Prom Shoes wins the 2009 Essex Handicap.

Prom Shoes wins the 2009 Essex Handicap.

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Prom Shoes, Jonesboro in Razorback Clash

Recent winner of Essex Handicap takes on defending champ in 1 1/16-mile Oaklawn test.

Convincing Essex Handicap winner Prom Shoes seeks to make it back-to-back stakes victories at Oaklawn Park March 7 in the $150,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III). The Jinks Fires trainee will face six rivals in the 1 1/16-mile test, including 2008 Razorback winner Jonesboro.

Owned by Patricia Blass, Prom Shoes is actually chasing his third consecutive stakes win at Oaklawn dating back to last April's Fifth Season Stakes, where he upset odds-on choice Jonesboro. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Include  scored a come-from-behind 1 1/4-length tally in the 1 1/16-mile Essex Feb. 7, circling the field four wide leaving the far turn and taking command over Golden Yank in the final furlong.

Prom Shoes can make the Razorback, which is the track's major stakes prep for the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) April 4, his first graded stakes triumph. Chris Emigh, who rode the bay horse to victory in both of his prior stakes wins locally, is aboard once again and they break from the far outside post in the compact field. Prom Shoes is a winner of six of 26 ifetime starts and $359,043.

Fires has also entered Robert Yagos' Spotsgone, who figures to ensure a decent pace and is a threat to go wire-to-wire. The 2008 Essex winner showed the way in both of Prom Shoes' prior stakes wins at Oaklawn before weakening.

A 6-year-old son of Bright Launch, Spotsgone has not won since last year's Essex. He faded to fifth after setting soft fractions in this year's edition. Joe Johnson retains the mount on the bay horse, who breaks from the rail in pursuit of his ninth career victory.

Johnson was aboard Spotsgone when the local favorite worked between races March 1, breezing five panels in 1:01 4/5. Fires said the move was "exactly what we were looking for."

Jonesboro, owned by Mike Langford, has been fighting nagging foot problems that kept him from the Essex, according to trainer Randy Morse. The handsome 7-year-old son of Sefapiano has logged 12 wins from 35 career starts and leads the field in earnings with $890,575. Jonesboro, who has triumphed in four of 11 starts at Oaklawn, last raced Jan. 18 when he was the runner-up to Razorback rival Shim's Pride in a local allowance race at 1 1/16 miles.

Jonesboro was a four-time stakes winner in 2008, including the Razorback, which he captured in front-running fashion by 2 1/4 lengths as the 4-5 choice. Calvin Borel, who was aboard Jonesboro in last year's renewal as well as the chestnut's most recent start, has the mount once again.

Florida shipper Let It Rock comes into the Razorback after a third-place finish in Tampa Bay's Super Stakes for trainer Judi Hicklin. The 4-year-old Trippi colt's last win came in a stakes at Canterbury Park last September.

Catmantoo, Shim's Pride and Silver Edition all exit recent allowance wins over the course. Silver Edition, trained by Wayne Lukas, stretches out from six furlongs following his smart 1 3/4-length triumph as a prohibitive choice in an optional claiming heat Feb. 20.

$150,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 5:02 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Spotsgone (KY), 113, Joe M. Johnson
2. Jonesboro (KY), 117, Calvin H. Borel
3. Catmantoo (KY), 112, M. Clifton Berry
4. Let It Rock (FL), 113, Terry J. Thompson
5. Silver Edition (KY), 113, Bryan McNeil
6. Shim's Pride (KY), 113, Israel Ocampo
7. Prom Shoes (KY), 117, Christopher A. Emigh