Barn Notes 4/20/24

Compiled by Robert Yates

Jockey Nik Juarez wasted no time reaching a career milestone and beginning his push for another.

Juarez recorded his first Oaklawn riding triple Friday, highlighted by his 1,000th North American victory, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

Juarez, 30, reached 1,000 victories in the first race aboard favored Greek Heiress ($4.60) for trainer Lindsay Schultz and co-owners Ten Strike Racing, Four Corners Racing and Cory Moelis Racing.

“It was nice to knock it off, first one of the day,” Juarez said moments after the victory.

Greek Heiress coasted home by 2 ½ front-running lengths in the $30,000 claiming race for female sprinters. Greek Heiress covered six furlongs over a fast track in 1:11.03 after taking the field through a sharp :46.11 half-mile.

“I mean, we were rolling,” Juarez said. “I knew that. That’s why I never even cocked the stick. I gave one little peek to the screen (infield video board). I know they were saying good-bye.”

Juarez also won Friday’s third race aboard Alamo ($23.40) for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas and the eighth race aboard Lake Radio ($35.80) for trainer Mike Rone. Juarez has five career riding doubles at Oaklawn.

“Great day,” Juarez’s agent, retired Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, said Saturday morning. “Good stuff.”

Juarez’s 999th career victory came aboard favored Absolute Chaos ($4.80) in Sunday’s fifth race at Oaklawn. It was the jockey’s third and final mount of the day. Oaklawn resumed racing Friday, which, other than reaching four digits, was business as usual for Juarez, who was stoic crossing the finish line aboard Greek Heiress.

“I was thinking about it (celebrating), but it’s a claiming race,” Juarez said. “Not everybody’s going to know that was the 1,000th. You know what? I still haven’t done a fist pump, ever, at the wire. So, I’m saving it for a Grade 1.”

The triple gave Juarez 21 victories at the 2023-2024 meeting and 53 overall at Oaklawn. Juarez rode 32 winners in his Oaklawn debut last season to finish sixth in the standings after previously being based on the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic. He is Oaklawn’s ninth-leading rider this season.

A Maryland native and former high school wrestler, rode his first career winner Dec. 14, 2013, at Laurel. It

was also his first career mount. He rode a career-high six winners Jan. 11, 2016, at Laurel and ranked 22nd in North America in victories (187) and 28th ($6,459,719) in purse earnings in 2017. Juarez will be based this spring and summer Monmouth Park, where he has 430 career victories.

Overall, Juarez has 1,002 career victories from 6,825 mounts and purse earnings of $36,274,485 in his North American career, according to Equibase. Juarez’s biggest victories include the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) for 3-year-old fillies aboard Actress in 2017 at Pimlico. Juarez was named on 14 horses this week at Oaklawn and will ride in Hot Springs through at least May 3, Stevens said. Oaklawn’s meeting ends May 5.

Time for Truth Returns in Bachelor

Time for Truth’s second season begins April 27 at Oaklawn when the promising colt resurfaces in the $200,000 Bachelor Stakes, trainer Ron Moquett said Saturday morning.

The Bachelor, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds, closed April 13 with 19 nominations. Entries will be taken and post positions drawn Sunday morning for the Bachelor and $200,000 Dig A Diamond Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile. The Dig A Diamond is also April 27.

Time for Truth will be cutting back to a sprint after finishing sixth in the $1.5 million G1-Arkansas Derby March 30. Time for Truth was beaten 12 ¼ lengths in the nine-furlong race by Muth after setting the early pace.

“I thought that he showed he had ability,” Moquett said. “I thought it was an oddly run race that didn’t work out too much in our favor. All those middle moves, where those horses came up on the inside. We’re sitting there trying to rate. I wasn’t displeased for a horse as lightly raced as he was. I thought he did OK.”

Co-owned by Arkansan Harry Rosenblum, Time for Truth will be making his fifth career start in the Bachelor.

Time for Truth became the first Oaklawn winner for his sire, Omaha Beach, with a front-running 1 ¾-length debut score at six furlongs Dec. 31, then tackled stakes company in his next start and finished second in the $150,000 Ozark at six furlongs Feb. 10.

In his first start around two turns, Time for Truth came from just off the pace to win a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles March 2. That was his bridge to the Arkansas Derby. Moquett calls the Bachelor a “reset” for the colt.

“The best of this horse is down the road,” Moquett said.

Time for Truth, under 2023-2024 Oaklawn leading rider Cristian Torres, completed major preparations for the Bachelor with a half-mile work in :48.60 over a fast track Saturday morning.

Finish Lines

Nash is pointing for the $600,000 G2-Pat Day Mile for 3-year-olds May 4 at Churchill Downs, trainer Brad Cox said Wednesday morning. Nash won the one-mile, $200,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 23. The Hot Springs was among four victories on the card for Cox, who also won the $600,000 G3-Essex Handicap for older horses at 1 1/8 miles with First Mission. Cox said First Mission is under consideration for the $750,000 G2-Alysheba Stakes for older horses at May 3 at Churchill Downs. … Pattern Bet ($8.40) represented trainer Ron Moquett’s 987th career North America Thoroughbred victory in Friday’s sixth, according to Equibase … Oaklawn leading rider Cristian Torres returns Saturday from a one-day suspension (HISA crop violation).