Edge to Edge Eclipses Fav at Oaklawn

April 8, 2024

Edge to Edge glides to victory in the Eclipse Stakes. (Coady Photography)

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By Robert Yates

HOT SPRINGS, AR – Peggy Thompson’s Edge to Edge pounced on front-running Tapatio Leo turning for home, then held off favored Gun Pilot by a length to win the first running of the $175,000 Eclipse Stakes for older sprinters Sunday at Oaklawn.

The Eclipse was a late addition to the stakes schedule after Oaklawn lost four racing dates (Jan. 14 and Jan. 19-21) to winter weather. Sunday and May 5 were added to the racing calendar to help offset the cancellations. The 6-furlong Eclipse was restricted to horses that hadn’t won a stakes race in 2023-2024.

Rafael Bejarano rode Edge to Edge ($12.20) for 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman. Edge to Edge, a 6-year-old son of Competitive Edge, notched his first career stakes victory and seventh in 32 starts overall. Edge to Edge, an Oaklawn stakes veteran, has earned $578,735.

“He had been training good. The horse was right today. He wanted to go to the lead, but he (trainer Chris Hartman) told me whatever you do, just keep a hold of him. He likes to be in the bit, and he had a little short turn of foot,” said Bejarano. 

“I knew the 6 (Tapatio Leo) was the speed. He went to the lead really comfortably, so I just tried to follow him, tried to get him to relax. My horse, he’s getting into the bit, but I didn’t let him go until we came to the stretch. Turning for home, I waited a couple of jumps more and was flying at the end.”

Gun Pilot (8-5) rallied to finish second. It was 4 ¾ lengths farther back to Tapatio Leo in third. Edge to Edge tracked Tapatio Leo through a :21.88 opening quarter and a :45.35 half-mile before taking command on the outside turning for home. Edge to Edge’s winning time for six furlongs over a fast track was 1:09.54, just off millionaire Skelly’s meet-best 1:09.38.

“That was the plan, to sit outside the 6 horse (Tapatio Leo) and wait until the top of the lane and let him rip. (Rafael Bejarano) rode him perfectly. He’s a very nice horse in his own right. He’s definitely in line for that ($200,000 Lake Hamilton Stakes May 4 at Oaklawn). That’s his next pit stop,” remarked Hartman.

The Eclipse Stakes was run one day before a well-publicized total solar eclipse. Because it will be visible in Hot Springs, Oaklawn is hosting an Eclipse Festival Monday in the infield. Admission is $20, with children under 12 free. 

The watch party will feature live music, concessions and attractions for children. Gates open at 10 a.m.

Racing resumes Friday at 12:35 p.m. (Central).

@PastTheWire wow. I am thankful you took the time to provide such detail about an all time great horse and the tragedy of that final race.

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