Six Shooter will make his next start in the $125,000 Gazebo Stakes for 3-year-olds March 23 at Oaklawn, trainer Paul Holthus of Hot Springs said Friday morning.
Six Shooter had been under consideration for the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) at 1 1/16 miles March 16, but Holthus said the Trappe Shot gelding will return to a sprint in the 6-furlong Gazebo. Six Shooter ran in Oaklawn's first two Kentucky Derby points races, finishing fourth in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 25 and $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 18.
“I think this horse can win the Gazebo,” Holthus said moments after Six Shooter worked a half-mile in :49.40 under Stewart Elliott. “I just think it's the right thing to do, to run where I think I've got a chance to win. I think he's a versatile horse. I think he can sprint. I'm not too sure he might not be a better sprinter. He could be a really good closing sprinter. Who knows? He may be one of the better 3-year-old sprinters around, if we get to it and figure it out, because he's got such a big turn of foot. He blows up there going long all the time. I think seven-eighths, a mile, might be his best gig.”
Holthus co-owns Six Shooter with wife Nancy, Oaklawn's paddock analyst, Dundalk 5 LLC (Tim Kindlon) and Wes Herek. Paul Holthus claimed Six Shooter for $20,000 out of his Sept. 20 career debut at Churchill Downs. Before the Smarty Jones and Southwest, Six Shooter was a maiden special weights winner at Indiana Grand, an allowance winner at Churchill Downs and captured the $75,000 Big Drama Stakes Jan. 5 at Delta Downs in his 3-year-old debut. Overall, he has a 3-0-3 record from nine career starts and earnings of $156,350.
Although the course was obscured by fog most of the morning, Six Shooter was still able to record a timed work over a fast track after Holthus alerted clockers the gelding would breeze a half-mile after the renovation break. As Six Shooter neared the half-mile pole to begin his work, Elliott screamed loud enough for clockers in the press box a couple of hundred yards away to start their watches. Six Shooter covered his last eighth of a mile in :11.80 and galloped out 5 furlongs in 1:01.80.
“He said it's the best he's worked,” Holthus said. “He hollered right before he got to the pole. The clockers heard him hollering and they got him.”
Hot Springs was under a Dense Fog Advisory Friday morning.
Rebel candidate Frosted Ice worked a half-mile in :48.60 just after the track opened Friday morning for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. Moquett said a decision on the Rebel will be made after conferring Friday afternoon with breeder/owner Catherine Adams Hutt.
Frosted Ice has won 2 of 3 career starts, including the $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard Stakes for New York-breds Sept. 21 at Belmont Park in his final race at 2. The gray son of Bellamy Road has had three published workouts this year at Oaklawn in advance of his 3-year-old debut.
Nominations to the Rebel closed Friday. It is the final major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 13.
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