Starsky Weast’s Weast Hill did not disappoint his backers that made him the heavy 3-5 favorite with an easy 3 ¼ length victory is Sunday’s $100,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes. He returned $3.20, $2.40 and $2.10.
Ridden confidently by jockey Joe Rocco Jr., Weast Hill broke on top and controlled the pace through early fraction of :22 1/5 and :45 2/5 for the first half mile with second choice Bumpy Cat in close pursuit. The rivals continued to duel entering the stretch, but the winner was able to shake free and drew off to win the six furlong race in 1:10 over a fast track. Last year’s winner, We Be Stormin, closed well to get third.
“He’s a nice horse,” said Rocco.” My horse broke sharp, was on it and I had a lot of horse. I was trying to conserve it early on and he had enough to get home. He’s a nice horse all around.”
Weast Hill, an Arkansas-bred son of Rockport Harbor, has now won five of seven career starts, including all three of his local races, and has now earned $219,710. Trainer Brad Cox said that it is possible that the 4-year-old gelding could attempt to stretch his speed out to 1 1/16 miles in the Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes April 1.
Live racing resumes at Oaklawn Thursday with a 1:30 p.m. first post.
Winning Trainer Brad Cox – “We thought Bumpy Cat would be up close. We actually thought he may be on the lead. Joe set the tone early. Joe did a great job, doing it in hand. Bumpy Cat – he had to work to do it. That horse ran a big race today.”
On the possibility of stretching out to 1 1/16 miles in the Arkansas Breeders’ (open division) stakes April 1 at Oaklawn.
“The question is going to be: ‘Can he go that far?’ He puts a lot of effort into his gallops. There’s a shot he could go long, a mile and a sixteenth. We’ve got four or five weeks to prepare him for it. We’ll let him tell us. Probably give him a shot there and see what happens.”
Winning jockey Joe Rocco Jr. – “He’s a nice horse. My horse broke sharp, was on it and I had a lot of horse. I was trying to conserve it early on and he had enough to get home. He’s a nice horse all around.”