Back to the Races After Being Roughed Up
After competing in Oaklawn Park’s first two 2019 Kentucky Derby points races, Gray Attempt and Six Shooter return to sprinting in Saturday’s six-furlong Gazebo Stakes.
Gray Attempt, in his two-turn debut, was a front-running winner of the Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 25 for trainer Jinks Fires. Gray Attempt tried to stretch his speed 1 1/16 miles in the Southwest Stakes on Feb. 18, but he finished 11th after being banged around going into the first turn.
“He went into the race perfect. He didn’t come out of it perfect.” Fires said succinctly.
Fires said Gray Attempt emerged from Southwest with a hind-end problem – “no doubt” related to being bumped early in the race – and missed an opportunity to run in the Rebel Stakes last Saturday.
“He’s back doing good,” Fires said of the 8-5 Gazebo program favorite. “We’ll have to see what happens. We did miss some training with him and did some work on him. We had to ice him, whirlpool, epsom salt – we did it all.”
Earlier this week, Fires said the Gazebo will serve as a stepping stone to the Arkansas Derby for Gray Attempt.
Six Shooter finished fourth in both the Smarty Jones and Southwest for co-owner/trainer Paul Holthus of Hot Springs, who passed the Rebel to return the gelding to sprint races.
“The horse is doing real good,” Holthus said. “He’s enjoyed his freshening. Look forward to him running a big race.”
Six Shooter has raced twice at six furlongs, finishing third in his Sept. 20 career debut at Churchill Downs and breaking his maiden by 6 3/4 lengths on Oct. 17 at Indiana Grand.
“I think he’ll run three-quarters,” Holthus said. “I think he’ll lay as close as you need him to lay. He’s a pretty versatile little horse. He’ll lay close, come from behind, do whatever you need him to do.”
Nitrous cuts back to a sprint after winning the Riley Allison Futurity on Jan. 27 at Sunland Park for trainer Steve Asmussen. Asmussen saddled his dam, Speedinthruthecity, to win the Carousel Stakes in 2014 at Oaklawn.
Oncewewerebrothers makes his stakes debut after winning two races at the meet for trainer Jimmy DiVito.
Rounding out the field are Keesawah and Hidden Ruler.
Probable post time for the Gazebo, the ninth of 10 races, is 5:09 p.m. (Central). Doors open Saturday at 11 a.m., with first post 1:05 p.m. The infield will be open for the second time this season and will feature BBQ style food trucks and live music from the Brent Frazier Band.
The Gazebo field from the rail out
1 Keesawah, Richard Eramia to ride, 117 pounds, 15-1
2 Nitrous, Ricardo Santana Jr., 119, 5-2
3 Hidden Ruler, David Cohen, 117, 8-1
4 Oncewewerebrothers, Tyler Baze, 119, 5-2
5 Gray Attempt, Jon Court, 122, 8-5
6 Six Shooter, Stewart Elliott, 122, 6-1