Being in the action on the big stage is always fun. Making marks in the left hand column on those days is even better. The Brad Cox barn has enjoyed some real highlights in the Thoroughbred game in recent times. And now he looks for even more during a huge closing weekend at Oaklawn Park.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, horse racing is in this young man’s blood. Having enjoyed some wonderful wins with some talented horses all over the country, Cox entered 2020 as one of the hottest conditioners in the game. So far this year, his team has continued to thrive. Winning the last three Stakes races on Louisiana Derby day (March 21 Fairgrounds) and pulling a Stakes double the weekend before (March 14 Oaklawn) on Rebel Stakes day was cause for plenty of high fives around the Cox barn.
“So far we have had a pretty good start to the year,” says Cox. “Fairgrounds and Oaklawn have both been good to us thus far. I am very fortunate to have a lot of good horses, some great owners and a great team around me.”
Cox won his third consecutive training title at Fairgrounds (40 wins) and was also the leader in Stakes wins (12) at the New Orleans track. Currently sitting in third place in the trainer standings at Oaklawn Park (25 wins), he is second in purse earnings ($2,174,609) and has finished in the top three 55% of the time with 117 starters.
So here we are at another Stakes weekend and the Brad Cox barn is primed for another big showing. Two of his stable stars figure to be primed to provide their conditioner with another walk to the winner’s Circle.
On Friday, Honeybee heroine Shedaresthedevil goes to post for Cox along with stablemate and Juvenile Fillies champion British Idiom in the Fantasy Stakes, a prep for the Kentucky Oaks. These two give the barn a powerful one-two punch with Shedaresthedevil coming in as a hot horse. Her stirring stretch run through traffic in the Honeybee win was one to write home about.
“Shedaresthedevil is a nice filly that has been working very well,” says Cox. “We decided o give her a shot in the Honeybee and she answered the distance questions we had about her. We felt like she deserved a shot and she really came through. Joel (Rosario) has got the mount in the Fantasy and we have enjoyed a lot of success with him in big races.”
Saturday has Wells Bayou going to post with eyes on an Arkansas Derby win. After winning the mile and three sixteenths Louisiana Derby in gate to wire fashion, this son of Lookin At Lucky has responded well and given his coach reason to roll towards a Derby double.
“He has given us reasons to come in with lots of confidence,” says Cox. “We know there will be a lot more speed in the race and we may have to change his running style. He’s got a good mind and we think he is versatile enough to win even if he is not on the lead early. You don’t know things until you try, especially with a race horse. I will leave it up to (jockey) Florent (Geroux) to do what he thinks is best.”
Cox will also be saddling Warrior’s Charge and Night Ops in the Oaklawn Handicap on Saturday in an effort to gain more Stake glory. Post time for the mile and a sixteenth Fantasy on Friday is slated for 5:09 pm central. The Arkansas Derby has been split into two divisions this year with the first being run as race 11 with a scheduled post of 5:29 pm central. The Bayou will run in the second division for Cox which goes off as race 13 at 6:43pm central.