02/20/2011 5:05PM

Oaklawn: Strong run of races up next


The next three races at Oaklawn are all strong ones, with the upcoming seventh serving as the return of Like Candy for trainer Donnie Von Hemel; the eighth drawing Rock Yard for trainer Tony Dutrow; and the ninth, the $60,000 Spring Fever, a match-up of Southern California invaders Shotgun Gulch and Honey Bunch.

Like Candy ran some strong races a year ago at Oaklawn, where she won a first-level allowance at the six furlong distance she will travel in about 12 minutes. She is the current 5-2 favorite in the $30,000 claiming race for fillies and mares that also drew the quick Margie Marie.

Rock Yard heads a first-level allowance that also drew Wilson River, a 14 length maiden winner last out for leading trainer Randy Morse. Rock Yard is adding blinkers off a third-place finish at this level last time and Dutrow is winning at a 50 percent rate with first blinkers.

Shotgun Gulch comes into the Spring Fever off a third-place finish in the Grade 1 La Brea at Santa Anita. Honey Bunch, meanwhile, flew in with Southwest Stakes entrant J P's Gusto on Feb. 9, and will make her first start on natural dirt after racing on the synthetic surface at Hollywood Park last summer. The Spring Fever field also includes Moontune Missy, who was second in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom last September, and Stephanie Got Even, a winner of her last five starts including the $50,000 American Beauty at Oaklawn.