Oaklawn News

Friday, March 03, 2017


Santana Jr., Osorio Released From Hospital after Spill


Ricardo Santana Jr. and Didiel Osorio were released from CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs late Thursday afternoon after both jockeys were injured in a spill several hours earlier in the second race at Oaklawn.


Osorio injured his back when his mount, Sea of Change, “fell over a stricken rival” (Lawyer Daggett) on the turn of the 6-furlong race for older $6,250 claimers, according to the official chart footnotes. The jockey’s agent, Joe Santos, said he fractured his T5 and T7 vertebrae after being unseated and the initial thought is he will miss 6-8 weeks. Santos said Osorio, 22, will be examined again Monday.


“He says thank you to all who have asked and prayed for him and promised to be back stronger and better,” Santos said in a text message.


Santana, Oaklawn’s four-time defending riding champion, suffered a separated shoulder, said his agent, Ruben Munoz.  Munoz said Santana, 24, is scheduled to undergo an MRI Friday. The rider was unseated after his mount, Lawyer Daggett, “clipped heels,” according to the chart footnotes.


Munoz said Santana wouldn’t ride Friday and there is no timetable for his return.


Santana tops the Oaklawn rider standings in victories (30) and purse earnings ($1,257,277) through 30 days. Osorio has five victories.


“They both grew up together and they both learned happiness together,” Munoz said. “I’m just happy that they’re walking around and that they are alert.”


Horsemen have said Santana and Osorio “are like brothers” after being raised in the same house in an impoverished suburb of Panama City, Panama. Santana is the first jockey to win four consecutive Oaklawn riding titles since Hall of Famer Pat Day won 12 straight (1983-1994). He has 320 career Oaklawn victories – the 300th coming Feb. 3 – and 19 stakes victories, the last aboard Terra Promessa in the $150,000 Bayakoa (G3) for older fillies and mares Feb. 18.


Santana set a single-season Oaklawn record for purse earnings last year ($4,064,073) and recorded his first career Grade I victory in the closing-day $1 million Arkansas Derby aboard Creator. He has also captured riding titles at Delaware Park and Churchill Downs.


Osorio won four races during his first season at Oaklawn last year. He won the riding title at Ellis Park in 2015.


Both Santana and Osorio were transported by ambulance to CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs following the accident, according to an Oaklawn official.


The Works


Triple Crown nominee Petrov is scheduled to work Saturday morning in advance of a possible start in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18, co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said Friday morning.


Moquett said the breeze should give him a better handle on next-race plans for the gray son of Flatter, runner-up in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16 and $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20.


“Leaning toward the Rebel, but I’m going to let his work tomorrow tell us,” Moquett said. “I’m planning on an easy work and see where he’s at and go from there.”


The 1 1/16-mile Rebel is the final major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15.


Moquett ran second in the Rebel and third in the Arkansas Derby last year with Whitmore.


Like Mother, Like Son?


Triple Crown nominee Balandeen is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s $125,000 Gazebo Stakes for Chris Hartman, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2015.


Balandeen, a son of Bernardini, will be cutting back to 6 furlongs after concluding his 2-year-old campaign with a fifth-place finish in the $1 million Delta Jackpot Stakes (G3) Nov. 19 at Delta Downs. The Delta Jackpot was 1 1/16 miles.


Balandeen's dam, Mamma Kimbo, in her Oaklawn debut and second lifetime start, won the $300,000 Fantasy Stakes (G2) for 3-year-old fillies in 2012 for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.


Hartman said he doesn’t have anything specific in mind for Balandeen following the Gazebo, but called it a good starting spot.


“I’m just going to wait and see how he runs,” Hartman said. “We’ll see how it shakes out from there. He’s eventually going to go two turns. I think it’s well within his scope.”


Balandeen, the only Triple Crown nominee entered in the Gazebo, won 2 of 6 starts last year. He also ran second to unbeaten Kentucky Derby favorite McCraken in the $80,000 Street Sense Stakes Oct. 30 at Churchill Downs.


Her Love for Pappy


After saddling his fifth career winner Thursday, trainer John Ortiz bids for his first career stakes victory in Saturday’s $125,000 Spring Fever for older filly and mare sprinters with the speedy Her Love for Pappy. Owned by the trainer’s biggest client, Thomas Julian, Her Love for Pappy was a front-running eight-length maiden winner Jan. 28.


Her Love for Pappy finished fourth in her last start, beaten 2 ¼ lengths, in a first-level allowance sprint Feb. 11. She held a five-length lead after a half-mile in a swift :44.43.


“In her last race, the fractions were a little faster than I intended,” Ortiz said. “I think the track was fast that day, but she only got beat two lengths for everything. She was still trying at the wire.”


Ortiz said the shorter distance of the Spring Fever (5 1/2 furlongs) should benefit Her Love for Pappy, whose five career starts – all in maiden or allowance company – have been at 6 or 6 ½ furlongs.


“She’s a lightly raced filly with a lot of potential and a lot of talent and a lot of speed,” Ortiz said of the 4-year-old daughter of Colonel John.


Abbaa ($12.40) represented Ortiz’s fifth career winner in Thursday’s fifth race. The trainer, who has three victories at the meet, went out on his own late last year after previously assisting trainer Kellyn Gorder.


Finish Lines


Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel is the special guest for Saturday’s Dawn At Oaklawn (7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m., Central). Paddock analyst Nancy Holthus will interview Borel, Oaklawn's leading rider in 1995 and 2001, on the south apron at approximately 8:30 a.m. The program also includes barn tours and free coffee and pastries. … The track was rated fast for workouts Friday morning. … Alex Birzer recorded his 299th career Oaklawn victory in Thursday’s seventh race aboard Profound Moment ($14.20) for Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Birzer became the 174th jockey to reach 3,000 career North American victories in Sunday’s sixth race aboard Numancia. … Rockport Kat, fifth in the $125,000 King Cotton Stakes Feb. 4, worked a half-mile in :48 just after the track opened Friday morning for leading trainer Robertino Diodoro. … Diodoro won two races Thursday to extend his advantage in the standings to 21-17 over runner-up Federico Villafranco. Diodoro won the second race with Dance Floor Maniac ($10) and third race with Council Rules ($6.40). Both winners were ridden by Geovanni Franco, Oaklawn’s third-leading rider this year with 25 victories. Franco’s victory on Council Rules was a “pickup mount” after Ricardo Santana Jr. was injured in the second race. … Trainer Will VanMeter said he will probably work powerful Feb. 12 first-level allowance/optional claiming winner Someday Soon Saturday morning. She is scheduled to make her next start in the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 11. … Nominations to the 1 1/16-mile Honeybee and the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters March 11 close Friday.