01/26/2002 12:00AM

Oaklawn: Richest Half upsets Cojet


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Richest Half rallied strongly through the stretch to win the $50,000 Mountain Valley Stakes before a crowd of 17,406 at Oaklawn Park.

It was a three-quarters of a length back ro runner-up and favorite Cojet, who finished a nose in front of Red and Rare.

Richest Half raced well behind a quick early pace in the Mountain Valley, emerged from midpack in the stretch, and ran down the leaders, covering the six furlongs over a fast track in 1:11.80. Ridden by Justin Vitek, he returned $29.20.

Richest Half is the second Mountain Valley winner in three years for owner Nelson Bunker Hunt, who also won the race with Charlie's Beau in 2000. Richest Half earned $30,000 for the win, which improved his earnings to $54,600.

Richest Half, who is trained by Steve Asmussen, has now won 4 of 5 starts, with his one loss coming in his lone start around two turns in the $150,000 Texan Juvenile at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston.