With Anna Napravnik aboard, Demarcation rallied from last and ran down Mission Impazible inside the final furlong to win the $121,250 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) by a head Feb. 19 at Fair Grounds.
The 7-year-old son of Gulch captured his third graded stakes victory and his first since taking the Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) in November 2009. He won for the 10th time in 37 starts. Paul McGee trains the bay gelding for Amerman Racing Stables.
Mission Impazible, the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner from a year ago, dueled with Z Humor through splits of :23.35, 46.75, and 1:11.76. The son of Unbridled's Song took over coming off the final turn and was still going well under Rajiv Maragh.
But Demarcation, who trailed his five rivals the whole way, was making his own five-wide sweeping move entering the lane and passed everyone, including Mission Impazible inside the eighth pole. With a full head of momentum, Demarcatopm looked as though he was going to blow right by Mission Impazible, but the 4-year-old colt dug in gamely and made his rival earn it.
The final time for 1 1/16 miles on the fast dirt was 1:43.45. Mission Impazible was 2 1/2 lengths in front of Apart, who was in contention turning for home but tired in the final furlong.
Demarcation won two of his eight races in 2010, including the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes in August at Mountaineer. His other graded stakes triumph came in the 2008 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.
The veteran gelding was making his season debut. Last out he crossed the wire fourth in the Nov. 26 Clark Handicap (gr. I), but was disqualified for interference and placed 11th. With the Mineshaft win, he has now earned $625,050.
“He’s such a consistent horse,” McGee said. “He runs his race every time. He ran really big in the Clark Handicap at Churchill last fall against a stellar field and (Napravnik) fits this horse to a ‘tee.’ She let him fall out of there and let him settle and came rolling late.
“The timing is perfect for him to make the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II, March 26).”
The winner paid $7.60, $3.40, and $2.40. Mission Impazible, the slight favorite, fillied out a $23.80 exacta (2-3) and the trifecta (2-3-4) returned $37.40.
Z Humor finished fourth, followed by Le Grand Cru and Midnight Mischief. Country Flavor, Fast Alex, and Mad Flatter were scratched.
Demarcation was bred in Kentucky by Canard Investments and is out of the Boundary mare Divine Line.