01/28/2010 12:00AM

Hamazing Destiny finds sprinting niche


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has a plan for Hamazing Destiny.

I m going to try and make him the best sprinter in the country if I can, he said.

Lukas will put the ball in motion on Saturday, when Hamazing Destiny runs in the $50,000 King Cotton at Oaklawn. The six-furlong race for 4-year-olds and up is the first of two local preps for the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap here April 9.

The King Cotton is a battle of big Beyer Speed Figures. Hamazing Destiny earned a 107 for a first-level allowance win at Churchill Downs in his last start Nov. 13, while Country Day, one of his six opponents, put up a 106 for a second-level allowance win at Fair Grounds on Dec. 17.

Others in the King Cotton include Jonesboro, a Grade 2 winner of $1.4 million making a rare sprint start, and Agastache, who missed by a neck in the $50,000 Holiday Cheer at Turfway Park on Dec. 26.

Hamazing Destiny was a memorable debut winner at Oaklawn last February, taking a six-furlong maiden special weight by 10 lengths with a Beyer Figure of 94. He was a private purchase following that race, and after testing his skills at two turns in races like the Grade 2 Rebel and on turf at Saratoga, he seems to have found his niche sprinting. He rolled to a 7 3/4-length win last out at Churchill.

He put it all together in that one and really, really impressed us, and has done nothing to dispel that now, Lukas said. He s training really well here, and I think he has an affinity for this racetrack, too.

Terry Thompson has the mount on Hamazing Destiny, who races for Barry Butzow and Westrock Stables. The horse will break from post 6, with fellow pace rivals Agastache and Country Day tucked to his inside from posts 1 and 2.

Country Day ran a career race last time, when he led throughout for a six-length win at Fair Grounds. It was an off-the-turf allowance, and he covered the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.20.

He ran really fast that day and kind of rebroke, said Steve Margolis, who trains Country Day. He ran a real fast number, and is coming in good for the race. I m looking forward to seeing what he does.

The King Cotton will be the stakes debut for Country Day, who will be ridden by Larry Sterling Jr.