Forever Unbridled and Effinex arrived at Oaklawn Monday following a flight originating in New York. Forever Unbridled is scheduled to run in Friday’s $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) for older fillies and mares. Effinex is scheduled to run in Saturday’s $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) for older horses.
Post positions for the 1 1/16-mile Apple Blossom were to be drawn Tuesday.
In addition to Forever Unbridled (assigned 117 pounds), Untapable (120), Call Pat (119), Tara’s Tango (119), Streamline (115) and Theogony (114) are also scheduled to run in the Apple Blossom. Champion Untapable won last year’s Apple Blossom.
Effinex will carry top weight of 121 pounds in the Oaklawn Handicap at 1 1/8 miles. He is coming off a third-place finish behind Melatonin in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (G1) March 12 at Santa Anita.
Melatonin (119) is scheduled to arrive at Oaklawn Wednesday following a flight from Southern California.
Also assigned 119 pounds is Upstart, who will be returning to Hot Springs after winning the $350,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) March 19, the final major local prep for the Oaklawn Handicap.
Other scheduled starters are Blofeld (116), Carve (115), Domain’s Rap (114), Financial Modeling (113), Point Piper (113) and Coin Broker (112).
Post positions for the Oaklawn Handicap will be drawn Wednesday.
Van Berg to Start Cutacorner in Arkansas Derby
Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg said Tuesday morning that he’s leaning toward running Cutacorner in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) Saturday at Oaklawn.
“I think he deserves a shot,” Van Berg said. “I’ll probably run Giant Trick in the Northern Spur and him in the Arkansas Derby.”
Cutacorner, a son of Even the Score, won a first-level allowance/optional claimer in his 3-year-old debut Jan. 21 at Oaklawn. He then finished a troubled ninth in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 and eighth in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19, the final two major local preps leading up to the Arkansas Derby.
Cutacorner and stablemate Giant Trick are among 38 nominees to Saturday’s $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn. Giant Trick was a Jan. 16 maiden winner at Oaklawn.
Trainer Ron Moquett Hot Springs said Tuesday morning that Tisdale remains under consideration for the Arkansas Derby at 1 1/8 miles. A son of Friesan Fire, he is unbeaten around two turns, winning a Feb. 6 maiden race and a March 26 entry-level allowance/optional claimer. Both races were at Oaklawn.
Moquett said Tisdale will run in the 1 1/16-mile Northern Spur if he’s not entered in the Arkansas Derby. Moquett also trains and co-owns Whitmore, who is scheduled to run in the Arkansas Derby.
The addition of Cutacorner increases the projected Arkansas Derby starting field to 12. Other scheduled starters are American Pioneer, Creator, Cupid, Dazzling Gem, Discreetness, Gettysburg, Gray Sky, Luna de Loco, Suddenbreakingnews and Unbridled Outlaw.
Creator worked a half-mile in :50.40 over a sloppy track Monday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Gettysburg and Unbridled Outlaw are scheduled to arrive Tuesday on a flight originating in south Florida.
Probable race favorite Cupid is scheduled to arrive on a flight Wednesday from Southern California. Cupid won the Rebel in his last start.
Post positions for the Arkansas Derby and Saturday’s $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) will be drawn at 12:15 p.m. (Central) Wednesday on the first floor near the information booth. The event is open to the public.
The Arkansas Derby highlights Oaklawn’s 12-race closing-day program.
Talamo on ‘Gem’
Joe Talamo is scheduled to ride Dazzling Gem in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn, trainer Brad Cox said Monday morning. Talamo replaces Shaun Bridgmohan, who has ridden Dazzling Gem in his first three lifetime starts, including two victories earlier this year at Oaklawn.
Bridgmohan already had the call on Synchrony for the $150,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) Saturday at Keeneland before Cox decided to enter Dazzling Gem in the Arkansas Derby.
Dazzling Gem, owned by prominent Arkansas automobile dealer Steve Landers, is coming off a third-place finish in the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) March 19 at Fair Grounds.
The Southern California-based Talamo ranks 17th nationally in purse earnings this year ($2,123,158), according to Equibase, racing’s official data organization.
Synchrony wintered at Oaklawn for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel, finishing third in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 and sixth in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 in his last start.
Following rain Monday, Oaklawn’s surface was rated good for morning workouts Tuesday. … Z Royal worked 3 furlongs in :35 Tuesday morning at Oaklawn for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Z Royal is scheduled to run in the $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes Saturday at Oaklawn. … Ricardo Santana Jr.’s most lucrative career victory, Saturday’s $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn aboard Terra Promessa, helped vault the jockey to eighth nationally in purse earnings this year, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Santana’s mounts have earned $3,222,967 (all accumulated at Oaklawn) this year. Irad Ortiz Jr. ($4,760,681) is No. 1. The New York-based Ortiz is scheduled to ride Whitmore in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. … Santana, assured of his fourth straight Oaklawn riding title, is scheduled to ridemultiple stakes winner Texas Chrome in his 3-year-old debut in Friday’s $150,000 Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn, said the jockey’s agent, Ruben Munoz. … Ramon Vazquez’s victory aboard Subtle Indian in Sunday’s $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn was the most lucrative of the jockey’s career in America. Munoz also represents Vazquez. … Subtle Indian, the meet’s first four-time winner, emerged from the Count Fleet in good order and was scheduled to be flown to Southern California Tuesday, according to Rob Atras, who oversees trainer Robertino Diodoro’s Oaklawn division. Diodoro has also divisions at Santa Anita and Turf Paradise in Arizona. … Hall of Famer Jack Van Berg, Oaklawn’s co-eighth-leading trainer this year, has $512,244 in purse earnings overall, his highest single-season total since 2006, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Van Berg has $496,071 in purse earnings at Oaklawn, where he has won 13 races.
Source: Oaklawn Park