HOT SPRINGS, AR – Laughing Fox flew up from the back to win by a neck in Saturday’s Oaklawn Invitational Stakes at Oaklawn Park. This was the first stakes win for the three-year-old son of Union Rags who finished fourth his last time out in the Arkansas Derby (G1). His win here today a spot in the starting gate for the 2019 Preakness Stakes.
Proverb broke well and went right to the front. Comedian was the next best and was joined by Math Wizard on the inside and the post-time favorite Wicked Indeed on the outside. Proverb, hot on the lead, continued to put distance between himself and the rest of the field and set early fractions of :22.87 and :46.89.
Into the second turn, Proverb maintained the lead but Math Wizard started his move toward the leader. Laughing Fox also moved up from the rear and matched strides with Proverb shortly after they hit the top of the stretch. Night Ops also made a nice late move to join the leaders on the front and Math Wizard bowed out to fourth making it a three-horse race for first. Laughing Fox battled hard and did just enough to get up to win by a neck ahead of Night Ops. Proverb held on to finish fourth.
“He’s a nice horse,” said jockey Ramon Vazquez. “When I asked him, he gave me everything. I had a lot of horse before the quarter pole. He’s a nice horse and was working well in the morning.”
Laughing Fox returned $10.00 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.00 to show. Night Ops brought back $6.60 to place and $5.40 to show, while Proverb paid $9.40 to show.