Feb. 22, 2013
The attention turns to the Arkansas-bred stakes runners this weekend, but they will have to share the spotlight with jockey Calvin Borel and trainer Steve Hobby, who are both sitting one win away from significant career milestones. Borel is nearing career victory 5,000, something only 24 other riders have accomplished, while Hobby will earn career win 1,000 on his next trip to the winner’s circle.
Borel has two mounts on Saturday in races one and four and three on Sunday in races three, five and nine. Hobby has just one chance this weekend in the ninth race Saturday. As soon as Borel reaches 5,000 wins, Oaklawn and the city of Hot Springs will commemorate the achievement by distributing special trading cards to everyone in attendance that day. The cards will be free while supplies last and will be available at any mutuel window and the Information Booth one full race after the historic win.
An equine star looking to make history of her own this weekend is All About Allie, who will be seeking to win Saturday’s $60,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes for the third consecutive year. She easily won the six-furlong race in 2011 and 2012 and could be even better in 2013. She most recently finished a game second to the highly regarded Cheery in the American Beauty Stakes against open company. Cliff Berry, aboard for her last two wins in the race, has the mount on the 8-5 morning line favorite.
“I just let her do her thing,” said trainer David Whited of All About Allie. “She trains herself. She can handle just about whatever the race does. She can stalk the pace or if there’s no speed, she can set it.”
The two mares with the best chances of upsetting the favorite are Bikini Bella and Hatter Nu Nu. Bikini Bella, who prepped for the race by winning an optional allowance by 8 ¾ lengths Jan. 18, finished second in the Downthedustryroad in 2011 and third in 2012. Hatter Nu Nu will be making her first start for trainer Tammy Hornsby and owner Jarette Wolfe after being claimed out of a winning performance Feb. 14. She had won the race prior to that three-length victory by 9 ¼ lengths.
The best Arkansas-bred males will get their chance to show off in Sunday’s $60,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes. With no Comedero in the field, the six furlong race looks like a wide-open affair led by 3-2 morning line favorite Humble Smarty, the only one with open stakes success. The 9-year-old veteran easily won an optional allowance race at Oaklawn Jan. 20.
The Nodouble also features the top three finishers of a tough $30,000 claiming race Feb. 3 – Breckenridge, The Mallard Man and Primetime Dreamer. The Mallard Man finished third in the Nodouble last year and followed that with a second in the Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes. Primetime Dreamer was the impressive winner of the Rainbow Stakes at Oaklawn last year.
The complete field for the $60,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes, in post position order, with riders and morning line odds: Awesome Truth, Jareth Loveberry, 30-1; All About Allie, Cliff Berry, 8-5; Hatter Nu Nu, Ricardo Santana Jr., 3-1; Bag the Storm, Alex Canchari, 20-1; Ile St. Molly, Shane Laviolette, 6-1; Kathleen, Luis Quinonez, 15-1, and Bikini Bella, Robby Albarado, 9-5.
The complete field for the $60,000 Nobouble Breeders’ Stakes, in post position order, with riders and morning line odds: The Mallard Man, Jon Court, 6-1; Breckenridge, Terry Thompson, 5-2; Cabe, David Mello, 30-1; Ran the Man, Cliff Berry, 12-1; Tis’ Timeless, Luis Quinonez; Primetime Dreamer, Robby Albarado, 5-1; Star Affirmed, Jareth Loveberry, 15-1; Humble Smarty, Alex Birzer, 3-2; Star North, John McKee, 15-1, and Toga’s Storm, Ricardo Santana Jr., 20-1.
First post is 1 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.