Barn Notes 5/3/24

Compiled by Robert Yates

Win-machine Polterer is the 2-1 program favorite for Sunday’s $125,000 Trail’s End, the traditional final race of the Oaklawn racing season. Run under starter-allowance conditions at the unique distance of 1 ¾- miles, the Trail’s End drew an overflow field of 14.

Co-owned and trained by Greg Compton, Polterer finished a distant fourth in last year’s Trail’s End. The 6-year-old son of Ghostzapper has rebounded with six victories since then, including three at the 2023-2024 Oaklawn meeting, and is 11 for 26 overall. All three victories this season at Oaklawn have come at a mile.

“It’s the distance for him,” Compton said. “That’s the question. Up to a mile and an eighth, I don’t think there’s a starter ($10,000) horse on the grounds that would beat him. After that, it could be a little shaky. But it’s probably shaky for a lot of them.”

Co-owner Danny Brown purchased Polterer for $110,000 at the 2021 OBS Winter Mixed Sale. Polterer made his first three career starts in Canada for prominent breeder/owner Frank Stronach in 2020 before Brown purchased the horse. In his first start for Compton, Polterer broke his maiden going one mile in August of 2021 at Delaware Park.

“He shows up,” said Compton, who has a single-season Oaklawn best 12 victories at the 2023-2024 meeting. “When we ran him for ($10,000) last year, we did not care if he got claimed or not. I’m glad he didn’t now. The light bulb kind of clicked on. He figured out how to win races and now it’s kind of what he does.”

Polterer is scheduled to break from post 7 under Francisco Arrieta and carry equal top weight of 128 pounds.

Truculent (6-1) is trained by Lindsay Schultz, who finished second in last year’s Trail’s End to Tiger Moon.

Truculent made his first two starts at the meeting for trainer Bentley Combs, who won the Trail’s End the last three years. Combs recently stopped training to work for Chad Brown, a four-time Eclipse Award winner as the country’s outstanding trainer.

Truculent is co-owned by Ten Strike Racing, which also campaigned Trail’s End winners Original Intent in 2021 and 2022 and Hellorhighwater last year.

David Vance, now retired, is the only other trainer to win the Trail’s End three consecutive years. Vance won the race in 1972, 1973 and 1974.

Probable post time for the Trail’s End is 5:46 p.m. (Central).

Finish Lines

Training was canceled Friday morning at Oaklawn because of severe weather. … Castlewarden, in his first start since a March 15 maiden special weight victory at Oaklawn, set a 7 ½-furlong track record (1:27.44) in Thursday’s sixth race at Churchill Downs, an entry-level allowance for 3-year-olds and upward. The track was fast. Multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Greater Good set the previous record (1:27.97) in a July 3, 2006, allowance race. Castlewarden’s maiden score represented the 300th career Oaklawn victory for trainer Brad Cox. Castlewarden, a 4-year-old son of Into Mischief, races for his breeder, Juddmonte. … Joseph Bealmear leads Carlos Barbosa 19-17 in the race for leading apprentice jockey at the 2023-2024 Oaklawn meeting that ends Sunday. Bealmear is now riding at Churchill Downs and Horseshoe Indianapolis. Barbosa (40 career victories), who now rides with a 5-pound weight allowance, is named on horses the final three days at Oaklawn. … Ma’am, the dam of Mystik Dan, runaway winner of the $800,000 G3-Southwest Stakes Feb. 3 at Oaklawn, had a colt by Wells Bayou April 1, said Lance Gasaway, who co-owns the mare. Wells Bayou finished second in the 2020 Southwest for Gasaway before winning the G2-Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds and finishing fifth in the second division of the G1-Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. Gasaway also co-owns Mystik Dan, whose third-place finish in the $1.5 million G1-Arkansas Derby (G1) March 30 propelled him into the Kentucky Derby Saturday at Churchill Downs. Ma’am, a two-time Oaklawn winner, was bred late last month to super sire Into Mischief, Gasaway said.