01/17/2012 4:24PM

Oaklawn Park: Autrey aims to build on hot start with Sever

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Cody Autrey might be new to Oaklawn Park, but he made himself at home over opening weekend by going 5 for 8 to take the lead in the trainer standings. On Thursday, he will attempt to keep the good times rolling.

Autrey will start Sever in the featured eighth race, a $32,000 optional claimer that carries second-level allowance conditions. It will be run at a mile, and a field of 11 will go, including Just a Coincidence, who earlier in his career ran third in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, and Westshore, a winner at Churchill Downs in November for trainer Jimmy Baker.

Sever is perfect in two starts, both route races. He won his debut in a $40,000 maiden claiming race at Fair Grounds last February. Sever has raced once since then, and took a first-level allowance at Delta Downs on Dec. 1. He stalked and went on to a 4 3/4-length win that night and earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 79.

“I [claimed] him last year first time out, and he had a minor issue and we gave him time off,” Autrey said. “He came back and won a one-other-than allowance at Delta off a 10-month layoff. I hope he moves forward, because obviously that race at Delta was easier than the one he’s going to run in Thursday. But hopefully, he moves forward.”

Sever is a 4-year-old gelding by Horse Chestnut. He is out of the Unbridled mare Detach, which makes him a half-brother to Apart, a Grade 2 winner of more than $650,000. Sever drew post 4 and is to be ridden by Alex Cintron. Sever races for John Stavropoulos and trainer Bill Bell. Just a Coincidence, 6, is back at Oaklawn after racing at Delaware Park and Keeneland. Westshore is making his first start at Oaklawn following a win in a $30,000 conditioned claiming route at Churchill. The field also includes the comebacking A Student, who is a half-brother to two stakes winners including Grade 3 winner Good Student.

The card Thursday also features a first-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares that drew Too Shy Shy, a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Lawyer Ron.

◗ There is a $6,994 pick-six carryover for Thursday. The bet has a new minimum of $1.