01/26/2013 7:17PM

Oaklawn: Apprehender scores front-running win in King Cotton

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Apprehender, ridden by Alex Birzer, proves uncatchable in the King Cotton.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- Apprehender became the first stakes winner for his multiple Grade 1-winning dam, Missy’s Mirage, when he set a pressured pace and prevailed in the $60,000 King Cotton at Oaklawn Park on Saturday. It was a length back in second to Alsvid, who finished 2 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Laurie’s Rocket. 

Apprehender ($8.20) forged to the lead soon after the start of the King Cotton, and proceeded to set fractions of 22.32 seconds for the opening quarter and 45.76 for the half-mile mark, pressed by Hamazing Destiny. In midstretch, Bet the Power and Alsvid made runs at Apprehender, but he kicked on to cover the distance on a track rated fast in 1:10.08.

“He ran a big race,” said Alex Birzer, who rode Apprehender for trainer Chris Richard.

The King Cotton was a reversal of last fall’s $200,000 Remington Park Sprint Championship, when Alsvid edged Apprehender by a nose. At the time both horses were 3.

“Alsvid is a nice horse and we’re ecstatic to get the jump on him today,” said Richard. “[Apprehender] is very tough. He’s a very nice horse. He gives you a good shot every time you lead him over.”

Apprehender earned $36,000 for the win - his fifth from 11 starts - which pushed his career earnings to $206,433. He is by Posse and one of seven foals to race from Missy’s Mirage, a multiple Grade 1 winner of $792,418.

Attendance ontrack Saturday was 10,133.