Horse Racing: A Closer Look at the 2012 Rebel Stakes; The Clever Allemont Story

This weeks Horse Racing Preview brings us to Hot Springs, Arkansas as we take a closer look at the 2012 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park for three year olds. Sabercat, who was super impressive winning the Delta Downs Jackpot last year and currently ranked #10 on my Countdown to the Triple Crown list, and Secret Circle, winner of the Breeders Cup Juvenile Sprint also last year and currently ranked 14th on my Countdown to the Triple Crown list, spearhead the full field of 13. The Rebel Stakes, which carries a purse of $500,000, is a prep for the April 14 Arkansas Derby which, in turn, is a prep for the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

Run every year since 1961, the Rebel really hasn’t gotten all that popular with horsemen until recently. Well, I say recently but future winners of major races didn’t start running in the race until 1980. (Wait was 1980 really recently? Is 32 years ago recent? No, it isn’t is it? …oh well…)

Anyway, past winners include one of my favorite horses of all time Chop Chop Tomahawk (1978), eventual Belmont Stakes winner Temperance Hill (1980), Sunny’s Halo, who also went on to win the Kentucky Derby, won it in 1983, 1985 Older Male Champion Vanlandingham won the race in 1984.

In 1987, the gorgeous Demon’s Begone won the race. If you fast forward 12 years you’ll see Victory Gallop, who took part in one of the, if not the, greatest races I’ve ever seen in foiling Silver Charm’s Triple Crown attempt in winning the 1998 Belmont Stakes, won it in 1998. Another eventual Kentucky Derby winner, the wildly popular Smart Jones won the Rebel in 2004, followed by the ill-fated Lawyer Ron (2006), two-time Horse of the Year Curlin (2007), the immensely talented Lookin’ at Lucky (2009) and the wickedly fast The Factor last year.

Lookin' at Lucky, shown here winning the Haskell, had a much different fate than Clever Allemont did.

But perhaps the Rebel winner who stands out the most, to me, over the years was 1985 winner Clever Allemont.

Clever Allemont’s racing career got off to a great start. Actually he was “perfect” thru his first six races while winning the aforementioned 1985 Rebel as well as the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Later on, he would place in three other graded-stakes, including the Grade I Arlington Classic, the Grade: 2 Sheridan Stakes and the Grade: 3 Fairmount ParkDerby

First trained by Lynn Whiting and later on by D. Wayne Lukas, he was regularly piloted by such jockey greats as Pat Day, Angel Cordero, and Mike Smith. When his racing career was all said and done, Clever Allemont retired with a record of 8-7-7 from 47 starts and earnings of $316,329.

From there, he was sent for stud duty at Rainier Stables in Enumclaw, Washingtonin 1989

His stud career spanned 11 years, from 1988 thru 1999 without much success. He sired just 72 winners from 125 starters. Because of lack of production, he was moved to Illinois Stud in Woodstock, Illinois and stood for a measly $500.00 fee. He didn’t last there very long either and was moved again to Double D Farm also inIllinois.

With interest in the son of Clever Trick waning, Clever Allemont was then moved to Kansas where he was bred to quarter horse mares in hopes he could produce a few good show horses.

From that point on, Clever Allemont, who was blind in one eye, faded into obscurity.

On December 13, 2008, Kristin Chambers, executive director of Winding Road Equine Rescue and Retirement in Waverly, Kansas was called to a “kill pen” (which is a name for a farm that hold horses before being shipped out of the country for slaughter) to look at a palomino mare that the kill pen’s manager said was “too pretty to ship”

While there, Chambers couldn’t help but notice a malnourished one eyed stallion standing in the corner of a pen…. Lo and behold it was none other than Clever Allemont and he was being scheduled to be shipped out of the country for slaughter.

“I knew a one-eyed 26-year-old stallion didn’t have any hope whatsoever of making it out the front door,” said Chambers, “(The kill buyer and I) have a strange working relationship. He showed me Clever Allemont and asked if I could do anything with him, and pulled his Jockey Club papers out of his overalls. I recognized his name, and there wasn’t any way I wasn’t going to leave him there.”

The kill buyer said when he went to go pick up Clever Allemont the owners were quoted as saying “I hope you don’t kill him”

After taking photos of Clever Allemont at the dealer’s kill lot, Chambers returned home and posted a story about him on alexbrownracing.com. In less than 30 minutes, a forum respondent, Susan Ackerman, donated funds to buy Clever Allemont from the kill pen and within 24 hours other individuals had donated funds to pay his transportation fees, and acquire food and blankets for him during his travels.

The very next day Clever Allemont was shipped to Donegal Ranch Quarter Horses in Williamsburg, Kansas. From there, Chambers said former Thoroughbred Retirement Fund board member Diana Baker arranged for Clever Allemont to be boarded permanently at Old Friends Equine Thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown,Kentucky.

“I remembered this horse, he raced around the same time that a lot of (our other stallions) raced,” said Old Friends founder Michael Blowen. “So I said we’ve got room…everybody involved in the whole story has really been great about this; it has been an amazing deal”.

He was then shipped from Kansas to Kentucky in January 2009.

To this day Chambers said she continues to be impressed at the rate in which the horse’s rescue unfolded.

“Within 28 minutes (of posting the story on the forum), his “bail” was posted,” Chambers said. “Within 24 hours, he was invited to stay at Old Friends.”

I’ve been to Old Friends numerous times and always take the time to say hi to him (with a pocket full of carrots of course). He enjoys the day quietly grazing in a paddock not far from the main barn at Old Friends. Because of age, his one eye blindness and his hearing going, he is one of a very few horses that is brought in at night but overall he is doing well when I saw him last, which was several months ago.  

“It just wasn’t his time (to die),” Chambers added “How else can you explain this chain of miracles?”….I certainly can’t Ms. Chambers, that’s for sure.

 

Clever Allemont and Michael Blowen

 

$500,000 Rebel Stakes Grade:2- Race 10, 5:48 p.m., 3Year Olds, 1 1/16 Miles  

PP

Horse

A/S

Med

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

1 Unbridled Note 3/C L C Hill 115 S M Asmussen
2 Scatman 3/C L L S Quinonez 117 M E Lauer
3 Cyber Secret 3/C L R Albarado 117 L S Whiting
4 Optimizer 3/C L J K Court 115 D W Lukas
5 Jake Mo 3/C L M C Berry 117 A Milligan
6 Sabercat 3/C L C S Nakatani 119 S M Asmussen
7 Secret Circle 3/C L R Bejarano 122 B Baffert
8 Atigun 3/C   T J Thompson 117 K G McPeek
9 Reckless Jerry 3/C L J Rocco, Jr. 115 K P Smith
10 Ring It Up 3/C L L Wade 115 C Richard
11 Pee H Dee 3/C L I Ocampo 117 C Richard
12 Najjaar 3/C L C H Borel 117 D C Peitz
13 Adirondack King 3/C L S Elliott 117 J C Servis

 

Analysis:

1) Sabercat- displayed one of the more impressive races all of the year last year in the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot. He was last going down the backside but uncorked a tremendous burst of speed down the stretch to win going away by 4 lengths. This is his first race since the Jackpot (November), so I’m not quite sure he is fully cranked up even with that March 4th work (6F-1:12.3). But a repeat of that last performance, puts him in the winners circle on Saturday afternoon.

2) Secret Circle- 2011 Breeders Cup Juvenile Sprint winner surprised a lot of people (including me) with his win in the 2nd division of the one mile Southwest Stakes last month. As is stated in my “Countdown to the Triple Crown” list, I thought this guy was purely a sprinter but maybe not. After winning at one mile, we don’t know how far he can go. But I’m going to guess not all that far being he was “all out” to win the Southwest against a mediocre group. Hopefully, by Saturday night my question of “can he handle two turns”? will be answered…one way or the other.

3) Jake Mo- came from 8th to finish 2nd to possible budding superstar Castaway in the 1st division of the Southwest Stakes in his last race. I don’t like the fact that he has just 2 wins in 8 career starts but the fact remains if he duplicates that last race this Saturday, he should be right there at the end.

Honorable Mentions:

Najjarr, who is also on my Countdown to the Triple Crown list, possesses quite a closing punch. He almost always is last (or near last) early before exploding in the stretch. (albeit against lesser foes). He definitely gets tested for class on Saturday but he might be up to the challenge and run a big race as his speed figures have been climbed steadily in his last 4 races in a row. Reckless Jerry, who closes and just missed getting 2nd behind Jake Mo in the aforementioned Southwest, gets more distance to work with in this race that should help his cause. The same can be said for Adirondack King, who also runs late and was soundly beaten by Secret Circle and Scatman in his last, but gets more distance to work with, which in turn should work to his advantage. Scatman set the pace before being overhauled late in the Southwest bySecret Circle, but you have to respect a horse whose running line for the race was “stubbornly gave way late”. That being said, my thoughts are the longer distance will work against this colt by Scat Daddy.

 

Record: 4-12= 33%

 

Little Bets N’ Pieces:

*** Creative Cause and Bodemeister, who finished first and second respectively in the San Felipe Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita, are headed towards a rematch in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7th.

Creative Cause, who definitely improved off his first race of the year (a third in the San Vincente Stakes), earned a solid 102 speed figure.

“It’s a progression,” trainer Mike Harrington said. “The only thing I hope is he doesn’t peak in the Santa Anita Derby instead of the Kentucky Derby. That’s my job to kind of keep that from happening.”

Bodemeister, who ran a huge race for just his third career start, should improve off the San Felipe according to trainer Bob Baffert.

“He was real tired after the race,” Baffert said. “He’ll move way up off that.”

 

 

*** Trinniberg, the very impressive winner of the Swale Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream, is under consideration for the $500,000 Illinois Derby atHawthorne on April 7, according to owner, Shivananda Parbhoo.

“I still don’t know how far he’ll go,” Parbhoo said. “If we decide to try any of theDerbypreps, it would likely be the Illinois Derby. It doesn’t make any sense to run him against the horses here like Union Rags in the Florida Derby.”

 

 

*** Just to give you a heads up…. On today’s (Friday’s) card at GulfstreamPark, there is a one-mile, $80,000 allowance race that drew the undefeated and last years winner of the Hopeful Stakes at SaratogaCurrency Swap, and Gemologist, who is also undefeated and currently ranked #13 on my Countdown list.

Currency Swap worked six furlongs in 1:11.2 last week for which trainer Terri Pompay said “That was a fantastic work, way above expectations, He did it easily. He hardly took a drink of water cooling out.”

“It (Friday’s race) came up tough with Todd’s horse in there,” Pompay added “my horse is a monster, but so is Todd’s horse.”

Just FYI, a good showing by Currency Swap and I’ll have no choice but to add him to my list as well.

 

 

*** 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom has a stress fracture in is left hind leg that will require at least 90 days of rest. The fracture was detected via a nuclear scan this past Tuesday and has nothing to do with the injury he suffered in last years Belmont Stakes.

Dean Richardson, of the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Centerand of Barbaro fame, confirmed the injury, which is expected to heal with 30 days of stall rest and 60 days of handwalking.

Richardson, the veterinary surgeon who performed the hock operation on Animal Kingdom last year after the Belmont Stakes, said “If anything was going to happen to this horse, this would be about as good a result as one could hope for.”

“The horse will stay in his stall for a month and be grazed every day, after which time he’ll be transferred to Team Valor’s barn at Fair Hill Training Center, where for the next couple of months he will have limited activity,” said majority owner Barry Irwin. “Then he will return to full training. Team Valor’s interest is to run the horse for another year. We will make a decision about whether we want to do that by September, so that if the horse is going to be retired, he’ll have plenty of chance to be promoted by the start of breeding season”.

 

 

*** Last but not least, 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace will be making her  2012 debut in the $150,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course on Saturday. The good looking bay drew post position 2 and only four others will show up to run against her,

“It works for me,” said trainer Larry Jones, making reference to the post draw.

 ”It really didn’t matter to us. As I’ve always said, she’s one of those that I don’t have to worry about things with. She does whatever we need her to do. She doesn’t care. You always worry about being race-ridden, but she really, truly can handle whatever’s thrown at her.”