Promising Sophomore Cazadero Headlines Saturday’s Gazebo Stakes At Oaklawn

Grade 3 winner Cazadero is the 9-5 program favorite for the $150,000 Gazebo Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters Saturday at Oaklawn.

The Gazebo headlines an 11-race card, with probable post time 5:52 p.m. (Central). The 6-furlong Gazebo is the 10th race. Racing begins Saturday at 1 p.m., and the infield will be open, weather permitting.

Cazadero, who races for his breeder, Stonestreet Farm, and Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, will be making his first start since finishing fifth as the favorite in the $150,000 Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) Aug. 7 at Saratoga. Stablemate Jackie’s Warrior won the Saratoga Special and was runner-up in voting for an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 2-year-old male.

In his first two starts, Cazadero was a front-running 8 ¾-length winner of his May 29 debut at Churchill Downs, then captured the $100,000 Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) by 4 ¾ lengths June 27 at Churchill Downs.

A son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, Cazadero has been ridden in his three races by seven-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr.

“Cazadero showed a lot of promise,” Santana said. “So glad to be back on him.”

Cazadero has been based this winter at Fair Grounds. Asmussen will also send out unbeaten Jaxon Traveler (3 for 3), who hasn’t started since winning the restricted $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity Dec. 5 at Laurel.

Both Cazadero and Jaxon Traveler will be racing on Lasix for the first time Saturday.

The projected six-horse Gazebo field from the rail out: Sir Wellington, Alex Canchari to ride, 119 pounds, 7-2 on the morning line; Dusty Hill, Terry Thompson, 117, 8-1; Lock Up, David Cabrera, 117, 10-1; Jaxon Traveler, Francisco Arrieta, 119, 5-2; Game Day Play, Ramon Vazquez, 119, 3-1; and Cazadero, Ricardo Santana Jr., 119, 9-5.

Sir Wellington won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Stakes Dec. 12 at Fair Grounds and exits a runner-up finish behind unbeaten Swiftsure – another Asmussen trainee – in a Jan. 23 allowance race at Oaklawn. Sir Wellington finished second to Jaxon Traveler, beaten four lengths, in a first-level allowance race Oct. 23 at Laurel.

“He runs good all the time,” said Mac Robertson, who trains Sir Wellington for Extreme Racing Stables LLC (Vickie McGowan). “I thought he ran a good race last time. A couple of Asmussen’s look a little better on paper, but we’ll see how we do.”

Asmussen is seeking his second Gazebo victory and 93rd career Oaklawn stakes triumph.

Game Day Play, who is trained by Bret Calhoun, won the $60,000 Clever Trevor Stakes Oct. 30 at Remington Park.

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