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Fri 13/02/2015 - 13:05 EST

Ride On Curlin Back in $100,000 Essex Handicap

The $100,000 Essex Handicap is the featured race February 14 at Oaklawn Park, with a field of eight set to contest the mile and one sixteenth event on the main track. 

Ride On Curlin (2/1) returned in fine fashion to win an allowance sprint January 15 at Oaklawn after spending over seven months out of action following the 2014 Belmont Stakes.  The classy colt ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown as a three year-old, highlighted by a second place finish in the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes.  Ride On Curlin ran seventh in the Kentucky Derby and did not finish the Belmont, exiting the race with an injury.  The four year-old son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin also ran third in the 2014 Grade 3 Southwest Stakes and Grade 2 Rebel before a second place finish in the Arkansas Derby.  Jon Court will have the mount breaking from post seven. 

7/2 second choice Golden Lad won the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn last March, but hasn’t won since, finishing no better than fifth in a trio of graded stakes tries.  The Todd Pletcher trainee has won 5 of 11 career starts for earnings of $267,420.  Ricardo Santana gets the call breaking from post eight.

Code West (9/2) has had a useful career and always seems to make his presence felt.  The five year-old is trained by Boyd Caster and will be seeking his first win since August 2014 with Chris Landeros in the irons from post four.