Oaklawn to Offer First All 2-Year-Old Card Saturday

December 28, 2022

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Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—For the first time in track history, Oaklawn will offer a full card of 2-year-old races Saturday highlighted by the inaugural runnings of the $150,000 Renaissance Stakes for juveniles at six furlongs and the $150,000 Year’s End of juvenile fillies at one mile. 

The Renaissance Stakes drew a field of six led by the undefeated Count de Monet, who won the opening day Advent Stakes. Among his rivals is Spurrier, who won at first asking Dec. 10 to give trainer Ron Moquett his 300th Oaklawn victory. The Year’s End drew a field of nine fillies, including Defining Purpose, who comes off a solid effort in the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill and Bluelightspecial, who has never been worse than third in six career starts. 

The 10-race card, that begins at 12:30 p.m., also includes six $90,000 maiden races, a $104,000 allowance optional claiming race with a claiming price of $80,000 and a $51,000 starter allowance optional claiming race with a claiming price of $50,000.

Finish Lines

Oaklawn reopened for training Tuesday afternoon after an arctic blast closed the track following training hours Thursday morning. Temperatures quickly dropped below freezing early Thursday afternoon in Hot Springs and plummeted to around zero early Friday morning. Five workouts were recorded over a fast-rated surface Tuesday afternoon. … 

Oaklawn’s first Kentucky Derby points race, the $250,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at 1 mile, is Sunday. Post positions for Sunday’s card will be drawn Thursday. … 

Yuugiri, among Oaklawn’s leading 3-year-old fillies last season, is scheduled to make her comeback in Friday’s fourth race, a $106,000 allowance sprint, for trainer Rodolphe Brisset. Yuugiri hasn’t started since finishing 13th in the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) at 1 1/8 miles last May at Churchill Downs. Yuugiri ran twice last season at Oaklawn in Kentucky Oaks points races, finishing third in the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) and winning the $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3). Both races were 1 1/16 miles. Friday’s 6-furlong race will mark Yuugiri’s first sprint since a 7 ¼-length victory in her Sept. 17, 2021, career debut at Churchill Downs. That race was 6 furlongs. Brisset said earlier this month that Yuugiri will “more than likely” target one-turn races in 2023. Probable post time for Friday’s fourth race is 1:54 p.m. (Central). … Another 2021-2022 Oaklawn stakes winner, Punchy Girl, is scheduled to make her comeback in Friday’s eighth race, a $106,000 starter optional claimer for Arkansas-bred female sprinters. Punchy Girl won the $150,000 Rainbow Miss Stakes for 3-year-old Arkansas-bred female sprinters last April. She hasn’t started since early May.

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