Lukas sends a well-behaved ram to poinsettia
Sarah Harper will try to take her next step towards the stakes
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Blue-blood Ram will attempt to kick off Hall of Fame Coach D. Wayne Lukas’ 2021-2022 Oaklawn Reunion at the inaugural $ 150,000 Poinsettia Stakes for Kids of 3 years at 1 1/16 miles.
Ram, a son of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, will make his first start at Oaklawn since breaking up his young daughter for a prize of $ 50,000 last April. After a high entry-level allocation score on the Kentucky Derby undercard, Ram ran 10e in the Preakness, was a solid third in the $ 275,000 Harrods Creek Stakes on Sept. 25 at Churchill Downs and finished second, down by a header, in the $ 150,000 Perryville Stakes on Oct. 23 at Keeneland.
Coinciding with Ram’s last solid performance, there is an evolution in his racing style. Coal Front, the multi-stakes millionaire’s half-brother, turned into a late runner, even catching Lukas, who saw it and almost did it, by surprise.
“He changed it,” Lukas, 86, said Thursday morning. “He started backing up like that and then flying at the end and really finishing. These are his best races so we decided to let him go. In fact, we now display it or even form it that way. But he developed it on his own. Once he started doing this, his racing record rose straight away.
Ram, who is a joke, will make his 18e early life in poinsettia and 14e start this year. Despite having only two career victories, Ram has finished lower than third on just two occasions in his last 10 starts.
“He’s starting to live up to what he should be and his reputation,” Lukas said.
Lukas is coaching Ram, a purchase of $ 375,000 for the September Keeneland Yearling Sale, for Christina Baker and William L. Mack. Christina Baker’s late husband Robert Baker and Mack were longtime clients of Lukas, campaigning with the coach, among others, Grade 1 winners Strong Mandate, Sporting Chance and Dublin and 150-winner Super Saks. $ 000 Carousel Stakes for older sprinters in 2016 at Oaklawn. Robert Baker passed away on November 22, 2020. He was 85 years old.
Lukas has several promising young horses in his barn, including Secret Oath, a 2 year old Kentucky Oaks prospect. A young specialweight 5-length winner who graduated Oct. 31 at Churchill Downs, Secret Oath finished fifth in the $ 400,000 Golden Rod Stakes (G2) on Nov. 27 at Churchill Downs. Both races were 1 1/16 miles.
“She’s doing everything right,” Lukas said. “Good gate filly, enters the race, overcomes the field beautifully. She’s a little immature. It is rather light. We are concerned about its weight. But she eats very well here, so that can also be done on her own. “
Secret Oath, from the first harvest of the late champion Arrogate, is from Absinthe Minded, a three-time winner of the Oaklawn Stakes. Secret Oath races for his breeder, Briland Farm (Robert and Stacy Mitchell), who also campaigned Absinthe Minded with Lukas. Absinthe Minded won Oaklawn’s $ 100,000 Bayakoa Stakes for Older Fillies and Mares in 2011, $ 75,000 Pippin Stakes for Older Fillies and Mares in 2012 and the $ 100,000 Bayakoa again in 2012. Another Briland’s local breed, the hardy Sara Sea, won the Oaklawn 2020 allowance for Lukas. . Sara Sea and Secret Oath are half-sisters.
Lukas has said he’s aiming for the Martha Washington Stakes’ $ 200,000 Jan. 29 for Secret Oath, but she could appear in an allowances race sooner. The 11/16 mile Martha Washington is the first of three Oaklawn Kentucky Oaks points races.
Lukas’ 2-year-old colt contingent includes Ignitis, a young specialweight graduate from Keeneland on October 14, and Papa Rocket who did not run. Lukas said Ignitis, a son of champion Nyquist, was in consideration for the $ 250,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 1, the first of four points races in Oaklawn’s Kentucky Derby. Smarty Jones is 1 mile away.
“Truly a beautiful horse,” said Lukas. “Boy, I mean a big, beautiful horse with all the gear to be a good horse. “
Fletcher is also campaigning for multi-issue winner Frank’s Rockette based in South Florida with Hall of Fame coach Bill Mott. Frank’s Rockette boarded Lukas’ barn for three starts at Oaklawn, including a win in the $ 150,000 American Beauty Stakes last January, and galloped by his exercise runners in Hot Springs. Sebastian “Bas” Nicholl, Lukas’ longtime assistant, saddled Frank’s Rockette for American Beauty.
“We were a good host, I think,” said Lukas. “She came by here and we took care of her and welcomed her into the barn. Frank and I had always talked about doing something on our own. He said, ‘I’ll send you a horse someday,’ that kind of talk. When she was our guest here a few times and it turned out really well, he just called me to the races one day and said, “I’m going to send you an Into Mischief colt.” Well the nice part is it was awesome. The real big part is, boy, he’s a good ab **** son, I think. He really is a beautiful horse. Now, if he’s the Arkansas Derby type, we’ll find out. He has done everything to impress me so far.
Lukas, Oaklawn’s main trainer in 1987 and 2011, said Papa Rocket could debut in early February. The colt was a purchase of $ 300,000 from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Sarah Harper will look to take her next step towards stake society in Sunday’s eighth race, an allowance sprint for fillies and mares aged 3 and up.
Raised and co-owned by Monroe, Louisiana, car dealer William S. Sparks and coached by Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, Sarah Harper is aiming for her third straight win. Sarah Harper, a 3-year-old from Vancouver, trained in Oaklawn during the 2021 meet that ended in May, but didn’t make her debut until August 19 in Saratoga, where she finished third at 6 ½ instars under three kingdoms. Irad Ortiz Jr, winner of the Eclipse Prize.
Sarah Harper made her last two starts at Churchill Downs, registering her first seven-length 6-point victory on September 26 and breaking her first 3 ¾ length allocation requirement at 5 ½ on November 12.
“She had growing pains of sort, so the owner told me I could do whatever I wanted to do with her, so I chased her and brought her back and prepared her at Ten Mile,” said Moquett, referring to Oaklawn’s. satellite training center approximately 25 miles east of Hot Springs. “Sent it to Ellis and processed it, then shipped it straight to Saratoga. If the race had gone the way we wanted it to be, I think we will win the race. But it was 6 ½ and she wasn’t cut out for it. He’s a very good horse.
Sarah Harper is expected to leave post 3 under David Cabrera. The 6-meter race has a purse of $ 101,000. Sparks also co-owns Upstriker, a powerful entry-level allowance winner who sprints for Moquett on the closing day of the Oaklawn 2021 reunion.
“He’s a pretty lucky dude,” Moquett said.
Moquett said Sarah Harper is named after Sparks’ sister. Sparks also has another homebred with Moquett, One Ten Stadium, entered in Saturday’s sixth race for the 2-year-old girls raised in Arkansas. Sparks named the son of Race Day, multiple Oaklawn stakes winners, Moquett said, after the Sigma Alpha Epsilon charter address at the University of Arkansas.
Exult, winner of the first $ 250,000 Oaklawn Mile for older horses in 2019, is entered in Sunday’s third race, a starting allowance course, for the trainer Mike maker and owner Michael hui from Little Rock, Arche. … Tempt fate, the most successful horse of the 2021 Oaklawn reunion (4 for 4), is entered in Sunday’s seventh race, an Arkansas breed allowance sprint, to trainer Carl Deville and owner jerry caroom hot springs. Tempt Fate twice won stakes against State Races last season at Oaklawn, winning the $ 150,000 Nodouble Breeders and the $ 200,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Championship. … Jockey Luis quinonez recorded his 617e Oaklawn career victory on board Maintenance boss ($ 5.20) for trainer Tom Swearingen in the first race last Sunday. Quinonez was Oaklawn’s top rider in 2007 and his eighth-most successful rider in history. … Grade 2 Millionaire Winner Long range grog is on the field for coach Dallas stewart and owner Willis horton by Marshall, Arche.
Oaklawn Press Release