The Razorback Handicap (Grade 3)- $600.000 Purse
OP- For Four Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
February 12, 2022
Over his career, Oleg has had some memorable moments, beginning with when he won the Great White Way as a maiden. There have also been many disappointing races, including the last time he was at OP, when he lost the AR Derby by 10 lengths. But after winning an optional claimer with a new tactic, there was some optimism about him here. That said, Oleg is a tough horse to put money on, given his track record of inconsistency. Down at GP in his last race, trainer Arindel sent Oleg right out to the lead, the first time we had ever seen this out of him, and he would be rewarded with a victory. There would be a big difference in the competition level here, and perhaps it would be harder to execute that plan from post 12, but it would prove to be very successful in the victory! Has the secret to getting more consistency out of Oleg finally been discovered? We shall see, but for now Arindel will enjoy his first win in the race, and jockey R Gutierrez will do the same. Congratulations to them! The race was won in 1:40.75, the third fastest in its history. Let’s take a look!
(¼ Mile- :23.48)- There goes Oleg, going right out to the lead, looking as though Arindel shot him aggressively from the gate. Why not, as that would help him overcome the post in an instant and run all by himself on the front end. Behind him, we see the classic virtual racing groups of four all lined up very evenly. In group one, from inside to outside, we have Home Spirit (Night Rider Stables), Dime Defense (Asgar), Eagle Mountain (Mb Stables), and Crimson Dragon (TwinTowersRacing). Starting in the next row from inside to outside, we have Tempestuous (Mb Stables), Funny Cide (Iolaus Racing), He Needsa Manzillian (Mo Mentum Farm), Crimson Sun (Royalty Stables). And qualifying in the back, we have Hang Around (Nakamura Stables), Crimson Rioja (Mo Mentum Farm), Mintmach (Nakamura Stables), and Jumbo Bite (Nakamura Stables).
(½ Mile- :46.88)- Down the backstretch, Oleg continues to lead the way without any pressure being applied to him. His lead is about a length and a half, maybe two, on the rest of the field as they move into the turn. Behind him, there is not much movement. Midway through the stretch, it looked like Crimson Sun was going to make a five wide move from the middle row of four to the first row of four, but that never panned out. Dime Defense started to lose a little bit of ground from the first row, but other than this, there is not much to write about at this point. Other horses continue to hold their lines, and run in the rows of four in which they started.
(Top Of Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- Completing the run around the turn, Arindel had to be very happy with how things were looking for Oleg. He was running much like he did in that optional claimer, but doing it with much greater stakes involved. Oleg continued to hold his approximate length and a half advantage as none of the closest horses were able to mount a challenge. Crimson Dragon, Eagle Mountain, and Home Spirit were all in great striking range, but to this point none of them were making up ground to Oleg. Dime Defense dropped out of the first group of four, and we began to see Tempestuous getting a little antsy as if he wanted to get running. He would be lined up in good position for the stretch, so if there was one for Oleg to be worried about, it seemed to be Tempestuous more than anyone else. Looking for other movers, there was not much to be found. Several others were still close enough to make a bid, but they weren’t making that charge as of yet.
(Finish- 1:40.75)- In the stretch, Oleg was looking as though he would be good enough. His closest stalkers were making up a little bit of ground, but not enough. Tempestuous was making a push, but not getting there quick enough. However, in the dying moments, things suddenly got a little tense for Arindel as Oleg looked like he was getting fatigued and his challengers looked to pounce on this to snag away the win. Tempestuous had the most momentum, Home Spirit was running consistently on the rail, biting into the advantage and on the outside, Crimson Dragon was battling hard. Fortunately for Oleg, the wire came up just in time, allowing Arindel to exhale as he celebrated a win in a four-way photo finish. It is Oleg, topping Tempestuous, Home Spirit, and Crimson Dragon in that photo. It was another length to Eagle Mountain, Mintmach, followed by the final two Crimsons, Crimson Rioja and Crimson Sun. Rounding it out, it’s He Needsa Manzillian, Dime Defense, Funny Cide, Hang Around, and Jumbo Bite.
About The Winner- Oleg, trained by Arindel, and ridden to victory by R Gutierrez, is a four year old colt by Soviet Warrior and is out of Hollywood Witch. He was bred in New York as a third quarter two year old and they have been together throughout. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his fourth in 15 starts, his third stake win, and second graded win. His career earnings are now $818.200.
Time: :232 :464 1:10 1:403
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 12 – 4 Paid 165.10
$1 Trifecta: 12 – 4 – 1 Paid 1,307.20
Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES