Moquett has another good one
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Trainer Ron Moquett has come up with a quality 3-year-old each of the last two meets at Oaklawn, and it appears he has another such runner in Petrov. Petrov goes Monday in the Grade 3, $500,000 Southwest Stakes, a race Moquett won in 2015 with Far Right and finished second in last year with Whitmore.
Petrov is a son of Flatter who has made three starts, winning his debut at Churchill Downs, then running second in both the King’s Swan at Aqueduct and the $150,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn in his most recent start Jan. 16.
Since then, Petrov has thrived. In his final prep for the Southwest, he worked five-eighths in company here Monday, going in 1:00. He came home his final quarter in 22.80 seconds, according to Oaklawn clockers.
“I know that he’s going to face a tough race and I wanted to make sure he had plenty to draw on, whenever he needed it,” Moquett said. “It was a beautiful work. It was really the kind of work that would lead you to believe there’s something big coming up.”
Moquett said that aside from the drill there are a couple of other reasons he looks for Petrov to move forward in the 1 1/16-mile Southwest. The horse went a mile last time, stalking the pace in second throughout as Uncontested went wire to wire in a race that ended at the sixteenth pole at Oaklawn.
“This is our second attempt around two turns, and I think the distance here is better for him than the short stretch of the mile is,” Moquett said. “I think the short stretch of the mile always favors someone who’s on the lead. I’m not saying better horses can’t overcome it. If you’re running against some decent, classy, nice horses, you better jump on the them early, because you’re making your move on the turn.”
Petrov was a private purchase, Moquett said, noting that he was initially interested in the horse because he trained his halfsister Maziette. Petrov is owned by Rialto Racing Stables and Southern Springs Stables. The groups’ female partners named him after the ballet dancer Eugene Petrov because of the horse’s gracefulness on the track, Moquett said.
Moquett said he was at first leery of naming the horse for a ballet dancer, but then he realized several top-class horses – including Nijinsky and Nureyev – were named for ballet dancers.
“I said you know what, maybe that’s a good idea,” Moquett said.
Moquett said Jose Ortiz again has the mount on Petrov in the Southwest.
Other potential starters are Chief Know It All, Dilettante, Hence, Lookin At Lee, Rowdy the Warrior, Silver Dust, Uncontested, and Warrior’s Club.
Cool Arrow, who in his last start won the $300,000 Springboard Mile, is possible, trainer Joe Sharp said Wednesday. Another option for the horse is the Risen Star at Fair Grounds.
P C Cowboy, a maiden special weight winner at two turns, was sold privately Tuesday and is intended for the Southwest. Oaklawn leading owner Danny Caldwell said he sold the horse to friend Tommy Julian. P C Cowby is now being trained by Johnny Ortiz.
“Tommy has been looking for stakes horses,” Caldwell said.
Lukas has promising pair
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has a pair of 3-year-olds targeting the Southwest in Warrior’s Club and Dilettante. Warrior’s Club won the Spendthrift Farm Stallion Stakes in October at Churchill Downs, while Dilettante popped a Beyer Speed Figure of 88 for a recent maiden special weight route win at Oaklawn.
Warrior’s Club enters the Southwest off a fourth-place finish in the $150,000 Smarty Jones on Jan. 16 at Oaklawn. He was racing on a wet track for the first time.
“I thought that he struggled a little bit with the racetrack,” Lukas said. “That surprised me because in the morning, he’s so glib and he gets over the ground so well. He really knows where every foot is. But, for whatever reason that day, I thought he was nodding and not getting a hold of the track. So, we’ll give him another chance.”
Lukas said he has a good deal of respect for Smarty Jones winner Uncontested, noting that Warrior’s Club finished in front of that horse on a dry track when they were third and fourth in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Chris Landeros has the mount on Warrior’s Club, Lukas said.
Dilettante is a son of Unbridled’s Song and his dam, Royal Ancestry, is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Awesome Humor.
“I think he’s a really talented horse,” Lukas said. “I love the way his last race came. He’s had some trips that were questionable, where he was blocked and everything, but he finally had a smooth trip and he showed up. I’m very optimistic for him. That horse is getting good. He’s a factor.”
Lukas said Florent Geroux has the mount on Dilettante for owner Calumet Farm.
Blue Tone arrives for Razorback
Blue Tone, winner of the Grade 3 San Gabriel last month at Santa Anita, arrived Tuesday at Oaklawn for an intended start in the Grade 3, $500,000 Razorback Handicap on Monday, trainer Bob Hess Jr. said. Hess said Jose Ortiz will ride Blue Tone.
The Razorback also is expected to draw Gun Runner, winner of the Grade 1 Clark Handicap, Shotgun Kowboy, Goats Town, Hawaakom, and Mishegas. Possible starters include Dazzling Gem, Smack Smack, and Taketothestreets.
Domain’s Rap, who who won the Fifth Season opening day at Oaklawn, is being considered for the race, owner Danny Caldwell said. The other option is to await the Essex Handicap.
Petrov works five furlongs in 1:00 Monday for the Southwest.