Saturday's $100,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park is shaping up as a showdown between the speedy Crafty Shaw, winner of the race in 2002, and Pie N Burger, a late comer to the race when a field of eight was entered Thursday.
Favored Sir Cherokee, passed in the stretch by Freefourinternet, responded with a determined rally to inch away to a three-quarters of a length victory in Saturday's night's $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup Handicap at Sam Houston Race Park.
Sir Cherokee, one of two Arkansas Derby winners in the field, is favored among a classy group of eight entered for the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park.
Louisiana Derby (gr. II) runner-up Easyfromthegitgo is the morning line favorite for the $250,000 Oklahoma Derby (gr. III) at Remington Park on Sunday.
Early indicators are that the field for Sunday's Oklahoma Derby (gr. III) will be a competitive one.
Nine stakes winners were entered Wednesday for Saturday's $500,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III), including Rebel Stakes (gr. III) winner Windward Passage.
The number of horses expected for the April 13 Arkansas Derby (gr. II) expanded to 12 Wednesday with the addition of Dial A Hero, It'sallinthechase, Like A Hero, and Guppie's Secret. But Oaklawn Park officials are beginning to fear the connections of Rebel Stakes (gr. III) runner-up Ocean Sound may opt for the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) instead.
Trainer James Cassidy has decided to keep Rebel Stakes (gr. III) runner-up Ocean Sound at Oaklawn Park to run in the April 13 Arkansas Derby (gr. II). Another Southern California-based horse likely for the Arkansas Derby is Holdthehelm.
Windward Passage, relishing the added ground, rolls to a one- length victory in the Rebel Stakes
Paloma Parilla and Cojet will both miss their anticipated starts in the March 23 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Calvin Borel was to ride Cojet in the Rebel, but quickly picked up the mount on Ocean Sound for the 1 1/16-mile race.
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