Barn Notes 12/17/23

Compiled by Robert Yates

One to go for jockey Luis Quinonez after he guided Rivercrest Girl to a three-quarter length victory in Saturday’s 10th race at Oaklawn.

Rivercrest Girl ($22) represented Quinonez’s 3,999th career North American victory (United States and Canada), according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Only 82 riders in North American history have reached 4,000 career victories.

“One to go,” Quinonez, 56, said Sunday morning. “It’s not easy. I didn’t do it alone. I’ve had a lot of help along the way.”

Quinonez is named on two horses Sunday at Oaklawn – Dinner At Crumpies in the ninth race for trainer Tammy Hornsby and Hamazing Wisdom in the 10th race for trainer Ronnie Cravens III. Dinner At Crumpies is 30-1 on the morning line, Hamazing Wisdom is 10-1.

“I don’t know (if it will happen today),” Quinonez said. “I haven’t even looked at it. So, I ride a couple late today. We’ll see what we can do.”

Oaklawn is dark next weekend because of Christmas. Racing resumes Dec. 29.

“I’ll be here for the rest of the meet,” said Quinonez, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2007.

Quinonez was named on two other horses Saturday at Oaklawn. He finished 11th in the second race aboard Bayron for trainer Carlos Padilla and his scheduled mount in the seventh race, Safe Bet, was scratched.

Quinonez (642 victories) is the ninth-winningest jockey in Oaklawn history.

Quinonez rode his first career North American winner May 10, 1989, at Canterbury Park.

Claim to Fame?

Trainer Bentley Combs’ first claim of the 2023-2024 meeting came with intent.

Combs, on behalf of owners Charles Gerber and Workman Ranch, took Toma Todo out of a victory in Friday’s second race for $7,500. Combs was looking ahead, but not to January, February, March or April. The date Combs already has circled is May 4. The race Combs already has circled is the 1 ¾-mile Trail’s End starter-allowance marathon, traditionally the final race of the Oaklawn meeting. Combs and owner Ten Strike Racing (Marshall Gramm) have won the race the last three years with Original Intent (2021 and 2022) and Hellorhighwater (2023).

The Trail’s End, recently, has been restricted to horses that have started for a claiming price of $10,000 or less in the last two years. It had a hefty $125,000 purse last season.

“We’ve been looking all over,” Combs said late last month. “With Churchill changing their bottom of the barrel to ($12,500), it’s been tough to find a starter $10,000 horse. You can ask Marshall. I’ve been looking at every overnight. I’ve been looking at Laurel, Parx, New York, everywhere, trying to find a Trail’s End horse.”

The addition of Toma Todo, Combs said, means he has two potential Trail’s End candidates. El Franco, a $16,000 claim Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs, is scheduled to test $10,000 starter-allowance company next month, Combs said. El Franco is a son of millionaire Tapiture. Toma Todo is by grass champion English Channel, who flourished at longer distances.

“I do like the little horse we claimed yesterday in Toma Todo,” Combs said in a text message Saturday. “Physically, he doesn’t fit the bill because he’s on the smaller side, but he’s won at (1 1/8 miles) at (Oaklawn) before. Gonna run him in a starter ($10,000) … and see what we’ve got.”

Combs said he has 10 stalls this season at Oaklawn after winning 40 percent of his starts (8 for 20) at the 2022-2023 meeting. In addition to the Trail’s End, Hellorhighwater won three other starter-allowance races at the meeting.

David Vance (1972-1974) is the only other trainer to win the Trail’s End three consecutive times.

Finish Lines

Favored multiple stakes winner Back to Ohio ($5) captured Saturday’s third race at Oaklawn, a $142,000 allowance sprint for females, to move to 9 for 10 overall for high-percentage trainer Larry Rivelli.Caddo River was retired following a sixth-place finish in the $150,000 Ring the Bell Stakes Dec. 9 at Oaklawn, John Gasper, racing manager for John Ed Anthony, the horse’s breeder/owner, said Sunday morning. Gasper said Caddo River will begin a stallion career in 2024, with Anthony planning to stand the 5-year-old son of Hard Spun in Arkansas. Caddo River won 6 of 23 career starts, including the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes in 2021 at Oaklawn, and earned $838,116.