Last year trainer Bobby Frankel saddled Medaglia d' Oro to win the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II). This year Frankel hopes Peace Rules, who is listed as even money on the morning-line, can emulate his stablemate's success in Saturday's $500,000 race going 1 1/8-miles.
If Peace Rules, who most recently won a controversial and tough New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) at Fair Grounds after finishing fourth in the Barretts/ California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Classic on the Sunshine Millions card, can pull back-to-back victories for the New York-born trainer he must contend with a short but talented field of five rivals.
Challenging Peace Rules will be 5-2 second choice Saint Liam who was hard-fought second, just a short head, behind Peace Rules in the New Orleans Handicap. The Richard Dutrow Jr.-trainee began the year with a four-length allowance win at Gulfstream Park.
If the old theory of having a horse for the course holds true, then Peace Rules and Saint Liam should watch out for Private Emblem who is a perfect three-for-three at the Hot Springs oval after wins in the Southwest Stakes and Arkansas Derby (gr. II) as a 3-year-old.
Perfect Emblem began the year with a fourth-place finish in the MAXXAM Gold Cup at Sam Houston before returning to Oaklawn to score a length win in the Essex Handicap (gr. III). Private Emblem is listed at 8-1 on the morning line.
Another Arkansas Derby winner, Sir Cherokee, is listed at 8-1. Sir Cherokee finished sixth in the New Orleans Handicap and began the year by winning the MAXXAM Gold Cup.
The field for Saturday's $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) includes:
1 -- Sonic West (Willie Martintz, 12-1)
2 -- Saint Liam (Edgar Prado, 8-1)
3 -- Peace Rules (Jerry Bailey, even)
4 -- Private Emblem (Tim Doocey, 8-1)
5 -- Sir Cherokee (Terry Thompson, 8-1)
6 -- Ole Faunty (Mike Smith, 5-1)