Yockey’s Warrior has vastly im­proved

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

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Yockey’s Warrior was clear­ing his non­win­ners-of-two races life­time con­di­tion when last seen at Oak­lawn. My, how times have changed. Yockey’s Warrior is now a stakes win­ner of note, cap­tur­ing the Thanks­giv­ing Hand­i­cap at Fair Grounds in his last start with a ca­reer-high Beyer Speed Fig­ure of 103. He also was a mem­o­rable al­lowance win­ner at Keeneland back in Oc­to­ber.

“He’s re­ally reach­ing his po­ten­tial,” trainer Al Stall Jr. said.

Yockey’s Warrior leads a se­cond-level, op­tional $62,500 claim­ing sprint at six fur­longs Fri­day. The field of nine in­cludes Clearly Now, run­nerup in the Thanks­giv­ing Hand­i­cap; Bay­erd and Imahit, who are mul­ti­ple stakes win­ners; and W.B. Smudge, who ex­its the fastest six-fur­long race of the meet.

“It’s a great race,” Stall said.

RACE 8 KEY CON­TENDERS

Yockey’s Warrior, by Warrior’s Re­ward Last 3 Bey­ers: 103-93-65

◗ Yockey’s Warrior has run two of the best races of his ca­reer in his last two starts, the Thanks­giv­ing Hand­i­cap on Nov. 24 and the Keeneland al­lowance over 6 1/2 fur­longs Oct. 15. He won the Keeneland race in a brisk 1:15.60.

“The break­out race was at Keeneland,” Stall said. “He had some breath­ing is­sues, and we feel we got them squared away. It cer­tainly turned every­thing around. He ran the fastest time of the meet at Keeneland for 6 1/2 fur­longs, and from there we thought he would re­ally fit nicely for the Thanks­giv­ing Hand­i­cap.”

◗ Yockey’s Warrior had been sched­uled to make a start fol­low­ing the Thanks­giv­ing, but those plans for a se­cond stakes start at Fair Grounds changed, Stall said.

“We had him in the Dun­can F. Ken­ner in Jan­uary,” Stall said. “We drew the one-hole. It came up mud. We just de­cided to take a pass on it. He comes into this well meant. We’ve just been bid­ing our time.”

◗ Stall co-owns Yockey’s Warrior with Ste­wart Madi­son, Steve Landry, Matt Be­nard, and Joel Brous­sard. The horse will break from post 2, un­der Miguel Mena.

“He’s been lay­ing a lit­tle off the pace,” Stall said.

◗ Yockey’s Warrior was to ar­rive from Fair Grounds on Wed­nes­day. Stall has re­cently moved an eight-horse di­vi­sion to Oak­lawn, his barn get­ting to the meet later than in­tended be­cause of the quar­an­tine that had been im­posed ear­lier this year at Fair Grounds.

Clearly Now, by Horse Greeley Last 3 Bey­ers: 75-98-93

◗ He has made one start since the Thanks­giv­ing Hand­i­cap, fin­ish­ing fourth in the Dun­can F. Ken­ner on Jan. 21 at Fair Grounds. Jose Val­divia Jr. has the mount.

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