Race of the Week 2017
HRN Original Blog:
Kentucky Oaks Runner

Arienza and the Novel Nine

Summer Soiree and Plum Pretty won by explosive margins over the weekend in key Kentucky Oaks preps but there was one other race that may have produced a serious Kentucky Oaks contender. Arienza is beyond a doubt the most royally bred 3-year-old filly in the nation as the daughter of 2002 American Horse of the Year and three time Champion Older Female Azeri and 2000 European Horse of the Year Giant’s Causeway. Arienza was scratched from the 6 furlong Prima Donna Stakes on Saturday at Oaklawn Park in favor of going two turns in a 1 mile Optional Claiming Allowance the next day.

The decision proved to be a good one as the chestnut filly remained undefeated in two lifetime starts. Arienza broke like a bolt from the gate and took a one length lead heading into the first turn. Under tight restraint the talented filly rolled down the backstretch two lengths clear of her closest opponent with ears pricked, getting the half mile in :48.05. Entering the far turn Arienza’s two length lead diminished quickly as Hidatsa made a bold rush for the lead. It was a futile move by the challenger as Arienza quickly opened up once again with just a shake of the reins, coasting down the homestretch and under the wire an easy winner by 2 ½ lengths. Her gallop out was exceptional as she continued to pull away with confidence.

In both her starts the official charts have made the following notes; (1st start) confident, ridden out and (2nd start) cleared, plenty left. With a pedigree like Arienza’s the sky is the limit and the displays of talent she has produced so far give no reason to think she won’t be able to compete with the nation’s top fillies. Her final time for the mile was a fairly slow 1:38.05 but it was the ease with which she won that really counts. It is also worth mentioning that Giant’s Causeway was the leading North American sire in 2009 and 2010.
Arienza’s next start could come in the Fantasy Stakes on April 10th where she would face Joyful Victory.

[Arienza is currently ranked #10 on the Horse Racing Nation 2011 Kentucky Oaks Contenders page]

The Novel Nine:

1)      Kathmanblu – It would have been interesting to see her dismantle the Fair Grounds Oaks on Saturday but the April 9th Ashland Stakes will offer her a stiff challenge in facing Dancinginherdreams at the 1 1/16 mile distance. She’ll be entering the Ashland much more fit and fresh and a solid performance there will set her up perfectly to enter the Kentucky Oaks in peak condition.
2)      Summer Soiree – This ultra impressive daughter of War Front has won her last two starts by more than 20 combined lengths, showing the rare ability to explode out of the gate and make another explosive move in the stretch while maintaining control of the pace from start to finish. Her only weakness is that she appears to always need the lead and fights to acquire it when challenged.
3)      Plum PrettyIt was tough trying to figure out where to rate Plum Pretty after her incredible 25 length triumph in the Sunland Park Oaks on Sunday but the more I watch the race the better it looks. If it wasn't for the competition she was running against I might have had her even higher. She was easily within herself and still won by a football field, the fact that she was facing a weak field is irrelevant; she proved she was in a completely different league than the fillies she was facing and deserves a shot at the big girls now. She showed the ability to rate in the Sunland Park Oaks when she sat just off pacesetting Icelain Diva before moving to the lead all on her own.
4)      Zazu – She posted her first work since finishing second to Turbulent Descent by a neck in the Santa Anita Oaks, completing a 4 furlong move in :50.20. Word has it she could possibly head straight to the Kentucky Oaks from her Santa Anita Oaks run without another prep between. Fortunately she has been facing deep fields her entire career and has a fantastic foundation to fall back on so this plan might actually serve her well, allowing her to enter fresh and sharp.  
5)      Joyful VictoryShe drops a few spots this week due to the fact that she still hasn’t posted any works since her impressive Honeybee romp on March 12th. We know that she is pointing for the Fantasy Stakes on April 10th at Oaklawn Park where she will so far be facing competition that is hardly equal  to her caliber. That is unless Arienza shows up, then things could get very interesting.
6)      Dancinginherdreams – I still have faith in this talented daughter of Tapit and am just itching to move her back into the top three but first we need to see her step it up in the Ashland when she faces Kathmanblu. It will be her first time stretching out to the 1 1/16 mile distance and will enhance her fabulous closing kick so long as she isn’t kept too close to the lead. She will enter the Ashland having had 6 weeks between races that should allow her to be in tip top shape.
7)      It’s Tricky – Her Busher Stakes victory was only the third start of her career and she won it like a true professional, waiting until she reached contention in the stretch before pouncing on the pacesetter and flying down the stretch to victory. She’ll be facing the toughest test of her undefeated career on Saturday when she runs against R Heat Lightning in the Gulfstream Oaks but she looks like she was made for the 1 1/8 mile distance. 
8)      R Heat Lightning – She faces the undefeated and very talented It’s Tricky in the Gulfstream Oaks this weekend and will be stretching out to 1 1/8 miles after winning the 1 miles Davona Dale Stakes. If she’s going to employ the same front-running style that she did in the Davona Dale in the Gulfstream Oaks she’ll need to slow down the pace and ration her speed until the stretch. She posted a bullet 4 furlong work in :47.60 on Sunday to signify her readiness. If she loses it won’t be because she’s not fit.  
9)      Inglorious Last week I said this about Inglorious: “When she starts in the Fair Grounds Oaks on Saturday I’m betting it will be a much different filly that we see show up.” Well, I was right. Ok, so it wasn’t the kind of filly I thought we would see, but you have to admit she was certainly different! She was quite frankly inglorious in her Fair Grounds Oaks run, finishing fourth. She appeared very eager in the early stages of the race and stayed too close to the pace to make her patented late-kick effective. She made a move at the top of the stretch but seemed to fizzle out quickly and then began to pick up the pace once again just before crossing under the wire. I’m willing to chalk this one up to experience and give her another chance.

Honorable Trio:
Arienza, Pomeroy’s Pistol and Gran Lioness. Both Gran Lioness and Pomeroy's Pistol could be headed for the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes on April 17th. That race could tell us a lot about how the pace scenario might play out in the Kentucky Oaks.

I Have to cheat this week and also give mentiont to Wyomia who will most likely be running in the Gulfstream Park Oaks this weekend along with It's Tricky and R Heat Lightning. She could turn out to be one of the 'dark' horses heading for the Kentucky Oaks this year. A solid effort this weekend will go a long way in improving her current standings.

Photo Courtesy of Coady Photography



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Older Comments about Arienza and the Novel Nine...

Thanks Mary, always glad to see one of my most faithful readers! :) @Thead'or - She's coming very close to matching her success on the track with success in the breeding shed. A double-threat champion.
@Brian - Yes, I loved them! That's a really good question, I would love to hear his answer.
I hope this is going to turn into a Terlingua, or Personal Ensign, or Mariah's Storm type deal for Azeri! Shes dropping very impressive and classy foals.
I love Arienza and was so glad to read your glowing report. Brilliant as always.....
Wow! You really like last weekend's fillies. I wonder which of the Larry Jones trainees, he likes better.

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 Meet Brian Appleton 

Thoroughbred Horse Racing is my passion.  It started when at the age of 9 I found a book called Come On Seabiscuit by Ralf Moody on my Mother’s shelf.  Reading that book was one of the most exciting things I ever did as a kid. I read that book so many times that I had entire chapters committed to memory and the dust jacket worn and ripped beyond recognition from so much use. From that point on I was hopelessly addicted, reading every book on horse racing I could get my hands on, especially racehorse biographies. In 2009 I began my own blog called Rail Runner on wordpress and have continued to blog there to this day.

Curlin is probably my favorite racehorse of all time. Being able to attend six of his races will always be one of the highlights of my life. Whenever I need to re-find some inspiration in my life all I need to do is watch one of his incredible victories and relive the memories. Rachel Alexandra ranks right up there too. As any horse racing fan will tell you it’s almost impossible to choose just one favorite and I am no exception. Phar Lap and Citation are another two of my all time favorites and the list could go on and on.

I was homeschooled my entire life by my parents and graduated High School in 2006 at the age of 17.  Currently I am completing my Marketing degree with the hopes of entering the Thoroughbred Horse Racing field as a writer/journalist , or in the marketing/advertising/promotions side of the industry.

It is my dream to someday become a thoroughbred racehorse owner and win major races across the United States. Who wouldn't want that, right?  For about 1 ½ years I was part owner in a racehorse, Lord Greystoke raced, and owned by Hibiscus Stables. I was able to attend one of his races at Belmont Park on Kentucky Derby day, May 2, 2009 and it was an incredible experience. While Lord Greystoke finished 7th in the race, being able to stand in an owner’s box not 30 feet away from Penny Chenery’s owner’s box was one of the most amazing feelings in the world.

Later in the year Lord Greystoke was finally able to break through with a 4 ½ length win which made me feel like one of the world’s most accomplished thoroughbred owners and further fueled my appetite. I think it would be rally neat to win the Appleton Stakes (Gr.3) at Gulfstream Park, even though I'm generally a bigger fan of dirt racing I can't help but think it would be neat for me to win a race with the same name as my last name.

That’s me in a nutshell, just a very passionate, driven young guy that wants to be a part of this amazing sport and share the adventure with other fans.

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