Mambacita begins KYSS title defense Monday

Fresh off a 1:52.4 triumph in the $100,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes final for 4-year-old trotting mares on May 13, Mambacita has drawn the pole in the first step toward defending her title: a $50,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes summer series preliminary on Memorial Day (Monday, May 27) at Oak Grove.

A 14-time winner with $895,418 in lifetime earnings, Mambacita swept the spring Kentucky Sire Stakes series, winning both preliminary events by 2-1/4 lengths before keeping Railee Something three-quarters of a length at bay in the final. The daughter of Tactical Landing-Bill’s Lady looks to keep her perfect 4-year-old record intact, having been installed as the even-money morning line favorite in Monday’s fifth of 12 races with Daniel Dubé at the lines for trainer Tony Alagna. Railee Something (driven by Andy McCarthy, post two) is the 5-2 second choice in a field that also includes Cessna Pride, Picaboo Lady, Muscling Vegas and Canterbury Hanover.

The 4-year-old male pace, carded as race six, has attracted a field of nine. While spring series winner Combustion is not among them, the second-, third- and fourth-place finishers in the final — Tip Top Cat, Admiral Hill and Blue Lou — are. Admiral Hill, who tasted defeat for the first time this season in the final, is the 5-2 morning line favorite from post two, kicking off 2024 by winning a Meadowlands winners-over event and both his spring series preliminaries before only missing Combustion by a length in the final. Yannick Gingras will drive the Sweet Lou-Laura Hill gelding for trainer Per Engblom from post two. Spring series runner-up and Ron Burke trainee Tip Top Cat (Andy McCarthy, post five) is the 7-2 second choice after just missing Combustion by a head; El Rey (David Miller, post six) is the 4-1 third choice, having recorded a win and a narrow miss in preliminary action before finishing a traffic-troubled seventh in the final.

A total of 17 horses were entered for the 4-year-old male trot, requiring three divisions. French Wine is the 6-5 early favorite in the first split (race one), starting from the pole with Dubé aboard for trainer Julie Miller; spring series runner-up Once In A Lifetime is the 9-5 choice in the second division (race three) with Todd McCarthy driving for trainer Jim Campbell; and Ron Burke trainee The Hazelton (Gingras) is the 8-5 choice in the third division (race six) after a 1:53.1 win in a local $21,000 Open 2 Trot on May 21.

The overnight portion of the program is buoyed by a pair of $37,000 Open Paces. Among the 10 entered in the Fillies and Mares Open (race seven) are Meadows invaders Marloe Hanover and Racin Hungry, both of whom beat Open company earlier this month; local open winners Yankee B Something, Southwind Bella and Ainthesamewithoutu; and Miami Valley shipper Anns Marina Delray, who won two of her last four races in high-level conditioned claiming events. The Open (race nine) features the winners of this event in the last three weeks — Odds On Blockchain, Rocks Shining Star and Muskateer Hanover — joined by the likes of Chase H Hanover, who ships in from Scioto off a 1:49.3 win in a high-level conditioned pace.

First post for Monday’s program is 3 p.m. CDT (4 p.m. EDT); free past-performance pages and The Players’ Guide, featuring commentary from racing analyst Ray Cotolo, are available on the Oak Grove website (https://www.oakgrovegaming.com/racing/handicapping-resources/).