Thank goodness we still have racing at Oaklawn. Despite having to change the stakes schedule, we're fortunate to still be able to see a great line up of horses running in Arkansas right now. Here's your weekend stakes update and a crazy weekend it was.
$200,000 Oaklawn Stakes
On a sloppy, but sealed track, THOUSAND WORDS, the 5-2 favorite, stumbled out of the gate and nearly fell. Joe Talamo managed to stay on and get the horse running, but he was never in a better position than sixth. GOLD STREET set the fractions of :22.07 and :45.47 but began to fade to eighth as the field approached the quarter pole. TAISHAN swung four-wide at the top of the stretch, but MR. BIG NEWS launched a five-wide rally on the turn coming from eleventh to first at the sixteenth pole and took the win by a half-length in 1:49.89 as the 46-1 winner, paying $95.60 to win.
The Oaklawn Stakes win secured him a spot in the Preakness, whenever the powers that be decide the race will be held. FARMINGTON ROAD was the runner up and TAISHAN came in third. All three finishers also secured a spot in the Arkansas Derby, which is scheduled for May 2nd. The Arkansas Derby offers 170 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby and MR. BIG NEWS has zero Derby points right now. That leaves the question as to what is next for the colt. Right now, trainer Brett Calhoun plans to ship back to the Fair Grounds, but he may be back for the Derby points.
$150,000 Oaklawn Mile
IMPROBABLE acted up in the starting gate causing Drayden Van Dyke to drop his crop and have to remount. TOM'S D'ETAT saved ground as PIONEER SPIRIT set an opening half-mile of :46.09. On the second turn, IMPROBABLE made a bid and took over PIONEER SPIRIT shortly. In the stretch, TOM'S D'ETAT pulled within two lengths of IMPROBABLE and cleared the wire late. BANKIT rallied for a third-place finish two lengths behind IMPROBABLE.