1989 Oak Tree Invitational Handicap

Under Russell Baze, who hadn't been on him since the colt won the first race of his life at Del Mar in 1988, Hawkster rolled to a huge lead early before 34866 fans and was still rolling at the finish. He won the Oak Tree by four lengths over Pay the Butler in a time of 2:22 4/5, the fastest 1 1/2 miles ever run, and a time that's considered a world record even though horses going that distance at Santa Anita have the advantage of running the start of the race downhill. Hawkster earned $300000 for his owner, Shelly Meredith of Del Mar, with Baze earning 10% of that for the biggest one-race payoff of his 16-year career. Baze, 31, won the Oak Tree with Both Ends Burning in 1984 when first place was worth $240000. Hawkster, undefeated in four grass starts after going two for 13 on dirt and finishing fifth in all of the Triple Crown races, is a leading candidate for an Eclipse Award on turf. Meredith is not leaning toward running in the $2-million Breeders' Cup Turf at Gulfstream Park, which would require a $240000 supplementary entry payment. Other choices include the Hollywood Derby and the Japan Cup, but no matter where Hawkster races, McAnally made it clear that Baze will continue to ride him. "Pat (Valenzuela) is awfully talented," McAnally said, "but he's not reliable and what happened today really left me hanging. Neither Pat or his agent (Jerry Ingordo) contacted me, and then they weren't to be found. I had to find out from the other agents. "We put Pat on this horse ...

 

 



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