With Shotski Getting Down Time, O’Dwyer Drafts My Friends Beer For Arkansas Derby

Trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer enjoyed great success this winter at the Big A with three wins and two seconds in 10 starts, including stakes scores in the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen with Shotski and the $100,000 Ruthless with Cruise and Danze.

Shotski, who was second in the Grade 3 Withers at the Big A and fourth last out in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream in February, is currently 22nd on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 19 points.

Owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Pantofel Stable and Howling Pigeon Farms, Shotski is nominated to the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby slated for May 2 at Oaklawn Park which may be split into divisions after 99 horses were nominated to the nine-furlong Derby prep.

Shotski, who had traveled to Dubai for a start in the canceled UAE Derby, has yet to return to the work tab following his return from overseas and O’Dwyer said the Blame colt is not likely to travel to Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Ark.

“I’ve given him a bit of down time after coming back from Dubai,” said O’Dwyer. “He’s done a fair bit of traveling. He’s had some turnout and he’s been galloping. We might breeze him here later this week and see how he is.”

O’Dwyer also nominated maiden winners My Friends Beer and Amen Corner to the Arkansas Derby.

Designated Hitters Racing’s My Friends Beer, by Stay Thirsty and out of Slew’s Quality, is a half-brother to 2018 Eclipse Award-winning female sprinter Shamrock Rose.

Purchased for $25,000 at the April OBS, My Friends Beer graduated at fifth asking in a $40,000 maiden-claiming sprint at Laurel Park. Following a closing second in the Private Terms at Laurel on March 14, My Friends Beer shipped to Oaklawn to finish third in an optional-claiming mile on April 11 that garnered a career-best 81 Beyer Speed Figure.

“He’s very nicely bred. We only paid $25,000 for him and he’s a bit on the smaller side, but he’s done nothing but mature,” said O’Dwyer. “He’s never run a bad race. Once he broke his maiden, he’s steadily improved with every run and stretching him out seems to be a good thing for him as well.

“The biggest part of him is his heart,” added O’Dwyer. “He never lays down. He always comes running. He was third in a very good allowance race last week. He was a little outpaced before they turned in, but he stayed on well to the line and got up for third. He’s one that would appreciate the mile and an eighth.”

Howling Pigeon Farms’ Amen Corner, a bay son of Malibu Moon purchased for $70,000 at the Keeneland November sale, graduated at second asking in a Laurel Park maiden sprint in January. Following a pair of off-the-board efforts in the Miracle Wood at Laurel and the Rushaway at Turfway Park, Amen Corner shipped to Oaklawn Park where he closed to be fourth in an optional-claiming mile on April 11.

With a number of heavy hitters nominated to the Arkansas Derby including the undefeated Nadal, O’Dwyer said he could also target an allowance race instead on Arkansas Derby day.

“The earnings would likely stop Amen Corner from getting into either of the divisions if they split, but at the same time I’d like to run one of them in the allowance race that day,” said O’Dwyer. “He’s [Amen Corner] not as hardened as My Friends Beer even though I think there’s very little between them ability wise. My Friends Beer is much more in the game right now, while Amen Corner will progress throughout the year.”

Both My Friends Beer and Amen Corner are currently stabled at Oaklawn Park and O’Dwyer said they will train up to their next start.

“I won’t breeze either of them back if they’re running again in three weeks’ time. They’ll just need their maintenance gallops and schooling to keep them ticking over,” said O’Dwyer.

Designated Hitters Racing’s Ilchester Cheetah, bred in New York by Cheryl Anne Prudhomme and Dr. Michael Thomas Gallivan, is nominated to face the boys in the $100,000 Bachelor, a six-furlong sprint set for April 25 at Oaklawn.

The sophomore daughter of Itsmyluckyday has a career ledger of 9-5-1-1 and last raced on February 21 at the Big A when a front-running winner of an open optional-claiming sprint.

Ilchester Cheetah was looking to become O’Dwyer’s third Aqueduct stakes winner when entered in the $100,000 Cicada, which was slated for March 21 at the Big A before live racing was canceled amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

She has since continued to train at Laurel Park but with 24 horses nominated to the Bachelor, including the Bob Baffert-trained Grade 1-winner Eight Rings, O’Dwyer said he is still considering the best option for the filly’s next start.

“I’m mulling that over,” said O’Dwyer. “I wouldn’t normally have considered it…I’d rather have run her in New York. She was going to be second choice at Aqueduct against the girls before they canceled. There’s a number of tough horses in the Bachelor. She could end up fifth or sixth after running a race that might be a winning one somewhere else.

“I’m between a rock and a hard place with her at the moment,” added O’Dwyer. “When you have a filly that’s doing well, you don’t want to put them in a spot where they might struggle a little bit and knock their confidence, but at the same time I’ve been sitting on her for two months.”

The post With Shotski Getting Down Time, O’Dwyer Drafts My Friends Beer For Arkansas Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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