04/07/2009 12:00AM

Ark. Derby's dirt surface lures Ziegfeld

Email

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Ziegfeld, who was the runner-up in the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes last month at Turfway Park, will make his next start in the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby, trainer Dale Romans said Tuesday. The horse was to van to Oaklawn Park from his Churchill Downs base on Wednesday.

Ziegfeld had also been under consideration for the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland, but the chance to run on conventional dirt was one of the reasons the decision was made to head to Arkansas, Romans said. Ziegfeld won a maiden special weight at the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Arkansas Derby this past February at Gulfstream Park, then closed for second in the Rushaway in his third career start March 21.

"I thought he ran well," Romans said. "He's still running a little green; it was only his third start. But he seems to be learning a little bit every race, and when he puts it all together he's going to be a nice horse."

Ziegfeld is a son of Elusive Quality who races for Dogwood Stable. He will add blinkers for the Arkansas Derby and is to be ridden by Jon Court, according to Dogwood president Cot Campbell.

Old Fashioned emerged from his Monday work for the Arkansas Derby in good order, trainer Larry Jones said Tuesday. The horse should go favored Saturday in a field that had nine to 10 probables. Others expected for the race include Danger to Society, Flat Out, Flying Private, Papa Clem, Poltergeist, Summer Bird, and Win Willy.

The Arkansas Derby will close out the Oaklawn meet on Saturday, and it will be supported by two other route stakes for 3-year-olds, the $75,000 Northern Spur and the $75,000 Instant Racing, which is for fillies. The Arkansas Derby is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN2.

Several options for Seventh Street

Seventh Street's win in last Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap made for some more fond Hot Springs memories for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. He said one of the first jobs he had on the racetrack was at Oaklawn, working as a hotwalker and then a groom for trainer James Burchell in 1979.

"I loved Hot Springs," said McLaughlin.

Seventh Street gave him even more reason to, when she powered to a 5 3/4-length win in the Apple Blossom. She returned to McLaughlin's barn at Keeneland the next day, and will be nominated for three upcoming stakes, he said.

"I'm not sure what we'll be pointing for yet," McLaughlin said Monday.

Seventh Street is to be made eligible for the Grade 2, $200,000 Louisville Distaff at 1 1/16 miles on May 1 as well as the Grade 1, $300,000 Humana Distaff at seven furlongs on May 2, both at Churchill Downs. The other option is the Grade 2, $150,000 Shuvee at a mile at Belmont Park on May 16.

McLaughlin said Seventh Street's win in the Apple Blossom carried additional prestige for the filly's owner, Darley, because the stable stands her sire, Street Cry, at stud in Lexington, Ky. Seventh Street was a $1 million purchase at auction at 2.

Big field for Count Fleet

The Midwest sprint division will turn out in full force for the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap here Friday, as 12 horses were entered in the six-furlong race on Tuesday.

Among the shippers taking on defending champ Semaphore Man are Accredit, a stakes winner at Aqueduct who will be making his first start for trainer Mike Maker; Garifine, third last out in the $100,000 Duncan Kenner at Fair Grounds for trainer Steve Margolis; and Cush, a statebred allowance winner last out for trainer Andrew Leggio Jr.