03/20/2011 6:25PM

Oaklawn: Chief of Affairs ties 27-year-old stakes record in Hot Springs

Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography
Chief of Affairs, ridden by Cliff Berry, runs the fastest six furlongs of Oaklawn's meet in winning the Count Fleet in 1:08.56.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- Chief of Affairs established himself as one of the top choices for next month’s Grade 3, $200,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park when he won the $75,000 Hot Springs on Sunday in a meet-best time of 1:08.56 for six furlongs.

The time also equaled the stakes record of Double Ready in 1984.

Chief of Affairs ($5.20) took quick command of the Hot Springs, when he broke on top and soon was clear by 1 1/2 lengths. He put up fractions of 21.68 and 44.27 seconds and went on to win by 2 3/4 lengths under regular rider Cliff Berry. Inkado finished second, while it was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third to favorite Native Ruler.

“I think that’s one of his top performances,” said Bret Calhoun, who trains Chief of Affairs and was hoping to see him turn in a peak effort Sunday in what was his third start off a layoff.

Chief of Affairs is now on deck for the Count Fleet, a six-furlong race on April 14 in which he is expected to meet Grade 1 winner Smiling Tiger. Last year, Chief of Affairs was second by a neck in the Count Fleet, when overtaken right on the wire.  

“It was a heartbreaker,” said Calhoun.

Chief of Affairs, a 5-year-old son of Yonaguska,  earned $45,000 for his win in the Hot Springs, pushing his career earnings to $248,763. He is now 6 for 15. Chief of Affairs races for the partnership of Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch..