A former claimer winning by the far biggest race of his career, the 4-year-old gelding Dead Red was ridden to victory by Ray Fuentes, who earned his first stakes triumph. They eased past Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) winner Mach Ride, the 2-1 choice ridden by Elvis Trujillo in the field of nine, in the late stages to get the win in :55 3/5 for five furlongs on firm turf. Lord Robyn, Manny Aguillar aboard, finished third, another half behind.
“I’m very excited right now because that is my first win in a stakes race," Fuentes said. "This horse ran such a big race today. He always works good in the morning, and when I rode him back in January (in an allowance race), I was expecting more from him. He more than made up for it today.”
Mach Ride set a lively pace of :21 2/5 and :44 and led by 2 1/2 lengths in the stretch, but could not hold on.
Dead Red, a son of Out of Placewho was a $1,000 Keeneland September yearling buy in 2004, returned an eye-popping $143.20, $36 and $14.
The winner, trained by co-owner George Mikhalides, was claimed for $16,000 on May 8, 2006, at Calder, but has not raced the gelding for a tag in 2007. He earned $148,800 for his owners Milena Stable, Mirage Ranch and Mikhalides. The chestnut was coming off an optional claiming allowance win at Calder at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf June 30. Dead Red sports three wins in 20 lifetime starts and has banked $193,354.
“I claimed him for $16,000 partly because I thought he had some turf pedigree," Mikhalides said. "He had some foot issues, but has been getting better and better. I thought if they went too fast up front today, he might have a chance to run them down.
“I won stakes in France for Buckram Oak (Farm), but this is my first since coming over here about four years ago," the trainer said. "The best horse I had over here was probably Classy Migration, who finished second in the Carry Back (in 2004)."
Mach Ride, who was on a two-race winning streak for trainer Steve Standridge, paid $4.60 and $3.40. Lord Robyn returned $4.00 to show.