HOT SPRINGS -- There was a brother's day celebration at Oaklawn on Saturday.
K J's Nobility was ridden by Calvin Borel to a 3-length win in the $100,000, 6-furlong Nodouble Breeders' Stakes in 1:10.00 over a sloppy track at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.
K J's Nobility, the 9-5 favorite in the race for Arkansas-bred horses 3 years old and up, is trained by Cecil Borel, the older brother of the winning jockey.
"He ran good," Cecil Borel said. "You look at him, he's just getting good. Just getting good."
Bandit Point finished second at 12-1, 3 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Glacken's Ghost. J.E.'s Handmedown finished fourth, 7 1/4 lengths behind the winner.
"Calvin and Cecil did a hell of a job with their horse," said Robert Cline, the owner of Bandit Point. "My hat's off to them for that."
Heritage Park was first out of the gate among the nine-horse field and led by a half-length over Destiny Way through an opening quarter-mile of 21.93. Glacken's Ghost was a half-length back in third. K J's Nobility was in fifth, 2 1/2 lengths off the lead. Bandit Point was last, 9 lengths back.
Heritage Park, with Alex Birzer aboard, led Destiny Way by 1 1/2 lengths through the half in 45.39. Destiny Way would fade quickly to last, but Heritage Park appeared in contention, a half-length behind the new leader K J's Nobility as they crossed the head of the stretch.
Bandit Point, trained by Cline and ridden by Arkansas native Kelsi Harr, had moved to fourth, 1 length behind Glacken's Ghost, trained by Mac Robertson.
Hoonani Road, who had finished no further back than third in his nine previous starts at Oaklawn, was sixth, 4 1/2 lengths off the lead.
Before this season began, Hoonani Road had won seven consecutive races at Oaklawn, a streak that began during the first start of his career in 2018. Last season, he won four of four Oaklawn starts, including the Arkansas Breeders' Championship. He started the Nodouble as the defending champion but finished sixth.
K J's Nobility pulled away through the stretch. Behind him, Bandit Point passed Heritage Park -- who would fade to eighth -- and Glacken's Ghost, but would not threaten the winner.
Cline said he was confident as Bandit Point turned for home, but he felt as if K J's Nobility was likely out of reach.
"I watched and I said, 'Man, I think that one got too far gone,' " Cline said. " 'We can't run that one down,' but actually, he made it a closer race than I thought he might. Looking at the track today, I didn't see a lot of horses closing, so for him to make up the ground he did, I thought he ran a really good race."
Oaklawn remained closed Saturday to all but essential personnel because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Racetracks across the U.S. have either restricted attendance, suspended racing or canceled their seasons in response to the situation. The New York Racing Association announced Wednesday that New York City's Aqueduct would suspend racing until at least April 5. On Saturday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state had received federal approval to convert the track's facility into a temporary hospital.
Jockey Joe Talamo, who rode Destiny Way, was on hand for a month-long closure of Santa Anita Park last season after a spike in thoroughbred deaths, but he said current circumstances were odder yet.
"Going through this is weirder by a landslide," Talamo said. "Hats off to management. They're doing everything they can for us to keep racing. They're pretty relentless on us guys. We have to take temperatures twice a day. We can't be too close to each other. We're definitely doing our part, so hopefully, we can keep rolling."
Sports on 03/29/2020
Print Headline: Nobility reigns at Oaklawn