Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Five Oaklawn-Raced Horses Expected in Preakness Field
Five Oaklawn-raced horses are scheduled to be entered for the second leg of the Triple Crown, the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1) Saturday at Pimlico, including Classic Empire, Conquest Mo Money and Lookin At Lee, 1-2-3, respectively, in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15.
Post positions for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness will be drawn Wednesday.
In addition to Classic Empire (Julien Leparoux to ride), Conquest Mo Money (Jorge Carreno) and Lookin At Lee (Corey Lanerie), the field is also expected to include Senior Investment, a Feb. 18 first-level allowance/optional claiming winner at Oaklawn, and Hence, whose Jan. 16 maiden victory was Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s 500th career winner in Hot Springs.
Senior Investment will be ridden by Channing Hill, among Oaklawn’s top 10 riders with riders this year with 16 victories. Hence will be ridden by Florent Geroux.
Lookin At Lee (second), Classic Empire (fourth) and Hence (11th) exit the May 6 Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown. Conquest Mo Money passed the Kentucky Derby to point for the Preakness. Senior Investment has been targeting the Preakness since a head victory in the $200,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) April 15 at Keeneland for trainer Kenny McPeek, who won seven races this year at Oaklawn.
Asmussen’s duo of Calumet Farm’s Hence and L and N Racing’s Lookin At Lee put in their final breezes Monday morning at Churchill Downs prior to Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. Hencebreezed a half-mile in :51 at 6 a.m. (all times Eastern) through splits of :13 and :25.80 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:05. Lookin At Lee, the Derby runner-up, worked a half-mile at 7:15 a.m. in :51.20 with splits of :13 and :25.80 before galloping out in 1:04.80.
“They both had really easy works,” Asmussen said. “Both horses were traveling well and came out of the Derby in good shape.
“Hence didn’t really run his race in the Derby. Watching from the grandstand he was jumping from the kickback of the sloppy racetrack. I expected him to come out of the race as though he didn’t exert himself and that’s exactly what he did. He’s a very impressive individual and still training very well.
“Lookin At Lee has always had a good rhythm to his training. This is a typical breeze for him. His personality and gamesmanship gave us a lot of confidence in him going into the Derby. We have no control of how the other horses run but we always feel like he does his best. It takes a horse like him to get the dream trip as he did in the Derby. Some of the spots that he went through aren’t for everybody and that’s what has us feeling so strongly about him going into the Preakness.”
A sixth Oaklawn-raced horse, Royal Mo, had been scheduled to run in the Preakness before suffering a career-ending leg injury during a workout Sunday at Pimlico. Royal Mo ran ninth in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18, the final major local prep for the Arkansas Derby.
The Right Note
Odds-on favorite American Anthem ($3.60) was a 1 ¾-length winner of the $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old sprinters Saturday at Santa Anita. He had finished 10th as the favorite in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18 at Oaklawn.
From the first crop of 2012 Arkansas Derby winner Bodemeister, American Anthem ran 7 furlongs over a fast track in 1:22.02 for his Hall of Fame connections of jockey Mike Smith and trainer Bob Baffert.
Aristocratic, sixth in the $125,000 Gazebo Stakes March 4 at Oaklawn, finished third.
The 2016 Barrera winner, I Will Score, was coming off a runner-up finish in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn.
Bodemeister is also the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming. Equator represented Bodemeister’s first Oaklawn winner in a March 5 starter/optional claimer.
Someday Soon, who captured a Feb. 12 allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn, was a one-length winner of the $75,000 Tomboy Stakes for 3-year-old Ohio-bred fillies Sunday at Belterra Park.
The filly became the third graduate of Oaklawn’s $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 11 to subsequently win a stakes race, following Ever So Clever and Benner Island. Trained by Will VanMeter, Someday Soon ran 1 1/16 miles over a firm turf in 1:42.58 and paid $3.40 as the heavy favorite.
Someday Soon was ridden by Declan Cannon, who won 14 races in his Oaklawn debut this year.
Following her Feb. 12 victory, Someday Soon ran eighth in the Honeybee, the final major local prep for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 14.
Honeybee fifth Ever So Clever returned to win the Fantasy. Honeybee runner-up Benner Island won the $200,000 Eight Belles Stakes (G2) May 5 at Churchill Downs.
Chanel’s Legacy, unraced since a runner-up finish in the Fantasy, recorded a 5-furlong bullet workout (:59.82) Thursday at Prairie Meadows for trainer Lynn Chleborad. Chanel’s Legacy won Oaklawn’s $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 21 and $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 11 before running sixth in the Honeybee.
Santana, Santana, Santana
Ricardo Santana Jr., Oaklawn’s leading rider the last five years, had a triple Thursday at Churchill Downs, sweeping the final three races on the eight-race card.
Santana won the sixth race aboard Ship Disturber ($10.80) for trainer J.R. Caldwell, seventh race aboard Wagon Boss ($16.40) for trainer Ignacio Correas IV and eighth race aboard favored Big Commission ($7.80) for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
According to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization, Big Commission represented Santana’s 850th career North American victory and 310th for Asmussen, who has captured eight Oaklawn training titles since 2007.
Santana has ridden 131 winners for Asmussen at Oaklawn, all since 2013. Santana won 53 races overall this year at Oaklawn. Asmussen topped the trainer standings with 41 victories. The 24-year-old rider has 853 career North American victories since his first in 2009.
Gun Runner, winner of the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses Feb. 20 at Oaklawn, worked a half-mile in :51 Monday morning at Churchill Downs for Hall of Famer and eight-time Oaklawn training champion Asmussen. Gun Runner is pointing for the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) June 17 at Churchill Downs. … Didiel Osorio won Thursday’s third race at Churchill Downs aboard Cheyenne Blues ($7.40) for trainer J.R. Caldwell. Osorio, who won five races this year at Oaklawn, turned 23 Thursday. … Caldwell, an Oaklawn regular, is tied for second in the Churchill Downs standings with five victories from just nine starters. … Asmussen has a meet-high seven victories at Churchill Downs and is the runaway leader at Lone Star Park with 28 victories. Asmussen, who was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame last August, leads the country in victories this year with 139. … Cistron ran second in the $75,000 Desert Code Stakes for 3-year-olds Saturday at Santa Anita. Cistron was coming off a front-running one-length victory in the $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes April 15 at Oaklawn.