Parading Leads the Way in the Dixie
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Parading takes command in the Dixie.
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Favored  Parading   made it consecutive graded stakes victories when he defeated Just as Well in the $150,000 Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) at Pimlico May 16.

Facing a field devoid of speed, the 6-year-old son of Pulpit was close early, challenged for the lead at the head of the stretch, and had enough left to hold off late closing Just as Well by a half-length.

Parading rated perfectly in fourth position for Kent Desormeaux. German bred Lauro set slow fractions of :24.64, :48.75, and 1:12.42. Parading wrestled the lead away from him mid-stretch and appeared to be headed to an easy victory before Just as Well challenged.

Racing as a homebred for the famed Phipps Stable, Parading prevailed in a strong drive while completing the 1 1/8-mile turf race in 1:48.28 on firm going. The winner is trained by Shug McGaughey.

“He’s not explosive," Desormeaux said of the winer. "He’s not a typical European turn-of-foot horse. But he’s got stamina for days. It worked out real well today. When I squeezed him coming home, he laid down his body and drove to the wire.”

Just as Well, ridden by Julien Leparoux, charged from the back of the pack to make it close at the wire.

“He bobbled at the eighth pole, but we were clear and he finished up strong,” Leparoux said of the runner-up.

Wesley, who trailed the 11-horse field after a poor start under Alan Garcia, rallied in the stretch to grab third place. He was 1 1/4 lengths behind Just as Well and a neck ahead of Lauro, who held for fourth.

“He broke like he was asleep in the gate," Garcia said of Wesley. "Then, around the turn, I finally got him ready to run and, when I tried to go through the hole in front of me, the horse on the rail came out and closed the hole. I had to take up and go around.”

Although rain was originally forecasted for Preakness day, only sprinkles materialized and the race went off over a “firm” turf course.

Sent off as the 2-1 choice, Parading returned $6.60, $4, and $3, while Just as Well, who races for trainer Jonathan Sheppard, paid $8.20 and $5.80. Wesley paid $5.40. The exacta was worth $70.20, and the trifecta returned $439.20.

Parading, now 5-for-12 on the turf, is having his best year yet. He came into the Dixie off a 7 1/2-length romp in the Ben Ali Stakes (gr. IIIT) over the Polytrack at Keeneland April 19, which was his first graded stakes score. The chestnut horse went unraced at 2 and only made two starts at 3. Parading was out of action for 11 months before returning with a second-place finish in a Keeneland allowance race on the turf April 14.

"There didn’t seem like there was a lot of speed and he would be on the lead," noted Robbie Medina, assistant to McGaughey. "But it worked out where a couple horses wanted to go and he could just sit off him. He can do that just as well.

"He’s finally sound," Medina said about Parade's inconsistent pattern of starts. "He’s had a lot of injuries and bad luck, but he’s always been a horse we thought would be a star. We just had to wait until he was 6.”

With his $90,000 payday in the Dixie, Parade's earnings now stand at $405,046. Overall, the chestnut horse has won seven of 17 starts.

The Kentucky-bred is out of the Storm Cat mare On Parade.

Lauro was followed by Monba, Strike a Deal, Kiss the Kid, Baltimore Bob, Musketier, Senior and Nightscape. Brickell and Proudinsky scratched.
 

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