Dixie Strike an Outside Shot in Azeri
Category : News
Fri 14/03/2014 - 13:47 EDT
Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas will be the place to watch and wager on this Saturday, with three graded-stakes races featured on the afternoon card. First up is the $200,000 Grade II Azeri Stakes, for fillies and mares aged four and up racing 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. Multiple graded-stakes winner Close Hatches will lead the field into the starting gate as the heavy morning line favorite at 7-5. Close Hatches is trained by Bill Mott and will be making her first start since running second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November.
Favorite has a Grade I resume
Prior to that, she had won two straight Grade I events, taking the Cotillion at Parx and the Mother Goose at Belmont. She also captured the Grade II Gazelle last spring before running a disappointing seventh in the Kentucky Oaks. Second ML choice for the Azeri at 5-2 is Don’t Tell Sophia, a six-year-old who will carry high weight of 123 pounds. She’s two-for-two so far this year at Oaklawn with both wins coming in ungraded stakes. She does have a Grade II win on her record from last year, winning the Chilukki at Churchill Downs.
Others look to be improving
Offering a bit of a price is another making her 2014 debut in Flashy American (6-1). She finished 2013 just on the edges in a pair of graded-stakes, running fourth in the Grade I Zenyatta, and then improving to third in the Grade II Falls City Handicap, where she stretched out to 1 1/8 miles. Prior those two she had a pair of minor stakes wins. An outside longshot for the Azeri might be the Ontario-bred Dixie Strike. Although winless in two starts this year, she bounced back from a poor effort in the Pippin Stakes and ran a big one to finish second to Don’t Tell Sophia in the Bayakoa Stakes last out.
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