Inside Straight's stirring stretch run took him past Midnight Storm and into the winner's circle in the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) on Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn Park.
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When the heavy favorite Midnight Storm went to the front, as expected, jockey Geovanni Franco made his way to the fence to track about two lengths from the early leader. Midnight Storm held the lead through the first six furlongs, which went in 1:10.60. Coming into the stretch, Franco swung Inside Straight out and pulled alongside Midnight Storm with about a furlong to run.
Midnight Storm gave way to Inside Straight's onslaught, going on to win by two lengths over Domain's Rap, who closed late to get the runner-up spot. The final time for the 1 1/8-miles on the fast track was 1:48.40.
“Halfway around the turn I knew we had a tough horse in front of us,” said winning trainer Robertino Diodoro of the trip from the 3/8ths pole to the wire. “The other horses, (the jockeys) were down riding and Franco was there with a lot of horse. I can’t say enough about Franco. He’s ridden great for us all meet, and again today.
“(Inside Straight) had kind of a rough campaign, a tough campaign since we bought him (privately last June). He’s done a lot of traveling. He's just gotten better and better with each race, and today he proved it.”
Inside Straight picked up the winner's share of $450,000 for his owner Randy Howg and upped his overall earnings to $752,889.
Super Saver has five stakes horses this year and is one of North America's leading Cumulative Fourth-Crop sires with nearly $11 million in progeny earnings to date.