In a thrilling finish, Strategic Partner just got past Baptize, and then withstood an objection to win the $100,000 Crown Royal American Turf (gr. III) Friday at Churchill Downs.
Favored Baptize, under Jerry Bailey, looked a winner after taking the lead turning for home in the 1 1/16-mile turf race. But, Strategic Partner and John Velazquez came rolling on the outside inside the sixteenth pole and it was a fighting finish to the wire.
Strategic Partner covered the distance in 1:42.89 and returned $12, $3.80 and $2.80. The 3-year-old Dynaformer--Morning Picture, by Alyseba colt is owned by Lee Lewis and trained by Mark Hennig. Baptize paid $2.80 and $2.40 Dynameaux was worth $3. The exacta paid $23.40, the trifecta $63 and the superfecta $116.10.