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HOT SPRINGS, AR – Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables’ Warrior’s Charge put his heart on full display when he held on determinedly to win Monday’s $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park.
Breaking like a rocket from post 6 under Florent Geroux as the 3/1 favorite, Warrior’s Charge was intent on taking sole command heading into the clubhouse turn as Joevia and Pioneer Spirit ping-ponged off of each other just behind him. Given a breather on the backstretch, Warrior’s Charge posted fractions of L23.69, :47.85, and 1:12.51.
The field fanned out five-wide off of the far turn as half the field looked ready to pounce on the pacesetter, but Warrior’s Charge wasn’t ready to stop. Bankit sidled up alongside him and momentarily poked his head in front, but Warrior’s Charge battled right back and retook command.
In the shadow of the wire, the Brad Cox-trained Warrior’s Charge inched forward to win by a head in a final time of 1:43.00 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the fast main track.
“He’s a good gate horse,” Geroux said. “He always puts himself in a great position. I took advantage of it. We went to the lead and he relaxed nicely for me on the backside. When he saw that other horse coming down the lane, he fought very hard to the wire. It was great.”
Though he was unable to conquer the winner, Bankit was 4 1/4 lengths clear in second. Snapper Sinclair nosed out Pioneer Spirit for third, with three others just behind them. Campaign rallied from last to cross a 1/2-length ahead of Bravazo, who headed Rated R Superstar for sixth.
Math Wizard, Guest Suite, Exulting, and a spent Joevia completed the order of finish.
Warrior’s Charge’s win was his second straight, having won a December allowance event at Fair Grounds in his first start following a fourth in May’s Preakness Stakes (G1). The Florida-bred 4-year-old son of Munnings improved his record to 8-4-0-3 with $565,310 earned and will likely race locally through the rest of the meet.
“The horse came out on top and I’m very proud of him,” Cox said. “He’s been training well and showed up today. Without a doubt, we’ll keep him here and look at the Essex Handicap (on March 14) and Oaklawn Handicap (on April 18) for his next start.”
Warrior’s Charge returned $8 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3.60 to show. Bankit brought back $5.40 to place and $4 to show, while Snapper Sinclair paid $8.20 to show.
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