Tour of the Cat, ridden by Abad Cabassa Jr., led from start to finish and took the $100,000 Spend A Buck Handicap (gr. III) by a length over Best of the Rest on Saturday at Calder Race Course.
Best of the Rest, the 3-5 favorite, has won the Spend A Buck twice.
Trained by Myra Mora, the 5-year-old Tour d'Or gelding covered the 1 1/16 mile in 1:46 1/5 and paid $5.80, $2.40 and $2.10 as the 9-5 second choice in the wagering.
"He's awesome," said Cabassa. "He set the pace, they came to him, he was still fresh and dug in. There was really no pace maker. If there was going to be somebody in front of him, it was going to be cheap speed. They were going to be burning up to see if I used mine, too (speed). It ran like I expected. I know that we got him ready and if there was that speed, we would have chased it."
Tour of the Cat picked up $60,000 to elevate his lifetime earnings to $442,622 while notching his third victory of the year and 10th in 31 trips to post overall. The Spend A Buck is his second straight graded stakes score and third of 2003. Last time out, he won the Miami Breeders' Cup (gr. III) over this oval on Sept. 1 and earlier this year he captured the Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park.
Best of the Rest, who won this race in 1999 and 2001, finished in the runner-up spot for the second consecutive year. Ridden by Jerry Bailey, Best of the Rest paid $2.20 and $2.10. It was another length back to Dancing Guy, who ran third in the eight-horse field and paid $2.20.