HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Lawyer Ron, last year's Arkansas Derby winner, cruised to victory in the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap yesterday.
Lawyer Ron -- carrying 120 pounds, four more than any other in the seven-horse field -- covered the 11/8 miles in 1 minute, 49 seconds for a four-length victory.
Lawyer Ron, who was 3-0 at Oaklawn last year, paid $3, $3.20 and $2.20.
Brother Bobby finished second and returned $13.40 and $5, and Boboman paid $2.80 for third.
Jockey Edgar Prado said he got Lawyer Ron to relax early in the race, then let him sit behind the leaders.
"I finally let him go rather than keeping him under control too long," Prado said. "He moved past the leaders without any trouble and when one of them stayed with us a couple of strides, it did not bother me.
"I wasn't even moving my hands on him. He won without me ever using my whip."
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Lawyer Ron earned $300,000. Brother Bobby picked up $100,000 and Boboman $50,000.
Ermine made an outside charge to win the $500,000 Apple Blossom in Oaklawn Park's $1 million day for older horses, moving up from sixth at the far turn and holding off Take D' Tour to win by 11/4 lengths. Ermine, carrying 116 pounds including Eddie Castro, ran the 11/16-mile race for fillies and mares 4 years or older in 1:44.02.
Ermine paid $8, $4 and $2.40. Take D' Tour returned $5.20 and $3, and favorite Round Pond paid $2.40.
In traffic early, Ermine stayed patient off the pace and moved four wide coming off the far turn.
"Once we got outside she really kicked in with a big late move," Castro said. "I was comfortable down the backside to sit right in behind the leaders.
"When the eight horse (fourth finisher Baghdaria) moved up to challenge the leader around the second turn, I got in behind her so I could get around the horses up front when I asked her for her best."
Trained by Ronny Werner, Ermine earned $300,000 for her effort. Take D' Tour won $100,000 and Round Pond $50,000.
- Istan outran Paradise Dancer to win the $100,000 Artax Handicap by 21/2 lengths at Gulfstream Park.
Ridden by Manoel Cruz, Istan covered the 71/2 furlongs in 1:28.08.
The winner paid $9.40, $4.40 and $6. Paradise Dancer returned $4.80 and $7.40. B.B. Best paid $10.60 to show.