TERRA PROMESSA LEADS BAYAKOA FIELD
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Friday, Feb. 17, 2017) – Eight older fillies and mares are entered in the $150,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) Saturday at Oaklawn, including multiple local stakes winner Terra Promessa for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Probable post time for the 1 1/16-mile Bayakoa, which offers a record purse for its 25th running, is 5:09 p.m. (Central). Racing begins at 1:05 p.m., with the Bayakoa the ninth of 10 races.
Terra Promessa, a homebred for Stonestreet Stables, LLC (Barbara Banke), is coming off a front-running 2 ¼-length victory in the $125,000 Pippin Stakes at 1 1/16 miles Jan. 14. The daughter of two-time Horse of the Year and 2007 Arkansas Derby winner Curlin, also trained by Asmussen, was Oaklawn’s top 3-year-old filly last year after winning the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) and $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3).
“She’s 4 for 4 at Oaklawn,” Asmussen said. “Hopefully, the streak continues.”
Four-time defending Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. is named to ride Terra Promessa, the 6-5 program favorite who is scheduled to break from post 2 and carry equal top weight of 119 pounds.
Completing the projected Bayakoa field from the rail out: Steel Cut, Channing Hill to ride, 119 pounds, 8-1 in the program; Hailstorm Slew, Luis Quinonez, 117, 12-1; Power of Snunner, Chris Emigh, 115, 8-1; Streamline, Chris Landeros, 119, 4-1; Impasse, Ramon Vazquez, 119, 20-1; Ready to Confess, Joe Rocco Jr., 119, 9-2; and Super Saks, Alex Birzer, 115, 10-1.
Ready to Confess and Streamline finished second and third, respectively, in the Pippin. The consistent Ready to Confess (first, second or third in 8 of 11 lifetime starts) also ran third to Terra Promessa in the Fantasy.
Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said he hopes the presence of multiple stakes-winning sprinter Super Saks will help the chances of Ready to Confess Saturday.
“I don’t think we can repeat the same scenario as last time,” Von Hemel said. “If that repeats, Steve will be tough to beat again.”
Streamline was beaten 5 ¼ lengths in the Pippin after chasing Terra Promessa much of the race. Trainer Brian Williamson called the effort “OK,” noting the race didn’t set up well tactically for Streamline, who won the Pippin in 2016 before finishing second in the Bayakoa.
“Looked like she made a run at the horse and couldn’t catch it,” Williamson said. “Might have cost her second, but I don’t know. But he had to take a run at her to try and beat her. Hopefully, there will be a little more speed in there that Asmussen’s horse won’t get such an easy lead.”
Super Saks all but guarantees a faster pace in the Bayakoa. She won the $150,000 Carousel Stakes at 6 furlongs last April at Oaklawn, but is 0 for 3 in her career around two turns (all at 1 1/16 miles). Her last route was a sixth-place finish in the 2015 Fantasy. She broke her maiden, in gate-to-wire fashion at 6 furlongs, by 11 lengths at the 2015 Oaklawn meeting.
“We’ll give her a shot and see what happens,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.
Super Saks finished a troubled fifth in her 5-year-old debut, the $125,000 American Beauty Stakes Jan. 28.
Steel Cut, a multiple stakes winner of $416,433, was claimed for $10,000 at the 2015 Oaklawn meeting by owner/trainer Wes Hawley.
The Bayakoa had been worth $100,000 since 2005.