Weekend Rewind: SoCal C Z Rocket wins Count Fleet Handicap over stalwart fan fav Whitmore

April 11, 2021

By My Standards hustles Rushie to win $400K Oaklawn Mile; Edgeway edged favored Frank’s Rockette in the $250K Carousel 

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—It was a happy homecoming for three horses on the Arkansas Derby undercard.

C Z Rocket, By My Standards and Edgeway, all previous winners at Oaklawn, returned to capture stakes races Saturday.

C Z Rocket ($6) was a two-length winner over champion Whitmore in the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) for older horses under Florent Geroux.

The Southern California-based C Z Rocket won for the seventh time in eight starts since trainer Peter Miller, on behalf of owner Tom Kagele, claimed the gelding for $40,000 last April at Oaklawn.

C Z Rocket’s only loss during that span was a runner-up finish behind Whitmore in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 7 at Keeneland. C Z Rocket returned to beat Whitmore in the $200,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 13 at Oaklawn and again in the Count Fleet. C Z Rocket, a 7-year-old City Zip gelding, has bankrolled $1,311,641 after winning 11 of 25 career starts.

“It’s a tremendous story,” said Miller, who was making his first trip to Oaklawn. “Really, Tom Kagele, my owner, picked him out, so I’ve got to give all the credit to Tom.”

Miller said he has “no idea” where C Z Rocket will resurface, but the year-end goal is a return to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, this time at Del Mar, the trainer’s backyard.

Count Fleet Replay

By My Standards ($6.80) beat favored Rushie by a nose in the $400,000 Oaklawn Mile for older horses under Gabriel Saez. By My Standards races for trainer Bret Calhoun and co-owners Allied Racing Stable LLC (Kentuckian Chester Thomas) and Spendthrift Farm.

By My Standards is a four-time Grade 2 winner, including the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap for older horses last May at Oaklawn. The son of 5-year-old son of Goldencents, who stands at Spendthrift, was making his first start since a seventh-place finish in the $500,000 Clark Stakes (G1) Nov. 27 at Churchill Downs. He was based this winter at Fair Grounds.

By My Standards’ other Grade 2 victories have come in the $1 million Louisiana Derby in 2019 at Fair Grounds, $400,000 New Orleans Classic Stakes in 2020 at Fair Grounds and the $400,000 Alysheba Stakes in 2020 at Churchill Downs.

“If you look at his record, he’s won all over the country,” Calhoun said. “He does not have to take his racetrack with him. He seems to adapt to wherever we take him. He’s just got a great mind and is a very good talent.”

Calhoun said the 2021 goal for By My Standards is a Grade 1 victory. The trainer said Oaklawn Mile is the first step in trying to get there.

“A lot of the Grade 1s aren’t until a little bit later in the year,” Calhoun said. “We’ll probably find ourselves going somewhere in the meantime. We just wanted to get this race under our belt and just kind of map out a schedule from there.”

Calhoun said next-race plans are pending for By My Standards, a career winner of $2,069,430.

Oaklawn Mile Replay

Edgeway ($4.60) beat favored Frank’s Rockette by three-quarters of a length in the $250,000 Carousel Stakes for older female sprinters.

Edgeway (4 for 6 overall) was making her first Oaklawn start since a five-length career-debut victory in February 2020. Edgeway, a 4-year-old daughter of Competitive Edge, has been based this year in Southern California with trainer John Sadler.

“This was really a good win for her today to get one under her belt,” said Sadler, who has a string at Oaklawn again this year. “Really good stakes win. She might even run on a little bit. I’m talking one time around two turns this year. Keep an eye on the fall. But so far, so good.”

Edgeway’s first career stakes victory pushed her career earnings to $307,200 for Sadler’s major client, Hronis Racing LLC (Kosta Hronis).

Carousel Stakes Replay

Finish Lines

Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel recorded his 972nd career Oaklawn victory in Saturday’s first race aboard favored Navy Seal ($5.60) for trainer Tom Swearingen. The maiden special weights sprint was for Arkansas-breds, 3 and up. Swearingen said Saturday afternoon that he will decide in the next two or three days whether Navy Seal will run in the $150,000 Rainbow Stakes for 3-year-old state-bred sprinters Friday at Oaklawn. Navy Seal, among nine horses entered, is a half-brother to 2015 Rainbow winner Weast Hill. Navy Seal collected an additional $5,580 (10 percent of the winner’s share of the purse) for winning without Lasix as part of Oaklawn’s Lasix-free Bonus Program. Jon Court entered Sunday with 699 career Oaklawn victories. Court is trying to become the sixth rider in Oaklawn history to reach 700 victories. Joshua Morales, Oaklawn’s leading apprentice jockey this year, became a journeyman Friday. Morales had eight victories at the meet through Saturday. 

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

Photo: C Z Rocket just gets the better of veteran Whitmore in the Count Fleet (Coady Photography)

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