At the post

Posted: February 9, 2018 at 2:10 a.m.

Jim Byers

DAY 15 of 57

ESTIMATED ATTENDANCE 2,750

TOTAL HANDLE $2,726,801

ON-TRACK HANDLE $222,286

OFF-TRACK HANDLE $2,504,515

TODAY'S SIMULCAST SCHEDULE Gulfstream Park, 11 a.m.; Laurel Park, 11:30 a.m.; Tampa Bay, 11:35 a.m.; Aqueduct, 11:50 a.m.; Fair Grounds, 1 p.m.; Golden Gate, 2:45 p.m.; Santa Anita, 3 p.m.; Penn National, 5 p.m.; Turfway Park, 5:15 p.m.; Delta Downs, 5:40 p.m.; Charles Town, 6 p.m.; Daytona Beach (greyhounds), 6:25 p.m.; Derby Lane (greyhounds), 6:30 p.m.; Sam Houston, 7 p.m.

BYERS ON THE CALL

The voice of Lone Star Park will be the voice of Oaklawn, at least for a few days. Jim Byers is scheduled to call cards today, Saturday and Sunday while Vic Stauffer tests his handicapping skills in the 19th NTRA National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas.

Stauffer, a noted tournament handicapper, is in his second year as Oaklawn's track announcer. Byers, track announcer the last two years at Lone Star Park, had been filling in at another Texas track, Sam Houston Race Park.

Stauffer is scheduled to resume his Oaklawn duties Thursday.

WILBO'S WORLD

Wilbo did what his more heralded former stablemate couldn't -- he won the $125,000 King Cotton Stakes on Saturday for older sprinters.

It was the second Oaklawn stakes victory for trainer Chris Hartman, who was runner-up in the King Cotton four consecutive years (2013-2016) with millionaire Alsvid.

Wilbo, a 6-year-old gelded son of Candy Ride, was exiting a victory in the Jan. 14 allowance prep for the King Cotton. In both races, Wilbo toppled the popular Ivan Fallunovalot, who is nearing $1 million in career earnings.

HIGHER POWER UPDATE

Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said Thursday morning that his promising 3-year-old, Higher Power, should return to the track today after missing approximately a week of training because of a minor illness, a setback that cost the son of Medaglia d'Oro any chance of running in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes on Feb. 19.

A half-brother to Alternation, the Von Hemel-trained millionaire and 2012 Oaklawn Handicap winner, Higher Power is unbeaten in two starts around two turns, including a three-quarter length decision in an entry-level allowance/optional claimer at a mile Jan. 13.

Higher Power recorded a 5-furlong work Jan. 26, but didn't breeze last week after developing a temperature.

GETTING CLOSE

Cresran LLC's Miz K is scheduled to make her 3-year-old debut in a Feb. 19 entry-level allowance/optional claiming sprint, trainer Steve Hobby of Hot Springs said Thursday morning.

Miz K boasts one of the strongest pedigrees on the grounds, being by super sire Tapit out of Grade 1 winner Tiz Miz Sue, a daughter of 2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow who captured Oaklawn's Azeri Stakes in 2013 and 2013.

Hobby said Miz K would have been a candidate for two turns in her 2018 debut, but a Feb. 22 condition book race (an entry-level allowance/optional claimer for 3-year-old fillies) is 1 1/16 miles.

FINISH LINES

Nominations for the Feb. 17 $150,000 Bayakoa Stakes for older fillies and mares and the Feb. 19 $500,000 Southwest Stakes for 3-year-olds and $500,000 Razorback Handicap for older horses close today. ... Eventual Horse of the Year Gun Runner won last year's Razorback in his 4-year-old debut. Among the locally based horses pointing for the 1 1/16-mile Razorback are multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Far Right for trainer Wayne Catalano and Leofric for trainer Brad Cox. Far Right, then with trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, won the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and $300,000 Southwest Stakes in 2015 before running second to eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the $1 million Arkansas Derby.

Information for this report was contributed by the Oaklawn media department.

Steve Hobby

Sports on 02/09/2018