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3 Stars of the Week:
-1st Star – Absinthe Minded (KY) – Has there ever been a horse that deserved a win in The Pippin Stakes as much as Absinthe Minded did? She was put through an insanely demanding schedule last year by D Wayne Lukas, and honestly I had written her off as a tired and worn out horse. She showed us Saturday that I was dead wrong. She took her normal lead and set moderate fractions, giving me some hope she could win. When they made the turn she was caught and passed by Tiz Miz Sue. At this point it looked to be over, but Absinthe Minded showed heart and dug back in, slipping past Tiz Miz Sue at the wire for a neck victory. It was the type of victory that had all the Oaklawn locals smiling. Absinthe Minded clearly loves the track here in Hot Springs, and I would say she’ll be pointed towards The Bayakoa Stakes for her next start.
-2nd Star – Gleaming (OK) – Many pundits and handicappers from around the country think Oaklawn Park is a speed favoring track, but Gleaming didn’t listen to them on Sunday. Gleaming took home the American Beauty Stakes, rallying from way off the pace, and easily cruising past Sassy City a few steps before the wire. The win was probably one of the best races of her career as she looked defeated for much of the race. Oaklawn hasn’t had a dominate female sprinter on the grounds since Palanka City retired, but Gleaming might be able to fill that void.
-3rd Star – Chief of Affairs (TX) – I tweeted earlier in the week that if I had $35,000 I would have claimed Chief of Affairs on Saturday. Boy to I wish I had that money! Coming from way off the pace, which is very uncharacteristic for him, Chief of Affairs got up just in time to win an Allowance event worth $41,000. Even though he’s now six years old, he showed that he still has plenty left in the tank. He was claimed by Midwest Thoroughbred (lucky them) and will more than likely stay at Oaklawn for the fall. Much like Absinthe Minded, Chief of Affairs loves the local oval of Hot Springs. I would look for him in a Stakes race next time out.
Two Futrue Stars to Keep an Eye On:
– Silver Hustler (KY) – Usually when a first time starter misses the break, it doesn’t end well. So when Silver Hustler was sluggish at the start, most people turned their attention to others and chalked up a loss for the first time runner. Silver Hustler steadied, lagged behind, but came flying home at the end to score an impressive victory over what seemed to be an even field of maidens. The bad news for Silver Hustler is she’ll have to step up and compete against the outstanding group of 3-year-old fillies that are here at Oaklawn, but the good news is she might be good enough to keep up with them. She’ll need a cleaner trip against those top flight horses, but the seasoning she got in her first race will prove valuable as we move forward.
– Majestic Stride (FL) – When asked what was next for Majestic Stride trainer Jeff Bonde said, “The Kentucky Derby!” Obviously he was kidding, but he did say The Southwest Stakes will be his next start, which is the first step towards Kentucky if your based at Oaklawn Park. Judging by how easy he won the 9th on Sunday at Oaklawn, you’d have to think he will match up very well against just about anyone. He won by an extremely easy 3 lengths and the jockey never asked him to do a thing. I couldn’t help but notice how much energy and pep he had when coming back to the grandstand after the race. This one could be speical. In my opinion, his race was the most impressive by a three-year old colt so far at Oaklawn. I do want to note that Spin Zone ran a very good 2nd. You might want to keep an eye on him as well.
Preview of Next Week:
-The King Cotton Stakes – $50,000 for older males. 6 furlongs.
I’ll leave you with a picture of the next Triple Crown winner! Rachel Alexandra gave birth to a baby boy Sunday afternoon. She was in foal to Curlin:
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