Don Benge’s A. U. Miner, a 14-1 longshot, charged down the center of the racetrack and got up by a neck over favored Alcomo to win the $250,000 Greenwood Cup (VIDEO) at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack July 17.
The win, which was his first in stakes company, earned A. U. Miner an automatic berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Marathon Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. Frankie Pennington rode the 5-year-old to victory for trainer Clark Hanna. The final time for 1 1/2 miles on the fast dirt track was 2:29.97.
A. U. Miner made his stakes debut in his last start, the grade I Stephen Foster Handicap June 12 at Churchill, finishing seventh. In six starts this year prior to the Greenwood Cup, the son of Mineshaft produced a pair of wins in allowance races.
Like he has done in all of his previous starts, A. U. Miner raced from off the pace, this time trailing the field until making his winning move around the final turn. Gabriel's Hill led for most of the way, posting splits of :25.80, :50.12, 1:14.46, 1:39.19, and 2:04.09. Jade's Revenge pressed the pace.
Alcomo, the Greenwood Cup winner a year ago, stalked the leaders for much of the way in third, but took over as the field hit the top of the lane. The 7-year-old old put away the pacesetters in upper stretch, but A. U. Miner, who had swung wide for his entry into the lane, was bearing down on the 8-5 favorite and finally stuck a nose in front just before the wire.
Alcomo and Cornelio Velasquez were 3 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Jade's Revenge.
Bred in Kentucky by Ten Broeck Farm, A. U. Miner was produced by Clerical Etoile (by The Watcher). He improved to 4-2-2 from 19 starts with earnings of $273,175.
The winner paid $30.60, $8.20, and $4.60. The exacta (1-4) returned $85 and the trifecta (1-4-6) was $943.80.