Oaklawn Veterans Face Off in Bayakoa Stakes
A couple of local veterans and an accomplished stakes winner from Dubai are among the seven fillies and mares set to face off in the $150,000 Bayakoa Stakes (gr. III) on Saturday at Oaklawn Park.The 8.5-furlong event is part of a series of filly and mare races at Oaklawn that continues with the March 17th Azeri Stakes (gr. II) and concludes with the prestigious $700,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park.
One of the major players in the Bayakoa is Terra Promessa, who won this race last year by a decisive 4 ¾ lengths before finishing second in the Apple Blossom behind the champion Stellar Wind. Trained by , the daughter of Curlin boasts a 5-for-8 record at Oaklawn, but turned in a sub-par performance over the track in her 2018 debut, finishing fifth in the Pippin Stakes while returning from a lengthy layoff. She’ll be looking to rebound with jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. in the saddle.
Streamline is another mare with extensive local experience, including a win in the 2017 Azeri Stakes and a runner-up effort in the 2016 Apple Blossom. Like Terra Promessa, Streamline made her 2018 debut in the Pippin Stakes and fared slightly better, overcoming a somewhat troubled trip to rally and finish third. Trainer Brian Williamson is still looking for his first win of the meet, but Streamline will have the Hall of Fame jockey aboard and can’t be counted out.
The six-time stakes winner Farrell looms as one of the main dangers on the front end, considering that she won the Pippin Stakes last month in gate-to-wire fashion and counts wins in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) and Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) on her record as well. But the wildcard in the Bayakoa field is Polar River, a five-year-old daughter of Congrats that won the 2016 UAE Oaks (UAE-III) at Meydan in Dubai. The talented filly subsequently finished a close second against colts in the UAE Derby (UAE-II), but has been soundly beaten in her four starts since then, including a fifth-place finish in an allowance optional claiming race at Churchill Downs in November, a race that marked her U.S. debut. Will she return to form in her second North American start?
Rounding out the field are Torrent and Defy, who finished first and second in a one-mile allowance optional claiming race at Oaklawn last month; and Sully’s Dream, upset winner of the Houston Distaff Stakes at Sam Houston in her most recent start.
Post time for the Bayakoa Stakes is 6:09 p.m. Eastern.