Oaklawn Barn Notes - Friday, March 6

December 10, 2019

Champion American Pharoah Readies for Rebel

American Pharoah completed major preparations for his scheduled 3-year-old debut in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14 at Oaklawn with a dazzling workout Friday morning at Santa Anita. In company, he breezed six furlongs from the gate in 1:10.40 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:22.80 under Martin Garcia.

“He is ready,” owner Ahmed Zayat said moments after the work. “We know he is fast, but the way he did it today was so impressive. Very happy horse.”

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will be attempting to win his fifth Rebel in the last six years with American Pharoah, who captured an Eclipse Award as the country’s top 2-year-old male by winning 2 of 3 starts, including a pair of Grade 1 events. The 1 1/16-mile Rebel will be his first start outside Southern California.

American Pharoah will be flown to Hot Springs Wednesday. Also scheduled to run in the Rebel is Take Charge Brandi, the country’s champion 2-year-old filly of 2014.

Yes. He is ready. We know he is fast but the way he did it today was so impressive. Very happy horse. Looking forward to enjoy op racingSister Act

Sarah Sis is approximately six feet away from being a multiple stakes winner and being mentioned as one of the top 3-year-old fillies in the country. But, after three career runner-up finishes, including two this year at Oaklawn, Sarah Sis is still seeking a breakthrough victory. It could come in Saturday’s $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3). The 1 1/16-mile race is the final major local prep for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 4.

Sarah Sis, who has a 2-3-0 record in five career starts, is coming off two narrow losses at the meeting. She was beaten a neck by undefeated Promise Me Silver in the $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 15, and, in her two-turn debut, a head by champion Take Charge Brandi in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 31. Sarah Sis also ran second in last fall’s $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes at Arlington. Sandwiched around the Lassie was an 11 ¾-length career debut victory Aug. 21 at Arlington and a 4 ¼-length entry-level allowance score Oct. 11 at Keeneland, her final start at 2.

“I think she’s learning how to run and maturing,” trainer Ingrid Mason said. “Sometimes you’ve got to take that slow, and that’s why I didn’t run her for two months prior to coming here. I wanted her to grow up.”

In the Martha Washington, Sarah’s Sis moved to the inside under regular rider Julio Felix and nearly drew abreast of Take Charge Brandi about 40 yards from the finish line (mile races at Oaklawn begin and end at the sixteenth pole).But, Take Charge Brandi, who was making her ninth career start and eighth in a stakes race, dug in and wouldn’t be passed.

“My horse hasn’t run that many times,” Mason said. “Take Charge Brandi has a lot more races on her than my horse.” No promises in Honeybee.

Citing concerns over travel and track condition, trainer Bret Calhoun said Friday morning that unbeaten Promise Me Silver, the 3-1 program favorite, will pass Saturday’s $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies. She was the 3-1 program favorite for the 1 1/16-mile race. The trainer said he was concerned about shipping from Evangeline Training Center in south Louisiana to Oaklawn following Wednesday’s winter storm.

“It’s shame because I like the spot,” Calhoun said. “I like the way the race drew up. I like everything about it, except for the weather conditions and possible track conditions.”

Calhoun said Promise Me Silver will make her next start in the $100,000 Instant Racing Stakes April 11 at Oaklawn or the $250,000 Beaumont Stakes (G2) April 12 at Keeneland.

Promise Me Silver won the $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Jan. 15 at Oaklawn.

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