Oaklawn Report #14

Will Take Charge Wins the Oaklawn Handicap

Will Take Charge Wins the Oaklawn Handicap

Three Stars of the Week

– 1st Star: Will Take Charge (KY) – The home town horse didn’t disappoint his 63,000+ fans when he won the Oaklawn Handicap in typical heart stopping Will Take Charge fashion!  Up the back stretch there were some anxious moments as at one point he fell to last place, but at the top of the stretch he made his signature move and passed them all while holding off a late run from Revolutionary to win by a length.  He also survived a lengthy inquiry for interference in the stretch, which is a topic that is still being debated today.  Never the less the Oaklawn Handicap was the moment of the meet, as this horse will go down as one of the most popular horses to ever run at Oaklawn Park.

– 2nd Star: Danza (KY) – What a shocker!!  Danza went off at 41-1 in the Arkansas Derby, and romped to a four and a half-length victory.  Jockey Joe Bravo was able to give Danza a flawless rail skimming ride, and when asked the question he simply left the others in the dust.  It’s hard to say whether he can bring that kind of effort next time out in the Kentucky Derby, but if he does he could be a real threat.  Trainer Todd Pletcher doesn’t have the best of records in the Derby, but this colt could be peaking for him at the right time.

– 3rd Star: Close Hatches (KY) – This champion returned to Oaklawn after taking the Azeri last month, and basically ran the same exact type of race in the Apple Blossom, winning once again.  There is no questioning this is one of the star older female in the group, and should be able to compete successfully against heavy hitters Princes of Sylmar and Beholder as the season goes along.  Close Hatches will be pointed towards the bigger races in New York over the summer, perhaps starting off on Belmont Day.

Flop of the Week

Tapiture (KY) – Considering that almost everyone thought at the very least this horse would run respectable, it was quite the surprise when Taptiure ran a flat fourth in the Arkansas Derby.  He made a decent move on the turn, but was just unable to make any kind of late run down the stretch.  Perhaps the added distance hurt him which is something we’ve seen with Tapit colts in the past.  He’s still qualified for the Kentucky Derby, but this loss was troubling.

Trainer Standings

Rank Trainer Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Total $ Win% Top3 Top3%
1 Steven M. Asmussen 157 35 32 18 $1,859,450 22% 85 54%
2 Federico Villafranco 82 25 18 8 $590,127 30% 51 62%
3 Chris Richard 89 23 11 12 $607,695 26% 46 52%
4 Brad H. Cox 70 18 11 13 $683,976 26% 42 60%
4 Cody Autrey 112 18 22 19 $564,877 16% 59 53%
6 Chris A. Hartman 91 17 18 11 $621,412 19% 46 51%
7 Joseph R. Martin 87 13 9 15 $278,958 15% 37 43%
8 Ron Moquett 109 12 10 8 $479,032 11% 30 28%
9 D. Wayne Lukas 91 11 9 10 $939,788 12% 30 33%
9 Randy L. Morse 86 11 10 10 $412,414 13% 31 36%

Jockey Standings

Rank Jockey Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Total $ Win% Top3 Top3%
1 Ricardo Santana, Jr. 292 59 49 30 $2,561,193 20% 138 47%
2 David Mello 216 35 31 26 $896,278 16% 92 43%
3 Ramon A. Vazquez 181 32 24 22 $912,786 18% 78 43%
4 Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 235 31 33 35 $1,169,595 13% 99 42%
5 Jon Kenton Court 178 26 19 18 $999,460 15% 63 35%
5 Terry J. Thompson 202 26 22 24 $942,814 13% 72 36%
7 Luis S. Quinonez 173 22 19 17 $837,749 13% 58 34%
8 Ken S. Tohill 172 22 31 19 $819,373 13% 72 42%
9 M. Clifton Berry 149 21 13 18 $793,547 14% 52 35%
10 Jareth Loveberry 197 19 23 19 $559,735 10% 61 31%

Owner Standings

Rank Owner Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Total $ Win% Top3 Top3%
1 Danny R. Caldwell 80 24 18 8 $579,267 30% 50 63%
2 Maggi Moss 53 15 8 8 $298,260 28% 31 58%
3 Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc. 55 13 9 4 $351,710 24% 26 47%
4 Steve Landers 68 11 12 12 $221,335 16% 35 51%
5 Steven M. Asmussen 39 9 10 5 $163,041 23% 24 62%
6 Ulwelling, Al and Bill 35 8 5 3 $185,314 23% 16 46%
7 Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC 20 7 5 1 $623,626 35% 13 65%
7 Zayat Stables, LLC 34 7 4 3 $378,337 21% 14 41%
7 Martin Brothers, Inc. 35 7 4 2 $105,391 20% 13 37%
10 William Stiritz 47 6 3 1 $206,856 13% 10 21%

Arkansas Derby Race Replay

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Blinkers Off 068: Racing Festival of the South Podcast Released

Blinkers Off Logo2Blinkers Off has released a new episode!

Blinkers Off provides weekly insights into the world of horse racing including race selections and previews, handicapping methods and exclusive stories.

You can view all episodes of Blinkers Off by visiting our podcast page.

COMING SOON: Stayed tuned for our brand new website and logo update! It will be a major upgrade across the board and we hope you all will enjoy it!

Blinkers Off 068: Racing Festival of the South – April 11, 2014

The Thoroughbred Racing Dudes preview the entire Racing Festival of the South at Oaklawn Park including the Grade I Arkansas Derby and Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap. The Dudes will also take a visit to Keeneland and preview all the stakes racing including the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile Stakes.

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The Apple Blossom Handicap (Grade 1) Preview

1. Close Hatches

Close Hatches

Race Record: (9) 6-2-0

Earnings: $1,487,300

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Bill Mott

Graded Stakes Victories: 4

The Verdict: Have to love the way Mott came to Oaklawn Park last time for the Azeri to test the waters before committing to this race.  He was rewared for the decision as Close Hatches was a decisive winner of the Azeri, and now you have to love her chances in this one.  The field has come up a bit short, and there is absolutely no doubting who the class of this race is.  If she shows up with here “A” game…they are all running for second.

2. Rose to Gold

Rose to GoldRace Record: (12) 6-1-0

Earnings: $963,509

Jockey: Calvin Borel

Trainer: Sal Santoro

Graded Stakes Victories: 3

The Verdict: Against ungraded or Grade 3 company Rose to Gold has been very impressive, but she is yet to tackle tougher competition with much luck.  Her race two back in the Houston Ladies Classic had me thinking she had taken a big leap forward, but she went backwards next time out finishing seventh in the Sabin Stakes at Gulfstream.  She does hold two victories at Oaklawn Park, but I don’t look for her to make it three.

3. Stanwyck

Stanwyck_NYRARace Record: (13) 3-2-5

Earnings: $304,250

Jockey: Gary Stevens

Trainer: John Shirreffs

Graded Stakes Victories: 1

The Verdict:Trainer John Shirreffs thrilled the masses at Oaklawn twice by bringing the great Zenyatta to the Apple Blossom, but make no mistake…this is not Zenyatta.  Stanwyck has just one graded stakes win to her credit, however she has run decent in her last couple of races against graded company; finishing third in both the Santa Maria and Santa Margarita Stakes.  Maybe she is a late developing horse, but she won’t be good enough here.

4. On Fire Baby

On Fire Baby Oaklawn 2012Race Record: (13) 5-1-1

Earnings: $761,974

Jockey: Joe Johnson

Trainer: Gary “Red Dog” Hartlage

Graded Stakes Victories: 4

The Verdict:The defending Apple Blossom champion is back again this year, and should be ready to fire a big race!  Last time out Close Hatches soundly defeated On Fire Baby in the Azeri Stakes, but it was clear On Fire Baby needed that race.  Now she should be fit and ready to roll, and with the home track on her side I give her a small chance to pull off the upset.  She’s clearly the logical alternative if you don’t want to play Close Hatches at low odds

5. Let Faith Arise

LetFaithAriseSantaMargarita2014BEN298Race Record: (10) 5-2-1

Earnings: $380,284

Jockey: Corey Nakatani

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Graded Stakes Victories: 1

The Verdict:She’s coming into this race off a Grade 1 victory, but you have to question the toughness of the field she faced last time out.  This one has always ran solid races, but not until recently has she moved up to Graded Stakes company at bigger tracks.  Perhaps another that is a late bloomer, but I just can’t see her matching up well with a horse like Close Hatches.

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Oaklawn Report #13

Sugar Shock Wins the Fantasy Stakes over Kiss Moon

Sugar Shock Wins the Fantasy Stakes over Kiss Moon

Three Stars of the Week

– 1st Star: Sugar Shock (KY) – This time she decided to run straight, and it worked out quite well!!  After crossing the finish line first in the Honeybee Stakes you could see the talent this horse had, but unfortunately she veered out terribly in the stretch run and was DQ’d to second.  However, this time in the Fantasy Stakes she was able to set fast fractions and still run straight through the entire stretch to get the victory over Kiss Moon.  The win obviously propels Sugar Shock to the Kentucky Oaks, where she’ll face what looks to be two super star fillies in Untapable and My Miss Sophia.  Whether or not she can compete with those types remains to be seen.

– 2nd Star: Speedinthruthecity (KY) – She was consider the lesser of the two Asmussen entries by the morning line odds maker in the Carousel Stakes, but the betting public made her the even money favorite and she didn’t disappoint as she won by three lengths.  This horse has progressed nicely, and could now be ready to give it a go against graded company next time out.  With continued improvements like these she might be a rising star in the female sprint division.

– 3rd Star: Kiss Moon (KY) – It looked as though Kiss Moon was going to wear down Sugar Shock the entire length of the stretch in the Fantasy, but she just couldn’t get the job done.  Still, her clear-cut second place victory was a big run, and also showed the addition of blinkers was a great move.  She earned enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Oaks if she wants to go, but she may be a cut below the very best in this division.

Flop of the Week

Please Explain (KY) – Another big stakes at Oaklawn, another disappointment.  Please Explain was a tough luck third in the Honeybee two starts back, but this time in the Fantasy she was just a total no-show.  After showing speed for most of her career, Please Explain was last again up the back side in the Fantasy, but unlike the Honeybee she made no move whatsoever and finished second to last as the post time favorite.

Trainer Standings

Rank Trainer Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Total $ Win% Top3 Top3%
1 Steven M. Asmussen 132 27 29 14 $1,392,961 20% 70 53%
2 Federico Villafranco 76 25 17 8 $582,691 33% 50 66%
3 Chris Richard 86 23 11 10 $575,792 27% 44 51%
4 Cody Autrey 104 18 20 16 $545,107 17% 54 52%
5 Chris A. Hartman 80 17 15 11 $542,086 21% 43 54%
6 Brad H. Cox 62 15 11 10 $537,936 24% 36 58%
7 Joseph R. Martin 82 13 8 14 $263,361 16% 35 43%
8 Ron Moquett 101 12 10 6 $455,726 12% 28 28%
9 Randy L. Morse 77 10 9 8 $362,964 13% 27 35%
9 Roger A. Brueggemann 44 10 7 5 $293,097 23% 22 50%

Jockey Standings

Rank Jockey Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Total $ Win% Top3 Top3%
1 Ricardo Santana, Jr. 259 49 44 24 $2,096,351 19% 117 45%
2 David Mello 215 35 31 25 $866,178 16% 91 42%
3 Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 227 31 33 32 $1,118,785 14% 96 42%
4 Ramon A. Vazquez 157 28 21 20 $771,173 18% 69 44%
5 Terry J. Thompson 183 23 17 22 $834,883 13% 62 34%
6 Ken S. Tohill 150 22 28 18 $734,338 15% 68 45%
6 Jon Kenton Court 162 22 16 18 $682,310 14% 56 35%
8 Luis S. Quinonez 158 19 17 17 $750,372 12% 53 34%
8 M. Clifton Berry 130 19 10 15 $697,830 15% 44 34%
8 Jareth Loveberry 170 19 20 15 $510,347 11% 54 32%

Owner Standings

Rank Owner Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Total $ Win% Top3 Top3%
1 Danny R. Caldwell 74 24 17 8 $571,831 32% 49 66%
2 Maggi Moss 51 15 8 7 $296,357 29% 30 59%
3 Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc. 55 13 9 4 $351,710 24% 26 47%
4 Steve Landers 64 11 11 10 $212,265 17% 32 50%
5 Ulwelling, Al and Bill 34 8 5 3 $183,714 24% 16 47%
6 Steven M. Asmussen 33 7 9 4 $134,970 21% 20 61%
6 Martin Brothers, Inc. 33 7 3 2 $101,629 21% 12 36%
8 Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC 16 6 5 1 $530,766 38% 12 75%
8 Zayat Stables, LLC 29 6 2 3 $261,337 21% 11 38%
8 William Stiritz 47 6 3 1 $206,856 13% 10 21%

Preview to Next Week

– Thursday: The Count Fleet Stakes (Grade 3) – 4 Year Olds and Upward – 6 furlongs – Purse: $300,000

– Friday: Bachelor Stakes – 3 Year Olds – 6 furlongs – Purse: $100,000

– Friday: The Apple Blossom Handicap (Grade 1) – 4 Year Old and Upward Fillies and Mares – 1 1/16th Miles – Purse: $600,000

– Saturday: Instant Racing Stakes – 3 Year Olds – Six Furlongs – Purse: $100,000

– Saturday: Northern Spur Stakes – 3 Year Olds – One Mile – Purse: $100,000

– Saturday: The Oaklawn Handicap (Grade 2) – 4 Year Old Males and Upward – 1 1/8th Miles – Purse: $600,000

– Saturday: The Arkansas Derby (Grade 1) – 3 Year Olds – 1 1/8th Miles – Purse: $1,000,000

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Blinkers Off 016: Oaklawn’s Racing Festival of the South Podcast Released

Blinkers Off Logo2Blinkers Off has released a new episode!

Blinkers Off provides weekly insights into the world of horse racing including race selections and previews, handicapping methods and exclusive stories.

You can view all episodes of Blinkers Off by visiting our podcast page, blogtalkradio or Blinkers Off | Blog Talk Radio Feed.

Episode

Blinkers Off 016: Oaklawn’s Racing Festival of the South – April 11, 2013

The Thoroughbred Racing Dudes breakdown Oaklawn’s Racing Festival of the South, including the $1 million Arkansas Derby, as well preview the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Play   Blinkers Off | Blog Talk Radio Feed

TwinSpires Million Road to Derby Showdown

Oaklawn Report #10

Will Take Charge Wins the Rebel Stakes

Will Take Charge Wins the Rebel Stakes

3 Stars of the Week

– 1st Star: Will Take Charge (KY) – All I can say is wow!  Although I definitely thought Will Take Charge would run much better in the Rebel, I really didn’t think he’d win the race.  A third place finish would have been a great effort, but he did so much more.  Toughness and heart are two qualities this horse has shown twice now, as he was able to dig down deep and find the wire at the right time in both the Smarty Jones and Rebel Stakes.  During the final 100 yards of the Rebel is when it looked like he was hitting his best strides, which is a great sign of things to come.  Now the question is will he stay home and run in the Arkansas Derby, or will the Bluegrass Stakes be his final Kentucky Derby prep?

– 2nd Star: Tiz Miz Sue (KY) – There is no other horse in the country that deserved to win the Azeri Stakes more than Tiz Miz Sue.  For over a year now she’s been knocking heads against the best in her division, and Saturday it was her turn to find the winners circle.  The win gave Tiz Miz Sue back to back Azeri victories, and also gives her all the momentum heading into the Apple Blossom.  Her victory also confirmed an angle that many handicappers believe in…Steve Hobby trained horses running their second race off a layoff are pretty tough to beat!

– 3rd Star: Oxbow (KY) – He may have lost the battle on Saturday, but I have a feeling Oxbow is slowly winning the war.  Just think of the education he’s gotten out of his last two races, and also don’t forget how tough he’s ran considering poor post positions and wide trips.  The move he made at the top of the stretch was incredible, and he looked like the winner every step of the way until the last few feet.  At this point the only question mark could be the mile and one-quarter distance, although his breeding says he should be able to handle it.  Either way, this is one talented and tough race horse. Continue reading