03/13/2012 3:17PM

Oaklawn Park: Sarah’s Song preps for Redbud Stakes

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – With five weeks of racing remaining at the Oaklawn Park meet that runs through April 14, preps for the track’s annual Racing Festival of the South stakes are starting to pop up on a regular basis. Thursday’s card features two such allowances for fillies and mares, one designed to produce starters for the $75,000 Carousel and the other a prep for the $100,000 Redbud. Both stakes are April 12, the second day of the festival that features at least one major stakes race over the final week of racing at Oaklawn.

Sarah’s Song heads the eighth race, a third-level allowance for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. She was nominated to the Grade 3, $150,000 Azeri here Saturday, but seems well spotted Thursday for what will be her third race since last July. Her chief rivals in the field of seven include Holy Heavens, who last year ran in the Kentucky Oaks, and Hearts On Fire, who has placed in three stakes, including the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks.

Sarah’s Song won three races last meet at Oaklawn, by a combined margin of 21 lengths. She will be seeking to recapture that form Thursday. In her seasonal debut Feb. 19, she finished ninth in the $60,000 Spring Fever at 5 1/2 furlongs. She wheeled back for a second-level allowance route less than a week later and set the pace for about six furlongs before finishing fourth, beaten seven lengths as the favorite.

“At the quarter pole, I knew it was a mistake,” trainer Mac Robertson said of the Feb. 24 race. “But when I led her over, I thought I was smart.”

Cascabella, who won the race, returns Thursday. Others set to start include Holy Heavens, a stakes winner at two turns last year at Oaklawn who is moving back to a route after winning her comeback from a nine-month layoff in an allowance sprint March 3.

Sarah’s Song will break from post 5, under Gabe Saez.

In the fifth race, stakes winners Rattlin Gyspy and Wild Hope are charged with running down Bent Missile in a six-furlong money allowance. Bent Missile set the pace last out in the Spring Fever and finished second, beaten a length by the local divisional leader, Gleaming. Bent Missile will break from post 5 in a seven-horse field and could get an ideal tracking trip behind Mysterious Chimes. Israel Ocampo has the mount on Bent Missile for William Stiritz and trainer Scott Becker.

Rattlin Gyspy will be making her first start since running third to Gleaming in the $50,000 American Beauty at Oaklawn on Jan. 22. That race has since produced three next-out winners. Calvin Borel will ride Rattlin Gyspy for trainer John Wainwright.