Barn Notes 5/2/24

Compiled by Robert Yates

Jockey Cristian Torres wrapped up his second consecutive Oaklawn riding title several weeks ago, but he still has unfinished business at the 64-day meeting that ends Sunday.

Torres needs $36,156 to break his single-season Oaklawn record for purse earnings. Torres’ only chance to break the record comes Sunday because he is named on horses Friday and Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Torres set the single-season record for purse earnings ($6,163,941) during the 68-day meeting in 2022-2023.

Torres, 26, will enter Sunday with $6,127,786 this season. Torres also has a meet-high 81 victories. Keith Asmussen is a distant second with 56.

“It’s been great,” Torres said. “It’s a team. It takes a team to accomplish everything, so I’m very happy about it.”

Torres is named on nine horses Sunday, including millionaire Law Professor in the $200,000 Lake Ouachita Stakes for older horses at 1 1/16 miles. Torres also has entrants in three $140,000 allowance races and another in the $125,000 1 ¾-mile Trail’s End starter-allowance marathon, the final race of the meeting.

Torres also leads all riders at the meeting in mounts (449) and stakes victories (six). He recorded his most lucrative career victory to date aboard Timberlake in the $1.25 million G2-Rebel Stakes Feb. 24 for trainer Brad Cox.

A Puerto Rico native, Torres rode his first winner April 21, 2019, at Gulfstream Park and won his first Oaklawn riding title last season with 100 victories. Retired Hall of Famer Pat Day is the only other rider in Oaklawn history to reach 100 victories in a season.

Torres is represented by agent Cody Autrey, a former trainer.

Hot and Sultry Retired

Oaklawn stakes winner Hot and Sultry was retired following a sixth-place finish in the seven-furlong $600,000 G1-Madison Stakes for older fillies and mares April 6 at Keeneland, owner Alex Lieblong said.

Lieblong said Hot and Sultry, a 5-year-old daughter of Speightster, has been bred to Uncle Mo. Hot and Sultry closed 2023 with a powerful victory in the one-mile $300,000 G3-Chilukki Stakes Nov. 18 at Churchill Downs for trainer Norm Casse, but she was winless in three starts this year.

Hot and Sultry also finished fifth in the $250,000 G3-Bayakoa Stakes Feb. 2 and $400,000 G2-Azeri Stakes (March 9.

“She’s telling me she didn’t want to play that much anymore,” Lieblong said. “She wasn’t going to improve her value unless she won a Grade 1 or something.”

Lieblong, who is chairman of the Arkansas Racing Commission, said he’s “inclined” to keep the foal.

Hot and Sultry won 4 of 12 lifetime starts, including the $150,000 American Beauty Stakes for older female sprinters in 2023 at Oaklawn, and earned $621,620. She was purchased for $475,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Finish Lines

First post is 12:15 p.m. (Central) Friday, 12:10 p.m. Saturday and 12:20 p.m. Sunday. … Friday is Oaklawn’s annual “Pink Out Day” to support breast cancer awareness. A survivor parade is scheduled after the second race. … The famed Budweiser Clydesdalesare scheduled to appear in the infield Saturday and Sunday. … Landlord ($17.60) gave trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs his 991st career North American Thoroughbred victory in last Sunday’s sixth race, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Landlord, exiting a runner-up finish in the $150,000 Rainbow Stakes April 6, collected a $3,000 bonus for an Arkansas-bred beating open company. … Rafael Bejarano, who is tied for third in the Oaklawn standings with 44 victories, will again be represented in Kentucky by agent Julio Espinoza, said Cody Caudill, who books mounts in Hot Springs for the jockey. Caudill said he will continue to represent Kentucky-bound Keith Asmussen, Oaklawn’s second-leading rider this season. Asmussen will be at Churchill Downs Friday (he rides Lemon Muffin in the Kentucky Oaks) and Saturday (he rides Just Steel in the Kentucky Derby) before returning to Oaklawn for Sunday’s closing-day card. Asmussen has 56 victories this season at Oaklawn. … Tapit Jenallie (reported minor physical issue Thursday morning) will be scratched from the Kentucky Oaks, leaving Thorpedo Anna and Lemon Muffin as the only Oaklawn-raced horses scheduled to run in the country’s biggest race for 3-year-old fillies. … Through last Sunday, Day 61 of the 64-day meeting, 488 claims had totaled $10,306,000, according to figures released by Oaklawn. … Oaklawn stewards have suspended jockey Gabriel Saez one day for careless riding after allowing his mount, Jewelstown, to “cross over without sufficient clearance” in the sixth race April 21. Jewelstown, the original second-place finisher, was disqualified and placed third. Saez will serve his suspension Sunday.