Irish Warrior, under a well-timed ride from Emile Ramsammy, nipped Black Bart by a head in Saturday's $150,000 Turf Paradise Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/16 mile on the turf.
The 6-year-old Irish River chestnut carried top weight of 123 pounds and was the 3-5 favorite among nine who started, completing his journey in 1:40 4/5. Rock N Rosh was third, five lengths behind Black Bart.
Wally Dollase trains the Kentucky bred for owners John Coleman, George Dasaro, James Thompson, et al, who won $90,000 for the victory.
Settled in sixth while racing between horses, Ramsammy angled Irish Warrior to the outside on the turn for home, swung up three wide into the stretch and prevailed gamely while under a stiff drive.
Rock N Rosh opened up a six-length lead early while recording fractions of :23 2/5, :46 and 1:10 with Black Bart stalking patiently. In the stretch, Black Bart took closer order, gaining the lead inside the final half-furlong and lost in a narrow decision.
Irish Warrior had been running competitively in tougher company, most recently finishing second to Redattore in the Citation (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park Nov. 29. This was his first win since taking the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) Aug. 31. He notched his seventh career victory in 23 starts while increasing his lifetime earnings to $755,000.
Irish Warrior paid $3.20, $2.40 and $2.40. Black Bart returned $5 and $3.60. Rock N Rosh's show was $4.40. The $2 exacta was worth $24.60.