Article courtesy of Daily Racing Form.

By Mary Rampellini

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Recruiting Ready and trainer Horacio DePaz won their first stakes race together Thursday at Oaklawn in the $150,000 Bachelor. The stakes launched the annual Racing Festival of the South, a series featuring seven major races over the final three dates of the meet that ends Saturday with the Arkansas Derby.

Recruiting Ready ($6) moved to the lead shortly after the start of the Bachelor and was up by 1 1/2 lengths through an opening quarter in 21.60 seconds. He proceeded to take the field through a half-mile in 44.62 before finishing up six furlongs on a track rated fast in 1:09.09.

Recruiting Ready won by 5 1/4 lengths over Conquest Wildcat.

“This colt has shown a lot of talent,” said winning rider Horacio Karamanos. “The first time he started, he almost set a track record at Pimlico with Edgar Prado.”

Recruiting Ready invaded from Maryland for the Bachelor and was a supplement to the race for 3-year-olds. DePaz has trained Recruiting Ready throughout his career, among the horse’s efforts a runner-up finish to eventual champion Classic Empire in last year’s Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill. DePaz saddled the first winner of his career at Laurel in August 2015, according to records from Daily Racing Form.

Recruiting Ready is a son of Algorithms who races for Sagamore Farm. He earned $90,000 in the Bachelor, improving his career record to three wins from eight starts for earnings of $188,765. He could run next at Pimlico, said Hunter Rankin, president of Sagamore Racing.

“Preakness Day is huge for us,” he said. “Obviously, we’re based in Baltimore, so we’ll point him for a race there.

“This goes to [DePaz]. He’s done a great job with the horse. It’s his first stakes win as a trainer, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. We love him.”

Oaklawn handled $3.6 million on its 10-race card from all sources Thursday. The festival continues Friday with the Grade 1, $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap, led by champion Stellar Wind, and the Grade 3, $400,000 Fantasy.