Exotics Plays for the Purple Mountain Stakes

March 14th, 2024

A compact field of six will vie in Saturday’s $200,000 Purple Mountain S at Oaklawn Park. The ultra-competitive six-furlong affair features three of the top four finishers of the recent Dixie Belle S., but I like another contender to take this field all the way on the front end. 

Purple Mountain Exotics

  • $25 exacta 5 with 6 ($25)
  • $10 exacta 5 with 1 ($10)
  • $5 trifecta key 5 with 1,6 ($10)

#5 Asternia, one of two major threats in the cast for conditioner Randy Morse, flashed both speed and potential as a juvenile, but she took a step forward with the addition of blinkers in her 2024 debut. The $90,000 juvenile purchase set quick splits in an allowance race and stayed on well late when caught late by #6 Xtreme Diva, who followed up that effort with a Dixie Belle victory. 

The daughter of Astern comes in relatively fresh with two especially strong morning drills, and it tells me that the equipment change has been a big boost for the sophomore. She has a few pace players inside of her, but I expect jockey Emmanuel Esquivel to have her in front at the first call and never looking back. The bay should be a decent price in a compact field, too. 

I will use the two Mac Robertson trainees with the top selection in the exotics. The aforementioned Xtreme Diva is in fine current form and also received a dream post draw on the outside of the small field. The dark bay daughter of Coal Front is 4-for-6 lifetime and was game in holding off a major challenger in the stretch in her latest venture. She will have Ramon Vazquez in the silks. 

And #1 Xtreme Smoke Show endured a troubled voyage when beaten by 1 3/4 lengths in the Dixie Belle. The gray daughter of Frosted has been on the improve, and the $55,000 yearling purchase gives me the impression of a horse ready to peak third time off the shelf. She put in a solid four-furlong drill recently and will save ground while tracking from third in the early going. Francisco Arrieta will take the reins.