Mystery Giver Completes Fair Grounds 3-Peat

(from Fair Grounds report)
Mystery Giver gave new meaning to "three-peat" in winning the $125,000 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/8 mile on the turf for the third consecutive year Saturday.

Ridden by Robby Albarado, who was also aboard for last year's win, the 6-year-old Dynaformer gelding saved ground in the early stages, rating in seventh position through six furlongs in 1:14 set by favored Warleigh, who was pressured throughout by Gin and Sin.

At the top of the stretch, the Illinois-bred bay swung out to the middle of the Stall-Wilson turf course and powered home to defeat a game Skate Away by a neck, hitting the wire in 1:51 3/5 on a turf course rated as yielding.

"I thought there was enough speed in the race that I could be patient and they would come back to me," said Albarado, who won his fourth stakes race this meet. "I was pretty confident that I had everybody measured but (Skate Away), but I knew that I had the better part of the track."

Skate Away, who rallied nicely on the inside, finished 2 1/2 lengths clear of Great Bloom for the place in a field of nine older horses. Freefourinternet was a late scratch.

"I had a perfect trip," said Skate Away's jockey, Gerard Melancon. "Skate Away likes to go to the rail and the rail was not the best footing today."

Mystery Giver improved his career earnings to more than $770,000 with his 10th win from 28 lifetime starts for owner/breeder Team Block and trainer Richard Scherer.

"Something about this race, but it seems every year the spots open and he gets a perfect trip," said Scherer. "Today, he had it his way."

Warleigh, the 7-5 favorite ridden by Shane Sellers, faded to sixth after Skate Away got past him with a furlong to go.

Mystery Giver, the second choice in the field, paid $7, $4.20 and $3. Skate Away returned $5.40 and $4.20. Great Bloom's show was $5.40. The $2 exacta was worth $44.20.

(Chart, Equibase)