Parading was a convincing winner of the Ben Ali.

Parading was a convincing winner of the Ben Ali.

Mathea Kelley

Parading Leads Ben Ali Procession

Phipps Stable homebred rolls to first graded stakes win by 7 1/2 lengths.

Stuck wide on the backstretch of the $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO), jockey Kent Desormeaux took a chance when he encouraged Parading to take control over his pace rivals heading into the final turn. The decision paid off when Parading, angled to the inside for the turn, ran away in upper stretch on the way to his first graded stakes victory April 19 at wet and windy Keeneland.

After some moderate urging in upper stretch, Desormeaux coaxed the Phipps Stable homebred to the wire with a hand ride for the final eighth of a mile. The official margin of victory was 7 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:47.82 for the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack test.

“He’s a pleasure to ride,” said Desormeaux. “He sits in the bridle and rides right off my fingertips, so he’s well trained. I just get to sit on him. I’m the lucky one.”

Trained by Shug McGaughey, Parading, a 6-year-old son of Pulpit, was making his synthetic track debut. He scored in his second start following an 11-month layoff.

Victory didn't look very likely when Parading was stuck five wide on the clubhouse turn while narrowly leading after the opening quarter mile. With Dominican, Grasshopper,  and Adriano on his inside all separated by less than a length on the backstretch, it looked like the leggy chestnut would be wide again. But Desormeaux decided to use a little of his horse much earlier than he probably wanted to. The strategy worked, though, when the expected late charge from back markers Sterwins and Monba never materialized. Parading shook off Dominican with three furlongs to run and was not threatened thereafter.

Starting from the far outside, Parading carved fractions of :23.90, :47.42, and 1:11.99. Parading led by five lengths after completing the mile in 1:35.81 and came home in 12 seconds for the final eighth with something left in reserve.

Sent off at 43-1, Your Round was the longest shot in the seven-horse field. Ridden by Miguel Mena, he outfought the rest to gain second by a half-length over the 7-5 favorite Monba, with Garrett Gomez aboard.

Parading beat a field that included two previous winners of Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) -- Dominican (2007) and Monba (2008) -- as well as defending Ben Ali champion Sterwins and 2008 Lane's End Stake (gr. II) victor Adriano.

After winning Belmont Park's Volponi Stakes on a yielding grass course last May 11, Parading went to the sidelines. He started his comeback April 4 at Keeneland when he lost a high-priced allowance race by a nose to Society's Chairman  on the turf. Parading garnered his sixth win in 16 starts in the Ben Ali and boosted his earnings to $315,046 with the winning purse of $93,000.

The dominant win has McGaughey in search of another race on a synthetic track, perhaps at Hollywood Park at the upcoming meet.

“He ran a great race on the turf (at Keeneland April 4), and he came out of that race well and trained well,” said McGaughey. “So I thought I would try him on the Polytrack. Now he’s won on both turf and Polytrack, so that will help him in his career.”

Parading is out of On Parade (by Storm Cat).

Under equal weights of 117 pounds, the winner was sent off as the third choice and paid $12.40, $7, and $4.40. Your Round, who had just one win in 14 previous starts, raced without blinkers for trainer Mark Hubley and returned $26 and $7.20. The $2 exacta was worth $328.20. Monba, now winless in four tries since last year's Blue Grass, was $2.60 to show for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Dominican was a head back in fourth, followed by Sterwins, Grasshopper, and Adriano.

Leading jockey Julien Leparoux won four races on the April 19 program, increasing his total for the meeting to 24.  Leparoux took the second race on Oh So Nice ($5.60), the sixth on Life Lesson ($6.40), the seventh on Baletti ($9.60), and the ninth on Cross Village ($23.40).