Champion Hold Air Hostage Wins Sooner State Stakes

The 4-year-old gelding scores his fourth graded stakes win on Saturday.

Q-Racing Journal

Darling Farms' Hold Air Hostage sprinted to a three-quarter length win in Saturday's 400-yard, $100,000 Sooner State Stakes. PHOTO: Dustin Orona Photography/Remington Park

Darling Farms' Hold Air Hostage, last year's champion sophomore, made his 4-year-old debut with a three-quarter length win in Saturday's $100,000 Sooner State Stakes (RG1) for Oklahoma-breds at Remington Park.

Ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo for trainer Jimmy Padgett, Hold Air Hostage covered 400 yards in :19.154 to earn a 106 speed index and miss by 53/1000ths of a second the track record set by Louisiana Senator on March 26, 2011. The gelded son of Apollitical Jess was making his first start since September 3, when he scored a 2 1/4-length victory as the fastest qualifier in the 440-yard, $1.366-million All American Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.

"He's coming back off of (knee) surgery, but 5/100ths off of the track record and (Vallejo) never got after him," Dan Darling said. "He's back."

Hold Air Hostage was bred by Luis Miguel Albores Gleason. Raced in Oklahoma and New Mexico, he has won nine of 12 starts, and his four stakes scores include last year's Grade 1, 440-yard Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso Downs and Grade 2, 400-yard Heritage Place Derby at Remington.

The $58,200 winner's share of the Sooner State purse pushed Hold Air Hostage's earnings to $1,274,517, of which $1,200,939 was pocketed during his 3-year-old campaign.

"Hold Air Hostage is just a freak; he is pure racehorse,” Padgett said. “Rodrigo came back and said ‘He’s still very, very fast.’ He’s had a layoff since last September. We did a little clean-up surgery on him and worked him here. That’s the first go, (and it was) pretty impressive.”

Tough To Bee finished second and was followed by AJs High, Gypsys Last Hero, Ferrari James, Double Down, Apolltical Chad, and Rarin.

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