Homeracing

Stakes action on display at Oaklawn and Laurel Park

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

March 16th, 2019

Thoroughbred racing fans had ample stakes action to follow on Saturday afternoon as Laurel Park and Oaklawn Park both offered a bevy of stakes with the primary focus being on three-year-olds heading to the Triple Crown trail.

In one of the early races on the Oaklawn card on Saturday, Proverb stalked longshot leader Zoomer down the backside and through the far turn, surged to command at the head of the lane and outkicked favored Cowboy Diplomacy and Royal Mesa late to score by two lengths in 1:44.43 for the one-mile and one-sixteenth maiden special weight event for three-year-old colts. Most of the runners are nominated to the Triple Crown, but Proverb is not among them at this point of his career with one win from three career outings.

One race later in an allowance/optional claiming event for three-year-olds, Last Judgment (John Velazquez) prevailed as the 3-1 second choice after outlasting the late, wide bid of 1-2 favorite Dessman (Joel Rosario) for a two-length score. A sophomore son of Congrats trained by Todd Pletcher, Last Judgment notched his second straight score and tallied in his first attempt going two turns by getting the one-mile and one-sixteenth in 1:43.73 over the fast main track.

Then one race later in the other half of the split maiden special weight race for three-year-old boys at Oaklawn, Warrior's Charge gained command soon after the break, carved out modest fractions on an uncontested lead and drew clear in the lane to a five-length score as the 7-5 choice. A sophomore son of Munnings trained by Brad Cox, Warrior's Charge covered the distance in 1:43.17 - clearly faster than the other split and roughly three-fifths faster than the allowance race that preceded it - for his first win in four career outings.

Two races later in the Grade II, $350,000 Azeri Stakes for fillies and mares, Midnight Bisou (Mike Smith) forged a mild 6-5 upset when she rallied inside through the lane to edge even-money choice Elate (Jose Ortiz). A four-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute trained by Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bisou has won both of her starts this year and now owns seven wins and nearly $2 million banked from 13 career outings. Elate finished second in her seasonal debut for trainer Bill Mott after making only two starts last year.

One race later in the first half of the split, Grade II, $750,000 Rebel Stakes for three-year-olds colts and geldings, Long Range Toddy (Jon Court) benefited from a ground saving journey through both turns, rallied widest of all in the lane and nailed 2-5 favorite and previously undefeated Improbable (Drayden Van Dyke) to a neck score in 1:42.49. A sophomore son of Take Charge Indy trained by Asmussen, Long Range Toddy notched his first win in three starts this year and now owns four wins and $850,000 banked from seven career tries.

Then one race later in the $350,000 Essex Handicap for older males traveling one-mile and one-sixteenth, Rated R Superstar (Rodney Prescott) rallied from well off the pace and widest of all in the lane to forge a 14-1 upset over Snapper Sinclair and favored Giant Expectations in 1:42.66 for the distance. A six-year-old Kodiak Kowboy gelding trained by Cipriano Contreras, Rated R Superstar recorded his first win from three starts this year and now owns a 6-5-6 slate and $780,000 bankroll from 33 career outings.

One race later in the second half of the split, Grade II, $750,000 Rebel Stakes, Omaha Beach (Mike Smith) bided his time through the early stages, surged to command midway on the far turn then outlasted the late surge of 2-5 favorite Game Winner (Joel Rosario) to prevail by a nose in 1:42.42. A sophomore son of War Front trained by Richard Mandella for owner Fox Hill Farm, Omaha Beach notched his second straight score and now owns two wins and $520,000 banked from six lifetime tries while handing Game Winner the first setback of his five-race career.

That same afternoon at Laurel Park, Cordmaker (Victor Corrasco) kicked off the stakes portion of the card by rallying from well off the pace and four-wide on the far turn to score by two lengths in the $100,000 Harrison Johnson Memorial for older horses. A Maryland-bred, four-year-old Curlin colt trained by Rodney Jenkins for owner Hillwood Stables (Ellen Charles), Cordmaker notched his first win in two starts this year and now owns a 4-2-1 slate and $200,000 banked from 11 career outings.

Then two races later in the $100,000 Beyond The Wire Stakes for three-year-old fillies at one mile on the main track, Las Setas easily lived up to her role as the even-money choice when she gained command soon after the break, led throughout and drew clear in the lane to a four-length score. A sophomore daughter of Seville trained by Katy Voss, Las Setas notched her third straight score and now owns three wins from four starts overall with earnings of just past $150,000 and now appears pointed for the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on May 17.

One race later in the $100,000 Private Terms Stakes for three-year-old colts and geldings at the two-turn distance of one-mile and one-sixteenth, Alwaysmining (Daniel Centeno) easily lived up to his role as the 1-2 favorite when he gained command soon after the break, carved out even splits of 24.1, 48.2 and 1:12.3 then drew clear to a seven-length score in 1:42.65 for the two-turn affair.

A Maryland-bred sophomore son of Stay Thirsty trained by Kelly Rubley, Alwaysmining notched his fourth straight stakes tally, his fifth straight win overall and now owns six wins and over $300,000 banked from 11 career outings. Alwaysmining will likely return for the Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel on April 20 then potentially head to Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes on May 18, although Rubley was non-committal on his next outing.

Then one race later in the $75,000 Conniver Stakes for Maryland-bred/sired fillies and mares traveling seven furlongs, Anna's Bandit (Xavier Perez) rallied from well off the pace and widest of all to just get up late as the 6-5 favorite. A five-year-old West Virginia-bred daughter of Great Notion trained by John [Jerry] Robb, Anna's Bandit notched her second straight win to start the campaign and now owns a 9-3-6 slate and $375,000 bankroll from 23 career tries.

One race later in the $75,000 Not For Love Stakes for Maryland-bred older males going six furlongs, Lewisfield (Arnaldo Bocachica) gained command soon after the break and led throughout en route to a four-length score in 1:08.68 as the 2-1 second choice. A five-year-old Great Notion gelding trained by Jeff Runco for owner-breeder Linda Zang, Lewisfield kicked off his current campaign in sharp style and now sports a 7-3-4 slate and $370,000 banked from 16 career outings.
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