04/02/2013 3:39PM

Oaklawn Park notes: Titletown Five eyes Derby Trial, Preakness Stakes

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Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Titletown Five will return to the scene of his best effort, Churchill Downs, for the Grade 3, $175,000 Derby Trial on April 27.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Titletown Five ran the biggest race of his career at Churchill Downs, and he is headed there for his next start, trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Tuesday. The horse is being pointed for the Grade 3, $175,000 Derby Trial, a one-turn mile for 3-year-olds April 27.

Titletown Five earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98 at Churchill in October, when he won a maiden special weight at seven furlongs. He has raced twice since then, finishing second in the $60,000 Gazebo at his Oaklawn base March 2, then ninth in the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby last Saturday at Fair Grounds.

“He’ll go in the Derby Trial,” Lukas said. “Were going to do what’s right by the horse and give him the chance to run a one-turn mile. If he runs well, we’ll look at the Preakness.”

Titletown Five set a quick pace in the Louisiana Derby, contesting fractions of 22.84 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 46.34 for the half-mile. He continued to lead through six furlongs in 1:11.84 before being overtaken by eventual winner Revolutionary.

Titletown Five races for a partnership that includes Lukas and Hall of Fame football players Paul Hornung and Willie Davis.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Optimizer, a two-time Grade 3 winner this winter at Fair Grounds who was fifth in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz at the New Orleans track Saturday, also will run next at Churchill, Lukas said. He is to make his next start in the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on May 4.

Retired jockey Day visits Oaklawn

The retired Hall of Fame rider Pat Day was making the rounds on the Oaklawn backstretch Tuesday. He was in town to be part of a gala at the Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs.

“I’m out renewing old acquaintances, taking a walk down memory lane,” said Day, 59. “I couldn’t come to Hot Springs and not come see everybody.”

Day said it’s been three or four years since he was last at Oaklawn, where he won 12 consecutive riding titles from 1983 to 1994.

Dates proposed for 2014

Oaklawn has asked the Arkansas Racing Commission for a 57-date meet for 2014 that closely mirrors the current season. The meet next year would open Jan. 10 and continue through April 12, which would be the date of the 2014 Arkansas Derby. The calendar will be up for approval at the next commission meeting April 13, said the panel’s chairman, Cecil Alexander.

Oaklawn has asked to race on a Thursday-through-Sunday basis most weeks, with holiday Monday cards Jan. 20 and Feb. 21. The track also has proposed a Wednesday card April 9.