Jan. 31, 2014
Asmussen Pair Favored in Competitive Martha Washington Stakes
Five-time Oaklawn leading trainer Steve Asmussen holds a strong hand in Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes with 3-1 morning line favorite Euphrosyne and Dixie Belle Stakes winner Street Story as he seeks his second straight win in the one-mile for 3-year-old fillies. Last year, he won the race with Sister Ginger.
Euphrosyne jumps into stakes company for the first time after an impressive 6 3/4-length maiden win at Fair Grounds Jan. 11 going a mile and 70 yards. Her stablemate, Street Story, will be testing two turns for the first time after winning the six-furlong Dixie Belle. The front-running Euphrosyne drew post position one of 10, while Street Story drew post seven.
“She’s got talent,” Asmussen said of Euphrosyne. “The one hole is not the worst thing in the world going a mile at Oaklawn. Street Story is talented too and the mile is the next step for her.”
Trainer Mark Casse, who has a string at Oaklawn for the first time, is hoping Cheerful Contender can give him his first stakes win after third-place finishes in the Fifth Season and Smarty Jones Stakes. The Strong Contender filly makes her 3-year-old debut after ending her juvenile campaign by winning her maiden race by six lengths Nov. 30 at Woodbine.
“She’s had numerous works over the track,” Casse said. “She is bred from top to bottom for the dirt and has trained well over it. She broke her maiden gate to wire, but I’d like to see her take a stalking position on Saturday.”
Trainer Josie Carroll, who like Casse is a Woodbine mainstay with a string at Oaklawn for the first time, hopes that her recent maiden winner Aragorn Ami can make the step up into stakes action.
“She’s been happy here from the start,” Carroll said. “There are some nice horses in the field, and we think she’s one of them and think she deserves a chance.”
The complete field for the Martha Washington Stakes in post position order with riders and morning line odds: Euphrosyne, Channing Hill, 3-1; Racing Holiday, Alex Canchari, 15-1; Xray Vision, Ramon Vazquez, 10-1; Kiss Moon, Terry Thompson, 4-1; Ireland, Israel Ocampo, 4-1; Aragorn Ami, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 15-1; Street Story, Ricardo Santana Jr., 9-2; Cheerful Contender, Eurico Da Silva, 6-1; Cow Catcher, Chris Emigh, 20-1, and Redgrass Cat, Jareth Loveberry, 15-1.
The Martha Washington is the featured eighth of nine live races Saturday at 4:38 p.m. First post is 1 p.m.
Gorder Weighing Options with 3-Year-Olds
Trainer Kellyn Gorder has had two wins this meet and both have come with good looking 3-year-olds. Now, the question is where Bourbonize and Red River Rising will start next.
Bourbon Lane Stable’s Bourbonize, an allowance winner opening day Jan. 10, moved forward to his next start, which will likely be the $300,000 Southwest Stakes Feb. 17, with a five-furlong workout Friday in 1:02 3/5.
“He breezed 5/8ths today in company with another three-year-old,” Gorder said by phone. “His name is Texas Two Step. He’ll make his debut in a week or two and we’re really excited about him. I like the way Bourbonize’s progressed since his last race.”
WinStar Farm’s Red River Rising outran his 10-1 odds to get his first career win in his third start Jan. 30.
“We waited a long time for the right two turn race,” Gorder said. “He’s taken a while to mature physically and mentally. We’ll see how he comes out of this race and discuss future races with (WinStar President) Elliott (Walden).”