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Oaklawn Barn Notes | Sports & Recreation

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Oaklawn Barn Notes
Oaklawn Barn Notes


Dream Farm LLC’s Apprehender will put his two-race wins streak on the line when he faces just four rivals in Saturday’s $75,000 Hot Springs Stakes. The 6-furlong race will be his first start since winning the $60,000 King Cotton Stakes Jan. 26.


Apprehender, a Posse gelding, was one of the most impressive 3-year-old maiden winners at Oaklawn last year and tried to carry his speed a distance in the Southwest Stakes (G3), but quickly found his best distance is six furlongs. Other than the Southwest and one start on the synthetic track at Arlington Park, he has never been worth than third in his nine other career starts. The King Cotton was his first stakes victory.


“He’s been doing good,” said trainer Chris Richard. “He’s had a steady training schedule and breezing well. I think he’s going into the race in great shape. He’s coming off a little layoff but that was more because of the timing of the races than for anything else. With any horse, when you come off a layoff there’s some give and take to do enough in the morning to get them fit. It can be a fine line, but he’s run well off the layoff before and had some nice races like this, so it’s nothing I’m worried about with him. Each time you expect the races to get tougher. The Hot Springs is going to be tougher and then you expect the Count Fleet will get even tougher after that. It’s what you expect with races like this.”


Looking to turn the tables on Apprehender will be Laurie’s Rocket, who was third in the King Cotton and returned to win an allowance race Feb. 16 by three lengths over the King Cotton runner-up Alsvid. Last year, he also competed in the longer 3-year-old races before beating Apprehender in the $75,000 Bachelor Stakes at the six-furlong distance. He races for owner Willis D. Horton and trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who last week won the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) with Will Take Charge.


Making his first start at Oaklawn in the Hot Springs is Peachtree Stable’s Flashpoint, who turned a lot of heads as a 3-year-old when he won the 2011Hutcheson Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park by 7 ¼ lengths. After being well beaten in the 2011 Preakness Stakes, the Pomeroy horse returned to shorter distances with considerable success, although he is still seeking another major win. He most recently won the $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Stakes March 2 in his fourth start since returning from a one-year layoff.


Recent optional allowance winner Picko’s Pride and the horse that was second to him, Shrill, round out the field of five.


The complete field for the Hot Springs, in program order, with riders: Picko’s Pride, Ricardo Santana Jr.; Apprehender, Alex Birzer; Shrill, Eddie Martin Jr.; Laurie’s Rocket, Victor Lebron and Flashpoint, Louis Quinonez.