Trainer Bobby Frankel is shipping a quartet of runners for Oaklawn Park's Racing Festival of South, including Peace Rules, who will look to defend the trainer's Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) title. Frankel won the 2003 Oaklawn Handicap with Medaglia d'Oro, who is pointed toward the March 27 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).
Frankel also plans to ship Wild Spirit for the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I). Both the Oaklawn and Apple Blossom Handicaps will be contested on April 3. Joining Peace Rules and Wild Spirit will be Miss Coronado and Watch 'em Smokey.
Peace Rules enters the Oaklawn following a controversial win in the Feb. 29 in the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) at Fair Grounds, which boosted his career earnings to $2.4 million. The New Orleans Handicap was the second start of the year for Peace Rules, who finished fourth, eights lengths behind Southern Image, in the Barretts CTBA Classic on the Sunshine Millions card.
Wild Spirit a 5-year-old Chilean-bred mare, was imported to this country last year and turned over to Frankel. The dark bay won the Ruffian (gr. I) and Shuvee (gr. II) Handicaps, and missed by a nose in her other start in the Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga. She finished second to last year's champion older female, Azeri, whom she will face in the Apple Blossom, in the voting for Eclipse mare.
The Apple Blossom will be the first start for Wild Spirit since last September's Ruffian Handicap. Wild Spirit worked six furlongs in 1:13.20 handily over a fast Hollywood Park track on Wednesday. The work was the second fastest of five works Wednesday at that distance.
Jerry Bailey has the mounts on both Peace Rules and Wild Spirit.
Watch 'em Smoky, who got his start at Oaklawn last year for trainer Cecil Borel, will start in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (gr. III) on April 8, and Miss Coronado is pointed toward the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) on April 9.