Oaklawn News

Unbeaten Amy’s Challenge moved a step closer to her scheduled two-turn debut in the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 10 at Oaklawn by working over a fast track after the renovation break Tuesday morning for trainer Mac Robertson.

Amy’s Challenge was credited with 6 furlongs in 1:13.80 after breezing around 1 ½ turns (five-eighths pole to the seven-eighths pole). It was the third work back for Amy’s Challenge since moving to 3 for 3 in the $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 20, her 2018 debut and first start against females.

Jareth Loveberry has ridden Amy’s Challenge throughout her career and regularly works her, but Robertson said he had exercise rider Ernesto Lopez breeze the daughter of Artie Schiller Tuesday morning.

“I thought it was a good work under weight,” Robertson said. “I wanted a little weight on her. She got a little tired today, but I was happy with the finish. Galloped out pretty good, kind of seen that turn.”

Amy’s Challenge skipped the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 10, a mile race that is Oaklawn’s first of three major two-turn preps for the Kentucky Oaks.

Martha Washington third Cosmic Burst, another projected starter for the 1 1/16-mile Honeybee, also worked Tuesday morning, covering 5 furlongs in 1:01 for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel.

Cosmic Burst was beaten 6 ¾ lengths in the Martha Washington, her 2018 debut. She had been unbeaten in three previous route races, including the $100,000 Trapeze Stakes Dec. 17 at Remington Park to conclude her 2-year-old campaign.

“She didn’t perform the way we’ve grown accustomed to,” Von Hemel said. “Chalk it up to the track, I guess, right now.”

Cosmic Burst was racing over a sloppy track for the first time in the Martha Washington.

Martha Washington winner and scheduled Honeybee starter Red Ruby worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.80 over a good track Monday morning for trainer Kellyn Gorder.

The Honeybee, which offers 85 points to the top four finishers (50-20-10-5) toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Oaks, is the final major local prep for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 13.

The Honeybee was the key race of the 2017 Oaklawn meeting, with 10 of 11 starters returning to win, including It Tiz Well, Benner Island, Elate, Ever So Clever and Lovely Bernadette in graded stakes events last year. 

Back to Work

Grade 1 winner Sporting Chance returned to the work tab Tuesday morning, covering a half-mile in :48.20 minutes after the track opened for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Sporting Chance, who breezed over a fast track, is scheduled to make his next start in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 17, Oaklawn’s second of four two-turn major Kentucky Derby preps.

In his 3-year-old and two-turn debut, Sporting Chance finished a troubled third in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 19. Lukas said he will probably breeze Sporting Chance three times in advance of the 1 1/16-mile Rebel, which will offer 85 points to the top four finishers (50-20-10-5) toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby.

Lukas has two other horses on the Kentucky Derby trail, including Jan. 13 Oaklawn maiden special weights graduate Transgress who worked a half-mile in :48.80 Tuesday morning.

Lukas said Transgress is pointing for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) March 25 at Sunland Park.

Bravazo, an entry-level allowance/optional claiming winner Jan. 13 at Oaklawn for Lukas, worked a half-mile in :49 over a good track Monday morning in advance of a scheduled start in the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) March 24 at Fair Grounds. Bravazo won the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) Feb. 17 at Fair Grounds in his last start.

“I’m looking at them like they are (Kentucky Derby prospects),” Lukas said. “Everybody has that focus of trying to get there, so we’ll treat them that way and let them disappoint us.” 

Ivan the Great

Multiple stakes winner and near-millionaire Ivan Fallunovalot recorded a bullet 3-furlong workout (:35.40) over a fast track Tuesday morning for owner Lewis Mathews and trainer Tom Howard in advance of a scheduled start in the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters March 10.

Ivan Fallunovalot ($986,403) would have surpassed $1 million in career earnings with a victory in the $125,000 King Cotton Stakes Feb. 3, but finished second to Wilbo.

Wilbo is also pointing for the Hot Springs, along with defending champion Whitmore and Warrior’s Club.

Wilbo worked a half-mile in :50.20 Tuesday morning for 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman. Whitmore recorded a 5-furlong bullet (1:01.40) over a good track Monday morning for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs.
Finish Lines

Colonelsdarktemper, auto racing legend A.J. Foyt’s 2017 Oaklawn debut winner and West Virginia Derby champ, is pointing for a mid-March allowance race for his 4-year-old debut, trainer Jinks Fires of Hot Springs said Tuesday morning. … Higher Power, a candidate for the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds March 17, worked 5 furlongs in company in 1:00.80 over a fast track Tuesday morning for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel. After winning a Jan. 13 allowance/optional claimer at mile, Higher Power had been under consideration for the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 19 before missing about a week of training because of a minor illness. … Unbeaten 3-year-olds Exclamation Point and Tenfold (both 1 for 1) were on the work tab Monday morning. Exclamation Point, in company, recorded a half-mile bullet (:47.40) over a good track for leading trainer Brad Cox. Tenfold, in company, went 5 furlongs in 1:02 for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Another promising 3-year-old for Asmussen, Title Ready, worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.80 Monday morning. Title Ready was a powerful Feb. 1 allowance winner in his 2018 debut. … Through 27 days of racing, 215 claims have totaled $3,336,000. … Trainer Jerry Donaldson won a 21-way shake, or blind draw, to claim Liam’s World, out of a runner-up finish in Sunday’s first race for $10,000. … Entries were to be drawn Wednesday for Saturday’s $125,000 Spring Fever Stakes for older filly and mare sprinters and the $100,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes for Arkansas-bred sprinters. … Nominations to the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies and the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters close Friday. Both races will be run March 10.