Oaklawn Barn Notes - Friday, April 3

December 10, 2019

Ivan Fallunovalot Works toward Count Fleet Sprint Start

Multiple stakes winner Ivan Fallunovalot completed major preparations for next week’s $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn with an easy half-mile work over a fast-rated surface Friday morning. Ivan Fallunovalot, who breezed about 30 minutes after the track opened for training, cruised home in :49.20 under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.20.

“That ought to tide us over,” trainer Tom Howard said following the work. “That ought to get us there.”

Post positions for Thursday’s Count Fleet will be drawn Saturday. In addition to Ivan Fallunovalot, the six-furlong race is also expected to attract, among others, Gentlemen’s Bet, Picko’s Pride and Speechify.

Ivan Fallunovalot won the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Feb. 7 before running second to Gentlemen’s Bet in the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 7. Picko’s Pride and Gentlemen’s Bet ran second and third, respectively, in the 2013 Count Fleet.

Speechify won the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) Dec. 27 at Gulfstream Park for trainer Ralph Nicks, a former Oaklawn regular.

Bachelor Bound

Grade 2 winner I Spent It will make his next start in the $100,000 Bachelor Stakes April 10, co-owner Alex Lieblong said Friday morning. A Triple Crown nominee, I Spent It finished last of six in his 3-year-old debut, a March 18 third-level allowance race against older horses at a mile.

The race was designed as a prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11, but I Spent It’s connections, including trainer Tony Dutrow, scrapped that plan following the colt’s poor performance. Lieblong said I Spent It returned with small cuts on the inside of his left hock after hitting himself leaving the gate.

In his first work since his 3-year-old debut, I Spent It uncorked a five-furlong bullet (:59.20) after Friday morning’s renovation break under Ramon Vazquez.

“The race the other day was so screwed up,” Lieblong said. “Start back with what we know he’s fairly decent at.”

The six-furlong Bachelor will mark the first sprint start for I Spent It since he finished second in the $350,000 Hopeful Stakes (G1) Sept. 1 at Saratoga. He won his July 2 career debut at Belmont Park (five furlongs), then won the $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) Aug. 10 at 6 ½ furlongs.

Hillbilly Royalty OK

Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said promising 3-year-old Hillbilly Royalty escaped injury after getting loose during training hours Thursday morning and running the wrong way for several minutes.

Von Hemel said he planned to work Hillbilly Royalty Friday morning, but called an audible after the unexpected turn of events Thursday.

“I think we’ll just count that as a work, and, thank God, it wasn’t worse than it was,” Von Hemel said Friday morning.

Despite the setback, Von Hemel said he still plans to run Hillbilly Royalty in the $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes April 11. The Langfuhr gelding, bred and owned by country music star Toby Keith, won his first two career starts before finishing fifth in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 22.

Hillbilly Royalty has had three published workouts since the Southwest.

Finish Lines

Barring any physical setback, Race Day will be returning to Oaklawn for the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 11, owner Matt Schera said. Race Day, who is trained by Todd Pletcher, won the $250,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) March 14, the final local major prep for the Oaklawn Handicap. … Oaklawn Handicap candidate Street Strategy worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 shortly after the track opened for training Friday morning under regular rider Calvin Borel. … Unbeaten Indian Brava worked a half-mile in :48.20 Friday morning in preparation for the $100,000 Instant Racing Stakes April 11. … Luis Quinonez ($1,047,333) became the fourth jockey at the meet to surpass $1 million in purse earnings Thursday. Quinonez, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2007, is tied for eighth in the standings with 18 victories this year. … Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said Quinonez will ride at Churchill Downs following the Oaklawn meet. Quinonez is Von Hemel’s go-to rider. … Trainer Tim Ice said Comic Bird, second in his career debut in Sunday’s $75,000 Rainbow Stakes for 3-year-old Arkansas-bred colts and geldings, could run again before the meeting ends April 11. “He’s a nice horse,” Ice said. Ice said he will be based at Delaware Park after the Oaklawn meeting ends. … Unbeaten Rainbow winner Weast Hill returned to the track Thursday and looked “awesome” jogging a “couple of miles,” trainer Brad Cox said. Future plans are pending for Weast Hill, Cox said.

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