02/02/2013 6:42PM

Oaklawn: Donoharm extends winning streak to five in Essex Handicap


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Donoharm won his fifth straight race on Saturday, when he forged past 3-5 favorite San Pablo in the final sixteenth of the $100,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park. He won by three-quarters of a length, while San Pablo held second over a fast-closing Win Willy, who was another half-length back in third. The Essex was the first local prep for the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 13.

Donoharm ($17.40) settled in third in the early stages of the Essex, as Skyring moved to the lead and set fractions of 23.90 seconds for the opening quarter and 47.39 for the half-mile with San Pablo in close attendance. San Pablo took the lead at the quarter pole, as Donoharm advanced and then dug in through the stretch to get past San Pablo. The winner covered 1 1/16 miles on a track rated fast in 1:44.71.

“He’s just determined to win,” said Cliff Berry, who rode Donoharm for the partnership of Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch and trainer Bret Calhoun.

Donoharm’s streak dates back to Aug. 12, when he won a first-level allowance by five lengths at Monmouth Park. He won two more allowances between Monmouth and Delaware Park before taking the $70,000 Sam’s Town at Delta Downs in his stakes debut Nov. 17. Donoharm then won the $75,000 Fifth Season at Oaklawn on the opening-day card Jan. 11.

Calhoun said the horse’s uptick in form started last May, when he won a maiden race at Churchill Downs by seven lengths. It was his first start after being gelded.

“He’s been solid ever since,” said Calhoun.

The next race in Oaklawn’s series for older horses is the Grade 3, $150,000 Razorback Handicap on March 9.

Attendance ontrack Saturday was 11,884.