March 24, 2013
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, March 23, 2013) – Owner Willis D. Horton of Marshall, AR is becoming very familiar with Oaklawn’s Winner’s Circle. One week after winning the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) with Will Take Charge, he and Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas were back after Laurie’s Rocket earned his third win of the meet in Saturday’s $75,000 Hot Springs Stakes.
Laurie’s Rocket put himself into position early and tracked even-money favorite Apprehender from second through fractions of :22 3/5 and :46 3/5 for the first half mile. Two races back, he had raced farther back when finishing third to the front running Apprehender in the King Cotton Sakes, but this time he was ready to pounce. He grabbed the lead at the top of the stretch and was able to hold off the late running Flashpoint for a one-length victory in 1:11 over a sloppy track.
“He broke well and put me in a good position,” said winning jockey Victor Lebron. “I just played along from there. I didn’t want to make the lead too soon. When I pushed the button, I had plenty of horse to get the job done.”
Shrill, who was bothered at the start, got up for third and was followed by Picko’s Pride and Apprenhender, who faded to last. His jockey, Alex Birzer, said he was “spinning his wheels” over the wet track.
Laurie’s Rocket, a 4-year-old Bluegrass Cat colt, improved his record to 6-4-3 in 21 starts and has now earned $403,938. He returned $10.60, $4.40 and $4.20 at odds of 4-1.
Live racing resumes Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The feature race will be the $60,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Female Division.