Oaklawn News

“This was a game changer,” Hawley said. “This was huge. This was my biggest career win.”

Hawaakom was unhurried early as 33-1 longshot Rocking the Boat took command at the start and proceeded to set moderate fractions of :24.02 and :48.52 for the first half mile. The winner had to steady in traffic at the seven-eighths pole, then had to wait down the stretch before getting through on the rail just past the eighth pole, but once he was in the clear, he drew off to win impressively by 3 ¼ lengths over Leofric in 1:45.14 for 1 1/16 miles over a muddy track. The early leader held on for third.

Untrapped, the 2-1 favorite, finished fourth after having to steady in the stretch and was followed by Futile, Rated R Superstar, The Lieutenant, Far Right, Shotgun Kowboy, Sonneteer and J Boys Echo. Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., on Untrapped, lodged an objection against jockey Luis Saez, on Leofric, but it was disallowed by the stewards.

Hawaakom, who had finished a distant second last year to eventual 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner in the Razorback, has now improved his record to 9-7-8 in 40 career starts and has earned $925,405. Hawley said the horse, who paid $20.80, $8.20 and $6.20 at odds of 9-1, is likely to return to Oaklawn for the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 14.

Live racing resumes Thursday at Oaklawn with a 1:30 p.m. first post.

Razorback Handicap Quotes:

Winning trainer Wes Hawley (Hawakom) – “Lanerie up the rail! I couldn’t believe it. What a great ride. We’ll probably wait and come back for the Oaklawn Handicap.”

“This was a game changer. This was huge. This was my biggest career win.”

Note: This was the first graded stakes for Wes Hawley.

Winning jockey Corey Lanerie (Hawaakom) - “I had a great trip you know. The horse fits the trip really well.  He loves the inside, a couple times I came to a couple holes I was a little scared of, but my horse showed my all the courage and never hesitated and he did all the work. Thanks to the owners and trainers for giving me this opportunity.”

Jockey Luis Saez, second on Leofric – “It was a pretty nice trip you know. For one second I thought we had it, but the winner was just too fast from the rail. I didn’t really see him until he was passing, but my horse ran a great race.”

Brad Cox, second place trainer of Leofric – “Great effort. (Jockey) Luis (Saez) gave him an excellent ride. It was a strong finish down the lane. I thought maybe we had it at the 16th pole and then I saw that horse moving up on the inside. Obviously, he appeared to be much the best.”

Fernando De La Cruz, third-place jockey of Rocking the Boat – “He’s such a nice horse. I was able to get into a good position and get him to relax. He’s so big. He just couldn’t get there.”