Flash of Mischief, winning the Ring the Bell Stakes. (Coady Photography)
Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates
HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—Trainer Karl Broberg was Oaklawn’s co-fourth leading trainer last season with 27 victories. To get there, Broberg said on the eve of the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting, he had plenty of catching up to do.
“We started the meet 3 for 45,” Broberg said. “We won’t be starting it 3 for 45 this year.”
So far, so good for Broberg’s preseason prognostication. Among the winningest trainers in North American history, Broberg was 2 for 8 through the first three racing days at Oaklawn. One of those victories, Flash of Mischief in last Saturday’s $150,000 Ring the Bell Stakes, marked the biggest to date in Hot Springs for Broberg.
“We think we are set up for a slightly better meet,” said Broberg, who has 38 stalls at Oaklawn after starting 150 horses last season in Hot Springs. “And with any claiming operation, a lot of it’s going to depend on getting lucky on getting the right horses in the claim box. Hoping to improve on what we did last year.”
Broberg notched his first career victory at Oaklawn in 2011 and entered the 2022-2023 meeting with 137 overall. He was Oaklawn’s third-leading trainer in 2019 with 33 victories, helping M and M Racing (Mike and Mickala Sisk) establish single-season Oaklawn records by an owner for victories (61) and purse earnings ($1,782,351).
Flash of Mischief was Broberg’s second career Oaklawn stakes victory. He also won the restricted $100,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ in 2019 with Usual Suspect.
Flash of Mischief earned a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 103 for his Ring the Bell victory, just off his career-high 104 for a 6 ¼-length romp in the $150,000 David M. Vance Stakes Sept. 25 at Remington Park. Flash of Mischief won the Ring the Bell by 7 ¾ lengths. Both races were 6 furlongs.
Broberg said the major Oaklawn objective for Flash of Mischief is the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) for older horses at 6 furlongs April 15. The $150,000 King Cotton Stakes Jan. 28 and $200,000 Whitmore Stakes (G3) March 18 are the final major local preps for the Count Fleet. Broberg, who races extensively during the winter in Louisiana, said he plans to keep Flash of Mischief at Oaklawn under the care of assistant trainer Kevin Martin.
“As long as he comes out the way he generally does, that’s 100 percent the plan,” Broberg said, referring to the King Cotton. “I’m aware of the fact that each one of these sprints gets tougher as the meet goes on.”
Flash of Mischief, who races for his breeder, Texan Jerry Namy, has won 9 of 23 career starts and earned $774,901. A 4-year-old son of super sire Into Mischief, Flash of Mischief was exiting a ninth-place finish in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 5 at Keeneland. Broberg said Flash of Mischief’s long-term goal is the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Broberg has more than 4,500 career victories. He has eight horses entered this weekend at Oaklawn. Namy also campaigned millionaire multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Don’t Tell Sophia in partnership with trainer Phil Sims.
There are 10 races Saturday, including the $200,000 Tinsel Stakes and $150,000 Poinsettia Stakes. First post is 12:30 p.m. (Central). …
Keystone Field, winner of the $199,875 Claiming Crown Jewel at 1 1/8 miles Nov. 12 at Churchill Downs for trainer Mike Maker, finished second, beaten a neck, in a 1 1/16-mile allowance Dec. 11 at Oaklawn. The Jewel was the richest of eight starter-allowance races during last month’s annual Claiming Crown Championship Series, which matches the country’s top claiming horses. …
Jockey Isaac Castillo entered Friday with 23 victories over the last 16 racing days at Oaklawn. He debuted at Oaklawn last April. …
Stanley Roberts, the semi-retired/retired owner/trainer from Forrest City, Ark., finished second with Mo Wanna Go in the Dec. 9 nightcap at Oaklawn. It marked the first starter for Roberts (as a trainer) since April 19, 2020, at Oaklawn. Roberts’ Oaklawn stable at the last two meetings was run by his daughter, trainer Sherry Rhea. Roberts has 957 career training victories, including 193 at Oaklawn. …
“Oaklawn Raceday,” featuring David Longinotti, director of Oaklawn Anywhere, and Equibase representative Jeff Taylor, can be heard Saturdays 11 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (Central) during the 2022-2023 meeting on Little Rock, Ark., radio station KABZ-FM 103.7 and www.1037thebuzz.com. Trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs is this week’s special guest.