Brad Cox was forced into a wait-and-see position for Essential Quality and other horses in his stable. He braced himself to hear that Oaklawn Park postponed this weekend's races because of predicted harsh weather.
The reigning juvenile champion, Essential Quality, was expected to face Jackie's Warrior in the Southwest Stakes (G3) on Monday, the same day champion older female Monomoy Girl was pointed to the Bayakoa (G3), and Wells Bayou and Owendale were entered in Saturday's Razorback (G3), although Wells Bayou also was entered in the Mineshaft (G3) at the Fair Grounds.
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Ahead of Oaklawn's Wednesday afternoon announcement that this holiday weekend's stakes would be rescheduled for next weekend, Cox could not say where any of his horses aimed for Oaklawn might run if the races were postponed. He could not be reached for comment after the postponements.
Cox, winner of the 2020 Eclipse Award for Trainer of the Year, did take a few minutes to provide updates on other horses in his stable.
This Hard Spun colt is one of three Kentucky Derby hopefuls in Cox's barn after winning the Jan. 22 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn. The March 13 Rebel Stakes (G2) "is the plan right now. He’s training great. He’s at Oaklawn, and that’s where we’re targeting with him."
This Juddmonte Farms homebred is the third in Cox's trio of Derby hopefuls. After winning his first two starts the Into Mischief colt finished third in the Lecomte (G3). Cox has him in Saturday's Risen Star (G2) at the Fair Grounds, a race that awards Kentucky Derby points on a 50-20-10-5 basis. Cox said Mandaloun came out of the Lecomte "great. He’s entered Saturday, and we put blinkers on him. Hopefully he moves forward. It’s a good race, and we believe he’s a good horse."
Cox is on the Kentucky Oaks trail with Coach, who won three straight then picked up six points with a third-place finish in the Golden Rod (G2) and a runner-up effort in the Martha Washington. "She ran good. She’s pointing for the Honeybee," Cox said. The March 6 Honeybee (G3) at Oaklawn, at 1 1/16 miles, awards 50 Kentucky Oaks points to the winner.
This 5-year-old son of Hard Spun won a Jan. 24 allowance race at Oaklawn in his first start for Cox after being transferred from the care of Bill Mott. "He’s doing good," Cox said. "He’s had one work back, training right along. Don’t have anything picked out for him right now."
After Aunt Pearl went 3-for-3 with a win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, speculation began that she would be sent overseas, perhaps to Royal Ascot. "That’s really premature," Cox said. "She’s not even back in my barn yet. We would like to, but we’ve got a lot of things we’ve got to do before we decide to make that jump."
The 2020 Kentucky Oaks winner "started training last week," Cox said. "She’s doing good." Her last race was a third-place finish in the Spinster Stakes (G1) on Oct. 4. "She had a long year," with seven starts, Cox said. "She deserved a break." He said the March 13 Azeri (G3) is a possibility for her. Probably getting a little close on time to make that race, but we’ll see."
"Probably looking at the Azeri with her as well," Cox said of the 5-year-old Ghostzapper mare. "We’ll see. She’s looking good." She has won three of her last four starts, including the Pippin Stakes on Jan. 23.