Favored Hot and Sultry takes the $150K American Beauty under David Cabrera (Coady Photography)
Oaklawn Park Press Release/Edited
HOT SPRINGS, Ark.— Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Hot and Sultry got up just in time to prevail as the 6-5 favorite in Saturday’s $150,000 American Beauty Stakes before an on-track crowd of 22,500.
Hot and Sultry, ridden confidently throughout by David Cabrera, settled behind the early leaders as Connie K set fractions of :21 3/5 and :45 for the first half mile, while being tracked closely by I’m the Boss. The winner moved into second around the turn for home and after splitting foes mid-stretch to challenge, she prevailed in the final strides by a half-length. Her winning time was 1:10 for six furlongs over a fast track. Sarah Harper was third.
“The only thing I was worried about all week going into this is whether or not it was stupid run her back in three weeks because I really know this filly’s talented,” trainer Norm Casse said. “Coming off a layoff, running a bang-up second last time out, I was worried. I mean, that’s the trainer in me. You’ve got to be worried. But she touted her hand all week going into the race. She was ready to go. Plans change. Ideally, we would have been forwardly placed, just on cruise control, but things change. David (Cabrera) just rode a tremendous race. He was patient with her today.”
“I really do think the sky’s the limit with this filly. I’m happy.”
Cabrera is also quite a fan of Hot and Sultry, saying: “I worked her the other day and I was just like, ‘Man,’ all she wants is run. When we came out a step slow and they came over on top of her real quick, I kind of had to take up a little bit. I knew how much horse was underneath me.”
Hot and Sultry, a 4-year-old Speightster filly, improved her record to 3-2-0 from five career starts and has now earned $256,395. She returned $4.40, $2.80 and $2.20.
Live racing resumes Sunday with a 12:30 p.m. first post. Coming up next Saturday is the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes and $150,000 King Cotton Stakes. The Southwest and Martha Washington are the next steps on the road to the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) and $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3), respectively, on April 1.