HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, April 17, 2021) – Winchell Racing LLC and Willis Horton Racing LLC’s Silver State remained a perfect three for three at Oaklawn this year, while extending his win streak to five in a row with a victory in Saturday’s $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2). He was coming off victories in Oaklawn’s Fifth Season Stakes and Essex Handicap.
Silver State, ridden by leading rider Ricardo Santana Jr., was unhurried early, racing near the back of the field, as Warrior’s Charge led through fractions of the :22 3/5 and :47 for the first half mile. The winner began to move up on the early leaders rounding the turn for home, came four wide into the stretch and proved best late, winning by a half-length over Fearless. California invader Express Train, the 9-5 favorite, was third. The final time for 1 1/8 miles over a fast track was 1:49 3/5.
Silver State, a 4-year-old Hard Spun colt, now has a career record of 6-2-1 in 10 career starts and has now earned $1,230,094. He returned $11.40, $5 and $3.40 at odds of nearly 5-1.
Live racing resumes Sunday with a 1 p.m. first post.
Winning trainer Steve Asmussen, Silver State: “We’ve always loved his talent level. The five-race win streak and putting it all together against such a talented field today, significant race, extremely pleased with him. The horse has been training really well. He’s figured out winning. I think what we saw in the two races here previously, he chose to win. They were very competitive. Watching the races, just like today, I think that’s made all the difference in him.”
Winning jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., Silver State: “We had a good trip. The horse responded really well today. I was really happy and comfortable where he was at in a good position. Thank God we got the victory today.”
Trainer John Shirreffs, third with Express Train: “I was very proud of the way he ran. He dug in.”
Jockey Irad Ortiz, second on Fearless: “I got a good trip. He really didn’t like being on the inside of horses, but I didn’t have many options so I just had to go for it. I just got beat by a very nice horse.”
Jockey Juan Hernandez, third on Express Train: “I had a really good trip. My horse broke really sharp. I let him run a little bit out of the gate. After that, I took back a little bit and was behind the speed, where I wanted to be. He was tracking the horse in front of me and was comfortable. When I asked him to go, he responded really well. We just got beat this time.”
Oaklawn Park Press Release
Photo: Silver State, (Coady)