Barn Notes 3/3/24

Compiled by Robert Yates

Lightly raced Time for Truth is under strong consideration for the Arkansas Derby following his entry-level allowance victory at 1 1/16 miles Saturday, trainer Ron Moquett said Sunday morning.

The $1.5 million G1-Arkansas Derby March 30 would mark Time for Truth’s first Kentucky Derby points race and fourth start overall.

Making his two-turn debut – delayed a week because of a minor leg issue – Time for Truth showed a new dimension by coming from off the pace to post a 1 ½-length victory under regular rider Rafael Bejarano.

“I was (pleased), knowing where we’re at with the horse, knowing he missed some training,” Moquett said. “We didn’t come to the race exactly like we had wanted to, considering we really did have a bump on our shin. So, I’m pleased with the horse.”

Time for Truth was entered in the $1.25 million G2-Rebel Stakes Feb. 24 at Oaklawn, but he was scratched after suffering a minor shin injury on the eve of the race and rerouted to the allowance spot that featured fellow Triple Crown nominees Awesome Road and Ethan Energy for trainer Brad Cox.

The 2-1 favorite in the eight-horse field, Time for Truth stalked front-running Googol Joke from the start and struck the front on the outside late on the second turn. He opened a three-length advantage in midstretch and held Willy D’s safe in the final 100 yards. The winning time over a fast track was 1:45.88.

“He did very well, as far as listening to the jockey,” Moquett said. “He’s a very intelligent horse.”

Time for Truth is from the first crop of millionaire Omaha Beach, who won the second division of the $750,000 G2-Rebel and $1 million G1-Arkansas Derby in 2019. Time for Truth became the first Oaklawn winner for Omaha Beach with a front-running 1 ¾-length debut score going six furlongs furlongs Dec. 31.

Time for Truth tackled stakes company in his next start and finished second to Valentine Candy in the six-furlong $150,000 Ozark Feb. 10. Time for Truth, the betting favorite, was beaten 2 ½ lengths after leading to midstretch.

Moquett used the Ozark as a bridge to the Rebel after Oaklawn lost 11 days of training (Jan. 13-23) to winter weather. Plan A, Moquett said, was a one-mile allowance Jan. 28, a split race that spawned five Rebel entrants (Northern Flame, Tejon Pass, Next Level, Mena and Woodcourt).

Time for Truth was 15-1 on the morning line for the Rebel. He was 5-2 Saturday.

“It was a good race for him,” said Bejarano, who rode three consecutive winners to close Saturday’s card. “I’m glad he got scratched the last time because it was a tough race. But I think this race will prepare him for the big race next time. It’s the first time going two turns. I had a beautiful trip. Hopefully, the horse came back good and we can get ready for next time.”

Time for Truth races for Arkansan Harry Rosenblum and Oklahoman Everett Dobson

The Azeri

Grade 3 winner Hot and Sultry is among eight horses entered in the 8 ½-furlong $400,000 G2-Azeri Stakes for older fillies and mares Saturday.

Hot and Sultry is trying to rebound from a troubled fifth-place finish behind Comparative in the $250,000 G3-Bayakoa Stakes Feb. 2.

The Azeri field from the rail out: Soul of an Angel for trainer Gerald James, Bellamore (Steve Asmussen), Misty Veil (Ramon Vazquez), Comparative (Brad Cox), Saddle Up Jessie (Brittany Russell), Hot and Sultry (Norm Casse), Tiny Temper (James Graham) and Shotgun Hottie (Cherie DeVaux).

Probable post time for the Azeri, the ninth of 10 races, is 4:55 p.m. (Central).

The Azeri is Oaklawn’s final major prep for the $1.25 million G1-Apple Blossom Handicap April 13.

Finish Lines

Oaklawn adds Thursdays to its racing schedule next week. In addition to March 7, Oaklawn is scheduled to race March 14, March 21, March 28 and April 4. There is free parking, free programs and $1 hot dogs (two per person) each Thursday in March. Oaklawn normally races Friday-Sunday. … Connie K surpassed $500,000 in career earnings with a third-place finish in the $150,000 Downthedustyroad Stakes for female Arkansas-bred sprinters Saturday. Connie K ($502,195) is inching closer to surpassing The Mary Rose ($539,894) as the leading accredited Arkansas-bred female money winner in history. Kaboom Baby ($488,659) finished fourth in the Downthedustyroad. … Kentucky-based trainer Jordan Blair recorded his first career Oaklawn double Saturday, winning the third race with Northern Chill ($41.60) and the fourth race with favored Midnight Rising ($6.80). Emmanuel Esquivel rode both winners for Jordan, who has a string at Oaklawn for the first time this season.