David Reynolds' homebred Mt. Carson earned his first stakes win of the year in the $100,000 Hirsch Jacobs Stakes for 3-year-olds at Pimlico Saturday.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez put the Lord Carson colt in a stalking position early, then swung out wide in the lane prior to pulling away from the field to defeat Gators N Bears by 2 1/4 lengths.
Only the Best broke on top in the eight-horse field, but was quickly overtaken by Love Sam for the early lead. Love Sam set a quick opening quarter of :22.96 in the six-furlong race. Only the Best, with Patrick Valenzuela aboard, was just off the leader and the tandem had a few lengths on the rest of the field.
After a half-mile in :45.82, Mt. Carson entered the fray from just off the pace and collared Love Sam. He hit the five-furlong mark in :58.23 on his way to the line. Gators N Bears rallied for second with a ground-saving trip under Ryan Fogelsonger. Only the Best held on for third. The final time was 1:10.85.
"I let him sit in behind the speed duel," Dominguez said. "He drifted off the inside going around the turn 'cause the going is getting a little heavy down on the rail. I had a clear shot at the top of the stretch and he just exploded and won with something left."
Fogelsonger said, "I was stuck on the inside for a while, but the rail opened up and I took a shot at running down the leader. We got by, but unfortunately, so did someone else."
Get Smarter, the 2-1 favorite in the field of eight, finished sixth.
"There's not much to say," said jockey Jose Santos. "He was just not handling this track at all."
Bred in Kentucky, Mt. Carson is out of the Cox's Ridge mare Mt. Gibson Gold. The chestnut colt is trained by Rodney Jenkins, who is in the midst of having a great meet at Pimlico, winning with nearly 40% of his starters.
"He likes the mud," noted Jenkins. "He won a 100 K in the mud."
Mt. Carson paid $9, $5.20, and $3.80. Gators N Bears returned $6.20 and $420. Only the Best paid $3.80. The 7-3 exacta paid $43.80.
Mt. Carson now has a 4-2-1 record from nine starts and earnings of more than $190,000. Last year he won the Dover Stakes at Delaware Park. Earlier this year he ran third in the $50,000 Horatious Stakes at Laurel Park. He came into the Hirsch Jacobs off a non-winners of two allowance victory at Delaware Park.