Caddo River Makes First Start Since June At Oaklawn Sunday

After beginning 2021 with a bang, Caddo River will try to go out with a bang when the star-crossed 3-year-old returns in Sunday’s eighth race at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Ark., a one-mile conditioned allowance test that will mark the colt’s first start in more than six months.

Caddo River, a homebred for John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs, hasn’t run since finishing a well-beaten sixth in the $400,000 Grade 1 Woody Stephens Stakes June 5 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. Caddo River ran three times at the 2021 Oaklawn meeting. The speedy son of Hard Spun registered a record-setting 10 ¼-length victory in January’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at one mile – Oaklawn’s first of four Kentucky Derby points races – before finishing fifth in the $1 million G2 Rebel Stakes in March and second in the $1 million G1 Arkansas Derby in April.

After being withdrawn from Kentucky Derby consideration because of a minor illness, Caddo River received a lengthy vacation following a flat performance in the seven-furlong Woody Stephens.

“We just gave him time,” trainer Brad Cox said Thursday afternoon. “He had no injury. Just time and freshen him up. To try to make the Derby and all that, it’s very demanding on a horse. It felt like it had kind of taken its toll between all of that, the whole winter. The race in the Woody Stephens was not what we were looking for, so we gave him time and he’s come back and trained very, very well. I think this is a really good race to get him back going.”

Caddo River resumed training in late summer/early fall, Cox said, and returned to the work tab at Blackwood Stables in Kentucky before moving to the trainer’s barn at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Caddo River breezed three times in November at Churchill Downs and has logged three works in his return to Oaklawn, including a six-furlong bullet (:59.80) Dec. 4.

Facing older horses for the first time Sunday, Caddo River is the 8-5 program favorite and scheduled to break from the rail under regular rider Florent Geroux. Also entered in the projected eight-horse lineup is Irish Unity, runner-up in the $250,000 St. Louis Derby for 3-year-olds Aug. 28 at FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing in Collinsville, Ill., for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.

Cox said Caddo River’s comeback race could help determine where he stands among the trainer’s deep roster of older horses in 2022.

“We have Plainsman there as well,” Cox said, referring to the multiple G3 winner he trains for Anthony. “We have Warrior’s Charge, Night Ops, Shared Sense is down here (Fair Grounds). We have Mandaloun, Concert Tour. We have a very good group of horses. Listen, he’s going to have to step up. He was a very, very good 2-3-year-old. Some of them take those steps forward, some of them don’t. If he takes a step forward, he’ll be fine and, hopefully, he will be a player in the handicap division there.”

Caddo River has amassed $404,092 in earnings after compiling a 2-3-0 mark from seven lifetime starts. Caddo River broke his maiden by 9 ½ front-running lengths at one mile in November 2020 at Churchill Downs before winning the Smarty Jones, his stakes debut, in his next start.

Probable post time for Sunday’s eighth race is 3:46 p.m. Central. In Sunday’s sixth race, Cox is scheduled to send out unbeaten Como Square in an entry-level allowance sprint for 2-year-old fillies. Another Anthony homebred, Como Square is by super sire Into Mischief and a half-sister to Caddo River. Como Square exits a 4 ¾-length debut victory Nov. 11 at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Ind.

Caddo River and Como Square are out of the Anthony-raced Pangburn, a daughter of Congrats who was an allowance winner in 2015 at Oaklawn.

The post Caddo River Makes First Start Since June At Oaklawn Sunday appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.