Oaklawn Barn Notes Feb. 8

Feb. 8, 2013

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Friday, February 08, 2013

Florida Import Rose to Gold Favored in Martha Washington

Trainer Sal Santoro had never been to Oaklawn until a couple of weeks ago, but on the advice of fellow horsemen, who suggested the best route to Kentucky was through Hot Springs, he brought his star pupil, Rose to Gold, and a few other horses to town for the meet. Saturday, Rose to Gold takes the first step toward her ultimate goal of making the May 3 Kentucky Oaks (G1) when she starts as the 2-1 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $75,000 Martha Washington Stakes. The race offers a total of 17 points based on Churchill Downs’ new criteria for making the Oaks field.

The Friends Lake filly, who races for Katherine Amaya and her son Raffaele Centofanti, is the only graded stakes winner in the field having won the $500,000 Delta Princess (G3) in her final start as a juvenile Nov. 17. She began her career by winning back-to-back stakes at Calder by a combined 26 ½ lengths. Her only loss in four starts came at Keeneland in the Alcibiades Stakes (G1) when she did not take to the Polytrack. Jockey Juan Leyva comes in from Gulfstream Park for mount.

Poindexter Thorougbreds’ American Sugar poses the biggest threat to Rose to Gold after already proving herself by winning Oaklawn’s $60,000 Dixie Belle by seven lengths over several in the Martha Washington field. The Lynn Chleborad-trained Harlan’s Holiday filly drew post eight and will start right next to the favorite, who had post nine.

“I was hoping for post six, but she’s won from the eight before,” said Chleborad. “She’s doing great. I’m excited.”

Among the newcomers in the Martha Washington is Cloudy in Sandiego, who arrived this week from the Fair Grounds. She enters the one-mile race off a front-running score in an optional allowance race at the New Orleans track having successfully rebounded from a poor performance in the Delta Princess. Prior to that race, she had finished in the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) at Churchill.

“She’s really been training well here at Fair Grounds,” said trainer Steve Margolis, who was en route to Oaklawn. “We’re ready for her to step up and see where she fits among these fillies.”

The complete field for the $75,000 Martha Washington, in post-position order, with riders and morning line odds: Phonybooksnrecords, Rosemary Homeister Jr., 30-1; Cloudy in Sandiego, Terry Thompson, 15-1; I Am Miss Brown, Luis Quinonez, 10-1; Sister Ginger, Ricardo Santana Jr., 8-1; Lady Stonewall, Cliff Berry, 6-1; Liberty Girl, Robby Albarado, 3-1; Broken Spell, Jon Court, 12-1; American Sugar, Alex Birzer, 4-1, and Rose To Gold, Juan Leyva, 2-1.

Will Take Charge Continues Southwest Preparations

Willis D. Horton’s Smarty Jones winner Will Take Charge put in a visually impressive workout Friday morning in preparation for the Feb. 18, $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), the next step toward the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 13. The Unbridled’s Song colt, trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, covered five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 over a fast track, the second fastest of 23 at the distance.  

“Excellent,” said Lukas. “I’m really pleased. It was a very, very nice work. We wanted him to do something a little more serious today and we got it. He finished up well, galloped out strong. I loved everything about it. The track after the break is always a little bit loose and deep and he handled that beautifully. He did look effortless. It was a really pretty work. He’ll get one more little easy work. This is probably the last of the more serious works. He’s on target.”

Lukas is also planning to run recent allowance winner Channel Isle in the Southwest for owner Calumet Farm. The English Channel homebred rebounded from a poor performance in the Springboard Mile to win the Jan. 26 race by ¾-lengths over the favorite Twin Engines.

“Channel Isle will get a work here too,” said Lukas. “The spacing is different for him based on when his race was, but he had another work coming and then he goes in the [Southwest].”

In other Southwest Stakes developments:

  • Always in a Tiz, third in the Smarty Jones, arrived back in Hot Springs Friday from his South Florida base for a rematch with Will Take Charge and runner-up Texas Bling. He was accompanied on the trip by stablemate Flash Forward, a 3-year-old filly, who is being pointed toward the Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 9.
  • Texas Bling will have his final workout of the Southwest Saturday morning
  • Brown Almighty will also work Saturday under new rider Terry Thompson, who has the call for the Southwest.
  • Nominations for the Southwest and early-bird nominations for the Arkansas Derby were to close later Friday.

 

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