Two Eagles River sharp in victory Feb. 19 at Oaklawn Park (Coady Photography)
Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates
HOT SPRINGS, Ark.— Two Eagles River will make his next start in the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at 1 1/8 miles April 1 at Oaklawn, the gelding’s trainer, Chris Hartman, said Wednesday afternoon.
From the first crop of 2017 Preakness winner Cloud Computing, Two Eagles River will be returning to stakes company after a front-running four-length entry-level allowance victory over Disarm Feb. 19 at Oaklawn. Two Eagles River covered a mile in 1:37.10, just off the meet-best 1:36.86 set the previous day by Call Me Fast in an allowance race for older horses. Call Me Fast is entered in the $500,000 Essex Handicap (G3) for older horses at 1 1/16 miles Saturday at Oaklawn.
“He’s been working up a storm,” said Hartman, who was Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2015. “Horse is coming into hand pretty good right now. The decision to go here – I’m a little bit of a homer on that aspect. I would rather run him out of his stall than to haul him anywhere and do anything, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
Two Eagles River has a 2-2-1 record from five lifetime starts and earnings of $195,700 for Hartman and co-owners Mach 1 Racing and Scattered Acres LLC. The gelding was purchased for $220,000 at the OBS Spring Sale of 2-year-olds in training.
After winning his Oct. 30 career debut at Churchill Downs, Two Eagles River returned to finish second, beaten a neck by Victory Formation, in an entry-level allowance sprint Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs. Victory Formation won the $250,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 1 at Oaklawn in his next start. The 1-mile Smarty Jones was Oaklawn’s first of four Kentucky Derby points races.
Two Eagles River has made three starts at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting. He finished a troubled second in the inaugural $150,000 Renaissance Stakes for 2-year-olds at 6 furlongs Dec. 31 and third in his two-turn debut, a Jan. 14 entry-level allowance, before his sharp Feb. 19 victory.
Two Eagles River has recorded two swift workouts since his victory, including a 5-furlong bullet (:59) Tuesday morning.
“He’s working good, so we’re heading to the Arkansas Derby and see what happens,” Hartman said.
The Arkansas Derby will offer 200 points to the top five finishers (100-40-30-20-10, respectively) toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby. Post positions for the Arkansas Derby will be drawn March 27.
The Arkansas Derby is Oaklawn’s final Kentucky Derby points race.
Ain’t Life Grand, winner of the $300,000 Iowa Derby at 1 1/16 miles last July at Prairie Meadows, is scheduled to make his 4-year-old debut in Saturday’s seventh race at Oaklawn for trainer Kelly Von Hemel. The 1 1/16-mile allowance for older horses has a $106,000 purse. … Klassy Bridgette, the first three-time winner at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting, remains on track for the $150,000 Purple Martin Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 6 furlongs March 25, trainer Chris Hartman said Wednesday afternoon. Post positions for the Purple Martin will be drawn Monday. … Two-time Oaklawn allowance winner Mucho (colic) was recently euthanized, according to Sharilyn Gasaway, whose 4 G Racing campaigned the 7-year-old son of Blame with William Simon (WSS Racing). Mucho became a stakes winner for 4 G and WSS after being claimed for $80,000 in November 2020 at Churchill Downs by trainer John Ortiz. Mucho also finished second, beaten a neck, in the $150,000 Fifth Season Stakes for older horses at 1 mile in 2022 at Oaklawn. He had made two starts at 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting.