Oaklawn H. (G2)
Willis Horton Racing’s Last Samurai rerallied to the lead leaving the far turn and drew off to a four-length win in Saturday’s $1 million Oaklawn H. (G2), earning his first graded stakes tally in the process. The Dallas Stewart-trained colt was overlooked at 12-1 with Jon Court.
A four-year-old son Malibu Moon, Last Samurai was exiting a neck second in the 1 1/2-mile Temperance Hill S. at Oaklawn on April 3. He recorded his initial listed stakes win earlier in the meet, capturing the 1 1/16-mile Poinsettia in mid-December, and the versatile chestnut traveled 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.32 in the Oaklawn ‘Cap.
Last Samurai showed speed from the starting gate, leading the way by 1 1/2 lengths through an opening quarter-mile in :23.94, but he conceded the advantage to 2-1 second choice Plainsman on the backstretch, dropping back to be an inside third as 6-5 favorite Fearless tracked in second along the outside.
About a length back entering the far turn, Last Samurai began to edge closer along the rail and accelerated to take a short lead into the stretch. He widened the advantage in the final furlong, winning convincingly under the wire.
Last Samurai has now earned $950,339 from 16-4-3-3 record.
Fearless got up by a neck over Plainsman for second. It was two more lengths to Super Stock in fourth, and Beau Luminaire, Idol, and Rated R Superstar followed.
A half-brother to Candy Raid, winner of this year’s Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park, Last Samurai hails from the stakes-winning First Samurai mare Lady Samurai. He was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet, and Last Samurai sold for $175,000 at the 2020 OBS March two-year-old sale.
Unraced since an unplaced finish as the favorite in the Smarty Jones S. on New Year’s Day, Home Brew got back on track with a victory in the $150,000 Oaklawn S. Brad Cox trains the Gary and Mary West homebred son of Street Sense, and Home Brew guaranteed himself a spot in the May 21 Preakness (G1) by winning the automatic qualifier.
The bay colt, who notched his first stakes win, left the starting gate as the 7-5 favorite with Jose Ortiz. Home Brew raced just behind the early leaders before advancing wide to challenge on the far turn.
Taking a short lead into the stretch, Home Brew edged away while lugging out to score by 1 3/4 lengths. He completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:50.63.
Kuchar, who set the pace at 6-1 following a nose maiden win, held second by 1 1/4 lengths over Happy Boy Rocket. Next came Clancy’s Pistol, Stellar Tap, Long Crow, and The Skipper Too.
A full-brother to Grade 2 winner Air Strike, Home Brew won 2-of-3 starts last year.