By Joe Quillen
2/2/24 – Oaklawn Race 9 – Bayakoa Stakes
We head west for this Friday as we head to Oaklawn Park for the Grade 3 Bayakoa Stakes. This is a race for fillies and mares four years old and up going a mile and a sixteenth on the dirt. Post time is projected for 5:37 pm Eastern time.
I believe the Bayakoa was a race that was brought back when Oaklawn Park lost two week’s worth of races from the cold and wet weather that hit the eastern half of the United States. But one thing I am certain of here is that we have nine females going today’s distance. The weather will be fine for today’s race, but for a preview for Saturday, rain is in the forecast.
The 9 Shotgun Hottie (2/1 morning line favorite) draws the outside for her return to the races after an eight-month layoff. She had this same layoff last winter and won at Oaklawn last March. But the difference is that she’s facing Grade 3 company. If she runs like she did in March, or last time out in the Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park, she wins.
Comparative (#6, 4/1 ML) is third race back from a layoff, and won the Ladies Stakes at Aqueduct last month, and should be there at the end. She will be close to the pace and probably will get first run at the leaders as compared to the favorite. She shortened up a sixteenth of a mile here, which will help her as well.
Just Katherine (#4, 5/1 ML) won an optional claimer at Aqueduct right after Christmas and steps up in class here. She may not win this race, but I think she should be positioned right to get a piece of this.
The 7 Hot and Sultry (3/1 ML) has the potential to be alone on the lead here. She won the Chilukki at Churchill Downs in November and shows consistent early speed. I think she is going to be engaged on the lead by the favorite Shotgun Hottie, which could set things up for a stone cold closer, the 5 Butterbean (12/1 ML) who won the Mistletoe two races back and then the Pippen last month. Don’t sleep on this horse, I know I won’t.
I’m calling this race 5-6-9-4 and my play is $20 to win on the 5. Good luck everyone, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at some of the three year old races that will be running across the country.
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