Under confident handling by reigning Eclipse Award winner Edgar Prado, Lawyer Ron completed a happy homecoming Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn Park when he charged from off the pace to win the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) by four lengths over outsider Brother Bobby.
A crowd of 26,003 saw Lawyer Ron, who races for Stone Wall Farm Stallions Racing Division 1 and the Estate of James T. Hines, extend his Oaklawn record to four-for-four in the Oaklawn.
As a 3-year-old last spring, Lawyer Ron, then trained by nine-time Oaklawn champion Bob Holthus, became only the second horse to sweep the three major Oaklawn events for sophomores – the Southwest, Rebel (gr. III) and Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Now in the barn of Todd Pletcher, his decisive Oaklawn Handicap victory makes Lawyer Ron the first horse since Temperence Hill in 1980-1981 to complete an Arkansas Derby/Oaklawn Handicap sweep.
As expected, Jonesboro went right to the front in the 1 1/8-mile event under Calvin Borel and maintained the advantage through fractions of :23 1/5, :47 3/5 and 1:12 while being stalked from the outside by California shipper McCann’s Mojave.
Prado, riding Lawyer Ron for the first time, was content to rate the strapping colt in fourth place, about five lengths off the lead. Leaving the half-mile pole, Prado asked Lawyer Ron the question, and the chestnut rushed to the lead on his own, opening three lengths on the field turning for home.
Prado settled into a hand ride through the stretch as Lawyer Ron increased his lead with every stride to the wire. Brother Bobby, dismissed at 39-1 in the seven-horse field, salvaged second money under Stewart Elliott by a neck over the fast-closing Boboman, ridden by Alex Solis.
Lawyer Ron relaxed early in the race, allowing Prado to let him sit behind the leaders.
"I finally let him go rather than keeping him under control too long," Prado said. "He moved past the leaders without any trouble and when one of them stayed with us a couple of strides, it did not bother me.
"I wasn't even moving my hands on him. He won without me ever using my whip."
Lawyer Ron, a chestnut Langfuhr colt who was bred by Hines, boosted his career mark to .500 (10-for-20) while clocking 1:49 flat over the fast track. He earned $300,000 and has banked $1,800,008 in his lucrative career.
Lawyer Ron, who carried 120 pounds and spotted each of his rivals three or four pounds, paid $3, $3.20 and $2.20.
Longshot players got some value as Brother Bobby ($13.40, $5) capped an exacta worth $62.80, and Boboman ($2.80) completed a trifecta worth $125.10 for $1.
It has just over a length to Jonesboro in fourth, followed by McCann's Mojave, Smokeyjonessutton and Papi Chullo.