Owner Willis Horton, who won five stakes at Oaklawn earlier this year, including three in partnership, was back in the winner’s circle Saturday after his Last Samurai won the inaugural $150,000 Poinsettia Stakes for 3-year-olds during the second weekend of the 2021-2022 live meet.
Last Samurai, with the Horton’s go-to rider Jon Court in the saddle, was forwardly placed early as Flash of Mischief led the field through opening fractions of :23 4/5 and :48 2/5 for the first half mile. The winner moved out three wide down the backstretch, began to make his move around the final turn and edged clear late for the three-quarters of a length victory over Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Super Stock. Flash of Mischief held on for third, 2 ¾ lengths in front of 2-1 favorite Defeater. The winning time was 1:43 3/5 for 1 1/16 miles over a fast track.
Ram, Myopic and Simovitch completed the order of finish.
“That’s a really nice horse,” winning trainer Dallas Stewart said by phone from his New Orleans base. “Last trip at Oaklawn (Arkansas Derby when fifth), he ran a big race. He got in trouble. But, we really like him. I liked him in the spot today and he had a good trip. I think he’s going to be a real nice 4-year-old.”
Last Samurai, a Malibu Moon colt, improved his career record to 12-3-2-2 and has now earned $312,744. He returned $10.20, $4.40, and $3 at odds of 4-1.
Live racing resumes Sunday with a 12:30 p.m. first post.
Winning trainer Dallas Stewart: “That’s a really nice horse. Last trip at Oaklawn (Arkansas Derby when fifth), he ran a big race. He got in trouble. But, we really like him. I liked him in the spot today and he had a good trip. I think he’s going to be a real nice 4-year-old.”
Winning jockey Jon Court: “He ran a big race going a mile and a half (Sept. 25 at Parx). He just keeps trying. He’s a great horse to ride. He’s fun to ride. Just needed everything to fall into place and it did today. I hit 700 wins (at Oaklawn) and won a Stakes within the first two weekends of the meet, so I’m very happy and very grateful to be riding here.”
Jockey Luis Contreras, second on Super Stock: “I had so much horse turning for home. He ran his race the whole way. I just got outrun.”