2014 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn

Oaklawn’s Azeri Stakes

Close HatchesIt’s time to preview the Grade 2 Azeri Stakes for fillies and mares four year olds and upward going 11/16 miles for a purse of $200,000. The morning line favorite is William Mott’s Close Hatches. This four year old is coming off of a second place finish to the great Beholder in the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Distaff back in November. Prior to that she won two Grade 1 events including the Mother Goose at Belmont Park. She likes to stalk the pace but sometimes she goes straight to the lead. The layoff does not concern me because she seems to like to come into a race fresh. Her favoritism is legit. She will have the services of Joel Rosario. Second in the ML is Philip Sims’ six year old mare Don’t Tell Sophia. She is coming off of two straight stake wins at Oaklawn Park, and while they weren’t graded stakes, she won them impressively. And to top it off, she has been working like a champ in the mornings. She will have Channing Hill in the irons again.

Flashy AmericanThird choice in the morning line is Gary Hartlage’s On Fire Baby. This five year old mare hasn’t won since she went wire to wire in the Grade 1  Apple Blossom Handicap here at Oaklawn last year. She is lightly raced each year for the past three years, running only about two races per year. Personally I believe she has some problems and probably won’t run well here this time. Joe Johnson will be in the irons and will try to prove me wrong. I have my own ideas about this race and as usual they are a little outside the box. I believe it will be Ken McPeek’s Flashy American. I know that she is coming off a layoff, but she has been working like gangbusters in the mornings and I believe this gray mare will be flying in the lane. She has Terry Thompson in the irons. I think Close Hatches will be second and Don’t Tell Sophia third. Happy Handicapping Gals and Guys!



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Handicap Horses

Co-lead Author & Admin at Handicap Horse Racing
Mike Lane, Sr is co-lead author and administrator of With over 38 years of experience and a degree in the "School of Hard Knocks" for handicapping, Mike has seen it all when it comes to thoroughbred racing and wants to help other horse players learn how to handicap and avoid the mistakes he has made in the past.

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