Interstatedaydream Pointing Towards Azeri for Return

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

Contact: Jennifer Hoyt,

(501) 363-4305

Saturday, January 07, 2023

Trainer Brad Cox

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Interstatedaydream Pointing Towards Azeri for Return

Multiple graded stakes winner Interstatedaydream recently returned to trainer Brad Cox’s barn at Fair Grounds to continue preparations for two starts this season at Oaklawn, the 4-year-old filly’s owner, Staton Flurry of Hot Springs, said Friday afternoon.

Flurry said Interstatedaydream is scheduled to make her 2023 debut in the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles March 11. The Azeri, if all goes well, will be Interstatedaydream’s prep for the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at 1 1/16 miles April 15.

“The goal is to get a Grade 1,” Flurry said. “She’s got plenty of racing left in her. I don’t think there was ever a question not to bring her back. The Apple Blossom is the big one that we’ve got circled. That’s the one I want to win the most. After that, we’ll look at maybe races like the Fleur de Lis, the Clement Hirsch, the Zenyatta. Kind of see what Nest is doing, too, because Nest is going to be the big one for the year that we’re going to have to run against.”

Interstatedaydream, a daughter of champion and 2017 Arkansas Derby winner Classic Empire, opened her 2022 campaign with a powerful entry-level allowance victory at 1 1/16 miles last March at Oaklawn before finishing third, beaten 8 ¼ lengths by Nest, in the $600,000 Ashland Stakes (G1) last April at Keeneland. The Ashland was also 1 1/16 miles. Nest rose to the top of the division last summer and is expected to be crowned champion 3-year-old filly of 2022 later this month.

Following the Ashland, Interstatedaydream captured two major races for 3-year-old fillies – $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at 1 1/8 miles last May at Pimlico and the $200,000 Indiana Oaks (G3) at 1 1/16 miles last July at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

Interstatedaydream, in her last start, finished second in the $150,000 Cathryn Sophia Stakes at 1 mile and 70 yards Aug. 23 at Parx.

“We decided to give her a little break and get her ready for here,” Flurry said.

Following the Cathryn Sophia, Flurry said Interstatedaydream spent roughly 2 ½ months “just being a horse” at a Kentucky farm before moving to LaCroix Training Center about a half-hour from Churchill Downs.

“The plan is the Azeri, Apple Blossom,” Flurry said. “Then after that, who knows. We’ll see how she comes back, but she looked really good, Brad said. I guess that’s about eight weeks between now at the Azeri.”

Cox and Flurry teamed to win the 2021 Azeri with Shedaresthedevil, who made her 4-year-old debut in the race. Interstatedaydream, who has never faced older horses, was purchased for $175,000 at the 2021 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s Spring Sale of 2-year-olds in training. The Canadian-bred filly has a 4-2-1 record from seven lifetime starts and earnings of $498,825.

Oaklawn-based Secret Oath is also scheduled to make her 4-year-old debut in the Azeri, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Secret Oath was Oaklawn’s top 3-year-old filly last season, scoring runaway victories in the $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes and $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3). Secret Oath beat Nest in the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) last May at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks is the country’s biggest race for 3-year-old fillies.

Lukas said the Azeri is Secret Oath’s scheduled prep for the Apple Blossom.

Diodoro Watch

Robertino Diodoro entered Saturday needing one victory to become just the 37th trainer in North American history to reach 3,000 in a career, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

Diodoro, 48, recorded his 2,999th career victory (United States and Canada) in Friday afternoon’s fifth race at Oaklawn with Released ($21.20). The gelding was ridden by eight-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. Another Diodoro trainee, Trumpence, finished third in the fifth race.

Diodoro had four more chances to reach 3,000 Friday. The first three came at Oaklawn, where Peaceful Street finished ninth in sixth race, Tizhotndusty finished sixth in the eighth race and Canadian Pride finished eighth in the ninth race. Diodoro’s final entrant, Vegas Guy, finished sixth in the fourth race Delta Downs. That race was at night.

Diodoro had eight horses entered Saturday, including six at Oaklawn – Arthurian (5-2 program favorite) in the second race, Catechism (7-2) in the fourth race, Super Spirit (3-1 program favorite) in the fifth race, Iberville (2-1 program favorite) in the seventh race, Great Escape (9-2) in the eighth race and Lovely Ride (3-1) in the ninth race, the $150,000 Pippin Stakes. Cristian Torres is named to ride each horse.

Diodoro also had one horse entered at Turf Paradise and one at Delta Downs.

Diodoro led the 2022-2023 Oaklawn standings with 14 victories through the first 10 days of the meeting that began Dec. 9.

Diodoro entered Saturday with 293 career Oaklawn victories. Diodoro started his first horse at Oaklawn in 2015 and won 51 races to capture the 2020 training title. Diodoro saddled his first career winner recognized by Equibase Aug. 2, 1995, at the now-defunct Northlands Park in his native Canada.

Diodoro has six horses entered Sunday at Oaklawn.

Finish Lines

Jockey Isaac Castillo swept Friday’s early daily double at Oaklawn, winning the first race aboard favored Carpe Horseshoe ($4.80) for trainer Norman McKnight and the second race aboard Shakedown Street ($7.40) for trainer Lindsay Schultz. Shakedown Street represented the 15th career victory for Schultz, a former assistant under Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, and the co-meet-leading fifth this season for owner Ten Strike Racing (founding partners Marshall Gramm and Arkansas native Clay Sanders). … Francisco Arrieta rode two winners Friday, winning the seventh race aboard Bolt Above ($9.80) for co-owner/trainer Cipriano Contreras and the ninth race, a $107,000 allowance sprint for older horses, aboard favored Tejano Twist ($4.20) for trainer Chris Hartman. Tejano Twist was making his first start since winning the $250,000 Steel Valley Sprint Stakes for 3-year-olds Nov. 21 at Mahoning Valley. Bolt Above became the third winner at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting for first-crop sire Bolt d’Oro. … After 10 runner-up finishes at the meeting, jockey Tyler Baze recorded his first victory aboard Golden Hornet ($14.20) in Friday’s eighth race, a $104,000 allowance sprint for older horses. It was the second career Oaklawn victory for trainer Larry Rivelli, a fixture on the now-defunct Chicago circuit.