This Saturday at Oaklawn Park, we are looking at another great day of racing. Over $2.2 million in purse money up for grabs. Kentucky Derby and Oaks points will be awarded to worthy competitors. Top mares are set to clash to establish their dominance in their division. We even welcome back our BC Sprint Champion and Kentucky Oaks champion to the races! Let us preview the action to come.
The $350K Azeri Stakes (G2) — Post Time 2:03 PM CT
The $500K Essex Handicap — Post Time 3:08 PM CT
The $150K Temperance Hill Stakes — Post Time 4:13 PM CT
The $200K Hot Spring Stakes — Post Time 4:45 PM CT
The $1,000,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) — Post Time 5:16 PM CT
The first stakes race of the day comes in Race 5, the $350K Azeri Stakes (G2) . A field of four will duke it out over one mile and one-sixteenth on the dirt. This event is for fillies and mares, four years old and upward. We welcome the return of last year's Kentucky Oaks champion SHEDARESTHEDEVIL for trainer Brad Cox. We last saw her running third in the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland in her first try against her elders. Well, the big filly is back to the races at age four, grown and rested, and evermore dangerous. She breezed a sharp 1:00.20 5F workout at Fair Grounds in preparation for this race. Jockey Florent Geroux stays on board. Post time for the race is 2:03 PM CT.
On Race 7, we've got the $500K Essex Handicap, a one mile and one-sixteenth run over the dirt. It is for four-year-olds and upward. Highest in the (HRN) rating scale among them is TAX for trainer Danny Gargan. He'll face six others as he tries to rebound off his disappointing 10th place finish in the Pegasus World Cup (G1). Post time for the race is 3:08 PM CT.
On Race 9, we've got the $150K Temperance Hill Stakes, which is a one mile and one-half race over the dirt. Ten horses will line up, with TENFOLD looming the danger in terms of speed figures. Steve Asmussen enters his 6-yr-old horse off a 4th place finish in the John B Connally Turf Cup (G3) at this same distance — but switches over from turf to dirt. TENFOLD actually began his racing career at Oaklawn Park and has already won twice at this track. Post time for the race is 4:13 PM CT.
On Race 10, we've got the $200K Hot Spring Stakes, which is a six furlong dash over the dirt for four year olds and upward. We say hello to our Sprint Champion WHITMORE who makes his 39th start of his career. The gutsy veteran clocked a sharp 5F workout in 1:00 flat over the Oaklawn Park track. He's got 9 wins over this surface and will go for his tenth in his return-to-the-races. Post time for the race is 4:45 PM CT.
Finally, the race of the evening, we've got the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) — a one mile and one-sixteenth event on the dirt for three-year-olds only. CADDO RIVER from the Brad Cox barn enters this race off a romp in the Smarty Jones Stakes back in January. He'll be facing a deep field which includes West Coast invader CONCERT TOUR from the Bob Baffert stable. CONCERT TOUR enters off a hard-fought win in last month's San Vicente Stakes (G2). Baffert also sends HOZIER as his second bullet in the chamber. Note that in the last twelve runnings of the Rebel Stakes, Bob Baffert saddled seven winners, so take heed of who he sends. Post Time is 5:16 PM CT.