Tim Ritchey and Jeremy Rose, who hope to win the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with Afleet Alex, won a stakes on the undercard Saturday, taking the $50,000 Murmur Farm Starter Handicap with Testy Guy.
"He ran the way he needed to to win the race," trainer Ritchey said. "The track's good. It looks fine for us in the Preakness."
"We got a perfect trip," Rose concurred. "I'll be happy with a trip that good in the big one. The track is playing very fair. It is drying out perfectly. But, they always do a great job with this track."
Not having run since mid-March at Oaklawn, but a winner of two of three this year, Testy Guy had to withstand a strong challenge from the 3-2 favorite You Can Do, who was at first passed but came on again down the stretch.
Testy Guy is by Deputed Testamony, a local favorite who won the Preakness in 1983 and is the oldest living Preakness winner. How fitting on Preakness day for Deputed Testamony to sire a winner on the Preakness card.
The 6-year-old gelding is owned by Stanley Stables and was bred in Pennsylvania by Richard Eigenbrode. He is out of the Private Terms
mare Susquehanna Rose.
Testy Guy came from off the pace, behind early leaders Quick Punch, You Can Do, All Irish, and Quiet Gratitude. He swept by the leaders as they came out of the turn for home, but You Can Do, who had seized the lead for Ramon Dominguez, did not want to give it up. They battled down the stretch before Testy Guy, on the outside, wore down You Can Do to post the 1 1/4-length win.
"He ran a very game race," Dominguez said of the runner-up. "He set quick fractions and fought back when the winner came to him."
The race was restricted to horses that had run for a claiming price of $16,000 or less since last May 15. Testy Guy won for $10,000 and $16,000 at Oaklawn.
He covered the 1 1/16 mile in 1:44.55 and paid $12.60, $4.60, and $3.40. You Can Do returned $3.20 and $2.60 and All Irish paid $3.40.
The victory, Testy Guy's 12th in 42 career starts, gives him career earnings of $149,470.
Vincent Papandrea's popular Maryland bred P Day, who turned 10 years old on Friday, finished sixth in his final career start. The Private Terms gelding, who was born on Preakness Day in 1995, won 17 of his 57 lifetime starts and earned $683,023.
"He tried. He's the kind of horse you can't forget," said P.Day's trainer Martin Ciresa. "He's the quintessential racehorse. We claimed him (in November) to retire him. He likes the track scene, and we think where he's going (Turning Point Farm in Maryland) he'll be comfortable."