Hot Springs, Ark. (Wednesday, April 8, 2015) – Favored Spring Included won her second consecutive stakes race at Oaklawn Wednesday when she rallied from off the pace to capture the 36th running of the $100,000 Carousel Stakes during the track’s renowned Racing Festival of the South.
Owned by Arkansans Alex and Joan Lieblong, the 4-year-old daughter of Include rated kindly under regular rider Joe Rocco, Jr. as the front-runners set blazing splits of 21.2, 44.3, and 57 flat before she kicked clear past the eighth pole to cover the six furlongs in 1:09.3 on a fast track. Dual Oaklawn stakes winner Street Story was second, another 2 1/2 lengths back.
Following a steward’s inquiry and a jockey’s objection, the order of third place finisher Chortle and Electric Temptress, who finished fourth, was reversed.
Trainer Steve Hobby said he believed Spring Included's far outside post position in the field of seven proved to be an advantage as the speed was to her inside.
“With the outside post, you can lay off them a little if you want to. With the inside, you're kind of limited,” he said after the filly gave both Rocco and him their first Carousel victory.
“She’s a really nice filly and she seems to be getting better every race,” said Rocco. “It seemed to make sense to sit behind the speed instead of using more horse early. They were going pretty quick up front and she relaxed nicely for me. She came running when I asked her.”
Spring Included upped her bankroll to $214,278 and has now won five of 12 starts. She returned $5.40, $2.60 and $2.20 as the 8-5 favorite. Hobby said she gives him a multitude of options.
“She's very versatile, but we plan to keep her sprinting,” he said. “She likes the turf, so we've got all those 5 1/2 (furlong) turf races. And, she likes the mud, so if it rains we're in pretty good shape.”
Live racing resumes Thursday as The Racing Festival of the South continues over the three remaining days of the 2015 season. The feature race tomorrow is the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3).