Connie K Back To Defend Downthedustyroad Title

March 3, 2023

Connie K ahead of last year’s Downthedustyroad (Coady Photography)

Oaklawn Park Press Release

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.— Defending champion Connie K and Summer Shoes are among nine horses entered in the $150,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes for Arkansas-bred female sprinters Saturday at Oaklawn.

Probable post time for the Downthedustyroad, the seventh of 10 races, is 3:50 p.m. (Central). Racing begins at 12:35 p.m. The card also includes the $150,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes for Arkansas-bred sprinters.

The projected Downthedustyroad field from the rail out: Heated Argument, Alfredo Triana Jr. to ride, 119 pounds, 30-1 on the morning line; Unbridled Twister, Ricardo Santana Jr., 124, 4-1; Chai Tea, Kelsi Harr, 119, 20-1; Kaboom Baby, Luis Quinonez, 116, 4-1; Gramercy Park, Francisco Arrieta, 119, 20-1; Connie K, Rafael Bejarano, 119, 2-1; Hot Springs Bling, Jon Court, 119, 30-1; Summer Shoes, Chel-c Bailey, 119, 9-5; and Run Fearless, Cristian Torres, 121, 15-1.

Connie K was a front-running neck winner over Unbridled Twister in last year’s Downthedustyroad. Kaboom Baby finished fifth. Connie K tested open company in her last start, finishing fifth in the $150,000 American Beauty Stakes for older female sprinters Jan. 21 at Oaklawn for trainer Randy Morse, who also bred and races the 5-year-old daughter of Street Strategy in partnership with Randy Patterson.

Program favorite Summer Shoes, 3 for 3 against state-breds, will be making her stakes debut for trainer Tom Swearingen. Summer Shoes was scheduled to make her stakes debut in the $150,000 Natural State Breeders’ for state-bred females at 1 mile last May at Oaklawn, but was scratched because “she just didn’t seem right,” Swearingen said.

Summer Shoes broke her maiden by 12 ¾ lengths last March at Oaklawn and beat state-breds again three weeks later in a first-level allowance sprint. After scratching from the Natural State Breeders’ Stakes, Summer Shoes resurfaced in state-bred starter/optional claiming sprint Dec. 30 at Oaklawn and beat Connie K by three-quarters of a length. Unbridled Twister was third.

“We’re anxious to try her,” Swearingen said. “We’ve kind of waited just for this race. This is our motivation to try to get black type, we hope. See what happens, if we get a good race out of her. I think she’s doing well and we look for a good effort.”

Summer Shoes finished third in last her start, beaten three-quarters of a length in open company in a Jan. 29 entry-level allowance sprint at Oaklawn.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed, if she performs up to expectations,” Swearingen said.

Unbridled Twister and Kaboom Baby returned to finish 1-2, respectively, in a state-bred allowance sprint Feb. 3 at Oaklawn. Kaboom Baby was also fifth in the Dec. 30 race won by Summer Shoes.

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