Shortleaf Stable’s Gar Hole Looks To Defend Nodouble Title

March 3, 2023

In hand, Gar Hole takes last year’s Nodouble by five lengths (Coady Photography)

Oaklawn Park Press Release

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.— Defending champion Gar Hole is the even-money program favorite for the $150,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes for Arkansas-breds at 6 furlongs Saturday at Oaklawn.

Probable post time for the Nodouble, the ninth of 10 races, is 4:54 p.m. (Central). Racing begins at 12:35 p.m. The card also includes the $150,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes for Arkansas-bred female sprinters.

The projected eight-horse Nodouble field from the rail out: Big Success, Cristian Torres to ride, 119 pounds, 15-1 on the morning line; Bandit Point, Kelsi Harr, 119, 12-1; Twisted Dixie, Gabriel Saez, 119, 15-1; Rolling Fork, Kylee Jordan, 124, 20-1; Mrs. Beans, Isaac Castillo, 119, 5-2; One Ten Stadium, Rafael Bejarano, 119, 12-1; Gar Hole, Ricardo Santana Jr., 124, even money; and Navy Seal, Francisco Arrieta, 124, 5-1.

A homebred for Arkansas lumberman John Ed Anthony (Shortleaf Stable), Gar Hole overpowered several of Saturday’s scheduled opponents in the 2022 Nodouble, cruising to a five-length victory in stakes-record time (1:09.06).

Gar Hole returns to state-bred company after finishing fourth behind Grade 1 winner Gunite in the $150,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters Jan. 28 at Oaklawn. Gar Hole, who led turning for home under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, was beaten 6 ¾ lengths by Gunite, who covered 6 furlongs in a meet-best 1:08.89.

“Not disappointed at all,” said John Ortiz, who trains Gar Hole. “The results on the page look horrible. Obviously, we didn’t win or hit the board, but in the last jumps, two horses caught him at the wire. To run 1:08 in open company against Gunite, those were real horses. And Gar Hole is a real racehorse as well. That was a deep field.”

The speedy Gar Hole is reunited Saturday with Santana, who guided the 5-year-old Tekton gelding to his Nodouble victory and a sharp allowance score against state-breds Jan. 1 at Oaklawn.

Gar Hole tuned up for the Nodouble by working 3 furlongs in :36.80 Feb. 12 and a half-mile in :48 last Sunday.

“Obviously, we were trying to find a prep for him,” Ortiz said, referring to the King Cotton. “We had to give him a shot in open company one more time. I still think he ran a 1:10 in that race, so it’s not like he didn’t run or didn’t perform. Johnny V. said he was very pleased with him.”

Also returning from the 2022 Nodouble are Bandit Point, Mrs. Beans and Big Success, who crossed the finish line 3-4-8, respectively, behind Gar Hole. Navy Seal was an impressive state-bred allowance winner Feb. 5 at Oaklawn in his last start.

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