Under a steady rain, top Kentucky Derby prospect Birdstone never got going in Saturday's $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II), clunking home fifth as 16-1 frontrunner Sinister G scored a major surprise at Turfway Park.
Ridden by Paul Toscano for his father, trainer John Toscano Jr., the son of Matty G
–Sinister Punch (by Two Punch) kicked away from challenger That's an Outrage in mid-stretch. He went on to a 1 1/2-length win in a time of 1:50 3/5 for the 1 1/8-mile test on a track rated fast after being sealed prior to the race.
Sinister G, not nominated for the Triple Crown, is owned by Robert Toscano and John Toscano III, both sons of the trainer, and family friends Kim Corrado and Yamile Carlat.
Tricky Taboo edged Little Maath Man for second by three-quarters of a length, but was unable to cut into Sinister G's lead through the lane. That's an Outrage faded to fourth, 7 1/2 lengths ahead of Birdstone, the 3-5 choice ridden by Jerry Bailey. Birdstone finished 10 3/4 lengths behind the winner.
Paul Toscano said the track, which later was rated wet-fast, made him decide to go right for the lead.
``I was a little concerned once it was sealed,'' he said. ``I thought the strategy had to change. I had the lead, so that was fine.''
Breaking from the outside in the field of 11, Sinister G established an early lead while covering the opening quarter mile in :23 1/5. With Stolen Time chasing, the dark bay colt clicked off a :47 1/5 half. Heading into the final turn, That's an Outrage, ridden by Robby Albarado, bulled his way into contention five wide on the outside of the frontrunner to draw nearly even after six furlongs in 1:11 2/5. The two battled to mid- stretch before Sinister G won that fight after a 1:37 1/5 mile.
Tricky Taboo, who was five wide into the first turn, moved up on the backstretch and rallied nicely in the stretch to get second. Little Matth Man was far back for Pablo Fragoso in the early going, angled wide on the final turn and finished willingly.
Birdstone, who broke from the inside, steadied a couple of times early, recovered while racing forwardly along the inside through six furlongs before faltering in the drive.
Trainer Nick Zito said Birdstone, the winner of last year's Champagen Stakes (gr. I) and the second choice of the public in the most recent Kentucky Derby Future Wager, was compromised by the sealed track.
"I don't know why they sealed the track earlier," he said. "This is the only bad race he's ever run."
Completing the order of finish were Hasslefree, Tap Dancing Mauk, Stolen Time, New Element, Hippocrates and Silver Minister, the 5-1 second choice in the field of 11.
Sinister G was making his first start in a graded stakes race Saturday. He was second by a nose in his most recent effort, an optional claiming/allowance race at Aqueduct March 5. He was last of seven, beaten by 37 3/4 lengths in his previous start, the Whirlaway Feb. 7 at Aqueduct.
An Ocala Breeders' buy in April for $67,000, Sinister G earned $300,000 for his third win in eight career starts. His bankroll stands at $380,416 for the partnership of Tascano.
Sinister G paid $34.80, $14.20 and $8. Tricky Taboo returned $33.60 and $13. Little Matth Man showed for $5.80. The $2 exacta was worth $1,176.