Feb. 2, 2013
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013) – Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Donoharm extended his win streak to five by overpowering heavy 3-5 favorite San Pablo in the final strides of Saturday’s $100,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn. Despite having won the Fifth Season Stakes opening day, the winner was dismissed at odds of nearly 8-1 and returned $17.40, $4.80 and $2.80.
When the favorite broke slowly, it became a scramble for the lead between him, Skyring and Master Rick around the first turn, while Donoharm settled into fourth. Skyring held the lead through a half mile in 47 1/5, but gave way to San Pablo, who began to pull away from his foes after six furlongs in 1:12 2/5. Showing the same determination he did in the Fifth Season, Donoharm, under guidance from jockey Cliff Berry, steadily ate into San Pablo’s lead in the stretch to prevail by three-quarters of a length at the wire. Win Willy came flying late from last to finish another half-length back in third. The final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:44 3/5 over a fast track.
“He ran great,” said trainer Bret Calhoun, who watched the race from New Orleans. “At no point in the race was I confident that he was going to get there until the end. The horse has gotten very good and his heart is very big. He ran a great race last time, but that was a different track that day and not a lot of horses liked it. Today, he came back on a fast track and beat a good horse in San Pablo.”
Donoharm, a 4-year-old Lemon Drop Kid gelding, did not win his first race until his ninth career start in May of last year, but has gotten better and better ever since. Overall, he has won six of 15 starts for earnings of $245,080. Calhoun said Donoharm would be considered next for the March 9, $150,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Oaklawn with a 1:30 p.m. first post.