Thursday, May 25, 2017
Four Oaklawn Runners Pointing Toward the Belmont Stakes
At least four Oaklawn-raced horses are under consideration for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) June 10 at Belmont Park, including the top three finishers from the Arkansas Derby.
Pointing for the 1 ½-mile Belmont are Classic Empire, Conquest Mo Money and Lookin At Lee, 1-2-3, respectively, in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15 at Oaklawn, along with Senior Investment, a Feb. 18 entry-level allowance winner at Oaklawn.
All four horses ran in last Saturday’s Preakness, with Classic Empire finishing second, Senior Investment third, Lookin At Lee fourth and Conquest Mo Money seventh.
Lookin At Lee and Classic Empire also finished second and fourth, respectively, in the Kentucky Derby.
Jon Court, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2000, has $99,922,042 in career North American purse earnings, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. The rider is trying to become just the 50th jockey in North American history to reach $100 million for a career.
Court, 56, finished seventh in the standings this year with 27 victories, and his $1,106,227 in purse earnings at the meet pushed his career total to $99,858,939. He is now based at Churchill Downs, where he is named on three horses Thursday and four horses Saturday. Court is named on two horses Friday at Indiana Grand.
Court ranks 70th in North American history in victories (4,027), according to Equibase. He rode his first winner in 1980 and has 642 career victories at Oaklawn since 1981.
Ricardo Santana Jr., Oaklawn’s leading rider the last five years, is 5 for 7 teaming with trainer J.R. Caldwell at the Churchill Downs spring/summer meeting. Caldwell tops the standings with 10 victories from just 15 starters. He finished among Oaklawn’s top 10 trainers this year with 15 victories. Eight of the winners were ridden by Santana, who had 53 overall.
At the Churchill meeting, Santana and Caldwell have teamed for victories with favored Ship Disturber ($4) in a $5,000 claiming race Sunday, favored Learning Curve ($3.80) in an $8,000 claiming race May 18, Dan the Go to Man ($10.60) in an allowance race May 12, Ship Disturber ($10.80) in a $7,500 claiming race May 11 and favored Bold Shot ($3.80) in a $7,500 claiming race May 2.
Santana and Caldwell are 3 for 3 at the Churchill meet with betting favorites.
Caldwell won a two-way shake to claim Ship Disturber for $6,250 out of a fifth-place finish April 2 at Oaklawn. Caldwell won a six-way shake to claim Learning Curve for $10,000 out of a second-place finish Jan. 20 at Oaklawn. Dan the Go to Man and Bold Shot started for Caldwell at this year’s Oaklawn meeting.
Caldwell won three races Saturday at Churchill, although none were ridden by Santana because he was at Pimlico.
Santana is scheduled to ride the Caldwell-trained Texas Chrome in the $200,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (G3) Sunday at Lone Star. The rider guided Texas Chrome to a sixth-place finish in the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 15 at Oaklawn and a runner-up finish in the $200,000 Steve Sexton Mile Stakes (G3) May 7 at Lone Star.
Texas Chrome is the 9-5 second choice in the program for the Lone Star Park Handicap. Also entered in the 1 1/16-mile race is Shotgun Kowboy (4-1), a two-time allowance/optional claiming winner this year at Oaklawn.
Probable post time for the Lone Star Park Handicap is 6:40 p.m. (Central).
Oaklawn winners Game Time Decision, Finley’sluckycharm, Athena and Pleasant Tales are entered in the $100,000 Winning Colors Stakes (G3) for female sprinters Saturday at Churchill Downs. … Oaklawn stakes winners Storm Advisory, Weast Hill and Apprehender are entered in the $65,000 Ed Skinner Stakes Saturday at Prairie Meadows. Weast Hill will be making his first start for trainer Greg Compton, who claimed the Arkansas-bred gelding for $40,000 out of a runner-up finish in an April 28 allowance/optional claimer at Indiana Grand. Also entered in the 6-furlong Ed Skinner are Oaklawn-raced Wings Locked Up, Boalt Hall, Hebbronville and Gordy Florida. … Cupid, winner of the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) last year at Oaklawn, is scheduled to make his 4-year-old debut in the $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) Saturday at Santa Anita. Also entered in the 1 ¼-mile event are Oaklawn-raced Midnight Storm and Hard Aces. Probable post time for the Gold Cup, which goes as the eighth race, is 6:30 p.m. (Central). … Sonneteer, second in Oaklawn’s $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18 and fourth in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15, is entered in Saturday’s fourth race at Santa Anita, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weights event. … Preliminary Beyer Speed Figures for Oaklawn-raced horses who won stakes races in the last week at Pimlico at Presque Isle: Whitmore (101), Terra Promessa (97), Recruiting Ready (94), Vertical Oak (90) and Balandeen (69).