The 3rd Annual Racing Dudes Oaklawn Awards


Will Take Charge Winning the Oaklawn Handicap was the Moment of the Year

Horse of the Meet: Close Hatches – This was a tough award to decide on this year, but in the end it had to be Close Hatches who won based on the fact that she was the only horse to win more than one Graded Stakes race this meet.  With no standout three-year old, and Will Take Charge only running atOaklawn once, Close Hatches is the most worthy of the group.

Older Male of the Meet: Will Take Charge – He was our three-year old horse of the meet last year, and now he is our older horse of the meet this year!  Even though he only ran once at Oaklawn, he proved much the best out of the other horses in the Handicap Division.  He also put on a show for the locals every morning during training hours, as he was the first horse to hit the track each morning.  Many thanks to Willis Horton and D Wayne Lukas for running the horse once at his home track.

Older Female of the Meet: Close Hatches – Obvious choice here as she won both the Azeri and Apple Blossom.  The last horse to accomplish this feat was Havre De Grace, who went on to win horse of the year.

3 Year Old Male of the Meet: Tapiture – Another tough award to decide on, but in the end Tapiture got the nod over Ride On Curlin and Danza.  Tapiture wo nthe Southwest Stakes, nearly won the Rebel, and finished a decent fourth in the Arkansas Derby.  He now has lost some hype heading to Kentucky, but still made his presence felt in Hot Springs.

3 Year Old Female of the Meet: Sugar Shock – She was a courageous winner of the Fantasy Stakes, and crossed the line first in the Honeybee before being disqualified.  She’ll go up against much tougher next time out in the Kentucky Oaks, but there is no doubting that she was the best of the bunch at Oaklawn Park.

Sprinter of the Meet: Alsvid – Even though he didn’t win any of the sprint stakes at Oaklawn this meet, his consistent performances land him this award.  He was a solid second in the King Cotton, Hot Springs, and Count Fleet while others in the division had up and down moments.  You can bet this horse is due for a win soon.

Owner of the Meet: Danny Caldwell – An absolutely dominating performance by Caldwell as he won the owners title by nine races.  We had the privilege to get to know Danny early on in the season, and after meeting him it’s easy to see why he’s so good at what he does.  He’s one of the best claimers in the game, and puts in the time and effort it takes to be successful.  The award couldn’t have been won by a nicer guy.  Caldwell will be heading to Prairie Meadows next!

Trainer of the Meet: Steve Asmussen – Amongst all the controversy, Asmussen just kept on winning.  As usual he took the last two weeks by storm and crushed his competition once again.  This is Asmussen’s second straight Racing Dudes Award.  Also Asmussen’s assistant Darren Fleming deserves a mention as well as he looked over the stable for most of the year and always does a great job.

Jockey of the Meet: Ricardo Santana Jr. – Another guy who is receiving his second straight Racing Dudes Award.  Santana proved that last year was no fluke as he easily won the jockey’s title for the second straight year.  This is a guy who is getting better and better with every mount, and is a rising star in the game.

Flop of the Meet: Strong Mandate – It’s painful for us to admit it…but Strong Mandate never lived up to the expectations we had for him.  After running decent in the Southwest and Rebel, he was last in the Arkansas Derby and now sits on the outside looking in as far as the Kentucky Derby is concerned.  Hopefully he can regroup and regain his form.

Favorite Moment of the Meet: Will Take Charge Wins the Oaklawn Handicap – He pretty much stole the show on Derby day.  It was a thrill to see the home town horse win in front of all his fans.  Major shout out to Brady Lukas for allowing us get in the winners circle with one of our favorite horses of all time!

Restaurant of the Meet: TIE – Hawgs and Jahna’s – That’s right…we like to eat. The Dudes have been to many places in Hot Springs over the years, but Hawgs Pizza and Jahna’s Italian easily are the two best.  We highly recommend them to anyone who visit’s the Hot Springs area.

Race of the Meet: The Rebel Stakes –



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