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– 1st Star: Will Take Charge (KY) – The home town horse didn’t disappoint his 63,000+ fans when he won the Oaklawn Handicap in typical heart stopping Will Take Charge fashion! Up the back stretch there were some anxious moments as at one point he fell to last place, but at the top of the stretch he made his signature move and passed them all while holding off a late run from Revolutionary to win by a length. He also survived a lengthy inquiry for interference in the stretch, which is a topic that is still being debated today. Never the less the Oaklawn Handicap was the moment of the meet, as this horse will go down as one of the most popular horses to ever run at Oaklawn Park.
– 2nd Star: Danza (KY) – What a shocker!! Danza went off at 41-1 in the Arkansas Derby, and romped to a four and a half-length victory. Jockey Joe Bravo was able to give Danza a flawless rail skimming ride, and when asked the question he simply left the others in the dust. It’s hard to say whether he can bring that kind of effort next time out in the Kentucky Derby, but if he does he could be a real threat. Trainer Todd Pletcher doesn’t have the best of records in the Derby, but this colt could be peaking for him at the right time.
– 3rd Star: Close Hatches (KY) – This champion returned to Oaklawn after taking the Azeri last month, and basically ran the same exact type of race in the Apple Blossom, winning once again. There is no questioning this is one of the star older female in the group, and should be able to compete successfully against heavy hitters Princes of Sylmar and Beholder as the season goes along. Close Hatches will be pointed towards the bigger races in New York over the summer, perhaps starting off on Belmont Day.
– Tapiture (KY) – Considering that almost everyone thought at the very least this horse would run respectable, it was quite the surprise when Taptiure ran a flat fourth in the Arkansas Derby. He made a decent move on the turn, but was just unable to make any kind of late run down the stretch. Perhaps the added distance hurt him which is something we’ve seen with Tapit colts in the past. He’s still qualified for the Kentucky Derby, but this loss was troubling.
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