MAN IN THE CAN READY TO DEFEND TITLE IN ARKANSAS BREEDERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Wednesday, April 28, 2021) – Defending champion Man in the Can is among 13 horses entered in the $200,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Championship Stakes at 1 1/16 miles Friday at Oaklawn.
Probable post time for the third Arkansas Breeders’ Championship Stakes is 5:40 p.m. (Central). It goes as the 10th of 11 races on the penultimate day of the 2021 meeting. First post Friday is 12:30 p.m.
The Arkansas Breeders’ Championship Stakes is the biggest two-turn event for state-breds, 3 and up, during the Oaklawn meeting. Man in the Can, who races for his co-breeder, trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, Van Buren, Ark.-based JRita Young Thoroughbreds and Robert LaPenta, is seeking his first victory since June 2020.
After winning the Arkansas Breeders’ Championship Stakes and beating open allowance company (1 1/8 miles) at Churchill Downs in his next start, Man in the Can ran 13th in the $600,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G2) July 11 at Keeneland. Moquett said Man in the Can was stepped on from behind approaching the top of the stretch in the Blue Grass and sustained cuts, leading to a lengthy vacation.
“Luckily, the owners are very conservative and they let me do what I think,” Moquett said. “I said, “He’s an Arkansas-bred. Let’s sit him out and let these wounds heal up and we’ll get him ready for Arkansas.’”
Man in the Can finished fourth against open allowance company in his Dec. 11 comeback at Remington Park and finished ninth against open allowance company at 1 mile in his 4-year-old debut, Feb. 7 at Oaklawn. Man in the Can’s last two starts have been sprints against state-breds. He ran fourth in a March 12 allowance event and second in the $150,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes March 27. Both races were won by Tempt Fate, the 5-2 program favorite for the Arkansas Breeders’ Championship Stakes. Man in the Can beat Tempt Fate in the $100,000 Rainbow Stakes last year at Oaklawn. The Rainbow is restricted to 3-year-old Arkansas-bred sprinters.
“I think, with me, we’re getting into what we want to do,” Moquett said. “We’ve established he’s a better route horse than sprinter, so the problem is with our breeding program, there’s only one route race and it’s always at the end of the meet. If you’ve got a good Arkansas-bred, you’ve got to either run in a claiming race or in an allowance race or in stakes, you’ve got to run short. We knew he wasn’t as good running short, but we had to run him there because that’s the safest, best way to get him to this race.”
The projected 13-horse Arkansas Breeders’ Championship Stakes field from the rail out: Glacken’s Ghost, Alex Canchari to ride, 124 pounds, 6-1 on the morning line; C H Jay, Luis Quinonez, 115, 20-1; Destiny Way, Rocco Bowen, 118, 30-1; The Mary Rose, Martin Garcia, 119, 7-2; Promising Shoes, Albin Jimenez, 118, 30-1; Implicator, Terry Thompson, 118, 12-1; Navy Seal, Calvin Borel, 118, 15-1; Tempt Fate, Cristian Torres, 124, 5-2; Prospector Fever, Francisco Arrieta, 118, 10-1; Bandit Point, Kelsi Harr, 118, 8-1; Man in the Can, David Cabrera, 118, 9-2; Cinnamon Victory, Samuel Camacho Jr., 124, 12-1; and Iza Daddy, Ramon Vazquez, 115, 15-1.
Moquett also is scheduled to send out the consistent Implicator, who has finished first or second in 6 of 8 lifetime starts. Implicator, who will be making his stakes debut, exits a runner-up finish behind Cinnamon Victory in a state-bred allowance at 1 1/16 miles March 25.
“I would love for him to jump up and perform and get some of this,” Moquett said. “If he gets it all, then good. If he gets some of it, I’d be tickled to death.”
A $40,000 claim at the 2020 Oaklawn meeting by owner Jerry Caroom of Hot Springs, the speedy Tempt Fate is seeking his fourth consecutive meeting at the meeting. Caroom won the 2019 Arkansas Breeders’ Championship Stakes with Hoonani Road. Hoonani Road was 4 for 4 at the 2019 Oaklawn meeting, winning the Nodouble and the Arkansas Breeders’ Championship Stakes in his two-turn debut. Tempt Fate will be making his two-turn debut Saturday.
Late-running Bandit Point finished third in the 2019 Arkansas Breeders’ Championship Stakes and fourth last year for owner/trainer Robert N. Cline and his fiancé, jockey Kelsi Harr. Both horse, trainer and jockey are seeking their first career stakes victory. Bandit Point ran third in this year’s Nodouble.
“It’s more horses to try to navigate through, but I’m thinking with everybody having to put that money up front, there’s not going to be an easy lead out there – have it your way,” Cline said. “I figure they’ll be two or three trying to gun and at least get some position. Usually, that’s going to help a closer like him to have a few more horses.”
The Mary Rose will tackle males for the first time in her two-turn debut for trainer Brad Cox and breeder/owner John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs. The Mary Rose (2 for 2 at the meeting) won the $150,000 Downthedustyroad Stakes for state-bred female sprinters Feb. 28 in her last start.
Glacken’s Ghost won the $100,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes, the predecessor to Saturday’s race, in 2018 for trainer Mac Robertson.