02/13/2016 7:18PM

La Macchina rallies for Essex Handicap victory

Coady Photography
La Macchina won his second straight race, winning the Essex Handicap in a time of 1:45.27.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - La Macchina closed from last to first to win the $100,000 Essex Handicap before an estimated crowd of 24,000 Saturday at Oaklawn Park. He rallied for a half-length score over Ain’t Got Time, while Carve was a length back in third.

The Essex, a 1 1/16-mile race for older horses, is the second leg of Oaklawn’s handicap series. The first race in the series was the $100,000 Fifth Season on January 16, won by Street Strategy. The next race on the schedule is the Grade 3, $300,000 Razorback on March 19.

La Macchina ($24.60) was content to let the pace go, trailing as Texas Bling took the field through fractions of 24.10 seconds for the opening quarter, 48.40 for the half-mile and 1:13.23 for six furlongs. La Macchina advanced on the final turn, angled out into the stretch, and ran down the field while covering the distance on a fast track in 1:45.27.

Channing Hill was aboard for O’zbekiston Racing and trainer Otabek Umarov.

“He really fired nice coming down the lane,” said Hill. “This horse really stepped up from his last race that he won here in late January. I’ve got to give Otabek a lot of the credit. He did a fantastic job getting the horse to this level. I can’t say much except he kicked hard when he needed to and got the job done.”

La Macchina was winning his second straight race behind an optional $20,000 claiming route Jan. 23 at Oaklawn. He earned $60,000 for the win, which was the third of his career from 12 starts. La Macchina is a 4-year-old by Malibu Moon and he was bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm.