Cox readies 'deepest group we've ever brought' for Oaklawn stakes

Oaklawn Barn Notes
January 18, 2020 10:38am
Oaklawn Park's 40-horse Zenyatta barn again belongs to Brad Cox, and again the high-percentage trainer possesses some of the most firepower on the grounds. And more is on the way.

Cox has already outlined Oaklawn plans for three of his most promising runners, with unbeaten Taraz scheduled to make her 3-year-old debut in the Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 1. Answer In scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest Stakes (G3) on Feb. 17, and Warrior’s Charge scheduled to make his 4-year-old debut in the Razorback Handicap (G3) Feb. 17.

“I think it’s the deepest group we’ve ever brought there, without a doubt,” said Cox, who has at least one victory every year at Oaklawn since 2009. “It’s a deep group that I’m super excited about getting started. Some very nice horses, a lot of quality. Oaklawn’s been good to us and hopefully it will be good again because it seems like we’ve kind of pointed for it a little more this year than past years.

"We’re hoping to get things started off quick.”

Taraz, a gargantuan daughter of Into Mischief, worked a half-mile in a sizzling :46.80 last Sunday at Fair Grounds in advance of the 1-mile Martha Washington, which will be her two-turn debut. Taraz has won her two starts, including the Letellier Memorial Stakes Dec. 21 at Fair Grounds, by a combined 18 ¾ lengths.

Warrior’s Charge is also training at Fair Grounds. The Munnings colt was a powerful maiden and first-level allowance winner last year at Oaklawn before finishing fourth in the Preakness, the second leg of racing’s Triple Crown. Warrior’s Charge won his allowance comeback Dec. 18 at Fair Grounds.

Answer In, who is training at Oaklawn, finished second in the Springboard Mile on Dec. 15 at Remington Park in his last start.

Other Oaklawn-based horses for Cox include Grade 2 winner Mylady Curlin, who is pointing for the Houston Ladies Classic (G3) Jan. 26 at Sam Houston; $1.2 million purchase Gold Standard, Irish Mischief and Remedy, all candidates for the Pippin Stakes for older fillies and mares Jan. 25; and Night Ops, runner-up in last year’s inaugural Oaklawn Invitational for 3-year-olds. Night Ops, Cox said, is targeting an allowance spot for his 4-year-old debut.

Cox said Mylady Curlin, a 2019 Oaklawn allowance winner, could be pointed for a race like the Azeri Stakes (G2) March 14 if she runs well in Houston. The Azeri is Oaklawn’s final major prep for the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 18. Irish Mischief, Cox said, is also under consideration for the American Beauty Stakes for female sprinters Feb. 1.

Also training at Oaklawn are Grade 1 winner and 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Knicks Go, a recent addition to the Cox barn; stakes-winning Emboldened, a 5-year-old mare previously with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert; and lightly raced Communicator, a 4-year-old half-brother to 2018 champion older dirt male and Oaklawn Handicap runner-up Accelerate. All are candidates to resurface in allowance races.

Cox has three horses entered for opening Friday, including Shared Sense, a three-race maiden who is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the Smarty Jones Stakes, Oaklawn’s first of four Kentucky Derby points races.

Overall, Cox has won 25 percent of his starts at Oaklawn (179 of 702) and 11 stakes. He was Oaklawn’s sixth-leading trainer last year with 20 victories. Cox and perennial Oaklawn leading trainer Steve Asmussen are among three finalists for an Eclipse Award as the country’s outstanding trainer of 2019.


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