America Alive won a thrilling renewal of the $100,000 Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap on the Fair Grounds turf Saturday, closing with a flurry on the far outside to nail Rapid Proof on the wire.
Winning jockey Robby Albarado swung America Alive off the fence at the eighth pole and to the far outside for his bid. The 4-year-old son of American Chance responded with a stout rally down the center of the Stall-Wilson course to catch the duo of Honor in War and Rapid Proof in the final strides by a head.
Honor in War outfought Rapid Proof by a nose to claim second. The final running time over firm going was 1:44.43.
Trained by Neil Howard, America Alive, who paid $8.20, 44.20 and $3.20 as the slight 3-1 favorite in the field of 11, won the Bradley in similar fashion to a condition allowance at Fair Grounds two weeks ago. In that race, he surged on the far outside to overtake Rapid Proof by a head in the final yards.
"He's a hard horse to figure out," said Howard, who almost didn't run America Alive in the Bradley off of the short rest. "Running him back two weeks later in a race like this off a pretty hard race last time, you're always concerned, but he trained okay.
"I told the Bradys (owners James and Nicholas Brady), he's kind a hard horse to gauge sometimes. He's a real laid-back type of horse and he's been eating good and training good, and he acts the way you like to see him act. But then, when a horse acts like that, you get worried."
The win was America Alive's first career stakes victory, raising his earnings to $199,441.
Honor in War returned $5 and $3.80, while Rapid Proof was $6 to show.