HOT SPRINGS -- The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce should hire jockey Tyler Baze as a spokesman.
After Baze road Fight On to a photo-finish win over Casino Star in the $150,000 1 1/16 mile Fifth Season Stakes before a crowd of 5,500 on the final day of the three-day Racing Festival of the South at Oaklawn Park on Sunday, he said he will consider a full season at Oaklawn Park next year.
Baze at least temporarily relocated to Hot Springs in mid-March when Santa Anita Park in southern California suspended racing after a spate of horse deaths on its racing surface.
Fight On's win gave Baze his first stakes victory at Oaklawn.
"I really do like this place," Baze said. "The people around here are so nice. I'll probably be back next year because I love it here. I love this town, this area because I'm an outdoorsman. I love to hunt and fish. My wife said, 'Go try it. See how you do. If you want to go back, we're with you.' Maybe next year I'll come back with them."
Fight On was in fourth through an opening quarter-mile in 24.11 and the half in 48.53, three lengths behind the leader Noble Indy but took the lead at the head of the stretch.
Casino Star battled with Fight On through the final 16th of a mile, but Fight On, at 10-1, pulled out the win by a nose. Gato Guapo finished third and Hawaakom fourth.
Snapper Sinclair, the even-money favorite ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr. and trained by Steve Asmussen, loaded last in the nine-horse field and seemed surprised when the gates opened. He was off late and never contended. Throughout most of his decorated career, Snapper Sinclair has raced from the start on or near the lead.
Snapper Sinclair's owner Jeff Bloom sounded dismayed by the conditions of his 4-year-old colt's start.
"I mean, it was like a waste," Bloom said. "The horse wasn't even in there. I have no idea what the starter was thinking. It was clear that the horse wasn't settled, that his head was down. He didn't even know they were going. I mean, we lost the race at the start. It's just so unfortunate. The horse didn't even have a chance."
Snapper Sinclair, a 4-year-old son of City Zip, started the Fifth Season off a second-place finish by Rated R Superstar in the $350,000 1 1/16 mile Essex Handicap on March 16.
As a 3-year-old, Snapper Sinclair was targeted toward the Kentucky Derby. After finishes at Fair Grounds in New Orleans of third in the Grade III Lecomte Stakes, and second in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes, he finished fifth in the Grade II Louisiana Derby. He was ranked 21st in Kentucky Derby qualifying points and had a shot to make the field, but Asmussen told Daily Racing Form in late April 2018, that he had given Snapper Sinclair a break from training. The colt did not again race until last October.
Baze said he did not notice Snapper Sinclair missing from the stretch run.
"I worry about my own horse," Baze said. "In my racing, I only worry about my horse, and I don't worry about what everyone else is doing."
Sports on 04/15/2019
Print Headline: Fight On noses out Casino Star