Songbird never raced at Oaklawn, but a half-sister to the two-time Eclipse Award winner is scheduled to make her career debut in Thursday’s seventh race, a 1-mile maiden special weights event for 3-year-old fillies.
Song of Mine, by 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, was an $800,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale purchase by PTK LLC (Paula, Tom and Kaitlin Haughey). It’s the most expensive horse the family has purchased at public auction since entering the business approximately two decades ago and reportedly the second-most expensive yearling by Ghostzapper to sell at public auction at the time.
Song of Mine was purchased Aug. 8, 2016, 12 days before Songbird won the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga, the 10th consecutive victory to begin her career. A daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, Songbird was a champion at 2 and 3 and retired with 13 victories from 15 starts and earnings of $4,692,000.
Songbird and Song of Mine are both out of Grade 2 winner Ivanavinalot.
“We’ve figured out along the way that most of the disappointment that occurs in this business stems from expectations, so I can tell you that, as owners, we shy away from forming them,” PTK racing manager Kaitlin Haughey said in an email. “Obviously we hope she does well, but she’s a horse and this is horse racing. Anything can happen, and we love her win, lose or draw. As for any attention she may get on the day, I hope she enjoys it! And our team deserves all the credit in the world for the incredible job they’ve done with her.”
Song of Mine is among approximately 12 horses on the grounds trainer Dane Kobiskie has for PTK, which has ranked in the top 100 nationally in victories every year since 2008. Its stable name derives from the first letter in the first name of Kaitlin Haughey and her parents.
The dark bay or brown filly, has had three published works at Oaklawn since Dec. 30, the last a Jan. 22 half-mile drill from the gate (:48) that ranked second of 93 recorded at the distance. She was previously based in south Florida.
“We give all our horses as much time as they need before they run, and Song of Mine is simply a big filly,” Kaitlin Haughey said. “We wanted to give her as much time as she needed to grow, mature and fill out. So in a sense she’s right on schedule, but in actuality there never was a schedule. We just listen to our horses and to Dane and let them tell us when the time is right.”
Song of Mine, 8-1 on the morning line, is scheduled to break from post 2 under David Cohen, like PTK and Kobiskie, a newcomer to Oaklawn.
Haughey said the inspiration behind Song of Mine’s name is a line from “The Christmas Waltz,” a 1954 release by legendary singer Frank Sinatra.
“We name our horses together as a family, and almost all of the names have stories behind them,” Haughey said. “The lyric is: ‘And this song of mine in three-quarter time. ...’ It’s a favorite song of ours, and who doesn’t love Frank? It’s rare that all three of us immediately agree on a name, so we jumped on it. Mom submitted the name less than two hours after we bought her.”
PTK and Kobiskie recorded their first Oaklawn victory last Thursday with unbeaten 3-year-old Colour Guard, a son of Oaklawn stakes winners Archarcharch and Endless Parade.
Back to Work
Whitmore and Petrov, two of the most accomplished horses in Ron Moquett’s barn, are scheduled to return to the work tab this weekend, the trainer said Sunday morning.
Whitmore, the top sprinter at the 2017 Oaklawn meeting, is scheduled to make his 5-year-old debut in the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters March 10. Whitmore was 3 for 3 last year at Oaklawn, including the Hot Springs and $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3). The Pleasantly Perfect gelding finished eighth in his last start, the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 4 at Del Mar.
“He got stepped on pretty bad in the race,” Moquett said. “I cleaned that up, where he got scraped. I gave him a little break because I knew this year was going to be another full-speed ahead year.”
The major spring objective for Whitmore, Moquett said, is the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 14.
Petrov hasn’t started since finishing ninth in the $200,000 Steel Valley Sprint Stakes Nov. 20 at Mahoning Valley. He was the only horse to go through Oaklawn’s four-race series of two-turn Kentucky Derby preps last year, finishing second in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3).
Moquett said Petrov will return in an allowance race, with the distance to be determined.
“He’s very versatile,” Moquett said.
Both horses had been based in Kentucky before arriving Jan. 9, Moquett said.
Lasix Free – Again
Plainsman, the first Lasix-free winner of the meeting, is scheduled to make his two-turn debut in Thursday’s eighth race, an entry-level allowance for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
A son of Flatter, Plainsman finished ninth in his Oct. 7 debut at Keeneland before breaking his maiden at odds of 34-1 Jan. 20 under C.J. McMahon.
“We were optimistic,” said Will VanMeter, who trains Plainsman for Arkansas lumberman John Ed Anthony’s Shortleaf Stable. “The horse, he’s a Flatter, so we weren’t concerned about his lackluster start as a 2-year-old. It just kind of was what it was. Since we shipped down here, every week the colt’s improved. Obviously, you never go over there expecting you’re going to win. You’re hopeful with all of them, but it was fun.”
Plainsman paid $70, atypical for one of the most successful owners in Oaklawn history. Still, it wasn’t highest-priced Oaklawn winner for Anthony, who campaigned Eclipse Award winners Temperence Hill and Vanlandingham in the 1980s and Prairie Bayou in the early 1990s.
Sternman ($97.40) broke his maiden at the 2003 Oaklawn meeting for Shortleaf and trainer John Veitch, who would be inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2007.
Sternman also won without the anti-bleeder medication Lasix, a legal diuretic also known as furosemide.
The vast majority of horses run on Lasix, but Anthony has long been a hay, oats and water advocate. Lasix was legalized at Oaklawn in the late 1980s.
“As long as you allow everybody to have it, the field is level,” Anthony said. “Whenever you allow no one to have it, the field is just as level. That’s when the success of the drug-free racehorse comes to the top. And the natural horse with the natural ability, without enhancement of the medication, prevails. I believe that. That’s the policy we’ve always had.”
Oaklawn President Charles Cella announced in September 2014 that Oaklawn would become the country’s first track to offer a purse incentive for horses that ran and won without Lasix during the 2015 meeting.
The “Lasix-free Bonus Program” would offer a 10 percent hike to the winner’s share of the purse for horses that won without the anti-bleeder medication.
Plainsman became the 15th winner under the program.
VanMeter and Anthony have had a program-record four Lasix-free winners since 2015, including three together. VanMeter has trained for Anthony since the 2016 Oaklawn meeting.
Rated R Superstar became the 16th Lasix-free winner in Saturday’s sixth race for trainer Kenny McPeek, collecting an additional $4,680 from an adjusted purse of $82,680. McPeek also had a Lasix-free winner for Anthony at the 2015 meeting (Pangburn).
The Lasix-free bonus program has awarded $40,080 to date, with $17,610 going to Anthony.
Based on the 2018 opening-day purse structure, the bonus will range from $1,200 for Oaklawn’s minimum purse of $20,000 to $60,000 for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1).
Funding for the Lasix-free Bonus Program comes from Oaklawn and not its purse account.
Ivan Fallunovalot tuned up for Saturday’s $125,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters with a bullet 3-furlong workout (:34.40) Tuesday morning for trainer Tom Howard. Post positions for the King Cotton, which Ivan Fallunovalot won in 2015 and 2016, were to be drawn Wednesday. … Grade 1 winner Sporting Chance, a candidate for the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds Feb. 19, worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.40 Monday morning for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. … Shortleaf Stable’s High North, who is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest, posted a 5-furlong bullet work (1:00) Monday morning at Fair Grounds for trainer Brad Cox. … Oaklawn surpassed $1 million in claims Sunday, the 10th day of the meeting. The 74 claims have totaled $1,135,500. Noteworthy claims last week included Sharp Art ($40,000) to trainer Matt Kordenbrock, Dan the Go to Man ($80,000) to trainer John Ortiz and Rings of Jupiter ($16,000) and Avicii ($20,000) to 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman. Kordenbrock lost Sharp Art through a $40,000 last fall at Keeneland, but won a three-way shake, or blind draw, to reclaim the gelding. Hartman won a nine-way shake for Rings of Jupiter and a seven-way shake for Avicii, trainer Doug O’Neill’s 45th and final horse to be located (all were safe) from the Dec. 7 San Luis Rey Downs fire in Southern California. Avicii, who finished fourth, was making her first start at Oaklawn since the 2014 meeting when she was campaigned by Oaklawn President Charles Cella and trainer Lynn Whiting, who both passed away last year. … Riding newcomer Rayan Gazader’s two victories last week were his first at Oaklawn. … First post Sunday is 1:05 p.m. (Central) – 30 minutes earlier than usual – because of the Super Bowl.