04/06/2010 11:00PM

Payton d'Oro wins Bayakoa at Oaklawn


HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- Payton d'Oro ran down pacesetter Distinctive Dixie to win the by a half-length at Oaklawn Park on Wednesday. It was another four and a half lengths back in third to Punta Ballena.

The Bayakoa was part of the Racing Festival of the South, the annual cluster of nine stakes that are spread out over the final week of the meet. The series ends Saturday with the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby.

Payton d'Oro ($6.20) settled just off of Distinctive Dixie, who set a controlled pace of 24.55 seconds for the opening quarter, 48.64 for the half-mile mark, and 1:12.94 for six furlongs. The eventual winner took up the chase on the final turn, and overtook the leader in the stretch to cover the mile and a sixteenth on a wet-fast track in 1:43.93.

"It set up perfectly," said Cindy Jones, who trains Payton d'Oro for John Ferris and Mike Pressley.

Terry Thompson was aboard the filly, who earned $60,000 on Wednesday and improved her career record to 6-for-14.

Payton d'Oro won the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan last May. The Bayakoa was her second start of the year, behind a runner-up finish to Taptam in a money allowance at Oaklawn on Feb. 12. Payton d'Oro had a physical setback following her season debut but was back to herself Wednesday.

"She had a little problem with her feet," Jones said. "We don t know why she got the sore feet, but we worked on them aggressively and they're fine now."

Jones said Payton d'Oro would now head to Delaware Park and target races on the East Coast.