Tim Cunningham's Ironton wrested the lead down the backstretch in the $75,000 Northern Dancer Stakes for 3-year-old Maryland breds and held it with a nose victory at the wire.
Under jockey Nick Petro for his brother, trainer Michael Petro, Ironton charged by front-running Boca Bound a half-mile from home, opened a five-length lead on the field between calls. He had to be kept to business to win in a desperate finish over James, who charged up out of the pack to be second. Conservation took third a neck behind the runner-up.
The winner, a son of Not For Love, was sent off at odds of 5-1, completing the nine furlongs in 1:50.32.
Foufa's Warrior, the even money favorite, was never a factor and finished last of eight, 11 lengths back of the winner.
Irontown paid $12.80, $7 and $6.40. James returned $6 and $4.20. Conservation's show was $2.60.