Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Sunday, May 12, 2013

Churchill Downs Communications | 05/12/2013 #

In Today’s Notes: La Tia Levels Allowance, To Aim for Beverly D.; Promising Sprinter Work All Week Impresses; Graham Grand Slams Saturday; Sanchez Suffers Fractured Clavicle, Broken Ribs in Saturday Incident

Hernandez Racing Club’s 2012 Arlington Oaks winner La Tia made her debut an impressive one on Saturday, scoring wire-to-wire in a solid allowance on Saturday at Arlington International Racecourse.  The graded stakes-winning daughter of City Place, a well-bred Storm Cat stallion, defeated a stakes-worthy field at an overlooked 8-1. 

Last year, in addition to her Oaks victory, La Tia romped in Arlington’s Purple Violet Stakes, finished a valiant one-length beaten fourth in the Hatoof Stakes on Million Day (her turf debut) and easily wired the field at Woodbine in the $150,000 La Lorgnette Stakes.  After an uncharacteristically poor performance in the Grade II Raven Run at Keeneland, in which she missed the break and was subsequently outpaced, the speedy filly was given seven months rest.

Despite the break and only making her second start on grass, La Tia was ready to go.    “She was ready a couple weeks ago, but we didn’t want to run her on the dirt – so we waited,” said victorious trainer Armando De La Cerda.  “We were confident she was fit because she worked six furlongs in 1:12 on the turf the other day.  But, with the soft turf, I wasn’t sure she would like it because she’s very heavy.” 

De La Cerda, who is in his first year of training on his own, was the assistant trainer for La Tia’s previous trainer, Brian Williamson.  After spending five years with Williamson, De La Cerda had the opportunity to go out on his own, and now may have himself his first stakes winner.

Though new to being the head of the barn, De La Cerda is anything but new to the game.  “I have been lucky enough to work for Noel Hickey, Mike Stidham, Moises Yanez and Brian Williamson,” said the trainer who is winning at an impressive 15% clip from just under 50 starters.  “I have been working horses for over 21 years.”

Such experience probably lends itself to both his record and credence in La Tia’s future.  “We will aim her toward the Illinois-bred stakes (June 15 $100,000 Lincoln Heritage Handicap) and then maybe the (Grade III Modesty Handicap) and the Beverly D.,” reported De La Cerda.

“She’s very smart now and a lot more mature.  She’s getting better and she came out of the race good.  She looked great today,” Armando said.  “The way she ran, after 7 months – we think she can run with the big fillies.”

Midwest Thoroughbreds’ homebred Work All Week literally made quick work of a promising group of allowance horses on Saturday.  In what was easily the most impressive performance of the card, the Roger Brueggemann trainee popped out of the gate nearly two lengths in front of the field and never looked back. 

Under a motionless Florent Geroux, Work All Week easily posted fractions of :22.03 and :45.07 before coasting home by over five lengths under a hand ride in 1:09.21.  Despite the ease of his victory, his 115 Equibase speed figure put him in a tie for 10th-fastest on the year for main track sprints in the nation.

Work All Week’s inexperience over synthetic courses and 11-post were never worrisome for bettors, as the gelding closed at 8-5 in what was only his fourth start.  This assurance may have had to do with the facts that his sire City Zip consistently produces solid synthetic runners and Work All Week’s opening quarter last out at Hawthorne Race Course was in an otherworldly :21.12.

According to Midwest Thoroughbreds’ General Manager Jim Miller, “Work All Week has impressed us each time out. He's lightly raced but keeps improving. Roger has done a fine job with him and as long as he comes out of that race well, we will point him to the state-bred sprint (June 8 $100,000 Addison Cammack Handicap) at Arlington next out.”

After uncharacteristically spending the first few days of his Arlington meet without a win, James Graham showed why he is one of the best with a fantastic four win day.  Graham’s big day was even better when you consider that none of his charges went off as the favorite and his mounts averaged $9.70 to win.

“It’s always good to be here at Arlington.  I like this place and it seems to like me,” said Graham, who finished second in last year’s standings with 90 victories and won the meet title in 2011.  Graham also finished second twice and third once on the day.

According to agent Doug Bredar, Jockey Diego Sanchez suffered a fractured clavicle and broken ribs after being unseated from his mount Old Low Down in Saturday’s second race at Arlington International Racecourse.

After being examined on the scene by track EMTs, the rider was transported to Northwestern Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. After X-rays confirmed the injuries, it was decided to keep the rider hospitalized overnight for further observation.  He is expected to be released Sunday.