Oaklawn Park over the weekend held two stakes for Arkansas-bred runners with $100,000 on the line in each race.
Easter Indy proved she’s the top female horse bred in Arkansas with her powerful 5 ½ length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes.
Ridden by jockey Walter De La Cruz, Easter Indy was forwardly placed early in the field of 11 as Pretty Suspect lead the group through an opening quarter mile in in :21 3/5. Longshot Demi Ten took over for a half mile in :45 3/5, but it was short lived after the winner patiently negotiated traffic around the turn, split rivals at the top of the stretch and drew off to win impressively in 1:11 3/5 for six furlongs over a fast track.
“She did everything I asked her to,” said De La Cruz. “I was able to sit just off the speed on the backside and when I asked her turning for home, she gave me a strong run. I want to thank the owners and Mr. Martin for giving me the opportunity to ride this filly.”
Pink Flash closed late after also having to negotiate traffic to be second. She was followed by Sophias Big Girl, 2-1 favorite Lady Lake, Brooke’s a Bookin, Chilean Queen, Demi Ten, Pretty Suspect, Patchofbadweather, Jonesboro Polly and Be My Caroline.
The Downthedustyroad was Easter Indy’s second straight victory this year and third overall from seven career starts. The A.P. Million filly has now earned $164,465 for owners John and Libbie Thiel and Martin Brothers, Inc. She returned $11.60, $4.80 and $4 as the 9-2 fourth choice.
Starsky Weast’s Weast Hill did not disappoint his backers that made him the heavy 3-5 favorite with an easy 3 ¼ length victory is Sunday’s $100,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes. He returned $3.20, $2.40 and $2.10.
Ridden confidently by jockey Joe Rocco Jr., Weast Hill broke on top and controlled the pace through early fraction of :22 1/5 and :45 2/5 for the first half mile with second choice Bumpy Cat in close pursuit. The rivals continued to duel entering the stretch, but the winner was able to shake free and drew off to win the six furlong race in 1:10 over a fast track. Last year’s winner, We Be Stormin, closed well to get third.
“He’s a nice horse,” said Rocco.” My horse broke sharp, was on it and I had a lot of horse. I was trying to conserve it early on and he had enough to get home. He’s a nice horse all around.”
Weast Hill, an Arkansas-bred son of Rockport Harbor, has now won five of seven career starts, including all three of his local races, and has now earned $219,710. Trainer Brad Cox said that it is possible that the 4-year-old gelding could attempt to stretch his speed out to 1 1/16 miles in the Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes April 1.