HOT SPRINGS -- This front runner held on again, and this time he did it for longer than ever before.
Jerry Caroom's Tempt Fate ran on the lead from shortly out of the gate to the wire under jockey Cristian Torres to win the $200,000, 1 1/16-mile Arkansas Breeders' Championship for Arkansas-bred horses 3-years-old and up in 1:44.12 before a crowd of 3,500 at Oaklawn on Friday.
"I was most worried, honestly, about the distance," Torres said. "He runs three times here going 6 furlongs, now going a mile and a 1/16th, but I was hoping for him to stay in front, and he did it."
Tempt Fate, a 4-year-old son of Hamazing Destiny, had never before made a two-turn start, but Caroom said he was not worried about the colt's ability to carry his speed.
"I was 100 percent confident," Caroom said. "Once we got the lead, we stayed there."
The win was Tempt Fate's fourth in four starts at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort this season. No other horse has won four or more races on the racetrack in 2021.
Tempt Fate's trainer Carl Deville said he, like his rider, was concerned about the distance.
"The horse has never been two turns before," he said. "Everything worked out. I just left it in the jock's hands, and let him ride the race."
Man in the Can, trained by Ron Moquett, won the Breeders' Championship last season as a 3-year-old but finished second, two lengths behind. The Mary Rose, a 4-year-old filly trained by 2020 Eclipse Champion Brad C0x, finished third 4 1/4 lengths behind the winner and 2 lengths in front of fourth-place Promising Shoes.
Bandit Point, a 6-year-old son of Indy Squall, finished third in the Breeders' Championship in 2019 and fourth last season, but was a closing fifth in his third attempt, 1/2 length behind Promising Shoes.
Cline's fiancee Kelsi Harr rode Bandit Point.
"The winner was impressive," Harr said. "The horse went through the half in 46 and keeps that up. I didn't know he could do that."
Cline agreed with Harr's assessment.
"Super nice horse," he said. "Give credit where credit is due. He did an excellent job. They've kept him at the top for the whole meet. Well done for those guys."
On Thursday, Moquett said fast horses are always dangerous regardless of their tw0-turn experience. His thought was confirmed by Tempt Fate, who led through the opening quarter-mile in 23.16, virtually untouched by Torres. Man in the Can, under David Cabrera, was 1 1/2 lengths back in second.
"[Tempt Fate] ran a very good race," Moquett said. "He went fast, and he deserved to win."
Tempt Fate, claimed by Caroom for $40,000 last season, led Man in the Can by 2 lengths through the half in 46.69.
"He was in front, and I put my hands down, and he relaxed very good," Cristian said. "He responded very good."
At three-quarters in 1:11.49, Tempt Fate's lead over Man in Can was one length but stretched to 3 1/2 at the head of the stretch.
"Today, I saw [Tempt Fate] going at it so easy on the lead," Cabrera said. "I knew he was going to be hard for us to catch. My horse kicked, but it was a very small kick."
Man in the Can began to cut into Tempt Fates's lead as they straightened for the wire, but his progress stopped with a 16th of a mile left to run.
"When I asked him late, he just took off again," Torres said.
Moquett said he was pleased by Man in the Can's effort, but he said he could have used some help from the winning front runner.
"We needed [Tempt Fate] to do his part and that was to show some fatigue," Moquett said. "He didn't do his part."