Delta Downs' featured race on Saturday night was the $100,000 Delta Mile Stakes and Empire Racing Stables, LLC's Stephen's Answer won a thriller with jockey Quincy Hamilton in the saddle for trainer Robertino Diodoro.
After scoring two easy wins against lesser competition earlier in the season, Stephen's Answer looked to notch a big stakes win while setting the pace, which is his customary running style. After the break, Stephen's Answer went straight to the lead and carved out fractional times of 23.23 seconds for the opening quarter mile, 47.39 for the half and 1:12.44 for three quarters. As the field of nine approached the top of the homestretch the eventual winner was challenged by Late Nite Mischief, but that one could not get by, leaving the lead to Stephen's Answer in deep stretch.
As the finish line was approaching a late bid was made by Extirpator under jockey Jose Guerrero, who was rallying stoutly down the middle of the racetrack. The come-from-behind effort came up a neck short as Stephen's Answer just held on for the win. Late Nite Mischief saved the show, another half-length behind the top pair.
Stephen's Answer covered the eight-furlong distance in a time of 1:40.51 over a fast track.
The win by Stephen's Answer was his third in a row at Delta Downs, keeping his local record perfect. Overall, he has won nine of 39 starts and earned a total of $203,077. Saturday's win was worth $60,000.
Bred in Maryland by Wayne Morris & Juanita Morris, Stephen's Answer is a 6-year-old bay gelding by Stephen Got Even out of the Seeking Daylight mare Answer by Daylight.
Sent to the gate at odds of 9-2, Stephen's Answer paid 11.20 to win, $6.20 to place and $4.40 to show. Extirpator was worth $12.40 to place and $7.60 to show. Late Nite Mischief returned $3 to show.
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