Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Streamline Has Williamson Looking Pretty Smart Heading into Azeri

It was a gamble that turned into genius when trainer Brian Williamson took Streamline off the turf and put her into the gate for a dirt race in December, and now she is poised to give her trainer the first Grade 2-and only the third graded stakes- victory of his career in Saturday’s $350,000 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

Bred in Illinois by Williamson’s mother-in-law Nancy Vanier and owned by Vanier and Carthwright Thoroughbreds LLC, the 4-year-old filly figures to draw plenty of support at the betting windows when she takes on seven others of her sex. The Azeri will be contested as part of the under card that includes the Grade 3 $350,000 Razorback Handicap and is highlighted by the Grade 2 $900,000 Rebel Stakes.

“She has been great on the dirt since I switched her at Hawthorne, I was crossing my fingers hoping she’d like the dirt so I could bring her here,” said Williamson.

Streamline beat state-bred fillies in a conditional allowance race by an eye-popping 15 3/4 lengths that December day at Hawthorne, and after arriving at Oaklawn she got her 2016 campaign off to an upbeat start by taking the Pippin Stakes in January. Last time out, she was denied by Call Pat, who is also contesting the Azeri, by just a half-length in the Bayakoa Stakes one month ago.

“She had a good trip last time but she kind of got stuck behind some horses and had to wait a little bit, but it did open up,” said Williamson, acknowledging the tough beat.

Streamline is by Straight Line, who was also owned by the same connections. Like father, like daughter.

“She’s got some of his tendencies, especially that will to win,” said Williamson, who has 12 horses in his barn here and another 14 back in Illinois. “He was tough, he wanted it. She’s a tough girl and she wants it too. But she isn’t tough to train. She was a sweetheart, and now she’s acting like a colt, which is kind of nice. I walked her the other day and she was dragging me around the barn.”

Williamson, whose only other graded stakes win was with La Tia in the 2012 G3 Arlington Oaks, knows that the waters get deeper in the Azeri, especially with champion Untapable in the deep and talented field.

“When you have a horse like Untapable in the race you always have to worry. If she fires, we’ll all be running for second,” he said. “This is my filly’s first start in a while so we’ve got something going for us. Having her stabled here all meet and getting to run out of her own stall helps quite a bit. Winning a Grade 2 race would sure be a thrill. I just hope we get a good trip.”

With all of her breezes behind her, Streamline galloped 1 1 /2 miles Wednesday morning and will be lightly trained up to the race. 

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