02/10/2017 3:30PM

Weast Hill to be honored as Arkansas 2016 Horse of Year

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Weast Hill will be honored as Arkansas 2016 Horse of the Year on March 31.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Weast Hill, who on Thursday improved his Oaklawn Park record to 7 for 7 by winning an allowance, will be honored as the Arkansas Thoroughbred Breeders’ & Horsemen’s Association’s 2016 Horse of the Year during a March 31 banquet, according to an official with the organization. Weast Hill was a multiple stakes winner last year at Oaklawn.

Weast Hill won a six-furlong allowance for Arkansas-breds on Thursday, covering the distance in a sharp 1:10.36. Trainer Brad Cox said Friday that Weast Hill emerged from the race in good order and will point to the $100,000 Nodouble Stakes on Feb. 25 at Oaklawn. The horse races for his breeder, Starsky Weast.

Cox on Friday expressed his admiration for the outstanding Oaklawn record Weast Hill has built since winning his debut at the track in February 2015.

“I think they should name an Arkansas-bred race after him,” Cox said. “I’m biased. I like the horse!”

Weast Hill is a son of Rockport Harbor.

The ATBHA banquet will be held at The Clarion on the Lake in Hot Springs, said organization official Deana Echols. The keynote speaker will be Chris Kotulak, the author of a book on Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg and a television host at Remington Park. Others to be honored during the banquet include McDowell Farm, the Arkansas breeder of the year.

◗ Conquest Bandido could see her stock rise before she runs in Sunday’s eighth race at Oaklawn. She enters the optional $50,000 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies off a runner-up finish to Torrent, who on Saturday was to start as a top contender in the $125,000 Martha Washington.

Conquest Bandido was making her two-turn debut when she met Torrent in a local allowance. Her rivals Sunday include Someday Soon, the winner of the $150,000 John W. Galbreath Stakes at Mahoning Valley.

◗ Dazzling Gem, a two-time winner at Oaklawn who in his last start was second in the $75,000 Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds, is possible for the Grade 3, $500,000 Razorback Handicap, trainer Brad Cox said Friday. The Razorback will share a card with the Grade 3, $500,000 Southwest Stakes for 3-year-olds on Feb. 20 at Oaklawn. The races put an exclamation point on an extended, five-day race week that starts Thursday and runs through the holiday Monday, Feb. 20.