Stalking Let It Rock emerged from between horses in deep stretch to score his first graded stakes win in the $150,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Oaklawn Park March 7.
Shipping from Florida for trainer Judith Hicklin, the 4-year-old son of Trippi was ridden to a three-quarters of a length victory in the 1 1/16-mile test by Terry Thompson. Let It Rock was sent off at 8-1 odds.
Shim's Pride rallied from last in the field of seven in the stretch to get second for jockey Israel Ocampo by a neck over Catmantoo and M.C. Berry.
Jonesboro, the 17-10 choice, faded in the stretch to finish sixth. The 9-5 second favorite, Prom Shoes, fared only slightly better while finishing fifth, three-quarters of a length behind pacesetter Spotsgone. Silver Edition trailed. The final time for the Razorback, the major local stakes race for the April 4 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II), was a slow 1:44.18 on a fast track.
Owned by Hicklin Farms and Tom Gregerson, the Florida-bred Let It Rock ended a seven-race losing streak. His last victory came in a stakes race at Canterbury Park Sept. 1. Let It Rock earned $90,000 for his fourth win in 16 lifetime starts, boosting his career bankroll to $201,748.
Let It Rock came to the Razorback off a third place finish in the seven-furlong Super Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in his last start. "We had been talking about this race for a while," Hicklin noted after the race, "Because he finished so strong in the race at Tampa Bay that we felt he'd do well at this distance."
Let It Rock was reserved in fifth place early by Thompson as Spotsgone jumped to an early lead and posted fractions of :23.42, :47.73, and 1:12.50 with Silver Edition tracking in second. Silver Edition challenged for the lead midway on the final turn. But Spotsgone turned back the threat to lead into the stretch as the back markers spread out for the drive.
With a furlong to run, it appeared that any of five contenders could win, but Let It Rock, splitting horses when Jonesboro drifted out, got the lead late and proved best under urging. Shim's Pride was in position on the outside but could not match strides with the winner while edging Catmantoo for the runner-up spot.
Let It Rock could return during Oaklawn's "Racing Festival of the South," either the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap or the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes on April 9, the trainer said.
"We couldn't find a race for Let It Rock in Florida. I always thought we hadn't seen the best of his horse yet and I never doubted he could do it," said Hicklin, who hadn't raced at Oaklawn in more than a decade. "I'd never saddled a horse in the infield before. But I sure have now and it worked out great."
Wiest - Heathers 05 bred Let It Rock, a $24,000 Ocala Breeders' Sale purchase in April 2007. The bay colt is out of the Timeless Measure, by Timeless Native.
Let It Rock paid $19.60, $7.40, and $4.40 while topping a $2 exacta worth $158.60. Shim's Pride, making his graded stake debut for trainer Steve Hobby, returned $7.20 and $4.80. Catmantoo, the longest shot in the field, paid $5 to show.