WEAST HILL AND BUMPY CAT TOP SUNDAY’S NODOUBLE FIELD
Hot Springs, Ark. (Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016) – Although eight horses are entered, the $100,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes Sunday at Oaklawn looks like a two-horse race. Weast Hill and Bumpy Cat headline the 6-furlong event restricted to Arkansas-bred colts and geldings, 3-year-olds and upward.
Probable post time for the Nodouble, the eighth of nine races, is 4:42 p.m. (Central). Racing begins at 1:30 p.m.
Weast Hill and Bumpy Cat, the 4-5 favorite and 5-2 second choice in the program, respectively, both exit sparkling Jan. 29 victories at Oaklawn. Weast Hill, in his 4-year-old debut, whipped open company in a second-level allowance race, covering 6 furlongs over a fast track in 1:10.06. About 90 minutes earlier, Bumpy Cat became the first horse at the meet to run under 1:10 for 6 furlongs when he won an Arkansas-bred allowance race by 6 ¼ lengths in 1:09.90.
In their first scheduled meeting Sunday, the favorites will be side-by-side in the gate – Weast Hill in post 7 and Bumpy Cat in post 8.
“I love the post,” said Ingrid Mason, trainer of Bumpy Cat. “That’s an awesome post. The horse on my inside is the other speed of the race. He’s a tough sucker. He has a great race record.”
Weast Hill, a 4-year-old gelded son of Rockport Harbor, has a 4-1-0 record from six career starts for owner/breeder Starsky Weast of Star City, Ark. His only poor performance came against open company, a fifth-place finish in the $100,000 William Walker Stakes April 25 at Churchill Downs.
“He’s a really nice horse,” trainer Brad Cox said. “We’re looking forward this spring to putting him on the grass. We really think that he could be just as effective on the grass as he is the dirt.”
Following a runner-up finish in a second-level allowance sprint July 7 at Indiana Grand, Weast Hill was turned out in preparation for the 2016 Oaklawn meeting. He is unbeaten and untested at the Hot Springs track, winning his three starts, including the $75,000 Rainbow Stakes last year, by a combined 14 lengths.
Weast Hill recorded a bullet 5-furlong workout (1:00.20) Feb. 15 at Oaklawn leading up to the Nodouble.
“I guess you would say he’s maybe more like a Kentucky-bred,” Cox said with a laugh. “But he was born in Arkansas and has an Arkansas sibling, so he’s declared an Arkansas-bred.”
Joe Rocco Jr. is scheduled to ride Weast Hill, with Julio Felix named on Bumpy Cat. Both horses will shoulder equal high weight of 123 pounds.
Mallard’s Bro, defending Nodouble champion We Be Stormin, October Sky, Comic Bird, Goods Gone West and Indygo Bo are also entered. Comic Bird, scratched from a state-bred allowance sprint Friday at Oaklawn, finished second to Weast Hill in the Rainbow in his career debut. After winning this race last year, We Be Stormin ran third in last year's Rainbow and was also third to Bumpy Cat Jan. 29.
Sunday’s race is named for Nodouble, the country’s two-time champion older male (1969 and 1970) and leading Arkansas-bred money winner in history ($846,749).