Frank Calabrese's Fight For Ally disposed of favored Keats in the stretch of Saturday's $250,000 National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) and held off the late challenge of Colonial Colony and Parrott Bay to win by a neck at Hawthorne Race Course.
Ridden by Eusebio Razo Jr. for trainer Wayne Catalano, Fight For Ally won his fifth consecutive race. The 6-year-old Indiana-bred Fit to Fight gelding was all out to preserve the win after opening a daylight lead in the stretch. Final time on a fast track for the 1 1/8-mile test was 1:53 2/5. Colonial Colony, fourth in the stretch, closed valiantly with jockey Willie Martinez to narrowly miss the victory while nudging Parrott Bay and Larry Sterling for the place by a nose.
Keats, the 2-1 favorite with Larry Melancon in the irons, was fourth, 4 1/4 lengths behind, after setting fractional times of :24 1/5, :47 4/5 and 1:12 2/5. Colorful Tour, the 5-2 second choice, was seventh in the field of eight in a dull effort.
Fight For Ally, always close to the lead, captured his first graded stakes and his 11th victory overall in 28 career starts. The $150,000 winning purse upped his career earnings to $533,949.
Justice Farm bred Fight For Ally, who was making his third start for Catalano at Hawthorne after previously hailing from the barn of Elliott Walden.
The 7-1 fourth choice of the public, the winner paid $17.80, $10.60 and $7.60. Colonial Colony returned $7 and $5.20. Parrott Bay's show was $7.60. The $2 exacta was worth $112.40.