Photo: Oaklawn Park
Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Donoharm extended his win streak to
five by overpowering heavy 3-5 favorite San Pablo in the final strides
of Saturday’s $100,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn. Despite having won the
Fifth Season Stakes opening day, the winner was dismissed at odds of
nearly 8-1 and returned $17.40, $4.80 and $2.80.
When the favorite broke slowly, it became a scramble for the lead
between him, Skyring and Master Rick around the first turn, while
Donoharm settled into fourth. Skyring held the lead through a half mile
in 47 1/5, but gave way to San Pablo, who began to pull away from his
foes after six furlongs in 1:12 2/5. Showing the same determination he
did in the Fifth Season, Donoharm, under guidance from jockey Cliff
Berry, steadily ate into San Pablo’s lead in the stretch to prevail by
three-quarters of a length at the wire. Win Willy came flying late from
last to finish another half-length back in third. The final time for the
1 1/16 miles was 1:44 3/5 over a fast track.
“He ran great,”
said trainer Bret Calhoun, who watched the race from New Orleans. “At no
point in the race was I confident that he was going to get there until
the end. The horse has gotten very good and his heart is very big. He
ran a great race last time, but that was a different track that day and
not a lot of horses liked it. Today, he came back on a fast track and
beat a good horse in San Pablo.”
Donoharm, a 4-year-old Lemon
Drop Kid gelding, did not win his first race until his ninth career
start in May of last year, but has gotten better and better ever since.
Overall, he has won six of 15 starts for earnings of $245,080. Calhoun
said Donoharm would be considered next for the March 9, $150,000
Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn.