Lynn Chleborad (Coady Photography)
Mott and Mott
Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates
HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—The yip yip is back at Oaklawn.
After briefly being headed by Ingrid Mason in the race for winningest female trainer in Oaklawn history during the 2021-2022 meeting, Lynn Chleborad used a late-season surge to regain the lead.
She did it on two good wheels.
Chleborad’s signature celebratory catchphrase, “yip yip,” had been squelched for much of last season’s meeting because of several health scares, including a digestive tract disorder and, ultimately, two shredded knees from decades of practicing her craft.
Chleborad, 67, underwent a double knee replacement in late February at CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs, a procedure performed by orthopedic surgeon Christopher Young, and didn’t return to her barn for six weeks.
“I had no ACL, no meniscus,” Chleborad said. “I was bone on bone. The guy told me that my knees were the worst knees that he’d ever done. If they weren’t the worst, tied for the worst. I had diverticulitis on top of it and anemia.”
Chleborad said she should have had surgery five years earlier, adding the worsening knee issues stemmed from her age and effects of working as an exercise rider and constant stooping to saddle horses after she began training in the 1980s.
“You know how you think you can kick the can down the road – just kick the can and go on?” Chleborad said. “Chris Young is the best. He is awesome. They told me, as bad as my knees were because I was so knock kneed, they didn’t know how I could walk. They told me I have full range of motion. I’m 2 inches taller. I’m 5-9 again. I look 5-9, don’t I?”
During her sabbatical from training, Chleborad’s stable was overseen by her longtime partner, trainer Gene Jacquot. Chleborad said she spent most of her recovery time at home in rehabilitation therapy.
“They did a great job,” Chleborad said. “They worked me hard. That therapy hurts, now.”
Chleborad entered the 2021-2022 meeting with a 126-121 advantage over Mason in the chase for the top spot among female trainers in Oaklawn history. Mason grabbed her first outright lead,127-126, with a victory March 18. Chleborad answered with her first victory of the meeting the following day and added five more victories in April to take a 132-127 lead over Mason entering the 2022-2023 meeting that is scheduled to begin Dec. 9.
“The weather got nice,” Chleborad said, referring to her push in the final days of the 2021-2022 meeting that ended in early May. “They are (horses) like me. When the weather gets nice, Lynn feels better.”
A Nebraska native, Chleborad showed horses growing up before entering the Thoroughbred industry. She worked for trainer Herb Riecken and galloped his Nebraska legend, Who Doctor Who, before taking out her trainer’s license.
Chleborad started her first horse and saddled her first winner in 1987, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. She had amassed 1,489 victories through Wednesday. Chleborad’s 1,000th career victory came March 14, 2014, at Oaklawn with The Rock Rolls for her major client, nationally prominent breeder/owner Allen Poindexter. It was her 93rd career Oaklawn victory. Chleborad saddled her first winner in Hot Springs in 1997.
“I love Lynn Chleborad,” Mason said. “I wish her nothing but good. She’s one of the people that I respect a lot on the racetrack.”
Chleborad will be looking to build on her success at Oaklawn with more horsepower in 2022-2023. Among the most promising runners in her projected 23-horse stable is stakes-placed Hartley, who hasn’t started since finishing sixth in the $225,000 Iowa Oaks (G3) for 3-year-old fillies July 9 at Prairie Meadows. Chleborad has been a force through the years at the Iowa venue, particularly with Poindexter state-breds.
“I’ve got more open horses,” Chleborad said of her Oaklawn contingent. “That helps.”
So do two good knees.
Mott & Mott
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said he will have five stalls at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting that is scheduled to begin Dec. 9.
The allotment coincides with Mott’s son, Riley, going out on his last month after working approximately eight years for his father. Riley Mott is scheduled to have a 25-horse string this season at Oaklawn. All horses for Bill and Riley Mott are to be housed in the same barn, Sunny’s Halo.
“I think having him here and having stalls here will make it easy for me,” Bill Mott said while at Oaklawn last week to spend Thanksgiving with his son. “He can help me out a little bit, if I ship something in.”
Bill Mott is based in south Florida during the winter. He was Oaklawn’s leading trainer 1986 with 35 victories. Both Bill and Riley Mott have horses for prominent North Little Rock, Ark., breeder/owner Frank Fletcher.
Bill Mott sent Frank’s Rockette, Fletcher’s millionaire female sprinter, to Oaklawn to win the $150,000 American Beauty Stakes in 2021.
Post positions for Dec. 9, opening day of Oaklawn’s scheduled 68-day 2022-2023 meeting, will be drawn Saturday. …
Barber Road, the 2022 Arkansas Derby runner-up, worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.20 over a fast track Wednesday morning at Oaklawn for trainer John Ortiz, who said he’s targeting its $200,000 Tinsel Stakes Dec. 17 for the 3-year-old’s comeback. Barber Road, unraced since June, worked in company with stablemate and multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Whelen Springs. Clockers caught Barber Road covering his opening quarter-mile in :24.60 and 3 furlongs in :36.80 before galloping out 6 furlongs in 1:14.40. Barber Road and Whelen Springs breezed immediately after the first surface renovation break. …
The opening-day $150,000 Advent Stakes for 2-year-old at 5 ½ furlongs closed Tuesday with 27 nominees, including projected starter Happy Is a Choice for Ortiz and Iowa-bred sensation Tyler’s Tribe for co-owner/trainer Tim Martin. A four-time stakes winner, Tyler’s Tribe worked a half-mile in :50.20 Nov. 25 at Oaklawn. …
Horses are on the grounds for trainer Lindsay Schultz, who recorded her first career victory at the 2021-2022 Oaklawn meeting. Schultz is a former assistant under Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. … Oaklawn’s new Mainline Sports Bar on the first floor adjacent to the main elevator opened Thursday.