Tulsan up for racing's top owner award
BY RICHARD LINIHAN Horse Racing
Saturday, January 19, 2013
1/19/13 at 5:45 AM
When the envelopes are opened at the Oscars for horses on Saturday night in Florida, Tulsa's John C. Oxley will be up for Owner of the Year, and one of three horses will be named Champion 2012 Horse of the Year.
Oxley, longtime oilman and star polo player from Tulsa, will be facing Godolphin Racing LLC and Reddam Racing in his category.
Among the horses, it will come down to Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned; Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another; and Wise Dan, who had the strongest campaign from the start of 2012 to the end of the racing calendar.
The problem for I'll Have Another is that he did not race after winning the Preakness back in May. Although he was the only horse people were talking about back then, the seven-and-a-half-month gap from his last race has allowed his great 3-year-old season to fall into the cracks.
He was an impressive winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness when he was sidelined by a minor injury discovered to be too risky to run him in the Belmont Stakes. The injury led to his retirement. Now he will make baby horses, but more than likely won't have an Eclipse Award trophy to show any of them.
The problem with Fort Larned is that even though his Classic win was in the biggest race of the North American year with the exception of the Derby, he didn't string a bunch of wins together to back that up.
He won five races, but lost four other times.
Wise Dan just went out and kicked tail in virtually every race he ran in 2012. He won five out of six starts and finished second in the other, losing to Ron the Greek in the Stephen Foster Handicap.
Wise Dan is also nominated for Champion Older Male Turf Horse and Champion Older Male. If he wins all three categories, it will be the first sweep of that sort since John Henry did it in 1981.
What's odd is that although Wise Dan is the favorite to win Horse of the Year, he might have a tougher race in the turf category. Little Mike has a chance at the upset there. He never faced Wise Dan in 2012 and did win at more classic distances on the grass than Wise Dan did. While Wise Dan was winning most starts at a mile, Little Mike won the Breeders' Cup Turf at a mile and a half and the Arlington Million at a mile and a quarter.
That might be enough to give him an edge in this category. That would be a strange scenario in which the Horse of the Year did not win a lesser category.
In the Older Male category, Wise Dan will do battle with Fort Larned and Little Mike.
Here are the other categories in which Champions will be crowned and the three nominations for each:
3-Year-Old Male: I'll Have Another, Union Rags and Bodemeister, winner of the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn.
3-Year-Old Female: Believe You Can, Miss Aurelia and Questing.
2-Year-Old Male: Shanghai Bobby; Uncaptured (owned by Oxley); and Violence.
2-Year-Old Female: Beholder, Dreaming of Julia and Executiveprivilege.
Female Turf: Marketing Mix, Tapitsfly and Zagora.
Male Sprinter: The Lumber Guy, Shackleford and Trinniberg.
Female Sprinter: Contested, Groupie Doll and Mizdirection.
Trainer: Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher and Dale Romans.
Jockey: Javier Castellano, John Velazquez and Ramon Dominguez.
Apprentice Jockey: Jose Montano, Irad Ortiz Jr. and Angel Suarez.
And on a sad note, longtime Oklahoma trainer Frank Gladd passed away this week. During his stint as a trainer, according to Equibase stats, his horses won $497,763.
Original Print Headline: Tulsan up for award at racing's Oscars
Richard Linihan is the marketing director of Fair Meadows in Tulsa