04/05/2012 4:18PM

Oaklawn: Bachelor the right spot for Apprehender

Oaklawn Pak/Coady Photography
For the time being, Apprehender will point to sprint races.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Someday.

That’s when trainer Ingrid Mason might try Apprehender over a route of ground again. But right now, she feels the horse’s best game is sprinting and on Saturday at Oaklawn Park he will be going after his third win at the meet in the $75,000 Bachelor.

The Bachelor is for 3-year-olds at six furlongs. The field of six includes Lake Victor, who missed by a nose last out in the $60,000 Gazebo at Oaklawn, and Laurie’s Rocket, who is cutting back to one turn after racing in two of the local preps for the Arkansas Derby.

Apprehender also made an appearance in an Arkansas Derby prep this meet, finishing ninth in the second and faster division of the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest Stakes on Feb. 20. The one-mile race was his first start in a stakes and his first at two turns following a powerful maiden special weight at Oaklawn on Jan. 26. He blitzed his rivals in the race, winning off by seven lengths to earn one of the year’s best Beyer Figures for a 3-year-old, a 98.

From that point, Mason targeted the Southwest, a race in which the horse stalked the pace before fading. Mason took the blame for the loss, feeling she asked the horse to do something he was not ready for, and promptly returned to square one. She moved Apprehender back to one turn and to the overnight ranks, for a first-level allowance March 9. He cruised, winning the six-furlong race in a sharp 1:10.40.

From there, Mason wanted to keep the horse in his conditions, she said, but a race for him did not fill so she has been preparing him for the Bachelor. In time, Mason said she might try Apprehender over a route of ground again, perhaps in a one-turn mile. Right now, Apprehender is ready for six furlongs, and he looks like the one to catch from his rail post. Inosencio Diego has the mount for Dream Farm.

The cutback to one turn should suit Laurie’s Rocket. The last time he sprinted he missed by a nose in the $58,000 Sugar Bowl at Fair Grounds on Dec. 17. In more recent times, Laurie’s Rocket was fifth in the $100,000 Smarty Jones at a mile at Oaklawn on Jan. 16 and 10th in the first and slower division of the Southwest Stakes won by Castaway. Calvin Borel has the mount for trainer Dallas Stewart.

* Oaklawn plans to open its infield Saturday, weather permitting. There is no racing here Sunday in observance of Easter.