James Jackson's Valhol, previously best known for being the disqualified winner of the 1999 Arkansas Derby, successfully returned from a lengthy layoff to win the $75,000 Tenacious Handicap at Fair Grounds on Sunday.
Ridden by Willie Martinez, Valhol pulled away in the stretch to win by a length over pacesetter Dixieland Diamond. The 5-year-old son of Diazo trained by Dallas Keen, Valhol paid $5.40 as he defeated four rivals in a final time of 1:43 4/5 for 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track. Rebridled finished third.
"I am very pleased with this race," Keen said, "especially after an eight-month layoff that included a battle with pneumonia that he came down with after the Lone Star meet. He is a horse with a big heart that always fights controversy."
Valhol won the Diplomat Way Handicap at Fair Grounds in January and then ran third in the grade II New Orleans Handicap before beginning his extended break from competition.
Valhol, whose Arkansas Derby win was voided after the stewards and Arkansas Racing Commission concluded his jockey possessed an electrical device during the race, has won four of 14 career starts.