Oaklawn Barn Notes Feb. 13

Feb. 13, 2013

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Contact:
Rolly Hoyt, rhoyt@oaklawn.com, (501) 623-4411 ex. 496
Jennifer Hoyt, jhoyt@oaklawn.com (501) 623-4411 ex. 497

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Borel Hoping For Saturday Return

Jockey Calvin Borel has resumed exercising horses and hopes to continue his quest for career victory #5,000 on Saturday. Borel, who fractured his wrist a few days before Oaklawn’s opening Jan. 11, is one win away from this historic milestone, something only 24 other riders have accomplished.

Borel is currently being represented by veteran agent Doc Danner while his longtime agent Jerry Hissam recovers from an illness.

“Calvin got on horses this morning and says his wrist feels good,” said his wife Lisa Borel. “There isn’t any swelling. We’ll see how it is in the morning, but his plan right now is to ride a few horses Saturday and Sunday and get back to riding fully the following week.”

The commemorative trading cards produced by the city of Hot Springs honoring Borel’s 5,000 wins will be distributed to all race fans in attendance at Oaklawn the day Borel gets the win.

Super Ninety Nine Looks to Keep Baffert’s Oaklawn Streak Going

Since 2010, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has won six of Oaklawn’s last nine graded stakes for 3-year-olds, including a sweep of last year’s Southwest (G3), Rebel (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1). He will attempt to keep his streak going Feb. 18 when Tamma Corporation’s Super Ninety Nine represents the trainer in this year’s $300,000 Southwest Stakes, the special Presidents’ Day feature.

Super Ninety Nine, a Pulpit colt, completed his final preparations for the 1 1/16-mile race by breezing a half mile in 47 3/5 Tuesday at his Santa Anita base. He is scheduled to arrive in Hot Springs by plane Thursday.

“He worked well,” said Baffert. “It’s the time of year when we start separating them to gauge how the California horses stack up and how they’re shipping.”

Nominations for the Southwest and early bird nominations to the March 16 $600,000 Rebel Stakes and the April 13 $1 million Arkansas Derby were released Wednesday with a total of 123 horses made eligible for the rich series. In addition to $1.9 million in purses, the three races offer a total of 272 points based on Churchill Downs’ new requirement for making the Kentucky Derby field. 

Officer Alex Seeks to Serve a Southwest Rebound

Trainer Lynn Whiting is sanguine about Officer Alex rebounding Monday when the 3-year-old takes a swing at the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn. After traffic and shoe problems in the Smarty Jones Stakes, the veteran conditioner thinks a clean trip in Monday’s President’s Day feature should result in a much better performance.

“I’m fairly confident when you think about all that didn’t go his way in the Smarty Jones,” said Whiting on Wednesday. “With as many problems as he encountered I think he made a really good account of himself.”

Owned by Winning Horse Stable and Choctaw Racing Stable, the son of former Oaklawn superstar Afleet Alex broke slowly and was caught wide in the one-mile Smarty Jones on Jan 21. When Officer Alex moved toward the leaders, he was forced four wide and lost a shoe.

“He had a lot going against him, but when he got to the quarter-pole, he looked like he was the horse,” said Whiting.

Officer Alex has looked like the horse already, when he powerfully scored the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes at Parx Racing and earned high marks from the leading public speed figure providers. Whiting points to that performance as what Officer Alex is capable of with better racing luck this time.

“He beat a pretty good horse in there,” he said referring to second-place finisher Res Judicata who was running for the same connections as Smarty Jones. “It was supposed to be a coronation for that horse, and he got away from us by about two-and-a-half at one point, but we reeled him in and drew off. I’m sure we had enough time to recover from that race. I don’t ascribe to a theory that we might have bounced. He just had a lot of trouble this last time.”

Whiting says Luis Quinonez will ride Officer Alex in the Southwest, replacing Stewart Elliott, who had been aboard for three of the colt’s previous four starts including his last race.



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