Teams plan for post-Oak­lawn meet

The Sentinel-Record - - SPORTS - FROM STAFF RE­PORTS

Mag­num Moon was the stand­out of the Rac­ing Fes­ti­val of the South at Oak­lawn Park with a four-length tri­umph in Satur­day’s Grade

1 $1 mil­lion Arkansas Derby, but trainer Todd Pletcher and other teams are now plan­ning for the rest of the year.

Oak­lawn’s 2018 live rac­ing meet con­cluded on Satur­day. Dates for the 2019 sea­son were moved back with the meet sched­uled to open on Jan. 25 and con­tinue for three weeks af­ter the Arkansas Derby through May 4, the date of the 2019 Ken­tucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Mag­num Moon now leads in qual­i­fy­ing points for the Ken­tucky Derby with 150 af­ter wins in the Arkansas Derby and the Grade 2

$900,000 Rebel Stakes on March 17 in Oak­lawn’s fi­nal ma­jor lo­cal prep for the Arkansas Derby, which of­fered 170 points (100-40-20-10) to the top four fin­ish­ers to­ward start­ing el­i­gi­bil­ity for the Ken­tucky Derby.

The Ken­tucky Derby is lim­ited to 20 starters, with start­ing pref­er­ence – if the race over­fills – based on points earned in des­ig­nated races like the Rebel and Arkansas Derby. Earn­ings in non-re­stricted stakes races is the first tiebreaker in rank­ing horses.

Quip ran sec­ond to Mag­num Moon on Satur­day and now ranks 10th in the stand­ings with 90 points. El­liot Walden, pres­i­dent/CEO and rac­ing man­ager for WinS­tar Farm, said Quip’s sta­tus for the Ken­tucky Derby is fluid. WinS­tar bred and co-owns Quip, a son of Dis­torted Hu­mor.

“I don’t know,” Walden said, when asked if Quip would be pointed for the Ken­tucky Derby. “He was sec­ond best to­day. He ran hard. Good ef­fort and we’ll see what hap­pens.”

WinS­tar also owns pieces of Audi­ble, No­ble Indy and un­beaten Jus­tify, who ranks ninth on the Ken­tucky Derby leaderboard with 100 points and is point­ing for the race. Jus­tify is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baf­fert. Also trained by Baf­fert, Solo­mini has 54 points to rank 12th.

Pletcher is the trainer for Mag­num Moon, Audi­ble, No­ble Indy and Vino Rosso, who are first, third, fourth and fifth in qual­i­fy­ing points.

Solo­mini, third in the Arkansas Derby and sec­ond in the Rebel, is point­ing for the Ken­tucky Derby, said Justin Zayat, rac­ing and stal­lion man­ager for Zayat Sta­bles, LLC, on Sun­day. Zayat Sta­bles co-owns the Curlin colt.

Two other Oak­lawn-raced horses are headed to the Ken­tucky Derby.

Bravazo, a Jan. 13 al­lowance/op­tional claim­ing win­ner for Hall of Fame trainer Wayne Lukas, has 54 points to rank 13th.

My Boy Jack, win­ner of the Grade 3 $500,000 South­west Stakes on Feb. 19, se­cured a spot with a vic­tory in the Grade 3 $200,000 Lex­ing­ton Stakes Satur­day at Keeneland Race­course in Ken­tucky. My Boy Jack ranks 14th with 52 points.

Nine-time Oak­lawn train­ing cham­pion Steve As­mussen has four horses on the bub­ble, in­clud­ing Arkansas Derby fourth Com­bat­ant, who ranks 21st with 32 points. Sta­ble­mate Dream Baby Dream, sev­enth in the Arkansas Derby, has

20 points to rank 24th.

Other win­ners of Fes­ti­val races in­cluded Un­bri­dled Mo in Fri­day’s Grade 1 $700,000 Ap­ple Blos­som Hand­i­cap for older fil­lies and mares, Sassy Si­enna in Fri­day’s Grade 3 $400,000 Fan­tasy Stakes for 3-year-old fil­lies, City of Light in Satur­day’s Grade 2 $750,000 Oak­lawn Hand­i­cap for older horses and Whit­more in Satur­day’s Grade 3 $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Hand­i­cap for older horses.

Trained by Pletcher, Un­bri­dled Mo up­set cham­pion Unique Bella by 2 ¼ lengths in the Ap­ple Blos­som un­der six-time lo­cal rid­ing cham­pion Ri­cardo San­tana Jr.

Sassy Si­enna punched her ticket to the Grade

1 $1 mil­lion Ken­tucky Oaks with a nose vic­tory over Won­der Gadot in the 1 1/16-mile Fan­tasy for trainer Brad Cox. The Ken­tucky Oaks will be run on May 4 at Churchill Downs. Cox al­ready had the Ken­tucky Oaks fa­vorite in Monomoy Girl.

Monomoy Girl and Sassy Si­enna are sec­ond and third with 154 and 115 points, re­spec­tively, on the Ken­tucky Oaks leaderboard. Mid­night Bisou leads with 160 points for Wil­liam Spawr.

Trainer Mark Casse said Won­der Gadot, who ranks eighth with 84 points, is point­ing for the Ken­tucky Oaks, which is lim­ited to 14 starters, with start­ing pref­er­ence – if the race over­fills – based on points earned in des­ig­nated races like the Fan­tasy. It of­fered 170 points to the top four

fin­ish­ers (100-40-20-10).

Fan­tasy fourth Cos­mic Burst is “un­likely” for the Ken­tucky Oaks, trainer Don­nie K. Von Hemel said. Cos­mic Burst won the Grade 3

$200,000 Honey­bee Stakes March 10 and ranks

11th with 62 points.

Eskimo Kisses, a two-time win­ner at Oak­lawn meet­ing, is point­ing for the Ken­tucky Oaks, trainer Kenny McPeek said. Eskimo Kisses ranks ninth with 80 points.

Trainer Mac Robert­son said he’s “keep­ing all op­tions open” for Fan­tasy third Amy’s Chal­lenge, who ranks 13th with 40 points. Robert­son calls Amy’s Chal­lenge “80 per­cent” for the Grade 2 $200,000 Eight Belles Stakes May 4 at Churchill Downs and “20 per­cent” for the Ken­tucky Oaks.

City of Light edged Grade 1 win­ner and mil­lion­aire Ac­cel­er­ate by a neck un­der Dray­den Van Dyke to win the Oak­lawn Hand­i­cap in his two-turn de­but.

Trained by Mike Mc­Carthy, a for­mer Pletcher as­sis­tant, City of Light could make his next start in the Grade 1 $1.2 mil­lion Met Mile June 9 at Bel­mont Park in New York.

Heav­ily fa­vored Whit­more be­came the first re­peat win­ner of the Count Fleet since Semaphore Man (2008-09) for co-owner/trainer Ron Mo­quett, of Hot Springs. Mo­quett said Whit­more’s long-range goal is a re­turn ap­pear­ance in the Grade 1 Breed­ers’ Cup Sprint this fall at Churchill Downs.

The Sen­tinel-Record/Richard Rasmussen

RUN­NER-UP: Trainer Rodolphe Bris­set gal­lops Quip around the Oak­lawn Park race­track Wed­nes­day. Quip ran sec­ond in the Arkansas Derby on Satur­day and could run in the Ken­tucky Derby next month.

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