03/06/2012 3:45PM

Oaklawn Park: Sortilege finds a spot in first-level allowance


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Trainer Steve Asmussen has been eager to find a race for Sortilege, who on Thursday will start as a top contender in a first-level allowance route for fillies and mares at Oaklawn Park. It has been about six weeks since her last start, which came at Fair Grounds on Jan. 25, and the gap is one that Asmussen would rather not have with Sortilege.

“I just wish I got her in a little quicker as heavy a mare as she is,” he said, adding that he had hoped a suitable race could have filled earlier in the region. On Thursday, Sortilege should vie for favoritism against seven other fillies and mares in the 1 1/16-mile allowance at Oaklawn. She comes into the race off a runner-up finish in the first-level allowance at Fair Grounds, which had an optional claiming price of $17,500.

“She ran a good race last time,” Asmussen said. “She was beaten by a nice Tapit filly and ran well.”

The Tapit filly, Puddy Tap, won by three lengths over Sortilege and then came back in her next start to finish a close second in the $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff at Sam Houston Race Park.

As for Sortilege, she has had four solid works since her last start. Her final prep for Thursday was a strong five-furlong breeze in 1:01.40 at Fair Grounds on Feb. 26. She will break from post 8 and could get a stalking trip under jockey Luis Quinonez.

“She’s fairly quick,” Asmussen said. “She’s not real quick, not a deep closer, just pretty steady.”

Sortilege won a maiden special weight at Remington Park on Dec. 2. She races for her breeder, Curtis Green.

Lady Jadana enters Thursday’s race off a third-place finish in a $15,000 optional claimer at Oaklawn on Feb. 19. She was moving back to two turns after sprinting in her comeback Feb. 9 and has reason to move forward in her second start since last October. Lady Jardana, who will add blinkers, races for PRO Thoroughbred Enterprises and is trained by Ken McPeek. Terry Thompson will ride the mare, who will break from post 5.

Find the Humor ran a big race in her comeback Feb. 9, when second by a neck at 39-1. She is moving back to two turns, and last year was third in the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks run over the same distance as Thursday’s race. Trainer Paul Vallance has given the mount to David Mello.

The pick-six carryover for Thursday is $9,776.