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.
A 1 1/16-mile race for 4-year-olds, the Essex is named after Essex Park, a World War I-era track in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where Oaklawn is located.
Crafty Shaw and Pie N Burger have been installed co-highweights at 118 pounds by racing secretary Larry Craft.
Crafty Shaw is now owned by Oaklawn Park owner Charles Cella, who purchased the Essex contender in the summer of 2002.
The field for the Essex, in post position order, with weight and jockey:
1 -- Pie N Burger, 118, Jamie Theriot
2 -- Private Emblem, 113, Tim Doocy
3 -- Crafty Shaw, 118, Craig Perret
4 -- Docent, 116, James Lopez
5 -- Morning Merry, 112, Cindy Noll
6 -- Crowned King, 113, Chandra Rennie
7 -- Missme, 113, John McKee
8 -- Dusty Spike, 114, Luis Quinonez