Six Shooter is being pointed for the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds Feb. 18 at Oaklawn, trainer Paul Holthus of Hot Springs said Sunday morning.
Six Shooter was beaten 1 ½ lengths in his last start, the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 25, a 1-mile race that is Oaklawn’s first of our major preps for the Kentucky Derby.
“He ran a good race,” Holthus said. “Kind of got sucked back around the turn a little bit. Was in a little tight quarters and sucked back out of there and probably lost a couple of lengths when he first turned up the backside. Then he made a run down the lane and I thought he was at least finishing. Looking like more ground wouldn’t hurt him.”
A gelded son of Trappe Shot, Six Shooter races for Holthus and wife Nancy (N P H Stable), Dundalk 5 LLC (Tim Kindlon) and Wes Herek. Claimed for $20,000 out of his Sept. 20 career debut at Churchill Downs, Six Shooter broke his maiden Oct.17 at Indiana Grand, was a Nov. 25 allowance winner at Churchill Downs and won the $75,000 Big Drama Stakes Jan. 5 at Delta Downs. He has a 3-0-3 record from eight career starts and earnings of $131,350.
Nominations to the 1 1/16-mile Southwest close Thursday. Other locally based horses pointing for the Southwest, include Gray Attempt and Super Steed, first and seventh, respectively, in the Smarty Jones.
Power Gal will continue through Oaklawn’s Kentucky Oaks prep series following her victory in Saturday’s $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, trainer Mark Casse said immediately following the 1-mile race.
The Japanese-bred Power Gal earned 10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points for her half-length victory under David Cohen in her 2019 debut.
Power Gal, a daughter of Empire Maker owned by Gary Barber, is among four horses on the grounds for Casse, who won the 2017 Arkansas Derby with champion Classic Empire. That number should grow in coming weeks, Casse said Saturday afternoon.
“We don’t have a lot of horses there right now, but as the year goes on we’re going to send some of the best horses we have here to run because it’s such a great stakes program,” the Florida-based Casse said. “Just a great program. It was nice to get this one, but we’ll be sending more.”
Power Gal, who was making her stakes debut, won for the second time in four starts to raise her career earnings to $126,370.
Oaklawn’s Kentucky Oaks prep series continues with the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 9 and the $500,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 12. Both races are 1 1/16 miles.
The $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) – the country’s biggest race for 3-year-old fillies – is May 3 at Churchill Downs.
Hitting the Late Double
Riders for agent Bill Castle swept Saturday’s late daily double, with David Cohen winning the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes aboard Power Gal for trainer Mark Casse and Orlando Mojica taking the nightcap aboard Lighthawk for trainer Ron Moquett.
Through Saturday, the fifth day of the scheduled 57-day meeting, Cohen was tied for second in the standings with five victories. Mojica had four victories to rank fourth.
Cohen wintered at Oaklawn for the first time last year, winning 37 races to finish third in the standings.
“It’s like a good marriage,” said Castle, who has represented Cohen for more than a decade. “It’s like we couldn’t wait to come back. Both David and I were so excited to return. We wish it was an 11 1/2-month longer meet. We didn’t want to leave and we still don’t want to leave.”
Backed strongly by trainer Robertino Diodoro and owner Mike Sisk (M and M Racing), Cohen, 34, had a bounce-back year in 2018 when he won 114 races and had $6,775,883 in purse earnings.
Competing in New York and the Mid-Atlantic, Cohen ranked sixth nationally in victories (288) and 24th nationally in purse earnings ($7,357,326) in 2009 before a severe leg injury in early 2014 and the subsequent deaths of his father and sister derailed his career for approximately three years.
Cohen’s comeback came in late 2017 at Fair Grounds. He had four mounts there and two more at Delta Downs in advance of the 2018 Oaklawn meeting.
“Like David always said, it wasn’t a matter of when he was returning, it was just a matter of when he was ready,” Castle said. “What people had to see, as with any type of athlete, was the timing. Where are you at? Whether you are a rider or throwing a baseball, you had to see where his abilities were. We were very grateful and lucky that we had Diodoro and M and M and Cody Autrey.”
Diodoro was Oaklawn’s second-leading trainer the last two years and helped M and M secure its first career owner’s title at the 2018 Oaklawn meeting. Autrey is M and M’s racing manager.
Cohen rode 20 winners for Diodoro and M and M last year at Oaklawn.
“So grateful to be here,” Castle said. “From the ownership, from the fan base, from every employee, from top to bottom, the fans, the restaurants – everywhere we go … even when you go into Starbucks: ‘Good morning. How have you been, Bill?’ They’re like a cousin. It’s something I’m not accustomed to, coming out of New York.”
The track was rated fast for workouts Sunday morning. … Boldor and Bankit, third and sixth, respectively, in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes for 3-year-olds Jan. 25, worked in company before the renovation break Sunday morning for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Both colts were timed in :52 for a half-mile. The Smarty Jones is Oaklawn’s first of four preps for the Kentucky Derby. … Cowboy Diplomacy, a 3-year-old full brother to champion Monomoy Girl, worked a half-mile in company in :48.40 just after the track opened Sunday morning for trainer Brad Cox. Cowboy Diplomacy is scheduled to make his career debut in Friday’s seventh race at 6 furlongs. … Smart Spree, a three-time winner at the 2018 Oaklawn meeting, worked a half-mile in :45.80 in company before the break Sunday morning for trainer Norman McKnight. Smart Spree, who galloped out 5 furlongs in :58.40, finished fourth in the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) last year at Oaklawn.