William L. Pape’s hurdler Mixed Up caught Paradise’s Boss with less than a sixteenth of a mile remaining and then held off fast-closing Good Night Shirt to win the $159,125 Royal Chase for the Sport of Kings (NSA-I) in a three-horse photo finish Friday at Keeneland.
Paradise’s Boss led the field over the last of 13 hurdles in the 2 1/2-mile race, but Mixed Up and jockey Danielle Hodsdon rallied to win Keeneland’s lone hurdle race in a time of 4:42.95.
A neck separated Mixed Up and Good Night Shirt at the finish with Paradise’s Boss another neck back in third in the field of 11 5-year-olds and upward. Riddle finished fourth.
Mixed Up improved his record to seven wins in 15 starts over the hurdles and gave Pape and trainer Jonathan Sheppard their second win in the Royal Chase, one of North America’s richest races over jumps.
“He hadn’t raced since last year except for a training race, but we thought he was in pretty good shape,” said Sheppard. “He’s a very proud, cocky little horse. He always stays pretty up.”
Pape and Sheppard teamed to win the 2002 running with It’s a Giggle.
The winner paid $9, $6, and $3.40. Good Night Shirt, ridden by William Dowling, returned $17.60 and $9, and Paradise’s Boss with Xavier Aizpuru aboard paid $4.20.
Mixed Up, an 8-year-old gelding by Carnivalay out of Oh Nonsense won the New York Turf Writers Handicap (NSA-I) in August at Saratoga and then spent the fall chasing eventual Eclipse Award winner McDynamo in some of steeplechase racing’s most important events.
Preemptive Strike fell at the eighth fence while in the lead and Racey Dreamer fell at the 11th face. Jockeys Chip Miller and Matthew McCarron appeared to be uninjured.
Racey Dreamer, an 8-year-old son of A.P. Indy, stumbled at the jump. Track officials said he was euthanized after fracturing his leg.