Kendel Standlee's In The Navy stalked the pace and strolled to victory on Friday afternoon to add a second stakes victory to his resume in the $50,000 Mr. Sulu Overnight Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Trained by Scott Gelner, the 4-year-old son of Midshipman was second in the race's early stages under jockey Adam Beschizza and sat patiently to the outside of Morning Mischief who set opening fractions of 23.92, 49.43 and 1:14.47. With a furlong-and-a-half left to run, In The Navy confronted Morning Mischief and drew off to win the Mr. Sulu by a length in a time of 1:37.98. Grande Basin closed late to get second while the favorite Ninety One Assault completed the trifecta.
“It looked like if I left him with too much to do it was probably going to be too much of a task,” Beschizza said following the race. “Especially with Ninety One Assault in there, I would rather be ahead of him than behind him. He was definitely the one to beat in here. It was a competitive little race. It was just horse and trip, really.”
In The Navy picked up his second career stakes win in the Mr. Sulu. Two starts ago, he took the Louisiana Cup Turf Classic Stakes at Louisiana Downs on August 4. In addition, a triumph in the Mr. Sulu upgraded his career bankroll to $192,090 having acquired $29,760 from the race. His lifetime record now stands at 21-6-4-4.
In The Navy's start prior to the Mr. Sulu was a troubled fourth-place finish at Louisiana Downs in an open company turf allowance.
“He had a bad trip that day,” Gelner said by phone from Delta Downs. “He was stuck on the fence with nowhere to go. I just think he's improved with his age. He's late maturing horse and he's got so much better this year.”
Gelner stated that the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf Stakes on December 8 would likely be his next start.
In The Navy paid $14.40, $7.60 and $3.60 while longshot Grande Basin rewarded his place and show backers in the form of payouts of $38.20 and $16.40. Ninety One Assault paid $2.60.
Rounding out the field were Magic Vow, Sir Genghis, Eden's Grey Kitten, Gladyousawme, Mageez, Morning Mischief, Pursuit of a Dream, Berniestrike and Autumn Warrior.
In The Navy was bred in Louisiana by his owner and is out of the Dixieland Band broodmare Southern Princess.
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