Live Oak Plantation’s homebred Can’t Beat It came from 10th after a half-mile under Eddie Castro to win the $100,000 Pete Axthelm Stakes for 3-year-olds by two lengths on the Calder Race Course lawn Saturday.
The 7 1/2-furlong race was the first of four stakes races on the track’s Grand Slam III program.
Winner of the Calder Derby (gr. IIIT) in October, Can’t Beat It is trained by Marty Wolfson. The son of Atticus picked up his fifth win in 15 starts and has earned $267,960. Carrying 122 pounds, Can't Beat It packed eight more pounds following a sixth-place finish in Calder's Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) against older horses Dec. 2.
Can't Beat It was far back in the field of 11 as Mr. Silver clipped off fractions of :23 2/5 and :46. The winner angled way out on the turn and was eight wide at the head of the stretch. The dark bay colt closed steadily and cleared off late.
“The pace made all the difference today, compared to his last start," said Wolfson. "They went a half in 48 2/5 that day, and they went 46 up front today. All (Castro) had to do was keep him in the clear and get a good trip, just like (Miesque’s Approval) in his races. He was much the best today."
Fancy Silver, with Eduardo Nunez, aboard, ran second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of El Lobo and Joe Bravo. Can’t Beat It got the distance in 1:29:08 on good going.
Sent off as the 2-to-1 favorite, Can’t Beat It paid $6.00, $4.40, and $3. Fancy Silver, a 30-to-1 longshot, returned $19.80 and $8.20, while El Lobo, another outsider at 50-to-1, paid $17 to show.
Mr. Silver finished fourth, followed by Thunder Pass, Croton Road, Yankee Master, World Battle, Rebellion, Hollywood Left, and Last Best Place. Folk Festival, High Finance, Outperformance, Rexson's Rose, and Steel the Glory scratched.