April 9, 2011
For Immediate Release
Jennifer Hoyt, Media Relations Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org, 501-623-4411 ex. 497
LOCAL HERO WIN WILLY DENIES MISREMEMBERED IN OAKLAWN HANDICAP
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, April 9, 2011) – Jer-Mar Stable’s Win Willy, best known for upsetting the 2009 Rebel Stakes at 56-1 odds, added to his Oaklawn Park legend by pulling the mild upset over 2-5 favorite Misremembered in Saturday’s $350,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2), the kick off to Oaklawn’s Racing Festival of the South. In 11 starts at the Hot Springs track, the Mac Robertson trainee has nine in-the-money finishes, including five victories.
With a crowd of 23,197 looking on, Win Willy, breaking from the rail under Oaklawn’s leading jockey Cliff Berry, assumed his usual position in last place as Winslow Homer took the early lead and proceeded to set speedy fractions of :23 1/5 and :46 4/5 for the first half mile, while being closely tracked by longshot Double Threat and Misremembered. The favorite looked like a winner as he assumed the lead entering the stretch, but no one gave that message to Win Willy, who gave his usual late kick down the lane and gained the advantage late for a one length victory over the California invader. His winning time was 1:48 4/5 over a fast track.
Winslow Homer held on for third, followed by Stachys, It Happened Again and Double Threat.
“We got a little help,” said Robertson. “I really thought that when they went 46 and change that we had it won. The way he had been training and with the way horses had been making up ground today I felt really good. His second race (the Essex Handicap when second) the track was so against us, I just kept going back to the bar hoping it would change. He was right today.”
Robertson had been saying all how well his 5-year-old Monarchos horse was doing, but the Bob Baffert-trained Misremembered, winner of the 2010 Santa Anita Handicap (G1), was getting all the attention. In the end, his connections were at a loss for his second-place finish.
“He came around those horses fine turning for home,” said jockey Calvin Borel of Misremembered. “He just got outrun today. He ran hard this time, when I got up on him he struggled a little bit, but he ran his race. We got outrun, no other excuse besides that.”
Win Willy returned $12.00, $3.40 and $2.20 as the 5-1 second choice in the field of six. He has now won 7 of 18 career starts and improved his bankroll to $821,960 with the $210,000 first prize. Robertson indicated that after four starts already this year, his stable star would now get a break before embarking on a fall campaign and a return to Oaklawn next winter. Having finished second in this same race last year, the victory was particularly gratifying for Robertson.
“To me, winning with an older horse like this means something because it's a lot harder,” said Robertson. “You have to wait, wait, wait and keep them together. To win the Rebel was something, but this was something we were pointing toward and it feels satisfying.”
The racing Festival of the South continues Sunday with the $300,000 Fantasy Stakes (G2) for 3-year-old fillies. First post is 1:30 p.m. There is no live racing Monday or Tuesday, but resumes Wednesday and runs through Saturday, April 16 when the event culminates with the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1).