April 23, 2024

Rated R Superstar, Bob’s Edge rally for Grade 3 scores at Oaklawn

Rated R Superstar wins the Essex Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Rated R Superstar struggled to make an impact from far back in last month’s Razorback H. (G3), but found conditions more hospitable Saturday in the $500,000 Essex H. (G3) at Oaklawn Park.

Fifth in the Razorback behind Plainsman and Thomas Shelby, who occupied the top two positions all the way, Rated R Superstar encountered a similar looking scenario for much of the 1 1/16-mile Essex, contested over a fast track. This time, however, it was the closers that generally fared best.

Racing some eight lengths behind in sixth down the backside while traveling comfortably, Rated R Superstar commenced his rally on the far turn as Thomas Shelby and Plainsman dueled up front. In the stretch, the weary leaders had little left to fend off Rated R Superstar, who burst by in the final furlong to win by 2 1/4 lengths under David Cabrera.

Plainsman just held second by a neck over Beau Luminarie, who trailed in seventh much of the way. Thomas Shelby weakened to fourth and was followed by 3-2 favorite Warrior’s Charge, Popular Kid, and Hanalei’s Houdini.

Owned by Danny Caldwell and trained by Federico Villafranco, Rated R Superstar returned $18.60 after completing the course in 1:43.12.

This was the sixth stakes win in a long career for the nine-year-old Rated R Superstar, who was making his 59th career start on Saturday. He previously won the Essex in 2019 and had run second by a neck to Silver State in the 2021 edition. Earlier graded tallies included the 2016 Carry Back (G3) and 2018 Ben Ali (G3). Rated R Superstar also captured the Fifth Season S. at Oaklawn on Jan. 15.

Caldwell said after the Essex that Rated R Superstar would likely take a swing at the $1 million Oaklawn H. (G2) on April 23, a race he finished last of eight behind Silver State in a year ago. He’s now bankrolled $1,589,014 from a line of 59-11-10-8.

A nine-year-old by sprint champion Kodiak Kowboy, Rated R Superstar was reared by the Gold Case mare Wicked Wish, a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Wishful Tomcat. He was bred in Kentucky by Thorndale Stable.

Whitmore S. (G3)

Bob’s Edge swooped in from the back inside the final quarter-mile to claim the $200,000 Whitmore S. (G3), a six-furlong sprint formerly known as the Hot Springs.

The second choice in a field of nine, Bob’s Edge still trailed after a half-mile but had only 4 1/2 lengths to make up. Aided by a pace of :21.81 and :45.07 set by 5-2 favorite Hollis, Bob’s Edge charged down the middle of the track to win the Whitmore by one length under Luis Quinonez.

Tulane Tryst, who raced one position ahead of Bob’s Edge much of the way, was second best by 1 3/4 lengths over Greeley and Ben, who re-rallied to edge Hollis for third by a neck.

“Closers have run well today,” Larry Jones said. “That’s what Luis and I were talking about. It looked like we had a really good, non-biased track to get to run on.”

Owned by Michael Freeny, Patricia Freeny, and Jennifer Grayson, Bob’s Edge finished up in a time of 1:09.42 and paid $7.80.

This was the second stakes win of the Oaklawn meet for Bob’s Edge, who captured the Jan. 29 King Cotton S. by 2 3/4 lengths. The four-year-old gelded son of Competitive Edge placed in one of three stakes appearances last season, finishing third in the Bachelor S. at Oaklawn.

Bred in Kentucky by Westwind Farms, Bob’s Edge was produced by Catticus, a Bluegrass Cat half-sister to Grade 3 winner Restrainedvengence. Bob’s Edge is himself a half-brother to the stakes-winning filly Watch Me Burn. His record now stands at 13-6-1-4, $516,428.