Leading Owner Caroom Enjoys Biggest Day

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

Contact: Jennifer Hoyt, jhoyt@oaklawn.com or (501) 363-4305

Saturday, March 11, 2023


Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Leading Owner Caroom Enjoys Biggest Day

As a sole owner, Jerry Caroom of Hot Springs entered Friday with 124 career victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

And all of those victories, beginning with the first in 2014, had been spread out over 124 individual racing days. That statistical anomaly changed – emphatically – Friday at Oaklawn when Caroom won a career-high three races to extend his lead in the 2022-2023 owner’s standings.

Caroom teamed with leading trainer Robertino Diodoro to win the sixth race with Pioneering Papa ($7.60) and the seventh race with favored Secret Fix ($3.20). Caroom won the eighth race with Mozingo ($18.60), who is trained by Tom Amoss.

“Actually, I did expect a good day,” Caroom said moments after Mozingo beat older horses in a $103,000 entry-level allowance sprint for Arkansas-bred females. “I had a good feeling about today. I had never won two races in one day and three was just icing on the cake, especially here, where I want to be.”

Caroom’s triple gave him 12 victories at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting, four more than Heath and Sheena Campbell and Ten Strike Racing (Marshall Gramm). Caroom had already established single-season Oaklawn personal bests for victories (12) and purse earnings ($592,679) through Friday, Day 40 of the scheduled 68-day meeting. Caroom’s previous highs were 10 victories and $529,505 in purse earnings, respectively, in 2021.

“I don’t know if I’ve got enough bullets,” Caroom said, when asked about the chances of winning his first local owner’s title. “We’ll see. Today helps.”

All three of Caroom’s winners were ridden by Cristian Torres, Oaklawn’s leading jockey this season.

“Very happy for him,” Torres said Saturday morning. “The other day he was saying at the barn, Robertino’s barn, he was saying that he had never won two races on the same day and I won three for him. Very happy for him.”

Caroom’s triple gave him 54 career Oaklawn victories, the first coming in 2015 when he was closely aligned with the now-deceased Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg. Caroom has never failed to win a race at an Oaklawn meeting. Among the best horses Caroom has campaigned at Oaklawn are stakes-winning Arkansas-bred standouts Hoonani Road and Tempt Fate.

In addition to Diodoro and Amoss, Caroom has horses at Oaklawn with trainer Carl Deville. Caroom, in partnership, has also won races as an owner.

Diodoro Hits the Big 4-0

Trainer Robertino Diodoro won three races Friday, pushing his meet-leading total to 41.

Diodoro won the fourth race with Gozilla ($8.80) for owner Flying P Stable (Jason Provenzano), sixth race with Pioneering Papa ($7.60) for Jerry Caroom of Hot Springs and the seventh race with favored Secret Fix ($3.20) for Caroom.

Since Friday marked Day 40 of Oaklawn’s scheduled 68-day meeting, Diodoro remains on pace to threaten the late Cole Norman’s single-season Oaklawn record for training victories. Norman saddled 71 winners at the weather-shortened 49-day meeting in 2003. Diodoro said Saturday morning that he is aware of Norman’s record.

“I had it in my head before the weekend started that we had to get out of the weekend with 42 wins,” Diodoro said. “We’re at 41. We need a little luck at the entry box. Went for a few days there running one horse.”

Diodoro had three horses entered Saturday at Oaklawn and four Sunday. He won 51 races at the 2020 meeting to capture his first career Oaklawn training title.

Casey Schleis Records First Win

After trading his stop watch for a trainer’s license, Casey Schleis recorded his first career victory when Hoping for a Ring captured last Saturday’s fourth race at Oaklawn under Elvin Gonzalez.

According to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization, Hoping for a Ring ($15.40) represented the fifth career starter for Schleis, 47, previously a longtime clocker at Prairie Meadows in Iowa.

“My dad trained and pretty much all I’ve ever done is work with horses and that’s where I was really good,” Schleis said Wednesday afternoon. “I got tired of moving around and I was able to take that job in Iowa and work it out where I could stay in Iowa year-round, and I bought a home and stuff there. When I sold the home (October 2021) is when I really decided that I was about to start doing the racetrack circuit again. Oaklawn seems like it’s got more of a future than Iowa really does, so I’m trying to make my shift down here.”

Hoping for a Ring had made three previous starts at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting for Schleis and owner Kenton Christensen. The 5-year-old daughter of Speed Ring, Schleis’ lone horse on the grounds, won the $10,000 claimer by 2 ¾ lengths.

“That’s a really hard-trying mare,” Schleis said. “It’s just we’ve been having bad luck here, with the gates. She had a little bit of a gate issue. Run her over her head a couple of times and decided to get real and put her in a spot where she could probably win and there you have it. She tries hard.”

Although Schleis had a late start to his training career, his background in Thoroughbred racing is extensive. His late father, Jim, was a trainer. Casey Schleis was an assistant under the successful Midwestern-based trainer Jim Arnett, who started his last horse in 2006.

“He was kind of an old-timer and since passed a few years ago,” Schleis said of Arnett. “He retired 17, 18 years ago, something like that, and I started clocking at Prairie Meadows after that. That’s what I’ve been doing and I just recently decided to make this switch, training for a guy (Christensen) that was a friend of my father.”

Schleis, on behalf of Christensen, claimed Hoping for a Ring for $12,500 April 22, 2022, at Oaklawn. Schleis started his first horse, Salty Jones, eight days later at Oaklawn.

After Schleis claimed Hoping for a Ring, the horse was campaigned by trainer David Tibbitts last summer and fall at Prairie Meadows. Hoping for a Ring returned to Schleis after his 16-year clocker run at Prairie Meadows ended last fall. Hoping for a Ring made her first start for Schleis Dec. 18 at Oaklawn. Schleis said his only other horse is General Shipman, a 2-year-old Midshipman colt for breeder/owner Jason Cline.

“Slowly but surely, trying to (add horses),” Schleis said. “Jason Cline said he’s going to buy some 2-year-olds out of the sale and he’s breeding horses still in Nebraska. I’m looking to maybe foal some horses in Arkansas as well.”

Schleis said he will probably run at Prairie Meadows and maybe at Canterbury after Oaklawn’s meet ends May 6.

Back to Work

Iowa-bred sensation Tyler’s Tribe is scheduled to work 5 furlongs Saturday morning at Oaklawn, the gelding’s co-owner/trainer, Tim Martin of Hot Springs, said Thursday.

The work would be the third for Tyler’s Tribe since he received a break of approximately one month following a third-place finish in the $150,000 Advent Stakes for 2-year-olds at 5 ½ furlongs Dec. 9 at Oaklawn. Martin said he backed off the multiple stakes winner after he bled during the race.

“Doing good,” Martin said. “I’m just kind of working him and seeing where we’re at. Working him and scoping him and he’s looking good so far.”

Martin said he hopes to run Tyler’s Tribe again before the Oaklawn meeting ends May 6, but added he has no specific race in mind for the gelding’s 3-year-old debut. Tyler’s Tribe worked 3 furlongs in :36.40 Feb. 18 and a half-mile in :48.60 March 4.

“I want to make sure he’s right,” Martin said. “Work him five-eighths this weekend. He’s come back doing good and scoped clean every time. We’re good, knock on wood.”

Tyler’s Tribe won his first five career starts, all dirt sprints at Prairie Meadows in Iowa, by a combined 59 ¾ front-running lengths before being eased after bleeding in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) Nov. 4 at Keeneland.

From the first crop of millionaire Grade 1 winner Sharp Azteca, Tyler’s Tribe has a 5-0-1 record from seven lifetime starts and earnings of $320,169. A $34,000 yearling purchase, Tyler’s Tribe is a four-time stakes winner for Martin and co-owner Thomas D. Lepic.

Finish Lines

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen recorded his 843rd career Oaklawn victory in Thursday’s second race with Happy Boy Rocket ($13) under leading rider Cristian Torres. Happy Boy Rocket marked the first career victory for owner Erik Asmussen, who is Steve Asmussen’s son and also gallops horses for his father. Happy Boy Rocket was the seventh career starter for Erik Asmussen – all this year at Oaklawn – according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Steve Asmussen trails only the late Bob Holthus (867) for career training victories at Oaklawn. … Kentucky Oaks points leader and multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Wet Paint worked a half-mile in :48 after the renovation break Saturday morning for trainer Brad Cox. Wet Paint, under Isaac Castillo, breezed with stablemate Malibu Toast. Wet Paint galloped out 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 over a fast track. … Also working after the break Saturday morning was Iowa-bred sensation Tyler’s Tribe, who moved closer to his 3-year-old debut by recording a 5-furlong bullet (1:00) for co-owner/trainer Tim Martin of Hot Springs. Tyler’s Tribe, under regular rider Kylee Jordan, breezed with stablemate Joe Frazier and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:13. … Trainer Valorie Lund said Saturday morning that she has five horses on the grounds – Asena, Exxel, Leslie’s Gold, Ship It Red and Goddess of War, an unraced 3-year-old filly. “I brought some of my better horses here,” Lund said. Lund, who also horses at Turf Paradise in Arizona, won a 2019 allowance race at Oaklawn with Minnesota-bred sprint standout Mr. Jagermeister. … Black Apple ($14) represented the record-extending 285th career Oaklawn victory for owner John Ed Anthony in Friday’s fifth race. …Multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Pretty Birdie is being pointed to the inaugural $250,000 Matron Stakes for older fillies and mares at 6 furlongs March 31 at Oaklawn, trainer Norm Casse said Wednesday afternoon.