Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was back in the winner’s circle following the $600,000 Razorback H. (G3) at Oaklawn Park for the first time in 38 years on Saturday when Last Samurai reeled in dueling favorites West Will Power and Law Professor to win the 1 1/16-mile test under Cristian Torres.
Although winless in seven starts since upsetting the Oaklawn H. (G2) last April, Last Samurai was only beaten a head in the Tinsel S. at Oaklawn in December, and followed up with a decent fourth-place effort in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park last month. He started as the 8-1 fifth choice in the Razorback field of eight .
Rating several lengths behind as West Will Power and Law Professor duked it out down the backside and entering the stretch, Last Samurai finished full of run and won going away by 1 1/2 lengths. West Will Power, the 17-10 favorite, turned back Law Professor in upper stretch, but was second best in his first start since November. Law Professor finished seven lengths behind in third and was followed by Rated R Superstar, Hero Status, Long Range Toddy, Keystone Field, and Ginobili.
Owned by Willis Horton Racing, Last Samurai paid $18.80 after covering the course in 1:42.19 over a fast track.
Lukas had last won the Razorback in 1985 with Imp Society, who later captured the Oaklawn H. and won five other graded stakes that season. He said Last Samurai would aim for a repeat in the April 22 Oaklawn ‘Cap, with a prep in between.
“We’ll see him in the (March 18) Essex (G3), that’s for sure, and then right on down the line,” Lukas said. “You know me, I don’t dodge many of them.”
A five-year-old, Last Samurai has now won 5 of 23 starts for earnings of more than $1.6 million. All three of his stakes wins has come at Oaklawn, the first being the Poinsettia S. in December 2021.
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet, Last Samurai is by Malibu Moon and out of Lady Samurai, a daughter of First Samurai who has also produced the stakes-winning filly Candy Raid.