(Three Technique / Photo Courtesy of Oaklawn Park)
From the Oaklawn Park Media Team:
One of the leading local candidates for the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds March 14 recorded a sizzling workout in advance of the 1 1/16-mile race Saturday morning at Oaklawn.
Three Technique posted a half-mile bullet (:46) just after the surface renovation break for Jeremiah Englehart, who trains the Mr Speaker colt for two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm. The work under exercise rider Marquel Lemon was the fourth for Three Technique since his runner-up finish in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 24.
Breezing over a fast track with stablemate Wendell Fong, a stakes-winning older horse, Three Technique covered his first 3 furlongs in :34 and galloped out 5 furlongs in :59.20. Wendell Fong, who was on the inside during the work, was also credited with a half-mile in :46. He is being pointed to next Saturday’s Hot Springs Stakes.
“I wanted him to be a little bit sharper,” Englehart said of Three Technique. “It kind of surprised me how well they looked and how sharp they worked. I was really happy with that.”
Three Technique, favored in all five lifetime starts, was beaten 2 ¾ lengths in the 1-mile Smarty Jones, the colt’s stakes and two-turn debut. The Smarty Jones is Oaklawn’s first of four Kentucky Derby points races. Englehart elected to pass the second, the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 17, and bring Three Technique up to the Rebel off works, with Saturday’s breeze his major move for the race. There were 119 half-mile works recorded Saturday morning.
“I want to come back next week with something a little lighter,” Englehart said. “I worked him five-eighths last week and he did it real easy, so I wanted him to get something out of this work this week. Then I can have a nice, normal work next week.”
Englehart said a rider for Three Technique “is up in the air” because Irad Ortiz Jr., a two-time Eclipse Award winner as the country’s outstanding jockey, has committed to a horse for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert for the Rebel. Ortiz has ridden Three Technique in his last two starts. The jockey’s brother, Jose Ortiz, rode Three Technique is his first three career starts, but he is sidelined with a broken wrist.
“We’ve got a couple of different options,” Englehart said.
Rebel candidates Wells Bayou and Answer In, second and third, respectively, in the Southwest, posted half-mile works Saturday morning for trainer Brad Cox. Wells Bayou went in :49.20, while Answer In went in :48.60.
The Rebel will offer 85 points (50-20-10-5) to the top four finishers toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby. It is the final major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11.
Nominations to the Rebel close Thursday, March 5.
Options for Rita
Remembering Rita, a front-running allowance winner at 1 1/8 miles Feb. 21, will be considered for upcoming local stakes, trainer Doug Anderson of Hot Springs said Saturday morning.
One option, Anderson said, is the inaugural $125,000 Temperence Hill for older horses at 1 ½ miles on March 13.
“The way he ran the other day, I think he’ll love that distance,” said Anderson, who trains Remembering Rita for Jeral Keith Adams of DeWitt, Ark. “I really do. I think he can get out there and just play out there, you might say.”
Anderson said Remembering Rita is also a candidate for the $350,000 Essex Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on March 14. The Essex is a major local prep for the $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 18. Remembering Rita finished fourth, beaten just three-quarters of a length, in last year’s Oaklawn Handicap. The Feb. 21 victory was Remembering Rita’s first since an allowance score last March at Oaklawn.
“Kind of needed that a little bit,” Anderson said. “Good confidence builder. Don’t know for sure what we’re going to do, whether we run him in the Essex or not.”
Remembering Rita has a 5-4-6 record from 24 lifetime starts and earnings of $497,057. The son of Spring At Last won the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G3) in 2018 at Prairie Meadows.
Night Ops, who is pointing for the Essex, worked a half-mile in :48 Saturday morning for trainer Brad Cox.
Millionaire Grade 1 winner Whitmore worked a half-mile in :47.80 Saturday morning for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs in advance of the $150,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters March 7. Whitmore won the Hot Springs Stakes the last three years. … Mylady Curlinrecorded a 5-furlong bullet work (:59.80) for trainer Brad Cox in advance of the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles March 14. … Raggedy Annie, runner-up in a first-level allowance sprint Feb. 20, is under consideration for the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles March 7, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Saturday morning. … Next-race plans are pending for American Butterfly, seventh in the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds Feb. 17, Lukas said Saturday morning. … Recent arrival Blackberry Wineworked a half-mile in :48.20 Saturday morning for trainer Joe Sharp. Blackberry Wine, in his last start, finished seventh in the first division of the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds Feb. 15 at Fair Grounds. … Apprentice jockey Chel-c Bailey recorded her first career victory in Friday’s first race aboard Burtnjoe ($14.20) for trainer James Victor Hale. … Robertino Diodoro and Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, 1-2, respectively, in the trainer standings, each had two victories Friday. Diodoro won the second race with Corrana En Limen ($15) and the fourth race with Coal Truth($15.80). Asmussen won the sixth race with favored Gallant Plunger ($3.60) and the eighth race with Blue Moonrise ($8.80). Gallant Plunger’s victory came via a race-related disqualification (stretch interference). Diodoro entered Saturday with a 27-19 lead in the standings. … Champion Midnight Bisou finished second against males in the $20 million Saudi Cup, the world’s richest race, Saturday in Saudi Arabia. Midnight Bisou won the $750,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) and $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) last year at Oaklawn for Asmussen, a 10-time local training champion.