03/02/2013 6:48PM

Oaklawn: King Henny shortens up to take Gazebo

Coady Photography
Ricardo Santana Jr. guides King Henny to a 1 3/4-length victory in the Gazebo for 3-year-old sprinters.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - King Henny overtook pacesetter Titletown Five in the late stages of the $60,000 Gazebo on Saturday for a 1 1/4-length win in the six-furlong stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park. Titletown Five, making his first start since October, won a tight photo for second over Malibu High.

Get Happy Mister, who brought a 4-for-4 record into the Gazebo, dueled with Titletown Five through a half-mile and finished seventh in what was his first race since August.

King Henny ($23.80) was turning back from a mile for the Gazebo, and raced in third as Titletown Five quickly moved to the lead and was pressed through fractions of 22.62 seconds for the opening quarter and 46.77 for the half-mile. King Henny began to advance into the stretch and rallied to cover the distance on a track rated fast in 1:12.

“He broke perfect and got into a perfect position,” said Ricardo Santana Jr., who rode King Henny for trainer Steve Asmussen. “When I called on him, he did what I wanted. I had a lot of horse in the stretch.”

D. Wayne Lukas, who trains Titletown Five, an individual betting interest in this weekend’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager, noted the solid fractions put up by Titletown Five.

“I didn’t want to sprint first race back,” he said. “In hindsight, he needed the race. He got a little late.”

Lukas had entered Titletown Five in a one-mile allowance for Saturday at Oaklawn, and when it did not fill he acted on an option to move the horse into the Gazebo.

Lukas said next-race plans for Titletown Five are to be determined. The horse races for a partnership that includes Hall of Fame football players Paul Hornung, who was at Oaklawn on Saturday, and Willie Davis.

King Henny earned $36,000 for the win for owners Erv Woolsey and Keith Asmussen, who is the father of trainer Steve Asmussen. It was the third career stakes win for King Henny, a son of Henny Hughes who is now 4 for 7 for earnings of $196,750.

Attendance ontrack Saturday was 15,175.