BALTIMORE, MD – Patti & Hal Earnhardt’s homebred Ax Man fought off sloppy conditions and chopped through a dense foggy atmosphere to whistle home clearly the best in Saturday’s $100,000 LARC Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.
Breaking sharply as the 3-5 favorite under Mike Smith, Ax Man blitzed to the front early and established a strong 2-length lead while posting splits of :23.56, :46.96, and 1:11.30. Though Title Ready tried to head him in the far turn, Ax Man dug in and repelled his effort with relative ease, then cleared away with considerable strength in the stretch. The Bob Baffert trainee hit the wire 6 3/4 lengths ahead of Title Ready in a final time of 1:42.53 for the 1 1/16-mile race over a sloppy (sealed) main track.
Prince Lucky necked out third over Pony Up in a photo finish. Dream Baby Dream and Navy Commander completed the order of finish. The rain chased away Forest Fire, while Takedown, Threes Over Deuces, California Night, and Whirlin Curlin were cross-entered in other races on the card.
Ax Man’s win was his second straight and third in four starts, with his lone off-the-board performance coming in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes when a sharp pace duel cooked him early. The 3-year-old son of Misremembered has now earned $138,000 in his young career, which began with a maiden-breaking debut win at Santa Anita on January 1.
Ax Man returned $3.20 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.20 to show. Title Ready brought back $4.20 to place and $3.20 to show, while Prince Lucky paid $4 to show.