Oaklawn Park announced late Monday evening that it canceled this weekend’s Thursday through Sunday racing card, citing stormy forecasts for the Hot Springs, AR, region.

Oaklawn Weather Postponement II
For the second consecutive weekend, Oaklawn Park canceled its weekend racing card due to inclement weather forecasts. (Image: Richard Rasmussen/The Sentinel-Record

This once again pushes back three Grade 3 races, including a key Kentucky Derby prep involving Champion 2-Year-Old Essential Quality. That race, the Southwest Stakes, was originally scheduled for today’s President’s Day card. Oaklawn officials last week postponed it to Feb. 20, then to Feb. 21.

The Southwest Stakes is one of five stakes races pushed back once again. The track announced on Twitter that all stakes races for the scrubbed days will run between Feb. 25 and 28. Oaklawn spokesperson Jennifer Hoyt said new dates for the Southwest, along with the Grade 3 Bayakoa and Grade 3 Razorback Handicap, will be announced Tuesday.

Oaklawn canceled its Friday through Monday card this past weekend due to ice storms. That move shoved back Essential Quality’s 3-year-old debut, along with the 2021 debuts of Jackie’s Warrior and Keepmeinmind. Monomoy Girl, the Champion Older Female for 2020, was set to open her 6-year-old campaign in the Bayakoa.

Four More Oaklawn Racing Days Scrubbed

The Razorback, a handicap race for 4-year-olds and up, was originally scheduled for Feb. 13. When Oaklawn postponed its card this past weekend, that race joined the Southwest and Bayakoa on the Feb. 21 card. Owendale, Mystic Guide, Mr. Freeze, and Coastal Defense were expected in that race.

Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox trains Essential Quality, Monomoy Girl, and Owendale. Where this gets tricky for any of the Southwest candidates comes with only a two-week break between that race and the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn. Connections of horses planning to use the Southwest as a stepping stone to that race — and eventually the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby — are rethinking their plans.

Joining those three races in search of new dates are the Dixie Belle Stakes and the Downthedustyroad Stakes. The Dixie Belle is a sprint for 3-year-old fillies, while the Downthedustyroad is for Arkansas-breds. Those races were originally to run on Saturday.

The National Weather Service forecasts a 30% chance of snow showers and a high of 30 for Thursday. Friday’s forecast is sunny with a high of 36. The NWS forecasts sunny and a high of 34 for Saturday and a high near 50 for Sunday, albeit with a 30% chance of showers.

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