Rupp Racing's Into Mischief colt Owendale circled the field on the far turn and ran off to a $27.40 upset in Saturday's $200,000 Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, with 7-5 favorite Anothertwistafate second, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, in the 1 1/16 mile race for 3-year-olds, and Sueno third.
Knicks Go, Shang, Roiland, Harvey Wallbanger, Zenden, Hawaiian Noises and Chase the Ghost completed the order of finish.
Ridden by Florent Geroux for trainer Brad Cox, Owendale covered the distance on a fast track in 1:44.14 and earned 20 points as an official race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby on May 4. They were the first points won by Owendale, whose only previous stakes appearance resulted in an eighth-place finish in the G2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds in February, his last start. Anothertwistafate earned 8 points for second, giving the Northern California-based son of Scat Daddy 38 points, ranking him 23rd on the current list. Sueno earned 4 points and now has 32 Derby points, 6 fewer than Anothertwistafate and in 24th place. A maximum of 20 horses will start in the Kentucky Derby.
The winner, produced from the Bernardini mare Aspen Light, was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings. Owned by Barbara Banke, Stonestreet also sponsored the Lexington Stakes. Owendale was a $200,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate, purchased by John Wentworth from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent for Stonestreet.
Owendale, who had shown speed in previous starts, was taken off the pace by Geroux after breaking from the No. 8 post position, as Hawaiian Noises and Knicks Go volleyed for the early lead, going the opening quarter mile in :24.33 and the half in :48.23. After six furlongs in 1:12.88, Geroux made his move aboard Owendale, who had one horse beat in the run down the backstretch. Racing extremely wide while Anothertwistafate had nowhere to go on the inside behind the frontrunners, Owendale took command at the top of the stretch and rolled on to the victory after a one-mile fraction of 1:38.05. Anothertwistafate got through on the inside and was clearly second best, with Sueno rallying to get third.
“(I lost) a little (ground) but gained momentum,” Geroux said of his wide trip. “The horse was running really quick, and it was time to go. I just tipped him out, tapped him twice.”
Geroux was riding Owendale for the first time, replacing Shaun Bridgmohan, who fractured his collarbone in a spill in early March and has been sidelined.
“I wish I had a better trip,” said Javier Castellano aboard Anothertwistafate. “I was in tight all the way, and the two horses in front stopped early. But I kept coming and saved ground. The winner got the jump and in the meantime I was bottled up inside on the rail looking for room, and I didn't have any room.”
Corey Lanerie also had to wait on the inside aboard Sueno while Owendale made his winning move. “I found myself tracking (Anothertwistafate), and we both ran into traffic on the turn so I had to wait longer than I wanted to coming into the (finish of the 1 1/16-mile race.) I think it cost me a little bit. Did it cost me the win? I'm not sure. But I would have liked to have had some momentum when (Owendale) went by me. I still had the brakes on. Kind of unfortunate for the horse.”
Owendale debuted at Ellis Park in July but did not win until his third start at Indiana Grand in September. After two non-winning allowance performances at Churchill Down and Fair Grounds, Owendale won a Fair Grounds allowance race in January, then was no factor while wide on both turns in the Risen Star.
“Last race, we felt like he ate too much dirt, and he kind of backed out down the backside and then had too much to do,” said Ricky Giannini, assistant trainer to Cox. “Today, he ate the same amount of dirt. I think he's just maturing and turning into a good horse. He's always trained like it and today he put it all together and got the job done.”
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