Last Samurai wins Poinsettia Stakes in tight finish

December 12, 2021

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.

Stakes Quotes:

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.”

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