March 20, 2011
Jennifer Hoyt, Media Relations Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org, 501-623-4411 ex. 497
CHIEF OF AFFAIRS EQUALS STAKES RECORD IN HOT SPRINGS
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Sunday, March 20, 2011) – Chief of Affairs capped off a huge weekend at Oaklawn Park with a dominating performance in Sunday’s $75,000 Hot Springs Stakes that equaled the stakes record time of 1:08 2/5 for six furlongs. His win follows victories on Saturday by Havre de Grace, who equaled the stakes record in the $150,000 Azeri Stakes (G3), and The Factor, who jumped onto Kentucky Derby (G1) trail with his eye-catching effort in the $300,000 Rebel Stakes (G2).
Breaking from the rail under Oaklawn Park’s leading jockey Cliff Berry, Chief of Affairs sprinted clear of the field at the break and was never seriously tested through fractions of :21 6/5 and :44 1/5 for the first half mile and still managed to cruise to a 2 ¾-length victory over Inkado. Native Ruler, the slight 3-2 favorite, came running at the end, but had to settle for third.
Agastache and Coronet of a Baron completed the order of finish. And Music Came was scratched.
“I felt really good when he broke sharp from the one-hole,” said Berry. “Sometimes that can trip them up, but he got right out of there. Then I was real happy when nobody else was able to lap up on us. I was very confident from there. My instructions were ‘let him rip.’ So I did.”
Chief of Affairs, who had finished second last year in the King Cotton and Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3), improved his Oaklawn record to 6-2-3-1 and his overall record to 15-6-4-3. He has now earned $248,763 for owners Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch.
The Texas-bred Yonaguska gelding returned $5.20, $4.00 and $2.40 at odds of 3-2.
Trainer Bret Calhoun, speaking from his New Orleans base, said Chief of Affairs would likely be pointed toward the $200,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) again this year, scheduled for Thursday, April 14 as part of the Racing Festival of the South.
Bret Calhoun (Trainer, Chief of Affairs, 1st) by phone – “I was happy with our draw in the post position and the way the track was playing. I thought it all played to our advantage. The only concern was going to be if for some reason he didn't break sharply out of the gate. When he did, I felt very good. I felt he was ready for a peak performance. Some maybe had questioned whether he had lost a step, but I never doubted him. His first race maybe he wasn't as tight as he needed to be off the layoff and then the second race he probably regressed, but I really felt he was sitting on a peak performance today and he showed it.”
Cliff Berry (Jockey, Chief of Affairs, 1st) - “I felt really good when he broke sharp from the one-hole,” said Berry. “Sometimes that can trip them up, but he got right out of there. Then I was real happy when nobody else was able to lap up on us. I was very confident from there. Last year, this horse ran 5 1/2 here in 102 and 2, and my instructions were ‘let him rip.’ So I did.”
Gabriel Saez (Jockey, Inkado, 2nd) – “My horse broke out a little bit. By then the winner was gone.”
Chris Richard (Trainer, Native Ruler, 3rd as favorite) – “The winner is very, very scary. My horse dug hard. It probably wasn't his best effort, but I'm proud of him because he dug hard as he could. It just looks more like he was outrun today. I would think we would still go to the next one (Count Fleet), but we will all discuss it of course.”
Terry Thompson (Jockey, Native Ruler, 3rd as favorite) - “The #1 was in front and I could see he was running easy. We just couldn't handle him today.”