Oaklawn's Dr. Lee Cyphers Passes Away

Dr. Lee Cyphers, Oaklawn's longtime Association Veterinarian, passed away at age 66 Sunday, Sept. 5 following complications from a brain aneurysm. He was a fixture at the Oaklawn starting gate and in the paddock spanning three decades. He was a local Hot Springs veterinarian with a highly successful small animal clinic. He is preceded in death by his parents and two brothers Steve and Chuck Cyphers. Survivors include his wife and best friend Kristi; children, Morgan Lee (Summer) Cyphers, Margaret "Meggy" Beatrice (Joseph) Boone, the mother of his children, Viki...

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Oaklawn Celebrates 'Whitmore Day' in '22

Oaklawn will celebrate 2020 champion sprinter Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect) with Whitmore Day, held at Oaklawn Park Mar. 19. The afternoon will be highlighted by the $200,000 Whitmore S., formerly named the Hot Springs S. Whitmore Day will also feature an appearance by Whitmore, in addition to t-shirt giveaways, and the first 5,000 fans will receive a commemorative Whitmore baseball card. Whitmore won the six-furlong race four times during his career for trainer Ron Moquett's Southern Springs Stable, Robert LaPenta, and Head of Plain Partners LLC. Victorious in the GI Breeders'...

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Stall Apps, First Condition Book Available for Oaklawn

The richest meet in the 118-year history of Oaklawn is set to begin Dec. 3 and will feature maiden special weights for $84,000 and open allowances starting at $100,000. Overall, the 66-day season will offer purses between $45 million and $50 million. Stall applications and the first condition book are now available at www.oaklawn.com/racing/horsemen/. Stall applications are due Thursday, Oct. 21. "Our slogan has been 'A New Level of Racing' the last few years and that's exactly what we intend to deliver," Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. "Our purses will...

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Arkansas Derby Boosted to $1.25M, Date Changed for '22

The purse for the 2022 GI Arkansas Derby will be increased to $1.25 million--up from $1 million in 2021--and the race will be contested Saturday, Apr. 2, Oaklawn Park announced Tuesday. The date shift is a departure from the traditional three weeks before the Kentucky Derby and the increased purse makes the race the richest event among Derby preps. In 2022, Oaklawn will offer a record 36 stakes worth $12.3 million. In addition to the Arkansas Derby, three stakes will carry million dollar purses and 15 other stakes will offer...

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Letruska Denies Monomoy Girl in Apple Blossom; Swiss Skydiver Third

St George Stables' Letruska (Super Saver) completed an ascent from the humblest of humble beginnings to the highest of highs in the Thoroughbred game, fighting back willingly inside of multiple Eclipse Award winner and two-time GI Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) to take Saturday's $1-million GI Apple Blossom H. by half a head. Reigning 3-year-old champion Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) couldn't go with the top two late and settled for third. The contrarians were out in force all across social media since the Apple Blossom was drawn Tuesday, reasoning...

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Champions Battle in Apple Blossom

Saturday's GI Apple Blossom H. at Oaklawn Park features a clash between champions Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) and Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil). Named champion 3-year-old filly off a sparkling 2018 campaign, Monomoy Girl returned from a year and a half on the sidelines to win all four starts in 2020, including Churchill's GI La Troienne S. followed by a successful title defense in the Nov. 7 GI Breeders' Cup Distaff at Keeneland. After realizing $9.5 million from Spendthrift Farm at Fasig-Tipton in November, the 6-year-old mare marked her debut sporting the MyRacehorse...

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Homebred 'Stars' in the Making for Spendthrift

A pair of Spendthrift Farm homebreds stamped themselves as 3-year-olds to watch for the second half of the season with recent jaw-dropping 'TDN Rising Star' performances. Following Sea (c, 3, Runhappy--Quick Flip, by Speightstown) earned his 'Rising Star' badge with a flashy maiden win at second asking for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on the GI Arkansas Derby undercard, good for a gaudy 97 Beyer Speed Figure. The bay was hustled to the front by Joel Rosario in the six-furlong affair and was pressed on his inside through an...

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Runhappy Colt Runs to Rising Stardom in Hot Springs

Following Sea (Runhappy) took the trip down to Hot Springs with his GI Arkansas Derby-bound stablemates for this lucrative maiden test and proved more than up for the task with a dominant debut victory, earning 'TDN Rising Star' honors. A $230,000 in utero purchase by Spendthrift Farm at the 2017 KEENOV sale, the bay crossed the line second behind stablemate and subsequent GI Runhappy Santa Anita fourth Defunded (Dialed In) on debut at Santa Anita Mar. 6, but he was demoted to third by the stewards for interference. Receiving Lasix...

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Baffert Looking for 'Concert' Encore in Arkansas Derby

After losing presumptive GI Kentucky Derby favorite Life Is Good (Into Mischief) to injury for several months, Bob Baffert may still have the Derby chalk in his barn if his undefeated 'TDN Rising Star' Concert Tour (Street Sense) can follow up his dominant GII Rebel S. score with a similar performance against just five rivals in Saturday's $1-million GI Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. Unveiled as an even-money favorite going six furlongs Jan. 15 at Santa Anita, the Gary and Mary West homebred scored a good-looking wire-to-wire victory and repeated with...

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Seven Fillies Hope to Make Oaks Fantasy a Reality

Regally bred Pauline's Pearl (Tapit) is among seven fillies hoping to stamp their tickets to the GI Kentucky Oaks in Saturday's GIII Honeybee S. at Oaklawn. A daughter of Grade I winner Hot Dixie Chick (Dixie Union), the gray earned her diploma at third asking in a sloppy two-turn test at Fair Grounds Feb. 12 and rallied to be a close second next out in this venue's GIII Honeybee S. Mar. 6. Honeybee third-place finisher Sun Path (Munnings) looks to break through at the black-type level here. A second-out graduation...

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Concert Tour, Caddo River Head 3yo Worktab Saturday

Heading the likely cast of contenders in the Apr. 10 GI Arkansas Derby, undefeated Concert Tour (Street Sense) worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 under Juan Ochoa at Santa Anita Saturday morning. "He went great; he looked fantastic," said trainer Bob Baffert. "He couldn't have looked any better. He just cruised around there in a minute and change." Taking over as top dog in the Baffert barn following the injury of Life Is Good (Into Mischief), Concert Tour a perfect three-for-three this season, including wins in the GII San Vicente S....

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Baffert Seeks Eighth Rebel Win

Bob Baffert is dangerous at any track he runs at, but he seems to have a special affinity for Oaklawn, especially in the GII Rebel S. The Hall of Famer has won that event seven times, saddling the likes of Lookin at Lucky (2010), The Factor (2011), Secret Circle (2012), Hoppertunity (2014), Triple Crown hero American Pharoah (2015), Cupid (2016) and Nadal (2020). All of those horses went on to be Grade I winners and stallions and undefeated Concert Tour (Street Sense) looks to add his name to that illustrious...

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