HOT SPRINGS, AR – Allied Racing Stable’s By My Standards stalked the early pace before wearing down Warrior’s Charge and drawing off late to win Saturday’s $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
Breaking sharply from post 12 under Gabriel Saez at 9/2 odds, By My Standards hustled to clear several of his inner-breaking foes before entering the clubhouse turn just two-wide outside of the rail-drawn Chess Chief. Ahead of them, Warrior’s Charge posted brisk opening fractions of :23.02, :46.91, and 1:10.67 under Florent Geroux.
Ranging up to challenge Warrior’s Charge in the far turn, By My Standards straightened for home at the pacesetter’s throat latch. Though Warrior’s Charge fought valiantly along the inside, By My Standards was able to pull ahead slightly by the 1/16 pole.
Once he began establishing a lead, By My Standards soon pulled away from his stubborn foe before crossing the wire 1 3/4 lengths in front. The Bret Calhoun trainee completed the 1 1/8-mile event over the fast main track in a final time of 1:47.80.
“I talked to Bret this morning and he didn’t give me much instructions,” Saez said. “Told me to just get the job done. It was a tremendous performance by him. He broke sharp and put me right in the race where I wanted to be. I wanted to stalked the leaders. Around the backstretch, I was kind of cruising behind the ones in front of me and just waited for the right moment to make my move. When I asked him, he really responded. He got the job done.”
Despite weakening inside the final 1/16 of a mile, Warrior’s Charge fought hard to hold second by a 1/2-length over Mr Freeze, who was sent from the gates as the 3/1 favorite. Tacitus, who until the final few minutes was the bettors’ choice, closed from mid-pack to take fourth.
Tax, Captivating Moon, Sky Promise, Chess Chief, Night Ops, Combatant, Bravazo, Identifier, and Trophy Chaser completed the order of finish. Improbable was scratched.
By My Standards’ win was his third straight and the first of his career outside the state of Louisiana, having won the New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) an allowance/optional claiming event earlier this year. The 4-year-old son of Goldencents now carries a career record of 9-5-2-1 with $1,281,910 earned.
“He stepped up against a great field of horses,” Calhoun said. “Lot of depth in it. He just kind of confirmed what we’ve been thinking of him. It’s nice for him to prove it on the racetrack. The 12 hole might not have been ideal, but he overcame it. Gabe did a great job of getting position in the first turn. You didn’t want to be overconfident at that point and time, but I found myself feeling pretty comfortable early in the race, once he got that position away from the gate.”
By My Standards returned $11 to win, $6.40 to place, and $4.20 to show. Warrior’s Charge brought back $7.40 to place and $4.60 to show, while Mr Freeze paid $3.40 to show.