Warrior’s Charge Will Target Tinsel Stakes At Oaklawn

Millionaire multiple Grade 3 winner Warrior’s Charge is targeting the inaugural $200,000 Tinsel Stakes Dec. 18 at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Ark., for his next start, Liz Crow, racing manager for the horse’s co-owner, Ten Strike Racing, said Thursday afternoon.

Warrior’s Charge, who is trained by Brad Cox, has recorded two workouts this season at Oaklawn, including a five-furlong drill in 1:00 over a fast track Saturday morning. The Tinsel, for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles, is among four stakes created to accommodate Oaklawn opening in December for the first time in its 117-year history.

“That’s the initial goal of the season, just to get him started down there,” Crow said.

Warrior’s Charge has made eight starts at Oaklawn, recording powerful maiden special weights and first-level allowance scores as a 3-year-old in 2019 before finishing fourth in the Preakness. He won Oaklawn’s $500,000 G3 Razorback Handicap for older horses in 2020.

A son of Munnings, Warrior’s Charge has bankrolled $1,045,690 off a 5-4-4 record from 19 lifetime starts. Although winless in seven starts this year, Warrior’s Charge ran fifth in the $1 million G2 Oaklawn Handicap last April at Oaklawn, second in the $600,000 G2 Stephen Foster Stakes June 26 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and third in the $200,000 Parx Dirt Mile Stakes Sept. 25 at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Penn. Warrior’s Charge ran second in an Oct. 24 allowance race at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., in his last start.

“We’ve thought about it (retirement), but I think we’re going to run him through 2022, probably, unless we’re able to put something together,” Crow said. “But this is a racing partnership that loves Oaklawn, and they aim for Oaklawn every year and so I don’t think they want to retire him with some of these lucrative purses that they can aim for this season. Obviously, if the right deal came along, we’d probably consider it.”

Ten Strike (Marshall Gramm and Arkansas native Clay Sanders) won 10 races, solely or in partnership, during the 2021 Oaklawn meeting that ended last May. Ten Strike campaigns Warrior’s Charge with Madaket Stables (Sol Kumin).

Ten Strike, which offers fractional ownership to partners, has 20-25 horses at Oaklawn with five trainers, Crow said. In addition to Cox, Ten Strike also has horses with Jason Barkley, Bentley Combs, Randy Matthews, and Lindsay Schultz. A former assistant under Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, Schultz recently went out on her own and had her first two career Oaklawn starters (Pepper Pike and Capture the Glory) Saturday. Both were for Ten Strike.

“Oaklawn’s always a main priority for Ten Strike,” Crow said. “We call ourselves like an Oaklawn-based racing partnership, so certainly always the goal is to win at Oaklawn and run at Oaklawn. I think Marshall and Clay like supporting these young trainers and we pushed Lindsay to Oaklawn to start her career, just because we thought that we be another great outlet to have horses there.”

Ten Strike also races several horses with prominent Arkansas businessman Frank Fletcher, including G3 winner Lady Rocket and unbeaten 2-year-old Rocket Dawg, who is by 2017 Arkansas Derby winner and champion Classic Empire. Lady Rocket was the first starter and first winner for the partnership, breaking her maiden in her August 2020 debut at Saratoga.

Cox also trains Lady Rocket and Rocket Dawg, a $375,000 Fasig-Tipton Select Yearling Sale purchase and sharp Nov. 19 debut winner at Churchill Downs.

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“Hopefully, he’ll make some starts at Oaklawn,” Crow said. “Really hope he can run in some of those races like the Smarty Jones and stuff, so we’ll see. I think that we have some exciting horses that are pointing toward Oaklawn this year.”

Lady Rocket, who ran in two allowances races at the 2021 Oaklawn meeting, was a nine-length winner of the $250,000 G3 Go for Wand Handicap Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, N.Y. Rocket Dawg, who broke his maiden by 5 ½ lengths at seven furlongs, returned to the work tab Saturday at Churchill Downs, breezing a half-mile in :49.60.

Lady Rocket is the first stakes winner and graded stakes winner for the Ten Strike/Fletcher union.

“It’s gone well so far,” Crow said. “It’s kind of a limited number of horses so far. They have only had like six horses together, but it looks like we have two good ones. Fingers crossed about Rocket Dawg. I don’t want to jinx him. I want him to stay sound, but we’re pretty excited about him. He ran some big numbers. He ran like an 11 Rag and a 3 ½ Thoro-Graph. He looks like he could be a really nice horse.”

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