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Horse of the meet: Cyber Secret – There were several great performances this meet, but you can’t deny that Cyber Secret was the best. Coming from out of nowhere he won two allowance races, The Razorback, and Oaklawn Handicap all in stylish fashion. He finished ahead of such horses as Fort Larned, Alternation, Atigun, Win Willy, Golden Ron, San Pablo, and Donoharm. His final time in the Oaklawn Handicap was over two seconds faster than the Arkansas Derby. Now we’ll find out if he can take his show on the road, as the competition will only get tougher from here on out.
Older Male of the Meet: Cyber Secret – Obviously if Cyber Secret is the horse of the meet, he’s also going to be the Older Male of the Meet. No explanation needed, Cyber Secret was brilliant in 2013.
Older Female of the Meet: Tiz Miz Sue – This was such a hard award to pick, but Tiz Miz Sue is who we settled on. We picked her over Don‘t Tell Sophia because she finished ahead of her two of three times, and we picked her over On Fire Baby because she only ran one race at Oaklawn this year. Many will say On Fire Baby winning the Apple Blossom should land her in this spot, but we went with the three-time starter Tiz Miz Sue that hit the board in all three races she ran, while winning the Azeri Stakes.
3 Year Old Male of the Meet: Will Take Charge – In a year where there are more questions than answers about the three-year old group leading up to the Kentucky Derby, there is no question that Will Take Charge is the clear three-year old of the meet at Oaklawn. He was the winner of the Smarty Jones, and the Rebel Stakes. The only bad race he ran was over a sloppy track in the Southwest Stakes, and he exits Oaklawn as perhaps our best local hope in the Kentucky Derby
3 Year Old Female of the Meet: Rose to Gold – This one is easy. Rose to Gold dominated in the Honeybee and Fantasy stakes, winning both in wire to wire fashion. She’ll move on to the Kentucky Oaks from here where she is likely to have her hands full, but with Calvin Borel and tons of nature speed she could surprise.
Sprinter of the Meet: Justin Phillip – There were several great sprinting performances this meet, but Justin Phillip’s two victories were above and beyond them all. He won the Count Fleet Saturday, and also was the easiest of winners in an allowance race as a prep. It was nice to see him back in the winners circle, as he had been knocking heads with the best sprinters in the country.
Turf Horse of the Meet: Optimizer – Yes we know Oaklawn doesn’t have turf, but if it did Optimizer would have dominated! He went to the Fair Grounds and won twice on the turf, and then came to Oaklawn and finished a surprisingly decent fourth in the Oaklawn Handicap. Optimizer is the definition of a throw back horse. He runs every other week, and has made starts at ELEVEN different tracks! Lets see where he pops up next…
Flop of the Meet: Alternation – It’s painful for us to write Alternation down in this category. He’s a personal favorite of ours, but it’s obvious he’s lost a little interest in running. After dominating the Older Male scene at Oaklawn last year, he never did much running in two local starts this year.
Trainer of the Meet: Steve Asmussen – Hard to deny him the award this year. After starting the year off slow, by mid-season his horses were rounding into form. He trailed Mac Robertson by two coming into the final week, but blew past him with ease winning 37-28. That makes back to back trainers titles for Asmussen at Oaklawn.
Jockey of the Meet: Ricardo Santana – 19 years old, and wins the Oaklawn riding title by 24 races! Ricardo Santana came out of nowhere this year, and dominated a strong local colony. Him and Robby Albarado were neck in neck early in the season, but Santana pulled away the last six weeks of the season. We’ll see if he can continue his hot riding the rest of the year.
Favorite Moment of the Meet: Get Happy Mister wins the Northern Spur – Any horse that can get the Racing Dudes an invite to the winners circle automatically becomes our favorite! Get Happy Mister won the Northern Spur on Derby day in impressive wire to wire fashion, giving all of us a thrilling end to the meet. Trainer Kelly Von Hemel deserves much of the credit with this horse, as well as farrier Kelby Von Hemel for working his #Kelbow magic once again! It could be a fun summer with this one!
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