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Barber Road back Saturday at Oaklawn

by Bob Wisener | December 15, 2022 at 4:03 a.m.
Barber Road, seen galloping around the track, is set to race Saturday at Oaklawn. - Photo courtesy of Coady Photography

Two six-figure stakes and the Oaklawn return of last year's Arkansas Derby runner-up highlight the track's second Saturday of racing.

Barber Road, sixth in the Kentucky Derby, has not raced since seventh in the Belmont Stakes June 11. He made the Kentucky Derby field with seconds in the Smarty Jones, Grade 3 Southwest and Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and a third in the Grade 2 Rebel.

John Ortiz trains the 3-year-old Race Day colt for William Simon's WSS Racing. Barber Road keeps Ricardo Santana Jr., who rode him in the Southwest, for the $104,000 allowance Saturday, drawing the rail post as early 4-5 favorite against nine rivals. Barber Road is slated to run on anti-bleeder medication for the first time. At a mile and one-sixteenth, post time for race 8 is 3:46 p.m.

The $200,000 Tinsel, race 9, brings back Last Samurai, the 2022 Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap winner. He won the track's inaugural Poinsettia (1 1/16 miles) in December 2021, then stretched out to win the handicap at nine furlongs after second in the mile-and-a-half Temperence Hill earlier in April. Trained by Dallas Stewart at Oaklawn, the First Samurai colt is now with Hall of Famer Wayne Lukas, switching barns before Arkansas owner-breeder Willis Horton died over the summer. Rafael Bejarano lands the mount on the rail post with Last Samurai third choice at 9-2 on the morning line.

Both Oaklawn victories avenged a 2021 defeat to Steve Asmussen-trained Super Stock in the Arkansas Derby. Last Samurai ran fifth in the Arkansas Derby and Southwest that year. He achieved millionaire status two races back, then placed fourth in Churchill's Grade 1 Clark Nov 5.

Bret Calhoun trains the early 8-5 favorite, Run Classic, a 4-year-old Runhappy colt purchased by Tom Durant for $475,000 at a March 2020 Florida sale of 2-year-olds in training. Run Classic (122 pounds) won twice over Kentucky tracks this fall after an eighth-place finish in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. Brian Hernandez Jr. rides the Pioneer of the Nile gelding (same sire as American Pharoah) from post three.

Hozier, now with Rodolphe Brisset after running in two Oaklawn stakes for Bob Baffert as a 3-year-old in 2021, paired up consecutive wins at Horseshoe Indianapolis and Churchill Downs. Trainer Brisset has graded victories locally in the Oaklawn Handicap and G3 Fantasy.

Trainer Robertino Diodoro, with an Oaklawn stakes winner opening weekend, entered 5-2 second choice Bal Harbour, a 7-year-old gelding making his local debut. Getting 7 pounds from Last Samurai and Hozier, the multiple stakes winner, another by First Samurai, gets fast-starting jockey Cristian Torres up.

With eight horses scheduled to go a mile and an eighth, the Tinsel is set for 4:14 p.m.

Race 7, the $150,000 Poinsettia, pits eight female sprinters at 5 1/2 furlongs. Expect a tote battle between 5-2 Caribbean Caper and last year's Purple Martin winner over the track, 3-1 Pretty Birdie. The latter filly, a 4-year-old by hot sire Violence, has won each of the last two years locally for Ortiz, placing third in the Carousel last year.

Caribbean Caper won her first five races for trainer Al Stall Jr., coming to Oaklawn off two fourths at Fair Grounds. Also in the race is Sarah Harper, an Oaklawn winner last year for Ron Moquett, who won four races opening weekend. Colby Hernandez rides Caribbean Caper while David Cabrera is named on 3-year-old Pretty Birdie and Bejarano on Sarah Harper.

Post time for the Poinsettia is 3:18 p.m.

Print Headline: Barber Road back Saturday at Oaklawn


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