Stakes Advance - Nodouble & Downthedustyroad

Compiled by Robert Yates

Older Arkansas-bred sprinters are spotlighted Saturday at Oaklawn, with Bohemian Bo and Kantex headlining the $150,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes and $150,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes, respectively. Both races are six furlongs.

The stakes doubleheader is part of a 10-race program that begins at 12:30 p.m. (Central). Probable post time for the Nodouble, the seventh race, is 3:43 p.m. Probable post time for the Downthedustyroad, restricted to females, is 4:50 p.m. It is the ninth race.

Kantex, the 9-5 program favorite, bids for her first career stakes victory in the Downthedustyroad after finishing an even sixth in her last start, an open allowance sprint Feb. 3 at Oaklawn. The winner, Zeitlos, returned to win the $150,000 Carousel Stakes for older female sprinters last Saturday at Oaklawn.

Rafael Bejarano has the return call on Kantex, who drew the rail in the projected nine-horse field. Stablemate and 2022 Downthedustyroad winner Connie K (5-2) drew post 2. Kaboom Baby (2-1) is scheduled to break from post 9 under regular rider Luis Quinonez.

Connie K edged Kaboom Baby by a length in their last meeting, a state-bred allowance sprint Feb. 4 at Oaklawn.

Connie K and Kaboom Baby, the 2023 Downthedustyroad runner-up, would surpass The Mary Rose ($539,894) as the leading female Arkansas-bred money winner in history with a victory Saturday.

“Tough, tough race,” said trainer Randy Morse, who bred and owns Kantex and Connie K with longtime business partner Randy Patterson. “I’m not real crazy about the posts we drew, but it is what it is. Kaboom Baby drew a good post. The way I’m looking at (it), she’s going to have a really good trip, it looks to me like. She’ll be tough, too. She’s had two races under her now.”

After finishing second in the Downthedustyroad, Kaboom Baby completed her 2022-2023 Oaklawn campaign by beating Connie K in a state-bred allowance sprint and capturing the one-mile $150,000 Natural State Breeders’ Stakes for Arkansas-bred females.

Kaboom Baby has finished second in both starts this season at Oaklawn. She was beaten 3 ¼ lengths by Kantex in a state-bred allowance sprint Jan. 13 and couldn’t catch front-running Connie K last month for trainer Ernie Witt II.

“She kind of got caught inside,” Witt said, referring to the Feb. 4 race. “She doesn’t really like being inside. The race flow didn’t quite go the way we thought it would. Generally, Louie likes to drift her outside with that run down the lane. He just didn’t have the opportunity to do that. She’s always run her best when he can get her outside of horses and just come home with it.”

Defending champion Summer Shoes is also entered, but she hasn’t been competitive in two starts at the meeting.

The speedy Bohemian Bo is the 9-5 program favorite for the Nodouble, which drew a field of eight. Owned by Texans Michael and Linda Mazoch and trained by Tommy Vance of Hot Springs, Bohemian Bo exits a sixth-place finish against open company in a first-level allowance sprint Feb. 3 at Oaklawn. Bohemian Bo dominated state-breds in a Jan. 6 allowance sprint at Oaklawn.

“The whole key with him is getting the first quarter in, like, :22, (:21.80), something like that,” Vance said. “If he breaks sharp, you don’t have to rush him too much. That’s his whole thing. If he runs in open company, they usually go a little too fast for him and he’s hard to rate. The last race was just a prep for this race and he only got beat (4 ¾) lengths. When you’re watching the race live, you’re kind of disappointed. But when you look at it after the fact, he ran his eyeballs out.”

Bohemian Bo is scheduled to break from post 3 under leading rider Cristian Torres.

The early 5-2 second choice in the projected eight-horse Nodouble field is Lochmoor for trainer Bruce Riecken. Lochmoor is making his stakes debut after finishing first, second or third in 8 of 10 career starts at Oaklawn.