The Return of Far Right
Multiple stakes winner Far Right, the top locally based 3-year-old last year at Oaklawn, is scheduled to make his 2016 debut in Thursday’s ninth race, a third-level allowance/optional claimer for older horses at a mile.
Far Right won the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) before finishing second behind future Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1). He ran 15th in the Kentucky Derby and hasn’t started since finishing sixth in the $500,000 Indiana Derby (G2) July 18 at Indiana Grand.
Far Right was under consideration for several races in the late summer and early fall, including the $1.6 million Travers Stakes (G1) Aug. 29 at Saratoga, before trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said he decided to freshen the Notional ridgling for a 2016 Oaklawn campaign.
Moquett said in early December that he was pointing for Thursday’s spot as Far Right’s comeback race. He is scheduled to break from post 6 and be ridden for the first time by Didiel Osorio. Far Right races for Harry Rosenblum of Little Rock, Ark., and Robert LaPenta.
Also entered are Ain’t Got Time, Hillbilly Royalty, Mal Guapo, Stealcase, Poseidon’s Way, Doctor Peter, Bump Start, Paid Admission, Ride the Lightning, Almost Famous and Bold Stephen.
Probable post time for Thursday’s ninth race is 5:10 p.m. (Central).
Hebbronville Shows Readiness In Work
Multiple stakes winner Hebbronville didn’t just record a bullet workout Wednesday morning at Oaklawn. It was maybe among the fastest works from the gate at Oaklawn that any of the clockers could remember.
Hebbronville blitzed 6 furlongs in 1:11.60 over a fast-rated surface for trainer Lynn Whiting, who is pointing the 4-year-old Majesticperfection colt for the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters Jan. 30 at Oaklawn.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever had a horse work any better than him,” said Whiting, a trainer for approximately 50 years. “I was wondering about Lil E. Tee.”
Whiting saddled Lil E. Tee to win the 1992 Kentucky Derby, but the Arkansas Derby runner-up possessed plenty of natural speed. Lil E. Tee, despite trouble, ran 6 furlongs in 1:08.44 in his 4-year-old allowance comeback race at Oaklawn, teasing the track record of 1:07.80.
Whiting recalls breezing Lil E. Tee once at Oaklawn when some horses broke from the gate in front of him.
“They were probably a sixteenth of a mile ahead of him and he started chasing them,” Whiting said. “Turning for home, he just about caught up. He was going through them like the running back through the hole. He was flying.”
There was another horse in the gate with Hebbronville Wednesday, but Hebbronville was two or three lengths in front seconds after breaking. Whiting said Chris Landeros, tied for second in the Oaklawn standings, was aboard for the breeze and will have the mount in the 6-furlong King Cotton.
Hebbronville races in blinkers, but didn’t wear the equipment Wednesday. That’s not unusual, the trainer said.
“He shows up,” Whiting said. “He doesn’t care. He’s pretty focused.”
Whiting said Hebbronville will wear blinkers in the King Cotton.
Hebbronville won 4 of 10 starts last year, including the $100,000 Jersey Shore Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park and $100,000 Perryville Stakes at Keeneland. The King Cotton will be Hebbronville’s first start since finishing third in the $200,000 Steel Valley Sprint Stakes Nov. 23 at Mahoning Valley.
Hebbronville made his first three starts last year at Oaklawn, finishing third in the $100,000 Gazebo Stakes and $100,000 Bachelor Stakes.
Following the King Cotton, Hebbronville is expected to be pointed for the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 5 and $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 10. Both 6-furlong races are at Oaklawn.
Mario Pino’s appearance Thursday at Oaklawn meant two of the 27-winningest jockeys in North American history were riding in Hot Springs, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Pino (6,706 victories) ranks 10th. He is named on two horses Sunday at Gulfstream Park. Oaklawn regular and Hall of Famer Calvin Borel (5,139) is No. 27. Borel was Oaklawn’s leading rider in 1995 and 2001. Retired eight-time Oaklawn riding champion Larry Snyder (6,388) ranks No. 14. Snyder is longtime steward at Oaklawn. … Mal Guapo, who set a track record for 1 ¼ miles in an Oct. 29 starter-allowance race at Keeneland (2:03.40), is scheduled to make his 2016 debut in Thursday’s ninth race at Oaklawn, a third-level allowance/optional claimer at a mile. Mal Guapo’s record was shattered two days later when Triple Crown winner American Pharoah captured the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in 2:00.07. Mal Guapo, a three-time winner at the 2015 Oaklawn meeting, races for owners Joel and Ali Rush of Hot Springs and trainer Brad Cox. American Pharoah won the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) and $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) last year at Oaklawn before claiming the Triple Crown.
Source: Oaklawn Park