Saturday, March 04, 2017
Petrov Works toward Rebel Stakes
Triple Crown nominee Petrov tuned up for a possible start in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18 with a 5-furlong work in company Saturday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. The gray son of Flatter covered the distance over a fast track in :59.60 under Greta Kuntzweiler.
Immediately following the work, Moquett said he’s still leaning toward the 1 1/16-mile Rebel, which is expected to attract shippers from across the country.
“Just a maintenance breeze,” said Moquett, who co-owns Petrov with Rialto Racing Stables (Catherine Adams Hutt). “He can go :45 if you let him, but he’s a very smart horse. He’ll do what he’s asked to do. Galloped out like a million dollars. He looked awesome.”
Saturday’s work was Petrov’s first since a runner-up finish in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20. Petrov also ran second in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16.
Oaklawn’s fourth and final major Kentucky Derby prep is the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15, another potential next-race target for Petrov.
“Right now, we’re looking at the Rebel,” Moquett said. “The Rebel is going to be an unbelievably tough race. I know that. I have to make a decision whether I want to run two tough races before the Kentucky Derby.”
If Petrov runs in the Rebel, Moquett said New York-based Jose Ortiz would retain the mount. Ortiz, the country’s winningest rider last year and a finalist for an Eclipse Award, rode Petrov in the Smarty Jones and Southwest.
Silver Dust, who is scheduled to make his next start in the Rebel, worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 after the renovation break Saturday morning for trainer Randy Morse. He finished fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Southwest, which was his 3-year-old and stakes debut and first start around two turns.
Jockeying for Position
Geovanni Franco will ride Rockshaw in Saturday’s $125,000 Gazebo Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters, trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said Saturday morning. Franco, currently third in the jockey standings with 25 victories, replaces Ricardo Santana Jr., who suffered a separated shoulder in a Thursday spill, according to his agent, Ruben Munoz.
Santana is Oaklawn’s four-time defending riding champion and is currently tied with Ramon Vazquez at the top of the standings this year with 30 victories through 31 days of racing.
Santana’s injury left Moquett scrambling to find a rider for the Gazebo, and possibly for next Saturday’s $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters and the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies. Moquett said Santana is scheduled to ride Whitmore in the Hot Springs and Torrent in the Honeybee. New York-based Jose Ortiz rode Whitmore to a dazzling allowance/optional claiming victory Jan. 15, but has commitments next Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs, Moquett said.
“Santana is still thinking that there’s a possibility we can do something with Whitmore,” Moquett said Saturday morning.
Munoz said about an hour later that he’s targeting a return of around March 18 for Santana, but added more will be known after the jockey sees a specialist Monday morning.
Oaklawn runs three major stakes March 18, including the $900,000 Rebel (G2) for 3-year-olds.
Munoz said Santana was originally scheduled to have an MRI Friday, but was told the jockey didn’t need one following an examination of his injured left shoulder. The agent added Monday’s examination will be conducted by a doctor who “only does shoulders and elbows.”
“I mean, he’s not in pain,” Munoz said of Santana. “He’s moving it. He’s icing it. He’s not even taking pain meds. Since he left the hospital, he’s taken pain meds that one night when he went to sleep. We’ll see. I’m going to make sure that he’s OK before he starts riding, I don’t care how much I miss.”
Lovely Bernadette worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 over a fast track shortly after the track opened Saturday morning in advance of next Saturday’s $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies.
“She worked great,” trainer Jimmy DiVito said. “She was very strong. She galloped out good, so everything’s on schedule for the Honeybee.”
Lovely Bernadette finished fourth in her 3-year-old debut, the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 11. That race marked her first start since finishing fifth in the $200,000 Golden Rod Stakes (G2) Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs.
DiVito said Lovely Bernadette was turned out for approximately a month after the Golden Rod and that may have factored in her fitness level for the 1-mile Martha Washington, when she was beaten 6 ¼ lengths by Chanel’s Legacy.
Alex Canchari, Oaklawn’s fourth-leading jockey this year with 20 victories, will ride Lovely Bernadette in the 1 1/16-mile Honeybee, DiVito said.
Another scheduled Honeybee starter, Someday Soon, worked 5 furlongs in 1:00 just after the track opened Saturday morning for trainer Will VanMeter. She was a powerful allowance/optional claiming winner in her 3-year-old debut, Feb. 12.
Trainer Brad Cox said Benner Island, sixth in the Martha Washington, is headed to the Honeybee after a 5-furlong bullet work Saturday morning (:59.40).
Chanel’s Legacy, also pointing for the Honeybee, emerged from her Thursday work in good order, trainer Lynn Chleborad said Saturday morning.
The track was rated fast for workouts Saturday morning, with two projected starters for next Saturday’s $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters, Whitmore and Recount, completing major preparations for the 6-furlong race. Whitmore, in company, went 5 furlongs in :59.60 just after the track opened for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. Recount went 5 furlongs in 1:02.80 after the renovation break for trainer Jimmy DiVito. … Richard Eramia will ride Marquee Miss in Saturday’s $125,000 Spring Fever Stakes for older filly and mare sprinters, trainer Ingrid Mason said Saturday morning. Didiel Osorio was named to ride Marquee Miss but could miss two months after fracturing two vertebrae in a Thursday spill, said his agent, Joe Santos. … Luis Contreras, a recent arrival from Santa Anita, recorded his first two career Oaklawn victories Friday. Contreras won the third race aboard favored Civitavecchio ($5) for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and the seventh race aboard favored I Am Miss Brown ($5.20) for 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman. Contreras moved his tack to Oaklawn to ride first call for Asmussen, who has seven local training titles since 2007. Contreras is a two-time Sovereign Award winner (2011 and 2012) as Canada’s outstanding jockey.