A pair of cool California invaders made their way deep into the Ozark Mountains for the opening weekend of Oaklawn Park's Racing Festival of the South and came away the big winners. For the first time in Festival history, Oaklawn featured the Oaklawn and Apple Blossom Handicaps, both grade I and worth $500,000 each, on the same card, making April 6 the richest day ever in Arkansas racing.
A field of eight will go postward in Saturday's Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I). Highweight in the field is local legend Mr Ross, who will carry 118 pounds in the $500,000, 1 1/8-miles contest.
Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott has joined the Racing Festival of the South at Oaklawn Park with his entry of This Fleet is Due in Saturday's $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I). The Oaklawn is part of a double-header with the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I).
Dollar Bill will race under 114 pounds, including jockey Jorge Chavez, when he goes postward in Saturday's $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I).
Don C. McNeill homebred Mr Ross passed Big Numbers in the stretch, then held off fast-closing Remington Rock by a neck Saturday to win the $100,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III) for the second year in a row.
Crafty Shaw looks to keep the winning ball rolling with a victory in Saturday's $100,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park, but he will face a tough challenge from defending champion Mr Ross.
Mr Ross entered the prestigious ranks of racing's millionaire row as he won the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup, a handicap for 3-year-olds and upward on the main track at Sam Houston Race Park Saturday night.
Forest Secrets, with Craig Perret aboard, put away pacesetter Miss Linda at the top of the stretch and charged home for a 1 ¼-length upset victory over Printemps in Thursday's featured $273,500 grade III Falls City for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up at Churchill Downs.
Ubiquity, a 4-year-old trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, was sent off at 18-1 odds to post a front-running upset victory in Friday's $452,000 Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.
If you're looking for major contenders in Friday's 127th renewal of the historic Clark Handicap (grade II), simply follow the money. And when you follow that trail, you don't have to take many steps until you run into Gander.
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Dixie Dot Com raced up close early en route to a 6 1/2-length win over Mr Ross in the $300,000 Texas Mile Stakes (gr. III) Saturday on a fast track at Lone Star Park.
Ogden Phipps' 4-year-old homebred Traditionally earned his first stakes win Saturday, upsetting 6-5 favorite Wooden Phone and Sir Bear in the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park. The win marks the third in four starts on the year for the regally bred Traditionally, a son of leading sire Mr. Prospector and broodmare of the year and champion Personal Ensign.
Don C. McNeill's homebred Mr Ross earned his second graded stakes win on the year Saturday when the Donnie Von Hemel trainee upset favored Graeme Hall in the $125,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park. Under a well-timed ride from jockey Donald Pettinger, Mr Ross rallied down the center of the track to catch Graeme Hall -- winner of last year's Arkansas Derby (gr. II) -- with a furlong to run in the 1 1/16 mile race.
Mr Ross settled in sixth-place after the opening half mile before launching a wide rally to win the $75,000 Essex Handicap (gr. III) by 1 3/4 lengths on a sloppy track at Oaklawn Park on Saturday. Remington Rock finished second, followed by Maysville Slew, Gatewood, Mister Deville, and Lights On Broadway. Dust On the Bottle dumped rider Tim Doocy after breaking awkwardly from the gate.
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