Tyler’s Tribe schooling in the Keeneland paddock ahead of the Breeders’ Cup (Coady Photography)
Hartman Closing in on Single-season Best for Victories
Bailey Reaching Her Goals at Oaklawn
Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates
HOT SPRINGS, Ark.— Iowa-bred sensation Tyler’s Tribe is being pointed to the inaugural $200,000 Hot Springs Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 mile April 1 at Oaklawn, the gelding’s co-owner/trainer, Tim Martin, said Thursday morning.
Tyler’s Tribe is unraced since a third-place finish in the $150,000 Advent Stakes for 2-year-olds at 5 ½ furlongs Dec. 9 at Oaklawn. The multiple stakes winner received approximately a month off after he bled through Lasix during the race, Martin said.
Tyler’s Tribe moved closer to his 3-year-old debut by recording a 5-furlong bullet workout (:59.40) over a fast track Thursday morning under regular rider Kylee Jordan. It was the gelding’s fourth work since his break.
“He’s been great all along,” Martin said. “No problem. Last time, clear, clean, no blood, no mucus. I’m working him on Lasix, obviously, but he’s been good so far.”
Tyler’s Tribe, who breezed alone immediately after the surface renovation break, recorded splits of :12 for his opening eighth of a mile, 23.80 for a quarter-mile and :35.80 for 3 furlongs before galloping out 6 furlongs in 1:12.20 and 7 furlongs in 1:26.80.
Following the work, Martin said the Hot Springs is the target for Tyler’s Tribe, who won his first five career starts, all dirt sprints at Prairie Meadows in Iowa, by a combined 59 ¾ front-running lengths before being eased after bleeding in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) Nov. 4 at Keeneland.
Although the use of race-day Lasix is prohibited in the Breeders’ Cup, Tyler’s Tribe will be able compete on the anti-bleeder medication in the Hot Springs. Tyler’s Tribe has never raced around two turns.
“Kind of what I’m pointing to,” Martin said of the Hot Springs. “You never know, but you can change your mind. I think it will be easier on him. I’ve always thought he can go long. Matter of fact, the first time I ran him at Prairie Meadows, I told Kylee that I thought that 4 ½ furlongs is short and the horse is going to be a route horse. He can run short, too, but everything indicates he can go a distance.”
From the first crop of millionaire Grade 1 winner Sharp Azteca, Tyler’s Tribe has a 5-0-1 record from seven lifetime starts and earnings of $320,169. A $34,000 yearling purchase, Tyler’s Tribe is a four-time stakes winner for Martin and co-owner Thomas D. Lepic.
The Hot Springs closed March 17 with 44 nominations. Post positions will be drawn Monday.
Hart to Hart
Trainer Chris Hartman has already smashed his previous single-season record for purse earnings at Oaklawn. Now, Hartman is closing in on his single-season best for victories during the 2022-2023 meeting.
Through Sunday, Day 46 of the scheduled 68-day session, Hartman had compiled a sparkling 30-19-13 record from just 93 starters and purse earnings of $1,840,263. Hartman was tied for second in victories with Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen – he had a staggering 250 starters at the meet through Sunday – and ranked third in purse earnings.
Hartman was Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2015 with 34 victories (also a personal best in Hot Springs. His previous best for purse earnings ($1,157,737) came during the 2021-2022 meeting.
“It’s been a blessed meet,” Hartman said Thursday morning. “There’s no other way to describe it. Everything’s been falling our way. I mean just little things, like weather. One of those blessed meets.”
Hartman recorded his 215th career Oaklawn victory with late-running Tejano Twist in last Saturday’s $200,000 Whitmore Stakes (G3) for older horses at 6 furlongs. Hartman also sent out the third-place finisher in Edge to Edge.
The Whitmore was the final major local prep for the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) at 6 furlongs April 15. Hartman said Tejano Twist and Edge to Edge both exited the Whitmore in good shape physically and would be pointed to the Count Fleet, a race the trainer won in 2015 with Alsvid.
Hartman is scheduled to start Klassy Bridgette, the first three-time winner at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting, in Saturday’s $150,000 Purple Martin Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 6 furlongs.
Hartman saddled his first career Oaklawn winner in 2007. He began wintering regularly in Hot Springs in 2013.
Bailey Reaching Her Goals at Oaklawn
Jockey Chel-c Bailey set several goals when she launched her riding career as a 20-something apprentice in 2019.
Bailey, among other things, wanted to win 100 races overall. That likely will happen since she’s at 61 and counting following her first career victory Tuesday at Will Rogers Downs. Bailey wanted to win a race at Emerald Downs in her home state of Washington. That could still happen. Bailey wanted to win a stakes race. That has happened.
Bailey checked off one of her most cherished bucket list items March 4 at Oaklawn when Summer Shoes ($6.40) captured the $150,000 Downthedustyroad for Arkansas-bred female sprinters.
Bailey, Oaklawn’s champion apprentice at the 2021-2022 meeting, made her stakes debut in last year’s Downthedustyroad, finishing fourth aboard Richness for trainer Tom Swearingen.
Swearingen also trains Summer Shoes, who is 4 for 4 against state-breds after a front-running 1 ½-length victory over Kaboom Baby in the 6-furlong Downthedustyroad. Connie K, the 2022 Downthedustyroad champion, was another 2 ¼ lengths farther back in third.
“I set realistic goals that can really happen,” Bailey said. “Winning a stakes race was near the top of the list, especially since I see a lot of other girls, depending on what agent that they have, they get more opportunities at certain tracks in stakes. It’s one thing when you’re on a stakes horse that somebody just wanted to put in there and he’s 30-1 and then it’s another thing when you’re actually on one that has a legit shot and chance that you’ve been on and earned the chance. For me, it was well earned.”
Bailey has ridden Summers Shoes throughout her six-race career. Her four career victories – all at Oaklawn – include a front-running three-quarter length decision over Connie K in a Dec. 30 starter/optional claiming sprint. Summer Shoes prepped for the Downthedustyroad, her stakes debut, with a third-place finish against open company in a Jan. 29 first-level allowance sprint.
“When I won the race earlier in the season against Connie K, that was a huge confidence booster,” Bailey said. “I ride all the races the same. I don’t care if it’s $1,000 or $100,000, I want a win picture. I want to win for the owner, for the trainer, for the hard work that barn puts into it. Definitely exciting because it was a stakes race. It’s a big deal and accomplishment. Who’s to say I’ll ever get the same opportunity again.”
Swearingen credited Bailey and her husband, David Kembrey, for the development of Summer Shoes. Bailey began breezing Summer Shoes before her Oct. 16, 2021, career debut at Hawthorne. Kembrey, who is Swearingen’s right-hand man, also gets on the 5-year-old daughter of Commander’s Shoes in the morning.
Swearingen said Summer Shoes had been a handful as a young horse and wasn’t broken until she was 3.
“Chel-c’s worked with her and her and Chel-c are like peas in a pod,” Swearingen said. “They just blend together beautifully and they’ve been a big success for each other. I couldn’t be any happier for Chel-c. Chel-c’s a great little gal and she works real hard. I’m just glad that she got this opportunity.”
Bailey, who became a journeyman last fall, had finished sixth and seventh in her only other stakes races. Both were last year. She entered Thursday with 61 career victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization, including 36 at Oaklawn. Bailey recorded her first career victory aboard Burtnjoe Feb. 28, 2020, at Oaklawn. She won 22 races last season at Oaklawn to lead all apprentice riders and had 10 victories through Sunday at the 2022-2023 meeting.
The last female jockey to win a stakes race at Oaklawn had been the now-retired Rosemary Homeister Jr. in the $400,000 Fantasy (G3) in 2015.
Swearingen said Summer Shoes will be considered for the $150,000 Natural State Breeders’ Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares at 1 mile May 4 at Oaklawn. Summer Shoes, who has never raced around two turns, had been scheduled to make her stakes debut in the 2022 Natural State Breeders’ but was scratched because “she just didn’t seem right,” Swearingen said.
Summer Shoes has a 4-1-1 record from six-lifetime starts and earnings of $285,050. She is owned by John Carver.
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen recorded a double last Sunday, pushing his career Oaklawn victory total to 850. Only the late Bob Holthus (867) has more career training victories at Oaklawn. Asmussen won the fourth race with Tribal Spirit ($6.40) and the sixth race with Allege ($9.80). … Leading rider Cristian Torres rode three winners last Sunday. Torres won the third race aboard Cosmo ($10.20) for trainer Robertino Diodoro, fifth race aboard favored Atta Party ($5.20) for trainer Miguel Angel Silva and the seventh race aboard favored Saqeel ($5.80) for Diodoro. He is named on five horses Saturday at Fair Grounds, including Cagliostro for trainer Cheri DeVaux in the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2). “It’s going to be a great experience,” Torres said Thursday morning. Torres will be riding Cagliostro for the first time in the major Kentucky Derby prep. DeVaux recorded her first career Oaklawn victory with Shotgun Hottie (ridden by Torres) in a $105,000 allowance race March 12. … Millionaire multiple Grade 2 winner Lone Rock worked 6 furlongs in 1:14 last Sunday in advance of his scheduled 2023 debut in the $150,000 Temperence Hill Stakes for older horses at 1 ½ miles April 2 at Oaklawn. Lone Rock won the 2022 Temperence Hill and finished second in 2021 for Diodoro, Oaklawn’s leading trainer this season. … Favored Effortlesslyelgant ($4.20) won last Sunday’s eighth race, a $104,000 entry-level allowance for 3-year-old fillies, to move trainer Norm Casse’s record to 13 for 30 at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting and 18 for 51 overall the last two seasons. … Post positions for the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) and $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) will be drawn Sunday. Both races are April 1.