Gulfstream Park shipper Golden Lad struck for a fourth consecutive win March 15 after taking charge at the quarter pole at Oaklawn Park and drawing off to an open-length victory in the $200,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO).
Jose Lezcano had Golden Lad perfectly positioned to the outside of pacesetter Right to Vote. They tracked from second, no more than 1 1/2 lengths back through fractions of :23.21 and :46.90 for a half-mile on a sealed wet-fast surface. On the far turn, Lezcano moved his mount to challenge Right to Vote after completing six furlongs in 1:11.53, wresting the lead and cruising to a powerful 6 3/4-length win.
With Right to Vote fading out, Majestic City and Taptowne battled for second well clear of the rest of the field, with Majestic City getting up by a head. Taptowne was 4 3/4 lengths clear of Right to Vote in fourth.
The 5-1 fourth choice in the seven-horse field, Golden Lad was timed in 1:43.72 for 1 1/16 miles, earning his first stakes victory for owner/breeder Robsham Stables and trainer Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher said he was a bit apprehensive about the track condition.
“He obviously handled it fine,” he said of Golden Lad. “He broke well and then got into a good stalking position. He ran a very powerful race.
“It was definitely a step up from allowance company into a new level for him, but anytime you've won three straight races you certainly have talent. I felt like he deserved this opportunity and he proved he did. It is possible that we may he coming back for the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II)".
The $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap at 1 1/8 miles is April 12.
Govenor Charlie, the 2-1 favorite, saved ground in the early running but had no rally when asked by Mike Smith and checked in fifth.
In his previous start, Golden Lad set a Gulfstream Park track record of 1:41.17 or 1 1/16 miles and earned two other victories going a mile in optional claiming races in November and December. The Razorback marked the stakes debut for the son of Darley's Central Kentucky sire Medaglia d'Oro and he won with style, tallying a fifth win from eight career starts.
Golden Lad returned mutuels of $12, $6 and $4.20 while Majestic City was worth $7.80 and $4.80. Taptowne paid $2.80.
A Kentucky-bred out of the stakes winner Broadway Gold, by Seeking the Gold, Golden Lad is a half brother to multiple graded stakes winner Broadway's Alibi and stakes winner R Gypsy Gold, who was grade I-placed. Broadway Gold is a half sister to 2011 Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Dialed In from the family of 1992 champion 2-year-old filly Eliza.