Mount Lemon rallied in deep stretch to win the $98,000 Turfway Park Fall Championship Handicap (gr. III) by a neck Saturday at Turfway Park. Over a fast track, the Jere R. Smith Jr. trainee completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.14 over a fast track. Unloosened finished second, followed by Phil the Grip, Kimberlite Pipe, Glacial, Coast of Mane, and Irish Silence.
"I was comfortable sitting right off them (early leaders Kimberlite Pipe and Phil the Grip)," said winning jockey Robby Albarado. "On the backside, (Francisco) Torres' horse (Unloosened) was coming, but I wasn't ready to make my move. I had to be patient where I was and wait to take my turn. Then I finally got him outside and he made his patented run."
Mount Lemon (Sunny's Halo--Lettuce Miss, by Al Nasr), a 6-year-old gelding, was bred in Kentucky by Q Fund Thoroughbreds and is owned by Panic Stable LLC and Paul Gange. He earned $62,600 for the win, his 18th in 56 career starts. Prior to Saturday's race, Mount Lemon won the Kentucky Cup Starter Handicap after finishing second in both the Prairie Meadows Handicap and Buckpasser Stakes, both won by Dust on the Bottle.
"This horse is great," said Smith. "It makes the job easy for the jockey and for the trainer when a horse goes out and gives his all every time. We've been picking our spots all year with him and it resulted in a big win here today."
Mount Lemon returned $8.20, $4.80, and $3.80. Unloosened paid $9.20 and $6. Phil the Grip paid $3.80. The exacta was worth $68.60. (Chart, Equibase