05/02/2013 11:31AM

Will Rogers Downs: Chuck drops into restricted company for Oklahoma Stallion Stakes


Chuck has the look of a reliable favorite at Will Rogers Downs on Saturday, when he returns to restricted company for a division of the Oklahoma Stallion Stakes after hooking one of the more impressive 3-year-old winners of the Oaklawn meet in Bashaar.

The Stallion Stakes is a one-mile race for 3-year-olds and Chuck leads the colts and geldings side. Rah Rah Rachel is the favorite for the fillies division, which will be run on the same program. The purse for each race is $50,000.

Chuck picked up checks in three allowance routes during Oaklawn’s meet, among his efforts a fifth-place finish behind Bashaar on April 4. Bashaar was a 13-length winner that afternoon, and was scheduled to have run back Friday at Churchill Downs in the Grade 2, $200,000 American Turf. As for Chuck, his goal has long been the Stallion Stakes.

“It’s the race we’ve had on our minds the entire spring,” said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Chuck for Norma Lee Stockseth. “We gave him a couple of shots at Oaklawn to see if he could compete there and he really ran respectably, I thought.

“I think he’ll be a good [fit] in the Stallion Stakes. Like any race, you’ve got to show up and run your race, but I think he’s got as good a chance as anybody.”

Chuck, who won the 2-year-old division of the Stallion Stakes last November, will break from the rail under jockey Belen Quinonez. The six-horse field also includes T J’s Folly, who is a half-brother to Ted’s Folly, a four-time stakes winner of $398,102.

Rah Rah Rachel accounted for the 2-year-old fillies division of the Stallion Stakes last November and like Chuck is now returning to the restricted ranks. She invades from Prairie Meadows for trainer Gene Jacquot, who has given the mount to David Cardoso. Rah Rah Rachel is owned by Iron Oaks LLC.