April 23, 2024

Eight Rings returns in Bachelor at Oaklawn

Eight Rings breaking his maiden at Del Mar last August (c) Horsephotos.com/Cecilia Gustavsson

Grade 1-winning juvenile Eight Rings will open his 3-year-old season in Saturday’s $100,000 Bachelor S. One of two sprint stakes at Oaklawn Park, along with the $125,000 Carousel for older fillies and mares, the 6-furlong Bachelor has attracted nine contestants.

Hall of Famer Bob Baffert trains Eight Rings, who is eligible to appreciate the cutback in distance after weakening to be a well-beaten sixth at 3-2 odds in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), and Joel Rosario picks up the mount on the front-running son of Empire Maker. Eight Rings flaunted his speed in a pair of wins last season, dominating a maiden special weight and the Frontrunner (G1) while loose on the lead, and the dark bay colt shows several bullet workouts in preparation at Santa Anita.

Long Weekend, who notched his second straight convincing win this year when romping by 4 3/4 lengths in the March 21 Gazebo S. at Oaklawn, will also bring speed to the festivities from his far outside post. The Tom Amoss-trained son of Majesticperfection has led wire-to-wire in all three wins, the lone setback coming in the Saratoga Special (G2) last August, and Long Weekend retains the services of Joe Talamo.

Steve Asmussen has a pair of contenders, including the stakes-debuting Echo Town. The Speightstown colt improved to 2-for-3 with a sharp allowance tally on March 13, registering a 97 Brisnet Speed rating for the 3 3/4-length decision that is tied with Long Weekend for the top last-out figure. Leading rider Ricardo Santana Jr. has the call on Echo Town. Asmussen will also send out Little Menace, who reeled off two straight wins before finishing second in the Gazebo.

Ginobili could make his presence felt if he runs back to his effort in the San Vicente (G2), finishing a close second to Nadal, but the Richard Baltas trainee will need to improve upon a disappointing fifth as the odds-on favorite in an April 5 Oaklawn allowance. Gazebo third-placer Lykan is back for the Bachelor, and Mine That Bird S. victor Sir Rick will try to rebound after faltering in the 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn S. two weeks earlier.