Prince Arch came from off the pace rallying down the center of the course seven wide to take Thursday's $111,100 Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland.
Making his first start on the turf, Brass Hat was 5 3/4 lengths back in second, with Big Booster two lengths behind in third. Prince Arch completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:48.64.
The winner returned $7.80, $4.20,and $3.30. Brass Hat paid $7.20 and $5.80, with Big Booster retuning $6.60. The exacta returned $69.80 with the trifecta paying $503.
Mr. J.T.L. and Bachelor Blues broke quickly with Bachelor Blues leading the field of nine through fractions of :22.92 and :46.48 for the half and 1:11.08 after six furlongs. Prince Arch raced three and four wide down the backstretch in about sixth and seventh position before being asked by jockey Brice Blanc at the half-mile point and swinging out seven wide in the lane for the drive home.
"He doesn't need to be that far back but they were really flying up front," said Blanc. "He usually finishes pretty well but it took him a while to get into gear today, but when he did, he really kicked on for me."
Prince Arch entered the Forerunner off a second-place finish, beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Shakespeare, in the March 20 Caltech Stakes at Gulfstream Park. One race earlier he was 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner, Kitten's Joy, in the Feb. 21 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT), also at Gulfstream Park.
It was the third win in nine starts for Prince Arch, who could have been claimed for $30,000 in November. He increased his career earnings to $136,262.
Kenny McPeek conditions Prince Arch for Raymond Cottrell Sr. Pine Lake Bloodstock bred the son of Arch
out of the Kris mare Princess Kris in Kentucky. Prince Arch was purchased for $37,000 at the 2002 Keeneland September yearling sale.
"He needed to develop a lot when he was two," said McPeek. "He's really trained well over the last few weeks. As he gets older, you can tell he's more mature and stronger."