HOT SPRINGS, AR – G M B Racing’s Tom’s d’Etat emerged off of the far turn and surged forward with an ultra-powerful effort, striding past Improbable to win Saturday’s $150,000 Oaklawn Mile Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Breaking from post 3 under Joel Rosario as the 4/5 favorite, Tom’s d’Etat took back and saved ground heading into the clubhouse turn. Up front, a four-wide battle for the front resulted in Pioneer Spirit getting a neck in front while along the rail.
Boldor, Snapper Sinclair, and Improbable flanked Pioneer Spirit as he posted opening fractions of :22.90, :46.09, and 1:10.34. Tom’s d’Etat remained in mid-pack as the four-wide wall traversed the backstretch and entered the far turn still somewhat intact.
Snapper Sinclair was the first to give way, allowing room for the outermost Improbable to come down as he began inching ahead of Pioneer Spirit. Holding a growing lead with 3/16 of a mile to go, Improbable rounded the far turn under a drive in an effort to holdd off the rallying favorite.
Just after passing the 1/4-mile marker, Rosario had tipped Tom’s d’Etat off of the rail to run three-wide and in the clear. Motoring past his rivals through the far turn, his momentum carried him well through the top of stretch.
Kept to a rhythmic hand ride for the entire run home, the Al Stall, Jr., trainee crossed 3/4 of a length ahead in a final time of 1:35.83 over the wet fast (sealed) track.
“I got shut off in the first turn and I was back, but I always had confidence he would come running, and then he did,” Rosario said. “He’s a really nice horse. He hasn’t run for a little while, so this was nice. I was a little concerned with this race, but he (Stall) had him ready. I think he’s been training brilliantly.”
While no match for the winner, Improbable was 2 lengths clear of Bankit, who rallied from 10th past several foes in the stretch. Pioneer Spirit weakened to fourth ahead of Slick Silver, while behind them came Mr. Money, Long Range Toddy, Snapper Sinclair, Fight On, Lord Guinness, and Boldor to complete the order of finish.
Tom’s d’Etat’s win was his third straight, as he also took last fall’s Fayette Stakes (G2) at Keeneland and Clark Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs. The 7-year-old son of Smart Strike improved his record to 17-10-2-1 with $1,326,572 earned.
“Now that we’re talking post-race, I couldn’t be any more happy with exactly how it turned out,” said Stall, Jr. “The type of race he had and the way Joel rode him to save a little bit to keep us on the upward part of the curve. That’s the hottest word in America right now. We don’t want to flatten the curve with this horse.”
Tom’s d’Etat returned $3.60 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.40 to show. Improbable brought back $3.80 to place and $3.60 to show, while Bankit paid $4.80 to show.