Yockey’s Warrior has vastly improved
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.