Shedaresthedevil Returns to the Work Tab

February 3, 2022

Millionaire multiple Grade 1 winner Shedaresthedevil, among three finalists for an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion older dirt female of 2021, returned to the work tab last Sunday at Fair Grounds, covering 3 furlongs in :36.20 for trainer Brad Cox and co-owner Staton Flurry of Hot Springs.

Cox reiterated Tuesday afternoon that Shedaresthedevil’s first 2022 target remains the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) at 1 1/16 miles March 12 at Oaklawn. Shedaresthedevil opened her 2021 campaign with a victory in the Azeri, holding off expected Eclipse Award winner Letruksa by a head under regular rider Florent Geroux. 

“It was a good move,” Cox said, referring to Sunday’s breeze. “Pointing for the Azeri. I think it’s going to be a realistic goal to get to the Azeri. Obviously, it’s a prep for the Apple Blossom.”

Shedaresthedevil hasn’t started since a sixth-place finish in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) Nov. 6 at Del Mar. Shedaresthedevil, as a racing/broodmare prospect, sold for $5 million at Fasig-Tipton’s Fall Mixed Sale Nov. 9, but her new connections decided to keep her in training with Cox for a 2022 racing campaign. 

Flurry said the 5-year-old daughter of Daredevil received a 30-day break following the Breeders’ Cup and was in light training at new co-owner Mandy Pope’s farm in Florida before returning to Cox in early January at Fair Grounds.

“They had her in Ocala, Mandy Pope’s team did, and she came back and looked amazing,” Cox said. “She looked as well as she’s ever looked, so I’m excited about getting her started this year and hopefully make her presence felt in some Grade 1s throughout the year.”

The Azeri is the final major local prep for the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at 1 1/16 miles April 23.

In addition to the Azeri, Shedaresthedevil won the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies in 2020 at Oaklawn before capturing the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) later that year at Churchill Downs. She was a finalist for an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2020.

Shedaresthedevil has bankrolled $2,331,458 after winning 9 of 17 career starts. She is a three-time Grade 1 winner.

Big Ben

Ben Diesel will be considered for the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds Feb. 26 at Oaklawn following a rebound performance in last Saturday’s Southwest Stakes, trainer Dallas Stewart said Wednesday afternoon.

A homebred for Willis Horton of Marshall, Ark., Ben Diesel drew post 14 for the $250,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 1 and faded to seventh after dueling through quick early fractions in the 1-mile race contested over a sloppy track. Ben Diesel broke from the rail in the $750,000 Southwest (G3) at 1 1/16 miles and finished third, beaten 2 ¾ lengths by heavily favored Newgrange, under regular rider Jon Court.

“It was a step forward,” Stewart said. “Of course, we had the 1 hole this time. Last time, we had the 14. It didn’t turn out to be as challenging as I thought it could have been. I thought Court did a good job (in the Southwest). Got him to settle and made a nice move in the stretch, so all in all I will say it’s a step forward. That’s what we’re looking for with these 3-year-olds at this time of the year.”

The Smarty Jones and Southwest were Oaklawn’s first two Kentucky Derby points races, each offering 17 to the top four finishers (10-4-2-1, respectively) toward starting eligibility for the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Oaklawn’s Kentucky Derby points series continues the Rebel at 1 1/16 miles and the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at 1 1/8 miles April 2. The Rebel is an 85-point race (50-20-10-5) in the Kentucky Derby qualifying series.

“We hope to look at the Rebel,” Stewart said. “The end game is the Arkansas Derby.”

Ben Diesel, a full-brother to multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Will’s Secret, has three points to rank 24th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard released Sunday by Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 starters, with starting preference based on horses with the highest point totals earned in qualifying races like the Smarty Jones and Southwest.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who won the Southwest with unbeaten Newgrange, said he would “definitely have something for the Rebel,” a race he’s won a record eight times. Smarty Jones and Southwest runner-up Barber Road is likely headed to the Rebel, trainer John Ortiz said. Smarty Jones winner Dash Attack, who finished fifth in the Southwest, “definitely” will be considered for the Rebel, trainer Kenny McPeek said.

Ten Strikes with Schultz

Ten Strike Racing of co-founders Marshall Gramm and Arkansas native Clay Sanders already have six victories, solely or in partnership, at the 2021-2022 meeting that began Dec. 3. 

One is different for the nationally prominent ownership entity, which offers fractional shares of horses to investors.

Capture the Glory’s Jan. 8 victory represented the first for trainer Lindsay Schultz, who went out on her own late last year after previously working under Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. Ridden by Francisco Arrieta, Capture the Glory ($36.80) won the 1-mile race for older $10,000 claimers by 3 ¼ front-running lengths. It was Schultz’s 10th career starter.

“I thought the race set up well for him, but the horse had run last his last two starts, so I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence,” said Schultz, who reached the career milestone at 33. “But definitely, I was happy with the spot.”

Schultz’s victory came roughly 21 months after another former McGaughey assistant, Reeve McGaughey, recorded his first career training victory at Oaklawn. Reeve McGaughey is Shug McGaughey’s son.

Schultz attended the University of Louisville’s Equine Industry Program with future trainers Jason Barkley, Will VanMeter and Bentley Combs. Schultz’s college roommate and close friend, Liz Crow, is another EIP graduate. Crow is now a noted bloodstock agent and Ten Strike’s racing manager.

After graduating from Louisville in 2010, Schultz had a two-year internship in Darley’s Flying Start management training program, was a longtime assistant under Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer Tom Proctor and managed famed Glen Hill Farm in Florida before going to work for McGaughey in the fall of 2020.

After deciding to go out on her own, Schultz began building her stable through claims. She took Capture the Glory for $10,000 out of an Oct. 17 victory at Keeneland and the gelding’s Nov. 12 appearance at Churchill Downs represented Schultz’s first starter after leaving McGaughey.

Schultz had a brief business relationship with Ten Strike in late 2017, but considers Capture the Glory her first true starter. Schultz had two fast-closing near misses in December at Oaklawn, finishing third, beaten three-quarters of a length, with Glamour Girl and second, beaten a neck, with Ultimate. Schultz broke through with the aptly named Capture the Glory, a wire-to-wire winner.

“I said, ‘Go the lead’ and then we talked about something else the rest of time,” Schultz said, referring to her pre-race conversation with Arrieta. “But look, he’s a good rider, he’s a good jock. That horse set up perfectly for him.”

Ten Strike considers Oaklawn its home track. Ten Strike’s other victories at the meet have come with the Combs-trained Well Spent, three with Warrior’s Battle and another with millionaire Warrior’s Charge, the latter two half-siblings trained by Brad Cox. Ten Strike owns Warrior’s Battle with Titletown Racing Stables (Paul Farr) and Warrior’s Charge with Madaket Stables (Sol Kumin).

Schultz began the Oaklawn meeting with seven horses, including six for Ten Strike. Five of Schultz’s 12 starters at the meeting have finished in the top four.

“Trying to put them where they belong, but it’s tough,” Schultz said. “It’s hard to win a race.”

Finish Lines

After the track was closed for training Thursday because of icy conditions, Oaklawn announced weekend live racing (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) was cancelled because of the severe winter weather. Those race dates will be brought back March 17, March 24 and March 31 (all Thursdays). Saturday’s $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles will be brought back as an 11th race Feb. 12. The $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses at 1 1/16 miles also will be run Feb. 12. … Trainer Brad Cox said multiple Grade 3 winner Shared Sense checked out fine physically after being pulled up by jockey Joel Rosario on the second turn of a Jan. 28 high-end allowance race at 1 1/16 miles. “Joel said he just didn’t show much interest in running, so he just didn’t ask him to do it,” Cox said Tuesday afternoon. “So, he kind of took himself out of the race. He seems fine, so we’ll press on.” Shared Sense was making his first start since a fourth-place finish in the $100,000 Tenacious Stakes at 1 1/16 miles Dec. 26 at Fair Grounds. … Abrogate was retired following an eighth-place finish in the $150,000 American Beauty Stakes for older female sprinters Jan. 22, owner Alex Lieblong said in a text message Wednesday afternoon. Abrogate won 4 of 9 career starts, including the $200,000 Purple Martin Stakes for 3-year-old filly sprinters at the 2021 Oaklawn meet, and earned $360,572. Lieblong, chairman of the Arkansas Racing Commission, said Abrogate was fine physically, but her form appeared to be declining. Lieblong said Abrogate will be bred to Maclean’s Music, who is also the sire of Favorite Outlaw, the owner’s promising 3-year-old and Jan. 29 maiden special weights graduate. Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen trained Abrogate and conditions Favorite Outlaw.

Oaklawn Park Press Release

Shedaresthedevil (CoadyPhoto)

@jonathanstettin Wonderful article! You’re a great ambassador for the game! We’ve been spoiled with elite equine athletes in recent memory.

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