Richard Englander's Abderian rallied from last in a field of ten to win the $100,000 Turf Monster Handicap Monday at Philadelphia Park.
Skimming the rail from the three-eighths pole home, the 7-year-old gelded son of Machiavellian
held off the late run of last year's winner Testify to capture the five-furlong turf sprint by 1 1/2 length. It was the first win in two years for Abderian, the ninth of his career, and pushed his earnings to better than $340,000. The final time over a course labeled good was :57.3.
The winner and runner-up were last and next to last at first call. Abderian had come out of the three hole while Testify was stuck on the extreme outside. The two were together at the back of the pack as they watched the early speed run to the far turn.
As the two stretch runners began to pick up the tail of the field, post position had already decided their fates. Abderian, breaking inside of Testify, would have to go inside, and Testify, saddled with that outside post, had only one place to go, take the overland route.
"I know at this track, the turf turns are very tight," said winning jockey Victor Molina. "Especially in the turf sprints, the speed horses can have trouble making those turns. That's what happened today. The whole inside opened up for me and set up perfectly. We just stayed inside and when he got clear in mid-stretch, he just exploded."
The ride was perfect. Molina never left the rail while Testify was stuck out in the six path. With the speed backing up, Abderian just shot through an opening on the inside just inside the eighth pole, quickly got clear, and then with the whip confidently tucked away, held Testify safe through the final seventy yards.
There was no clear-cut favorite in the ten horse field. Take Achance On Me took slightly more money than Fredericktown, both off at 3-1, but neither would be around at the finish. Abderian went off at 6-1 and paid $14.40, $8.80, and $7.20. Testify paid $6.60 and $5.00. Shades of Sunny rallied late for third and returned 9.40 to show.