Closing with a rush under Rosie Napravnik, favored Daddy Nose Best tagged upset-minded Adios Nardo at the wire to win the $125,000 Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap (gr. IIIT) on yielding turf at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Jan. 18 (VIDEO).
Trained by Steve Asmussen for Texans Cathy and Bob Zollars, Daddy Nose Best prevailed by a neck to improve to 2-for-2 over the Fair Grounds lawn. He captured the Buddy Dilberto Memorial Handicap Dec. 21 by 3 1/2 lengths.
Daddy Nose Best, the 9-5 choice, rated at the back of the pack while saving ground for much of the about 1 1/16-mile journey, and was last as the field of eight turned for home. Angled six or seven paths wide for the drive by Naprvanik, the 5-year-old son of Scat Daddy charged home to reach the wire a jump ahead of the unlucky Adios Nardo. The final time was 1:46.54.
"I was very, very, very blocked at the top of the stretch, had a lot to do in the lane, but he just finished really nicely for me," Napravnik said.
"I was absolutely nervous," Asmussen said after watching Daddy Nose Best get caught behind the field. "It was very fortunate for him to win today."
Adios Nardo, off at 8-1 odds with Mark Guidry aboard, tracked pacesetter String King on the outside through quarter mile fractions of :24.41, :51.02, and 1:15.58, before pressing for the lead near the quarter pole. Gradually getting control over String King in the drive, the 5-year-old gelding was clear in deep stretch and just missed.
"Good trip, no excuse," Guidry said of the runner-up. "He fought hard, but I don't think my horse saw the winner coming."
Irish-bred Speaking of Which, the 5-2 second choice, had first run on the winner and was also threatening in the final furlong but settled for third with Shaun Bridgmohan, a half-length behind the runner-up. String King was fourth, followed by Pure Tactics, Slip and Drive, Zenji, and Potomac River.
Daddy Nose Best, a $35,000 Keeneland September yearling, got the new year off to a fast start following a 2013 campaign in which he won four of eight starts and banked $202,040. The bay horse posted his seventh lifetime win from 15 career starts on turf.
As a 3-year-old in 2012, Daddy Nose Best won both the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) and Sunland Derby (gr. III) prior to a 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). His career line stands at 9-3-2 in 24 starts with earnings of $942,303. Daddy Nose Best was bred in Kentucky by the Patricia Ann Elis Trust out of the Thunder Gulch mare Follow Your Bliss.
The winner paid $5.80, $3.40, and $2.80 as the 122-pound highweight, topping a $42 exacta with Adios Nardo, who was also second to Daddy Nose Best in the Buddy Dilberto. The runner-up paid $6.80 and $3.80. Speaking of Which was $3.20 to show.
There were four scratches: Marine Patrol, Grand Contender, Runaway Stephen, and Agent Di Nozzo.