Mountain General found racing room along the inside just in time to win the $100,000 Taylor's Special Handicap Sunday at Fair Grounds.
Ridden by Corey Lanerie, heavily favored Mountain General was blocked in tight quarters at the top of the stretch. Lanerie got just enough space inside the eighth pole and Mountain General responded, splitting rivals to prevail by a half-length over Speed Hunter.
"When I was turning for home he was in tight and a little bit uncomfortable, but at the eighth pole he put his head in front and I could feel he became more comfortable with his position," Lanerie said.
Owned by Keith Asmussen and trained by his son, Steve Asmussen, Mountain General attracted the bulk of the show wagering for the second time in four starts this meet. The 4-5 favorite paid $3.80, $2.40, and $2.10.
Speed Hunter, who shipped over from Gulfstream Park for trainer Elliott Walden, held on by a neck for second from a fast-charging Doctor Mike on the rail.
Mountain General, a 5-year-old son of Mountain Cat, finished off six furlongs in 1:10.32 as the 119-pound high weight. The victory was his eighth in 22 lifetime starts and boosted his earnings over the $400,000 mark.
Mountain General, who set the track record of 1:08.03 in the Thanksgiving Handicap, will go for his third stakes win at the meet on Mar. 16 in the Pelleteri Breeders' Cup Handicap, his trainer said.