02/18/2006 1:00AM

Oaklawn cancels in cold


Oaklawn Park canceled Saturday's races because of freezing temperatures, and it has brought back the feature, the $50,000 Pippin Stakes, for Monday. The 1 1/16-mile race drew the same eight fillies and mares who were originally entered, with Private Gift the probable favorite.

Saturday, there was freezing rain and sleet in the Hot Springs, Ark., area, with the temperature in the 20's. The decision to race Sunday, as well as Monday, was to be made on a day-to-day basis, said Eric Jackson, general manager of Oaklawn.

Private Gift is looking for her third straight win Monday. She won an optional claiming race at Churchill Downs on Nov. 13, and in her last start captured the $75,000 Truly Bound Breeders' Cup Handicap at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs on Dec. 24. Trainer Neil Howard has given the mount to Robby Albarado.

La Reason is moving back to dirt following a strong showing on turf last out in which she finished second in the Grade 3, $250,000 Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs on Jan. 14. She is a stakes winner at Oaklawn, and Terry Thompson has the mount for trainer David Vance.

Other contenders include Culinary, who has won stakes in her last two starts. Platinum Ballet won her comeback race Jan. 27, taking an allowance by a head in her first start since winning the $125,000 Iowa Distaff Breeders' Cup on July 2.

The Pippin will go as the ninth on Monday, one race before the $250,000 Southwest Stakes.