Lothenbach Stables, Inc.’s homebred Mister Marti Gras rallied down the stretch and overtook the pace-setting Lonesome Street in the final yards to win the $55,143 Friday afternoon feature at Churchill Downs by a neck.
Trained by Chris Block and ridden to victory by Shaun Bridgmohan, the 4-year-old gelded son of Belong to Me rated patiently in sixth in the field of seven through fractions of :24.06, :47.27, and 1:10.81 set by Lonesome Street under Julien Leparoux before angling out in the stretch and finishing with a furious run on the outside to just get up. Mister Marti Gras covered the mile over a Matt Winn Turf Course rated “firm” in 1:34.26.
Mister Marti Gras broke from post five as the 2-1 post time favorite and rewarded his backers with mutuels of $6.20, $3.20 and $2.20. Lonesome Street finished a neck behind in second and paid $3.80 and $2.40, with Mystic another length back in third returning $2.40.
The victory was worth $33,600 and increased the Kentucky-bred’s bankroll to $330,296 with a record of 4-4-1 from 15 starts.
Also on Friday’s 11-race card, leading trainer Steve Asmussen won three races – Berberis in Race 5, Awesome Arceno in Race 8 and Legendary Heart in Race 11 – to bring his season total to 12. The latter was ridden by Julien Leparoux, who rode two winners to bring his Churchill Downs career win total to 466 and one ahead of Patrick A. Johnson for 10th all-time at the Louisville racetrack.
Racing continues Saturday with an 11-race program highlighted by two Grade III, $100,000 events: the 37th running of the Dogwood (Race 9 at approximately 4:59 p.m. ET) and the 23rd running of the Aristides (Race 10 at 5:29 p.m. ET). Post time for the first race is 12:45 p.m. ET.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012. The track’s 2011 Spring Meet opened April 30 and continues through July 4. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record seven times and the event will return to the track for its next renewal on Nov. 4-5, 2011. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
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