News and STORIES

Talented Field Set for Oaklawn Handicap

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Wednesday April 29, 2020
The $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) on May 2 is set to have a talented field of 14 horses. 

Out of the field of 14, 13 of them are already stakes winners, 11 of which are graded. Making things a bit more unpredictable, nine of them have yet to win at Oaklawn, and seven lack experience in racing altogether. 

On top of all of this, half of the field has not won at the 1 1/8-mile distance, including the two grade 1 winners, Combatant and Improbable. 

Some of the favorites in the race include Mr Freeze, Tacitus, Tax, and By My Standards. 

Four of the race's entrants, Bravazo, Mr Freeze, Combatant, and Tacitus, have surpassed earnings over $1 million, while By My Standards, Improbable, and Tax are inching closer. 

By My Standards

By My Standards is receiving a lot of attention, and he will be looking to establish himself outside of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. At that track, he has won all four of his victories, including the Louisiana Derby (G2) in 2019. He also won the New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) on March 21, which was his most recent start. 

Both of By My Standards' stake wins were at 1 1/8 miles. 

The Goldencents 4-year-old colt for Chester Thomas' Allied Racing Stable is trained by Bret Calhoun. He will be faced with a change of surface.

"I really don't expect any problems in transitioning to it, but you just never know until you try it," Calhoun said.

By My Standards has lost both of his races outside Fair Grounds, but they were a second-place finish in his debut at Churchill Downs in November 2018, and an 11th-place finish at Churchill in the 2019 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). 

The colt has recently breezed at Fair Grounds, with his last being a bullet four furlongs in :47 April 25. 

Mr Freeze

Another horse looking to make noise at the Oaklawn Handicap is Mr Freeze. He has also won at the distance of 1 1/8 miles, but he is 1-2-1 from five starts at the distance. 

Mr Freeze took the 2018 West Virginia Derby (G3) at 1 1/8 miles, and his stakes wins have been in one-turn miles, including the Ack Ack Stakes (G3) and Gulfstream Park Mile Stakes (G2). The latter was his most recent start, running on Feb. 29.

Although he has lost multiple races at the 1 1/8 miles distance, he was up against some of the best runners. In the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes Presented by Runhappy (G1), he finished second to Mucho Gusto. He also finished third and second behind Tom's d'Etat in the Clark Stakes Presented by Norton Healthcare (G1) and the Hagyard Fayette Stakes (G2). 

Mr Freeze will be joined by jockey Joe Talamo. 

The Oaklawn Handicap is the 12th race on a 14-race closing day card May 2 at Oaklawn. It will run between the newly created two divisions of the Arkansas Derby.