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Latest from Oaklawn
Latest from Oaklawn

Yankee Passion Works His Way into Southwest; Works Other Stable Stars

A 'bullet' Wednesday morning workout at Oaklawn Park has convinced trainer Larry Jones and jockey

Gabriel Saze that Brereton Jones' up-and-coming 3-year-old colt Yankee Passion is ready to attempt a stakes race for the first time in Monday's $250,000 Southwest Stakes (G3).

The Kentucky homebred is coming off a gutsy 2 1/4-length optional allowance victory Jan. 27 in what was his sophomore debut. He breezed five furlongs under Saez in 1:01 1/5 in company with Commander, another 3-year-old colt in Jones’ barn. Yankee Passion had the fastest of 44 workers at that distance over a fast track on a cool, drizzly morning.

"This makes him a definite," said Larry Jones. "He did what we asked."

"It was very nice," added Saez, who boldly drove Yankee Passion between horses in his last race. "He did everything right."

Yankee Passion is a son of Yankee Gentleman and out of a Pleasant Colony mare named Pleasant Pat. He raced twice last August in Delaware, winning his debut at 5 1/2 furlongs and finishing a close second in a six-furlong allowance race. The Southwest, at one mile, will be his first race around two turns.

Commander, who had finished a close third in a stacked allowance race on opening day here but turned in a dull effort in his follow up race, worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 under jockey Terry Thompson. Jones indicated the colt would be given more time and would not be pointed to stakes races in the immediate future.

The duo's drills were part of a busy three-day stretch of workouts for Jones, as he sent several of his all-star runners into action after losing four days of training last week due to weather.

Also on Wednesday, Jones breezed 3-year-old filly Summer Soiree, an impressive allowance winner Jan. 30, who covered a half-mile in 49 after scratching her out of the Martha Washington Stakes last Saturday because of muddy track conditions. She will be "slowed down a bit," according to Jones and has "nothing pressing on her right now."

No Such Word, a Grade 1-winning 4-year-old filly, breezed an easy three furlongs early Wednesday in 39. Her long-term goal is the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 15.

Tuesday's worktab included Fox Hill Farm's 2010 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) winner Winslow Homer, who breezed a half-mile in 50 1/5 under jockey Jenna Joubert on his comeback from a condylar fracture suffered last August. According to Jones, the time is misleading.

"He had ideas of his own about where he was going to work from," said Jones, who took over training of the 4-year-old from Tony Dutrow at the end of last year. "He worked fine for me the other day on his own, but today instead of loping around out there, he kinda took off with Jenna and started way early. She was smart and counted out four poles and then backed off him, so when he worked is different from when the clockers had a watch on him."

Another former Dutrow-trainee who joined Jones this year upon his un-retirement is Fox Hill's Cotillion Stakes (G2) winner Havre de Grace, and she also turned in a Tuesday workout that needed a little explaining.

"She went on a little sightseeing trip," said Jones of the half-mile breeze in 53 1/5. "We are going to gallop tomorrow and probably work her again on Friday because she just went out there by herself, happy as a lark, and just took everything in. Jenna didn't bring a stick or anything, but she had worked so well the other day. She said she tried to chirp to her, but she was just having a good time. We had been told she needed to work in company. It's all OK. We will get her out there with another horse and get her more focused on working."

The one Tuesday workout that Jones said went perfectly was the breeze by Fox Hill's 3-year-old filly Joyful Victory. Her half-mile in 49 3/5 puts her squarely on target for the $125,000 Honeybee (G3) March 12 - a race Jones or his wife Cindy has won three years in a row.

"It was just what we needed to see from her based on her conditioning right now," he said of the daughter of Tapit who was third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) in Nov. "I really liked her stride on the gallop-out. I am really happy with her right now."

While Jones has been busy, he is taking the long view toward all the time his stars missed last week.

"It's a long year," he said. "Come August, we may be looking back on all this snow and thinking of it as a blessing."


Brickyard Fast Revs Up for Southwest with Tuesday Work

Trainer Joe Petalino was thinking he was quietly approaching Monday's $250,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) with a horse who had fallen off the radar. That was until Gem Stables' Grade 1-winner J P's Gusto joined his barn last week and breezed Monday morning at Oaklawn Park. Now, that off-the-radar runner,
Baccari Racing's Brickyard Fast, is doing his part to help Petalino bring double-barreled action into the President's Day test for 3-year-olds.

Brickyard Fast, a son of Sharp Humor, breezed five furlongs Tuesday morning in 1:02 under jockey Bryan McNeil. It was the 12th fastest of 51 workers at that distance under perfect weather and one of more than 200 moves clocked at Oaklawn that morning.

"He's comeback good and it looked faster than the clockers said," Petalino said Wednesday morning. "He had a good three-quarters in him from his work before and I didn't get him out there right after the break yesterday, so the track was pretty cut up. It might have made it a little slower, but it was fine."

McNeil will keep his spot atop Brickyard Fast after teaming with the Kentucky-bred for his seven previous races, including a runner-up finish in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park in December. McNeil was also aboard for J P's Gusto's work on Monday, but that ride will go to 2010 Eclipse Award champion Ramon Dominguez.

Petalino took over training of J P's Gusto, who won the Del Mar Futurity (G1) last summer and was

second in the Cash Call Futurity (G1) in his most recent start, when his owner and his advisers wanted to target the races leading to the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1). Last week, he was moved from California-based trainer David Hofmans, who has a Belmont Stakes win in 1997 with Touch Gold and two Breeders' Cup victories to his credit. Petalino was an assistant to Hall of Famer Jack Van Berg and was a regular exercise rider of 1987 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Alysheba, so he has some Triple Crown experience of his own. It is helping him prepare for the spotlight that comes with a highly rated 3-year-old at this time of the year.

"I'm all set to take all the stones they throw at me if (J P's Gusto) doesn't run any good," joked Petalino, who got the horse through his connection with another former Van Berg assistant John O'Hara - now an adviser to Dr. John Waken's Gem Stables. "With Alysheba, John and I were around an incredible horse. We've got an idea what to expect."


Tiz Miz Sue Set for 2011 Debut in Bayakoa Stakes

Rested from an impressive breakthrough stakes victory in October, Carol Ricks's 4-year-old filly Tiz Miz Sue is set to start her 2011 campaign in Saturday's $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

Trained by Steve Hobby, the 4-year-old daughter of Tiznow found herself in Oaklawn's toughest races last year for 3-year-old fillies before heading to Delaware Park and winning three straight dirt races, including the Polly Jet Stakes by more than four lengths in October.

Tiz Miz Sue breezed a half-mile Monday morning at Oaklawn in 52 2/5. The easy drill follows a sharp five-furlong 'bullet' workout Feb. 7 here in 1:01 1/5.

"She went great again and looks ready to go," said Hobby.

Hobby is shooting for the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) with Tiz Miz Sue and Hobby is glad it wasn’t last year when 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta in town. He sees a much different landscape this time.

"It's really wide open in that division, right now," he said. "There are some nice ones out there, but no one has really stepped forward like they had at this time last year. It's a good time to get back in a race like (the Bayakoa)."

Hobby and his team will be busy with stakes action Saturday in New Orleans as well as Hot Springs with Alex and JoAnn Lieblong's multiple-Grade 1-winning turf star Telling cutting back in distance in the Fair Grounds Handicap (G3) at 1 1/8th miles. It will be the 7-year-old's first race since finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs last November. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has been engaged for the ride.