Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Uncontested Complete Major Smarty Jones Work

Uncontested completed major preparations for the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn with a bullet workout Tuesday morning under regular rider Channing Hill. He covered 5 furlongs in 1:01 just after the track opened for co-owner Harry Rosenblum of Little Rock, Ark., who won the 2015 Smarty Jones with Far Right.

Breezing with mist falling and over a fast, sealed surface, clockers caught Uncontested galloping out 6 furlongs in 1:13.60 and 7 furlongs in 1:28.20.

“The horse is a nice horse,” Rosenblum said moments following the work. “Thankful we’ve got him, and hope we get a good post position.”

Rosenblum said Hill, the son-in-law of the colt’s trainer, Wayne Catalano, will ride Uncontested in Monday’s 1-mile Smarty Jones, Oaklawn’s first of four Triple Crown prep races. 

Uncontested won 1 of 2 starts last year, narrowly missing Keeneland’s 6 ½-furlong track record in a front-running six-length career debut victory Oct. 19 before finishing fourth in the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at 1 1/16 miles Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs.

“He’s training just like we want him to,” Catalano said Wednesday morning after arriving from Fair Grounds to oversee his Oaklawn division. “Can’t be doing any better than what he’s doing. Jock was very happy. I was happy. And Harry? Well, he’s happy, too.”

Other locally based horses pointing for the Smarty Jones include Petrov (Jose Ortiz to ride), Warrior’s Club (Robby Albarado) and Cu Rahy (Glenn Corbett).

Petrov, who will be making his two-turn debut for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, exits a runner-up finish in the $100,000 King’s Swan Stakes Dec. 2 at Aqueduct. He (in company) worked a half-mile in :48.20 over a fast surface just after the track opened Wednesday morning.

Warrior’s Club, in his last start, finished third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who won the 2013 Smarty Jones with eventual 3-year-old male champion Will Take Charge. Warrior’s Club worked a half-mile in :49.60 Tuesday morning.

Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel is scheduled to ride Texas-based U S Officer for trainer Danny Pish in the Smarty Jones, Borel’s agent, “Big Steve Krajcir of Hot Springs, said Tuesday morning. U S Officer worked 5 furlongs in 1:02 Sunday at Sam Houston. He won the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes Nov. 4 at Remington Park.

Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg said Wednesday morning that Love That Lute was “possible” for the Smarty Jones.

Post positions for the Smarty Jones, which drew 30 nominees, will be drawn Thursday. The race offers 17 points toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby, including 10 to the winner.

Oaklawn’s Kentucky Derby prep series continues with the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20, $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18 and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15.

Smart Attire

Cu Rahy will make his 3-year-old debut in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Monday at Oaklawn, trainer Danele Durham said. A son of 2007 Arkansas Derby winner and two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, Cu Rahy is coming off a ninth-place finish in the $300,000 Springboard Mile Stakes Dec. 11 at Remington Park.

Durham said Cu Rahy’s performance was impacted by a foot abscess.

“No damage was done,” Durham said Monday morning. “He’s a fitter, stronger horse and feeling really good and really liking this racetrack.”

Cu Rahy has had three published workouts at Oaklawn since the Springboard Mile, including a half-mile in :48.40 following the second renovation break Wednesday morning.

Durham saddled Texas Bling ($259.60) to an upset victory in the 2012 Springboard Mile. Will Take Charge, second in the Springboard Mile, edged Texas Bling by a neck to win the 2013 Smarty Jones and went on to become the country’s champion 3-year-old male.

“As much as I love Texas Bling, I think this is a more talented individual,” Durham said of Cu Rahy. “I think this is a very nice colt. He definitely does things very easily. Just very professional, and with all due respect to Texas Bling, he’s probably a little better bred.”

Cu Rahy finished seventh sprinting in his June 18 career debut at Lone Star Park before breaking his maiden going a mile in his next start, Aug. 31 at Remington Park. Leading up to the Springboard Mile, he finished third in the $75,000 Kip Deville Stakes Sept. 25 at Remington Park and third in the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes Nov. 4 at Remington Park.

Durham said she used the Kip Deville and Clever Trevor – 6 furlongs and 7 furlongs, respectively – as “basically published workouts, because he’s not a sprinter.”

“He’s just a good-looking colt,” said Durham, who trains Cu Rahy for Texas-based HFT-Xpress Racing Stables.

HFT (Hall Family Trust) purchased the colt for $120,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Select Yearling Sale. It also bred and raced Texas Bling.

Eyes on Texas

Multiple graded stakes winner Texas Chrome should arrive at Oaklawn in early February to begin preparing for his 4-year-old campaign, trainer J.R. Caldwell said Tuesday morning, adding he’s targeting the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 15 for the colt’s comeback spot.

“Don’t think we’ll get anything in before that,” Caldwell said. “We’ll just go there and use that as a prep for his summer run.”

Caldwell said Texas Chrome was freshened following a ninth-place finish in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.

Texas Chrome is at owner Danny Keene’s Friendswood Farm in Hot Springs, Caldwell said, following a 2016 season highlighted by victories in the $400,000 Super Derby (G3) Sept. 10 at Louisiana Downs and $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (G3) Sept. 25 at Remington Park.

“He had a hard little campaign,” Caldwell said. “We gave him some time off to grow up a little bit and get ready for his 4-year-old campaign.”

Texas Chrome’s eight-race 2016 schedule began with a third-place finish in last April in Oaklawn’s $150,000 Bachelor Stakes.  In addition to the Super Derby and Oklahoma Derby, he won the $75,000 Texas Stallion Stakes May 15 at Lone Star Park and the $100,000 Super Derby Prelude Stakes Aug. 6 at Louisiana Downs.

“Fantastic year,” Caldwell said.

Keene purchased Texas Chrome, a Texas-bred son of Grasshopper, for $10,000 as a yearling. He has bankrolled $842,807 off eight victories from 14 lifetime starts.

Finish Lines

The track was rated fast for workouts Wednesday morning. … Friday’s $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes for older horses at 1 1/16 miles drew a field of 10: Discreetness, Cutacorner, Code West, Pinson, For Greater Glory, Smack Smack, Inside Straight, Chief of Staff, Domain’s Rap and Mr. Z. Probable post time for the Fifth Season, which goes as the eighth of nine races on the opening-day card, is 3:49 p.m. (Central). First post is 12:35 p.m. … Defending champion Streamline drew the rail for Saturday’s $125,000 Pippin Stakes for older fillies at 1 1/16 miles. Also entered are Terra Promessa, Miss Mo Kelly, Ruby Sioux, Ready to Confess and She Mabee Wild. Probable post time for the Pippin, the eighth of nine races, is 4:38 p.m. (Central). Racing begins at 1:05 p.m. … Trainer John Ortiz said that he will pass Monday’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes for 3-year-olds with All Right and shop for an allowance spot. “Tough race,” Ortiz said Tuesday morning of the Smarty Jones. All Right, at odds of 44-1, broke his maiden in the $350,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Sept. 3 at Kentucky Downs. … Trainer Randy Morse said Tuesday morning that he will pass the Smarty Jones with Churchill Downs maiden graduate Floroplus (by City Zip). … Morse said he has nothing specific in mind for Silver Dust, a 3-year-old Tapit colt who was a sparkling maiden winner at a mile Nov. 20 at Churchill Downs. Morse said the $510,000 2-year-old purchase has missed some training recently because of winter weather. … Two-time Oaklawn stakes winner Haveyougoneaway is one of three finalists for champion female sprinter of 2016. Under the care of trainer Allen Milligan, Haveyougoneaway won Oaklawn’s $100,000 American Beauty Stakes and $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes last year. A.P. Indian, second in his 4-year-old debut at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting, an allowance/optional claimer, is one of three finalists for champion male sprinter. Jose Ortiz, the country’s winningest rider in 2016, is one of three finalists for champion jockey. The New York-based Ortiz is scheduled to make his Oaklawn debut opening weekend, riding, among others, Petrov for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs in Monday’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes. Eclipse Awards winners will be announced Jan. 21.

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