Michael Langford's Carve, third in the grade II Oaklawn Handicap in April, worked out a nice trip to win the $300,000 Cornhusker Handicap (gr. II) at Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino the evening of June 28 (VIDEO).
Carve, ridden by Jesus Castanon and trained by Brad Cox, was the second grade III winner of the night for the stallion First Samurai , also the sire of Iowa Oaks (gr. III) winner Size. Both winners were bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, the owners of Size.
A field of eight broke from the gate in the Cornhusker, a 1 1/8 event for 3-year-olds and up. The favorite was 120-pound highweight Golden Ticket, who finished fifth in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs in his last start.
Right to Vote, winner of the Jim Rasmussen Memorial Stakes, the local prep for the Cornhusker, grabbed the early advantage from post 4, with Ground Transport second and Carve third through an opening quarter-mile in :23.50 on a sloppy track. The running order varied little through a half-mile in :47.36, six furlongs in 1:11.14, and one mile in 1:36.85.
The final eighth of a mile told the tale, as Castanon urged Carve past a game Right to Vote, who ran on well for second to miss by a neck. Golden Ticket, who settled early on the outside and gradually gained on the leaders, lacked the needed kick and finished fourth, a neck behind Ground Transport, who was a length behind Right to Vote.
The final time was 1:50.56.
Carve, who carried 117 pounds, paid $10.20, $5, and $4 across the board as the second choice in the wagering. Right to Vote returned $11.20 and $6.60, while Ground Transport was worth $4 to show. The $1 exacta paid $52.60, and the $1 trifecta paid $272.00.
Carve, out of the A.P. Indy mare Apt, won for the fifth time in 14 starts. He also has one second and four thirds.
In the Oaklawn Handicap, Carve was sent off at 18-1 and ran extremely well to finish third behind 2013 champion 3-year-old Will Take Charge and Revolutionary in a tight finish. The 4-year-old gelding then failed to fire in the Pimlico Special (gr. III), but he bounced back with a strong score in an allowance race at Churchill.