02/04/2010 12:00AM

Hamazing Destiny still rules King Cotton


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - It's the King Cotton, take 2.

If the horses entered Friday in the $50,000 King Cotton at Oaklawn look familiar, it's because most of them were set to run in the six-furlong race last Saturday. But a winter storm system forced the cancellation of the card, and the King Cotton, which had seven starters last week, returns with a field of nine that is again led by Hamazing Destiny.

The challenge for most trainers with starters in the race has been to keep their sprinters on top of their game another week. There has been missed training here because of the weather, which adds to the task. But Hamazing Destiny doesn't appear to have lost any of the speed that should make him the favorite Friday.

"We're keeping it packed in Styrofoam waiting for the race," joked D. Wayne Lukas, who trains Hamazing Destiny.

Lukas said Hamazing Destiny has thrived since his last start, when he wired a first-level allowance field at Churchill Downs on Nov. 13. He won by 7 3/4 lengths to earn a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 107. Hamazing Destiny drew well for the King Cotton the first time around, and again gets an outside post. He will break from gate 9, under Terry Thompson.

Trainer Steve Margolis entered Country Day in the original King Cotton, but for the makeup race will start Credit Only. He said the training he missed with Country Day, who spent last week at Oaklawn, led him to substitute Credit Only, who has been at Fair Grounds.

"We missed so many days of training, we brought back another horse, Credit Only," said Margolis, who is based at Fair Grounds. "He ran a really good third in a three-other-than [allowance] and always seems to be improving. He's a nice entry."

Credit Only was beaten a half-length in the Dec. 26 allowance at Fair Grounds, to earn a career-best Beyer Figure of 90. Larry Melancon has the mount on the horse, who will break from post 3.

"He has natural speed," said Margolis.

If the pace is hot, it might benefit Jonesboro. He will be making a rare start around one turn, but is a stakes winner at the trip. Jonesboro was highweighted for the $100,000 Essex at two turns here Saturday, but is sprinting because of training lost to the weather in Hot Springs.

"This is what he's ready for," said Randy Morse, who trains Jonesboro for Mike Langford.