Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Saturday, May 11, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/11/2013 #

In Today’s Notes: Locally-Based Street Spice out of Preakness; Geier Gears up Stable Stars; Ioya Works Bigtime; A Family Affair Friday Late Double

Jim Tafel’s highly regarded Street Spice, a well-bred son of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense previously considered for the Preakness Stakes, has now been ruled out of the second jewel of the Triple Crown by trainer Greg Geier.

After a solid five-furlong work on the Arlington International Racecourse Polytrack in 1:01.00, Geier reported “He worked very well and came back fine.  Every day he gets better.

"We are not going to the Preakness.  I’m not sure what we’re going to do, but we’re not going there.  There’s nothing wrong with him.  He’s just not quite seasoned enough yet, and it’s a tough race,” Geier explained.  “Street Senses take a little bit of time, and he’s just a big kid right now.”

After running a troubled fifth in the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course and progressing in his speed figures with every race, it was foreseeable that Street Spice had a solid chance to hit the board at Pimlico.  Geier further explained the decision, “He’s getting better every time, but he hasn’t grown up yet.  I just put blinkers on him, and he’s getting used to them – getting a little more focused on what he’s supposed to be doing.  We will just take it from here.”

As far as what the future may hold for the Arlington-based trainee, prospects look promising.  “We’ll look at races here, as well as the Matt Winn (Stakes) down at Churchill and the Iowa Derby (at Prairie Meadows).  He could be a good one,” Geier stated with confidence.

Trainer Greg Geier’s other stable stars include Street Spice’s half-brother All Stormy, who is on target for the Grade III $150,000 Hanshin Cup on May 25.  First or second in eight of 17 starts on all three surfaces, Jim Tafel’s versatile All Stormy worked a bullet in 1:01 on May 8.

“He’s doing very well.  We are going to run in the Hanshin, I think, and go from there.  He has trained awfully good on the Polytrack here,” Geier elaborated.  Last year, the 4-year-old spitting image of his sire Stormy Atlantic lost a heartbreaker at the wire in the American Derby after leading throughout.

Jim Tafel’s Illinois Derby runner-up Fordubai is being pointed toward Arlington’s Mid-America Triple, beginning with the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Classic on May 25.  The handsome and quickly improving dark bay surprised many when he finished second to Preakness contender Departing on only one six-furlong allowance race in 18 weeks. 

“He’s great.  We’re going to run him in the Arlington Classic if everything goes as planned.  He broke his maiden on the turf, and ran well on the Polytrack here.  He ran huge last time – they were both training good, but he was training a little bit better (than Street Spice),” Geier stated. 

“He’s a nice athletic and compact horse, and from the day I got him he was smarter than most,” Geier elaborated.  “We’re excited about him.” 

Arlington favorite and reigning Illinois-bred Horse of the Year Ioya Bigtime returned to the worktab in a big way this morning, firing a bullet for five furlongs in :59.40 under regular rider Jeffrey Sanchez.  The Team Block homebred’s time was .60 faster than the second-fastest work, which happened to be his stakes-placed Arlington Classic-bound stablemate Bambazonki.

Outworking thirty horses including multiple stakes winning Willcox Inn, the aforementioned Street Spice and highly regarded I O Ireland, Ioya Bigtime is being pointed toward a busy summer.  “He worked really good and came out of it well.  He is being pointed toward the Louisville Handicap at Churchill,” explained trainer Chris Block.

After that 12-furlong Grade III fixture, Ioya Bigtime is being aimed toward the second edition of the $400,000 Arlington St. Leger on Arlington Million Day – a race in which he finished second in 2012’s inaugural edition.  Block added that I O Ireland is on track for her next start in the June 1 $100,000 Purple Violet Stakes. 

Brothers Gary and Richard Scherer took down the late double yesterday in the eighth and ninth races at Arlington.  Nolangrant’skitten, overlooked at nearly 14-1, easily took a starter allowance on the turf for Gary, who also co-owns the chestnut gelding with Winchester Place Thoroughbreds.  The nightcap was won by Ha Long Bay, a slight favorite at 3-1, who won just as easily for trainer Richard Scherer and the patriarch of the family, Merrill Scherer.