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Horses test Oaklawn surface early

by Bob Wisener | November 19, 2021 at 3:55 a.m.

One of the fastest Arkansas-bred fillies at Oaklawn this year was on the track Monday when training opened.

Heated Argument popped a fast-rated half-mile in 49 seconds for local breeder/owner Linda Robbins' Starfish Stable. Exclusively raced at Oaklawn, the Tapiture filly won her Feb. 2 debut in the slop at 37-1 odds and placed third in the Rainbow Miss March 16. Produced by the Closing Argument mare Heated Debate, Heated Argument is a half-sister to Ministry, Oaklawn's 2017 Rainbow Miss and 2018 Downthedustyroad Breeders' winner.

The number of horses working at Oaklawn improved from 6 on Monday to 42 on Thursday. Racing begins Friday, Dec. 3 with the inaugural running of the $150,000 Advent, the first local stake for 2-year-olds since 1973. Nominations for the Advent and the next day's $150,000 Mistletoe for 3-year-old fillies closed Thursday.

Miniconjou, an unraced 2-year-old Mr Speaker colt, worked a "bullet" five furlongs in 59.60 seconds Thursday.

Other early workers included Arkansas-bred Bandit Point, a three-time local winner at the track for trainer Robert Cline, and Shotski, a Grade 2 winner and one-time Kentucky Derby hopeful for New York-based Jeremiah O'Dwyer.

Lone Rock, a Del Mar stakes winner on the Breeders' Cup undercard, is under consideration for the inaugural $200,000 Tinsel for 3-year-olds and up Dec. 18, trainer Robertino Diodoro said. The nine-furlong Tinsel is among four new races added to the track's 2021-22 stakes schedule to accommodate an expanded season (66 days) and December opening.

A two-time Oaklawn winner this year, Lone Rock became a racing millionaire with his Grade 2 victory in the $250,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Nov. 6. With Ramon Vazquez up, 6-year-old Lone Rock set a 1 5/8-mile track record (2:42.61). Winning six of eight races (all in 2021) since claimed for $40,000 last November at Churchill Downs, he scored a Grade 2 victory in the Brooklyn at Belmont Park June 5.


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