03/10/2012 7:06PM

Oaklawn: Alternation changes tactics to take Razorback


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - In a departure from his off-the-pace style, Alternation moved to the lead soon after the start of the Grade 3, $125,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park on Saturday and never relinquished his position for 1 1/2-length win over favorite Tapizar. It was another 5 3/4 lengths back in third to Color Me Blue.

The Razorback shared a card with the Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee won by On Fire Baby.

Alternation ($4.60) broke smartly in the Razorback and took the lead heading into the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile race. He set fractions of 23.62 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.13 for the half-mile, and 1:11.88 for six furlongs, with Tapizar tracking in second. Alternation continued strongly through the stretch to cover the distance on a track rated fast in 1:43.50.

“He broke sharp and he put me there and kept on going,” said winning rider Luis Quinonez. “He ran his eyeballs out today.”

Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Alternation for Pin Oak Stable, said the horse would likely make his next start in the Grade 2, $350,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 14. Alternation has now won two legs of Oaklawn’s series for older horses, the other being the $100,000 Essex on Feb. 4.

Alternation, a 4-year-old by Distorted Humor, earned $75,000 for his win in the Razorback, his sixth victory from 11 starts. He has now earned $480,004.