Proxy Gets ‘Last’ Laugh In Oaklawn Handicap

The names of some of this country’s most accomplished Thoroughbred owners grace the honor roll as winners of the GII Oaklawn H., including Loblolly Stable, Greentree Stable, Allen Paulson, Golden Eagle, John Franks, Ogden Phipps, Jerry Moss, Pin Oak Stable and the late Oaklawn president Charles Cella.

Following the conclusion of nine sometimes rough-and-tumble furlongs Saturday in Hot Springs, you can now add the name of Godolphin to the list, as the operation’s immaculately bred 5-year-old Proxy (Tapit) stormed down the center of the track and managed to outfinish defending champion Last Samurai (Malibu Moon) by a head, with the hard-knocking GI Santa Anita H. hero Stilleto Boy (Shackleford) another unlucky nose away in third.

Sent off the 37-10 third pick, Proxy was sporting cheekpieces and landed in fourth position into the first turn, as Stilleto Boy showed slightly more speed than Classic Causeway (Giant’s Causeway), who applied the pressure from the outside. On the back of ‘TDN Rising Star’ Charge It (Tapit), blinkered for the first time and very erratic through the opening stages, Proxy was guided into the clear by Joel Rosario a turning into the backstretch. Racing as many as six paths off the inside approaching the entrance to the second turn, Proxy was asked to pick it up a bit at the seven-sixteenths, but there wasn’t much of a response, as Last Samurai improved at the rail.

When longshot Senor Buscador (Mineshaft) commenced a sharp rally of his own that saw him overtake Proxy to his inside, that seemed to serve as a wake-up call and Proxy jumped back into the bridle while widest into the lane. In the meantime, Stilleto Boy had left the rail open, and leading rider Cristian Torres tried to send Last Samurai through a razor-thin opening, appearing to bounce off the fence at the furlong grounds and ricocheting off the rail to brush with Stilleto Boy and consequently putting Charge It in tight. But all the while, Proxy had worked up a full head of steam, was zeroing in on the leaders while out of harm’s way down the center of the track and was shoved across the line first.

“I knew there was enough speed to set up his late run,” said winning trainer Michael Stidham. “The way it went, with Charge It sitting right in behind them [speed horses] and us outside of him, the only concern was turning for home it looked like he was trying to drop out of it again. But Joel [Rosario] had him out there for a reason, to stay out from behind the dirt.”

A fringe player on the Louisiana road to the Triple Crown two years ago, Proxy was third in last year’s GIII Ben Ali S. and filled the same spot behind Olympiad (Speightstown) in the GII Stephen Foster S. before returning from a 4 1/2-month break to defeat West Will Power (Bernardini) in the GI Clark S. in November. He was a non-threatening fifth in the GI Pegasus World Cup Jan. 29 ahead of the Big ‘Cap, where he got home well, but the wire came a couple of strides too soon.

Pedigree Notes:

Proxy’s dam, a $260,000 purchase by Glencrest Farm out of the 2006 Keeneland April Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, was one of the more versatile performers of her generation, winning the GII Black-Eyed Susan S. on conventional dirt in May 2007 and the GI American Oaks on turf two months later before doubling her Grade I tally in that year’s Juddmonte Spinster S. over the Keeneland all-weather.

Panty Raid was purchased by John Ferguson on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed’s operation for $2.5 million at the 2008

Fasig-Tipton November Sale, but took some time to make her

mark in the breeding shed. Her first foal of note was Proxy’s year-older half-sister Micheline, a Grade II winner on turf and second in the GI QE II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. Panty Raid, whose full-sister St. John’s River went excruciatingly close in the 2011 GI Kentucky Oaks, is the dam of the 2-year-old colt Out in Force (Frosted) and a yearling filly by Into Mischief. Panty Raid was among the first book of mares bred to Tapit‘s two-time Eclipse Award winner and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Essential Quality.


Saturday, Oaklawn

OAKLAWN H.-GII, $1,000,000, Oaklawn, 4-22, 4yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:49.68, ft.

1–PROXY, 122, h, 5, by Tapit

                1st Dam: Panty Raid (MGISW, $1,052,380), by Include

                2nd Dam: Adventurous Di, by Private Account

                3rd Dam: Tamaral, by Seattle Slew

O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-Michael Stidham; J-Joel Rosario. $620,750. Lifetime Record: GISW, 16-5-6-2, $1,775,970. *1/2 to Micheline (Bernardini), GSW & GISP, $695,103. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.

2–Last Samurai, 123, h, 5, Malibu Moon–Lady Samuri, by First Samurai. ($37,000 RNA Ylg ’19 KEESEP; $175,000 2yo ’20 OBSMAR). O-Willis Horton Racing LLC; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-D. Wayne Lukas. $191,000.

3–Stilleto Boy, 122, g, 5, Shackleford–Rosie’s Ransom, by Marquetry. ($420,000 3yo ’21 FTKHRA). O-Steve Moger; B-John & Iveta Kerber (KY); T-Ed Moger, Jr. $95,500.

Margins: HD, NO, 2 3/4. Odds: 3.70, 2.80, 5.80.

Also Ran: Senor Buscador, Charge It, Classic Causeway, Rated R Superstar. Click for the chart and the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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