Oaklawn: Exulting rallies to win inaugural Mile

HOT SPRINGS — Michael M. Hui’s Exulting wore down the determined Brad Cox-trained pair of Exclamation Point and Pioneer Spirit late to prevail by a length in the inaugural running of the $250,000 Oaklawn Mile.
Making his first start since being claimed for $62,500 at Aqueduct April 13, Exulting broke last of 11 and settled near the back of the field while Lenstar led the field through fractions of :23 3/5 and :46 2/5 for the first half mile. Exclamation Point took the lead by a head around the final turn and was soon joined by his stablemate Pioneer Spirit, but neither could hold off the winner, who complete the one mile race in 1:36 3/5 over a fast track.
It was an Arkansas-owned trifecta. Hui is from Little Rock, Staton Flurry, the owner of runner up Exclamation Point, is from Hot Springs and Steve Landers of Little Rock owns third-place finisher Pioneer Spirit.
“It feels phenomenal (as an Arkansas owner winning my first stakes race at Oaklawn),” Hui said. “You claim a horse. You have faith and trust in your trainer. You’ve got to have the right trip. He stumbled coming out of the gates. I know we got checked in the turn. I was hoping, ‘Let’s just hit the board.’ He had a lot of horse.”
Exulting, a 6-year-old Tapit gelding trained by Mike Maker, improved his record to 5-2-2 in 17 starts and has now earned $458,292. He paid $23.80, $10.40 and $6 at odds of 10-1.
Live racing resumes Saturday for the final day of the 2019 live racing season. Gates open at 9 a.m. and first post is 12:30 p.m. The 12-race card is headlined by the $300,000 Oaklawn Invitational and $200,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Championship. Oaklawn will also have the complete simulcast of the 145th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs.

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