(Jockey Chris Landeros / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Oaklawn Park Media Team / Robert Yates:

Among the new faces in Oaklawn’s 2023-2024 jockey colony is an old one – Chris Landeros.

Landeros hasn’t had a mount at Oaklawn since 2017, when he concluded a three-year stint as a regular with 56 victories, including five stakes, and top 10 finishes in the 2015 and 2016 standings. Landeros, 35, wintered in south Florida or Kentucky the previous five years.

“It’s nice to be back, to be honest,” Landeros said. “I missed it.”

Asked why he returned, Landeros simply said: “Scott Hare.”

Hare, a jockey agent from Hot Springs, brought Landeros from his native California to Texas in 2009, a collaboration that produced riding titles at Lone Star Park in 2009 and 2010. Hare brought Landeros to Kentucky in 2014 and to Oaklawn in 2015. Now, they’ve reunited almost a decade later.

“Kind of come full circle to get back together,” Landeros said. “It was a no-brainer (to come to Oaklawn) after that.”

Landeros is named on four horses Friday, opening day of Oaklawn’s 2023-2024 meeting, and five Saturday.

Landeros is named on five horses for 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman. Landeros and Hartman teamed to win the $300,000 G3-Count Fleet Sprint Handicap that year at Oaklawn with Alsvid.

Landeros is also named on horses for trainers Robbie Medina, Joe Sharp, John Ortiz and John Henry Prather of Hot Springs.

“Wide open,” Hare said. “We’re just here to try and ride some for everybody.”

Landeros, son-in-law of nationally prominent trainer Ian Wilkes, has 1,653 victories and $49,760,879 in purse earnings in his North American career, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. He rode his first winner in 2006.

Other riding newcomers this season at Oaklawn include two-time Eclipse Award winner Julien Leparoux, Emmanuel Esquivel, Martin Chuan and Carlos J. Hernandez.

Peitz Nears Milestone

Trainer Dan Peitz enters the 2023-2024 Oaklawn meeting with 437 career North American victories, including 99 in Hot Springs, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

Peitz’s first scheduled shot to reach triple digits at Oaklawn comes with Moenchanted (#1) in Friday’s second race, a $115,000 maiden special weight sprint for 2-year-old Arkansas-bred fillies.

A Little Rock, Ark., native, Peitz recorded his first career victory May 11, 1987, at Belmont Park. He saddled his first Oaklawn winner Feb. 11, 1994.

“I never have kept any track of any of my stats,” said Peitz, who came up under trainers Joe Cantey and Paul Adwell. “I just know I haven’t won that many races, period. Ninety-nine here, huh? That’s a lot of years for having only 99 wins.”

Peitz said he has 10 stalls this season at Oaklawn. His stable is headed by Arkansas-bred standout King Peanut, a 3-year-old Mo for the Money colt owned by Rick Christian of Benton, Ark. Christian also owns Moenchanted.

King Peanut made four starts last season at Oaklawn, whipping state-breds by seven lengths in his career debut and capturing the $150,000 Rainbow Stakes for 3-year-old state-breds. Both races were six furlongs. King Peanut, in his last start, finished second, beaten by a neck, in the $200,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Championship Stakes for state-breds at 1 1/16 miles last May at Oaklawn.

“He had a little issue and by the time we gave him enough time for the issue, it was like, ‘It’s time to turn him out,’ ” Peitz said. “And we were going to do that. We were just going to try to run him open a time or two before that.”

Peitz said King Peanut had a break of “six or seven weeks” in Kentucky before he resumed training in the fall.

Among potential upcoming local targets for King Peanut, Peitz said, are the $150,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes for state-breds at six furlongs March 2 and the $200,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Championship May 4. The 2023 Arkansas Breeders’ Championship marked King Peanut’s two-turn debut.

“The first time long, older horses, he ran well,” Peitz said.

Peitz is best known for his work with Grade 1 and multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Capote Belle for longtime clients Robert and Lawana Low of Springfield, Mo. They also teamed to finish second in the 2001 Kentucky Oaks (Real Cozzy) and third in the 2006 Kentucky Derby (Steppenwolfer).

Finish Lines

First post for Oaklawn’s opening-day program Friday is 12:30 p.m. (Central). … Kentucky-based trainer Robbie Medina is scheduled to send out his first career Oaklawn starter, Kava (#11), in Friday’s second race for all-time leading Oaklawn owner John Ed Anthony. …The Dec. 16 $200,000 Tinsel Stakes closed Saturday with 27 nominations. The Tinsel is for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles.