Three projected starters for the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 11 worked Saturday morning in advance of the one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.
breezed a half-mile in :48 approximately 15 minutes after the track opened for trainer Lynn Chleborad. She won the $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 21 in her last start.
“She came out of the race great,” Chleborad said Thursday morning.
After the renovation break, Perfect Wife worked 5 furlongs in company in 1:01 for trainer Kenny McPeek. Perfect Wife hasn’t started since a front-running five-length victory in the $100,000 Trapeze Stakes Dec. 11 at Remington Park, a race that has already produced two winners this meet. Trapeze runner-up Torrent was a Jan. 20 entry-level allowance winner and remains on target for the Martha Washington, trainer Ron Moquett said Saturday morning. Chanel’s Legacy finished fourth in the Trapeze.
Another candidate, Benner Island worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.80 for trainer Brad Cox.
Also pointing for the Martha Washington are Dixie Belle runner-up My Sweet Stella and Ever So Clever, who hasn’t started since finishing third in the $200,000 Golden Rod Stakes (G2) Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Nominations to the Martha Washington, the first major local prep for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 14, closed Friday.
Whitmore worked a half-mile in company in :48.40 Saturday morning at Oaklawn for co-owner/trainer Moquett, who is pointing the 4-year-old gelding for the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 11.
Under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel, Whitmore breezed before the renovation break with a stablemate and galloped out 5 furlongs in 1:01.40 over a fast track.
“Whitmore stays focused in company,” Moquett said. “He’s always been a better horse in company. Without company, he’s lackadaisical and doesn’t do what I want him to do. I can control him by the company. He’s trained me that way.”
Whitmore remained perfect in four career sprints with a 2 ¾-length third-level allowance/optional claiming victory Jan. 15 under Jose Ortiz.
Whitmore, who was making his 4-year-old debut, ran 6 furlongs in 1:08.81, the fastest January clocking for that distance in Oaklawn history.
The 6-furlong Hot Springs, a race Moquett won in 2015 with Gentlemen’s Bet, will be the first sprint stakes start for Whitmore.
Santana Jr. Reaches Career Milestones
Four-time defending champion Ricardo Santana Jr. reached two career milestones with a riding triple Friday at Oaklawn. He recorded his 300th Oaklawn victory aboard Tales of War ($10.40) in the first race for trainer Mike Lauer. He then added victories in the seventh race aboard favored Five O One ($6) for trainer Brad Cox and eighth race aboard Knights Key ($10.80) for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs.
Five O One also represented Santana’s 800th career North American victory, according to Equibase. The 24-year-old Panamanian rider began riding in the United States in 2009 and at Oaklawn in 2011.
Santana set a single-season Oaklawn record for purse earnings last year ($4,064,073) and recorded his first Grade 1 victory aboard Creator in the $1 million Arkansas Derby. He also won riding titles at Churchill Downs and Delaware Park.
Through the first 14 race days this year at Oaklawn, Santana has 12 victories to rank second in the standings. Ramon Vazquez, Oaklawn’s second-leading rider the last two years, has a meet-high 17 victories.
That’s a Rap?
Domain’s Rap, winner of the $125,000 Fifth Season Stakes Jan. 13 in his 9-year-old debut, is entered in Saturday’s fifth race, a conditioned allowance/optional claimer at a mile, for trainer Federico Villafranco and three-time defending Oaklawn leading owner Danny Caldwell.
Caldwell said Domain’s Rap will be nominated to the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) Feb. 20 and “may look at it” if the 1 1/16-mile race comes up light or has a short field.
“I figure there’s going to be some horses ship in since the Southwest is that weekend,” Caldwell said Friday afternoon. “I just thought we’d go this route and take it easier on the horse. But, it’s going to be a tough race tomorrow. There’s no given. There are couple of nice horses in there we ran against last time.”
A $10,000 claim by Caldwell in November 2015 at Remington Park, Domain’s Rap has won five races for his new connections and also ran second in last year’s Razorback, then worth $350,000.
Domain’s Rap, the 8-5 program favorite Saturday, will be ridden by Ramon Vazquez. Vazquez (17 victories), Villafranco (10) and Caldwell (10) top the Oaklawn standings after 14 days of racing.
Villafranco is tied with Robertino Diodoro, who is scheduled to send out Fifth Season third Inside Straight in Saturday’s race.
Probable post time for Saturday’s fifth race is 3:08 p.m. (Central).
Smack Smack worked a half-mile in :51.80 after the renovation break Saturday morning for trainer Don Von Hemel of Hot Springs in preparation for the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses Feb. 20. … Arkansas-bred star Weast Hill (6 for 6 at Oaklawn) worked a half-mile in :49.60 Saturday morning for trainer Brad Cox. Weast Hill is entered in a conditioned allowance state-bred sprint Thursday. … Two-time Oaklawn riding champion Terry Thompson, in his first mount of the meet, won Friday’s fifth race on Checker Czech ($41.60) for trainer Charles Kardoush. It was the 612th career Oaklawn victory for Thompson, who hadn’t ridden since Aug. 13 at Prairie Meadows. Thompson was Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2009 and 2010. … Knights Key, an Arkansas Derby hopeful before undergoing knee surgery early last year, cleared his first allowance condition in Friday’s eighth race for owners Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway, Ark., and trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. Knights Key, a 4-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway, had lost four consecutive starts since a Nov. 20, 2015, debut victory at Churchill Downs. … The Lieblongs and Moquett are scheduled to send out Triple Crown nominee Zip Van Winkle in Saturday’s ninth race, a maiden-allowance event at 1 1/16 miles. Alex Lieblong, who is chairman of the Arkansas Racing Commission, said the colt was named by his previous trainer, Steve Hobby of Hot Springs. Zip Van Winkle, a son of City Zip, was “laying down sleeping” every time Hobby went by the stall, Lieblong said. “Got to give that one to Hobby,” Lieblong said. “He came up with the name.” Hobby still has other horses for the Lieblongs. … Richard Eramia recorded his first career Oaklawn victory aboard Secret Trick ($20) in Friday’s second race for trainer Mike Lauer, who swept the early daily double. A perennial riding champion at Louisiana Downs, Eramia had been at Fair Grounds before moving his tack to Oaklawn late last month. Eramia had been 0 for 15 in Hot Springs (one mount in 2013 and 14 mounts since Jan. 26). His agent, Scott Hare, said late last month that Eramia was laying the groundwork for a new summer venue by relocating to Oaklawn. … Stewards have suspended jockey Didiel Osorio three racing days (Feb. 9-11) for allowing Marquee Miss “to drift in without being clear” during the stretch run of last Saturday’s $125,000 American Beauty Stakes for older female sprinters. Marquee Miss was disqualified from second and placed last of six following the incident. Osorio, who has three victories at the meet, will not appeal the suspension, said his agent, Joe Santos.
Source: Oaklawn Park