One of two future Grade 1 winners to surprisingly exit a $16,000 maiden claimer at Gulfstream Park in January 2019, Math Wizard will look to open his 4-year-old campaign on a winning note Monday at Oaklawn Park in the $500,000 Razorback H. (G3).
Third to eventual 3-year-old champion Maximum Security in that maiden claimer, Math Wizard progressed to the top level himself last fall when upsetting the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at odds of 31-1. Fifth most recently in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in November, Math Wizard was re-routed to the Razorback when invitations to bigger races were not forthcoming.
“It was kind of disappointing because after the Breeders’ Cup the whole plan was to train up to (the Saudi Cup) and maybe get a prep at Gulfstream before heading over there,” co-owner Taylor Bassett said. “Obviously, we could have considered the Pegasus World Cup (G1) if we were kind of given more of a heads up. They kind of told us a little bit late that we were far down on the list of potential invitees, so we kind of re-directed to Oaklawn.
“The horse seemed to get over the track well the last time there (fourth in the 2019 Oaklawn Invitational) and we’re familiar with it. It seems like a good spot to get our campaign started and maybe a possible start in the Dubai World Cup (G1) if he runs well there.”
Joevia, a solid third in the Belmont S. (G1) last June after setting a contested pace, enters off a one-length allowance win sprinting at Aqueduct, while Warrior’s Charge, who ran fourth in last year’s Preakness (G1), turned in a winning allowance prep at Fair Grounds two months ago and also figures to show speed.
Among the veterans in the 1 1/16-mile Razorback is Pioneer Spirit, who’s reeled off three straight, photo-finish wins, including a head decision over Bankit in a division of the Fifth Season S. last month. The other division was captured by Guest Suite in an upset over Snapper Sinclair.
Grade 2 veteran Bravazo has raced just three times since the fall of 2018, but could be sitting on a sharper performance after running fifth as the favorite in Pioneer Spirit’s Fifth Season division. Also lining up are Rated R Superstar, third in the 2019 Razorback and later the victor in the Essex H., and multiple Grade 3-winning marathon specialist Campaign.
There appears to be plenty of speed in the $200,000 Bayakoa (G3) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, courtesy of Motion Emotion and Lady Suebee. That could help the likes of Whoa Nellie, rapidly improving winner of the Pippin S. last month, and Go Google Yourself, a Grade 3 scorer at Churchill Downs last fall and last-out runner-up in the Falls City H. (G2).
Gold Standard, trained by Brad Cox, placed in the Remington Park Oaks (G3) and Comely (G3) last fall and seems poised for better this season.