Oaklawn Park has no official Queen, as such, but if they did, Terra Promessa would be a wonderful choice to take the throne. The four-year-old daughter of Curlin is simply a running fool at the Hot Springs, Arkansas oval. Looming the big mare in Saturday’s $350,000 Azeri Stakes, the Stonestreet Stables' color-bearer will look to make the Grade 2, 8 1/2 furlong affair her sixth win at Oaklawn without a loss. It seems Terra Promessa took a liking to the local conditions from the beginning. The date was February 5, 2016, and while the then three-year-old filly looked solid on paper, her third lifetime start, and her first in Arkansas, turned out to be even better than her connections could hope for. In a true sign of things to come, she treated the other six fillies in the field badly, winning off by nine emphatic lengths. She soon added two graded stakes wins, in the Honeybee and Fantasy, to her budding love affair with Oaklawn Park. Most recently, the Steve Asmussen-trained bay paired overpowering victories in January's Pippin Stakes and February's Grade 3 Bayakoa Stakes.
In fact, if not for a spirited battle from her stablemate, Taxable in the Fantasy, Terra Promessa would be completely unchallenged locally. Stonestreet through and through, the three-time graded stakes winner is a source of pride for the recognizable stable.
“We couldn’t be prouder of Terra Promessa,” said Barbara Banke, the owner of Stonestreet. “She’s a true product of the Stonestreet program. In 2006 her dam, Missile Bay, was one of our first broodmare acquisitions. A year later, we bought Curlin, who turned out to be a phenomenal racehorse but could be an even better sire. He is well on his way with 32 black type winners, including give individual grade one winners last year. Terra Promessa obviously enjoys Oaklawn and we hope for the best on Saturday.”
More likely it will be the Azeri opposition of Terra Promessa that need to hope for the best. A dominating force on the early lead in both starts this year, the Kentucky homebred looks to be the controlling speed once again in field that also includes; Streamline, Eskenformoney, Power of Summer, She Mabee Wild, Tiger Moth, and Miss Mo Kelly.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will get a leg up on the 122 pound highweight on Saturday in hopes of running his mount's record at Oaklawn to 6-for-6, and 7-for-10 overall. Perhaps her fondness for the surroundings there was passed on by her two-time Horse of the Year sire.
Together with Curlin, the father-daughter combination is perfect in seven career starts in Hot Springs, with six stakes wins, five of them graded. You will remember that Curlin arrived early in his career to account for the Rebel Stakes by more than five lengths, before romping home in the million-dollar Arkansas Derby by a whopping 10 1/2-lengths.
It seems at Oaklawn Park, the acorn has not fallen very far from the tree.