Sunday, March 26, 2017
Texas Chrome on Target for Oaklawn Handicap
Multiple graded stakes winner Texas Chrome remains on schedule to make his 4-year-old debut in the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 15 at Oaklawn, trainer J.R. Caldwell said Sunday morning.
Texas Chrome has had three published workouts since returning to Caldwell’s barn in early February, the last a 5-furlong bullet (1:01.20) over a fast track Saturday morning under four-time defending Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. He has also breezed a half-mile the previous two Saturdays.
“We’ve got two more works for the Oaklawn Handicap,” Caldwell said. “If they all go good and he does what I think he’s going to do, then we’ll go in the race.”
Caldwell said Texas Chrome, in preparation for his 4-year-old campaign, was freshened at owner Danny Keene’s Hot Springs-area farm following a ninth-place finish 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 compiling a 4-1-2 record from eight starts and earning $659,900.
Following a third-place finish in his 3-year-old debut, the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes last April at Oaklawn, Texas Chrome won the $75,000 Texas Stallion Stakes May 15 at Lone Star Park, $100,000 Super Derby Prelude Stakes Aug. 6 at Louisiana Downs, $400,000 Super Derby (G3) Sept. 10 at Louisiana Downs and the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (G3) Sept. 25 at Remington Park.
Caldwell said Texas Chrome hasn’t missed a beat since beginning a regular breeze schedule this month.
“He has been spot on and handled everything we’ve thrown at him, just like he’s a pro,” Caldwell said.
Keene purchased Texas Chrome, a son of Grasshopper, for $10,000 as a yearling. Texas Chrome has bankrolled $842,807 off eight victories from 14 lifetime starts.
C.J. McMahon has ridden Texas Chrome in his last four starts.
Nominations to the 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn Handicap close Friday.
Oaklawn stakes winners Ivan Fallunovalot and Rockshaw worked just after the track opened Sunday morning in advance of stakes races next month.
Ivan Fallunovalot breezed a half-mile in :47.80 under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel in preparation for the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) for older horses April 15. Clockers caught the gelding’s last quarter-mile in :23.20 and galloping out 5 furlongs in 1:00.60.
Trained by Tom Howard of Hot Springs, Ivan Fallunovalot won Oaklawn’s $100,000 King Cotton Stakes in 2015 and 2016. He most recently finished second to Whitmore in the final major local prep for the Count Fleet, the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 11. Whitmore is also pointing for the Count Fleet, co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said.
Ivan Fallunovalot finished second in the 2015 Count Fleet.
Working a few minutes before Ivan Fallunovalot was Rockshaw, who breezed a half-mile in company in :47.60 for Moquett. He is pointing for the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters April 13.
Rockshaw was a sharp first-level allowance winner Jan. 14, then rolled to a record-setting four-length victory in the $125,000 Gazebo Stakes March 4. He set a stakes record (1:09.27) for 6 furlongs in the Gazebo.
Rockshaw is owned by Alex Lieblong of Conway, Ark., chairman of the Arkansas Racing Commission.
Also on the work tab Sunday morning was Benner Island, who worked a half-mile in :50.80 for trainer Brad Cox in preparation for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies April 14.
Benner Island finished second in the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 11. The Honeybee is the final major local prep for the Fantasy.
The track was rated fast Sunday morning.
Our Majesty emerged in good order from her fourth-place finish in Saturday’s $150,000 Purple Martin Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 6 furlongs, trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said Sunday morning. Our Majesty, the wagering favorite, crossed the wire first, but was disqualified because of interference on the backstretch. Moquett said he was disappointed by the result, adding next-race plans are pending for the sparkling Feb. 10 career debut winner. “I’m looking at several options,” Moquett said. … Golden Mischief ($7.40), elevated to first following Our Majesty’s disqualification, represented the 71st career Oaklawn stakes victory for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Asmussen, a seven-time leading trainer at Oaklawn, had a triple Saturday to increase his lead to 28-23 over Robertino Diodoro after 44 days of the scheduled 57-day meet. Asmussen also won the second race with Twenty and Four ($8.20) and fourth race with Game Over ($17.40). Both winners were ridden by Luis Contreras. … Golden Mischief gave leading rider Geovanni Franco a double. In the chase for leading rider, Franco (37 victories) tops four-time defending Oaklawn champion Ricardo Santana Jr., Ramon Vazquez and Alex Canchari, all tied for second with 34. Canchari had a triple Saturday – favored Suspect a Storm ($6.40) in the third race, Double Tuff ($66.40) in the eighth race and Grandpa’s Dream ($45.40) in the 10th race. ... Trainer Tim Martin of nearby Glenwood, Ark., won two races Saturday – Suspect a Storm and Purrfectpersuasion ($33) in the seventh. … Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he has nothing in mind for multiple stakes-winning sprinter Super Saks, winless in four starts at the meeting. … Lukas has 299 career Oaklawn victories, according to Equibase. He has two horses entered Friday. … Friday’s $100,000 Rainbow Stakes for 3-year-old Arkansas-bred colts and geldings at 6 furlongs has drawn field of seven – Quietly Cuba, Jack Be Quick, Five O One, Bay’s Commander, J.E.’s Handmedown, All to Stormy and Checkmate Charlie. The Martin-trained All to Stormy, a two-race maiden, is a half-brother to 2015 Rainbow winner Weast Hill. … Weast Hill worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.80 Sunday morning for trainer Brad Cox, who is pointing the gelding for a title defense in the $100,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes at 1 1/16 miles April 8.