Richard Otto's homebred Sir Anthony was an 8-1 surprise in Friday's G3 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows, closing from well off the early pace to score by a half-length on the wire. Ridden by Pedro Cotto, Jr., the 4-year-old Mineshaft ridgling covered nine furlongs over the fast main track in 1:48.98. The Cornhusker was the first win from 17 starts this season for trainer Anthony Mitchell.
Slow to get going out of the gate, Sir Anthony was at least a dozen lengths off the early leaders in the Cornhusker. There was a three-way battle for that front spot between Pinson, defending winner Remembering Rita, and Popularity, who set fractions of :23.00 and :46.72.
Sir Anthony made contact with the main body of the field in the backstretch, and Cotto gave him his cue at the half-mile pole. Winding up a four-wide bid, Sir Anthony was suddenly up into fourth with a quarter mile to run.
Meanwhile, Remember Rita had kicked away to a three-length advantage at the head of the lane. Cotto kept driving and Sir Anthony kept finding more, eventually running down the leader to hit the wire a half-length the best. Dark Vader closed with him to gain second over Remembering Rita, and Hence finished fourth.
Bred in Illinois by his owner, Sir Anthony is a second generation homebred out of the multiple stakes-placed Smart Strike mare Mourette. Otto purchased her dam, Amourette (El Gran Senor), for $30,000 at the 1997 Keeneland September sale, and she rewarded him with a trio of stakes wins and earnings of $248,786. Sir Anthony earned his first stakes win in August of his sophomore season, kicking off a four-race win streak that culminated in the G3 Harlan's Holiday win over Audible last December. It took Sir Anthony several starts to really blossom in his 4-year-old campaign, but the Cornhusker brings his overall record to 6-3-2 from 18 starts for earnings of over $400,000.
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