Thursday, May 18, 2017

Oaklawn Represented by Half the Preakness Stakes Field

 

Five Oaklawn-raced horses, as expected, were entered Wednesday for the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1) Saturday at Pimlico, the second leg of racing’s Triple Crown.

 

The 1 3/16-mile race will feature the top three finishers from the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15 at Oaklawn – Classic Empire, Conquest Mo Money and Lookin At Lee. Classic Empire, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, is scheduled to break from post 5 under regular rider Julien Leparoux. Lookin At Lee (10-1) drew post nine for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who has captured eight Oaklawn titles since 2007. Conquest Mo Money (15-1) drew post 10 in the projected 10-horse field.

 

Lookin At Lee (Corey Lanerie to ride) and Classic Empire finished second and fourth, respectively, in the May 6 Kentucky Derby. Conquest Mo Money, who will be ridden by Jorge Carreno, didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby.

 

“We’ll hope for a good break,” Classic Empire’s trainer Mark Casse said. “Always Dreaming is obviously a very good horse. We just want a fair shot at him. Conquest Mo Money will probably show speed from the outside and Always Dreaming will be right there, but if we break running, we can be there, too. It’s a good post.

 

“I wouldn’t have wanted to be right down on the rail, and I prefer not to have been on the outside. The post position wasn’t that big a deal. But I think it’s nice [that the two favorites are next to each other]. It’s nice for the fans, for everybody. Hopefully they both have good trips, break well. It could be interesting. They might go right at it from the start.

 

“I like it a lot better being 5 and Always Dreaming being 4 than us being 4 and he’s 5, because that puts Julien (Leparoux) more in the driver’s seat. He can watch, and if we break running and Always Dreaming doesn’t, we may be on the lead. If Always Dreaming breaks running and we break running, if Julien thinks Always Dreaming is running too easy, he’ll go up and engage him earlier. If he thinks he’s running, he’ll sit back.”

 

Senior Investment, a Feb. 18 first-level allowance/optional claiming winner at Oaklawn, and Hence, whose Jan. 16 maiden victory marked Asmussen’s 500th career winner in Hot Springs, are also entered in the Preakness. List at 30-1, he is scheduled to break from post 8 under Channing Hill, among Oaklawn’s top 10 riders this year with 16 victories. Hence (20-1) is scheduled to break from post 3 under Florent Geroux.

 

Senior Investment is coming off a victory in the $200,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) April 15 at Keeneland.

Hence also ran seventh in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20 at Oaklawn and 11th in the Kentucky Derby.

 

Classic Empire, the country’s champion 2-year-old male, is trying to become the eighth Arkansas Derby winner to capture the Preakness, following Elocutionist (1976), Tank’s Prospect (1985), Pine Bluff (1992), Smarty Jones (2004), Afleet Alex (2005), Curlin (2007) and American Pharoah (2015).

 

Probable post time for the Preakness, which goes as race 13, is 5:48 p.m. (Central).

 

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming is the 4-5 morning line favorite.

 

All starters carry 126 pounds.

 

Oaklawn at Pimlico

 

Numerous Oaklawn-raced horses, including several stakes winners, are entered Friday and Saturday at Pimlico.

 

Friday’s $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (G3) at 1 1/8 miles features Terra Promessa, the top 3-year-old filly at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting. Terra Promessa won last year’s $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) and $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn. She added two more stakes victories this year in Hot Springs, the $125,000 Pippin Jan. 14 and $150,000 Bayakoa (G3) Feb. 18. Oaklawn-raced Power of Snunner is also entered in the DuPont.

 

My Sweet Stella, one of Oaklawn’s leading 3-year-old fillies this year, is entered in Friday’s $100,000 Hilltop Stakes at a mile on the turf.

 

Sparkling Oaklawn maiden winner Our Majesty is entered in Friday’s $150,000 Miss Preakness Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at 6 furlongs. Five-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. is scheduled to ride Our Majesty for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. Also entered in the Miss Preakness is Oaklawn-raced Vertical Oak.

 

Two other Oaklawn-raced 3-year-old fillies, Tapa Tapa Tapa and Torrent, are entered in Friday’s $250,000 Black Eyed-Susan Stakes (G2) at 1 1/8 miles.

 

On Saturday, Recruiting Ready is entered in the $200,000 Chick Lang Stakes for 3-year-olds at 6 furlongs, and Whitmore is entered in the $150,000 Maryland Sprint Stakes (G3) at 6 furlongs. Recruiting Ready was a powerful winner of the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes April 13 at Oaklawn, while Whitmore was 3 for 3 at this year’s Oaklawn meeting, highlighted by the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 15.

 

Also entered in the 6-furlong Maryland Sprint Stakes are Oaklawn-raced A.P. Indian and Holy Boss.

 

Finish Lines

 

Suddenbreakingnews, winner of the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds last year at Oaklawn, is scheduled to make his comeback in Thursday’s fifth race at Churchill Downs, a conditioned allowance/optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Suddenbreakingnews hasn’t started since finishing sixth in a Feb. 20 allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn. The gelding also ran fourth in his 4-year-old debut, a Jan. 27 allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn. Suddenbreakingnews hasn’t raced on grass since his August 2015 career debut at Remington Park. Probable post time for Thursday’s fifth race is 5:56 p.m. (Central). … Moe Candy, sixth in the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) for older sprinters April 15 at Oaklawn, drew the rail for the $200,000 Kona Gold Stakes (G2) Saturday at Santa Anita. Also entered in the 6 ½-furlong race is Kobe’s Back, seventh in the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds in 2014 at Oaklawn. … Kobe’s Back and Hoppertunity (winner) are the only two runners still active from the 2014 Rebel, which drew a field of eight. Trainer Randy Morse said Street Strategy (sixth) was retired earlier this year to begin a breeding career at Lake Hamilton Equine Associates near Hot Springs. Street Strategy suffered a leg injury after winning what would be his final career start, the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes in January 2016 at Oaklawn. The son of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense was training at Oaklawn during the 2017 season before being retired. … Tiger Moth is entered in the $100,000 Matron Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles Saturday at Churchill Downs for Brad Cox, Oaklawn’s third-leading trainer this year. Tiger Moth ran third in Oaklawn’s $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 18 and fourth in the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 14.

 

 

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