With the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) scheduled over a Keeneland track he adores, expectations and goals are high this season for the veteran Tom’s d’Etat. Freshened after back-to-back wins in the Fayette (G2) and Clark (G1) last fall, the 7-year-old will kick off what could be his most rewarding season yet in Saturday’s $150,000 Oaklawn Mile.
Tom’s d’Etat drew post 3 in a field of 14 for the Oaklawn Mile, which has attracted a very strong field due to a lack of competing stakes around the country during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Also returning from spells are Mr. Money and Improbable, both very good 3-year-olds last term. Although he disappointed in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) when last seen, Mr. Money was a convincing winner of four Grade 3s last summer and fell a neck short to Math Wizard in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1).
Grade 1 veteran Improbable, fourth in the Pennsylvania Derby and fifth in the Dirt Mile in his last two, started out his campaign on a stronger note when second in a Rebel (G2) division and the Arkansas Derby (G1). Elevated to fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), the Bob Baffert trainee finished sixth in the Preakness (G1) before rebounding in the Shared Belief S. at Del Mar. However, the son of City Zip unluckily drew post 14 for Saturday’s Oaklawn Mile.
Another coming off the shelf is Long Range Toddy, who debuts for Dallas Stewart having previously been trained by Steve Asmussen. Long Range Toddy beat Improbable in the aforementioned Rebel division last March, but was soundly beaten in his remaining five starts of the season.
Many of the other leading contenders have been familiar faces throughout the Oaklawn meet. Snapper Sinclair is in search of his first win at the stand after placing in a Fifth Season division, the Razorback H. (G3), and the Essex H. Pioneer Spirit won his Fifth Season division by a head over Bankit before earning minor checks in the Razorback and Essex, while Bankit looks to rebound from a dull try in the latter event.
Stepping up in class from the allowance ranks in California are recent ship-ins Lord Guinness and Kershaw, both of whom could earn a piece with continued improvement.
The Oaklawn Mile and Oaklawn S. highlight a tremendous 12-race card in Hot Springs, which has a first post of 12:35 p.m. (CDT).