01/26/2010 12:00AM

Margolis sending Country Day for King Cotton


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Trainer Steve Margolis had a perfect opening weekend at Oaklawn. He went 2 for 2 with his starters that invaded from Fair Grounds, winning both races in photos, including the $50,000 American Beauty on Jan. 16.

This week, Margolis could run as many as three horses at Oaklawn, led by Country Day, who is being pointed for the $50,000 King Cotton on Saturday. Margolis also plans to enter horses in overnight races here Friday and Saturday.

"It looks like we'll be making a little trip over," he said.

Country Day should vie for favoritism in the King Cotton after winning a second-level allowance at Fair Grounds on Dec. 17 with a Beyer Figure of 106. He is one of five horses Margolis nominated to the six-furlong stakes, and he was the choice to go as of Monday.

"Country Day, off the number and the timing, looks like the one to take over there," he said.

Margolis, who has been hot all meet at Fair Grounds, will be looking for his second sprint stakes win in a week in the King Cotton. Last Saturday, he sent out Cash Refund to take the $73,000 Gaudin Memorial at Fair Grounds.

Larry Sterling Jr. is scheduled to ride Country Day in the King Cotton. Other early probables for the race include Hamazing Destiny, who won a Churchill allowance with a Beyer Figure of 107 in his last start Nov. 13, and Grand Sensation, who last raced in August and was fifth in the $100,000 Teddy Drone at Monmouth Park.

As for the Margolis-trained Northern Belle, who won the American Beauty, she is under consideration for one of two races for her next start. Margolis said it could come at Oaklawn, in the $60,000 Spring Fever, or at her base of Fair Grounds, in the $75,000 Pan Zareta. Both races are Feb. 20.

Margolis might have a stakes winner to send for the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn on Feb. 15. The race is the first major prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby.

Cool Bullet, who won the $58,000 Sugar Bowl at Fair Grounds in December, put himself under consideration for the Southwest last weekend, when he was fourth in the track's Grade 3 Lecomte. He was making his two-turn debut in the race and earned a Beyer of 84.

"The horse really ran good," Margolis said. "There's a good chance we might bring him to the Southwest."

Cool Bullet is a son of Red Bullet, and he races for the partnership of Winmore LLC and Robert and Lawana Low.

Taptam penciled in for Azeri

Taptam, who won the $75,000 Pippin here last Saturday, is being penciled in for the Grade 3, $150,000 Azeri at Oaklawn on March 6, said her trainer, Bret Calhoun.

"Right now, I'd say that's the target," he said.

Calhoun will also look around to see what other options are available to Taptam because there are six weeks from the Pippin to the Azeri. In the Pippin, Taptam rallied from just off the pace for a half-length win over the comebacking Grade 3 winner Euphony.

"We're very proud of her," Calhoun said. "It was a great race, and her first open stakes."

Taptam had won stakes against Texas-breds in the past. She races for Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch.

* Shotgun Gulch, a 3-year-old filly who improved to 4 for 5 by winning the $50,000 Dixie Belle by a nose here Jan. 15, is being pointed for the $75,000 Martha Washington, said her trainer, Kim Ewing. The one-mile race run Feb. 13 will be the first two-turn start for Shotgun Gulch.

* Calvin Borel will not ride at Oaklawn on Thursday because he will be at an event in New Mexico at the request of the connections of Mine That Bird, said his agent, Jerry Hissam. Borel is scheduled to ride here Friday. He won the Kentucky Derby last year aboard Mine That Bird.