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– 1st Star: IVAN FALLUNOVALOT – Don’t mess with Ivan Fallunovalot at Oaklawn Park…especially early in the meet! In Saturday’s King Cotton he ran another fantastic race as he romped over a field that on paper looked to be very evenly matched. He has now won the King Cotton two years in a row, and will look to races like the Hot Springs Stakes and Count Fleet Handicap later on in the meet. With the way this horse loves to run in Hot Springs there is no question he’ll be the favorite in both of those races. Ivan Fallunovalot is the type of horse you’d love to own, because you know every time he steps on the track he will give you a honest effort.
– 2nd Star: MAL GUAPO – Perhaps the best race of the entire week was the ninth race on Thursday, which was a loaded allowance field with several quality horses making their 2016 debuts. One of those quality horses was the Brad Cox trainer Mal Guapo who had been on quite a roll coming into the race, and ran huge to hold off the fast closing Far Right to pick up the biggest win of his career. With a performance like this Mal Guapo now might consider stakes company as you can all but guarantee Far Right will do so coming out of this race. Both of these prospects could be logical win candidates for races like the Razorback Handicap. As for Mal Guapo, the win makes him four out of his last five.
– 3rd Star: RIBBON OF DARKNESS – After giving stakes company a shot on opening weekend in the Pippin Stakes Ribbon of Darkness dropped in class for the Friday feature race, and earned a hard fought victory in a tough allowance optional claiming race. The victory was the third in her last six starts, and could set her up for another try against stakes company before the meet comes to an end. Owner Danny Caldwell is off to a slow start at the 2016 meet, but this performance might be a sign of things turning in his favor in the weeks ahead.
– LEWYS VAPORIZER – Many felt (including me) that Lewys Vaporizer could be very competitive in the King Cotton Stakes on Saturday, but instead he was nothing more than cheap speed. After setting a fast pace, the newly turned four year old was completely done entering the stretch and finished dead last. Perhaps he was a bit outclassed this time out.
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