Peachtree Stable's High Cotton, a disappointment in his comeback race last month for trainer Todd Pletcher, led all the way to defeat 11 rivals in the $100,000 Rushaway for 3-year-olds at Turfway Park Saturday.
Michael Dilger, assistant to Pletcher, said High Cotton would ship to Keeneland Sunday before a decision is made on his immediate future.
The Rushaway preceded the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) on the Turfway card.
With Chris DeCarlo aboard, High Cotton - a son of Dixe Union - registered a 2 1/4-length win over the maiden Special Interest in the 1 1/16-mile test. The time on the all-weather track was 1:45.
Breaking from the inside post, DeCarlo pushed High Cotton into the first turn to take a narrow lead after breaking in mid-pack. He vied with Warrior Within for the lead through soft fractions of :23 2/5, :47 2/5 and 1:12 before edging away under patient handling. DeCarlo asked him for more as they came off the far turn, and High Cotton responded to open a 2 1/2-length lead with a furlong to go. He stayed clear while under moderate urging to the wire.
"He didn't break as alertly as I would have liked, but I was able to secure good position by the turn and, on the backstretch, he was just cruising along," DeCarlo said.
Special Interest, a 39-1 shot ridden by Julio Garcia for D. Wayne Lukas, was 10th early after slipping at the start and was forced outward on the first turn. He closed willingly to defeat the tracking Bear Character and James McAleney, sent off at 31-1, for second by one length. Another 31-1 shot, New Awakening, finished fourth to round out a $2 superfecta that returned $537,175.80.
Fabled, the 5-2 favorite ridden by Edgar Prado, enjoyed an inside trip while racing in mid-pack but had nothing left for the stretch and finished seventh.
The second choice, High Cotton paid $8.80, $5 and $4.40. Special Interest returned $27.60 and $19. Bear Character was $15.20 to show.
High Cotton, who ran second in both the Iroquois (gr. III) and Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) as a juvenile, earned $62,000 for his second win in seven starts, boosting his bankroll to $160,450. He made his 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park Feb. 22, finishing last of 11 after pressing the pace in a first-level allowance race at one mile.
Bred by W.S. Farish and O.M. Phipps in Kentucky, High Cotton is out of Happy Tune, by A.P. Indy
, High Cotton brought $110,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2004.
Kings Challenge, Warrior Within, Fabled, Triptanic, In A Flash, Warwick Wonder, Mark of Success, and Fidrych completed the order.