March 22, 2023
The Last Samurai Begins Again in the Gritty Essex Triumph

Beating his career-best pace within the Razorback Handicap (G3) final month, the final Samurai He repeated this efficiency and continued to point out his ardour. Oaklawn Park March 18 surfaced with an authoritative rating within the $500,000 Essex Handicap (G3).

In contrast to Razorback, the place the Final Samurai finds himself far behind the early tempo, main Oaklawn rider Cristian Torres pushed Malibu Moon’s son by way of the gates from the far outpost. When the primary flip appeared, Torres deftly swung the colt right into a trailing fourth, and the duo discovered themselves just a few lengths behind the lead runner. Traditional Crossover .

“I instructed Cristian that the race can be gained at Flip 1 and if you will get by way of that first nook (you are superb),” Coach D. Wayne Lukas mentioned after the race. “I believed we have been in fairly fine condition sitting within the third, fourth within the first nook on the again.

Making its floor debut because the Ohio Derby (G3) final June, and away from the motion since October, Traditional Causeway took command on the opening steps by carving fractions :24.05 and :48.28 below a protracted cooldown from Flavien Prat. . Regardless of his opponents stepping nearer to the nook, the white-faced chestnut retained the benefit within the flip and hit the six-length mark at 1:12.65.

The Final Samurai, going four-widths, squeezed the cussed pacesetter and drew clearly for a one-length scoreboard within the final sixteen.


The 5-year-old stopped the timer at 1:43.17 for 1 1/16 miles on a quick foremost street. Mailed in as the percentages favorite, returning $4 off a $2 win ticket.

Traditional Gate 2 was 3/4 lengths forward forza di oro because the third.

The final Samurai to run for the silks of the late Willis Horton, by way of his son Kevin, continued to shine with maturity. The final Samurai bred by Stonestreet Farm has gained the primary back-to-back bets victories of his profession at Essex and now seems because the overwhelming favourite forward of the $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2) on April 22.

“The horse is simply discovering himself; his confidence stage may be very excessive,” mentioned Lukas. “Cristian may be very assured and mine is beginning to get there too.”

Picture: Coady Images

The Final Samurai and Cristian Torres at Oaklawn Park after their victory within the Essex Handicap

A race that served as a groundbreaking victory for First Samurai final yr, the Oaklawn Handicap is the ultimate race in Oaklawn’s winter race sequence for senior horses. The sequence kicked off with the $200,000 Tinsel Stakes in December (First Samurai completed second by a margin from Bal Harbour).

“This can be a good sequence put collectively by Oaklawn and it actually enables you to spend a while, you’ll be able to heal in roughly 30 days, so it is a good present and I believe we will profit from it,” mentioned Lukas. .

Elevating his bankroll to $1,908,264, the Final Samurai is one in every of 4 winners produced from the First Samurai mare, Girl Samuri. The mare can be chargeable for the 2022 Bourbonette Oaks winner Sweet Raid .

Video: Essex H (G3)

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