Ivan Fallunovalot seeks repeat
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Ivan Fallunovalot might be difficult to contain Saturday in the $100,000 King Cotton at Oaklawn Park if he runs back to his final work for the race. He will be making his first start since a Breeders’ Cup Sprint run-in with Runhappy, and is part of an eight-horse field.
The King Cotton, at six furlongs, also drew Gentlemen’s Bet, who was elevated to first in the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash last out at Laurel, and Alsvid, a multiple Grade 3 winner seeking career stakes victory No. 10. The race is Oaklawn’s first step to its Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap, which will be worth a record $400,000 when it is renewed April 10.
Ivan Fallunovalot prepped for the King Cotton by working between races Jan. 23, cruising a half-mile in 45.80 seconds. He worked under regular rider Calvin Borel. Oaklawn clocking crew member Taylor Radimer had the horse’s final quarter in 22 seconds and his final eighth of a mile in 11 seconds. Radimer had Ivan Fallunovalot galloping out five furlongs in 58.20.
“He went a little faster than what we were wanting to, but that’s Ivan for you,” said trainer Tom Howard. “He must like it here, because he goes over this old track good.”
Ivan Fallunovalot, by Valid Expectations (Last 3 Beyers: 94-101-97)
◗ He finished ninth in the Breeders’ Cup in his last start Oct. 31 at Keeneland.
“We didn’t get away good,” Howard said. “We got away late, a little tardy, and didn’t have any racing luck that day. That’s for sure.”
◗ Howard said following the race, Ivan Fallunovalot was found to have caught himself behind his left knee, “hollowing out a chunk.”
“Past the quarter pole and straightening out, I could see Calvin trying to get him to change leads,” Howard said. “Something wasn’t right. I guess it was stinging him. You can’t give those horses an inch. They’re the best in the world.”
◗ Ivan Fallunovalot, who is a four-time stakes winner, captured last year’s King Cotton with a Beyer Speed Figure of 104. He races for Arkansas resident Lewis Mathews Jr.
Gentlemen’s Bet, by Half Ours (Last 3 Beyers: 96-93-72)
◗ He finished second by three-quarters of a length in the De Francis Dash, then was elevated to first following the disqualification, for interference, of Trouble Kid.
“Although he didn’t cross the finish line [first], I think he was the best horse in the race,” said Ron Moquett, who trains Gentlemen’s Bet for Harry Rosenblum. “If everything would have went smooth, he would have won anyways.”
◗ Rosenblum and Moquett said the year-end objective for Gentlemen’s Bet is the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, a race in which he finished third in 2013.
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