Ridden by Glen Murphy, the Steve Asmussen-trained Takedown fought his way between horses in upper stretch and collared the surprising Jack Hes Tops and Casey Lambert near the sixteenth pole while edging away under a drive. The winning time for the 1 1/16-mile event was 1:44 3/5.
It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Game of Skill and Ken Tohill in third.
Western Prize, the 2-1 favorite, rallied mildly from last in the field of nine to finish fifth under Travis Cunningham.
Takedown, who began his career in Kentucky last year, concluded his juvenile campaign with a 2 1/4-length win over allowance foes at Sunland when ridden by Murphy for the first time on Dec. 26. The chestnut colt, owned by Ackerley Brothers Farm, has won three of five with earnings of $90,480. He is out of Little Sister, by Valid Appeal.
Takedown raced mid-pack slightly off the fence as 55-1 shot Folsum cut early fractions of :23 1/5 and :49 2/5. Jack Hes Tops, working the pace from between rivals, could wait no longer and took control as they completed six furlongs in 1:11 4/5. Jack Hes Tops fought hard in the stretch but drifted out and came up short as Takedown moved into contention to challenge for the lead and gradually pulled away. Game Of Skill suffered a wide trip after getting away slowly under Tohill.
Asmussen's assistant, Tony Mathiasen, has been handling Takedown since he arrived at Sunland Park. Takedown broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in November in a seven-furlong race. Mathiasen said Takedown's next start will likely be in the $600,000 WinStar Derby on March 18.
Glory Days Breeding, Inc., bred Takedown in Kentucky. He went off as the fourth choice and paid $13.20, $7.80 and $5.40. Jack Hes Tops returned $14.40 and $9.40, completing a $91.20 exacta. Game of Skill was $3 to show.
Then came Congo Bay, Western Prize, Folsum, Imperial Officer, Another Brother and Topper Power.
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