Terra Promessa will return to action in Saturday’s Grade 2, $350,000 Azeri Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday afternoon. The 4-year-old filly has a perfect 5-for-5 career record at Oaklawn, including wins this year in the Pippin Stakes and the Grade 3 Bayakoa Stakes.
Her main challenger will be Gulfstream Park shipper Eskenformoney. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Eskenformoney was a Grade 3 winner two races back in the Rampart Stakes over the talented Curlin’s Approval. Jockey Javier Castellano comes in for the ride. The field will be rounded out by locals Miss Mo Kelly, Tiger Moth, She Mabee Wild, Power of Sunner, and Streamline.
#2 Terra Promessa – She’s been the dominant older female horse at Oaklawn this year by a wide margin, and since this race interestingly has only one shipper, it’s very logical that she will move her winning streak to three in a row today. She’s unbeaten at Oaklawn and is a perfect 2-for-2 this year while never trailing at any point of either race. With her inside draw, I expect another wire to wire performance, as she’s just too sharp at Oaklawn for me to pick against her until we see some serious shippers come to play.
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#6 Eskenformoney – She’s a solid horse with solid connections who could at least make Terra Promessa work for it. We already know Terra Promessa can handle the local fillies and mares with ease, but she’ll now get a test from this Gulfstream Park shipper. Two races back. Eskenformoney defeated a really nice horse in Curlin’s Approval, but she ran a flat third last time out as Curlin’s Approval got her revenge. She’ll need to run better today, but at the least she can be used as a measuring stick for Terra Promessa as we try to figure out just how good she has become.
#5 Power of Sunner – She’s finished second in three straight stakes races but was been beaten by 3 or more lengths in each of those races. So, while the past form looks decent, it’s not as if she’s been close to winning. Last time out, Terra Promessa defeated her by nearly 5 lengths, so there doesn’t look to be much of a chance of her winning today. She’s a logical underneath play.
#7 Streamline – She was easily defeated in both of her Oaklawn match-ups with Terra Promessa this year. That’s sure to stay the same today, but she finished third in each of those races, so there’s a good chance she could do that again today. However, turning the tables and competing for the win doesn’t look likely, as she’s been a little flat this year.
NONE – It’s Terra Promessa or Eskenformoney in this one. Anyone else would be a total surprise.
#3 Tiger Moth – She put things together nicely for trainer Brad Cox last time out against allowance competition, but this is a very ambitious spot for her. Terra Promessa is ultra-tough at Oaklawn.
#4 She Mabee Wild – She ran fantastic last time out in an allowance race to beat a nice horse in Divine Elegance, but she was blown out two races back in the Pippin Stakes by Terra Promessa. It will be hard for She Mabee Wild to beat Terra Promessa at Oaklawn.
#1 Miss Mo Kelly – She proved last time out in the Pippin that she was no match for Terra Promessa, and she will most likely get the same result today. I’m not sure how she can turn the tables.