CAMDEN Oaklawn’s unquestioned racing strength in 2020 was the 3-year-old filly division. The 57-day meet, particularly its final weeks, showcased star power like probable Eclipse Award winners Swiss Skydiver and Gamine, future Grade 1 winners Shedaresthedevil, Speech and Harvey’s Lil Goil and Frank’s Rockette, who would become a multiple Grade 2 winner.
Another Oaklawn-raced 3-year-old filly, Flat Out Speed, was a big winner, too, just not on the national stage.
After Oaklawn’s meet ended May 2, the versatile Flat Out Speed returned to Prairie Meadows in Iowa and flat out dominated, winning all five of her starts for trainer Lynn Chleboard and co-breeder/owner Allen Poindexter. The highlight was a front-running 1 ¾-length score in the $122,200 Iowa Oaks (G3) at 1 1/16 miles July 5, which marked the first career graded stakes victory for Chleboard, who is Oaklawn’s all-time winningest female trainer.
“Obviously, it has to be at the top because it was a graded stake,” said Chleboard, whose first of 1,365 career victories to date, including 122 at Oaklawn, came in 1987. “I’ve been graded stakes placed several times. It was absolutely thrilling for me.”
Flat Out Speed’s second tour de force at Prairie Meadows – she was 3 for 3 there as a 2-year-old – ran her overall record to 8 for 9. The only blemish on her resume is a sixth-place finish in a stakes-level allowance sprint last April at Oaklawn.
Flat Out Speed had been scheduled to make her 3-year-old debut in the $100,000 Purple Martin Stakes for 3-year-old fillies earlier in April at Oaklawn, but was scratched because of an off track. The 6-furlong Purple Martin attracted, among others, multiple stakes winner and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) participate Kimari, Frank’s Rockette, Dixie Belle winner Ring Leader and unbeaten Lexi On the Move.
So instead of the Purple Martin, Flat Out Speed, an Iowa-bred daughter of Oaklawn stakes winner Flat Out, tackled older horses for the first time in her 2021 debut. That allowance sprint was among the key races of last year’s meet, with eight of the 11 entrants returning to win. Half have won in stakes company, including first-place Sneaking Out, who would capture the $200,000 Great Lady M. (G2) July 4 at Los Alamitos and the $100,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (G3) Aug. 21 at Del Mar.
“When you have to run a 3-year-old against older horses in the spring of the year, they’re still really 2, and it’s tough,” Chleboard said. “It’s tough to run a 3-year-old against older horses, anyway, even in the fall of the year. But in the spring of the year, it’s real tough.”
After returning to Prairie Meadows, Flat Out Speed, sprints or routes, feasted on state-breds and open company. She won the $52,375 Bob Bryant Stakes by 5 ½ lengths June 27, Iowa Oaks, an Aug. 2 allowance race by five lengths, the $50,000 Hawkeyes Handicap by a neck Aug. 29 and the $94,875 Iowa Breeders’ Oaks by 2 ¾ lengths Sept. 26 in her last start.
“We put her in the Grade 3 and it was so easy,” Chleboard said. “She just galloped. She won a Grade 3 with her ears forward. That’s how she trains, with her ears forward. She’s not big, she’s not little. She’s just an average-sized horse, but she’s got a big heart and a big motor.”
Flat Out Speed has returned to Oaklawn to continue preparations for her 4-year-old campaign. Chleboard said Flat Out Speed resumed light training about 3 ½ weeks ago and it shouldn’t take long to get her race-ready.
“We didn’t let her get fat,” Chleboard said with a laugh. “She’s the kind of horse that when she goes out, she loves to train. It doesn’t take those kind very long to get back into it. When she tells us she’s ready, I’m sure they’ll be a race for her.”
Flat Out Speed has already bankrolled $364,916 for Poindexter, a nationally prominent breeder who often sells his best prospects at high-end yearling or 2-year-old sales. The 2021 goal for Flat Out Speed, Chleboard said, is more of the same.
“Allen basically said that he would like to see her make a lot money, if it was possible, and have some fun with her because a horse like her doesn’t come along very often,” Chleboard said. “It’s exciting to see her run. As long as she’s physically able and continues to care about what she does, it’s fun to have a horse like that in the barn.”
Chleboard and Poindexter previously teamed to win 3-year-old filly stakes races at Oaklawn with American Sugar and Chanel’s Legacy, who was also bred in Iowa.
Post positions for Oaklawn’s first day of racing, Jan. 22, will be drawn Jan. 15. … Rocco Bowen, who recorded his 1,000th career North American riding victory Nov. 11 at Indiana Grand, is on the grounds in advance of the 2021 meeting. Bowen, who has never ridden at Oaklawn, dominated the standings in recent years at Emerald Downs, totaling 575 victories at the suburban Seattle track. … A Thousand Reasons is pointing for the $150,000 American Beauty Stakes for older female sprinters Jan. 30 at Oaklawn, trainer John Ortiz said. A Thousand Reasons won the $65,000 Orleans Stakes last January at Delta Downs. … The Ortiz-trained Hollis worked a half-mile in :50.80 over a fast track Monday morning at Oaklawn in preparation for the $150,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters Feb. 6. The King Cotton is the first major local prep for the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 10. … Multiple stakes winner Gold Street worked a half-mile in :49.40 over a fast track Wednesday morning for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Gold Street opened 2020 with a victory in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes, Oaklawn’s first of four Kentucky Derby points races. … Asmussen, a 10-time Oaklawn training champion, led the country with 422 victories in 2020, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Trainers with divisions last year at Oaklawn occupied five of the top six spots in the final national rankings. Perennial leader Karl Broberg (327) finished second, Mike Maker (270) third, Robertino Diodoro (243) fourth and Brad Cox (216) sixth. Diodoro, Asmussen and Cox ranked 1-2-3, respectively, in last year’s Oaklawn standings. Asmussen ($20,204,064) and Cox ($18,983,832) were 1-2, respectively, in purse earnings nationally in 2020, according to Equibase. … Cox said multiple graded stakes winner Warrior’s Charge is about to rejoin the trainer’s Fair Grounds division after being freshened in Florida and could return to Oaklawn in 2021. Warrior’s Charge won the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses last year at Oaklawn. Cox figures to have a strong hand in the older two-turn handicap division this year at Oaklawn, with 2020 Louisiana Derby winner Wells Bayou scheduled to make his 4-year-old in the $150,000 Fifth Season Stakes Jan. 23 and millionaire Owendale targeting the $600,000 Razorback (G3) Feb. 13 for his seasonal debut. Both horses are based at Oaklawn, as is 2020 Essex winner and Fifth Season candidate Night Ops.