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HOT SPRINGS -- A short but talent-packed field will attempt to turn the Bayakoa Stakes into Oaklawn's Grade III race of the day.

The $200,000, 1 1/16-mile Bayakoa Stakes for fillies and mares 4 years old and up is the sixth of 10 races on Oaklawn's Presidents Day card today, and the first of three Grade III stakes races.

"It's a small field, but it will be more than competitive," said John Ortiz, trainer of Bayakoa entrant Cairen. "We're just excited to be a part of it. Hopefully, we can get the win."

Post time for the Bayakoa is scheduled for 3:08 p.m.

Six fillies and mares are entered in the Bayakoa, including Whoa Nellie, a daughter of Orb trained by Larry Jones, who won Oaklawn's 1-mile Pippin Stakes on Jan. 25.

Cairen was ridden by Channing Hill to third in the Pippin, 51/2 lengths behind the winner. The 6-year-old daughter of First Dude has finished third or better in her last four starts, including a third-place finish among 10 in the Grade III, 1-mile Rampart Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 14.

Ortiz said Cairen is ready for what should be a tough race.

"She's doing fantastic," he said. "She's been doing very well after the Pippin, and we have her ready. I have been very confident in the filly since I've had her, and she's only continued to improve. I'm more than confident."

Gold Standard, a 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro trained by Brad Cox, finished third in the Grade III, 1 1/8-mile Comely Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 29, and second in the Grade III Remington Park Oaks in Oklahoma City on Sept. 29 in her past two starts.

"There are a lot of good horses in there," Ortiz said. "It will be very competitive."

Motion Emotion was 4 2-2-0 at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort as a 3-year-old last season, with second-place finishes in the Grade III 1 1/16-mile Honeybee and Fantasy Stakes. Her fifth start at the track, in the Bayakoa, will mark the first for her California-based trainer Richard Baltas. Assistant trainer Aimee Dollase has overseen Motion Emotion at Oaklawn.

Dollase is the daughter of the late Wally Dollase, who trained Two Trail Sioux to a win in the 2005 Bayakoa.

"It's nice to be back," Aimee Dollase said. "It's beautiful here. It's always nice to come back."

Rick Lee’s selections

6 The Bayakoa. Purse $200,000,

1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares,

4-year-olds and up

WHOA NELLIE** was a convincing late-running winner of the Pippin, and the race already has produced two next-out winners. GO GOOGLE YOURSELF defeated allowance rivals in her only previous race at Oaklawn, and she closed 2019 finishing second in the Grade II Fall City Handicap at Churchill. GOLD STANDARD is a consistent front-running filly who has been graded stake-placed in her last two races, and she drew a favorable twoturn

post.

PP HORSE JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS

6 Whoa Nellie Rocco Jones 5-2

2 Go Google Yourself Hernandez McGee 7-2

1 Gold Standard Castellano Cox 3-1

5 Lady Suebee Baze Sadler 9-2

4 Motion Emotion Cohen Baltas 5-1

3 Cairenn Velazquez Ortiz 6-1

Sports on 02/17/2020

Print Headline: Small field appears competitive

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