”


Probable post time for the 6-furlong Bashford Manor is 7:30 p.m. (Central). The 2016 Bashford Manor runner-up, Recruiting Ready, won the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes April 13 at Oaklawn.


Whispering Oaks Farm’s She’s a Julie, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Elusive Quality, who won a five-furlong maiden special weight sprint by 5 ¼ lengths May 26, was named in honor of Asmussen’s wife Julie, who was diagnosed with neck and throat cancer in September 2015. After months of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, Julie Asmussen was cancer-free in March 2016.


“She’s a very special horse,” Asmussen said. “I think she has a bright future in front of her.”


Also among the 13 fillies entered in the Debutante is Lady O’Toole, coming off a 3 ¼-length career-debut victory June 16 at Churchill Downs for owner Steve Landers of Little Rock, Ark., and Brad Cox, Oaklawn’s third-leading trainer this year.


Landers, a member of the Arkansas Racing Commission, was Oaklawn’s co-10th-leading owner this year with seven victories. Cox won 26 races this year at Oaklawn, trailing only Asmussen (41) and Robertino Diodoro (31).


Probable post time for the 6-furlong Debutante is 8:39 p.m. (Central).


Also on the card is an allowance/optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles that is scheduled to feature Oaklawn stakes winners Far Right, Carve and Racer. Probable post time for race 2 is 5:28 p.m. (Central).


Finish Lines


Several Oaklawn-raced horses are entered in the $70,000 Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes Friday at Churchill Downs, including Wabel, Hebbronville, Recount, Fish Trappe Road, The Truth Or Else and Bayerd. Probable post time for the 7-furlong Kelly’s Landing is 9:42 p.m. (Central). … Oaklawn-raced Coastline and Kobe’s Back are entered in the $250,000 San Carlos Stakes (G2) Saturday at Santa Anita. Probable post time for the 7-furlong race is 4:30 p.m. (Central). … Conquest Fleetfeet, who made her career debut at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting, is entered in the $100,000 Zadracarta Stakes, a 7-furlong turf event for Ontario-breds, Saturday at Woodbine. Probable post time is 2:21 p.m. (Central). … Oaklawn-raced Scuba is entered in the $125,000 Dominion Day Stakes (G3), a 1 ¼-mile race on the all-weather surface, Saturday at Woodbine. Probable post time is 4:58 p.m. (Central).