3 Stars of the Week:
-1st Star – Alternation (KY) – Choosing this weeks star of the week was a no-brainer; Alternation dominated the Essex Stakes on Saturday, allowing his trainer Donnie K Von Hemel to “dream big.” Coming off a three-month layoff, Alternation broke slowly, but was quick to recover and set in 4th place about eight lengths off a very hot pace. It Happened Again and Twice the Appeal folded at the top of the stretch, and Alternation was able to fly by them with ease. Color Me Blue made a nice run, but couldn’t get close to Alternation. It’s really exciting to think about how good this horse may be. It was widely believed that Alternation was not near his best for this race in which he still earned a 100 Beyer. If he does have room to improve, we could be looking at a legit player in the older male category.
-2nd Star – Cyber Secret (KY) – In a race that was supposed to go the way of Ring It Up, it was Cyber Secret who stole the show winning wire to wire; doing it was relative ease. With the win Cyber Secret is now right in the mix for the Arkansas Derby, something that you know thrills Owner Charles Cella. Cella is the owner of Oaklawn Park, and it’s been his dream to have a 3-year-old good enough to compete in the Derby. Cyber Secret earned a 96 beyer, so speed wise he fits right in with the other 3 year olds we have seen so far at Oaklawn.
-3rd Star – Color Me Blue (IL) – I have disrespected this horse for the last time! Color Me Blue has now ran two great races, and his 2nd in the Essex was probably even better than his win in the Fifth Season Stakes. I thought Twice the Appeal and It Happened Again were much classier than Color Me Blue, but now I’m beginning to think that is not the case. He still is in a tough spot, because I don’t see any way he can turn the tables on Alternation, but this is a horse that deserves a lot of credit. I’d say he’ll run in the Razorback and Oaklawn Handicaps, and I don’t think he’ll embarrass himself in either one.
Biggest Flop of the Week:
–It Happened Again (KY) – What I difference a year makes. In 2011 It Happened Again went three for four at Oaklawn, but this year he is now zero for two. Saturday’s effort in the Essex was the worst yet. He jumped out to the lead, but set a very fast pace. Jockey Terry Thompson couldn’t slow him down, and he faded badly in the stretch and finished off the board. It Happened Again is capable of much better, but he’s an easy choice for biggest flop this week.
|1||Steven M. Asmussen||27||7||4||6||$183,815||26%||17||63%|
|1||Brad H. Cox||27||7||8||5||$121,612||26%||20||74%|
|8||Donnie K. Von Hemel||26||4||4||3||$164,328||15%||11||42%|
|8||Randy L. Morse||41||4||6||7||$120,535||10%||17||41%|
|8||W. Bret Calhoun||24||4||2||4||$115,626||17%||10||42%|
|1||Terry J. Thompson||86||15||7||9||$357,616||17%||31||36%|
|2||M. Clifton Berry||51||12||6||6||$222,790||24%||24||47%|
|4||Luis S. Quinonez||50||9||5||10||$252,641||18%||24||48%|
|8||Ramon A. Vazquez||37||6||6||4||$129,160||16%||16||43%|
Preview of Next Week:
-The Martha Washington. For 3 year old fillies. One Mile. $75,000 purse.
Probable Contenders: Amie’s Dini, Now I Know, Lulu Wong, Devious Intent, Rocket Twentyone