2022 Oaklawn Mile & Carousel Stakes Recap

Away from the Derby and Oaks preps at Oaklawn Park on Saturday there were two exciting finishes on the undercard; Fulsome saw off the persistent threat of Cezanne to land the 2022 Oaklawn Mile while Acting Out led every step of the way in the ungraded Carousel and still had enough in the tank late on to thwart the strong finish of Frank’s Rockette.

Fulsome full of promise

2022 Oaklawn Mile – Grade 3

In a finish to the Oaklawn Mile more reminiscent of a European turf race, with the pink and white Juddmonte colours overcoming the dark blue of Coolmore, it was Fulsome who prevailed by a neck from Cezanne after a thrilling duel through the short stretch.

The Juddmonte four-year-old’s performance was even more creditable considering that he was returning from a six-month layoff, and Fulsome showed no sign of rust under Florent Geroux, sitting at the back of the nine runners until shifting into top gear around the turn. By that point the odds-on favourite Cezanne had kicked for home, but the 8-1 fourth-choice was quickly in pursuit and ran down the leader in the last sixteenth. Runnin’ Ray, prominent throughout, was two lengths back in third; the clock showed 1:36 and two-fifths.

It wasn’t quite the plain sailing it appeared from the grandstand. “He pulled up a little when he hit the front,” said Geroux. “I was shouting ‘no, no, no’!”. Cezanne rallied but Fulsome and Geroux had just enough in hand.

“He’s a very honest horse, he always tries and he ran big today,” said Cox, who later combined with Geroux to win the G1 Arkansas Derby. “He made a big run and had momentum down the lane. Whenever there’s pace to run at, he’ll come running.”

This was the third G3 score for Fulsome, who has never been outside the first four in 11 starts and has now won on both visits to Oaklawn.

Acting Out steals the show

2022 Carousel Stakes

Last year was a write-off for Acting Out, zero-for-five, but 2022 has been a different story and the grey mare is unbeaten in two this year following her narrow victory in the Carousel, her first at stakes level.

The 6-1 third-choice sizzled gate-to-wire under Martin Garcia, opening up a little at the top of the lane and digging in gamely to turn back the late threat of odds-on favourite Frank’s Rockette – runner-up in this race for the second year running, and in receipt of 7lb from Acting Out – and win by a half-length, stopping the clock in 1:09 and one-fifth. Novel Squall was never dangerous but kept on for third, two and a quarter lengths back.

The five-year-old is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and part-owned by Art Sherman, the former jockey and trainer who guided the great California Chrome to so many victories, including the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and the 2016 Dubai World Cup.

“She’s fast,” said Sherman. “She can smoke away from the gate, has that speed. She ran a great race, I was so proud of her, she’s just all heart. That was exciting.”

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