Barn Notes 3/1/24

Compiled by Robert Yates

After a riding double last Sunday, Oaklawn-based jockey Rocco Bowen is out of town this week. Well, actually, out of the country.

Bowen is in his native Barbados to ride Pat’ssewingmachine in the $214,000 G1-Barbados Gold Cup, an 1,800-meter turf event that is among the most prestigious races in the Caribbean. Bowen is seeking his first victory in the race.

“That’s the race I want to win, more than any other race in the world,” Bowen said. “It’s home. My grandma always told me I was going to win that race. I guess I don’t feel like I’m finished until I win that race.”

Pat’ssewingmachine, among nine horses entered in the Barbados Gold Cup, hasn’t started since a Nov. 19 allowance over Woodbine’s all-weather surface. The 6-year-old is owned by Fun In The Sun Racing, whose advisor, ex-jockey Darwin Clarke, is a Barbados native.

The Barbados Gold Cup also drew entrants from Eclipse Award-winning trainers Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown and the nationally prominent Saffie Joseph Jr., another native of Barbados. Bowen said he’s ridden in the Barbados Gold Cup three times.

“The Cup is what’s everything,” Bowen said. “We want to bring that Cup back to America. It would be a blessing because he (Clarke) lives in Washington. He’s lived in Tacoma, Wash., for 25 years. That’s how we became really close.”

Bowen, a one-time dominant force in the Pacific Northwest, has eight victories at the 2023-2024 Oaklawn meeting that began Dec. 8.

On the Work Tab

Millionaire multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Last Samurai worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.40 after the surface renovation break Friday morning at Oaklawn under trainer Eddie Milligan Jr. The track was fast.

It was third work this season at Oaklawn for Last Samurai, who hasn’t started since being eased in the $1 million G1-Whitney Stakes for older horses at 1 1/8 miles Aug. 5 at Saratoga for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Last Samurai made four starts at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting, highlighted by victories in the $600,000 G3-Razorback Handicap and $500,000 G3-Essex Handicap. He also finished second, beaten a head, in the $1 million G2-Oaklawn Handicap. Senor Buscador, the fourth-place finisher, returned to win the $20 million G1-Saudi Cup last Saturday in Saudi Arabia.

Milligan trains privately for Arkansan Kevin Horton (Willis Horton Racing), who owns Last Samurai.

Finish Lines

Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen ($3,093,753) became the first trainer to reach $3 million in purse earnings at the 2023-2024 Oaklawn meeting Sunday, Day 30 of the scheduled 64-day season. Asmussen ($6,057,877) set Oaklawn’s single-season record for purse earnings by a trainer in 2021. … Timberlake, winner of the $1.25 million G2-Rebel Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles last Saturday, vanned back to the Fair Grounds Tuesday to rejoin trainer Brad Cox’s division there. … Grade 2 winner Taxed recorded her fourth workout this season at Oaklawn, covering 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 on a fast track Thursday morning for trainer Randy Morse in advance of her 4-year-old debut. Morse said Taxed is on a tight schedule to make her major spring objective, the $1.25 million G1-Apple Blossom Handicap April 13. … Glengarry, the 2023 Iowa-bred Horse of the Year, worked a half-mile in :49.40 after the surface renovation break Friday morning at Oaklawn for co-owner/trainer Doug Anderson of Hot Springs. … Champion and multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Letruska had her first foal, a filly by champion and multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Curlin, Feb. 4 in Kentucky.