Thursday, October 05, 2017
Count Fleet Sprint Handicap winner Whitmore and Smarty Jones Stakes winner Uncontested are among 11 horses vying for an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in Saturday’s $250,000 Phoenix Stakes (G2) at Keeneland; Three Oaklawn-raced fillies – Vertical Oak, Finley’s luckycharm and Ivy Bell – are among eight female sprinters entered in Saturday’s $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) at Keeneland trying to earn an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
2017 Oaklawn Stakes Winners Clash in Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland
Oaklawn stakes winners Whitmore and Uncontested are scheduled to meet for the first time in the $250,000 Phoenix Stakes (G2) Friday at Keeneland. The 6-furlong Phoenix is a “Win and You’re In” event for the $1.5 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 4 at Del Mar.
Co-owned and trained by Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, Whitmore was 3 for 3 at this year’s Oaklawn meeting, including the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 11 and $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 15.
The 3-1 second choice in the program for the Phoenix, Whitmore is scheduled to break from post 11 under Manny Franco and carry equal top weight of 122 pounds. The 4-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding surpassed $1 million in career earnings in his last start, a third-place finish in the $250,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) Sept. 16 at Laurel.
Uncontested began his 3-year-old campaign with a 5 ¼-length wire-to-wire victory in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16 at Oaklawn for trainer Wayne Catalano. Turning back to a sprint for the first time since his career debut victory last October at Keeneland, Uncontested was a 1 ¼-length second-level allowance/optional claiming winner Sept. 17 at Churchill Downs. The son of Tiz Wonderful will be facing older horses for the first time Friday.
Uncontested (15-1) is scheduled to break from post 8 under perennial Churchill Downs riding champion Corey Lanerie and carry 118 pounds.
Uncontested is co-owned by Harry Rosenblum of Little Rock, Ark., who also had an interest in Whitmore before selling it shortly after the Hot Springs.
Probable post time for the Phoenix, which goes as race 8, is 3:57 p.m. (Central). Limousine Liberal is the 5-2 program favorite in the projected 11-horse field.
Work All Week won the Hot Springs, Phoenix and Breeders’ Cup Sprint in 2014 en route to an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion male sprinter. Oaklawn-raced A.P. Indian won last year’s Phoenix.
Oaklawn-raced Vertical Oak, Finley’sluckycharm and Ivy Bell are among eight female sprinters entered in the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) Saturday at Keeneland.
The 6-furlong Thoroughbred Club of America is a “Win and You’re In” event for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) Nov. 4 at Del Mar.
Vertical Oak ran twice this year at Oaklawn, finishing fourth in the $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 21 and third in the $150,000 Purple Martin Stakes March 25. Finley’sluckycharm was an allowance/optional claiming winner sprinting at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting. Ivy Bell broke her maiden sprinting last year at Oaklawn.
Probable post time for the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes, which goes as race 6, is 3 p.m. (Central). Finley’sluckycharm is the 3-5 program favorite.
Saturday’s second race at Keeneland is an allowance/optional claimer for fillies and mares at about 7 furlongs. Among six horses entered are 2017 Oaklawn sprint stakes winners Athena and Kathballu. Athena won the $125,000 American Beauty Jan. 28, while Kathballu won the $125,000 Spring Fever March 4.
Probable post time for the second race is 12:40 p.m. (Central). Kathballu is the 9-5 program favorite.
Trainer Mike Tomlinson, who saddled Sir Cherokee to an upset victory in the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (G2) in 2003 at Oaklawn, had his 500th career North American winner last Saturday at Churchill Downs with Curlins Vow, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Curlins Vow was ridden by 2000 Oaklawn champion jockey Jon Court. Tomlinson won his first race in 1991 and has 49 career victories at Oaklawn, according to Equibase. … High North, a 2-year-old half-brother to Benner Island, finished second in a maiden special weights route last Saturday at Belmont Park for owner John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs and Oaklawn regular Brad Cox. Benner Island ran three times this year at Oaklawn for Anthony and Cox, finishing second in the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 11. She won the $200,000 Eight Belles Stakes (G2) May 5 at Churchill Downs. High North is by sprint champion Midnight Lute. … Oaklawn-raced Joyous Lady won the $100,000 Richmond Stakes Wednesday at Indiana Grand. … Cistron, winner of the $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes for 3-year-olds April 15 at Oaklawn, is entered in the $75,000 Obviously Mile Stakes Saturday at Santa Anita. Probable post time for the 1-mile turf race is 3 p.m. (Central) and it goes as race 2. … Oaklawn-raced Indy Hill, Balandeen and Hogy are entered in the $200,000 Woodford Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs on the turf Saturday at Keeneland. Probable post time for the Woodford, which goes as race 5, is 2:25 p.m. (Central). … Oaklawn-raced Power of Snunner is entered in the $100,000 Plum Pretty Stakes Saturday at Parx. Probable post time for the 1 1/16-mile Plum Pretty, which goes as race 8, is 3:04 p.m. (Central). … American Anthem, 10th as the favorite in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds March 18 at Oaklawn, is entered in the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) Saturday at Santa Anita. Probable post time for the 6-furlong race, which goes as race 6, is 5 p.m. (Central).