Photo: Courtesy of Oaklawn Park
Arkansas Razorback’s head football coach Sam Pittman was on hand to present the trophy to the family of prominent Arkansan John Ed Anthony after Plainsman won Saturday’s $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) before an on-track crowd of 27,000.
It was the second Razorback Handicap victory for Anthony following champion Temperence Hill’s win in 1981, but this is the first under his Shortleaf Stable banner.
Making his first start since a third in the Cigar Mile (G1) Dec. 4, Plainsman was keen to run early and tracked Thomas Shelby through fractions of :23 and :47 3/5 for the first half mile. The pair was still head and head through the stretch, but a determined Plainsman got the edge late by a neck over Thomas Selby, while covering the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43 3/5 over a fast track.
Popular Kid, a 42-1 longshot, was third.
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“He had a good trip,” newly crowned 2021 Outstanding Trainer Brad Cox said. “He broke running. He didn’t let the horse on the inside (Thomas Shelby) get away from him. Both horses ran great and luckily, we came out on the right end of it today. It was a good race.”
Plainsman, a 7-year-old by Flatter, improved his record to 9-6-5 in 28 starts and has now earned $1,203,207. He returned $5.80, $3.60 and $3.20 as the 3-2 favorite.
Winning trainer Brad Cox: “Honestly, I didn’t give him (Joel Rosario) many instructions. It was just like, ‘Just break.’ He seemed to be fresh and hadn’t breezed in two weeks, so I kind of felt like he was going to be (forwardly placed) and he hadn’t run in a while. his game. I don’t know if I was sweating it. He’s a tough horse. I always felt like he’s a horse that runs his best when he turns for home and he’s right there in position. point, he’s a very tenacious, hard-trying horse. I know he’s a hard horse to get by once he gets the lead, so I felt pretty confident that he could maybe hold off the horse on the inside (Thomas Shelby)”
Winning jockey Joel Rosario: “He broke very well out of there. I could have probably gone (to the lead) on the first turn, but he (Thomas Shelby) decided to go, too, so I kind of just sat on the outside all the way there and See what happens. He did well. He kept fighting. The last part, it looked like the other horse was coming back, but then he did. He wanted to win.”
Jockey David Cohen, second on Thomas Shelby: “I’ve actually ridden Plainsman in the past and I know he’s got some speed to him. He’s the kind of horse they let free run. But even though we went a little quick early, we slowed down pretty good second quarter. all the fight in the world to him.”
Trainer Robertino Diodoro, second with Thomas Shelby and sixth with Lone Rock: “Got to be proud of him (Thomas Shelby), for sure. It just wasn’t his (Lone Rock) day. Little bit short, too. Like Ramon (Vazquez) said after the race, he couldn’t get him pulled up. He didn’t even get a chance to get rolling today.”