By Jennifer Hoyt —-
Presidents’ Day Weekend Stakes Coming Together
Farrell, Streamline and Terra Promessa are among the early probables for Saturday’s $150,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares, Oaklawn co-stakes coordinator Lenny Rera said Sunday morning.
The 1 1/16-mile Bayakoa is Oaklawn’s second of three major two-turn preps for the $700,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 13.
All three horses ran in the $125,000 Pippin Stakes Jan. 13, Oaklawn’s first two-turn stake for older fillies and mares.
Farrell was a front-running three-quarter length winner of the 1 1/16-mile Pippin, with Streamline and Terra Promessa finishing third and fifth, respectively.
Terra Promessa won last year’s Pippin and Bayakoa for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Streamline has run in Oaklawn’s last nine two-turn stakes races for older fillies and mares, never finishing worse than third for trainer Brain Williamson.
Farrell was making her Oaklawn debut in the Pippin. Trainer Wayne Catalano said the major spring objective for Farrell (7 of 11 overall, including six stakes) is securing her first Grade 1 victory in the Apple Blossom.
Post positions for the Bayakoa will be drawn Wednesday.
Oaklawn will card two stakes races Feb. 19 – the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses and the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds.
Rera said there are eight early probables for the 1 1/16-mile Razorback: City of Lights, Far Right, Hawaakom, Hoppertunity, J Boys Echo, Leofric, Sonneteer and Untrapped.
City of Lights, Hoppertunity and Sonneteer are based in Southern California, with the latter two already Oaklawn stakes winners.
Hoppertunity won the $600,000 Rebel (G2) for 3-year-olds in 2014 for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Hoppertunity has earned $4,347,025 in a 29-race career.
Sonneteer won the $125,000 Fifth Season – Oaklawn’s first of four two-turn stakes races for older horses – Jan. 12 for trainer Keith Desormeaux.
City of Light hasn’t started since winning the $300,000 Malibu Stakes (G1) for 3-year-olds Dec. 26 at Santa Anita for trainer Michael McCarthy.
Hawaakom finished a distant second to eventual Horse of the Year Gun Runner in last year’s Razorback.
Far Right won Oaklawn’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) in 2015 before finishing second to eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1).
The 1 1/16-mile Southwest is expected to draw a large field, including Grade 1 winner Sporting Chance for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Sporting Chance is the most accomplished 3-year-old on the grounds.
Post positions for the Razorback and Southwest will be drawn Friday.
Unbeaten Amy’s Challenge is scheduled to return to the work tab early next week to begin major preparations for the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 10, trainer Mac Robertson said Sunday morning.
Robertson said he hopes to breeze Amy’s Challenge an easy half-mile Tuesday morning, but that could change if the weather is bad.
Amy’s Challenge, in her first start against females, was a neck winner of her 3-year-old debut, the $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 20.
Amy’s Challenge, who has never raced around two turns, was nominated to Saturday’s $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes, but Robertson passed the 1-mile race won over a sloppy surface by lightly raced Red Ruby.
“I’m glad I didn’t run yesterday, with the track being off,” Robertson said.
Amy’s Challenge beat males in both starts last year, including the $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes Sept. 16 at Canterbury Park.
The 1 1/16-mile Honeybee is the final major local prep for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 13. The Dixie Belle was 6 furlongs.
Ivan the Great
Ivan Fallunovalot will make his next start in the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters March 10, owner Lewis Mathews said Saturday morning.
The 6-furlong Hot Springs will be the second opportunity for Ivan Fallunovalot to reach $1 million in career earnings, which Mathews said is a major goal before the 8-year-old Texas-bred gelding is retired to the owner’s farm in Bismarck, Ark.
Ivan Fallunovalot has earned $986,403 in a 30-race career that includes 17 victories, two of which came in Oaklawn’s King Cotton Stakes (2015 and 2016).
Ivan Fallunovalot had a chance to become a seven-figure money winner in the $125,000 King Cotton Feb. 3, but finished second, beaten two lengths by Wilbo, following a tardy break and racing five-wide on the turn in the 6-furlong event.
“Terrible start,” said Mathews, who claimed the gelding for $25,000 at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting. “He showed a lot of heart. He didn’t quit. A lot of horses would have quit.”
According to the Texas Thoroughbred Association, the state’s official breed registry for Thoroughbreds, 1987 sprint champion Groovy ($1,346,956) and Texas Chrome ($1,033,262) are the only Texas-bred millionaires.
Ivan Fallunovalot, the 2015 TTA Texas Horse of the Year, also finished second in his 2018 debut, a Jan. 14 allowance/optional claimer that was a local prep for the King Cotton. Wilbo also won that race by a length.
“You know Ron will have one or two in there,” Mathews said, referring to trainer Ron Moquett and the Hot Springs. “Wilbo will be back. There will be others in there.”
Ivan Fallunovalot finished second in the 2015 Hot Springs, which is the final major local prep for the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 14.
Mathews said the major spring objective for Ivan Fallunovalot, who is trained by Tom Howard of Hot Springs, is the Count Fleet.
Moquett said defending champion Whitmore is pointing for the Hot Springs Wilbo is also scheduled to make his next start in the Hot Springs, trainer Chris Hartman said.
Leading rider David Cabrera and Channing Hill recorded triples on Saturday’s nine-race card.
Cabrera won the first race aboard Dynabeaver ($14.80) for trainer Tim Martin, fourth race aboard La Key ($18.40) for trainer Shea Stuart and the sixth race aboard favored Abbaa ($6.80) for trainer Johnny Ortiz.
Hill won the second race aboard Hoonani Road ($19.80) for his father-in-law, trainer Wayne Catalano, the seventh race aboard Holiday’s Angel ($39) for trainer Allen Milligan and the ninth race aboard favored Blueridge Traveler ($7.60) for trainer Kenny McPeek.
Cabrera’s triple gave him 16 victories after the first 17 days of racing. Another riding newcomer, David Cohen, is second with 14 victories, one more than five-time defending champion Richard Santana Jr.
Hill has seven victories at the meet, including the $125,000 Pippin Stakes aboard Farrell, who is expected to be the favorite for Saturday’s Bayakoa Stakes.
The track was rated sloppy for workouts Sunday morning. … Multiple Oaklawn winner P C Cowboy worked a half-mile in :50.60 Sunday morning for trainer Scott Young in advance of a scheduled allowance spot this month. P C Cowboy closed his 3-year-old season with a fourth-place finish in the $200,000 Zia Park Derby Nov. 22 at Zia Park. P C Cowboy won a Jan. 21 allowance/optional claimer (dead-heat) in his 2018 debut. … Young said Sunday morning that his 2017 Prairie Mile winner, Jerrid, was moved to Brad Cox, Oaklawn’s leading trainer this year, following a sixth-place finish in a Feb. 3 allowance race. Young said he continues to train other horses for Sather Family LLC (owner of Jerrid). … Favored Blueridge Traveler ($7.60) became Oaklawn’s 18th “Lasix-free Bonus Program” winner since it was introduced at the 2015 meeting in Saturday’s ninth race. It was third Lasix-free bonus winner for trainer Kenny McPeek, and his second at the meeting. Blueridge Traveler earned a bonus of $4,560 – 10 percent of the winner’s share – from the adjusted purse of $80,560. … Abbaa, who won a meet-high four races in 2017 at Oaklawn, captured Saturday’s sixth race for co-owner/trainer Johnny Ortiz.