04/12/2012 3:14PM

Oaklawn Park: Apriority must run down Izzy Rules in Count Fleet Sprint Handicap

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Barbara D. Livingston
Apriority is invading from Florida for Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Apriority’s mission is clear Saturday in the Grade 3, $250,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park. He will have to catch the win-streaking mare Izzy Rules, if he is to deliver as the 118-pound starting highweight.

The Count Fleet, a six-furlong race that drew six older horses, is the first of four stakes that will be run consecutively on the closing-day card. The program has a special first post of noon Central.

[MORE: Get PPs and handicapping analysis on Saturday's Oaklawn card]

The Count Fleet goes as the eighth race, with Apriority invading from Florida off a runner-up finish in a $100,000 optional claimer at Gulfstream Park on March 11. Following that race, his connections had the option of a return trip to the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct last Saturday or venturing to Oaklawn for the Count Fleet.

“We went to the Carter last year, and he ran second, ran a huge race,” said David Fawkes, who trains Apriority for Donald Dizney. “That race came up really, really tough this year, and we wanted a little extra time. This gave us an extra week. He’s better when his races are spaced.”

Apriority was beaten a head in his last start, two races after winning the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream Park.

“The winner kind of ducked the corner and got a good solid jump away from us,” Fawkes said. “We couldn’t catch him. [Apriority] ran a great race. The other horse just snuck away on us.”

Izzy Rules will attempt to steal away Saturday in search of her fifth consecutive win. She comes off a more than four-length score in the Grade 3 Las Flores at Santa Anita, and the Beyer Speed Figure of 100 that she earned is the best last-race number in the Count Fleet.

“She’s a very quick filly and hard to catch,” said Jeff Bonde, who has given the mount to Edwin Maldonado.

Rafael Bejarano will ride Apriority, who drew post 5.

“He can sit just off of it,” Fawkes said.

The field also includes Hamazing Destiny, a two-time starter in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint; Silver Magnus, who was the runner-up in this race a year ago; and Outta Tune, who in the course of his last two starts has gone from $5,000 starter allowance winner to running one of the meet’s fastest six-furlong times in a $62,500 optional claimer on March 25.