Calumet Farm homebred Lexitonian provided a 17-1 upset in the Grade 3 Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico, winning by a head over 8-1 chance Gladiator King. The 3-year-old son of Speightstown gave jockey Jose Ortiz his third win on the Preakness Stakes undercard, completing six furlongs over the fast main track in 1:09.74. The Chick Lang is trainer Jack Sisterson's second graded stakes win in his young career.
“He broke on top,” said Ortiz. “I could have gone to the lead if I'd wanted to, but I figured there was going to be a lot of speed in the first half. So [trainer] Jack [Sisterson] told me if I could relax him and sit him back 'I would be the man.' And that's what I tried to do. He relaxed really well, because the pace was really fast. When I asked him to go, he was there for me the whole time. He didn't switch leads in the stretch, but he was digging in. He was trying, and that's all that matters.”
Ortiz and Lexitonian were out front immediately out of the gate, but took back to let Gladiator King and Malpais duke it out on the front end through a first quarter in :22.65. Also up close early were Pyron and Admiral Lynch, while Lexitonian maintained third position along the inside.
Rounding the far turn, Ortiz angled out and took aim on the now-leading Gladiator King. It took the length of the stretch, but Lexitonian got the job done to hit the wire a head in front. Gladiator King had to settle for second, with Admiral Lynch just another head back in third.
The full order of finish was: Lexitonian, Gladiator King, Admiral Lynch, Pyron, Confessor, Still Dreaming, Malpais, Cabot, and 8-5 favorite Preamble finished last.
Bred in Kentucky by his owner, Lexitonian is out of the winning Tapit mare Riviera Romper. Calumet acquired the colt in utero at the Keeneland November sale with a final bid of $310,000; Riviera Romper is out of the Grade 1 winner Swap Fliparoo (Exchange Rate). Lexintonian broke his maiden at first asking at Belmont Park, but had not hit the board in three subsequent starts. The Chick Lang was his second start for Sisterson, and improves his record to two wins from five starts for earnings of $170,000.
“He came back fine after that race at Churchill,” said Sisterson. “I could be wrong, but he seems like a horse where the more you work, the more he could go over the top. So I figured I might as well run him instead of work him. Someone asked me this morning, 'What do you think of your horse today?' and I said, 'In my opinion he ran a much better race [at Churchill] than it looked on paper.' I know he ran an 80-something Beyer but [jockey] Joel [Rosario], who rode him at Churchill told me that he used him a little bit early and that if he were to ride him back, he'd take him back. It looked like he was going backwards on us at the quarter pole but then he started to finish up well – and it was a tough allowance as well.”
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