By Sara Dacus
On the second Saturday of racing at Oaklawn, the ladies take center stage in stakes action, with the one-mile Martha Washington, the first of the track’s three Kentucky Oaks points races; and the 6-furlong American Beauty for older female sprinters.
Race 6 – Martha Washington
Blowing away the fields in her first two starts by a combined 19 lengths, #3 Taraz has size and speed, and she is the rightful favorite in the five-horse field. The Into Mischief filly is untested at two turns, but if she wins, trainer Brad Cox says he may try her against the boys and explore the road to the Kentucky Derby.
In her last start, #1 O Seraphina won at this distance. The filly has speed, and she could challenge Taraz if she keeps improving.
Toss #4 Shedaresthedevil, who won her debut but has not fared well in stakes company.
Race 8 – American Beauty
Defending champion #3 Amy’s Challenge hasn’t raced since May, but in 2019, on Oaklawn’s oval, she won the American Beauty and Spring Fever by a combined 14 lengths. Next, she finished second in a Grade 1 at Keeneland by a nose, and in her last race, the 5-year-old mare was third in a Grade 1 at Churchill. If she can return to her previous form after the layoff, Amy’s Challenge will be the horse to beat.
#5 Special Relativity hit the board in her last seven starts, with three coming against graded company including the Ballerina (G1). A multiple winner at Saratoga last summer, the 5-year-old has some speed. Include her in exotic wagers.
#8 Irish Mischief won her last race by 5 1/4 lengths. Her recent speed and workouts indicate the mare is a contender. Florent Geroux flies in to ride this filly and Taraz for trainer Brad Cox.
#4 Mt. Brave hasn’t faced this level of competition, but she has shown nice Brisnet Sspeed figures in her three wins and one second from five starts. This combination of Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and Ricardo Santana Jr., who has won six riding titles at Oaklawn, is a popular angle to play in Hot Springs.
Don’t spend much time considering #1 Talbeya, #6 Raintree Starlet, or #7 Ascot Day.