Kylee Jordan Hoping For an Eclipse Award Nod

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

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

Friday, January 06, 2023

Tyler's Tribe, who won 5 starts under Kylee Jordan, shown schooling at Keeneland before the Breeders Cup

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Kylee Jordan Hoping For an Eclipse Award Nod

Jockey Kylee Jordan is named on four horses Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn. She’s in another type of race, too, one that will be decided hours before her first scheduled mount.

After a breakout 2022, highlighted by riding titles at Will Rogers Downs and Prairie Meadows, Jordan will learn Saturday morning if her resume was strong enough to be named one of three finalists for an Eclipse Award as the country’s outstanding apprentice jockey.

Jordan’s father, trainer Todd Jordan, didn’t have a vote, but he does have an opinion.

“Think so,” he said.

Kylee Jordan, 20, won eight races at the 2021-2022 Oaklawn meeting, with seven coming in 2022 after returning from a shoulder injury. Her career took off last spring when she rode at Will Rogers Downs on Oaklawn’s dark days. Jordan rode four winners opening day (March 21) and finished with 44 victories, including her first career stakes score, at the northeast Oklahoma venue.

Normally, Jordan would make the 4 ½-hour drive to Will Rogers following Sunday’s races at Oaklawn. She would ride Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Will Rogers and return to Hot Springs Wednesday night.

“I get on a lot of horses over there in the morning,” Jordan said. “Like I was taking 15 horses out in the morning. But I just made a lot of good connections over there and they were all willing to give me the opportunity to ride their horse, so it worked out.”

Jordan rode that momentum to Prairie Meadows in her native Iowa, where she topped the standings in victories (81) and purse earnings ($2,087,351). She lost her 5-pound apprentice weight allowance about two weeks before the meeting ended Oct. 2.

Five of Jordan’s victories at Prairie Meadows, including four stakes, came aboard Tyler’s Tribe, the 2-year-old Iowa-bred sensation for co-owner/trainer Tim Martin of Hot Springs.

“I’ve known her and her family, her dad, Todd, forever, from Prairie Meadows,” Martin said. “I’ve been there 20 years. I think she’s a good little rider. At the time she had the bug, she only got to use it one time with Tyler’s Tribe in a race because all the others were stakes races. She was doing great, so she hooked up with this horse. She gets along with babies real good. She’s really good about calming them down and relaxing them. She’s kind of laid back. I put her on him and left her on. I plan to keep her there.”

Tyler’s Tribe provided Jordan with her biggest racing moment to date when she rode the gelding in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) Nov. 4 at Keeneland.

“That horse opened a lot of doors for me,” Jordan said.

According to Daily Racing Form statistics, Jordan had 621 mounts as an apprentice in 2022. She rode 116 winners, with her mounts generating $2,505,635 in purse earnings. Jordan’s final day as an apprentice was Sept. 16.

“I’ve watched her on horses, galloping and everything,” said Todd Jordan, who has a small string this season at Oaklawn. “I guess I knew she kind of had it. But I think after the first five wins, I suppose, was when I knew it. She’s done good.”

Kylee Jordan recorded her first career Oaklawn riding double Dec. 9, opening day of the 2022-2023 meeting. One of the victories was aboard Wesleyan ($63.80) for Martin.

Eclipse Awards finalists, three in each human and horse category, will be revealed at 10:30 a.m. (Central) Saturday during a live broadcast by FanDuel TV. The 52nd annual Eclipse Awards Dinner is Jan. 26 in Palm Beach, Fla. The three Horse of the Year finalists will be announced earlier during the ceremony.

Eclipse Awards honor horses and individuals whose achievements in North America earned them championship titles in their respective categories. Voting is conducted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (member racetrack racing officials and Equibase field personnel), National Turf Writers and Broadcasters and Daily Racing Form.

Diodoro Watch

Robertino Diodoro entered Friday needing two victories to become just the 37th trainer in North American history to reach 3,000 in a career, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

Diodoro had six horses entered Friday, including five at Oaklawn – Released (15-1 on the morning line) and Trumpence (7-2) in the fifth race, Peaceful Street (5-1) in the sixth race, Tizhotndusty (10-1) in the eighth race and Canadian Pride (20-1) in the ninth race. Diodoro’s other entrant was at Delta Downs.

Diodoro moved his career total to 2,996 (United States and Canada) with a double Jan. 1 at Oaklawn and added victories Tuesday at Turf Paradise and Thursday at Delta Downs.

Diodoro led the 2022-2023 Oaklawn standings with 13 victories through the first nine days of the meeting that began Dec. 9.

Diodoro entered Friday with 292 career Oaklawn victories. Diodoro started his first horse at Oaklawn in 2015 and won 51 races to capture the 2020 training title. Diodoro saddled his first career winner recognized by Equibase Aug. 2, 1995, at the now-defunct Northlands Park in his native Canada.

Diodoro has six horses entered Saturday at Oaklawn and six Sunday.

Two Eagles River to Point Towards Two-Turn Races

Two Eagles River received a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 82 for his runner-up finish in the inaugural $150,000 Renaissance Stakes for 2-year-old sprinters Dec. 31 at Oaklawn.

Favored at 4-5 in his stakes debut, Two Eagles River was beaten a head in the 6-furlong race by the more experienced Frosted Departure after spotting the field several lengths because of an awkward start. Frosted Departure and Two Eagles River raced as a team from the quarter pole to the wire, brushing slightly in the upper stretch, according to footnotes from the official race chart.

“Brutal beat,” said Chris Hartman, who trains Two Eagles River. “Missed the break and thought there may be something, an inquiry on the race, but nothing transpired. He was flat footed at the gate. He stumbled, actually, is what he did. Ground broke out from underneath him and then he’s left five lengths and had too much to overcome. It’s a nice horse. Come back good. We’ll live to fight another day.”

The Renaissance marked the third career start for Two Eagles River, who won his 5-furlong career debut Oct. 30 at Churchill Downs before finishing second, beaten a neck by the highly regarded Victory Formation, in an entry-level allowance sprint Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs. Unbeaten Victory Formation (3 for 3) returned to win the $250,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 1 in his two-turn debut. The 1-mile Smarty Jones was Oaklawn’s first of four Kentucky Derby points races.

Hartman said Two Eagles River will be pointed for a two-turn race.

“That’s going to be our focus,” Hartman said. “Hopefully, get enough training in him to get him around two turns. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate with us and we’ll get enough training him and get him ready for the next go.”

Hartman said Two Eagles River will be considered for the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles Jan. 28. The Southwest is Oaklawn’s second Kentucky Derby points races. Kavod, after winning the inaugural $150,000 Advent Stakes for 2-year-olds sprinters at the 2021-2022 Oaklawn meeting for Hartman, stretched out to finish fourth in the Smarty Jones and Southwest.

“I wouldn’t say he’s a definite, but I wouldn’t put him out of it,” Hartman said of Two Eagles River. “I mean, it’s going to be a hell of a leap. I think he’s a nice horse, so we’ll see.”

Purchased for $220,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Spring Sale of 2-year-olds in training, Two Eagles River is from the first crop of 2017 Preakness winner Cloud Computing.

The 10-race program Dec. 31 was the first in Oaklawn history exclusively for 2-year-olds. The Hartman-trained Bolt for Allison ($23) won the second race, a $90,000 maiden special weight for fillies at 1 mile. Bolt for Allison became the second winner at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting for her first-crop sire, millionaire Bolt d’Oro.

“We’ll look for an allowance race for her,” Hartman said. “She ran a nice race.”

Bolt for Allison was the seventh victory at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting for Hartman and his 192nd overall in Hot Springs. He was Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2015 and entered Friday tied for second this season.

Frosted Departure, who was making his ninth start, was among four winners on the Dec. 31 program for trainer Kenny McPeek. McPeek also won the inaugural $150,000 Year’s End Stakes for fillies at 1 mile with Defining Purpose. McPeek said following the Renaissance that he planned to keep Frosted Departure sprinting.

Finish Lines

Southern California-based trainer Peter Miller, who has small string this season in Hot Springs, finished second with his initial starter of the 2022-2023 meeting, Hail Columbia, Jan. 1. Miller is scheduled to have his second starter of the meeting (El Tigre Terrible) in Saturday’s second race. … Multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Whelen Springs is scheduled to make his 4-year-old debut in Sunday’s eighth race, a $106,000 third-level allowance sprint, for trainer John Ortiz and Arkansas breeder/owner John Ed Anthony. Whelen Springs, who adds blinkers, won the $150,000 Rainbow Stakes for Arkansas-breds at 6 furlongs and beat open company in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes at 6 furlongs. Both races at the 2021-2022 Oaklawn meeting were for 3-year-olds. … Defining Purpose received a preliminary 79 Beyer Speed Figure, a career high, for her 5 ¼-length victory in the inaugural $150,000 Year’s End Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 mile Dec. 31 at Oaklawn. Trainer Kenny McPeek said Defining Purpose will be pointed to the $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 28. The 1 1/16-mile Martha Washington is Oaklawn’s first of three Kentucky Oaks points races. …Call Me Jamal, who was shelved with a leg injury on the eve of the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) last April at Oaklawn, is scheduled to return to Hot Springs in the next month, trainer Mike Puhich said. Puhich said Call Me Jamal resumed training last August and is completing final preparations for his return to Oaklawn at Pegasus Training & Rehabilitation Center, the suburban Seattle facility of the 4-year-old gelding’s owner, Mark DeDomenico. “He’s almost ready to run,” Puhich said. “We’re getting him ready there.” Call Me Jamal ran three times at the 2021-2022 Oaklawn meeting, winning a maiden special weight and entry-level allowance and finishing seventh in the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles. … Post positions for the $150,000 Fifth Season Stakes for older horses will be drawn Monday. The 1-mile race is Jan. 14. …“Oaklawn Raceday,” featuring David Longinotti, director of Oaklawn Anywhere, and Equibase representative Jeff Taylor, can be heard Saturdays 11 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (Central) during the 2022-2023 meeting on Little Rock, Ark., radio station KABZ-FM 103.7 and Daily Racing Form handicapper/correspondent Mary Rampellini is this week’s special guest.