What’s The Story Behind 4YOF Jan’s Perfect Star?; Oaklawn Park Filly May Put Sire Imperialism On Map
By Warren Eves
A maiden first time starter named Jan’s Perfect Star caught my attention on Thursday at Oaklawn.
She breezed to the lead off the top of the turn and Alex Birzer had her wrapped up before the wire.
Jan’s Perfect Star is by Imperialism, a son of Langfur who stands for $3,500 live foal in Lowell, Florida. She’s listed as an Arkansas-bred and is out of a mare named Perfect Exchange.
The fractions of the maiden special weight race hint Jan’s Perfect Star could be something more than ordinary. She spurted to the lead after 50 yards and posted an opening fraction of 22.17. Before she reached the finish of her debut run she posted a FF(final fraction) of 12.54 as she stopped the timer in 1:10.61. Fast early and fast late is usually a good gauge of talent no matter what the surface or venue might be.
Al Cates trains the four-year-old Jan’s Perfect Star who is owned by Jeff Heslop. We noted Imperialism had 84 starters in 2012 who chalked up 37 wins. Imperial Czar was the chief earner. He won the $125,000 Miami Mile Handicap over a sloppy wet track at Calder Race Course. So if Jan’s Perfect Star happens to race on an off track at Oaklawn this meet she may not mind the gumbo.
Notes scribbled across my official program–No sooner had I posted my last column when I reviewed the eighth race on January 31 at Oaklawn Park. Donnie Von Hemel had to leave the track exhilarated after his 4-year-old filly Songs and Sonnets absolutely romped when tried on dirt track for the first time in six lifetime starts. She went to the front, made the pace well in hand, and snuck away on the second turn. Entering the lane Songs and Sonnets was a bit green but when Luis Quinonez showed her the stick she widened. She was coming off a turf win at Remington Park but the Pin Oak Stable filly looked comfortable as one could hope for on the Hot Springs dirt track. She’s won three of her six starts and we’d have to believe she’s headed for stakes competition……………….Departing impressed winning his debut at the Fairgrounds back on December 22nd in a sprint but his first two-turn effort was even better on February 1. He was sent around two turns and rated kindly in fourth early on after getting away second. Brian Hernandez moved him four-wide to the top. That’s where the colt blew into the lead and widened, never feeling the whip. The one thing I didn’t like was when Hernandez looked back midway through the stretch. This is the dumbest thing a rider can do………….Would love to know what prompted trainer Allen Milligan to claim Sakura Ballerina for $7,500. What ever it was it paid off on February 1 at Oaklawn Park. The five-year-old mare was slow early on and back about 9 on the turn. She began moving up nicely to the top, angled out several lanes in search of running room. When they found space they rallied to win clear for $15,000………………Sometimes a running line may not be as good as it appears, Race 5 at Oaklawn Feb., 1, saw five horses vie for the early lead. Pajama Bottom got a dream trip early and was an easy winner and Bored To Death’s finish was not actually as good it appears. When five horses are spent going for the lead it will make the closers appear to run better than they actually did. So beware!…………………..Have to wonder what the physical issues are with Lady Haddassah who absolutely aired for $16,000 when she was claimed in four-way shake Feb., 1, at Oaklawn Park. She began a big wide sweeping run to the far turn out of last, swept to the lead to the final pole and drew out. Her final fraction was 12.34 and trainer Michael Biehler claimed her for Al and Bill Ulwelling. She’s a four-yeare-old filly by Whywhywhy who was winning for the fifth time in 12 lifetime starts………………Trainer Milligan also made a claim on February 2nd when he took the maiden first time starter Monetize The Debt for owner Danny Keene. The four-year-old gelded son of Exchange Rate overcame trouble, splitting foes late on the inside to win. He galloped out clear into the turn. The effort we noted was that of Stage Candy who was loaded last. He trailed early but moved up nicely on the rail to the half. Stage Candy was full of run and had to be checked midway on the turn when blocked. He finally got outside and in the clear late and was to the wire third. The stewards conducted an inquiry into the race and that resulted in the disqualification of Jenny’s Touch……………Got a nice response from former jockey Rene Douglas on Feb., 5. Here’s what he had to say. ”You are one hundred percent right they(racetrack owners) don’t care about racing anymore. We have lost the best Owners and jockeys. We can’t replace that. We did it for the love of the game. Thankyou and I do appreciate it.”……………..Sometimes even the most experienced handicapper will have a problem making the proper read on a race. Take the case of Lady Diva Ga Ga. When she won Jan., 17 at Oaklawn Park I made the notation that she “won with aplomb over an oval she obviously adored.” She came back on Feb., 2, to repeat. Breaking from the rail she went in. I gave her a minus 1-1/2 lengths for the poor beginning. So what did she do? She skirted up the rail into third, Second at the top of the stretch Lady Diva Ga Ga took the lead. The head-on shot showed she was straight as an arrow to the wire. I liked the runner-up effort of Bid A Moon. I’ll be using her next time out because she was herded out in the opening 50 yards and then finished up nicely to be second. The question is? How many can Lady Diva Ga Ga string in a row?…………..As soon as I watched the replay of the last race on February 2 at Oaklawn Park i went to the chart to see if second place finisher Ruthless Empire had been tagged in the maiden $20,000 claimer. Sure enough, the newly turned four-year-old had been claimed from good trainer Dale Romans by trainer Steve Hobby. Normually I won’t be too interested in following a horse who is lost by a top level conditioner like Romans. But sometimes you have to believe these good trainers are merely running many of their horses where they can win. Romans has no shortage of horses so he can play to win more often than say a trainer with only a few in his string. Ruthless Empire had not been seen since finishing second at Churchill Downs back on November 14. Going to the far turn Ruthless Empire had two beat in the 1-mile and a 1/16th race. He was guided to the middle of the course in the stretch. When spanked he finished gaining on the eventual winner Ardenhall. Ruthless Empire is sitting on a graduation run…………Chris Hartman reached in and took the 6-year-old gelding Empire Maker on Feb., 3 at Oaklawn fot Robson Thoroughbdreds. We loved the gelding’s late energy and wonder of Hartman might try him long. He had great later energy and galloped out well after the wire for $7,500………………Have to admit I was left baffled after watching the winning run of Ocean Road of the third race at Oaklawn Park on Thursday, Feb., 7. Aside from the fact she lugged out inside two on entering turn one, she won like a mare of a different color. By this I mean she got the perfect third over trip. But what caught the eye was her fluid motion coming to the wire? Yes, it was a so-so field, but there was no way I could justify such an easy win. I’ll leave that up to you. All I can say is Ocean Road won like she could be in “fine fettle.”…………Bet Seattle sure looked good going from turf to dirt for trainer McLean Robertson on February 7. The four-year-old gelding who had not been seen since out of the money in a turf dash at Arlington. Bet Seattle broke well and led the opening quarter in 22.09. He was second inside one into the turn but regained the lead to the head of the stretch. That’s where the four-year-old gelding opened up. One could conclude Bet Seattle took a liking the Oaklawn Park’s main track.