Veteran horses duel for victory in Mile

HOT SPRINGS -- Two elderly warriors turned the Oaklawn Mile into a race to remember Saturday at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, more for the aged than the ages.

Eight-year-old Frosted Grace and Silver Prospector, a year younger, both with a spring in their step, pulled away in the Grade III $500,000 race Saturday. Frosted Grace kicked clear for a sparkling victory in the fastest mile of the season in a time of 1:36.61.

Sired by Mark Valeski, a former campaigner for trainer Larry Jones, Frosted Grace scored his fourth victory in six local starts, bettering his two-length defeat to Ain't Life Grand in the inaugural Lake Ouachita last May 5. Making his first start Saturday for trainer Mike Maker, the former Robertino Diodoro runner won an optional claimer Jan. 13 at Oaklawn going a mile and showing six subsequent posted works.

His 11th career victory makes Frosted Grace, owned by Flying P Stable. a racing millionaire in his 46 starts. Deriving stamina from his aptly named dam, Class (by 1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Thunder Gulch), Frosted Grace paid $14.40, $6.40 and $3.60.

Ramon Vazquez kept the mount on the second stakes winner of the week. Masqueperformance won for Diodoro in Friday's $200,000 Temperence Hill.

Silver Prospector held second after disposing of fellow millionaire Last Samurai, the latter a winner of three Oaklawn stakes which was making his first start for trainer Eddie Milligan Jr. Meet winner Nautical Star, in his second race for trainer Chris Hartman, finished third and Denington was fourth for Ken McPeek.

Silver Prosprector paid $5.00 and $3.00, while Nautical Star returned $3.80.

Hartman-trained Necker Island, a 7-year-old who raced in the 2020 Kentucky Derby, was scratched in the post parade.


American Band pulls upset

Other trainers looked for the key to American Band, which John Haran found.

Claimed four times last year, running for a $30,000 tag as recently as Jan. 12, Flatter's 5-year-old daughter sprang a shocker for his owner-trainer in the $250,000 Matron on Saturday at Oaklawn.

Walter De La Cruz powered the mare past West Coast shipper and past Grade I winner Daddysruby in the shadow of the wire. Winning for the third time at the meet, the Matron winner sold for $12,500 in a May 4, 2023, victory for then-trainer Steve Asmussen.

Her name evoking a 1973 chart-topping single by Grand Funk Railroad, one with a memorable reference to late Little Rock celebrity groupie "Sweet, Sweet" Connie Hamzy, American Band paid $57.00, $18.40 and $8.60 after a fast-rated six furlongs in 1:10.57.

Flavien Prat rode Daddysruby for trainer Peter Miller; the exacta paid $151 for $1 on the 9-8 combination. Royal Spa, with Ricardo Santana Jr. up for Rodolphe Brisset, was third.

Daddysruby paid $5.40 and $4.00, while Royal Spa paid $5.60.

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