Van Berg says Cu­ta­corner has earned South­west shot

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Mary Ram­pellini

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg has sent out a promis­ing pair of 3-year-old win­ners dur­ing the young Oak­lawn Park meet and at least one of them is bound for the Grade 3, $500,000 South­west Stakes.

Cu­ta­corner is set for the 1 1/16-mile South­west on Feb. 15 af­ter win­ning an op­tional $62,500 claim­ing route at the same dis­tance Jan. 21. Cu­ta­corner earned a ca­reer-high Beyer Speed Fig­ure of 84.

“I’m go­ing to go back in the South­west,” Van Berg said. “He’s ma­tur­ing real good. He’s come around.”

Van Berg said Quincy Hamil­ton will have the mount on Cu­ta­corner, who in De­cem­ber fin­ished fourth to Dis­creet­ness in the $250,000 Spring­board Mile at Rem­ing­ton. Dis­creet­ness went on to win the Smarty Jones here on Jan. 18.

Cu­ta­corner made his first start be­yond a mile in his race at Oak­lawn.

“He’s a good colt,” Van Berg said. “He’s de­vel­op­ing, and I think the fur­ther we go the bet­ter horse he’ll be.”

Cu­ta­corner, who races for Kay Still­man of Den­ver, is a son of Even The Score. Van Berg said he was named for a horse his father, Hall of Fame trainer Mar­ion Van Berg, bought sight un­seen from an­other Hall of Famer, Allen Jerkens. Jerkens’s clients were not plan­ning to bring the Cu­ta­corner of old to New York, and he be­came a mul­ti­ple stakes win­ner for the Van Bergs. Jerkens died last March. “He was a good friend of mine and we used the name again,” Van Berg said.

Gi­ant Trick, the other 3-yearold win­ner this meet for Van Berg, also has a name with a story. Van Berg said the horse’s name is a bit of a play on words he came up with for owner Jerry Ca­room of Hot Springs.

“I said, ‘We’re go­ing to name him Gi­ant Trick be­cause if we win a derby with him, a $15,000 pur­chase, that will be a gi­ant trick to do that,” said Van Berg. “So, that’s how he got his name. And he’s a good colt. He had bad luck over there at Rem­ing­ton.”

Gi­ant Trick was the pace­set­ter in the Spring­board Mile, putting up fast frac­tions be­fore fin­ish­ing ninth. Ear­lier in the meet, he fin­ished se­cond or third in three straight maiden spe­cial weight races. Van Berg brought him to Oak­lawn and Gi­ant Trick won a 5 1/2-fur­long maiden spe­cial weight by two lengths Jan. 16.

“I ran him short the other day,” Van Berg said. “Now he’ll stretch out to a mile the next race.

“He’s got a lot of qual­ity to him.”

Gi­ant Trick will be nom­i­nated to the South­west, but plans for the horse have yet to be de­ter­mined, said Van Berg. A colt by Neko Bay, he worked five fur­longs in 1:02.80 here Wed­nes­day.

“He worked very good,” Van Berg said. “He fin­ished fast. That’s what I liked. He gal­loped out strong. That’s a good work for him. I’m try­ing to teach him to come off the pace.”

Van Berg has got­ten off to a fast start at Oak­lawn. He won his fourth race of the meet in Fri­day’s opener, with Flyer’s Fan­tasy ($26.40).

“I had a lot of horses that I’d taken time with get­ting them ready for here be­cause the purses are so big,” he said. “We started off re­ally good.

“We’ve got some good horses. They’re very com­pet­i­tive. Put them in the right so­ci­ety, you’ll be all right.”

Van Berg, who also has a divi­sion of horses at Sam Hous­ton, said he is de­bat­ing send­ing horses to In­di­ana Grand fol­low­ing the sea­son at Oak­lawn.

Borel starts days Sun­day

Hall of Fame rider Calvin Borel will be­gin serv­ing a three-day sus­pen­sion on Sun­day for a rid­ing in­frac­tion, ac­cord­ing to the stew­ards at Oak­lawn. Borel’s days ex­tend to Thurs­day and Fri­day.

Borel’s sus­pen­sion stems from the eighth race on Jan. 21, when his mount, Amer­i­can Dubai, was dis­qual­i­fied from se­cond and placed third for drift­ing into the path of an­other horse.

The race was won by Cu­ta­corner.

Ok­la­homa sets pol­icy on EHV-1

The day af­ter Oak­lawn banned horses from Ari­zona and New Mex­ico over con­cerns about equine her­pesvirus, a sim­i­lar pol­icy has been adopted by all tracks in Ok­la­homa. Rem­ing­ton Park, Will Rogers, and Fair Mead­ows will not ad­mit horses if they are com­ing from a county with a track or fa­cil­ity un­der quar­an­tine for equine her­pesvirus, as well as a county ad­ja­cent to quar­an­tined fa­cil­i­ties.

Sun­land Park in New Mex­ico has sus­pended races un­til at least Feb. 9 af­ter more than five horses tested pos­i­tive for equine her­pesvirus. Turf Par­adise in Ari­zona has a sus­pected case of equine her­pesvirus. One of the in­fected horses in New Mex­ico was eu­th­a­nized.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.