(Hot and Sultry wins the American Beauty Stakes at Oaklawn Park / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Oaklawn Park)

From the Oaklawn Park Media Team:

Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Hot and Sultry got up just in time to prevail as the 6-5 favorite in Saturday’s $150,000 American Beauty Stakes before an on-track crowd of 22,500.

Hot and Sultry, ridden confidently throughout by David Cabrera, settled behind the early leaders as Connie K set fractions of :21 3/5 and :45 for the first half mile, while being tracked closely by I’m the Boss. The winner moved into second around the turn for home and after splitting foes mid-stretch to challenge, she prevailed in the final strides by a half-length. Her winning time was 1:10 for six furlongs over a fast track. Sarah Harper was third.

Hot and Sultry, a 4-year-old Speightster filly, improved her record to 3-2-0 from five career starts and has now earned $256,395. She returned $4.40, $2.80 and $2.20.

Live racing resumes Sunday with a 12:30 p.m. first post. Coming up next Saturday is the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes and $150,000 King Cotton Stakes. The Southwest and Martha Washington are the next steps on the road to the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) and $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3), respectively, on April 1.

Stakes Quotes:

Winning jockey David Cabrera: “Actually, this morning I talked to my agent (Joe Santos) about it. It’s like, ‘What do you think about the stake?’ I told him I hadn’t even looked at the Form. She ran such a great race the last time. I worked her the other day and I was just like, ‘Man,’ all she wants is run. When we came out a step slow and they came over on top of her real quick, I kind of had to take up a little bit. I knew how much horse was underneath me.”

Winning trainer Norm Casse: “The only thing I was worried about all week going into this is whether or not it was stupid run her back in three weeks because I really know this filly’s talented. Coming off a layoff, running a bang-up second last time out, I was worried. I mean, that’s the trainer in me. You’ve got to be worried. But she touted her hand all week going into the race. She was ready to go. Plans change. Ideally, we would have been forwardly placed, just on cruise control, but things change. David (Cabrera) just rode a tremendous race. He was patient with her today. I really do think the sky’s the limit with this filly. I’m happy.”

Trainer Greg Compton, second with I’m the Boss: “I’m happy with her. She ran big. I thought if we could have just stayed in a little bit more and kind of keep the 2 (Hot and Sultry) hemmed in there, but she ran her eyeballs out and I’m proud of her.”