Several Candiidates for Oaklawn’s Presidents Day stakes tripleheader recorded workouts on a cloudy, damp Sunday morning, including Gray Attempt who breezed 5 furlongs in advance of the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds Feb. 18.
Working just after the renovation break from the 5-furlong pole to the regular finish line, Gray Attempt went in 1:00.20 under Channing Hill and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:12.60 over the muddy, sealed surface. The colt’s final quarter-mile was :23.60.
“I was very pleased with the work,” said Jinks Fires of Hot Springs, who trains Gray Attempt for Dwight Pruett of Texarkana, Ark. “Unfortunately, a couple of horses broke off and then there were two gallopers in our way when we were trying to get ready to break off, so we got a little bit of a late run at the pole. We had to kind of let them clear before we took off. Very happy with him.”
The work was the first for Gray Attempt since a front-running neck victory in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 25, Oaklawn’s first of four major Kentucky Derby preps. The 1-mile Smarty Jones, Gray Attempt’s first start around two turns, was his third consecutive victory.
Like the Smarty Jones, the 1 1/16-mile Southwest will offer 17 points to the top four finishers (10-4-2-1) toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby.
Fires said regular rider Shaun Bridgmohan will have the mount in the Southwest. Fires won the 2011 Southwest with Archarcharch.
Long Range Toddy and Boldor, second and third, respectively, in the Smarty Jones worked for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Breezing together before the break, Long Range Toddy and Boldor covered 5 furlongs in 1:00.20.
Bankit, sixth as the favorite in the Smarty Jones, also worked in company before the break for Asmussen. Bankit and stablemate Laughing Fox, a 3-year-old Union Rags colt who broke his maiden Jan. 25, were both timed in 1:00.80.
Two projected starters for the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses completed final major preparations for the 1 1/16-mile race Sunday.
Zia Park Derby winner Nanoosh breezed 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 for trainer Robertino Diodoro. Tiz He the One covered a half-mile in :52.40 for trainer Jeremiah Englehart.
The Razorback is the first major local prep for the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 13.
H.E. “Tex” Sutton flights carrying prospective Southwest and Razorback entrants to Arkansas are scheduled to arrive Wednesday (south Florida horses) and Thursday (Southern California).
The $200,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles will also be run Feb. 18. The Bayakoa is the first major local prep for the $700,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 14.
Post positions for the Southwest, Rebel and Bayakoa will be drawn Friday.
Stepping up in Class
Tiz He the One will put his near-perfect dirt record on the line in the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses Feb. 18, which will mark the stakes and seasonal debut for the 5-year-old Tiz Wonderful gelding.
Tiz He the One closed his 2018 campaign with three consecutive 1-mile allowance victories at Laurel and has been beaten only once in five career dirt starts. Tiz He the One arrived at Oaklawn about a week ago and tuned up for the 1 1/16-mile Razorback with a half-mile workout Sunday morning.
Trainer Jeremiah Englehart chose the Razorback over next Saturday’s $250,000 General George Stakes (G3) at Laurel and said the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park also factored into next-out plans.
“I knew I wanted to try and stake somewhere,” Englehart said Sunday morning. “I didn’t want to cut him back to seven-eighths for the General George. I wanted to try more distance. The purse is definitely enticing. It was right after the Pegasus, so I figured a lot of horses that were gearing up for there would probably skip this race. I just thought this would be a nice spot for him.”
Englehart said Trevor McCarthy (3 for 3 on the gelding) would have the mount for the Razorback. Tiz He the One, who has a 4-0-1 mark from eight lifetime starts and earnings of $106,834, races for Lady Sheila Stable and Iris Smith Stable.
Allen Milligan, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2009, had 999 career North American victories through Saturday, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. He had three horses entered Sunday at Oaklawn. … Warrior’s Club worked a half-mile in :48.60 Sunday morning for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who said he’s targeting a March return for the Grade 3 winner. … Multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Racer recorded a 3-furlong bullet work (:36) Sunday morning for trainer Jinks Fires of Hot Springs. Racer is scheduled to make his 2019 debut in Thursday’s fourth race. … Flawless Moon, an unstarted 3-year-old half-brother to Grade 1 winner The Big Beast, worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 Sunday morning for trainer David Fawkes. Also working Sunday morning was Hidden Ruler, an unstarted 3-year-old Gemologist colt who went a half-mile out of the gate in :48.20 for trainer Dallas Stewart. … Through Saturday, the ninth day of the scheduled 57-day meeting, 90 claims had totaled $1,299,000.