August 19, 2022

Last Samurai upsets Oaklawn H.; Home Brew stamps Preakness ticket in Oaklawn S.

Last Samurai wins the Oaklawn Handicap (Photo by Coady Photography)

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.

Oaklawn S.

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.