Oaklawn News

Sunday, March 05, 2017


Untrapped Pointing toward Rebel; Irad Ortiz Jr. to Ride


New York-based Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride Untrapped in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds March 18 at Oaklawn, owner Mike Langford said Saturday afternoon. Langford said Untrapped is in Hot Springs after previously being based this winter at Fair Grounds, where he finished second in the $200,000 LeComte Stakes (G3) Jan. 21 and $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) Feb. 25.


Walking off the track following the Risen Star, Asmussen, who trains Untrapped, said he “would like to bring” the colt to Oaklawn for the 1 1/16-mile Rebel, according to Langford.


“The rubber’s going to hit the road in the Rebel,” said Langford, a commercial real estate developer in Jonesboro, Ark. “What we like about him, he stays. He’s a gutsy horse. Got a big heart and, man, he’s class.”


A $125,000 2-year-old purchase, Untrapped has 1-3-0 record and earnings of $166,800. The son of Trappe Shot finished second in his Oct. 19 career debut at Keeneland, beaten six lengths by Uncontested, the  record setting 5 ¼-length winner of the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16, Oaklawn’s first of four major Kentucky Derby preps.


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


Ortiz, who was ranked second in the country in purse earnings last year ($23,456,396), according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization, rode Whitmore to a runner-up finish in the 2016 Rebel and to a third-place finish in that year’s Arkansas Derby.


Other locally based horses pointing for the Rebel include the Asmussen-trained Lookin At Lee and Silver Dust, third and fourth, respectively, in the Southwest. Silver Dust worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 Saturday morning for trainer Randy Morse.


Co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said Sunday that morning he’s still leaning toward the Rebel for Smarty Jones and Southwest runner-up Petrov. Petrov worked 5 furlongs in :59.60 Saturday morning.


Following a sixth-place finish in the Southwest, co-owner Harry Rosenblum said Uncontested would “likely” make his next start in the Arkansas Derby. But the colt's trainer, Wayne Catalano, said Sunday morning that the “door is being left open” for a possible appearance in the Rebel.


Catalano said Uncontested has returned to the track following his 5-furlong bullet workout Thursday morning (1:00) under regular rider Channing Hill, the trainer’s son-in-law.


The time equaled the fastest of 32 works recorded at the distance. Clockers caught Uncontested’s final quarter-mile in :22.60 and galloping out 6 furlongs in 1:13. He was breezing for the first time since he was beaten 12 ¾ lengths in the Southwest, when he faded after holding a clear lead on the second turn.


“This is a good horse,” Catalano said. “We’ve got a couple of little excuses, and we got them corrected.”


Catalano said he will probably work Uncontested again “five or six days” before the Rebel.


“We’re thinking about it,” Catalano said of the Rebel.


Silver Bullion, a Feb. 9 maiden winner, is under consideration for the Rebel, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Sunday morning.


Lukas said Southwest fifth Dilettante is pointing for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) March 26 at Sunland Park.


The Works


Perfect Wife completed major preparations for Saturday’s $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies with a 5-furlong bullet work in company after the renovation break Sunday morning. Breezing over a surface rated good following light rain, Perfect Wife completed the distance in 1:00.60 for trainer Kenny McPeek.


McPeek said Corey Lanerie would have the mount in the Honeybee on Perfect Wife, who exits a troubled eighth as the favorite in the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 11. The trainer said the filly cut her mouth after breaking through the gate prior to the start of the mile race. She had been coming off afront-running five-length win in the $100,000 Trapeze Stakes Dec. 11 at Remington Park.


A field of eight or nine is expected for the 1 1/16-mile Honeybee.


Other locally based horses expected to be entered Wednesday include Benner Island, Chanel’s Legacy, Lovely Bernadette, My Sweet Stella, Perfect Wife, Someday Soon and Torrent.


Also expected for the Honeybee is Tapa Tapa Tapa, winner of the $100,000 Suncoast Stakes Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs in her last start.


Chanel’s Legacy and My Sweet Stella ran 1-2, respectively, in the $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 21 and the Martha Washington.


The Honeybee will share Saturday’s card with the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters.


Storm Advisory posted a half-mile bullet work (:46.20) moments after the track opened Sunday morning in preparation for the 6-furlong Hot Springs.


Storm Advisory, in his last start, won the $125,000 King Cotton Stakes Feb. 4 for Robertino Diodoro, Oaklawn’s leading trainer this year.


Other locally based horses expected to be entered Wednesday include Recount and Ivan Fallunovalot, second and fourth, respectively, in the King Cotton and Whitmore, a dazzling Jan. 15 allowance/optional claiming winner for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs.


Moquett said he has Lanerie as a “backup” in case Ricardo Santana Jr. (separated shoulder) isn’t able to ride the gelding.


Unbeaten Chief Cicatriz is on the grounds for trainer Shawn Davis. Chief Cicatriz (5 for 5) won the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup Handicap Feb. 11 at Turf Paradise in his last start.


Also expected for the Hot Springs is Fish Trappe Road, who won the $500,000 Dwyer Stakes (G3) last July at Belmont Park for trainer Bret Calhoun.


Ivan Fallunovalot, a multiple Oaklawn stakes winner and runner-up in the 2015 Hot Springs, is scheduled to have an easy breeze Tuesday, trainer Tom Howard said.


Another Milestone for Birzer


Jockey Alex Birzer recorded his 300th career Oaklawn victory when Brother Louis ($13.80) won Saturday’s fifth race by a nose for trainer Doug Anderson of Hot Springs. According to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization, Birzer has 300 victories from 3,078 mounts and purse earnings of $7,549,262 since he began riding at Oaklawn in 1999.


His 300th Oaklawn victory came less than a week after he became the 174th jockey to reach 3,000 career North American victories when Numancia won the sixth race Feb. 26.


“It’s starting to sink in,” said Birzer, who rode his first winner in 1992. “It turned out to be pretty good. Wife and family snuck in. It was a big surprise – wife and all the kids. Actually, my dad ratted them out.”


Birzer said he called his parents to make sure they had arrived safely in Hot Springs for the Feb. 26 program when he heard his youngest son in the background during the phone conversation.


“He said, ‘Don’t tell Dad it’s a surprise,’ ” Birzer said. “It was great. Everybody was here. It was a lot of fun.”


Birzer, 43, lives in Council Grove, Kan., about 140 miles southwest of Kansas City. He is currently fifth in the Oaklawn standings with 19 victories. He has 11 career Oaklawn stakes victories, including the $125,000 Dixie Belle Jan. 21 and $125,000 Martha Washington Feb. 11 aboard Chanel’s Legacy, who is scheduled to make her next start in Saturday’s $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies.


Finish Lines


The track was rated good for workouts Sunday morning. … Chigger Bite, an unstarted 3-year-old Stroll colt, recorded a half-mile bullet work (:46.20) following the renovation break Sunday morning for trainer Mike Johnson and owner Charles Cella, Oaklawn’s president since 1968. Chigger Bite is a half-brother to Drogue, record-setting nine-length winner of Oaklawn’s $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes in 2014 for Johnson and Cella. Chigger Bite shared the bullet with Storm Advisory, winner of the $125,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters Feb. 4. … Rockshaw, will be pointed for the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters April 13, trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said Sunday morning. Rockshaw set a stakes record (1:09.27) in winning Saturday’s $125,000 Gazebo at 6 furlongs. … Kathballu will be pointed for the $150,000 Carousel Stakes for older female sprinters April 8, trainer Kenny McPeek said Sunday morning. Kathballu won Saturday’s $125,000 Spring Fever Stakes. … Multiple stakes winner Super Saks will target a conditioned allowance race after finishing last of six in the Spring Fever, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Sunday morning. … Hillbilly Royalty, a 5-year-old gelding, was claimed out of a sixth-place finish in Saturday’s sixth race for $50,000 by trainer Randy Morse. It equaled the highest-priced claim of the meet. Morse trained Hillbilly Royalty’s dam, Aptiseno, whose dam, Orseno, was a half-sister to champion Unbridled. Morse claimed Hillbilly Royalty, runner-up in Oaklawn’s $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes for 3-year-olds in 2015, for major client Randy Patterson. … Jockey Luis Quinonez, who was involved in a spill Saturday, took off his mounts Sunday as a precaution and is expected back in the saddle Thursday.