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Oaklawn juvenile stake draws 36 noms

by Bob Wisener | November 24, 2021 at 4:04 a.m.
Trainer Steve Asmussen waits to take Kentucky Derby hopeful Super Stock on the track at Churchill Downs on April 27 in Louisville, Ky. Asmussen broke the North American trainer victory record Saturday when Stellar Tap won the fifth race on Whitney Day at Saratoga Race Course. - Photo by Charlie Riedel of The Associated Press

To no surprise, Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen drew attention with four nominees to the first Oaklawn stake for 2-year-olds since 1973.

Stakes winner Concept and recent winner Classic Moment, both trained by the 11-time Oaklawn champion, are among the 36 possible for the $150,000 Advent Dec. 3 at six furlongs. Concept, by hot first-year sire Gun Runner, won the $75,000 Kip DeVille Sept. 28 at Remington Park and Classic Concept, by 2017 Arkansas Derby winner Classic Empire, beat maiden Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. Ron Winchell, who raced 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, owns a share in both horses.

Asmussen, North America's career-leading trainer in races won, scored his fourth Arkansas Derby victory in April with Super Stock, co-owned by his father, Keith.

The Advent, scheduled opening day, was one of four stakes added to accommodate the expanded 66-day schedule. The $150,000 Mistletoe Dec. 4 (fillies) and the $150,000 Poinsettia Dec. 11 are mile-and-sixteenth races for 3-year-olds. The $200,000 Tinsel, pitting older horses at nine furlongs, is Dec. 18.

Oaklawn's 3-year-old schedule begins with the $250,000 Smarty Jones Jan. 1, the track's first of four Kentucky Derby points races. The Grade 3 $750,000 Southwest, won this year by juvenile champion and future Belmont Stakes winner Essential Quality, is Jan. 29 and the Grade 2 $1 million Rebel is Feb. 26. Oaklawn tweaked the schedule and bumped the purse of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, now set April 2 (five weeks before Kentucky Derby 148) and carrying a $1.25-million purse.

Others possible for the Advent are Holy Justice, a two-time stakes winner against Indiana-breds for trainer Genaro Garcia, and Delta Downs stakes winner Unified Report for Dallas Stewart. The filly Bella Dona has won five of six on the Arizona-New Mexico circuit.

Chris Hartman has one to watch in Kavod, a Churchill Downs winner Saturday against $50,000 claimers and tagged by the 2015 Oaklawn training champion. His 2-year-old record includes four stakes appearances in New York.

Long-time master claimer David Vance nominated Charter Oak, a last-out winner at Churchill Downs he took off Brad Cox for $50,000.

Hall of Fame trainer Wayne Lukas, forever young at 86, nominated Ignitis, a Keeneland maiden winner by Kentucky Derby winner and champion Nyquist and half-brother to 2021 Oaklawn stakes winner Windmill.

Print Headline: Oaklawn juvenile stake draws 36 noms


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