Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Sunday, September 1, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/01/2013 #

In Today’s Notes: Big Performance a Meaningful One for Team Hattaash

Saturday’s exciting stretch drive in the Grade III Washington Park Handicap was a meaningful one for those involved with third-place finisher Hattaash, who closed resolutely to fall just a half-length short to multiple graded stakes winner Willcox Inn and another local longshot Gallant Eagle.  Owned by Kenneth Fishbein, Hattaash was dismissed at 12-1 by the betting public, despite impressively winning at the course and distance of Washington Park two starts back.

Off since finishing fourth in an allowance behind three stakes winners on June 30, Hattaash ran like a fresh horse, closing with vigor under apprentice Emmanuel Esquivel.  “He’d been off for two months.  We couldn’t find a place to stick him.  We kept going after races that wouldn’t go for one reason or another,” explained trainer Cheryl Winebaugh.  “Esquivel rode him perfectly.  It could not have been better.  We definitely were excited.”

Having something about which to be happy and excited is welcome for the Winebaugh barn.  On June 21, about one week prior to Hattaash finishing fourth in that salty allowance, Hattaash’s longtime trainer Chrlie Bettis died of natural causes.  Since then, Winebaugh has overseen the stable and taken over many of the Bettis horses, including Hattaash.  Saturday’s performance was only her 17th start since taking over the barn and the resulting $16,335 earned by Hattaash makes up for more than 25% of her earnings thus far.

“I was a little shocked to be honest,” Winebaugh reported of Hattaash’s performance. “I think he ran the race of his life.  He is definitely getting to be a little better horse.  I think the time off probably helped him.”

As far as the future for her 6-year-old stable star, Winebaugh is still letting the dust settle and enjoying the moment.  “There are a few spots we’ll look at.  We’ll watch him train and then go from there,” she explained.  “Today he was a little tired, for sure.  But he ran great – just really awesome.  We are so happy.”