02/20/2013 4:28PM

Oaklawn Park: Livi Makenzie seeks first two-turn win


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Livi Makenzie ran in some of the more important sprints for 3-year-old fillies last year, but now it’s time to get her two-turn game on. Trainer Ron Moquett will be stretching Livi Makenzie back out in distance Friday, for the eighth race at Oaklawn.

The $50,000 optional claimer is for fillies and mares at a mile. Livi Makenzie is part of a seven-horse field that also includes Lookinforchange, who was fifth last out in the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic, and Itsabeautifulthing, who moves back to the overnight ranks after finishing fourth to Don’t Tell Sophia in the Pippin Stakes last time out.

Livi Makenzie ran third to Gypsy Robin in the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland after last year’s Oaklawn meet, fourth to Contested in the Grade 3 Eight Belles at Churchill, and fifth to Emma’s Encore in the Grade 1 Prioress at Saratoga. “She represented herself well against some very nice horses,” said Moquett.

Livi Makenzie launched her 4-year-old season last month at Oaklawn, winning a $32,000 optional claimer on the front end in her first start since November. Friday, she will attempt to nail down her first two-turn win, in a race that will end at the sixteenth pole, as do all mile races at Oaklawn.

“We’re trying something we haven’t tried in a while,” Moquett said of the move back to a route. “We’ll see if she can handle a mile. Hopefully this is the best transition to try it, because of that short stretch. If she likes it, we can move on to bigger and better things.”

Moquett is hopeful Livi Makenzie will get the trip, based on a runner-up finish to Another World at a mile last March at Oaklawn. For that effort, Livi Makenzie earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 81.

“I thought that one of the nicer races she ran was at a flat mile here last year,” Moquett said. “She got beat by a pretty nice filly that came back to win stakes throughout the year.”

Greta Kuntzweiler has the mount from post 6 for the BJD Thoroughbreds stable of J. Lee and Joyce Didier of Fort Smith, Ark. Livi Makenzie figures to show the way against competition that has been racing around two turns.

“She likes to be on or near the lead going short; I don’t know how we’d keep her off it going long,” said Moquett. Lookinforachange raced farther off the pace than usual last out when fifth to wire-to-wire winner Joyful Victory in the Houston Ladies Classic. Alex Birzer has the mount for trainer Jerry Donaldson.