How to profit in the Azeri Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

March 11th, 2021

A small, but fantastic, field of five fillies and mares will contest Saturday’s $350,000 Azeri S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park. The well-matched affair features a trio of standouts in my opinion, and all of my wagers will be centered around the three. With small mutuels likely, I will have to take a stand with one of the top guns in order to maximize my return.

Reigning Kentucky Oaks (G1) queen #5 Shedaresthedevil (2-1) might have impressed me more when third in the Ashland S. (G1) against her elders, than she did when capturing the prestigious Oaks in fine fashion for Brad Cox. By Daredevil, the four-year-old filly was a clear third in her seasonal finale at Keeneland when facing an especially sharp field, and she has trained well in the interim to kick off her 2021 campaign. The fleet bay will track the pace from second in the early going before inching clear late with regular pilot Geroux in the silks.

I have long admired the speed and ability of Group 1 queen #3 Letruska (3-1) and give the likely pacesetter a big chance on Saturday. The rapid mare showed me a new dimension when rating on the front end at Sam Houston most recently, and while she faces much better in the Azeri, the once-headstrong daughter of Super Saver looms large, nonetheless. The Kentucky-bred has a recency edge on her two main foes, and she already possesses a fine victory on the course, as well. Joel Rosario led her to the winner's circle in the Shuvee S. (G3) the last time he rode.

Kenny McPeek’s #1 Envoutante (5-2) is no slouch in her own right, and the Uncle Mo filly could have as much upside as any contender in the field. The four-year-old miss flashed considerable ability on more than one occasion in 2020, and she concluded her fine sophomore season with a convincing, six-length romp in the Falls City S. (G2) at Churchill Downs. The four-year-old has versatility and is more than capable of running well from off of the early tempo, although I expect her to be a bit short off the layoff.

While I have respect for the other pair in the cast, I don’t envision either of the duo challenging late if the top three run their races. So playing trifectas with my top pick leading the way is my plan of attack.

Azeri Wagers:

  • $28 trifecta: 5 with 3 with 1
  • $12 trifecta: 5 with 1 with 3