03/11/2011 4:39PM

Rebel field to include strong group of Oaklawn-based runners


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – The list of Oaklawn-based horses seeking to defend their home turf against potential shippers The Factor and Sway Away in next Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel is growing. Glint and Bluegrass Jam are headed that direction, and will be sharing a gate with locals Archarcharch, J P’s Gusto and Elite Alex, the first three finishers from last month’s Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest.

The Rebel will be half of a bang-up graded stakes double at Oaklawn. Blind Luck, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2010, is scheduled to ship in from Southern California on Wednesday for the Grade 3, $150,000 Azeri. In it, she will meet her nemesis of last year, Havre de Grace.

Glint will make his two-turn debut in the Rebel. The winner of the $100,000 Fitz Dixon Memorial at Presque Isle in September, he was third last out in the $50,000 Mountain Valley at Oaklawn.

“He came out of his race in good shape,” said Kellyn Gorder, who trains Glint. “He had good energy, and right now we’re thinking about the Rebel.”

Gorder said Glint will most likely work Sunday or Monday. Gabriel Saez has the mount.

Trainer Jinks Fires, who has Archarcharch for owner Bob Yagos, said he would also like to start Bluegrass Jam, third in a Fair Grounds allowance Feb. 11, for owner Patricia Blass. The back-up plan in the event earnings come into play in a Rebel that could be oversubscribed, would be to run the multiple stakes-placed Bluegrass Bull, who is also nominated to the Grade 3, $500,000 Spiral at Turfway on March 26.

“If we can get Bluegrass Jam in the Rebel, we probably will not put Bluegrass Bull in,” Fires said Friday. “That’s what it looks like right now.”

Archarcharch is to have his final Rebel work on Monday or Tuesday, said Fires. Jon Court has the mount, while Michael Baze is to ride Bluegrass Jam.

J P’s Gusto is scheduled to work five furlongs on Sunday, said his trainer, Joe Petalino. Ramon Dominguez has the mount, while Calvin Borel will ride Elite Alex.

Caleb’s Posse, winner of the $100,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn, and Alternation, a multiple allowance winner, remain on deck for the Rebel, said trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

Oaklawn leading rider Cliff Berry has the mount on Smarty Jones runner-up Dreaminofthewin, said his trainer, C.R. Trout. The horse, who has worn a bar shoe in his last two starts, was second to Alternation last out in an allowance at Oaklawn.

“I’ll breeze him Sunday morning, and see if the foot’s still good,” Trout said. “He has a quarter crack in front that we’ve been dealing with and, knock on wood, so far, so good.”

Others expected are J W Blue and Picko’s Pride, while possibles include Silver Medallion, the winner of the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby, and The Ole Gen.

Grant Jack, the $250,000 Springboard Mile winner at Remington who was seventh in the Southwest, will not go back in the Rebel, said trainer Bret Calhoun. He instead will be pointed for the $75,000 Northern Spur here April 16.

Lukas considering two for Azeri

The gate for the Azeri, a prep for next month’s Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom, was filling up Friday. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas could have Tidal Pool, third to Blind Luck in last year’s Kentucky Oaks, and Absinthe Minded, winner of the $100,000 Bayakoa last out at Oaklawn.

Trainer Tony Dutrow said last week he plans to start Grade 2 Top Flight winner Spacy Tracy. Trout, meanwhile, plans to start Shotgun Gulch, who was third to Switch in the Grade 1 La Brea at seven furlongs at Santa Anita in December.

“I’ve wanted to stretch her out and this is a good opportunity,” said Trout.

Gorder said Kimber Lily, a winner of her last three races, is being pointed for the Azeri, with Francisco Torres to ride. Taptam will likely run, said Calhoun.

National HBPA convention in Hot Springs

The Embassy Suites Hotel in Hot Springs will be the site of the winter convention of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. It will run from March 17-21.

The first round of presentations will be held on Friday, March 18. Eric Jackson, general manager of Oaklawn, will be part of a five-person morning panel discussing purse-account management. Afternoon sessions include management of equine partnerships and the existing educational and financial-aid programs available to horsemen.

The next morning, March 19, there will be a medication forum. The same night, the Arkansas HBPA will put on its annual dinner and dance, at the Hot Springs Convention Center. Tickets are $30.

Oaklawn on March 20 will sponsor “A Day at the Races” for conference-goers. For more info on all events, contact Arkansas HBPA executive director Loretta Brennan at (501) 623-7641.

Chaplaincy gala features Patterson award

The Racetrack Chaplaincy program at Oaklawn will put on its annual “Person of the Year” benefit dinner on Friday, March 18, at the Hot Springs Country Club. Tickets are $50, and the event is expected to draw between 300 and 350 people, said organizer Jerry Hissam.

The first annual Garth Patterson award in honor of the retired jockey who died last month in Hot Springs at the age of 66, will be presented at the dinner. Inaugurated by a group of his friends, the award will recognize a person in Thoroughbred racing who has “been a credit to the game” and placed “the horse ahead of all other concerns.” Patterson won such races as the Kentucky Oaks, Haskell, and Widener.

Also during the dinner, the chaplaincy will auction off a box for this year’s Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby. It is in section 322, which is undercover, said Hissam.