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HOT SPRINGS, AR – Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s Silver State extended his hot streak to 5 straight wins after coming out on top in a thrilling finish to Saturday’s $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
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Silver State broke from the rail as the 9/2 co-third choice under Ricardo Santana Jr., the only rider who’s ever been aboard him in the afternoon, and settled mid-pack off the pace while saving ground.
Warrior’s Charge outkicked the 9/5 favorite Express Train for the lead heading into the clubhouse turn before posting opening fractions of :22.73, :47.06, and 1:11.67.
The field bunched up in the far turn as Silver State’s Steve Asmussen stablemate Silver Prospector made a three-wide move, forcing Santana Jr. to tip out five-wide at the 1/4 pole.
Horses fanned six abreast as they straightened for home and Warrior’s Charge gave up his lead near the 3/16 marker to a rallying Silver State, who held off the 5/2 second choice Fearless to win the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route by a 1/2-length in 1:49.56.
“We’ve always loved his talent level,” Asmussen said. “The 5-race win streak and putting it all together against such a talented field today, significant race, extremely pleased with him. The horse has been training really well.”
Fearless was a length past Express Train, who failed to capitalize on his close early stalking trip and could only finish third, 3/4 of a length past Owendale.
Warrior’s Charge, Silver Prospector, Guest Suite, and Rated R Superstar completed the order of finish.
Silver State’s win streak dates back to last fall when he defeated Keeneland and Churchill Downs allowance rivals prior to winning the Fifth Season Stakes and the Essex Handicap, both held at Oaklawn Park. The 4-year-old Hard Spun colt, purchased for $450,000 as a yearling, has now earned $1,230,094 to go with a 10-6-2-1 record.
“He’s figured out winning,” Asmussen said. “I think what we saw in the 2 races here previously, he chose to win. They were very competitive. Watching the races, just like today, I think that’s made all the difference in him.”
Silver State returned $11.40 to win, $5 to place, and $3.40 to show. Fearless brought back $4.20 to place and $3.20 to show. Express Train paid $2.60 to show.
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