Private Emblem ended a lengthy drought with Essex Handicap victory.

Private Emblem ended a lengthy drought with Essex Handicap victory.

Oaklawn Park

Private Emblem Ends Slump With Essex Tally

Private Emblem shook off a victory draught of nearly 11 months to post a 1 1/4-length triumph in Saturday's $100,000 Essex Handicap (gr. III), keeping his record perfect in four starts at Oaklawn Park.

The 5-year-old New York-bred horse by Our Emblem outkicked 6-5 favorite Pie N Burger for the victory in 1:43 3/5 for the 1 1/16-mile test on a fast track. Crafty Shaw edged Docent by a head for third, 5 1/4 lengths behind the winner.

The Steve Asmussen-trained Private Emblem snapped an eight-race losing streak. His last victory came at Oaklawn in a $65,000 optional claiming allowance event in March.

Private Emblem, ridden by Tim Doocy under 113 pounds, pressed Pie N Burger, top-weighted at 118, from the outset as the pacesetter established fractions of :24 1/5, :48 and 1:13. Private Emblem got a breather on the final turn and when Doocy called on him in the stretch, he proved best.

Jamie Theriot was aboard Pie N Burger, who had won five of six, including the Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) in May for trainer Cole Norman. Crafty Shaw broke through the gate just before the start and got into a tangle after falling back in the eight-horse field. After re-gathering himself, he prompted the leaders from third and held off an even-paced Docent in the lane.

Bred by Berkshire Stud and Oak Cliff Stable, Private Emblem's seventh win in 22 starts was worth $60,000 to owners James Cassels and Bob Zollars. He has earnings of $769,103.

The fourth choice, he paid $19.40, $7.20 and $3.60. Pie N Burger returned $3.80 and $2.60. Crafty Shaw's show was $2.60. The $2 exacta was worth $56.

(Chart, Equibase)