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Notes from the barn at Oaklawn | Sports & Recreation

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Notes from the barn at Oaklawn
Notes from the barn at Oaklawn

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - A successful opening day and a proven affinity for Oaklawn Park will lead trainer Larry Jones to send Tommy Ligon's Backwater Blues into Saturday's $50,000 King Cotton Stakes with just two weeks between starts.

The 4-year-old son of Dixieland Band won a $65,000 allowance race here Jan. 16 for his second straight victory dating back to a similar allowance win at Penn National in November. He has two wins in four Oaklawn starts with a second-place finish in last year's Mountain Valley Stakes.

With winter weather playing havoc with training schedules, Jones thinks Backwater Blues might be at an advantage with the quick return to the races.

"We've all been kind of in the same pile," Jones said Wednesday morning. "With the weather keeping us all from really working, we all ran kind of an equal race. I thought that in case any horses came from outside here, we might have an advantage over them with the race over the track, and at the same time, my horse is getting fitter thanks to that race. It would be worth it to come right back in there."

Jones gave Backwater Blues a strong gallop Wednesday morning, and hasn't pressed the colt for a workout this week, preferring to save that effort for Saturday's race.

"He went well," said Jones. "The way he's going right now, we definitely want to get into a race."

Another horse Jones is eager to get into a race is Brereton Jones's Yankee Passion, a 3-year-old colt entered in Thursday's featured optional allowance sprint.

Off since finishing second in an allowance race at Delaware, the Kentucky homebred son of Yankee Gentleman has been unable to get back to action since recovering from bucked-shins, the common injury that delays training of young, growing horses.

"Once we got him back, we tried to find a race for him in Delaware, Philly...all over," said Jones. "Then when we got here, the weather took away his race. We've been waiting and trying. Hopefully (Thursday) he finally gets out there."

Two other accomplished runners in the Jones barn began their comebacks Wednesday at Oaklawn. The 3-year-old filly Joyful Victory, third last year in the Frizette (G1) and fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), breezed three furlongs in 37 3/5, while her stablemate, the 2010 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) winner Winslow Homer, posted the bullet at that distance of :36. It was the first work for Joyful Victory since the Breeders’ Cup and the first work for Winslow Homer since winning the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga last August. Both owned by Fox Hill Farms, the horses joined Jones’ stable at the beginning of the year after previously being trained by Tony Dutrow.


+ Retired Oaklawn Jockey Garth Patterson Dead

Retired jockey Garth Patterson, once a top rider at Oaklawn and other Midwest tracks was found dead in his residence Tuesday evening. He was 66.

A native of Jolley, Iowa, Patterson’s biggest wins in Hot Springs included the 1976 Rebel Stakes aboard Riverside Sam, the 1979 Razorback aboard Cisk and the 1984 Southwest Handicap aboard Whitebrush, who set the track record of one mile in 1:34 2/5 in that race. In addition, he won the 1975 Kentucky Oaks with Sun and Snow and also rode in three Kentucky Derbys. As the leading rider at Monmouth Park in 1965, he got the honor of meeting former President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Patterson was badly injured in a spill at Ak-Sar-Ben in 1988 and he last rode in 1990. He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Gladys Patterson of Pomeroy, Iowa. Final arrangements are being handled by Power Funeral Home there.


+ Quick Notes:

Trainer Jinks Fires sent Archarcharch, fourth in the Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 17 as the favorite, back to the track for a workout Tuesday. The Arch colt breezed five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 as he prepares for a possible start in the Feb. 21 Southwest Stakes (G3). Also working for Fires was Posse Cat, a possible starter in Saturday’s $50,000 King Cotton Stakes, who breezed five furlongs in 1:03 4/5.

Trainer Bill Martin reported that the American Beauty winner Stephanie Got Even, who he co-owns with brothers Joe and Tim came out of her race well, but they will give her some time before deciding where she will start next. The American Beauty was the 4-year-old filly’s fifth consecutive win and first stakes victory. The Martins, who are natives of Hot Springs, are from a family of five boys and five girls. The filly is named for one of their nieces, Stephanie