04/11/2015 5:06PM

Race Day delivers in Oaklawn Handicap

Coady Photography
Race Day, the even-money favorite under John Velazquez, scores by 3 3/4 lengths in the Oaklawn Handicap.

Race Day turned in another strong performance Saturday to win the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap by 3 3/4 lengths. The win was the third in four starts for Race Day since being purchased by Matt Schera and moved to the barn of Todd Pletcher - and improved his standing in the handicap division.

Race Day rated nicely on the early lead for jockey John Velazquez with Carve just to his outside. Together, they set fractions of 23.18 seconds, 46.71, and 1:10.51. In upper stretch, Race Day got the better of Carve and drew off while appearing to have more to give if asked.

Race Day covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.93 after getting a mile in 1:35.51. He paid $4.40 to win in the nine-horse field and combined with Carve for a $2 exacta worth $33.80.

It was four lengths back from Carve to third-place finisher Tapiture. Golden Lad  finished fourth, a neck farther back.

After the race, Schera indicated that Race Day could start next in the Met Mile at Belmont Park on June 6.

Schera purchased Race Day, a 4-year-old son of Tapit, for $285,000 out of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale. He had won two races in a row prior to the sale, a Keeneland maiden race and a Churchill Downs allowance.

Since being transferred to Pletcher, Race Day has won an optional-claiming race at Gulfstream Park by 8 1/2 lengths; finished third in the Grade 3 Fred Hooper at Gulfstream; and won the Grade 3 Razorback at Oaklawn by a neck after a long duel with Midnight Hawk.

In the one-mile Hooper, Race Day was bumped after the start and then had to steady in traffic where the chute meets the main track. Farther back than usual, he closed with determination but was beaten a half-length by Valid.

The Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap improved his career record to 8-5-1-2. He has now earned $610,000. Pletcher said after the race he would ship Race Day to New York.

“Super effort, I was very pleased with the trip,” Pletcher said. “We’ll get him home and Matt and I will discuss our options.”