Barn Notes 2/10/24

Compiled by Robert Yates

It was a day of career firsts Friday at Oaklawn for apprentice jockey Joseph Bealmear, who notched his first riding double, first allowance victory and first victory with a seven-pound weight allowance.

Bealmear, 19, won the fifth race aboard Mahomey ($33.80) for trainer Michael Hewitt and the seventh race aboard Notorious Sixohtwo ($14.40) for trainer Chris Hartman.

Bealmear has six career victories – all at the 2023-2024 Oaklawn meeting that began Dec. 8. He launched his riding career Nov. 30 at Turfway Park in Kentucky and rode his first winner Dec. 30.

“The afternoon started off a little slow,” Bealmear said following Friday’s 10th and final race. “Started getting to me a little bit. Then it started picking up for me.”

Bealmear was winless with his first three mounts before striking with Mahomey, who rallied in the middle of the track for a 1 ¼-length victory in the $143,000 allowance for older Arkansas-bred sprinters.

Mahomey represented the fifth career victory for Bealmear, reducing his apprentice weight allowance from 10 pounds to seven pounds. He celebrated by pumping his right arm after crossing the finish line.

“First allowance win, a big money win,” Bealmear, a Kentucky native, said. “Sometimes, emotions get the better of me. I’ve just got to let them out.”

In his first mount with a seven-pound weight break, Bealmear guided Notorious Sixohtwo to a front-running 1 ½-length victory in the sprint for $30,000 maiden claimers.

Notorious Sixohtwo was Bealmear’s third victory for Hartman, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2015. Bealmear also rode Santos Dumont to a sixth-place finish in Friday’s ninth race for Hartman and is named on five other horses for the trainer over the next three racing days at Oaklawn.

“His father is a veterinarian from Kentucky,” Hartman said. “He used to do work at a swimming pool that we used to keep horses at. I really didn’t know the kid. Knew of him. I just met the kid in Kentucky and he said he wanted to be a rider. I like the idea of the pounds off. He listens well, though. That’s one thing. That kid’s a good listener.”

Ben Bealmear, Joseph Bealmear’s father, is a former jockey. He rode his first career winner March 24, 1980, at Oaklawn and added another riding victory in 1981 at Oaklawn. His son has quickly eclipsed that total, also riding winners at the meeting for trainers Jimmy DiVito and Tommy Vance of Hot Springs.

“I try to keep them (trainers) happy with me,” Joseph Bealmear said. “Keep them confident in my abilities.”

Bealmear’s agent and mentor is Robby Albarado, the retired jockey who rode more than 5,000 winners in his career. Albarado was Oaklawn’s leading rider in 1996 and 1997. Albarado said he plans to take Bealmear to Kentucky this spring.

Asmussen Reaches 900

Steve Asmussen became the first trainer to reach 900 career victories at Oaklawn when Clark Brewster’s Alejandro won Friday’s eighth race under Luis Fuentes.

Alejandro ($28.80) was the second of three victories on the card for Asmussen, a 2016 inductee into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and the winningest trainer in Oaklawn history.

Asmussen entered Friday with 898 victories at Oaklawn. He also won the fourth race with Fastened ($12.80) and the ninth race with Payne ($33.20). Both horses were ridden by Asmussen’s oldest son, Keith.

Steve Asmussen had moved closer to another Oaklawn milestone when he saddled two winners Sunday.

During the 2022-2023 meeting, Asmussen, surpassed the late Bob Holthus as Oaklawn’s all-time winningest trainer when Red Route One captured the $200,000 Bathhouse Row Stakes April 22. It was Asmussen’s 868th victory. Asmussen has collected a record 12 Oaklawn training titles and is the runaway leader this season with 25 victories through the first 21 of the scheduled 25 race days. The late Cole Norman won a single-season Oaklawn record 71 races in 2003.

Finish Lines

Probable post time for Sunday’s ninth and final race at Oaklawn is 4:50 p.m., 40 minutes before kickoff of Super Bowl LVIII. First post is 12:30 p.m. … Blowout debut winner Booth is the 3-5 program favorite for Sunday’s third race at Oaklawn, a $140,000 first-level allowance sprint for 3-year-olds. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Booth was scratched from the six-frulong $150,000 Renaissance Stakes Dec.31 … Turfway Park-based Axel Concepcion, the 2023 Eclipse Award winner as the country’s outstanding apprentice jockey, is scheduled to make his Oaklawn debut Sunday. Concepcion is named on two horses. … Jockeys Kylee Jordan (shoulder) and Kelsi Harr (foot) remain sidelined from injuries sustained last week.