Windmill Looks to Stay Perfect in Purple Martin

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Friday, April 2, 2021) – Windmill puts her perfect record on the line in the $200,000 Purple Martin Stakes for 3-year-old filly sprinters Saturday at Oaklawn.

Probable post time for the 6-furlong Purple Martin, the sixth of 12 races, is 3:09 p.m. (Central). Racing begins Saturday at 12:30 p.m., with the infield open, weather permitting.

Windmill races for the high-profile connections of trainer Larry Jones and owner Rick Porter, who purchased the daughter of Street Sense for $330,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Windmill, the 9-5 program favorite, is 2 for 2, with both victories coming at Oaklawn. She was a front-running four-length winner of her Jan. 23 career debut, then captured the $150,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Feb. 28 by a length. Both races were 6 furlongs.

Jones said Windmill has been a “pleasant surprise” since he didn’t originally have the filly (Todd Pletcher briefly trained for Porter) and she wasn’t fully cranked for her career debut.

“I didn’t have that much foundation in her, but she had done everything pretty easy,” Jones said. “It’s the reason we went ahead and ran her. She had done what she needed to do. I did expect her to run very well that day, but I didn’t expect her to win the way she did.”

Facing winners for the first time, Windmill came from just off the pace to win the Dixie Belle, which was originally scheduled to be run Feb. 13 before Oaklawn lost eight live racing dates because of snow and arctic temperatures.

“She ran very well,” Jones said.

Also returning from the Dixie Belle is third-place finisher Abrogate, who was beaten just two lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Devilish Whit, also trained by Asmussen, will be seeking her third consecutive victory in the Purple Martin.

“Very solid race, very fast race, with some nice fillies that are doing really well going into it,” Asmussen said.

Southern Grayce will be making her stakes debut after winning a March 4 first-level allowance race at Oaklawn for trainer Brad Cox.

The fifth and final Purple Martin entrant is Joyful Cadence, who exits an eye-catching 8 ¾-length maiden special weights victory March 4 at Oaklawn for trainer John Ortiz. Joyful Cadence represents the first Oaklawn winner sired by champion Runhappy.

The Purple Martin field from the rail out: Devilish Wit, Francisco Arrieta to ride, 117 pounds, 6-1 on the morning line; Windmill, Joe Talamo, 122, 9-5; Abrogate, Ricardo Santana Jr., 122, 2-1; Southern Grayce, Fernando De La Cruz, 122, 3-1; and Joyful Cadence, David Cabrera, 117, 9-2.

In addition to Windmill, Jones and Porter (Fox Hill Farms) have teamed for Oaklawn stakes victories with, among others, Eight Belles, Joyful Victory and 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace.