04/14/2011 3:31PM

Oaklawn's Instant Racing first meeting for graded winners


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. − In perhaps its strongest running ever, the $100,000 Instant Racing for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Oaklawn Park has drawn graded stakes winners Dixie City and May Day Rose, who will meet for the first time.

The Instant Racing is one of two stakes supporting the main event on the closing day program, the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby. The $100,000 Northern Spur for 3-year-olds is the other. Both races will be run at a mile and end at the sixteenth pole, as all one-mile races do at Oaklawn.

Dixie City closed her 2-year-old season with a 3 1/4-length win in the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct in November. She has since been based at Oaklawn and will make her second start of the year after finishing third to leading Kentucky Oaks candidate Joyful Victory in last month’s Grade 3 Honeybee.

“The Honeybee was a starting point for her,” trainer Tony Dutrow said. “She’s going to move forward from that race. We are very happy with her. She’s nice and fresh. She’s in great shape.”

Dixie City has thrived at Oaklawn, where she has turned in a series of strong works. Her latest came Tuesday, when she breezed a half-mile in a bullet 47.40 seconds. Dixie City will break from post 2 under jockey Ramon Dominguez.

“She has tactical speed, where she can be anywhere in the race,” Dutrow said.

May Day Rose figures to be showing the way. She wired the field in the Santa Ysabel at Santa Anita in January, scoring her second stakes win. She also won the $100,000 Sharp Cat at Hollywood Park in November. Trained by Bob Baffert, May Day Rose will break from post 4 under Martin Garcia.

Northern Spur: The Ole Gen gets dirt

The Ole Gen will make a meaningful surface change for the Northern Spur. He will be getting back to dirt after finishing third over a synthetic surface in the $100,000 Rushaway at Turfway. One start before, in her season debut, she won an Oaklawn allowance on dirt in February.

“I was very proud of his effort, because I could see he did not handle the track,” trainer Larry Jones said. “He’s come back in here and has been galloping really good.”

Gabriel Saez has the mount on The Ole Gen. Jones also sends out Commander, who was a surging winner of an allowance at a mile last month at Oaklawn.

“He looked hopelessly beat [in the stretch],” Jones said. “I thought, ‘There’s no way we’re going to do better than third.’ For him to accelerate the way he did, it was very pleasing.”

Others in the field include Uncle Brent and Albergatti.