Lukas Pointing Last Samurai, Caddo River To Feb. 18 Razorback Handicap – Horse Racing News


Last Samurai and Jon Court en route to a four-length win in the 2022 Oaklawn Handicap

Millionaire multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Last Samurai returned to the work tab Friday morning at at the Hot Springs, Ark., track, covering a half-mile in :51 over a fast track for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Lukas said before training hours Friday morning that he planned to run Last Samurai in the $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 18 at Oaklawn. In his last start, Last Samurai finished fourth, beaten seven lengths, in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) for older horses at 1 1/8 miles Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park.

Lukas will be taking an old-school approach in search of his 50th career Oaklawn stakes victory, wheeling back Last Samurai in 21 days.

“Well, it’s not really right back,” Lukas, 87, jokingly said. “It’s three weeks. You’re not dealing with 20-year-olds. If I were sitting here with Woody Stephens and Charlie Whittingham, they would look at you and say, ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ It’s 21 days.”

Lukas said he was pleased with Last Samurai’s performance in the Pegasus World Cup, noting that he might have finished third if he hadn’t spread a shoe during the race.

“But it was worthwhile,” Lukas said. “The purse was large enough that he picked up a nice check, a real nice check.”

Last Samurai earned $140,000 for his Pegasus finish, bumping his career total to $1,241,039. Last Samurai has done his best work at Oaklawn, where he has a 2-2-0 record from seven starts and earnings of $814,700. Last Samurai won the $150,000 Poinsettia Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles in December 2021 and the $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2) for older horses at 1 1/8 miles last April. Last Samurai ran seventh in last year’s Razorback.

Both Oaklawn stakes victories were when Last Samurai was trained by Dallas Stewart and owned by the now-deceased Willis Horton of Marshall, Ark. Horton’s family continues to campaign Last Samurai. Lukas began training Last Samurai following the Oaklawn Handicap.

Lukas said he also still plans to run 2021 Arkansas Derby runner-up Caddo River in the Razorback for Arkansas lumberman John Ed Anthony’s Shortleaf Stable. Previously with trainer Brad Cox, Caddo River moved to Lukas’ barn following a runner-up finish in a Jan. 21 allowance race at Oaklawn.

“I’m feeling my way, trying to find the way to go with him and how to train him,” Lukas said. “He’s really a lovely horse.”

The Razorback closed Feb. 3 with 31 nominations. Post positions are to be drawn Sunday. Lukas won the Razorback in 1985 with Imp Society.

The Razorback is a major local prep for the $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 22.

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