Don C. McNeill homebred Mr Ross passed Big Numbers in the stretch, then held off fast-closing Remington Rock by a neck Saturday to win the $100,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III) for the second year in a row. Ridden by Don Pettinger, Mr Ross wore down Big Numbers in the final strides to finish the 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park in 1:44.13.
Big Numbers wound up third, a neck behind Remington Rock. Heavily favored Crafty Shaw, on a four-race winning streak, never made the lead and finished fourth. Maysville Slew, Jadada, Kiss of Lion, and Dust On the Bottle completed the order of finish.
Mr Ross added $60,000 to his bankroll, already over $1 million, with his victory in the last major prep race to the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I) on April 6. As the second choice in the field of six older horses, Mr Ross paid $7.20, $4.20, and $4. Remington Rock returned $6.60 and $5.60. Big Numbers paid $7.60. The winning exacta combination returned $40.
The win marks the 17th in 40 starts 7-year-old chestnut gelding and his 13th stakes victory, four of them graded. After winning last year's Razorback Handicap, Mr Ross went on to finish second to Traditionally in the Oaklawn Handicap. Donnie K. Von Hemel trains the Oklahoma-bred son of Slewacide. (Chart, Equibase