Oaklawn News

Monday, March 07, 2016

Whitmore Sharp in Pre Rebel Work

Whitmore worked 5 furlongs in 1:00 Sunday morning at Oaklawn in preparation for the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19, the final major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16.

Breezing over a fast surface about 10 minutes after the track opened, Whitmore worked with stablemate Tisdale, another promising 3-year-old for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. The gelding’s time equaled the fastest of 46 recorded at the distance.

Whitmore, who normally breezes in company, was on the inside under Greta Kuntzweiler and pulled away from Tisdale on the 6-furlong gallop out around the first turn in 1:13.20. Tisdale, named for the late Oklahoma basketball great Wayman Tisdale, covered 5 furlongs in 1:00.20.

A maiden-allowance winner at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 6 at Oaklawn, Tisdale is under consideration for a stakes race in his next start, Moquett said, including the $500,000 Spiral (G3) April 2 at Turfway Park. Whitmore is coming off a troubled second in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 at Oaklawn.

“I wanted to work him with a good horse,” Moquett said. “I believe Tisdale is a quality horse, a stakes-caliber horse. I thought it was a good work for both of them.”

Moquett said he planned to work Whitmore Monday, but moved the breeze up one day because of the possibility of rain. The trainer, who also co-owns Whitmore, said he’ll come back with something “light” next week in preparation for the 1 1/16-mile Rebel, which is expected to attract a large field.

Whitmore will be ridden for the first time in the Rebel by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Another projected Rebel starter, Siding Spring, worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 after the renovation break Sunday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Mark Casse. The colt breezed in company with Grade 1 winner Noble Bird, who finished unplaced in his 5-year-old debut, a Feb. 21 allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn. Noble Bird was credited with 5 furlongs in 1:00.80.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Sunday morning that he plans to start Gray Sky in the Rebel. The Tapit colt finished fifth in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 at Oaklawn.

Girl Power

Girl Power, a 3-year-old full sister to multiple stakes winner Now I Know, is scheduled to make her career debut in Sunday’s seventh race at Oaklawn for co-owner/co-breeder/trainer Don Von Hemel of Hot Springs.

Von Hemel also campaigned Now I Know, who won 6 of 7 career starts, including the $50,000 Dixie Belle Stakes in 2012 at Oaklawn. Both Girl Power and Now I Know are by Grade 2 winner Prue Prize out of the unraced Now U Know. Girl Power is gray like her older sister, and the similarities don’t end there, Von Hemel said.

“She’s got some speed,” Von Hemel.

Girl Power, who is scheduled to break from the rail under Shane Laviolette, recorded a half-mile bullet work from the gate Tuesday morning at Oaklawn (:47.40). She is the 9-2 second choice in the program behind the Steve Asmussen trainee Vickie Wins (2-1).

“I hate that spot, but somebody’s got to be in it,” Von Hemel said of the rail draw. “We’ll just do our best.”

Von Hemel also co-owned and bred Now I Know in partnership. The trainer said he has a 2-year-old half-sister to Now I Know and Girl Power by Caleb’s Posse and a yearling half-sister to the duo by Alternation.

Caleb’s Posse and Alternation, both Oaklawn stakes winners, were trained by Von Hemel’s son, Donnie K. Von Hemel.

Probable post time for Sunday’s seventh race is 4:14 p.m. (Central)

Triple Digits

Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. and trainer Steve Asmussen teamed for their 100th Oaklawn victory in Saturday’s ninth race with Counterforce, a 3-year-old Smart Strike colt who won his debut in a maiden-allowance sprint.

Santana began riding regularly for Asmussen at Oaklawn in 2013. They teamed for 32 victories in 2013, 34 victories in 2014 and 22 victories last year. Counterforce represented the 12th winner for the Santana/Asmussen collaboration at this year’s meeting.

Asmussen has a meet-high 19 victories this year, including three Saturday, in pursuit of his seventh Oaklawn training title.

Finish Lines

Terra Promessa (:50) and Cross Country (:48.40) worked half-miles Sunday morning at Oaklawn in preparation for Saturday’s $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3). The Honeybee is the final major local prep for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 9. Other locally based 3-year-old fillies scheduled to run in the Honeybee include Marquee Miss, Nickname and Cosmic Evolution. … Kiss Moon, targeting the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn, worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.40 Sunday morning at Oaklawn for trainer David Vance. … Avisionofchocolate, pointing for the $100,000 Rainbow Miss Stakes April 2 at Oaklawn, worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.40 Sunday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Jinks Fires of Hot Springs. ... Subtle Indian will be pointed for the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 10 at Oaklawn, trainer Robertino Diodoro said. Subtle Indian became the meet’s second three-time winner in Saturday’s $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes. … Regally Ready ran the fastest mile of the meet (1:36.52) in Saturday’s sixth race at Oaklawn, an allowance/optional claimer, to surpass $1.8 million in career earnings. The 9-year-old gelding won the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G2) in 2011 for trainer Steve Asmussen. … In Saturday’s fifth race at Oaklawn, an allowance event, Wabel, ridden by Jon Court, ran the fastest 6 furlongs of the meet (1:09.03) for owner Staton Flurry of Hot Springs and trainer Brad Cox.