Silver Bullion to Start in Rebel Stakes
Lightly raced Silver Bullion will make his next start in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds March 18 at Oaklawn, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Thursday morning. Ramon Vazquez, Oaklawn’s co-leading rider this year, will have the mount on the colt, has made all three career starts at the meeting.
The gray son of Pioneerof the Nile broke his maiden Feb. 9 after finishing fourth in his career debut Jan. 15. Most recently he finished second in a first-level allowance/optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 18. Silver Bullion, in his two-turn debut, was beaten three lengths by Senior Investment, who is scheduled to make his next start in the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) April 1 at Fair Grounds, trainer Kenny McPeek said.
“Like every 3-year-old in the country that we have grandiose ideas about, they’ve got to step up,” said Lukas, who trains Silver Bullion for Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley). “But I think he deserves the chance to see if he can. He’s a very competitive horse, and I think he’ll make a good showing. We’ll find out more what he is. This is the time of year you need to find out.”
Other locally based horses pointing for the 1 1/16-mile Rebel include Lookin At Lee and Silver Dust, third and fourth, respectively, in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20 and recent arrival Untrapped, runner-up in the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) Feb. 25 at Fair Grounds.
Lookin At Lee worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 over a fast track Thursday morning for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who also has Untrapped.
Trainer/co-owner Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said Thursday morning that he’s “leaning more toward” the Rebel with Petrov, runner-up in the Southwest and $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16.
Riley Tucker – The Man
Riley Tucker is on the grounds, but it’s not the Ahmed Zayat-owned horse that won Oaklawn’s $50,000 King Cotton Stakes in 2012. It’s the horse’s namesake, Riley Tucker Mott, the son/assistant of Hall of Famer trainer Bill Mott.
Riley Mott is overseeing the preparations of Elate, the 5-2 program favorite for Saturday’s $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies. It’s the first trip to Oaklawn for Mott, 25, who was born five years after his famous father topped the 1986 trainer standings in Hot Springs with 35 victories.
“I hear a lot of memories and stories about him being here,” Mott said during training hours Thursday morning.
Bill Mott hasn’t started a horse at Oaklawn since Close Hatches won the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) in 2014 en route to an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion older female.
The regally bred Elate – she’s a daughter of Oaklawn stakes winners Medaglia d’Oro and Cheery – races for her breeders, famed Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. She broke her maiden by 12 ½ lengths at a mile in her Nov. 26 career debut at Aqueduct before finishing second in her only other start, the $100,000 Suncoast Stakes Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs.
“Ever since we led her off the van as a 2-year-old at Saratoga, I mean, we realized that she was a very nice filly,” Mott said. “For various baby things, we had to delay her debut until Aqueduct in the fall. But she ran the way we thought she would. It was nice to see her reproduce that on the track.”
Medaglia d’Oro broke his maiden at the 2002 Oaklawn meeting and returned to win the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) the following year. He has sired, among others, 2009 Horse of the Year and multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Rachel Alexandra and two-time Eclipse Award winner Songbird.
Cheery, a daughter of Distorted Humor, won Oaklawn’s $60,000 American Beauty Stakes in her final career start in 2013. She was also bred and campaigned by Claiborne Farm and Dilschneider, as was the horse’s dam, Yell, third in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (G1) in 2003 at Churchill Downs.
Mott said the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) May 5 is the major spring goal for Elate, who arrived Tuesday following a flight that originated earlier in the day in south Florida.
“Claiborne, they’ve won pretty much every race you can think of,” Mott said. “But one race they’ve never won has been the Oaks. I think that is pretty high on their list, as far as goals. We think she’s a filly of that caliber.”
Bill Mott, who winters in south Florida, has won more than a dozen other stakes races at Oaklawn, notably the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G1) in 1995 with eventual Horse of the Year Cigar.
Riley Mott graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Kentucky in 2015. He said he grew up around his father’s barn and has assisted him for approximately three years.
“It’s been my life calling ever since I can remember,” Mott said. “Obviously, going to school is what myself and my parents wanted for me, but I always knew this is what I would do afterwards.”
Also entered in the Honeybee are Chanel’s Legacy, Someday Soon, My Sweet Stella, Perfect Wife, It Tiz Well, Tapa Tapa Tapa, Ever So Clever, Tap of War, Lovely Bernadette and Benner Island.
Probable post time for the 1 1/16-mile Honeybee, the eighth of nine races, is 4:38 p.m. (Central).
Saturday’s $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters drew a field of eight: Holy Boss, Fish Trappe Road, Ivan Fallunovalot, Whitmore, Candy Ruby, Recount, Chief Cicatriz and Storm Advisory.
Whitmore, unbeaten in four starts sprinting, is the 9-5 program favorite.
The Hot Springs goes as race 6, with a probable post time of 3:39 p.m. (Central).
Racing begins at 1:05 p.m.
Two of the best claims in Oaklawn history are entered this week, including multiple stakes winner Ivan Fallunovalot in Saturday’s $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters.
Friday’s nine-race program includes a salty allowance/optional claimer for older horses at a mile.
Among the 11 entrants is multiple stakes winner Carve, who has bankrolled $1,015,340 after beginning his career running for a $30,000 claiming tag at the 2013 Oaklawn meet.
Carve, a powerful winner of the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes in 2015 at Oaklawn when under the care of trainer Brad Cox, is coming off a runner-up finish in a Feb. 20 allowance/optional claimer for owner Mike Langford and Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Langford, a commercial real estate developer in Jonesboro, Ark., said he “will probably” retire the 7-year-old First Samurai gelding after his 2017 campaign ends.
“I’m certainly not going to lose him, letting him go down the ladder,” Langford said. “I’ll see what Steve says, but probably after this year, that will be it.”
Langford said the gelding is over foot problems that plagued him during late 2015.
“He’s doing great,” Langford said. “Steve still thinks he can win a stakes race somewhere.”
On behalf of Langford, Asmussen claimed Carve out of his career debut victory in 2013. Carve has won 7 of 31 starts overall, including the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G3) in 2014 at Prairie Meadows. Carve also ran sixth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) in 2014 at Santa Anita.
Ivan Fallunovalot, a $25,000 claim at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting, has earned $807,058 in his 25-race career. Ivan Fallunovalot won Oaklawn’s $100,000 King Cotton Stakes in 2015 and 2016.
Trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said Thursday morning that Torrent is fine physically and will be pointed for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies April 14. Torrent had been scheduled to run in Saturday’s $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3), the final major local prep for the Fantasy. “Just thought we would watch these guys and point to the big one,” Moquett said. “She’s happy and healthy, but whenever I saw this race, I’ve been telling everybody it’s two Fantasys, so I thought I would run in the second Fantasy.” ... Greeley and Ben, a Nov. 13 Churchill Downs maiden graduate, is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut next weekend, trainer Gary Thomas said Thursday morning. Greeley and Ben, at odds of 94-1, finished second, beaten a head by Rockshaw, in his Oct. 15 career debut at Keeneland. Rockshaw won Saturday’s $125,000 Gazebo Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters. Thomas said Greeley and Ben had a chip taken out of an ankle following his maiden victory at a mile, adding the hope is he can run in a stakes race at the end of the meeting. ... Multiple stakes winner Smack Smack breezed 5 furlongs in 1:02.60 Thursday morning for trainer Don Von Hemel of Hot Springs. Smack Smack ($970,430) is trying to become the first millionaire for Von Hemel, 82, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 1981. … Rowdy the Warrior, third in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes for 3-year-olds Jan. 16, worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.60 Thursday morning for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel. … Feb. 25 allowance winner Apprehender is under consideration for the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 15, trainer Gene Jacquot said Thursday morning. Apprehender, a multiple Oaklawn stakes winner, has $514,369 in career earnings.