Serengeti Empress Won’t Make Bayakoa, But Likely For March 14 Azeri Stakes

Serengeti Empress, among the country’s leading 3-year-old fillies of 2019, is expected to make at least one start this year at Oaklawn, trainer Tom Amoss said Thursday morning.

“You’ll definitely see Serengeti,” Amoss said. “At one point, I’m not sure.”

Amoss said Serengeti Empress won’t make the $200,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares Feb. 17, but the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 14 is on the radar. The Azeri is the final major local prep for the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 18.

“Her schedule is going to include Oaklawn in her next start,” Amoss said.

The Fair Grounds-based Serengeti Empress captured the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) – the country’s biggest race for 3-year-old fillies – last May at Churchill Downs and ran third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. She opened her 4-year-old campaign with a runner-up finish in the $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic (G3) last Sunday at Sam Houston.

Serengeti Empress has won 5 of 13 starts overall and earned $1,521,520. She finished third in Eclipse Award voting for champion 3-year-old filly. The daughter of multiple Oaklawn stakes winner and millionaire Alternation is owned by Joel Politi.

Although Amoss is based at Fair Grounds, he has a 10-horse division this year at Oaklawn, and his first starter at the meet, Lewys Vaporizer, crushed older $12,500 claimers opening day, Jan. 24. He was a regular at Oaklawn in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“Look, if you’re a trainer, you have to pay attention to what’s going on at Oaklawn,” Amoss said. “It’s going to be the best purse structure in the United States by the time the meet is in full swing there. With that in mind, you’ve got to go where the money is.”

Average daily purses this year at Oaklawn are projected at more than $600,000.

The post Serengeti Empress Won’t Make Bayakoa, But Likely For March 14 Azeri Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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