Equinox Inc.'s Romance Argentino gave it his best shot but fell short of a sweep of the distance triple June 8 at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort.
The West Virginia track carded a series of starter allowance events to coincide with the Triple Crown races. The distances were 1 1/4 miles, 1 3/16 miles, and on June 8, 1 1/2 miles.
Romance Argentino, a 4-year-old Bluegrass Cat gelding ridden by Deshawn Parker, won the first two legs impressively. He was the slight favorite in the finale, though Romance Argentino and owner/trainer Lesalene Pompell's Barat were both even money in the six-horse field that competed for a $16,400 purse.
Barat, ridden by the trainer's husband, Tommy Pompell, took the lead heading into the last of three turns, opened up a short lead, and held off Romance Argentino, who rallied from fifth, by 1 1/4 lengths. Romance Argentino, trained by Eduardo Caramori, finished 26 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Unbridled Wisdom.
The time for 1 1/2 miles on a fast track was 2:35.75.
Barat, a 5-year-old Champali gelding, has won seven races since he was acquired by the Pompells in 2012.