NO PAROLE READY FOR A BREAK OUT AT OAKLAWN
One of the cool things about Thoroughbred horse racing are the many different divisions within the sport. If a runner can run, the respective conditioner needs to figure the best spot for success. Sometimes that can take a few races as the trial and error process works it self out. Of course everyone dreams of the big route races and Kentucky Derby glory for a three-year old, but at the same time, a square peg will not fit in a round hole. And the good news is there are plenty of opportunities for the non-classic distance horses.
No Parole is a freakishly fast three-year old that twinkled some eyes in the Tom Amoss barn earlier this year. A Louisiana bred that ran fellas from his own state completely off their feet in his first three starts, this Maggi Moss owned colt ran like a for real runner. In a jaw-dropping felonious fashion, No parole won those first three races by a combined 34 lengths.
With a mile being the farthest of his three wins, his caring conditioner decided it was time to test his colt against open company on the Kentucky Derby trail. The $1 million Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 14 didn’t turn out the way Amoss wanted. Running in third after the opening half mile, No Parole was kept behind bars and faded to an eighth place finish against a very stout field. The race did not launch the Louisiana bred into the fast lane towards the Kentucky Derby, but it did serve as a valuable learning experience.
“Everyone looks for that wow three-year old with eyes on the Kentucky Derby,” says Amoss. “We felt like we needed to give him a shot and see if he could carry the speed over longer distances. We figured out he is not a two turn horse and likely needs to run one-turn mile races or less.. In this game you are constantly learning about your horse. He is very talented, he’s just not a distance runner.”
No Parole is now looking to make a jailbreak again at Oaklawn Park. On Friday, April 24, Amoss will send this son of Violence to post in a six furlong allowance optional claiming race. Breaking from the rail as the 3 to 1 morning line favorite, No Parole hopes to steal away from 12 other talented runners. With horses coming to Oaklawn from all over the country, he’ll have to do more than simply out fox Barney Fife.
“This is a different Oaklawn Park we are talking about,” says Amoss. “As one of the only games in town because of the virus thing, the competition is extremely tough. This race reads more like a Stakes race. We drew the rail and he likes to be on or near the lead. He may not be on the lead right away, but we certainly want him to be in the first flight. We think he is a very talented colt and this is another chance for him to prove his worth.”
No Parole will be running in the 10th race at Oaklawn on Friday with a scheduled post time of 5:38 pm. The purse is at $61,000 with entries from heavy hitters like D. Wayne Lukas, Steve Asmussen, Ketih Desormeaux, and Doug O’Neill in the field.
SERENGETI EMPRESS UPDATE
Since we are talking about the Tom Amoss barn, here is a quick update on his stable star Serengeti Empress. Uber impressive in her Azeri Stakes win at Oaklawn Park on March 14, the Empress fell victim to a wide post draw and wickedly fast opening pace in last week’s Apple Blossom. The good news is the 2019 Kentucky Oaks champion emerged from her 11th place finish healthy. Her feelings may be a bit hurt as she is not used to being that far back, but her fleet feet will return to the dirt again in the near future.
“She’s doing great,” says Amoss. “We know she is kind of one dimensional and runs her best when she makes the lead out of the gate. That does not mean she’s not a great horse, it just means she runs her best when she’s out front. She tried hard to get there but was just too far outside. The horses to her inside broke so sharply she was losing ground every step going into that first turn. We wanted things to work out differently, but that is just racing.”
The next target for Serengeti Empress is yet to be determined.