Asmussen Ties Holthus’ Record

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

Contact: Jennifer Hoyt, or (501) 363-4305

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Hall of Fame Trainer Steve Asmussen

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Asmussen Ties Holthus’ Record

One to go.

Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen tied the late Bob Holthus as Oaklawn’s all-time winningest trainer when Tapicita ($7) broke her maiden by 4 ½ lengths in Friday’s second race.

Tapicita represented the 867th Oaklawn victory overall for Asmussen and his 47th at the 2022-2023 meeting that began Dec. 9. Asmussen had eight chances on the remainder of Friday’s card to break the record, but his best finish was second with Speakinofthedevil in the fourth race.

Asmussen had 13 horses entered Saturday at Oaklawn and four Sunday. Asmussen has already collected a record 12 Oaklawn training titles and entered Saturday with a record 101 career stakes victories in Hot Springs after winning the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) with Clairiere and the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) with Skelly. Both races were April 15. Asmussen’s first Oaklawn victory came in 1996.

Asmussen’s son, Keith, rode Tapicita, a homebred for Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley).

Tyler’s Tribe Works Toward the Bachelor

Iowa-bred star Tyler’s Tribe, under regular rider Kylee Jordan, worked an easy 3 furlongs Saturday morning at Oaklawn in advance of the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes April 29. The 6-furlong race is for 3-year-olds.

Tyler’s Tribe, who breezed alone over a fast track, covered 3 furlongs in :37.60 and galloped out a half-mile :50.20. Tyler’s Tribe will be returning to a sprint after finishing a leg-weary sixth in his 3-year-old and two-turn debut in a March 30 allowance at Oaklawn.

“He was knocked out after that last race,” co-owner/trainer Tim Martin said following Saturday’s work. “He had his head in the dirt for a few days. I guess the mile kind of did him in.”

Tyler’s Tribe received a brief break following the March 30 race after being shipped to Martin’s nearby training center in Royal. Martin said the gelding returned to Oaklawn several days ago to continue preparations for the Bachelor. Saturday’s work was the first for Tyler’s Tribe since he zipped 5 furlongs in :59.40 March 23 – the fastest of 20 recorded at the distance that morning.

“Just an easy three-eighths today,” Martin said. "He scoped clean.”

Tyler’s Tribe bled in his final two starts last year, the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) Nov. 4 at Keeneland and $150,000 Advent Stakes Dec. 9 at Oaklawn. Tyler’s Tribe was eased in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and finished third in the Advent.

Tyler’s Tribe won his first five career starts, including four stakes, by a combined 59 ¾ front-running lengths at Prairie Meadows in Iowa.

Advent winner Count de Monet is also pointing for the Bachelor, trainer Tom Swearingen said Saturday morning. The Bachelor closed with 22 nominations.

Post positions for the Bachelor and the inaugural $150,000 Dig a Diamond Stakes will be drawn Monday. The Dig a Diamond, for older fillies and mares at 1 mile, is also April 29.

Caroom Still on Top

Arkansans continue to dominate the top of Oaklawn owner’s standings, with Jerry Caroom of Hot Springs, through Friday, still leading (15 victories).

Caroom, seeking his first Oaklawn owner’s title, had already set single-season personal local bests for starts (70), victories (15) and purse earnings ($722,457) through Friday, Day 60 of the scheduled 68-day meeting.

“I knew I had a chance to have a good meet,” Caroom said Saturday morning. “I tried to buy the right horses for the (condition) book, but about 25 percent of it actually went. This weekend was so frustrating. We tried to enter five times and I got one in all weekend. That’s just the way it is.”

Caroom started his first horse at Oaklawn in 2015 and won 10 races in 2021 to tie for fourth in the standings. Caroom said winning an owner’s title at Oaklawn carries added significance because he’s a Hot Springs native.

“This is where I want to do good,” Caroom said.

Entering Saturday, Heath and Sheena Campbell of Benton and Ten Strike Racing (founding partners Marshall Gramm and Arkansas native Clay Sanders) were tied for second in the Oaklawn owner’s standings with 13 victories. Staton Flurry of Hot Springs ranked fifth with eight victories. Arkansas lumberman John Ed Anthony, Oaklawn’s leading owner in 2021-2022, and John Holleman of Little Rock were tied for sixth with seven victories.

“I think that’s great,” Caroom said, referring to Arkansas owners at the top of the Oaklawn owner’s standings. “I wish the best for all these guys. It’s the owners that are supporting this sport. It gets harder every day.”

Caroom has employed trainers Robertino Diodoro, Tom Amoss and Carl Deville at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting. Diodoro, Oaklawn 2020 training champion and leader this season, trains the bulk of Caroom’s horses. Caroom entered Saturday with 57 career Oaklawn victories.

Finish Lines

Jockey Francisco Arrieta won three races Friday to pull within 86-79 of Cristian Torres in the race for leading rider. Arrieta won the first race aboard favored Landslid ($4.80) for trainer Scott Becker, sixth race aboard favored Polterer ($6.80) for trainer Greg Compton and the eighth race aboard favored I’m the Boss of Me ($6.40) for Compton. Arrieta was Oaklawn’s co-leading rider last season with 62 victories. Friday marked Day 60 of the scheduled 68-day meeting. … Summer Shoes is pointing for the $150,000 Natural State Breeders’ Stakes for Arkansas-bred fillies and mares, 3 and up, trainer Tom Swearingen said Saturday morning. The 1-mile Natural State Breeders’ is May 4. Summer Shoes won the $150,000 Downthedustyroad Stakes Arkansas-bred female sprinters, 3 and up, March 4 at Oaklawn. Downthedustyroad runner-up Kaboom Baby is also pointing for the Natural State Breeders’ Stakes, trainer Ernie Witt II said. … Eyeing Clover is under consideration for the $500,000 Pat Day Mile (G2) May 6 at Churchill Downs and the $300,000 Texas Derby at 1 1/16 miles May 29 at Lone Star Park, owner Marshall Gramm (Ten Strike Racing) said Saturday morning. Both races are for 3-year-olds. Eyeing Clover, in his two-turn debut, won the $200,000 Hot Springs Stakes at 1 mile April 1 at Oaklawn for trainer Brad Cox.