Zayat Stables' favored Moudez, an Irish-bred colt who began his career in England, prevailed in a field of eight 3-year-olds to win the $112,100 Forerunner Stakes on the grass Thursday at Keeneland.
Making only the fifth start of his career, the son of Xaar took command along the inside with three-sixteenths of a mile remaining and gradually increased his lead to three-quarters of a length at the finish. Time for the 1 1/8 miles on the firm turf was 1:50.16.
Moudez raced twice in England before traveling to the United States where he finished 11th of 14 in the Laurel Futurity in November. In his only previous start this year, he won a 1 1/8-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park.
Winning trainer Bill Mott said Moudez probably will run in the East and Midwest this summer. “There are some nice races in Virginia and a nice series in Chicago, so we’ll probably try to pick a few of those out.”
Pacesetting Bullara held on stubbornly to finish second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Trimaran. Corrupt finished fourth followed, in order, by Skip Code, Blues Street, Summerlucky and What a Character.
Moudez was forwardly placed by Cornelio Velasquez before taking the lead.
“Actually, I was hoping for a little more pace up front,” said Mott of fractions that were :23 1/5, :49 3/5 and 1:14 2/5. “The pace didn’t develop; looked like we were sitting there and everybody was keeping their horses in reserve for the finish so they bunched up a little bit. He was able to hold them off in spite of it.”
Moudez improved his record to three wins in five starts and increased his career earnings to $110,117 with the winner’s purse of $69,502.
The winner paid $6, $3.80 and $3.20 as the 2-1 favorite. Bullara returned $6 and $4 and Trimaran paid $3.60 to show.