Chel-C Bailey Eyeing First Oaklawn Stakes Win Saturday

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

Contact: Jennifer Hoyt, or (501) 363-4305

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Chel-C Bailey Eyeing First Oaklawn Stakes Win Saturday

The right pair of shoes could give jockey Chel-c Bailey her first career stakes victory Saturday at Oaklawn.

Bailey, the one-time MMA fighter who launched her riding career as a 20-something apprentice in 2019, is the regular rider of Summer Shoes, the one-time bad girl who is the 9-5 program favorite for the $150,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ for Arkansas-bred female sprinters. The 6-furlong race also attracted 2022 winner Connie K.

“That’s on the bucket list of goals,” Bailey said Wednesday morning. “So, fingers crossed.”

Bailey, Oaklawn’s champion apprentice at the 2021-2022 meeting, made her stakes debut in last year’s Downthedustyroad, finishing fourth aboard Richness for trainer Tom Swearingen.

Swearingen also trains Summer Shoes, who is 3 for 3 against state-breds, including a front-running three-quarter length decision over Connie K in a Dec. 30 starter/optional claiming sprint at Oaklawn. Summer Shoes exits a third-place finish against open company, beaten three-quarters of a length, in a Jan. 29 first-level allowance sprint at Oaklawn. She will be making her stakes debut Saturday.

“She’s got a lot of heart,” Bailey said. “She’s, I feel, a superstar athlete. Even when I rode her against Connie K, that’s like the first time having to take the stick out on her. She’s very handy. She listens to your hands. I think she likes girls.”

Summer Shoes, a 5-year-old daughter of Commander’s Shoes, will be making just her sixth career start Saturday. Summer Shoes was scheduled to make her stakes debut in the $150,000 Natural State Breeders’ for state-bred females at 1 mile last May at Oaklawn, but was scratched because “she just didn’t seem right,” Swearingen said. Swearingen said Summer Shoes had been a handful as a young horse and wasn’t broken until she was 3.

“She just thought the thing to do was to go out there and buck the rider off and then just stand over them, just look at them like, ‘See what I did,’ ” Swearingen said. “I remember one occasion. It was at Arlington and we were going up to the track and she would do it out of nowhere. You wouldn’t know it was coming. She threw a kid and he landed inside a dumpster. I thought, ‘Oh my God, she’s killed him.’ Bucked him off and just stood there. All of a sudden, here comes this kid crawling out of the manure dumpster. She had her moments.”

Bailey said she began getting on the more professional Summer Shoes before her Oct. 16, 2021, career debut at Hawthorne. After a runner-up finish there, Bailey guided Summer Shoes to three consecutive victories at Oaklawn against state-breds. A $106,000 first-level allowance score last March aboard Summer Shoes equals the most lucrative of Bailey’s career.

“They get along beautifully together, they really do,” Swearingen said.

Bailey, who became a journeyman last fall, finished sixth and seventh in her only other two stakes races. Both were last year. She entered Thursday with 58 career victories, including 22 last season at Oaklawn.

Bailey’s husband, David Kembrey, is an exercise rider at Oaklawn for Swearingen.

The last female jockey to win a stakes race at Oaklawn was the now-retired Rosemary Homeister Jr. in the $400,000 Fantasy (G3) in 2015.

Lone Rock to the Temperence Hill

Millionaire multiple Grade 2 winner Lone Rock will make his 2023 debut in the $150,000 Temperence Hill Stakes for older horses at 1 ½ miles April 2 at Oaklawn, trainer Robertino Diodoro said Wednesday morning.

Lone Rock, a distance specialist, finished second in the 2021 Temperence Hill and won the race last year. Lone Rock, an 8-year-old Majestic Warrior gelding, hasn’t started since finishing third in the $200,000 Birdstone Stakes for older horses at 1 ¾ miles July 28 at Saratoga.

Lone Rock returned to the work tab Jan. 22 at Oaklawn in preparation for his 2023 debut.

“He likes to train and stuff,” Diodoro said. “He’ll be able to do it. He’s doing good. Seems very happy.”

In addition to the Temperence Hill, Lone Rock won the $200,000 Tinsel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles last season at Oaklawn and the $160,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes at 1 ½ miles last May at Churchill Downs. The gelding then finished third in final two starts of 2022 – the $400,000 Brooklyn Stakes (G2) at 1 ½ miles June 11 at Belmont Park and the Birdstone. Lone Rock swept both races in 2021.

Lone Rock has a 16-5-3 record from 42 lifetime starts and earnings of $1,412,541. Lone Rock also won the $250,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Stakes (G2) at 1 5/8 miles in November 2021 at Del Mar.

Finish Lines

Last Sunday marked the halfway point of Oaklawn’s scheduled 68-day meeting in 2022-2023. … Trainer Dan Von Hemel of Hot Springs recorded his 443rd career Oaklawn victory – No. 5 all time – when Campisi ($9.60) broke his maiden in last Sunday’s ninth race. It marked the first Oaklawn victory for jockey Alfredo Triana Jr. … Owner Lewis Mathews of Bismarck, Ark., recorded his 100th career victory as a sole owner in last Saturday’s second race with Icarus ($7.60), according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Icarus, who is trained by Tom Van Berg, represented the 37th career Oaklawn victory for Mathews, best known for campaigning millionaire multiple stakes-winning sprinter Ivan Fallunovalot. The gelding won the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters in 2015 and 2016 at Oaklawn. . … Lovely Ride will make her next start in the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles March 11 at Oaklawn, trainer Robertino Diodoro said Wednesday morning. The Azeri is the final major local prep for the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at 1 1/16 miles April 15. Lovely Ride is a two-time stakes winner at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting, claiming the $150,000 Mistletoe Dec. 10 and the $150,000 Pippin Jan. 7. Also pointing for the Azeri are Grade 1 winner Secret Oath for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Grade 1 winner Clairiere (Steve Asmussen), Grade 2 winner Interstatedaydream (Brad Cox) and Hot and Sultry (Norm Casse). Hot and Sultry won the $150,000 American Beauty Stakes for older female sprinters Jan. 21 at Oaklawn. Post positions for the Azeri will be drawn Monday. … Through last Sunday, Day 34 of the 2022-2023 meeting, 318 claims had totaled $6,652,500.