Oaklawn Barn Notes Feb. 2

Feb. 2, 2013

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Saturday, February 02, 2013

Texas Bling Makes Work Look Easy

Smarty Jones Stakes runner-up Texas Bling showed that he’s ready to take the next step along the Derby trail in the Feb. 18 Southwest Stakes (G3) with a five-furlong workout in 1:00 4/5 Saturday morning with jockey Cliff Berry aboard. The workout was the second fastest of 74 at the distance, but the Too Much Bling colt appeared to be just galloping and was already asking for more by the time he got back to the barn.

“He looked really good,” said trainer Danelle Durham, who conditions the colt for the Hall’s Family Trust. “He’s walking around like he wants to do more. That’s how he came out of the Smarty Jones. The horseman in me said I needed to keep him in the barn one more day after that race, but he wasn’t having it. I had to take him to the track. It’s really exciting how good he’s doing.”

Durham, who is spending her first meet at Oaklawn, has already had two winners and two second-place finishes from eight starters.

“I’ve been really blessed,” said Durham. “My horses are loving this track.” 

American Sugar Readies to Take Next Step

Dixie Belle Stakes winner American Sugar completed her final preparations for next Saturday’s $75,000 Martha Washington Stakes by completing a two-minute lick with a strong three-furlong blow out in 37 4/5 under regular rider Alex Birzer.

“I really like to have horses do two-minute licks, especially when I’m stretching them out in distance,” said trainer Lynn Chleborad. “I think it helps teach them to relax early and finish strong.”

The Dixie Belle was run at six furlongs, while the Martha Washington will be run at one-mile.

Birzer, who has been aboard for the Harlan’s Holiday last three races, including the Dixie Belle, says he’s seen the filly mature since she got here.

“She’s just a smart, sensible filly said Birzer. “She does everything right.”

Rose to Gold Settling in Well

Delta Princess Stakes (G3) winner Rose to Gold, who is hoping to take the Oaklawn route to the Kentucky Oaks (G1) May 3 after arriving last week from her Calder Racecourse base, posted her first work over the track Saturday, breezing a half mile in 48 with jockey Joe Johnson aboard. She will make her 3-year-old debut next Saturday in the Martha Washington.

“It was excellent,” said trainer Sal Santoro, who brought this filly and three other horses to Hot Springs for the remainder of the meet. “There was no reason to go any faster. She completed most of her work before we left Florida.”

Santoro said Johnson will be his backup rider if for some reason jockey Juan Leyva is unable to make it in from South Florida. The Martha Washington will be the first time Leyva has ridden the Friends Lake filly in a race, but he has ridden her in workouts and in fact, his enthusiasm for the filly is one reason she made her career debut in the Lindsay Frolic Stakes at Calder, a race she won by 13 lengths.

“I was thinking about a 5 ½ furlong race on the grass, but also had the Lindsay Frolic in the back of my mind,” explained Santoro. “I asked Juan what he thought after he worked her and he encouraged me to do it. Unfortunately, he already had a commitment in the race.”

Atigun Eyeing Razorback for 4-Year-Old Debut

Shortleaf Stable’s Atigun, who won an allowance race at Oaklawn last year before eventually finishing third in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Marathon (G3), moved one step closer to his 4-year-old debut Saturday by breezing a half-mile in 48 1/5.

“It was a good work,” said Phil Bauer, who oversees trainer Kenny McPeek’s Oaklawn string. “It was his first time going in company this year. He sat off the other horse well and finished strong. We’re definitely looking at the Razborback (March 9) for his first race. He’ll let us know.”