Octane returns to Oaklawn Park from his South Florida base for the $1,250,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) in pursuit of his second consecutive graded stakes there. The Arindel homebred became Florida’s newest millionaire in winning the Grade 3 Razorback on Feb. 24 at Oaklawn and will take on 10 other older horses invading from seven different tracks for the mile-and-a-quarter contest.

Jockey Julian Leparoux allowed Octane to track frontrunner Promise Keeper throughout much of the Razorback before sending the son of Arindel’s Brethren to a three-quarter-length victory ahead of Magic Tap in the Razorback. Magic Tap faces Octane again in the Razorback.

Leparoux will again be aboard Octane Saturday.

It was the first graded stakes for the 5-year-old gelding, whose previous four added-money victories came against fellow Florida-breds. Prior to the Razorback, his most recent black-type score came in the $150,000 FTBOA Gil Campbell Memorial going a mile at Gulfstream on Oct. 21.

The reliable Octane has eight wins in his 18 career starts with four seconds and a third while earning $1,011,355. He is out of the Aldebaran mare Star Recruit, who also produced the stakes-winning Florida-bred Gatsby with Brethren.

Trained by Juan Alvarado, Octane is 5-1 on the morning line and has drawn post four.

Skippylongstocking also travels from Florida is looking for his second consecutive graded-stakes victory. 

The Saffie Joseph Jr. trainee won the Grade 3 Michelob Ultra Challenger going a mile-and-a-sixteenth at Tampa Downs on March 9. The 5-year-old son of Exaggerator has five career graded stakes wins including the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic at nine furlongs in August.

Skippylongstocking is owned by Daniel Alonso, who purchased the son of Exaggerator out of the 2021 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale for $37,000 out of the Top Line Sales consignment. He has since won seven of 22 career starts with two seconds and four thirds while banking $1,654,185.

Jose Ortiz will ride the 3-1 morning line favorite from post 10.

Oaklawn Park’s current leading trainer Steve Asmussen will bring in Red Route One from the Fair Grounds where the 4-year-old most recently won the Grade 2 New Orleans Classic by two lengths on March 23.

Owned and bred by Winchell Thoroughbreds, the multiple graded stakes-winning Red Route One should enjoy his return to Oaklawn where he won the $200,000 Bath House Row last year on April 22.

Red Route One has four wins, four seconds and two thirds in 18 lifetime starts and earnings of $1,507,425.

Regular rider Joel Rosario will again be aboard when they depart post five.

Red Route One is 7-2 in the program.

Rounding out the field are Highland Falls with Florent Geroux set to ride, Double Crown and jockey Colby Hernandez, Magic Tap and rider Keith Asmussen, Reincarnate with Juan Hernandez aboard, Roman Vasquez rides Guntown, Last Samuria and jockey Richard Eramia, County Final has Edwin Gonzalez and Cristian Torres has the mount on Instant Coffee.

Return to the April 19 issue of Wire to Wire