02/28/2012 5:41PM

Oaklawn: Stay Put may get the pace he needs

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Steve Margolis knows Stay Put needs “a legitimate pace” to run at.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Pace makes Stay Put’s race, and it appears he could get some accommodating fractions Thursday in the eighth race at Oaklawn Park. He will meet five stakes winners in the 1 1/16-mile allowance, including the front-running Kate’s Main Man, sprint-to-route prospect Wild Jacob and the comebacking Stachys.

Stay Put has invaded from Fair Grounds, where he was fifth in the $100,000 Louisiana Handicap in his last start Jan. 21. His trip was not without traffic troubles, as Stay Put was bumped early then hung well wide at the quarter pole in a moderately paced race. The start was his second since last May.

“He’s a come-from-behind horse, he needs a little pace help,” said Steve Margolis, who trains Stay Put for Bertram, Elaine, and Richard Klein. “He doesn’t need a blistering pace, but he’s got to have a legitimate pace for him to have a legitimate shot to make a run.”

Stay Put could get a nice setup behind Kate’s Main Man, a four-time stakes winner making his second start since last August; Red Coyote, who set the pace to the late stages in the recent $50,000 Richard King at Sam Houston Race Park; and Wings of War, who is coming off a $35,000 optional claiming allowance win at a mile at Oaklawn. Wild Jacob, meanwhile, is stretching back out to two turns off a sprint comeback race in January, while Cryptolight, who has some natural speed, will be breaking from the rail in what will be his first start since December.

Stay Put is a multiple allowance winner who in 2010 ran sixth in the Belmont Stakes won by Drosselmeyer. For the race Thursday, Stay Put will break from post 4.

“He needs every bit of the mile and a sixteenth,” said Margolis.


Israel Ocampo has the mount on Stay Put, a 5-year-old by Broken Vow and a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Could Be.

Stachys, a four-time stakes winner, will be making his first start since August. He was fourth in last year’s Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap, during a meet in which he also ran second in the track’s Fifth Season and third in the Essex. Alex Birzer has the mount for Al and Bill Ulwelling and trainer Michael Biehler.

The card Thursday also includes a $45,000 optional claiming allowance sprint. Gold Element, who is 4 for 5, will add blinkers for the six-furlong race, while Road Ready, winner of last year’s $75,000 Bachelor at Oaklawn, is making his first start since October.