Barn Notes 3/30/24

Compiled by Robert Yates

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen saddled two winners Friday at Oaklawn, pushing his meet-leading total to 56. Friday was Day 47 of the scheduled 64-day meeting.

Asmussen won the sixth race with favored Storm Strategy ($4.60) and 10th race with favored Neom Beach ($5.60). Asmussen had a third horse, Go Cats, cross the finish line first in the second race, but the gelding was disqualified and placed fourth by track stewards for stretch interference.

The late Cole Norman set Oaklawn’s single-season record for victories by a trainer (71) during the weather-shortened 49-day meeting in 2003.

Asmussen has already equaled his victory total from the 2022-2023 meeting. He won an Oaklawn personal-best 65 races at the 2021-2022 meeting when he captured a record-extending 12th Oaklawn training title.

Asmussen entered Saturday with 932 career victories at Oaklawn. He is the track’s all-time winningest trainer.

Ice Orchid Retired

Ice Orchid was retired following a half-mile workout March 20 at Oaklawn to begin a broodmare career, John Gasper, racing manager for John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs, said Wednesday morning.

Anthony (Shortleaf Stable) bred and raced Ice Orchid, a 5-year-old daughter of Super Saver who compiled a 3-8-3 record from 17 starts and earned $539,973.

“Something was bothering her up high, in her hind end or shoulder or something,” Gasper said. “Just some little thing. I would say she’s like, ‘One out of five off.’ She would probably be OK in time, if you gave her 60, 90 days off. But if she didn’t come back, she would miss in the breeding season.”

Gasper said Ice Orchid was to be sent to Stone Farm in Kentucky, where Anthony, the winningest trainer in Oaklawn history, boards some of his mares.

Ice Orchid ran second in the $150,000 Pippin Stakes Jan. 6 at Oaklawn and second in the $250,000 G3-Bayakoa Stakes Feb. 2 at Oaklawn, which was her final career start. She also ran second behind future Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath in the $300,000 G3-Honeybee Stakes for 3-year-old fillies in 2022. All three races were 1 1/16 miles. Ice Orchid broke her maiden in 2022 at Oaklawn.

Gasper said a 2024 stallion has yet to be selected for Ice Orchid, who was trained by John Ortiz.

Finish Lines

Oaklawn is dark Sunday in observance of Easter. The track will also be closed for training. Racing resumes Thursday at 12:35 p.m. (Central). It is the final scheduled Thursday racing date of the 2023-2024 meeting that ends May 5. … Entries will be taken and post positions drawn Monday for two $150,000 stakes races for Arkansas-bred 3-year-olds Saturday at Oaklawn – Rainbow and Rainbow Miss for fillies. Both races are six furlongs. … Butterbean was sent home to be bred to champion Good Magic following her fourth-place finish in the $250,000 G3-Bayakoa Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 2 at Oaklawn, trainer Kenny McPeek said Friday morning. McPeek said Butterbean, a 5-year-old daughter of Klimt, could run in foal. Butterbean won the one=mile $150,000 Mistletoe Stakes Dec. 9 at Oaklawn.