03/20/2010 12:00AM

Hot Dixie Chick scores sharp comeback win


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Hot Dixie Chick, an Eclipse Award finalist last year at 2, ran to her 1-5 odds on Saturday, when she easily won her first start in more than six months in the Oaklawn Park.

"I'm glad to get that race in," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Hot Dixie Chick for Grace Stables. "It looked like Dixie Chick."

Hot Dixie Chick showed brilliant speed last year,when she won her maiden with a Beyer Figure of 100 in June. She trumped that number one start later, when she took the Grade 3 Schuylerville at Saratoga with a 103. The number ended up being the best for a 2-year-old, male or female, in 2009. Hot Dixie Chick closed out her season with a win in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga on Sept. 6.

Her speed was on display again Saturday, when she raced alongside the quick Cosmo Girl through fractions of 21.47 seconds for the opening quarter and 44.90 for a half-mile. Hot Dixie Chick ($2.40) opened up on the field in the stretch, winning by 5 3/4 lengths and covering six furlongs on a track labeled wet-fast in 1:10.82.

"She's so fast, she does that within herself," said Robby Albarado, who was in from Fair Grounds to ride. "I know it's hard for me to tell you that, in 44 in the mud, but she does it so easy. She did that at Saratoga.

"They come far and few between, those class ones like her," added Albarado.

"She's an incredible talent," said Asmussen.

Asmussen said next-race plans for Hot Dixie Chick will be determined after he speaks with Barbara Banke of Grace Stables and her husband, Jess Jackson. Hot Dixie Chick, who shipped in from Fair Grounds, is scheduled to move with Asmussen's stable to Churchill Downs.

Hot Dixie Chick created a minus show pool of $54,452, after carrying approximately $267,000 of the $288,000 bet to show on the Prima Donna. With the win, she improved her record to 4 for 5. Hot Dixie Chick is a daughter of Dixie Union.

Biorra finished second in the Prima Donna, three lengths clear of third-place finisher Woman Soldier.

Hot Springs: Country Day gets stalking trip

Country Day overtook pacesetter Ez Dreamer into the stretch and went on to a win the

by 1 1/4 lengths earlier on the card Saturday. The six-furlong race was the final local prep for the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap here April 9.

Country Day ($16) broke out at the start of the Hot Springs, and was content to track Ez Dreamer through an opening quarter. Country Day drew even with the leader through a half-mile in 46.02 and then went on to cover the distance in 1:09.52.

"This colt has continued to improve since the day he broke his maiden," said winning rider Brian Hernandez Jr.

It was the first stakes win for Country Day.

Country Day is owned by Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein and is trained by Steve Margolis.