Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s homebred Blame gave notice of his intentions in the older horse ranks for 2010 with a sterling victory in the $100,000 William Donald Schaefer Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) in his first start of the year May 15 at Pimlico Race Course.
With Garrett Gomez riding Blame for the first time for trainer Al Stall Jr., the favorite rated off the pace set by Understatement while saving ground. He rallied from the inside into the stretch, surging between horses to put a head in front at the furlong pole and pulling away to an easy score by 1 1/2 lengths in the 1 1/16-mile test on the main track.
“We knew he was ready to run, but that doesn’t mean anything until you actually see it," Stall said. "We’re happy to see him back in form. It was a perfect race. Garrett had to use him to get through that hole a little bit, but he got a lot out of it on a deepish racetrack."
Stall said he's leaning toward the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) on June 12 for Blame's next start.
Suarez Racing’s No Advantage, winner of last year's Schaefer by 2 3/4 lengths, rallied strongly from last after a half-mile to finish second by a half-length. Circle E Racing and Phillip Solondz’ Timber Reserve, who chased the leader throughout before making a stretch bid for the lead, checked in third by a neck over Bullsbay . Flying Private and Edgewater were next. Early leader Understatement, the second choice, finished last after showing the way for six furlongs.
Time for the race was 1:43.40 on a fast track after fractions of :24 for the opening quarter-mile, :48.38 for a half-mile, 1:12.14 for six furlongs, and 1:37.05 for the mile.
“The pace was OK going up the backside, but Johnny (Velazquez aboard Understatement) tried to slow it down and I was right on top of them," Gomez said. "He was tracking well and we had to wait a little bit until things settled. He went between them and gave me a big finish. I knew he was a nice horse.”
In his first race since winning the Clark Handicap (gr. II) Nov. 27, Blame paid $4.40, $3.40, and $2.60 to win as the 6-5 choice in the field of seven. No Advantage, ridden by Manuel Chaves at odds of 24-1, returned $14.40 and $7, completing a $67.20 exacta. Timber Reserve, with Javier Castellano aboard, was $7.20 to show. I Know Why scratched.
Blame, a 4-year-old Kentucky homebred colt by Arch out of the Seeking the Gold mare Liable, won four of six starts last year, including the Fayette Stakes (gr. II) and the Clark, both against older foes. He had been working steadily at Keeneland in preparation for his 2010 debut.
The bay colt has now won six of nine starts in his career and has triumphed on both dirt and synthetic surfaces. He earned $60,000 for the victory and has now banked $676,747.