Oaklawn news: Baltas barn ships in upcoming stakes contenders

Oaklawn Barn Notes
February 13, 2020 05:03pm
Richard Baltas_615x400
Photo: Benoit

Three horses for Southern California-based trainer Richard Baltas are on the grounds at Oaklawn Park after being flown Wednesday to Arkansas.

The Baltas trainees housed in the Lady’s Secret barn are Motion Emotion, Taishan and Proverb. Assistant trainer Aimee Dollase, who is overseeing Baltas’ Oaklawn string, said Taishan is pointing for Monday’s $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds and Motion Emotion will run in Monday’s $200,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares.

Motion Emotion, then under the care of trainer Tom Van Berg, was among Oaklawn’s leading 3-year-old fillies last year, finishing second in the Honeybee Stakes (G3) and the Fantasy Stakes (G3). Proverb, then under the care of trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, broke his maiden at the 2019 Oaklawn meeting before finishing third in the inaugural  Oaklawn Invitational. Baltas has never started a horse at Oaklawn.

“We’re planning on having more,” Dollase said Thursday morning. “Hopefully, things will go well.”

Dollase is the daughter of the late Wally Dollase, who had two Oaklawn winners during his lengthy training career, including the Bayakoa Stakes in 2005 with Two Trail Sioux.

“Nice to be back,” Aimee Dollase said. “It’s beautiful here. It’s always nice to come back.”

New York State of Mind

David Cohen, Oaklawn’s leading jockey in 2019, said he will ride regularly this summer at Saratoga, the prestigious upstate New York meet that will run July 16-Sept. 7.

Cohen was based in Kentucky after the Oaklawn meeting ended last May, but he did have six mounts at Saratoga. Cohen had three victories – all for trainer Robertino Diodoro and owner M and M Racing (Mike and Mickala Sisk) – including the Shine Again Stakes aboard Special Relativity. Diodoro and M and M are the jockey’s major clients.

“Last year we made the decision, because we are serious about Kentucky, we made a decision to go to Ellis,” said Cohen, who has 54 career victories at Saratoga. “Just kind of all the work that we did leading up to that, we didn’t want to just give it away and I was able to ship into Saratoga whenever I wanted. I think every time I went up there, I won. This year, we’re going to be a little more serious about it. We’ve always done well there, so there’s no reason not to go.”

Cohen rode regularly at Saratoga in 2010-2013, highlighted by his dead-heat victory aboard Golden Ticket in the Travers Stakes (G1) for 3-year-olds in 2013. After returning from a 3 ½-year absence because of a severe leg injury and the death of his father and sister, Cohen was Oaklawn’s third-leading rider in 2018 and won 17 races that year at Saratoga.

Cohen rode 75 winners last year at Oaklawn to end Ricardo Santana Jr.’s six-year hold on the title and had a meet-high 12 victories through Sunday.

Special Relativity was retired following a victory in the $125,000 American Beauty Stakes for older female sprinters Feb. 1 at Oaklawn to be bred to Into Mischief, North America’s leading sire in 2019.

Finish Lines

Six-time Oaklawn riding champion
 Ricardo Santana Jr. entered Thursday with 496 career victories in Hot Springs, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. … Don Von Hemel, 85, had his first winner of the meet in Sunday’s fourth race with Captain Don ($8.20) for owner Dash Goffof Fayetteville, Ark. Von Hemel was Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 1981. Goff’s late father, Gene Goff, campaigned two-time champion older horse Nodouble, the leading Arkansas-bred money winner in history. … Four-time Oaklawn training champion David Vance had his first winner of the meet in Sunday’s sixth race with Kiss More ($66). It was the 665th documented Oaklawn winner for Vance, who topped the local standings in 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1976.


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