Two scheduled starters for Saturdayâ€™s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn, including champion Take Charge Brandi, recorded their final workouts for the mile race Sunday morning.
Take Charge Brandi, an Eclipse Award winner as the countryâ€™s top 2-year-old filly, worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.60 just after the track opened for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
High Dollar Woman worked 5 furlongs in 1:03.20 for trainer Tony Dutrow later in the morning. From the first crop of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, High Dollar Woman is coming off a front-running three-length entry-level allowance victory Dec. 13 at Parx. She broke her maiden in July at Saratoga.
While the Martha Washington will mark the stakes debut for High Dollar Woman, Take Charge Brandiâ€™s eight-race campaign at age two included seven graded stakes. Take Charge Brandi surged to championship honors with victories in her final three races - $2 million Breedersâ€™ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 1, $400,000 Delta Princess (G3) Nov. 22 and the $350,000 Starlet (G1) Dec. 13.
Jon Court is scheduled to ride Take Charge Brandi for the first time in the Martha Washington, the first major local two-turn prep for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 4.
The Martha Washington closed Friday with 28 nominations, but Oaklawn racing secretary Pat Pope said Sunday morning that he expects a short field because of Take Charge Brandiâ€™s towering presence. he said the only other expected starter at this time is Perfect Fit, who is trained by Bret Calhoun.
â€œI think weâ€™ll be lucky to get five to run,â€ Pope said.
To Tell The Truth
Arkansas Derby candidate The Truth Or Else breezed a half-mile in :49.60 after the break Sunday morning under Jesus Castanon, the coltâ€™s first workout of 2015. The son of Yes Itâ€™s True arrived in Hot Springs in late December, trainer Kenny McPeek said, following a freshening of approximately 30 days.
McPeek said The Truth Or Else will â€œprobably needâ€ two or three more works before making his 2015 debut. McPeek said he would prefer a mile entry-level allowance spot as a prep for the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14. The Rebel is the final major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11.
The Truth Or Else faced some of the countryâ€™s top 2-year-olds in New York, finishing third in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (G1) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park and the $250,000 Nashua Stakes (G2) Nov. 2 at Aqueduct.
â€œHe had a solid campaign, and I think it was just time to give him a little bit of a rest,â€ McPeek said.
McPeek said heâ€™s pointing his promising 3-year-old filly Pangburn for a Feb. 5 entry-level allowance/optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles. Pangburn, a Congrats filly owned by Arkansas lumberman John Ed Anthony, hasnâ€™t started since finishing second in the $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes (G2) Sept. 6 at Churchill Downs. It was just her second career race.
McPeek said Pangburn was preparing for the $400,000 Alcibiades Stakes (G1) Oct. 3 at Keeneland when she contracted a virus.
â€œThe virus kind of knocked her back and we just decided to let her get a little bigger and stronger,â€ McPeek said. â€œWeâ€™ve been real conservative with her up to now.â€
McPeek said the â€œtentativeâ€ plan for Pangburn is to use the Feb. 5 race as a steppingstone to the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7 at Oaklawn.
Trainer Doug Anderson said Sugar Shock came out of Saturdayâ€™s victory in the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes in good order and will be pointed for a two-turn race, likely the $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 14 at Oaklawn. Sugar Shock, in her 4-year-old debut, won the six-furlong American Beauty by a half-length under regular rider Channing Hill. Anderson said Sugar Shock will be nominated to the $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes Feb. 15, but itâ€™s unlikely she will start in the 1 1/16-mile race. â€¦ Gentlemenâ€™s Bet, unraced since finishing third in the 2013 Breedersâ€™ Cup Sprint because of a foot injury, worked a half-mile in :48.60 Sunday morning. It equaled the fastest work recorded at the distance. â€¦ Street Strategy, unraced since last Marchâ€™s $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) because of a stifle injury, worked a half-mile in :49 Sunday morning. â€¦ Trainer Kenny McPeek said heâ€™s pointing Golden Ticket, who dead-heated for first in the 2012 Travers, and C Jâ€™s Awesome, fourth in last yearâ€™s Indiana and Pennsylvania derbies, for the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 11. Both horses are now with McPeekâ€™s division at Sam Houston Race Park in Texas.