01/21/2010 12:00AM

Euphony well-rested for Pippin


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - When Euphony stepped onto the track for her career debut at Oaklawn Park in 2008, she did a happy dance and fell on her bum. Turns out, that's the only misstep she has ever taken in Hot Springs.

Euphony is 4 for 4 at Oaklawn and will put that record on the line Saturday in the $75,000 Pippin, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares that serves as the first of two local preps for the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom on April 3.

The circumstances under which Euphony will attempt to keep her local record intact are not ideal. She has not raced since August, giving up recency to such rivals as Afleet Deceit, who was second to Rachel Alexandra in the Grade 2 Fantasy when last seen at Oaklawn, and French Kiss, who is defending her title in the Pippin.

"I think we're ready to go," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Euphony for Pin Oak Stable. "You'd probably feel more comfortable after you've had a race or two, but she ran well on her return here last year, and I'm confident that she'll be ready to go."

Euphony won the $100,000 Bayakoa at Oaklawn last April in her first start in six months. She went on to win the Grade 3 Arlington Matron at Arlington in May and the $125,000 Iowa Distaff in June. In her final start of the season, Euphony was fifth as the favorite in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park on Aug. 30.

"Obviously, it wasn't her best race that day," Von Hemel said. "We decided some R and R was in order because she just runs so well all the time.

"It was a good time to give her a break and get her ready for Oaklawn because we know she likes Oaklawn."

Euphony will break from post 5 and could stalk Afleet Deceit, who stretches out to two turns off a six-furlong allowance win at Hawthorne on Dec. 19, and Be Fair, the wire-to-wire winner of the Grade 3 Lake George at Saratoga last July.

Taptam also could show pace. She will break from the rail after taking on males last out in the $100,000 Star of Texas at Sam Houston on Dec. 5. That race has become a key one, with five of its starters returning to win their next out, including winner Crook's Bodgit here Monday.