Giant Oaks Gains a Victory
Not only is the Clark Handicap a notable Grade II thoroughbred racing event on the racing calendar but it is also a part of the history of the Churchill Downs Racecourse, as it was first run in 1875. This makes it one of the oldest horse racing events in the country. On Friday, 26 November 2010, the Louisville racecourse was once again well supported by loyal racing fans who came to watch the 2010 edition of the Clark Handicap unfold at Churchill Downs. And for trainer Chris Block, it was a moment that has been a year in the making.
The Clark Handicap has a purse amount of $500 000 and eleven competitors walked into the starting gates to participate in this year’s event. When it came down to the final moments of the Clark Handicap, it was a face-off between just two horses, namely race favorite Successful Dan and Giant Oaks. Both four-year-old horses gave it their all as they headed towards the finish line, but Successful Dan was able to push his head out before Giant Oaks, leaving Block to think another victory had eluded them once again. But not even a second after the horse’s finished the race, did the objection sign appear, leaving spectators, owners and jockeys confused and unsure of the race’s outcome. Stewards objected to the victory, as there seems to have been a little scuffle as the field had turned into the homestretch. According to the stewards, Successful Dan bumped into Redding Colliery. A fact which jockey Rosie Napravnik confirmed, saying "He slammed me pretty hard. He knocked us completely off stride." Julien Leparoux, jockey for Successful Dan, defended his mount saying a sudden move from Demarcation caused Successful Dan to accidently veer into Redding Colliery’s path, but this was not supported by the stewards.
This led to Giant Oaks being placed into first position, giving him his first victory for the year. In every event, Giant Oaks had come close to victory, but had not been able to push through, leaving his trainer to wonder if his beautiful colt would ever get a break. But now it has finally arrived for Giant Oaks, leaving Block to comment that, "This guy, we've worked so hard getting him where he's at today, this has to rank right up there."