02/07/2009 1:00AM

Prom Shoes takes control in stretch


Prom Shoes burst to the lead in the stretch and then comfortably held off a bid from Golden Yank to win the $100,000 Essex Handicap by 1 1/4 lengths at Oaklawn Park on Saturday. It was another three lengths back in third to Que Paso.

Prom Shoes ($25.80) raced in fifth early, settling in along the rail about eight lengths off the pace set by defending Essex champion Spotsgone. The latter led the field through fractions of 24.10 seconds for the opening quarter, 48.16 for the half-mile, and 1:13.01 for six furlongs, all while flanked by Solar Flare. Prom Shoes moved to the outside of horses midway on the final turn and took the lead in the stretch. He went on to cover the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.21.

Chris Emigh rode the winner for Patricia Blass and trainer Jinks Fires.

Prom Shoes, a 5-year-old son of Include, has now won 6 of 26 starts and $359,043. The Essex was the first of two local preps for the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap here April 4.

Attendance ontrack Saturday was 15,976.