Intelligent Male survived a pair of riders' objections over bumping in the stretch to score the biggest victory of his life in the $145,500 Claiming Crown Jewel, the highlight of Saturday's series for racing's blue-collar workers at Canterbury Park in Minnesota.
Ridden by Eddie Martin Jr., 19-1 shot Intelligent Male, a 4-year-old South Carolina-bred gelding, prevailed by a neck over slight favorite Musique Toujours, with Rize third, 2 1/4 lengths farther back. The final time was 1:49 3/5 for the 1 1/8-mile event, which drew a field of 11.
It was the third straight win for the son of Ride the Storm, who shipped in from Mountaineer Park for trainer Wayne Catalano.
The riders of Musique Toujours and Rize, Tyler Baze and Rafael Bejarano, respectively, raised foul claims against Martin that stewards disallowed.
In stalking position while wide in the far turn, Intelligent Male launched his bid four wide, drifted inward to bump the pacesetting Rize in the upper stretch, then bumped Musique Toujours near the eighth pole in spite of left-handed pressure.
Rize was the leader through fractions of :23 3/5, :48 2/5 and 1:12 3/5 before giving way to Musique Toujours, who made a nice move along the inside and held a narrow advantage to mid-stretch.
Turf Express Inc. owns Intelligent Male, a gray/roan who has now won five of 19 career starts. The winner's share of $82,500 improved his career earnings to $190,259.
The winner paid $39.80, $15 and $7. Musique Toujours returned $5.20 and $3. Rize was $3.20 to show.
In other Claiming Crown events, Robert Bone's Stage Player seized the lead before going a half-mile for Baze and strode to a three-length win as the 3-5 favorite in the $125,000 Claiming Crown Emerald.
The 5-year-old bay gelding by Stage Colony, trained by Jeff Mullins, proved best in a field of 14, covering the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:42 1/5. Bristolville, at 31-1, edged He Flies by a half-length for second.
The $94,000 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit at 6 1/2 furlongs went to Mary A. Kernan and Charles Biggs' Heroic Sight, who edged lukewarm favorite Quote Me Later by a half-length in a time of 1:15 2/5. Satan's Code was a neck back in third.
Todd Glasser rode the winner for trainer John S. McCaslin.
The Claiming Crown began in 1999.