Alternation continued his dominance of the older male category at Oaklawn Park in the biggest race of the meet with front-running, 2 1/2-length victory in the $400,000 Oaklawn H.(G2). The 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor won the Feb. 4 $100,000 Essex H. and the Grade 3 Razorback H. on March 10 earlier this meet.
Alternation is the leading North American earner for his sire, whose progeny earnings of over $1.9 million put him solidly in the top 10 on the General sire list.
As he did in the Razorback, Alternation went right to the front once again on Saturday, with Luis Quinonez doling out the natural speed. Several foes made their runs at him at different points, but Alternation repelled them all to get the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.94.
“We had a dream trip,” Quinonez said. “He did everything I asked him to. Donnie (trainer Von Hemel) and his team had him ready and have done a great job with him. What the horse did today was awesome and he has been awesome every race this year. I couldn’t be more proud. I want to thank the owners. He is my big horse and I couldn’t be prouder.”
“I don’t think you can measure how satisfying this is,” said Von Hemel. “It’s a race that I’ve been second in, hit the board in and it was always an out-of-town horse that won it. We knew this was a crossroads race for him. Now, we know we can look at races like the Pimlico Special (G1), the Stephen Foster (G1, in June at Churchill Downs), or maybe something in New York.”
Alternation, who also won the Grade 2 Peter Pan S. at Belmont last summer, won two starts last year at Oaklawn before a troubled fifth in the Arkansas Derby (G1). He finished the year running second by a head in the $400,000 Remington Park Derby. The Pin Oak Stable homebred, who is out of the stakes winner Alternate, improved his record to 7-1-1 in 12 starts and has now earned $720,004.