Interstatedaydream winning an AOC at Oaklawn March 13, 2022. (Coady Photography)
Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates
HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—Multiple graded stakes winner Interstatedaydream recently returned to trainer Brad Cox’s barn at Fair Grounds to continue preparations for two starts this season at Oaklawn, the 4-year-old filly’s owner, Staton Flurry of Hot Springs, said Friday afternoon.
Flurry said Interstatedaydream is scheduled to make her 2023 debut in the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles March 11. The Azeri, if all goes well, will be Interstatedaydream’s prep for the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at 1 1/16 miles April 15.
“The goal is to get a Grade 1,” Flurry said. “She’s got plenty of racing left in her. I don’t think there was ever a question not to bring her back. The Apple Blossom is the big one that we’ve got circled. That’s the one I want to win the most. After that, we’ll look at maybe races like the Fleur de Lis, the Clement Hirsch, the Zenyatta. Kind of see what Nest is doing, too, because Nest is going to be the big one for the year that we’re going to have to run against.”
Interstatedaydream, a daughter of champion and 2017 Arkansas Derby winner Classic Empire, opened her 2022 campaign with a powerful entry-level allowance victory at 1 1/16 miles last March at Oaklawn before finishing third, beaten 8 ¼ lengths by Nest, in the $600,000 Ashland Stakes (G1) last April at Keeneland. The Ashland was also 1 1/16 miles. Nest rose to the top of the division last summer and is expected to be crowned champion 3-year-old filly of 2022 later this month.
Following the Ashland, Interstatedaydream captured two major races for 3-year-old fillies – $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at 1 1/8 miles last May at Pimlico and the $200,000 Indiana Oaks (G3) at 1 1/16 miles last July at Horseshoe Indianapolis.
Interstatedaydream, in her last start, finished second in the $150,000 Cathryn Sophia Stakes at 1 mile and 70 yards Aug. 23 at Parx.
“We decided to give her a little break and get her ready for here,” Flurry said.
Following the Cathryn Sophia, Flurry said Interstatedaydream spent roughly 2 ½ months “just being a horse” at a Kentucky farm before moving to LaCroix Training Center about a half-hour from Churchill Downs.
“The plan is the Azeri, Apple Blossom,” Flurry said. “Then after that, who knows. We’ll see how she comes back, but she looked really good, Brad said. I guess that’s about eight weeks between now at the Azeri.”
Cox and Flurry teamed to win the 2021 Azeri with Shedaresthedevil, who made her 4-year-old debut in the race. Interstatedaydream, who has never faced older horses, was purchased for $175,000 at the 2021 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s Spring Sale of 2-year-olds in training. The Canadian-bred filly has a 4-2-1 record from seven lifetime starts and earnings of $498,825.
Oaklawn-based Secret Oath is also scheduled to make her 4-year-old debut in the Azeri, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Secret Oath was Oaklawn’s top 3-year-old filly last season, scoring runaway victories in the $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes and $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3). Secret Oath beat Nest in the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) last May at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks is the country’s biggest race for 3-year-old fillies.
Lukas said the Azeri is Secret Oath’s scheduled prep for the Apple Blossom.
Jockey Isaac Castillo swept Friday’s early daily double at Oaklawn, winning the first race aboard favored Carpe Horseshoe ($4.80) for trainer Norman McKnight and the second race aboard Shakedown Street ($7.40) for trainer Lindsay Schultz. Shakedown Street represented the 15th career victory for Schultz, a former assistant under Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, and the co-meet-leading fifth this season for owner Ten Strike Racing (founding partners Marshall Gramm and Arkansas native Clay Sanders). …
Francisco Arrieta rode two winners Friday, winning the seventh race aboard Bolt Above ($9.80) for co-owner/trainer Cipriano Contreras and the ninth race, a $107,000 allowance sprint for older horses, aboard favored Tejano Twist ($4.20) for trainer Chris Hartman. Tejano Twist was making his first start since winning the $250,000 Steel Valley Sprint Stakes for 3-year-olds Nov. 21 at Mahoning Valley. Bolt Above became the third winner at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting for first-crop sire Bolt d’Oro. …
After 10 runner-up finishes at the meeting, jockey Tyler Baze recorded his first victory aboard Golden Hornet ($14.20) in Friday’s eighth race, a $104,000 allowance sprint for older horses. It was the second career Oaklawn victory for trainer Larry Rivelli, a fixture on the now-defunct Chicago circuit.