Proxy leaves it late in G2 Oaklawn Handicap thriller
Proxy produced his customary late charge to get up on the line in an exhilarating renewal of the G2 Oaklawn Handicap at Oaklawn Park, USA, on Saturday, 22 April.
Last season’s G1 Clark Stakes hero, who had gone down by a neck to Stilleto Boy in the G1 Santa Anita Handicap on his previous start, raced in fourth initially before Last Samurai relegated the Michael Stidham-trained five-year-old to fifth after a furlong and a half.
Proxy plotted a wide trip throughout the nine-furlong contest and was shuffled back to last at the top of the straight after being outpaced turning in.
Joel Rosario steered Proxy down the centre of the course as he started to make rapid progress approaching the final furlong, allowing him to avoid the trouble down the inner as Stilleto Boy, Last Samurai, Classic Causeway and Charge It all met with traffic.
Proxy was still fifth with a furlong to race but the Tapit entire flashed home, closing inexorably on the leading duo of Stilleto Boy and Last Samurai in the dying strides. All three horses flashed past the post together, with Proxy getting the verdict by a head and a nose.
Michael Stidham said: “Proxy is finally putting his act together as a five-year-old. He wasn’t quite there in terms of maturity as a three-year-old, but he is starting to learn how to get it done.
“He is pretty versatile. If the pace is quick, he is going to be a little further back but, if the pace is a little slower like in the Clark, he can lay close and get it done that way. Joel knows that he has to keep him out from behind the dirt because he will drop out of the race if he gets too much dirt in his face.
“We are hoping to be around at the end of the season for the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic, which is our goal for the year.”