Barn Notes 3/9/24

Compiled by Robert Yates

Tyler’s Tribe Returns

Iowa-bred star Tyler’s Tribe is scheduled to make his 4-year-old debut in Sunday’s eighth race at Oaklawn, a $141,000 allowance sprint for older horses.

Tyler’s Tribe (30-1 on the morning line) hasn’t started since bleeding and being eased in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters April 29 at Oaklawn. The gelding resumed training in September, co-owner/trainer Tim Martin said, and returned to the work tab Nov. 24 at Oaklawn.

After five blowout victories to begin his career – all Prairie Meadows in Iowa – Tyler’s Tribe has bled through Lasix in multiple races, triggering a lengthy layoff.

“I think he’ll run OK,” Martin said. “He’s passed all the tests and hasn’t been bleeding. My main concern is to get through the race with everything good. He should be pretty fit. He’s got a couple of good five-eighths in him, quite a few works, and never got tired. Had one good gate work. I think he’s ready to run.”

Tyler’s Tribe is scheduled to break from post 6 under Ramsey Zimmerman. The gelding will again race with the anti-bleeder medication Lasix. The 3-1 program favorite is Excess Magic, who finished third in the $150,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters Feb. 3 at Oaklawn. Also entered is stakes-placed Gun Pilot.

“It’s a tough race,” Martin said. “Come up very tough.”

Tyler’s Tribe won his first five career starts, all dirt sprints, by a combined 59 ¾ front-running lengths.

From the first crop of millionaire Grade 1 winner Sharp Azteca, Tyler’s Tribe has a 5-0-1 record from nine lifetime starts and earnings of $324,136. A $34,000 yearling purchase, Tyler’s Tribe is a four-time stakes winner for Martin and co-owner Thomas D. Lepic.

Jockey Hernandez Happy He’s Here

Jockey Harry Hernandez said he came to Oaklawn for the first time this season in hopes of taking his career to the next level.

So far, so good.

Hernandez recorded his first career local multi-win day Friday with three victories, including two for two-time Oaklawn training champion Robertino Diodoro.

Hernandez’s triple came roughly six weeks after his first career Oaklawn stakes victory aboard the Diodoro-trained Promise Keeper in the $150,000 Fifth Season for older horses.

Hernandez won Friday’s first race aboard Bellaju ($10.80) for Diodoro, fifth race aboard West Side Girl ($13) for trainer Dan Ward and the 10th race aboard Usually Wrong ($30) for Diodoro.

“It was a great day,” Hernandez, 27, said following Friday’s 10th race. “Honestly, I can’t tell you how happy I am right now. I feel like this is the thing I’ve been waiting for. I was hoping for two wins, but three is even better. That way, they can keep looking at me. I’m just trying hard.”

The triple propelled Hernandez to ninth in the standings with 13 victories. Hernandez missed the first six days of racing after breaking his collarbone during training hours Nov. 25 at Remington Park. Hernandez has ridden winners for eight trainers at the meet. He has five victories for Diodoro, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2020 and again last season.

“Good out of the gate,” Diodoro said. “Works hard. Doesn’t have to worry about his weight. He’s young. He’s very good.”

A native of Puerto Rico, Hernandez has dominated the standings recently at Turf Paradise in Arizona and Canterbury Park in Minnesota. Hernandez was the runaway leader in 2022 and 2023 at Turf Paradise and parlayed that success into riding titles the last two years at Canterbury Park.

Overall, Hernandez rode 235 winners in 2022 and 206 last year to finish ninth and 13th, respectively, in North America.

Finish Lines

Trainer Jade Cunningham, who worked under trainers D. Wayne Lukas, Dallas Stewart and Danny Pish before going out on her own last summer, was represented by her first career winner, Spankster ($71.20), in Saturday’s first race at Oaklawn. … Kelsi Harr, the leading female money-winning jockey in Oaklawn history, resumed riding Friday after missing more than a month with a foot fracture. Harr was injured before a race Feb. 4 at Oaklawn. … Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and his son, jockey Keith Asmussen, teamed for two victories Friday at Oaklawn, winning the third race with favored Classic Moment ($6) and sixth race with favored Show Me the Candy ($5). The double extended Steve Asmussen’s meet-leading total to 44 after Day 35 of the scheduled 64-day season … Oaklawn stewards have suspended Asmussen one day for careless riding in the second race March 1. Asmussen’s mount, Vigano, was disqualified from first and placed fourth for stretch interference. Asmussen will serve his suspension Sunday. … Entries will be taken and post positions drawn Sunday for two stakes races March 16 at Oaklawn – $250,000 G3-Whitmore for older horses and $200,000 Purple Martin for 3-year-old fillies. Both races are six furlongs.