Barn Notes 12/15/23

Compiled by Robert Yates

Trainer Rodolphe Brisset didn’t have a starter on Oaklawn’s first card exclusively for 2-year-olds last season. That figures to change later this month.

Brisset said he’s pointing Normandy Hero to the six-furlong $150,000 Renaissance Stakes and Peignoir to the one-mile $200,000 Year’s End Stakes for fillies. The Renaissance and Year’s End anchor a Dec. 31 program strictly for 2-year-olds. Nominations to both races close Saturday.

Normandy Hero, from the first crop of 2019 Arkansas Derby winner Omaha Beach, has a 2-1-1 record from six starts and earnings of $154,463.

Normandy Hero ran second behind unbeaten Glengarry in the six-furlong $200,000 Bowman Mill Stakes in October at Keeneland. Valentine Candy, third in the Bowman Mill, returned to win the 5 ½-furlong $150,000 Advent Stakes opening day Oaklawn. Normandy Hero, in his last start, finished third in the 6 ½-furlong $225,000 Ed Brown Stakes Nov. 25 at Churchill Downs.

Peignoir broke her maiden by 8 ¼ lengths in a one-mile race at Ellis Park in August. In her last start, she ran second behind Thorpedo Anna, now Grade 2 placed, in a one-mile allowance race Nov. 10 at Churchill Downs.

Another Brisset trainee at Oaklawn is Olivier, an unstarted 3-year-old full brother to 2022 Horse of the Year Flightline. Olivier could debut in January, Brisset said.

Brisset again split his stable this winter. Brisset said he has around 15 horses at Oaklawn, where he won an eye-catching 32 percent of his starts (17 of 53) at the last two meetings, and also maintains a string in Kentucky to race over Turfway Park’s synthetic surface.

“Obviously, we’ve got to regroup because some of the older horses have been retired,” Brisset said. “But we’ve got a pretty decent group, we think. Make them come along and see what happens. Some that we have at Turfway may come here and run and some from here may go to Turfway. We’re on two very strong circuits and two different surfaces. We’ve got to add that, based on what the horses tell us, too.”

One older horse recently retired, Brisset said, is millionaire multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Yuugiri, a 4-year-old daughter of Shackleford who will begin a broodmare career in 2024. A stallion hasn’t been booked yet, Brisset said.

Yuugiri won three races at Oaklawn – the 2022 $600,000 G3-Fantasy Stakes, an allowance sprint last December and the six-furlong $150,000 Carousel Stakes in February

In her final career start, Yuugiri finished second behind Eclipse Award winner Goodnight Olive in the $1 million G1-Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at seven furlongs Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.

“It was like winning the race,” said Brisset, who trained Yuugiri for her Japanese breeders, Sekie and Tsunebumi Yoshihara. “We were 26-1. We took a shot. Everything went well up to the race. We got a good draw. The winner is a beast.”

Yuugiri compiled 7-3-1 record from 15 lifetime starts and earned $1,360,585. A five-time stakes winner, Yuugiri surpassed $1 million in career earnings with her victory in the $350,000 G2-Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland.

Milestone Watch

Luis Quinonez, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2007, enters Friday with 3,997 career North American victories (United States and Canada) after winning two races Wednesday at Remington Park, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

Quinonez (641 victories) is the ninth-winningest jockey in Oaklawn history and his overall total is tied for 83rd in North American history.

Quinonez, 56, is named on three horses Friday at Remington Park. He is named on five horses this weekend at Oaklawn – three Saturday at and two Sunday.

Finish Lines

Summer Shoes and Count de Monet, both stakes winners during the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting, are entered in allowance sprints Saturday at Oaklawn for trainer Tom Swearingen. … Barber Road has resumed training at Palm Meadows in south Florida, trainer John Ortiz said Friday morning, adding the 2022 Arkansas Derby runner-up could have a start at Gulfstream Park before possibly heading to Oaklawn for late-season stakes action. Stablemate and Grade 1 winner Brightwork was en route to Palm Meadows Friday morning, Ortiz said. “We’ll do the same thing,” Ortiz said. “We’ll try to get a start in her and then ship up here.” Brightwork was among the country’s top 2-year-old fillies of 2023. … Grade 2-placed Nautical Star, a 2022-2023 Oaklawn maiden special weight graduate, is entered against Count de Monet in Saturday’s eighth race. Nautical Star is now with Hartman.