Southlawn wins the 2023 Fair Grounds Oaks

Three new names came out of nowhere to enter calculations for the Kentucky Oaks over the weekend, with Flying Connection continuing her fine form down New Mexico way when going gate-to-wire in Sunday’s ungraded Sunland Park Oaks. Twenty-four hours earlier, Southlawn had made her stakes breakthrough when springing a surprise in the G2 2023 Fair Grounds Oaks, while synthetics queen Botanical – who has never raced on dirt – cruised coast-to-coast for a dominant score in the ungraded Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park.


Sunland Park Oaks

Ungraded, $300,000, 1m 1/16 dirt, 3yo fillies, Sunland Park, Sunday

Connection’s a real flyer

Local talent had its moment in the spotlight down by the Rio Grande on Sunday when Flying Connection put her rivals to the sword in the Sunland Park Oaks, cruising home from longshots Love Tank and Don’t Get Pickled to collect 50 Road to the Kentucky Oaks points and set herself up for a crack at the real thing at Churchill Downs.

The daughter of Nyquist, the 6-5 second-choice in a field of seven, broke smartly under Alfredo Juarez and duelled briefly with the favoured Doinitthehardway around the first turn. Then she asserted and made the best of her way home, kicking clear at the top of the stretch and keeping on strongly to seal the deal by two and a quarter lengths.

Love Tank was a one-paced second, six and a half lengths clear of the rallying Don’t Get Pickled, who was a mile back in last place at halfway. Doinitthehardway weakened into fifth.

“It was a brutal race, the favourite pushed her very hard,” said trainer Todd Fincher, the current meet leader at Sunland Park. “But she’s a tough-minded filly and she ran really great.”

This was the third stakes success and easily the most prestigious for Flying Connection, who is four-for-seven lifetime with all her wins coming here and at Zia Park. Fincher noted that a decision on her participation in the Kentucky Oaks, for which she is 35-1 at the Jazz future book, had yet to be made, but her haul of qualifying points is almost certainly enough to ensure her place in the gate. She currently sits in sixth place on the RTKO leaderboard.

Sunland Park Oaks Payouts

1. Flying Connection4.603.002.40
2. Love Tank 11.806.40
3. Don’t Get Pickled  6.80

Winning time: 1m 43.90s


Flying Connection Takes the 2023 Sunland Park Oaks #Horseracing #Horseracigtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse #FYP #Sports

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Fair Grounds Oaks

G2, $400,000, 1m 1/16 dirt, 3yo fillies, Fair Grounds, Saturday

Southlawn punches Oaks ticket

On a scorching Saturday in New Orleans, Southlawn caused a real boilover in the Fair Grounds Oaks when making her stakes breakthrough at the expense of some star names, cruising clear of Pretty Mischievous and The Alys Look to scoop the 100 RTKO points on offer to the winner and book her spot at Churchill Downs.

The 7-1 fourth-choice of five was given a patient ride by the meet’s leading jockey Reylu Gutierrez, who kept her away from the fractions set by longshot Christian D’Oro before pulling her off the fence at the top of the stretch and getting a strong response. Southlawn ran down second-choice Pretty Mischievous at the sixteenth-pole and drove on to win by three and a quarter lengths, with three and three-quarters back to the no-kick The Alys Look.

Fair Grounds Oaks Race Video


Southlawn takes the 2023 Fair Grounds Oaks #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse #FYP #Sport

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The slight favourite Hoosier Philly, who looked quite something with a three-for-three streak at two, is pretty much nothing at three and trailed in fourth, beaten a long way. Her participation in the Kentucky Oaks must now be in serious doubt after this second successive blowout in a prep race.

“I’m proud of her, mission accomplished,” said trainer Norm Casse, who has set up an Oaks day family feud with his father Mark, who trains current second-favourite and last year’s champion juvenile filly Wonder Wheel.

Southlawn is now 15-1 for the big race on the Jazz future book, and the daughter of Pioneerof The Nile – three-for-seven lifetime – has really found her feet at the Fair Grounds this spring, using a romping eight-length victory in an allowance optional claimer last month as a springboard for this breakout success.

2023 Fair Grounds Oaks Payouts

1. Southlawn17.406.605.40
2. Pretty Mischievous 2.802.60
3. The Alys Look  3.60

Winning time: 1m 44.38s

Bourbonette Oaks

Ungraded, $300,000, 1m 1/16 synthetic, 3yo fillies, Turfway Park, Saturday

Botanical is just four-some

The blossoming love affair between Botanical and Turfway Park continued in the Bourbonette Oaks on Saturday, the filly completing a four-timer on the synthetic surface at the Kentucky circuit in authoritative style, leading every step of the way to see off Flashy Gem and Thirty Thou Kelvin.

This victory earned Botanical 50 RTKO points and a place in the gate at Churchill Downs on the first Friday in May, for which she is 15-1 on the Jazz future book. She will make her main-track debut there after two earlier unsuccessful races on the lawn, certainly an unconventional route to the Kentucky Oaks.

Bourbonette Oaks Race Video


Botanical claims the 2023 Bourbonette Stakes #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse #FYP #Sport

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Here she was as dominant an even-money favourite as any bettor could wish for, always in control under in-form rider Chris Landeros and extending her advantage over her pace-chasing barnmate Flashy Gem to two and a half lengths at the line, with longshot Thirty Thou Kelvin closing for third but never a factor, beaten another seven lengths. The well-fancied French import Bolivie cut no ice on her Stateside debut, finishing ninth.

“She’s getting better with every race,” said Tessa Walden, assistant to trainer Brad Cox, who also has Oaks favourite Wet Paint in the barn. “Any time you have a chance to run in the Kentucky Oaks, you go there.”

Whether Botanical can translate her perfect record on synthetics to the main track is a crucial question, but the Medaglia D’Oro filly – who is currently fourth on the RTKO leaderboard and has yet to compete at Graded level – is certainly heading to Louisville on a high.

Bourbonette Oaks Payouts

1. Botanical4.062.622.38
2. Flashy Gem 3.623.12
3. Thirty Thou Kelvin  8.44

Winning time: 1m 44.47s

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