Saturday, March 25, 2017
Rapid Dial among Late Triple Crown Nominees
Six horses were made Triple Crown eligible during the late period that closed Monday, including Rapid Dial, an eye-catching debut winner for co-owner/trainer Ingrid Mason March 11 at Oaklawn. And, the trainer is wasting no time trying to recoup the $6,000 late nominating fee by wheeling Rapid Dial back in Sunday’s eighth race, an entry-level allowance/optional claiming sprint that carries an $82,000 purse.
From the first crop of 2011 Florida Derby winner Dialed In, Rapid Dial cruised to a 2 ¾-length victory earlier this month, covering 6 furlongs in a sharp 1:09.72 to earn a 76 Beyer Speed Figure. The colt, who races for Mason, Michael Cloonan and Pat Greco, was purchased for $75,000 at Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s June sale of 2-year-olds and horses of racing age.
Mason also bought Seven Forty Seven out of the same sale. Seven Forty Seven broke his maiden Jan. 28 at Oaklawn before running fifth in the $125,000 Gazebo Stakes March 4.
Rapid Dial had the co-second-fastest time (:10.20 for an eighth of a mile) in his under-tack preview work.
“I think with this colt (Rapid Dial), his workout was incredible – if you watch his gallop out and everything,” Mason said. “He had a nice stride and a nice way of moving, as well as Seven Forty Seven did. But, this guy had a little bit better mind on him. That makes a big difference.”
Rapid Dial had been entered earlier in the meeting, but didn’t run because of a minor stomach ailment, Mason said. In his career debut, he set just off the pace before taking command with a three-wide move on the turn, was 5 ½ lengths clear in midstretch and never threatened in the run to the wire.
“He’s really bred to go longer,” Mason said. “But, I’m kind of wanting to bring him up slowly, plus the purse is so good that the best way to capitalize on a horse like that is to run him through the condition.”
If Rapid Dial performs well, Mason said he will be considered for a closing-day stake. Oaklawn runs the $150,000 Northern Spur at 1 1/16 miles and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at 1 1/8 miles April 15.
Rapid Dial, the 8-5 program favorite, is scheduled to break from post 4 under Ramon Vazquez and carry equal top weight of 122 pounds. Probable post time for Sunday’s eighth race is 4:42 p.m. (Central).
Mason found two future multiple stakes winners, Sarah Sis and Marquee Miss, at the same OBS sale for Oklahoma owner Joe Ragsdale. Sarah Sis won Oaklawn’s $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) in 2015. Marquee Miss won the $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes and $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes last year at Oaklawn.
Arkansas Racing Commission Approves 2018 Dates
The Arkansas Racing Commission approved Oaklawn’s 2018 dates at its regularly scheduled meeting Saturday. Oaklawn will open Friday, Jan. 12 and close Saturday, April 14, 2018 for a total of 57 race days.
Oaklawn will race Thursday – Sunday during the season as well as Monday, Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Monday, Feb. 19, Presidents’ Day. The track will also race the first two Wednesdays in April, April 4 and 11.
Eyes of Texas
Multiple graded stakes winner Texas Chrome moved closer to his 4-year-old debut with a 5-furlong bullet workout after the renovation break Saturday morning for trainer J.R. Caldwell.
Breezing under four-time defending Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr., Texas Chrome covered the distance in 1:01.20 and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:14. The surface was rated good following overnight rain.
It was the third published workout for Texas Chrome, who recorded half-mile moves March 11 and March 18 in preparation for his 2017 debut, which Caldwell said could come in the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 15 at Oaklawn. He hasn’t started since finishing ninth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.
Texas Chrome was named 2016 Texas Horse of the Year by the Texas Thoroughbred Association, the state’s official breed registry, after winning 4 of 8 starts and $659,900. His victories included the $400,000 Super Derby (G3) Sept. 10 at Louisiana Downs and $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (G3) Sept. 25 at Remington Park.
Texas Chrome began his 3-year-old campaign with a third-place finish in the $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes last April at Oaklawn.
Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg won his 16th race of the meeting Friday with Profound Moment ($9.60). Van Berg, 80, was Oaklawn’s eighth-leading trainer last year with 14 victories. Van Berg is enjoying his best Oaklawn meet since 1987, when he won 17 races. He was Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 1983 and 1984 and is tied for fifth in the standings this year.. … Alex Birzer rode two winners Friday – favored Dixie Flyer ($4.20) in the fifth and Profound Moment in the eighth – and has 3,005 for his career, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Birzer rode his 3,000th North American winner Feb. 26 at Oaklawn. … Favored Wild About You ($4) was a 3 ¼-length winner of Friday’s sixth race, a 1 ½-mile starter allowance for older horses. Wild About You won last year’s 1 ¾-mile Trail’s End marathon, traditionally the final race of the Oaklawn meeting. … Among the prominent trophy presenters Friday were Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Mark Martin and former Cowboys All-Pro safety Cliff Harris. Jones, Martin and Harris were in Hot Springs Friday as part an Oaklawn-presented meet and greet for Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame members. … Dutch Parrot, a 3-year-old Arkansas-bred Eskendereya filly, is entered in a state-bred allowance Thursday at 1 1/16 miles. Trainer Will VanMeter said Dutch Parrot, a Feb. 15 maiden graduate, will also be entered in the $100,000 Rainbow Miss Stakes April 1. The 6-furlong Rainbow Miss is restricted to 3-year-old Arkansas-bred fillies. … Through 43 days of racing, 339 claims have totaled $4,502,250.