Texas-bred Ivan Fallunovalot Favored in King Cotton at Oaklawn

Ivan Fallunovalot working in preparation for the King Cotton (Photo by Coady Photography)
Ivan Fallunovalot working in preparation for the King Cotton (Photo by Coady Photography)

Ivan Fallunovalot has been installed the 2-1 program favorite for the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters Saturday at Oaklawn. Probable post time for the race, the eighth of nine races, is 4:38 p.m. (Central).

Racing secretary Pat Pope has assembled a strong cast of eight, including three graduates of the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), for this year’s edition.

Ivan Fallunovalot, a multiple stakes winner, exits a sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint Oct. 31 for trainer Tom Howard of Hot Springs. The defending King Cotton champion, the gelding completed major preparations for his 2016 debut with a scorching half-mile workout (:45.80) between races last Saturday at Oaklawn under regular rider Calvin Borel.

“He did it own his own,” Howard said Thursday morning. “It wasn’t like Calvin was pushing him. He came back out of it good, and we’re ready to run.”

Ivan Fallunovalot is scheduled to break from post 5 and carry 117 pounds. The gelded son of Valid Expectations was bred by Eileen Hartis.

“Once again, Pat Pope has lured us in,” Ron Moquett, trainer of Gentlemen’s Bet, said Friday morning. “Pat’s done a great job as a racing secretary. He’s got a $300,000 field running for a $100,000 purse.”

Gentlemen’s Bet (6-1 on the morning line) finished third in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

After missing 2014 with a foot injury, Gentlemen’s Bet won the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes last year at Oaklawn and closed 2015 with a victory (via disqualification) in the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Nov. 14 at Laurel. He is scheduled to break from post 8 under two-time Oaklawn riding champion Robby Albarado and carry equal top weight of 122 pounds.

Millionaire and multiple stakes winner Alsvid has finished second in the King Cotton the last three years. The gelding, 13th in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, will try to snap a six-race losing streak Saturday for 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman.

After edging Ivan Fallunovalot in last year’s $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn, Alsvid toppled reigning male sprint champion Work All Week in the $100,000 Aristides Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs. He prepped for the King Cotton with a strong third-place finish in an allowance/optional claiming sprint Jan. 15 at Oaklawn.

Alsvid (4-1) is scheduled to break from post 6 under Chris Emigh and carry 115 pounds.

The 5-2 second choice in the program is Lewys Vaporizer, who won the $200,000 Steel Valley Sprint Stakes Nov. 23 at Mahoning Valley for trainer Larry Rivelli. Lewys Vaporizer is scheduled to break from post 3 under Corey Nakatani and carry 122 pounds.

Also entered are multiple stakes winners Bayerd and Hebbronville, second and third, respectively, in the Steel Valley.

Three-time defending riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. has the mount on Bayerd, who is scheduled to break from the rail. Hebbronville, who worked 6 furlongs from the gate in an eye-catching 1:11.60 Jan. 20, is scheduled to break from post 2 under Chris Landeros.

Bayerd and Hebbronville will be meeting for the eighth time in a little more than a year Saturday.

W.B. Smudge and Creative Art are also entered.