Cox’s Much-Traveled Plainsman Tops Field of 8 in Essex

It’s been a long, strange ride for the much-traveled plainsman en route to becoming a grade 1 placed runner.

The 7-year-old flatter horse has already raced 28 times through six seasons of racing and has called several barns home.

He started his racing career for Shortleaf Stable with trainer William VanMeter at 2. Then he moved to Brad Cox’s barn at 3 and spent his 4-year-old season with trainer Shug McGaughey before taking up residence with Shug’s son, Reeve, for the start or his 5-year-old campaign.

Now he’s back with Cox and after all those races and movements is running better than ever.

“He’s always been a good horse. People forget he won the Discovery (G3) for us at 3,” said Cox, who resumed training Plainsman in the fall of 2020. It was a long time until his next stakes win (the 2021 Ack Ack Stakes, G3) but he’s a very good horse. He’s battled feet issues whenever I’ve had him, but he’s a cool horse. He’s a trooper, He brings it every time he runs and right now he’s as good as he’s ever been. That may sound strange to say with him being 7 and having as many miles on him as he has, but that seems to be the case.”

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The 7-year-old’s mettle promises to be tested once again March 19 when he returns in the 1 1/16-mile $500,000 Essex Handicap (G3) on Whitmore Day at Oaklawn Park, seeking back-to-back graded stakes wins at the Hot Springs, Ark., track. After starting his 6-year-old season with what Cox termed a “tremendous race” when third in the Cigar Mile Handicap Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) at Aqueduct Racetrackthe son of Street Sense mare SS Pinafore opened 2022 with a neck victory overt Essex rival Thomas Shelby in the Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn.

“It was a big run for him from the outside post in the Razorback,” said Cox, whose horse has three wins and two seconds in 10 Oaklawn starts. “He’ll need to run better Saturday, but he’s had two good works since then and appears to be as good, if not better, than he was for the Razorback.”

Bred by Joseph Minor in Kentucky and bought for $350,000 from the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Plainsman, a half brother to grade 3-placed Liam Liam’s Map ) earned $1,203,207. Saturday’s 122-pound highweight and 5-2 morning-line favorite has been no worse than third in his last eight starts, all for Cox.

Cox will also start Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables’ 6-year-old Warrior’s Charge (7-2), who is exiting a 9 3/4-length score in a Jan. 28 Oaklawn allowance optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles

“He likes Oaklawn,” Cox said about the winner of 4 of 10 Oaklawn starts including the 2020 Razorback. “He’s had some trouble getting to the winner’s circle lately but he broke through with a big number last time in beating some good horses. We’ve learned that he doesn’t have to have the lead and there’s some speed in the race so hopefully he’ll get a good set up.”

the Munnings horse out of the Broken Vow mare Battling Brook will be seeking his first stakes win since August 2020 in the Philip Iselin Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park

He was bred in Florida by Al Shaquab Racing and has earned $1,116,890.

M and M Racing’s Thomas Shelby (7-2) set the early pace in the 1 1/16-mile Razorback and figures to be in a similar position Saturday while breaking from the rail. The Curlin gelding who has risen from starter races to grade 3-placed status for trainer Robertino Diodoro showed determination in battling Plainsman through the final furlong before losing by a neck.

The field of eight also includes Popular Kid (6-1) and Rated R Superstar (8-1), who were third and fifth, respectively in the Razorback, and Hanalei’s Houdini (10-1) who missed by a neck during a troubled trip in the Jennings Stakes at Laurel Park

Whitmore Stakes helps celebrate Whitmore Day

Normally sprint stakes get overshadowed by the longer and richer distances races on the card, but that was not the case at Oaklawn the last few years.

The beloved champion sprinter Whitmore dominated those sprint stakes for the better part of the last five years, and though the gelding is now retired, his popularity at Oaklawn will be celebrated Saturday with Whitmore Day and the first edition of the $200,000 Whitmore Stakes (G3) .

Photo: Coady Photography

Bob’s Edge wins the King Cotton Stakes at Oaklawn Park

Formerly the Hot Springs Stakes, which Whitmore won four times among his seven stakes wins at Oaklawn, is fittingly a six-furlong stakes which attracted a field of nine.

Michael and Patricia Freeny and Jennifer Grayson Taylor’s Bob’s Edge is the 5-2 morning line choice in a field of nine.

The son of Competitive Edge trained by Larry Jones is coming off a 2 3/4-length victory in the King Cotton Stakes at Oaklawn.

The field also includes David Ingordo’s Tulane Tryst (9-2), an impressive allowance optional claiming winner for trainer Cherie DeVaux, and WSS Racing and 4 G Racing’s Hollis (3-1), who rebounded from a fifth in the King Cotton to take an allowance optional claimer for trainer John Ortiz.

entries: Whitmore S. (G3)

Oaklawn Park, Saturday, March 19, 2022, Race 7

  • Grade III
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 4 yo’s & up
  • 4:04 PM (local)

entries: Essex H. (G3)

Oaklawn Park, Saturday, March 19, 2022, Race 9

  • Grade III
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $500,000
  • 4 yo’s & up
  • 5:10 PM (local)

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