Photo Courtesy Of NYRA
Oaklawn Park News
Jeremiah Englehart’s first career Oaklawn Park winner will try to become his first career Oaklawn stakes winner when the trainer sends out lightly raced Villainous in the $750,000 Southwest (G3) for 3-year-olds Monday.
The New York-based Englehart is wintering at Oaklawn for the first time and has two victories from five starters at the meet, the first being Jan. 24 maiden special weights graduate Villainous for owner Harold Lerner.
“So far, we’ve gotten off to a pretty good start,” Englehart said. “I’m probably about two weeks behind, like everything where I wanted them to be. I was kind of hoping we would be a little bit more ready for the first (condition) book, but it looks more like the second book with the majority of the other horses.”
Villainous, a Wicked Strong colt, will be making his third career start in the Southwest, a 1 1/16-mile event that is Oaklawn’s second of four Kentucky Derby points races. Englehart also sent out Belews Gold, a 3-year-old Goldencents colt, to win his Feb. 1 career debut.
Englehart has around 24 horses at Oaklawn, including Three Technique, runner-up in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 24 in his 3-year-old and two-turn debut. The 1-mile Smarty Jones is Oaklawn’s first Kentucky Derby points race. Owned by two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Parcells, Three Technique is pointing for the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14, Oaklawn’s final major prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11.
Critical Value, another promising 3-year-old for Englehart, has had two works this month at Oaklawn in advance of her 2020 debut. A homebred for Ten Strike Racing (Marshall Gramm and Clay Sanders), Critical Value won the $250,000 Maid of the Mist Stakes for New York-breds Oct. 19 at Belmont Park before finishing fourth against open company in her last start, the $250,000 Demoiselle Stakes (G2) Dec. 7 at Aqueduct.
Englehart said he was encouraged by Forty Under’s performance in his return to dirt in a tough Jan. 31 allowance race for older horses at 1 1/16 miles. A Grade 3 winner on turf, Forty Under made the lead under Channing Hill before being overhauled in the upper stretch and finishing third, beaten five lengths, by Grade 3 winner and millionaire Lone Sailor.
“I was pretty pleased with him,” Englehart said. “In talking to Channing before the race, I kind of wanted him to warm up good and ask him away from there, so he didn’t get shuffled back and get dirt. I didn’t really think he would handle the dirt, but I thought he handled it well. I’m going to give him another chance here and hopefully with the right race shape, he’ll improve off that first race.”
Forty Under, as a 2-year-old in 2018, won the grassy $200,000 Pilgrim Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park before finishing sixth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs. Forty Under is a son of Uncle Mo.