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DAY 14 of 57





TODAY'S SIMULCAST SCHEDULE Gulfstream Park, 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.; Gulf (greyhounds), 6 p.m.


Area, from one of the most productive female families in Oaklawn history, is scheduled to make her career debut in today's sixth race for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs and owners Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway. The 6-furlong race is for fillies and mares, 3 years old and up.

Area is a 3-year-old by 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and out of Isabell's Shoes, winner of the $50,000 Martha Washington Stakes in 2005 at Oaklawn for Patricia Blass of Little Rock.

Area is a half-sister to Isabell's Tiger, a Blass homebred who would represent her final Oaklawn starter after being claimed out of a career-debut victory at the 2017 meeting.

Alex Lieblong said he and his wife entered the business in the early 1990s, partnering with Blass on horses. Blass began phasing out her operation following the death of her husband, Gus, in May 2016. Area is the final horse Patricia Blass bred, according to her former racing manager, Pat Tanner.

"If you were writing a script, you couldn't write one better than this," Lieblong said.

The Lieblongs purchased Area for $140,000 last May at Fasig-Tipton's Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale.

Alex Lieblong said he already had Area's catalogue page folded when, coincidentally, a horse breezing at the sale caught his eye while watching in real time on a computer in his Little Rock office.

Lieblong said he then asked Moquett, who was at the sale, to look at the filly. It was Area.

"Of course, I already had the catalogue page turned down because I knew the family was so strong," Lieblong said. "It worked out perfect. She was a big girl. To go ask her to go something speedy, speedy an eighth of a mile, you weren't going to get that kind of show. You weren't going to get a dazzling burst of speed. But she looked like a freight train to me."

Lieblong is chairman of the Arkansas Racing Commission.

Straight Talk

Inside Straight is the 2-1 program favorite for the $30,000 Turf Paradise Handicap on Saturday at Turf Paradise, the 5-year-old Super Saver gelding's final scheduled start before shipping to Oaklawn, trainer Robertino Diodoro said.

Inside Straight, owned by Canadian Randy Howg, won the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap last April in Hot Springs.

"If everything goes right, you will see him here for at least one stakes appearance, if not two," Diodoro said. "But he will be coming."

The stakes races that Inside Straight would target, Diodoro said, are the $300,000 Essex Handicap on March 17 and the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 14.

Finish Lines

Georgia's Reward is the even-money program favorite for today's third race, an entry-level allowance sprint for Arkansas-bred fillies and mares. Georgia's Reward, a powerful maiden winner against state-breds Jan. 15, is using today's race, trainer Ron Moquett said, as a prep for the $100,000 Rainbow Miss Stakes on March 31, a 6-furlong race restricted to 3-year-old Arkansas-bred fillies. Moquett trains Georgia's Reward for Van Buren, Ark.-based JRita Young Thoroughbreds LLC.

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

Sports on 02/08/2018

Print Headline: At the post

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