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Oaklawn Barn Notes | Sports & Recreation

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Oaklawn Barn Notes
Oaklawn Barn Notes

Brown Almighty Prepares to Answer Important Questions

Even before Brown Almighty headed into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last November as a top contender, the plan was to come to Oaklawn in 2013 to try the dirt and hopefully legitimize himself as a possible    Triple Crown contender. The first chance for the Big Brown colt to start working on those goals will be the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Monday, Jan. 21, the anchor of Oaklawn’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day card. On Monday, Dec. 31, he worked six furlongs in 1:16 over a fast track, his third since coming to Hot Springs.

“I actually haven’t seen any of his works there, but my assistant, Eddie Ruiz, says they’ve gone very well,” said trainer Tim Ice, who was en route to Oaklawn from Illinois Wednesday. “I’m really anxious to get there and see him. In my mind, he has two questions to answer. One, can he run on dirt, which I really think he can, and two, can he step it up? A lot of horses change between their two and three year old seasons and I’m really hoping he steps it up.”

Ice, who celebrated Christmas with his new daughter June and wife Jennifer in the Chicago area, was one of the fortunate trainers that was able to get his entire stable out of Hawthorne and into a private quarantine facility. After 28 days, all of his horses tested negative for the EHV-1 virus and will arrive at Oaklawn shortly before opening day, Friday, Jan. 11. Brown Almighty and a few other horses were not stabled at Hawthorne this fall and were never affected by the ban on horses coming from that track.

“I was fortunate to get them all out of there and that they’ve all tested negative,” said Ice. “I got lucky on all counts. We’re ready to get there. We’re looking at having a good meet.”


Rosemary Homeister Jr. Gearing Up for First Oaklawn Meet

Jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr., the second-leading female rider of all time behind only Julie Krone, knew that the best way to get her first Oaklawn meet off to a good start was to come to town early and work for as many trainers as possible. Coming off a solid third in the standings at Arlington Park and a top 10 finish at Hawthorne in 2012, Homeister Jr. has been in Hot Springs for over two weeks and on Wednesday worked several horses for various trainers.

“I’ve just come in with a positive attitude and my goal is to get the meet off to a sharp start,” said Homeister Jr. “Everyone wants to ride a winner. I give a lot of credit to my agent, Jay Fedor. I’ve probably worked horses for 10 or more different trainers.

“I really like it here. The people have been very welcoming, the track’s good and the horses I’ve been getting on have been top notch.”

Homeister Jr. joins an already deep riding colony headed by defending leader Cliff Berry, Terry Thompson and Calvin Borel. Among the other new faces are jockeys E.T. Baird, Victor Lebron, and Robby Albarado, who hasn’t ridden at Oaklawn regularly since 1997, when he was leading rider.

Casner Racing’s Grade 3 winner Endorsement continued preparations for his first start since the     Whitney Handicap (G1) at Saratoga last August, working one mile in 1:44 over a fast track Wednesday with Rosemary Homeister Jr. aboard. Endorsement is one of 15 horses that trainer Eoin Harty has sent to Oaklawn for the first time this meet … Cresran LLC’s Tiz Miz Sue, who received a breather following the Spinster (G1) at Keeneland last October, posted her second timed workout Wednesday, breezing three furlongs in 38 3/5. Trainer Steve Hobby said he was very pleased with the workout as he prepares the Tiznow mare to defend her title in the March 16 Azeri Stakes (G3).