Jan. 15, 2011
For Immediate Release
Jennifer Hoyt, Media Relations Manager
Jhoyt@oaklawn.com, (501) 623-4411 ex. 490
MAZUCAMBERA PULLS UPSET IN DIXIE BELLE STAKES
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011) – Plum Lake Racing LLC’s Mazucambera, went from claim to fame by adjusting her running style in time to get a come-from-behind victory in Saturday’s $50,000 Dixie Belle Stakes, the opening day feature at Oaklawn Park.
A crowd of 20,176 turned out for opening day, which was postponed from Friday due to the weather. Total handle grew from $3.15 million on the first Saturday of the meet in 2010 to $3.99 million this year.
“We don’t usually worry too much about the numbers until after President’s Day because of weather, but we are very happy, especially considering where we were 48 hours ago,” said David Longinotti, Assistant General Manager of Racing. “(Track Supervisor) Steve Breckling and his crew did a tremendous job. They had a plan of attack starting last Sunday when the snow started, stuck to it and it worked out beautifully.”
Mazucambera’s connections spent $30,000 to get her out of a maiden-claiming victory at Churchill Downs Nov. 26. The 3-year-old filly had been showing speed in her recent races, but her new team changed the strategy.
“Her last three races have been on the front end, but her connections asked me to try and take her back today,” said winning jockey Alex Birzer. “Speed hasn’t done that well today, so we decided to try this. She relaxed beautifully for me and when I asked her, she gave me all she had. (Trainer) Martin (Rouck) has done a wonderful job with her.”
Breaking from post position three, Mazucambera settled into fifth position as Lady Giacamo, the 3-2 favorite, led the field of seven through opening fractions of :22 and :46 for the first half mile. The winner raced in the three-path through the turn and came between rivals to gain control for a three-quarter length victory over Roma Jean. Put and Take finished third. The final time for the six furlong race was 1:13 3/5.
All About Allie, Lady Giacamo, Tristanme, and Screen Siren completed the order of finish. She’s Gonna Float was scratched. The winner, a Kentucky bred daughter of Milwaukee Brew, returned $34.00, $11.40 and $6.80 at odds of 16-to-1 and improved her career record to 6-2-2-1.
One race earlier, Pin Oak Stable’s Alternation established himself as colt to watch on the 3-year-old trail leading up to the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16 when he stuck his head in front for the victory in a $37,500 one-mile allowance contest. Heavy favorite Elite Alex, a son of 2005 Arkansas Derby winner Afleet Alex, gamely finished second despite grabbing a quarter after stumbling at the start. Fox Hill Farm’s Commander finished a close third.
“He’s a nice colt,” said winning trainer Donnie Von Hemel. “We’re at Oaklawn, so naturally we’re hoping to make it to the bigger 3-year-old races. The Southwest Stakes (on Feb. 21) is definitely something we’d think about.”
Additional Dixie Belle Quotes:
Elliott Phillips (owner Plum Lake Racing of Sellersburg, IN):
"I thought to claim her just based on her PPs, and when I heard we were in the shake with Tom Amoss, I knew we were in the right place. I wanted to go in this spot. I convinced Marty. I just had a good feeling with this filly. I think she can go long, too. I'd like to think about some of the stakes here and think longer distances aren't out of the picture."
Phillips and his wife, Sue, have been in racing for around 35 years. They live just across the river from Louisville and train at Churchill Downs. They currently have nine horses. He is a semi-retired developer.
Marty Rouck (trainer):
"It was a surprise to me. Not to (Mr. Phillips) but it was to me. I had hoped to go in an allowance race, but it didn't fill. (The racing secretary) Pat Pope told me not to worry. He said I'd be 1-2-3 in here. We hadn't planned beyond this race, so we don't really know what's next."