Upstart Returns in Razorback Handicap

Upstart draws clear in the 2015 Holy Bull Stakes.

Upstart draws clear in the 2015 Holy Bull Stakes.

Saturday’s eighth race at Oaklawn is the 57th running of the Razorback Handicap (GII), the last local prep for the Oaklawn Handicap (GI) on April 16. Ralph Evans’ Upstart, a highly regarded runner on the Triple Crown trail last year, makes his 2016 debut against nine other older handicap runners. He is the 120-pound highweight for the 1 1/16-mile event and ships in from Palm Meadows in Florida for trainer Rick Violette.

The New York-bred son of Flatter hasn’t won a race in more than a year since taking last year’s Holy Bull Stakes (GIII) at Gulfstream Park, but looks solidly placed in this spot.

The local favorite for the Razorback is Michael Langford’s Carve, who is trained by Hall of Fame nominee Steve Asmussen. Carve has won four of his 10 career starts at Oaklawn Park and is making his second start of the year after a decent third in the Essex Handicap last out.

Last year’s Southwest Stakes winner Far Right enters off a pair of decent starts in allowance company this year, including a win in an optional claiming race last out.

Post time for the Razorback Handicap will be 5:57 EDT.

Margaret Ransom
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.

After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.

She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.

In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law known as the “Borell Law.”

Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time. She lives in Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, two Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.

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