Hartman hot heading into Fair Grounds’ big week

Hartman hot heading into Fair Grounds’ big week

No trainer is hotter than Chris Hartman right now.

The conditioner based at Oaklawn with a string at Fair Grounds Race Course is 8-for-16 in February, and his HRN Impact score of 124.1 percent is the best of all trainers with at least 15 starts this month.

That's just the tip of the superlatives, though, for the 49-year-old Arizona native who plied his trade in the desert Southwest before moving to the Midwest and Southeast in 2013.

Going into Thursday's card at Fair Grounds, Hartman had won four in a row and six of his last seven overall. On turf alone, he’s won six in a row and is 8-for-10 and 16-for-24.

"I’m just blessed, man," Hartman said Thursday morning from his Oaklawn base. "I spend most of my time at Oaklawn, but we got a great team at both places, and that team atmosphere is what it’s all about.

"A while back people would say, 'Oh, he’s not good with turf horses,' but I ran at places with no turf: first Sunland then Oaklawn. Once I moved to Kentucky and starting peppering in the turf horses, people saw I can win with anything."

Hartman has 24 horses at Fair Grounds and 32 at Oaklawn. This is Fair Grounds’ second-biggest week of its meeting, with the Risen Star Stakes on Saturday, and Hartman is well represented all week with three in on Thursday, one on Friday, and two on Saturday, including Gray Attempt in the Colonel Power Stakes.

Speaking of stakes horses, Hartman also has stakes winner and 2020 Kentucky Derby starter Necker Island running Monday at Oaklawn, and Elle Z is a four-time turf sprint stakes winner.

"I don’t like to be overloaded in any one category,” Hartman said. “With a stable of our size, we have to stay balanced in terms of the horses we’re able to run on a consistent basis."

When looking at trainers across both Fair Grounds and Oaklawn since those meetings started, Hartman’s +39.8 percent HRN Impact is the best among the 23 trainers with at least 50 starts between both facilities. He’s also a well-known friend of bettors with that gaudy ROI. 

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