The Two Bit Racing Stable's A Bit O'Gold, under Jono Jones, gutted out a close victory and then survived a claim of foul in Sunday's $329,300 Sky Classic Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine.A Bit O'Gold, last year's champion 3-year-old male in Canada, defeated the slight favorite Revved Up in a tense battle down the long stretch to take the 1 3/8-mile contest by a neck.But that wasn't the only drama for the connections of the Ontario-bred chestnut son of Gold Fever, who had to wait out a claim of foul by the jockey of third-place finisher Lenny the Lender. It was disallowed by the stewards. Demeteor went straight to the lead for jockey Emile Ramsammy, cutting fractions of :24.75, :50.64, 1:15.71 and a mile in 1:40.26. A Bit O'Gold closed three-wide into the stretch after a rail-skimming journey and gained a short advantage in the final strides."At the beginning of the turn, it was a little chewed up along the inside," said Jones, who earned his first Sky Classic win. "When I got him out on the middle of the course, he got his footing together and he did the job from there."The final time was 2:17.17 over a "firm" turf.For conditioner Catherine Day Phillips, it was yet another splendid effort from the lifetime winner of 10 races from 17 starts. A Bit O'Gold finished third to Revved Up in the Niagara Breeders' Cup Stakes (Can-II) on Sept. 5."It was a tough stretch duel," said Day Phillips. "I really wasn't sure he was going to get there. In that last minute, his heart exploded and there he went. It was great."
For the win, A Bit O'Gold picked up a pot of $197,100, to boost his career earnings to $1,888,155.A Bit O'Gold could use the Sky Classic win as a springboard to the $2 million Pattison Canadian International (Can-I) set for Oct. 23 at Woodbine.The Beclawat Stable-bred gelding paid $5.20, $2.70, and $2.30, while Revved Up ($2.40 and $2.10), rounded out an $11.10 exacta. Lenny the Lender ($3.70) completed a $50.10 trifecta.