Arkansas-bred Gar Hole: Show Him the Money

March 9, 2023

Gar Hole winning the Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes March 5. (Coady Photography)

Another Double for Moysey

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—Could he be the one to break the seemingly unbreakable record? 

Gar Hole is more than halfway home after increasing his career earnings to $451,124 with a repeat victory in the $150,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes for Arkansas-bred sprinters last Saturday at Oaklawn.

A 5-year-old gelded son of Tekton for breeder/owner John Ed Anthony’s Shortleaf Stable, Gar Hole is the latest candidate positioned to try and eclipse Nodouble’s longstanding Arkansas-bred earnings record. Nodouble, from 42 starts in 1967-1970, bankrolled $846,749. 

“I think it’s remotely possible,” Anthony’s racing manager, John Gasper, said following last Saturday’s victory. “So far, he’s sound. So, all that’s good. If we can find the right spots for him, keep him short. I don’t think he’s a two-turn horse. I would like to try him on the grass. He’s a very fast horse.”

Gar Hole breezed to a five-length victory in last year’s Nodouble. Although he received the same Beyer Speed Figure (91), the gelding had to work harder as the heavy favorite last Saturday under Ricardo Santana Jr. Gar Hole ($2.80) easily made the lead and cruised to midstretch with a 3 ½-length advantage. He received right-handed encouragement late from Santana as the lead dwindled to 1 ½ lengths at the finish. Gar Hole covered 6 furlongs in 1:10 over a fast track. 

The Nodouble marked Gar Hole’s first start since finishing fourth against open company in the $150,000 King Cotton Stakes for older horses at 6 furlongs Jan. 28 at Oaklawn. Gar Hole, after leading in upper stretch, was beaten 6 ¾ lengths by Grade 1 winner Gunite. The winning time over a sloppy track was a meet-best 1:08.89.

“The last race took a lot out of him,” Gasper said. “He was a little flat today. But he got there today and, hopefully, we can now find a good spot for him.”

Trainer John Ortiz said he hopes Gar Hole can make at least one more start before the Oaklawn meeting ends May 6. The closing-day card features two stakes races – $200,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Championship for state-breds at 1 1/16 miles and the inaugural $150,000 Lake Hamilton for older horses at 6 furlongs.

“We still have plenty of time here at Oaklawn, so we’ll see what comes up in the next condition book,” Ortiz said. “He’s still got conditions and we’ll take it from there.”

Gar Hole has won 6 of 10 starts overall for Anthony, the Arkansas lumberman and winningest owner in Oaklawn history. Gar Hole has a 6-0-1 mark from nine starts at Oaklawn and earnings of $449,324. The Nodouble was Anthony’s 284th career Oaklawn victory.

Nodouble was the country’s champion older horse in 1969 and 1970. He had 13 career victories, including the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn, Met Mile at Belmont Park and the Santa Anita Handicap at Santa Anita.

Another Double for Moysey

Chelsey Moysey recorded her fourth career training double and first at Oaklawn when she saddled the winners of last Sunday’s second and third races.

Moysey won the second race with Fortibug ($32.40) for owner John Conforti and the third race with Empire Pass ($7.20) for owner Lewis Mathews of nearby Bismarck, Ark. Fortibug represented the 50th career victory for Moysey, 29, a former assistant under the now-retired Buff Bradley who saddled her first horse and winner in 2019.

“Never had two in a row,” Moysey said Thursday morning. “I’m still in shock that’s what happened.”

Moysey had previously recorded doubles Dec. 15, 2020, at Mountaineer; June 23, 2021, at Delaware Park; and Aug. 17, 2022, at Delaware Park. She also won two races Nov. 2, 2022 – one at Charles Town and one at Delaware Park.

Moysey had been 0 for 49 at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting before her double. Those 49 starts included six third-place finishes.

“Ride the wave – deep wave,” Moysey said. “Feel like I’m a surfer out in the middle of Hawaii right now. Just getting races to go and getting horses in the right spots has been a big challenge. Those two had every right to win. I have a couple of more before we leave that I think will be in a good spot.”

Moysey entered Thursday with 10 career victories at Oaklawn. She now has at least victory at the last four meetings. 

FINISH LINES 

Jockey David Cabrera recorded his 197th career Oaklawn victory aboard favored Classy Socks ($3.60) in last Sunday’s ninth race, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Cabrera was Oaklawn’s co-leading rider in 2021-2022. … 

Classy Socks was the second winner on last Sunday’s card for trainer Tommy Vance of Hot Springs. Vance, the son of four-time Oaklawn training champion David Vance, won the sixth race with Summer in Malibu ($6.40). … 

Summer in Malibu was the 726th career Oaklawn victory for jockey Jon Court. Court is the sixth-winningest rider in Oaklawn history. … 

Favored Whooping Jay ($7.20) won last Sunday’s fifth race to give Staton Flurry of Hot Springs his 97th career victory as a sole owner, according to Equibase. It was the 30th career Oaklawn victory for Flurry, whose Interstatedaydream is entered in Saturday’s $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. Tyler Baze rode Whooping Jay for trainer Karl Broberg. …

Two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox won two races last Sunday, pushing his career Oaklawn total to 280. Cox won the fourth race with favored Corona Bolt ($3.60) and the eighth race with favored Punchbowl ($4). Fair Grounds-based Florent Geroux rode both winners. Unbeaten Kentucky Oaks candidate Punchbowl (2 for 2) represented the 75th career Oaklawn victory for Geroux. Cox and Geroux were scheduled to team again in Thursday’s seventh race, a $103,000 entry-level allowance race for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, with unbeaten Triple Crown nominee Heroic Move. … 

Lynn Chleborad, the winningest female trainer in Oaklawn history, won last Sunday’s seventh race with favored Sacred Wish($5.80). Sacred Wish, who was ridden by Kylee Jordan, represented the 134th career Oaklawn victory for Chleboard. Ingrid Mason (129) is the second-winningest female trainer in Oaklawn history. … 

Jockey Rocco Bowen is scheduled to resume riding at Oaklawn Friday after missing last week to ride in his native Barbados. Bowen, through Sunday, had seven victories at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting. … 

Post positions for the $500,000 Essex Handicap (G3) for older horses at 1 1/16 miles and the $200,000 Whitmore Stakes (G3) for older horses at 6 furlongs will be drawn Monday. Both races are March 18. 

@jonathanstettin @EliteRacingNet Way To Go, outstanding Handicapping!

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