HOT SPRINGS -- The Grade III 1 1/16-mile Razorback Handicap for horses 4 years old and up at Oaklawn today will feature a showdown of this season's Fifth Season Stakes winners.
Management at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort divided the 1-mile Fifth Season into two races to make way for more entrants than the racetrack's 14-stall starting gate would hold. As a consequence, both Guest Suite and Pioneer Spirit are listed to start the $500,000 Razorback as winners of Oaklawn's Fifth Season on Jan. 25.
Guest Suite and Pioneer Spirit are entered to start with nine others in the Razorback, one of three Grade III races scheduled on Oaklawn's 10-race Presidents Day card. Post time for the Razorback, the eighth race of the day, is set for 4:09 p.m.
"Guest Suite ran a big race in the Fifth Season, bigger than I thought he would," Guest Suite trainer Cipriano Contreras said. "He's a nice old class horse every now and then."
Guest Suite, a 6-year-old gelded son of Quality Road, has a career record of 24 6-2-8 with career earnings of $477,633.
"It will be a good race, but I think we'll be ready," Pioneer Spirit trainer Robertino Diodoro said. "In fact, [Pioneer Spirit] has us real excited."
Top Razorback contenders include Grade I winner Math Wizard, a 4-year-old colt with career earnings of $1,040,623 trained by Joe Saffie, and Warrior's Charge, who finished fourth in the 2019 Grade I Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore and is trained by Oaklawn regular Brad Cox.
Bankit, a son of Central Banker trained by Steve Asmussen, finished second by a head to Pioneer Spirit in the Fifth Season. Asmussen also trains Snapper Sinclair, who was second to Guest Suite by a neck in the other division of the Fifth Season.
Exulting, a 7-year-old gelded son of Tapit trained by Michael Maker, won last season's first running of the Oaklawn Mile in May. The Razorback will be Exulting's first start on dirt after five consecutive turf races.
"We wanted to get him back on dirt," said Michael Hui of Little Rock, an owner of Exulting. "He's been very steady, very consistent."
Rick Lee’s selections
8 The Razorback Handicap. Grade
III. Purse $500,000, 1 1/16 miles,
4-year-olds and up
JOEVIA** won an allowance sprint tuneup after a long layoff at Aqueduct, and he showed talent and staying power finishing a close third in the 2019 Belmont. MATH WIZARD won the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby before finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and the pace figures fast enough to set up his late run. PIONEER SPIRIT is a multiple stake-winner riding a three-race winning streak, and he figures near the lead from start to finish.
PP HORSE JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS
4 Joevia Alvarado Sacco 8-1
2 Math Wizard Castellano Joseph 4-1
5 Pioneer Spirit Cohen Diodoro 7-2
6 Warrior’s Charge Geroux Cox 9-2
3 Bankit Santana Asmussen 10-1
10 Snappy Sinclair Leparoux Asmussen 8-1
9 Campaign Bejarano Sadler 6-1
7 Guest Suite WDe La Cruz Contreras 12-1
1 Exulting Eramia Maker 15-1
11 Bravazo Talamo Lukas 10-1
8 Rated R Superstar Thornton Contreras 30-1
Sports on 02/17/2020
Print Headline: Fifth Season winners meet for Razorback Handicap