Lothenbach Stables’ Mister Marti Gras rallied in deep stretch to overtake Alma d’Oro to win the 19th running of the $109,700 Ack Ack Handicap (Grade III) for 3-year-olds and up by a half-length.
Trained by Chris Block and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Mister Marti Gras raced near the back of the seven-horse field as Gladding led the field through fractions of :25.53, :51.03 and 1:15.25 on a muddy main track.
Turning for home, Glenwood Canyon got first run at Gladding with Alma d’Oro charging three wide and Mister Martin Gras four wide. At the eighth pole, Alma d’Oro assumed command, but was unable to hold off Mister Marti Gras, who completed the 1 1/16 miles on a muddy main track in 1:45.68.
A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Belong to Me out of the Cure the Blues mare Miss Marta, Mister Marti Gras earned $66,654 with the victory and improved his bankroll to $508,650 with a record of 19-6-5-1.
Mister Marti Gras, carrying 116 pounds, returned $7.80, $4 and $2.80. Alma d’Oro (116), ridden by John Velazquez, returned $6.60 and $4 in finishing a length ahead of Glenwood Canyon (117), who paid $2.60 to show under Robby Albarado.
Gladding was another 1 ¼ lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by Demarcation, Equestrio and Nacho Friend.
In the race following the Ack Ack, Pattons Creek Farm’s Will’s Wildcat went wire to wire to win the second running of the $85,000 The Jimmy V. Don’t Give Up … Don’t Ever Give Up! for 3-year-olds by 1 ¾ lengths over Wine Police.
Ridden by Calvin Borel and trained by Jim Baker, Will’s Wildcat, a Kentucky-bred son of Eurosilver out of the Forest Wildcat mare Wildcat Lady, covered the six furlongs on the main track in 1:09.44. The victory was worth $51,000 and improved Will’s Wildcat’s bankroll to $136,621 with a record of 12-3-1-1.
Will’s Wildcat returned $13.20, $6 and $4.20. Wine Police, ridden by Leparoux, returned $3.80 and $2.80 with Uncle Brent rallying for third under Kent Desormeaux to finish another length back and pay $4.60 to show.
Racing continues Saturday with the second day of the 28th Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The 12-race program that begins at 12:05 p.m. (ET) features nine championship races highlighted by the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) scheduled for 7 p.m.
ACK ACK QUOTES
Chris Block, trainer of Mister Marti Gras (winner) – “He (Mister Marti Gras) ran really well. I was a little concerned about the track because he’s never run over a surface like this (muddy), but he’s handled every track he’s been on. I was also worried about the slow fractions and didn’t know if he’d be able to close into that. With the way the race set up it was a big effort. Assuming he comes out of the race well, we’ll think about going to the Clark (Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25).”
Julien Leparoux, jockey of Mister Marti Gras (winner) – “He (Mister Marti Gras) was very relaxed through the first part of the race and then he finished up really well. It took him awhile to go by the horses, but once he got going I was pretty confident he was going to go by.”