Alternation made it two stakes wins in a row at Oaklawn Park on March 10 with a front-running, length and a half victory in the $125,000 Razorback H. (G3). The 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor won the Feb. 4 $100,000 Essex H. in his previous outing.
Alternation is the leading North American earner for his sire, who went into the day ranked tenth on the General Sire List, and is sure to move up with Alternation's $75,000 payday.
The six-horse Razorback shaped up as a contest between Alternation and California shipper Tapizar, and that's the way it played out. Tapizar was glued to his rival's flank for the first six furlongs. When the duo straightened for the stretch run, Alternation pulled away under Luis Quinonez's urging. Tapizar gave chase, but could get no closer than the final margin. Alternation stopped the clock in 1:43.50 for the 1 1/16 miles, the fastest of the meet thus far.
“This race developed like I hoped it would,” said Quinonez. “He broke sharp, he put me there and just kept on going. He’s a nice horse. He’s my favorite horse. Donnie (trainer Von Hemel) and the people at the barn have done a great job with him.”
Added Von Hemel, “When we saw there wasn’t much of a pace in here, we figured to see if could ask him to be that close knowing that Tapizar was the only speed. Then we get to the first turn and we’re in front, you’re not going to change now. He’s shown that he’s not just a deep closer. People will have to respect him because he can take advantage of a race when it presents itself.”
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 6-1-1 in 11 starts and has now earned $480,004.