04/01/2016 6:46PM

Weast Hill wins Arkansas Breeders' Stakes

Coady Photography
Weast Hill and jockey Joe Rocco Jr. win the Arkansas Breeders' Stakes by four lengths Friday.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Weast Hill improved his Oaklawn Park record to 5 for 5 on Friday, when he won his two-turn debut in the $100,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Stakes. It was the third consecutive win at the meet for Weast Hill, who darted home by four lengths over Mallard’s Bro. It was another half-length back to Meanbone in third.

The Arkansas Breeders’ was for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles. It served as the first of three Arkansas-bred stakes to be run through Sunday at Oaklawn.

Weast Hill ($3.20) broke well and easily moved to the lead Friday, setting fractions of 23.18 seconds for the opening quarter and 47.46 for the half-mile while pressed by Indygo Bo. Weast Hill shook his pace foe after six furlongs in 1:13, rebuffed a bid from Meanbone into the stretch, then comfortably held off Mallard’s Bro to cover the distance on a fast track in 1:45.06.

“He’s a very, very good horse,” said winning rider Joe Rocco Jr. “I didn’t know how he would handle going long for the first time, but we were able to settle a little bit. I thought that was about as fast as we could go being up front without going too fast. He’s a nice horse and really showed it today.”

Turf will be the next frontier for Weast Hill, said winning trainer Brad Cox.

“He's going on the grass,” he said. “We've been wanting to try the grass for a while. That will be his next start.”

Weast Hill has won six of eight starts, with his other stakes wins coming in the Nodouble Breeders’ on Feb. 28 and the Rainbow last year at Oaklawn. He earned $60,000 for his win Friday to lift his career bankroll to $279,710. Weast Hill is a son of Rockport Harbor who was bred by his owner, Starsky Weast.