03/19/2016 7:34PM

Upstart fires fresh in Razorback Handicap

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Upstart delivers as the favorite in the Grade 3 Razorback under jockey Joe Bravo

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Upstart rallied through the stretch to kick-start his 4-year-old season with a length win over Domain’s Rap in the Grade 3, $350,000 Razorback Handicap on Saturday at Oaklawn Park. It was another half-length back in third to Idolo Porteno, the 2014 Horse of the Year in Argentina making his first start in North America.

The Razorback was one of three graded stakes on a card that drew an estimated ontrack crowd of 35,000. It also served as the local prep for the Grade 2, $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 16. Rick Violette trains Upstart and said earlier this week the Oaklawn Handicap would be a consideration, depending on the results of the Razorback. In other stakes Saturday, Call Pat won the Azeri and Cupid captured the Rebel.

Upstart ($7.20), who was making his first start since finishing fifth in the Pennsylvania Derby, settled about five lengths off the pace set by Shotgun Kowboy, who took the field through fractions of 23.15 seconds  for the opening quarter-mile, 47.50 for the half-mile, and 1:12.94 for six furlongs. Upstart put in a big run around the final turn and rallied to cover 1 1/16 miles on a track rated fast in 1:44.12.

“You saw the move he made around the turn,” said winning rider Joe Bravo. “He's back. He's a pretty nice horse. He proved it to everybody. I'm just glad he's a big, happy horse for the rest of the season.”

Upstart, who was one of the top members of the 3-year-old class last year as the winner of the Grade 2 Holy Bull, earned $210,000 for winning his 4-year-old debut. He has now won 4 of 12 starts and $1,460,280. He is a son of Flatter and was bred in New York. Ralph M. Evans and WinStar Farm race Upstart, who was the 120-pound highweight for the Razorback.