Oaklawn News

Trained by Tom Howard of Hot Springs, Ivan Fallunovalot can become the third Texas-bred to reach $1 million in career earnings with a victory in the 6-furlong King Cotton, a race he won in 2015 and 2016 and finished fourth in last year.

Howard claimed the 8-year-old Valid Expectations gelding for $25,000 at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting on behalf of Lewis Mathews of Bismarck, Ark.

According to the Texas Thoroughbred Association, the state’s official breed registry for Thoroughbreds, 1987 sprint champion Groovy ($1,346,956) and Texas Chrome ($1,033,262) are the only Texas-bred millionaires.

Ivan Fallunovalot, the 2015 TTA Texas Horse of the Year, has earned $961,403 in a 29-race career that includes 17 victories.

“That’s our big goal, to make him a millionaire in front of the home crowd,” Mathews said. “That’s what we’ve looked toward for a few months. That’s our next goal with him.”

The King Cotton field from the rail out: Guns Loaded, Ricardo Santana Jr. to ride, 115 pounds, 6-1 on the morning line; Ivan Fallunovalot, Luis Quinonez, 119, 8-5; Wilbo, David Cabrera, 122, 7-2; St. Joe Bay, Edwin Maldonado, 115, 5-1; Prime Engine, Gary Stevens, 115, 12-1; Royal Squeeze, David Cohen, 115, 12-1; Recount, Alex Canchari, 115, 6-1; and Apprehender, Alex Birzer, 115, 15-1.

The King Cotton goes as the eighth of nine races, with probable post time 4:38 p.m. (Central). Doors open Saturday at 11 a.m. Racing begins at 1:05 p.m.

Ivan Fallunovalot finished second in his prep for the King Cotton, beaten a length by Wilbo in a Jan. 14 allowance/optional claimer. Ivan Fallunovalot was making his first start since winning the $150,000 David M. Vance Stakes Sept. 24 at Remington Park.

The gelding didn’t have a prep before his sluggish fourth-place finish in last year’s King Cotton and also had a minor illness leading up to the race, Howard said.

Things have gone much smoother this year, Howard said.

“I think he’ll be hard to outrun, just from what I’m seeing,” Howard said. “He’s doing very well right now. Everything is going as planned.”

Ivan Fallunovalot tuned up for the King Cotton with a 3-furlong bullet work (:34.40) Tuesday morning. Ivan Fallunovalot broke from the rail in last year’s King Cotton and from the same spot last month.

“Not real wild about the 2 hole, but I’m not too worried about it, either,” Howard said.

Wilbo will try to give Chris Hartman, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2015, his first King Cotton victory. The Hartman-trained Alsvid ran second four consecutive years in the King Cotton (2013-2016).

Late-running Apprehender won the King Cotton in 2013 and 2014. Recount, second in last year’s King Cotton, finished third behind Wilbo and Ivan Fallunovalot in the January prep.