Win Willy, a sharp winner in the Razorback Handicap (gr. III) last month, will try for his fifth victory at Oaklawn Park when he faces six in the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) April 3.
A two-time graded stakes winner, including a 56-1 shocker in last year’s Rebel Stakes (gr. II), Win Willy has the upper hand in the nine-furlong Oaklawn Handicap, but should face a sturdy challenge from a few capable contenders, including Dakota Phone, who ships in from California for Jerry Hollendorfer in search of an elusive graded stakes score.
Dakota Phone, a 5-year-old son of Zavata, has placed in graded stakes company five times, including a third last out in the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 6. This will be only his second start on natural dirt in his 25th career try.
Among the other hopefuls are multiple graded stakes winner Delightful Kiss, former Oaklawn Handicap runner-up Jonesboro, and Duke of Mischief, who scored the grade III Ft. Lauderdale in his 2010 debut.
Post time is set for 5:31 p.m. CST.
Jer-Mar Stables’ Win Willy is 4-for-6 over the Oaklawn dirt, including a pair of wins this season. The 4-year-old son of Monarchos began his season with an optional claiming win at one mile in January, finished runner-up in the Essex Handicap the following month, then romped by nearly four lengths March 6 in the 1 1/16-mile Razorback.
A confirmed closer, Win Willy should again be coming from off the pace under regular rider Cliff Berry. The gray/roan colt, who was bred in Kentucky by Overbook Farm and is out of the Carson City mare City Fair, has earned $412,643 from 10 starts. He is trained by Mac Robertson.
Co-owned and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Dakota Phone made his only start on dirt as a 3-year-old in the 2008 Pomona Derby at Fairplex when finishing third. This will be the gelding’s first start outside of California . Martin Garcia comes in for the ride.
Hard-trying millionaire Delightful Kiss will try to make it back to the winner’s circle for the first time since he scored in the Hal’s Hope (gr. III) in January, 2009 at Gulfstream Park. The Pete Anderson trainee was third in the Feb. 6 Donn Handicap (gr. I) and eighth last out in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I). Delightful Kiss will also likely be coming from off the pace under Aaron Gryder.
Jonesboro is the top earner in the field, having earned more than $1.4 million for Michael Langford. The 8-year-old horse is a veteran of 45 starts with 14 wins, three of them coming at Oaklawn. He crossed the wire third, but was moved up to second in the last year’s Oaklawn Handicap. This time he will be ridden by Jon Court for Randy Morse.
$500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II, Race 10, 5:31 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Duke of Mischief (FL), E Coa, 115, D Fawkes
2. Delightful Kiss (FL), A T Gryder, 115, P D Anderson
3. Win Willy (KY), M C Berry, 117, M Robertson
4. Jonesboro (KY), J K Court, 114, R L Morse
5. Follow the Leader (KY), S Quinonez, 114, L S Whiting
6. Prom Shoes (KY), T J Thompson, 112, W H Fires
7. Dakota Phone (KY), M Garcia, 116, J Hollendorfer